While walking down in the basement of SHOT Show last Tuesday, I saw David Fillers of SDS Imports and he invited me to a special 9×39 event at Battlefield Vegas last Thursday. Since our resident 9×39 fan, Nathaniel F wasn’t at SHOT Show, I decided to go for him and I am glad I went. Piedmont Cartridge had a number of specially built guns chambered in 9×39.
The most fun gun to shoot was their modified 9×39 AK. It was made to feed from 6.8SPC AR-15 magazines. This is partially due to the fact that there are no dedicated 9×39 magazines at the moment, here in the US, that will feed more than 5 rounds. A guy from D&H Gate was there and hopefully he will go back and start making 9×39 magazines. The problem is people are just using what is commercially available and forcing 9×39 ammo inside them. Some work like the 6.8SPC magazines but most do not.
Another problem is making the guns function. Gas blocks and gas ports had to be repositioned in order to get the guns to cycle 9X39 rounds.
See the photo above and below? My finger is pointing to where the gas port is on the AK. So the gas goes forward then makes a U-turn to push the piston on this AK. Very very weird.
However this makes for a ridiculously quiet firearm. According to the owner, Ralph, he has tinnitus and this is the only gun he can shoot without ear pro.
We were able to shoot the guns inside Battlefied Vegas but since BV is first and foremost a gun rental store, they have customers renting and shooting machine guns a few shooting lanes to our right. Also being right up against a wall with a partition and ceiling so close makes for non-ideal suppressor testing. But the 9×39 AK was a lot of fun to shoot. It sounds like a type writer.
Piedmont Cartridge has gone with 8.5″ barrel with all of their guns. That seems to be the sweet spot for maximizing the performance of the 9×39 round in terms of velocity and suppression. At least that is what they told me.
Just like the AK, the gas block on their 9×39 ARs is right in front of the bullet when it is chambered.
Their gas block is dual purposed. It functions as a bearing surface for their suppressor to rest up against. Their integrated suppressor is a sort of over the barrel reflex design. Piedmont’s LE versions will have threading on the gas block while the civilian versions will just be slipped onto the gas block. The endcap is threaded and that is what locks the suppressor onto their barrel.
The recoil of the AK was softer compared to the AR15.
Have Suppressor Will Travel
Piedmont Cartridge also has a bolt action AR-15 pistol but they did not have a suppressor for it. It is threaded 5/8×24. Luckily for me I had my Osprey45 in my car out in the parking lot. I asked them if it would be ok if I put it on there to test how quiet it was. They agreed. Lesson learned. Always bring your suppressors whereever you go.
Luckily for me when I shot the bolt action AR there was only a single customer sharing the range with me. So I asked the ROs if it was ok to call a pseudo cease fire and test the Piedmont Cartridge 9×39 bolt action AR with my ears off. They agreed and it was quiet. It was a little bit louder than I was expecting but that is because of the venue. The cramped walls and ceiling make suppressed guns louder than they really are.
I was rather impressed how well the Osprey 45 suppressed the 9×39 cartridge since it is actually a pistol can but it is rated to suppress sub sonic .300blk.
At this range day they were shooting Wolf 9×39 ammo but there is talk that Tula is ramping up production of civilian 9×39 ammo. Piedmont told me they will be sold for around $0.50 a round compared to Wolf’s ammo which costs about twice as much.