Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. recently released their free-float handguard version of the PC9. The welcome addition of the free float handguard model to the PC9 platform breathed a breath of fresh air into the pistol caliber carbine market. Ruger has decided once again to subvert expectations and re-release the PC9 with even more updates. In their press release, Ruger had the following to say about this new release of the PC9 Chassis models.
Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE-RGR) is excited to introduce three configurations of its new Pistol Caliber Carbine (PC Carbine™) Chassis model. The standard model of this refreshed PC Carbine boasts an abundance of new features, including a glass-filled polymer chassis system; six-position, telescoping, Magpul® MOE® buttstock; flared magwell for improved magazine reloading capabilities; ergonomic pistol grip with extended trigger reach; and a factory-installed, barrel-mounted Picatinny rail. Additionally, two 10-round state compliant models are available. One with an adjustable stock and threaded barrel, and the other with a fixed stock and non-threaded barrel.
Ruger was kind enough to send over one of the new models of the PC9 Chassis for testing, evaluation, and review. The model they sent me included all the features including the Magpul MOE Buttstock and Ruger pistol grip. So how did this new addition to the PC9 family live up to its predecessor’s legacy? Let’s find out.
The Ruger was sent to me via my FFL buddies over at Paradigm Armory. The rifle arrived neatly packed in a cardboard box with good foam cutouts which contained the assembled rifle, some hex key wrenches, a standard SR9 magazine, and a mag well adapter for Glock magazines. I appreciated the foam padding that the box came with as it kept all the various parts neat and organized, however, I am partial to hard cases. I’m not asking for a Pelican case but at least something that’s a bit more water and weather resistant than a cardboard box. I chose to transport mine in a cheap plastic padded case during the review period.
Upon my first inspection of the rifle, I noticed that it was quite odd-looking. I supposed the addition of the pistol grip and adjustable Magpul stock broke up the classic charm the rifle style buttstock gave the rifle and replaced it with a franken-15 style rifle that looks like it was cobbled together by someone building their first AR. However, looks aren’t really what I’m all about, I wanted to know how much more ergonomic this rifle would be.
Looks aside, I function tested the rifle without cycling any ammunition and all seemed well, the addition of the threaded barrel with the included thread protector and O-ring was a great choice. I ran to grab my Dragoon .450B suppressor to see if there was enough clearance to mount it – there was! There is just enough clearance between the shoulder of the barrel and the end of the handguard to mount just about any muzzle device you’d want.
- Stock Black Synthetic PC9 Chassis with Aluminum Free-Float Handguard
- Capacity 17
- Barrel Length 16.12″
- Overall Length 32.25″ – 35.50″
- Barrel Feature Threaded, Fluted
- Front Sight None
- Rear Sight None
- Thread Pattern 1/2″-28
- Weight 7.3 lb.
- Length of Pull 10.50″ – 13.75″
- Material Aluminum Alloy
- Finish Type III Hardcoat Anodized
- Twist 1:10″ RH
- Grooves 6
- Suggested Retail $799.00
Ruger PC9 CHassis Operation
Not much has changed about the operation of the Ruger PC9. The rifle still takes down via the improved takedown lever at the bottom of the barrel assembly. The oversized magazine release is reversible for shooter preference but I left mine installed on the left-hand side of the rifle, this was the way it was sent to me.
The reciprocating charging handle is also reversible and can be unscrewed with one of the included hex wrenches. I chose to relocate my charging handle to the left-hand side of the rifle to facilitate faster reloads. With the magazine release being closer to my left hand than my right hand, it made sense to keep all reloading actions on my non-dominant hand.
The adjustable MOE stock was great to have. Now there is the adjustable length of pull added to the rifle. The stock is attached to the receiver of the rifle via a Picatinny adapter on the rear of the receiver. I was tempted to see if I could get a folding stock for the gun as this would make it even more compact and transportable, but I didn’t have the time or the money to do so.
All in all the rifle functions just the same as the old PC9 models but with a few creatures comforts from the AR-style platforms most of us are used to. Due to the trigger setup, the rifle still featured a cross-bolt safety near the trigger, just like on the Ruger 10/22.
Ruger and Magpul – A match made in heaven?
Magpul is a great go-to company for baseline, no-nonsense rifle, shotgun, and pistol accessories. Magpul as a company is not only affordable but also one of the higher quality aftermarket parts manufacturers out there. They use high-quality glass-reinforced nylon in all of their plastic parts – making them extremely durable and resistant to damage. Any and all steel parts they use are usually parkarized giving them increased corrosion resistance. I’m glad Ruger chose to go with Magpul for the selection of the stock.
Every little Bit Counts
Each new addition to the PC9 Chassis models brings a new dare I say, game-changing, aspect to the rifle that makes it just that much more fun to shoot. The rifle came stock with an integrated Picatinny rail mounted to the barrel which replaced the iron sights. In fact, the rifle does not ship with sights at all and it seems Ruger is anticipating people wanting to mount optics on them from the get-go as Nicholas C did with his PC9 review. Personally, I chose to mount a Trijicon MRO on mine. Definitely, a welcome addition to meet the increase in popularity of red dot, reflex, and holographic sights.
Another subtle addition to the PC9 is the inclusion of a beveled and flared mag well. If you roll up to any competition and see someone with a PC9 Chassis, they are almost guaranteed to have an aftermarket magazine funnel. Ruger went ahead and included a beveled and flared magazine well in this new iteration of the rifle. While the flare is not quite as ostentatious as some of the aftermarket offerings, the alteration does its job and makes magazine changes much easier with either Ruger or Glock mags.
Heart of a plinker, soul of a competitor
Like Nick with his PC9, I decided to take my rifle to a local Steel Challenge competition. Steel Challenge focuses more on speed than accuracy and there is very little movement if any when you’re engaging targets. This competition gave me a great opportunity to put the rifle through its paces.
Overall the rifle itself ran excellent! I had no hiccups with the rifle and the new style of handling gave me a competitive edge over traditional rifle shooters without pistol grips. Pistol grips as you know aide shooters in bringing the rifle to bear and also reducing fatigue when shouldering the rifle. I shot a total of two matches over the course of 7 hours. Shooting 10 total stages 5 times each, this allowed me to get a real sense for just how helpful having the pistol grip is.
The magazine release
The only functional hiccup I had with the rifle was with the magazine release. Below is a video with a clearer example of it, although if you pay attention to some bits of the above competition video, you’ll notice several times I would have issues with it. My magazine release would constantly get stuck after being pressed and this problem didn’t ever seem to entirely go away. In the week leading up to the competition, I identified this problem pretty early on. With both the Ruger and Glock magazine inserts the magazine release would get hung up inside the channel where it recessed into.
I tried lubing it which didn’t seem to help at all. I also tried switching sides but to no avail. I finally settled on running the magazine release back and forth throughout the week in an effort to smooth out the channel. By the end of the week, I had hoped it would be snag-free. No such luck. I still had issues with it not resetting after being pressed about 80% of the time. This inevitably led to frustration during the steel challenge match but it wasn’t a game-ender for that particular competition. I could see this issue being more detrimental to a USPSA competitor though.
A fellow competitor had an older style PC9 Chassis that had the same issue, his solution was an aftermarket mag release button that filled more of the void space inside of the channel and prevented the button from turning on its side and getting stuck. However, this still could just have been an issue. Always remember, a review is a sample size of one.
The new PC9 Chassis models will run you about $150 more than the standard models, even with the free float handguards. I think this is a fair price for the extra features and furniture included with the rifle as they make complete sense for the modern shooter. If it’s plinking, competing or just a pest control gun for the truck.
The new PC9 Chassis model comes out as a jack of all trades capable of giving the shooter absolute control and reliability. I shot nearly 750 rounds for testing and another 500 during the competition and didn’t have a single issue related to the rifle in regards to reliability. Overall I’d be happy to own one of these new carbines. If I do get one, I’d definitely add a hand stop for better consistency and control as well as an aftermarket magazine release. Other than that, the rifle is a joy to shoot no matter the situation and comes 90% ready right out of the box, just add an optic and enjoy!
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