carbine for defense


The ability to use one ammo and magazine with both handgun and carbine simplifies your gear,
training and practice while enhancing your threat response capability.

I’ve never been interested in handgun-caliber carbines. “If you have a platform that size,” I thought, “why wouldn’t it be a rifle caliber, with the advantages of additional velocity?” In other words, an AR carbine. But my opinion has changed — Ruger’s PC Carbine was the catalyst. Turns out, the pistol caliber PC Carbine is an impressive weapon for defense, especially in the home.

Pistol-caliber carbines make a lot of sense. Commonality — in this case, the ability to use the same ammo for handgun and carbine — is nothing new. It was common practice in the wild west with .44/.40.

The concept isn’t new for Ruger either. From the mid ’90s to 2007 they produced carbines in 9mm and .40 used with great success by law enforcement. But it faced stiff competition from the AR platform, which became standard issue for patrol work.

Carbine Reborn

Ruger reintroduced the PC Carbine in 2017, in 9mm and .40, with several updates in a variety of configurations. It’s a take-down carbine — push a button, twist and the PCC separates into a small, compact package that’s perfect for travel. The new PCC uses Ruger’s SR-Series and Security-9 Ruger mags and includes an adapter for GLOCK mags. The original PCC’s trigger wasn’t … However, the new PCC has a smooth and crisp trigger, breaking at 51/2 lbs.

The ability to carry one type of ammo in identical magazines is a bonus. It simplifies preparation and creates more options when responding to a threat. Arming family members with pistols and carbines as appropriate simplifies and exponentially raises potential.

The first requirement for any defensive weapon is reliability. I fired my PCC with trash ammo I picked up off the Shootrite range and it functioned flawlessly.

The PCC is available with an adjustable stock. The fixed stock model has spacers to adjust length of pull. Weight and length are about the same as an AR carbine, which is easily handled by most members of your “team.” You can swap charging handle and mag release from side to side.

Split it in half, and you’ve got a compact “go anywhere” package. Just remember to check
local/state laws to ensure you’re compliant when it comes to gear like magazines.

The Ruger PCC is a platform you can easily set up to fit your needs. Throw one of the new 9mm revolvers into an ankle holster — revolvers being ideal for contact distance fighting — and you’ve a carbine, pistol and revolver trifecta. Feed the revolver from the semi magazines. As I write this Ruger has just released the PC Charger, a short barrel pistol version of this platform. With an armbrace, this would be a great personal defense weapon.

The final goal in equipping a defensive carbine is simplicity. A violent attack is stressful enough without adding a complicated weapon. A sling is mandatory, like the holster for your pistol. I prefer a two-point sling with a quick-release buckle. Adjusted properly, it will do everything I need, and it’s simple. A weapon-mounted light is also a must for home defense. Don’t risk shooting a family member for lack of threat identification. Being right-handed I mount the light at 11 o’clock, which is good for working to the left, right or over the top of cover/corners.

I added an Aimpoint Micro red dot sight. It’s not mandatory but is easier and quicker in low light and at longer distances. I mounted it low on the rail of the PCC’s receiver because it provides excellent cheek weld and allows use of the factory aperture sights. Equipped this way, the PCC is quick handling at short range, and produces 3″ to 4″ groups at 75 yards — plenty accurate for defensive purposes.

Why Not?

Need more convincing of the pistol-caliber carbine? In some locations it’s illegal to have an MSR platform for defensive use. The PCC provides the carbine’s advantages like improved accuracy, extended magazine flexibility and plenty of room to attach accessories like flashlights, lasers and optics. There are threaded versions for suppressors, which would be great for home defense.

A lot of ranges aren’t rated for rifle rounds, and many tactical competitions are limited to handgun-caliber carbines. Plus, handgun ammunition is cheaper for practice than rifle ammo. One important consideration, regardless of intended application, is the fun factor. Shooting, regardless of your ultimate reason, should be enjoyable.

The Ruger PCC, as they say, “is a keeper.” It’s a well-built weapon — reliable and accurate. It’s versatile, and it’s a good-looking weapon that’s fun to shoot. Add a couple of accessories and load up with defensive ammo and you’ve got a great weapon for defensive use. What more could you want?

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