Tag Archives: Ruger

Ruger (original) Police Carbine PC9 — A First Look


Ruger Police Carbine from 1996

As many readers of my firearms articles may have surmised by now, I’m an unapologetic fan of pistol-caliber carbines. Why pistol calibers in a rifle? Because it just makes sense for a whole host of reasons, unless perhaps you’re a hunter of large game. A 9mm carbine, such as the Beretta CX4 Storm, is a perfect longer-range compliment to a handgun chambered for the same round. If your carbine accepts the same magazines as your handgun, such as a CX4 paired with a Beretta 92, so much the better.

Ruger Police Carbine — 15-round P-series magazine

Back in 1996, Ruger tried to convince U.S. police departments to do just that. Ruger came out with two Police Carbines based on a scaled-up, beefed-up version of the blowback design used in their bestselling .22 LR 10/22 rifle line. The Ruger PC9 Police Carbine was chambered in 9mm, and accepted magazines from their Ruger P89, P93, P94, and P95 semiautomatic handguns. The .40 SW PC4 used magazines compatible with Ruger’s P91 and P944D handguns. The idea was that an officer would have a Ruger P-Series pistol strapped to his hip, and have in the trunk of the patrol car a fully compatible carbine using both the same ammunition and magazines as did the sidearm. The advantage of the Police Carbine being a longer effective range (100+ yards/90+ meters), greater accuracy, and marginally more power because of the longer barrel.

Ruger Police Carbine

That was not a new concept back in 1996, by the way. The American cowboy realized the advantages of owning a rifle chambered for the same round as his pistol shortly after the Civil War. The famous Winchester Models 1866, 1873, and 1892 were all chambered in popular handgun cartridges of the era. The most famous of these pairings would be a Winchester Model 1873 (“The Rifle that Won the West) and an 1873 Colt Peacemaker/Single Action Army (“The Gun that Won the West”) both chambered in .44-40 WCF (Winchester Center Fire).

Ruger Police Carbine — Controls

Alas, the Ruger Police Carbine came out about the same time that police departments started fielding AR-style rifles, and the Ruger P-Series was by then fighting obsolescence from lighter, cheaper, polymer-framed handguns with similar, or in some cases even greater, capacity magazines. The Police Carbine was also weighty, coming in at around seven pounds; and had a heavy trigger that, in the hands of someone who didn’t train a lot, tended to negate the accuracy benefits normally associated with a rifle. The PC9 and PC4 designs were also hamstrung by what some considered a tactically inferior traditional rifle stock rather than the more modern pistol-style grip of the AR.

Ruger Police Carbine

At the same time, the Ruger Police Carbine was considered over-engineered for the civilian market. It’s a very robust design, for sure. The Police Carbine was nearly sturdy as a block of granite, and about as reliable as grandma in the store candy aisle. That engineering comes at a cost, and the Ruger simply could not compete with cheaper pistol caliber carbines coming to market shortly after it debuted, such as the Kel-Tec Sub-2000, or the Hi-Point 995TS at nearly one-third the cost (2002 prices: Hi-Point $199 vs. $575 for the Ruger).

Ruger Police Carbine

So, the Ruger Police Carbine died in 2006, just ten short years after its introduction. It would be greatly missed, however, and prices for used examples started shooting upwards.

Ruger Police Carbine — 9mm PC9 version

The PC9 is back as of late 2017, but in a slightly different form and at a cheaper price. Magazines are now paired to the Ruger Series-9 and SR-Series pistols, and the box includes an interchangeable magazine well that allows the new PC9 to accept Glock magazines if you prefer. It’s also a takedown design that comes with a Picatinny rail.

Ruger Police Carbine

Where does that leave the original Ruger Police Carbine? It’s still a much sought-after firearm, but prices have probably stabilized, or perhaps even fallen slightly since the reintroduction of the PC9 (there is no new PC4, as the .40 SW is dying a not-so-slow death). If you can find an original Ruger Police Carbine for under $800, that’s probably a good deal. But I would expect to pay perhaps a couple hundred more for a very nice example. Throw in the original box and owner’s manual and you’re probably north of $1,200, but I’m no expert on that.

Ruger Police Carbine

So, it was a pleasant surprise when, during a recent visit to my second favorite local gun store (Sportsman’s Elite, managed by my good friend Henry Bone), I found an excellent condition original 9mm Ruger Police Carbine which included a cheap but serviceable red dot held by Ruger scope rings mounted to the receiver, for less than half what I would consider a good deal. No box, no manual, but for $350 I’m not about to quibble. Then, when I ran the serial number, I discovered that this was a first-year production example, which pleased me even more. Assuming the serial numbers are sequential with no skips, this particular PC9 was the 2,225th carbine off the production line out of a first-year run of 4,189.

Ruger Police Carbine — First year production example

Inspection of the Ruger Police Carbine reveals that it is indeed the robust, slightly heavy design many have noted before me. With an empty magazine and the mounted red dot and rings, I measured 7.5 pounds/3.4 kilograms. But the real surprise to me was the trigger. It was not nearly as bad as I’d been led to believe reading the contemporaneous reviews. Take-up is about .2 inches/5mm with no creep afterward. I estimate the trigger weight to be less than six pounds, but not much less, with a crisp break at the end. Trigger reset is less that a sixteenth of an inch/<2mm, with both audible and positive tactile cues. I’ll know more when I hit the range with it and compare it to the Beretta CX4, but the trigger seems to me more than adequate for the intended purpose — a pistol caliber carbine that extends the range of a standard 9mm round out to 100 yards/90 meters or so with relative ease.

Ruger Police Carbine and Beretta CX4 Carbine

I’m also confident that the nearly 1 ½-pound additional heft will give the PC9 an even milder kick than that of the already mild Beretta CX4.

Red dot sight

At any rate, and without the benefit of having actually fired the Ruger Police Carbine, I rate this rifle a winner in quality. It appears to indeed be every bit as over-engineered as its civilian-market critics claim, which to me is not a bad thing at all. In firearms, I’m a believer that you truly get what you’re willing to pay for. The trigger, while not match-grade by any stretch, seems completely adequate to the intended purpose of the design. I can see this as a very good urban home-to-backwoods cabin defense weapon, as well as a fun and affordable range plinker using relatively inexpensive 9mm ammunition. But the Ruger’s almost five additional inches of length over the CX4 would, in my view, make it somewhat less maneuverable in the close quarters of a home.

Ruger Police Carbine — Front sight

My only regret? I would have preferred an original PC9GR, which substituted ghost ring rear sight for the standard Patridge open sight of the PC9/PC4.

Ruger Police Carbine — Adjustable Patridge rear sight

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Fun Firearm Friday — Ruger 10/22 “M1 Carbine” tribute


Ruger 10/22 “M1 Carbine”

Quick. What’s that rifle above? Any guesses?

If you took a quick glance before answering, you probably said, “That’s a .30 M1 Carbine.” You’d be wrong. I placed that rifle atop an M1 Carbine magazine just to throw you off. Here’s that same rifle, with the sling lowered to reveal an accessory rail, next to Inland’s new .30 M1 Carbine (see: Firing Review — The new Inland .30 M1 Carbine):

Ruger 10/22 “M1 Carbine”

This is a Ruger 10/22 Carbine, which is a standard 10/22 receiver with an 18.5-inch/47-centimeter barrel residing in a walnut stock patterned after the M1 Carbine stock, clear down to the oiler slot for a sling.

Ruger 10/22 “M1 Carbine”

Other M1 Carbine touches include a peep sight (not as good as the original) and a front sight with protective ears.

Ruger 10/22 “M1 Carbine”

Ruger 10/22 “M1 Carbine”

Unfortunately, the weak point in this M1 Carbine tribute is the front swivel and barrel band. Unlike the original, where the swivel is attached directly to the band and the tightening screw is independent of the swivel, on the Ruger the screw functions to both tighten the band and hold the swivel. Tighten the screw too much and the swivel freezes up. Back off the screw too much and the band becomes too loose. It’s definitely a flaw in an otherwise fun concept.

Ruger 10/22 “M1 Carbine”

While that’s not a minor quibble, in my view, it’s not enough to take the fun out of Fun Firearm Friday. This 10/22 weighs in at 5.2 pounds/2.4 kilograms. The original M1 Carbine upon which this rifle is visually base weighs . . . wait for it . . . 5.2 pounds/2.4 kilograms. That makes the Ruger a very practical rifle for hiking — light, relatively small, easy to maneuver, and if it’s anything like any other 10/22 I’ve ever fired, fun to shoot. It also comes with a 25-round magazine.

Ruger 10/22 “M1 Carbine”

The Ruger 10/22 Carbine will also accept other 10/22 magazines, including the more typical 10-round rotary magazine that fits entirely into the magazine well. As for the sling and oiler, you’ll have to order that separately. Any sling/oiler combination made for the .30 M1 Carbine should work in the 10/22 Carbine.

Ruger 10/22 “M1 Carbine”

Ruger 10/22 “M1 Carbine”

The accessory rail does detract from the ambience, but not too much. And it does provide you with the option to add optics ranging from a simple red dot to a magnified scope.

Ruger 10/22 “M1 Carbine”

I’m really looking forward to taking this rifle to the range. Perhaps I’ll even fire it alongside the Inland. At any rate, it’s a good companion piece to the Inland in a cheaper caliber.

Ruger 10/22 “M1 Carbine”

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Ruger Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout First Impressions — A Shooting Review


Ruger Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout

Ruger Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout

In the past several weeks Ruger has released the latest version of their venerable, reliable Mini-14. No, it’s not another variation of the classic Ranch Rifle. It’s also not an addition to Ruger’s highly accurate Target models. Instead, there’s a new entry into the Mini-14 Tactical line, and this addition has me very excited because Ruger has never before offered a Mini-14 in this caliber — the incredibly versatile, suppressor-friendly 300 AAC Blackout.

Ruger Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout

Ruger Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout

What is 300 AAC Blackout ammunition? First, a little history. In 1962 the U.S. Army began deploying as their primary weapon the M16 chambered in NATO 5.56x45mm, which is for all practical purposes an extremely hyped-up .22 caliber round (.223 to be exact) that packs a lot of punch out of the M16’s original 20-inch/508mm barrel. When the Army found that most engagements were inside of 100 yards/92 meters, and many modern battlefield engagements are in an urban setting, the Army opted to reduce the M16’s barrel length to something more suitable to what they were encountering. The result is the M4, a descendant of the M16 with a shorter 14.5inch/370mm barrel.

Problem is that loss of 5.5 inches/128mm adversely impacts the effectiveness of the 5.56 round. Not a lot, but enough. Then there’s the inability to properly suppress a supersonic round, which is something our Special Forces like to do on occasion.

This limitation and others led Advanced Armament Corporation to look at the existing M4 and see if they could come up with something a bit better. What AAC came up with is probably the most versatile round ever produced — the 300 AAC Blackout. The 300 BLK, as it is more commonly known, comes in everything from a 110-grain/7.13-gram supersonic round to a 220-grain/14.26-gram subsonic round with perhaps dozens of intermediate loads available in between these two extremes.

But the advantages don’t stop there. The 300 BLK can use the existing M16/M4 lower and M16/M4 magazines with only a simple swap out of the upper. Additionally, the 300 BLK offers better performance out of a 9-inch/229mm barrel than the 5.56 can achieve out of the M4’s 14.5-inch/370mm barrel.

How does all this translate to the civilian world? It means you have a weapon that is suitable for everything from medium game hunting, to plinking, to serious target practice at intermediate distances, to home defense with suppressor capability all in one convenient package. That’s pretty versatile indeed.

All this versatility also means that U.S. forces can switch from longer-range supersonic rounds to suppressed subsonic rounds merely by attaching a suppressor to the end of the barrel and swapping out the ammunition in their magazines.

Threaded Barrel and Flash Suppressor

Threaded Barrel and Flash Suppressor

Beyond military applications and up until the release of this new Mini-14 the 300 AAC Blackout has been mostly aimed at the existing civilian AR market (civilian semiautomatic versions of the M16/M4 platform). Not anymore. Now for the first time it can be used in the proven and arguably more reliable Garand-style action of the Mini-14. But if you’re looking for reliability, read on for my review of the worst ammunition I have ever encountered — Remington’s UMC 120-gr OTFB (Open-Tip, Flat-Based) 300 AAC Blackout supersonic ammunition.

Just some of what’s in the box:

  • Two 20-round 300 AAC BLK magazines (Unlike the AR market, Ruger has chosen to make their Mini-14 300 AAC BLK incompatible with existing Ruger .223/5.56mm magazines to prevent potentially catastrophic cross-loading of ammunition) (UPDATE:  Thanks to the guys over at RugerForum.com, and contrary to information posted on the ShopRuger website, I’ve since discovered that this is incorrect.  The magazines are indeed compatible.  Apparently Ruger claim otherwise in order to preclude customers from loading wrong caliber ammunition between differently chambered Mini-14s.)
  • Scope rings
  • Picatinny rail
  • Suppressor-ready threaded barrel with flash suppressor installed
  • Hex wench for iron sight adjustments
  • Lubricant
  • Safety lock
What's in the Box

What’s in the Box

Close-up of Accessories

Close-up of Accessories

How does it shoot? When the ammunition works, pretty darned good. Out of the box and with no adjustment of the sights. I was able to score fairly tight groupings within around six to eight inches of the intended point of impact at an estimated range of about 60 feet/18 meters. (UPDATE:  Bear in mind that I was testing here for function rather than accuracy.  This grouping was done with the included iron sights, straight from the box, rather than a scope.  Additionally, the rifle was not benched for accuracy.  In my future in-depth review, I suspect groupings should fall well within two-inches at 100 yards, but this has not yet been confirmed.)  Recoil is surprisingly light. Recovery and reacquisition of the target was quick and effortless. The trigger is good, but somewhat shy of great. The trigger is definitely better than on a Beretta CX4 9mm carbine, but this is a longer range weapon so that should be a given. The manual safety is easy to reach and to manipulate with the trigger finger, but deactivation does require insertion of the trigger finger into the trigger guard — make certain the weapon is pointed in a safe direction and on target before deactivating it. The installed iron sights have protective ears for both the front blade and the rear aperture. Sight adjustments are available for both windage and elevation using the included hex wrench.

Ruger Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout with Nikon P300 BLK

Ruger Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout with Nikon P300 BLK

Disassembly, cleaning, and reassembly is fairly straightforward.  It’s certainly much simpler than, say, an M1911A1, but not as simple as most modern handguns.  All you need is a ¼-inch punch to break down the rifle, and Ruger has put up videos on YouTube to walk you through it all.

Ruger Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout disassembled

Ruger Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout disassembled

Mini-14 Trigger Group

Mini-14 Trigger Group

Mini-14 Receiver Group

Mini-14 Receiver Group

A quick word about the Garand-style gas operating system of the Ruger Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout: This system has been carefully tuned at the factory to handle unsuppressed supersonic loads and suppressed subsonic loads. Further adjustments not possible at home, and unnecessary at any rate as long as you remember to run suppressed with subsonic ammunition or unsuppressed with supersonic loads. Failure to follow this basic advice may result in unreliable ammunition feeds into the rifle. As I don’t (yet) have a suppressor, I cannot validate for you the reliability of the Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout using subsonic loads.

Rotating Bolt

Rotating Bolt

Ruger Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout

Ruger Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout

Now for the ammunition. The first box of supersonic Remington UMC 120-gr OTFB 300 AAC Blackout ran without drama when inserted ten rounds at a time into one of the included 20-round magazines. After my good friend David Williams and I fired ten rounds each I then loaded up the same magazine with a full twenty rounds.  (UPDATE:  Remington claim that their ammunition was not at fault here, and instructed me that the blown primers indicated a problem with the rifle.  I will report back on this in a future in-depth review, but right now I’m more inclined to suspect bad ammunition rather than the rifle, as I can find no reports of similar incidents with other Mini-14 Blackouts.)

Result: Repeated blown primers resulting in jamming of the weapon. Never in my entire shooting life have I ever had so much as even one blown primer, so it took me a while to realize what was going on, but in twenty rounds I had somewhere in the vicinity of five primers blow out of their respective casings. Later disassembly of the rifle for cleaning and inspection revealed no damage to the rotating block and firing pin, but Remington definitely got an earful on their ammunition and the remaining two boxes will be returned for evaluation. The lot number, for anyone interested, was A333-7 0360-1, but from my experience I’m not going to trust any Remington 300 AAC Blackout ammunition regardless of lot number.

Unfortunately my Nikon P-300 BLK rifle scope did not arrive in time to make this first outing. This is a 2-7x32mm scope with a BDC (Bullet Drop Compensating) reticle optimized for both supersonic and subsonic BLK 300 rounds. Nikon supplies online a nifty Spot-On Ballistics Match Technology that allows you to select the scope magnification (2x to 7x for the P-300) ammunition brand and load, and then supply you with the bullet drop compensation figures for each point contained in the scope reticle. Once you’ve established these parameters, you can then make a print-out to take with you into the field. Here’s the reticle sighting data for Remington 125-gr Premier Match OTM 300 AAC Blackout ammunition at a range of 25 yards, zero-in range of 75 yards, with the P-300 set to 7x (you’ll note that 450 yards is entirely within range of this load, and 600 yards is not out of the question):

Nikon Spot-On BDC Technology

Nikon Spot-On BDC Technology

Installation of the P-300 BLK using the scope rings included with the Mini-14 was fairly simple and straight forward. I did figure out one nifty trick, however. First attach only the front scope ring to the P-300, but don’t tighten the top of the ring just yet. Next place the scope ring on a flat surface. Use a small level and check for level by placing it horizontally across the windage adjustment turret, turn the scope until level is achieved, and tighten down the top ring. Now install the rear scope ring onto the Mini-14, then position the front ring/scope assembly. Place the rear top scope ring in place and tighten down. This was much easier than following the Ruger instructions for scope mounting, and it assured that the reticle would be perfectly level once the scope was installed.

Nikon P300 BLK

Nikon P300 BLK

Nikon P300 BLK

Nikon P300 BLK

I will evaluate this Mini-14/Nikon P-300 combination at some point in the future, probably after I’ve found a good ammunition for the rifle. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this first look at the Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout.

Addition:  I was unable to get decent video on the above firing outing of the Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout in action.  I’ll do that in my future in-depth review now that I’ve acquired some SIG 124-grain Supersonic 300 Blackout Elite Performance ammunition.  Until then I’m linking below to a brief video supplied by the gentlemen over at Tactical Life, who are preparing their own review of the Mini-14 300 AAC Blackout.  Enjoy.

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