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Gun Review: Ruger PC Carbine w/ Aluminum Handguard

It was nearly one-and-a-half years ago when I reviewed Ruger’s then-new PC Carbine. The take-down 9mm carbine proved to be an accurate and reliable little gun that’s a lot of fun to shoot. Best of all, it features a interchangeable magazine wells so if Ruger SR-series mags aren’t your jam, you can run GLOCK pistol magazines instead. My only real gripe was with the stock.

Ruger PC Carbine

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Thankfully Ruger has upgraded the . . . oh no, hold on, it appears it’s the handguard they’ve replaced and the semi-grip sporting style plastic stock I’m not fond of remains as-is. C’est la vie.

Ruger PC Carbine

Jeremy S. for TTAG

But, hey, how about that handguard? It’s a modern, full-length aluminum affair, hardcoat anodized black and adorned with M-LOK slots on the top, bottom, and both sides. Okay so it is pretty cool.

Ruger PC Carbine

Jeremy S. for TTAG

The PC Carbine’s upgraded handguard looks good, feels really solid, and fits my hand well. It’s certainly better for that Costa C-Clamp Operator grip than the exposed barrel on the base model gun.

Ruger PC Carbine

You can use GLOCK magazines with an additional magazine well (Jeremy S. for TTAG)

Though considering how it’s offset under the barrel with the top only just high enough above the barrel to allow for M-LOK accessory attachment, I’m surprised the diameter is as large as it is. I think a skinnier handguard might look better, feel a little better, and weigh less.

Ruger PC Carbine

Ruger’s pistol caliber carbine, now with loads of M-LOK real estate! (Jeremy S. for TTAG)

Don’t fret, the barrel shoulder is just proud of the front of the handguard. Any suppressor will attach without issue.

However, should Ruger create a pistol version in the future or should you want to Form 1 yours and chop it down into an SBR, you won’t have the option of running a suppressor underneath the handguard. Which is sad. Though the diameter is large enough, the offset makes it impossible.

Ruger PC Carbine

Easy takedown of the barrel/forend means increased ease of transportation. (Jeremy S. for TTAG_

Takedown functionality is smoothly integrated into the design. The PC Carbine retains zero pretty dang well, but not perfectly.

Ruger PC Carbine

Jeremy S. for TTAG

For the perfectionists, a section of M-LOK-attach Picatinny rail is included with the $729 PC Carbine with aluminum handguard models and could be used to mount one’s optic to the handguard rather than the receiver. This would ensure perfect zero retention after taking down and re-assembling.

Ruger PC Carbine

The PC Carbine’s rear aperture sight (Jeremy S. for TTAG)

Or, sure, just use the very nice iron sights, which are mounted to the chrome-moly steel barrel itself. The rear sight pokes up through the handguard. It’s a ghost ring style sight capable of both elevation and windage adjustment. My sample was right on target.

Ruger PC Carbine

The PC Carbine’s protected blade front sight (Jeremy S. for TTAG)

Likewise, the protected blade front sight sticks up through the aluminum free-float handguard. It isn’t adjustable, but can be swapped for different units should Ruger or the aftermarket offer upgrades.

Ruger PC Carbine

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Other than that, kids, this is exactly the same Ruger PC Carbine we all know and love. And it has proven to be an extremely brisk seller for Ruger. It’s lots of fun and pretty useful as a home defense option, too.

Ruger PC Carbine

Jeremy S. for TTAG

As only the handguard differs on this model (incidentally, it’s 0.2 lbs. heavier for the effort), if you aren’t up on the features and function of this fine firearm, such as the left/right swappable charging handle and reversible magazine release, internal workings, and much more, please read the original review.

While I like the ability to mount more accessories to this model, overall I’m ambivalent between this and the standard version and prefer the aesthetics of the standard model. Show me an aluminum chassis that matches this spiffy handguard and accepts AR grips and then we’ll talk about that fifth star.

Specifications: Ruger PC Carbine

Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 17 rounds
Barrel Length: 16.12″
Overall Length: 34.37″
Length of Pull: 12.62″ to 14.12″
Sights: Adjustable ghost ring rear, protected blade front
Barrel Features: threaded 1/2×28, fluted, 1:10″ twist
Receiver: 7075 T6 aluminum, Type III hardcoat anodized
Stock Material: glass-filled nylon synthetic
Handguard: aluminum alloy, hardcoat anodized, Magpul M-LOK compatible
Weight: 7 pounds
MSRP: $729

Ratings (Out of five stars. See original review for more detailed ratings):

Reliability * * * * *

Accuracy * * * * *

Ergonomics * * * *

Customize This * * * *
Improved here versus the original due to all that M-LOK real estate on the aluminum handguard, allowing even more accessories customization. Yet, still shy of five stars due to the stock (fixed grip design, fixed cheek rest) and the fact that a suppressor cannot be run underneath the M-LOK handguard, preventing the use of a shorter barrel without chopping the handguard down as well.

On The Range * * * * *

Overall * * * *
Ultimately, for me this is a five-star gun in a three-star stock.

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