Gun Digest

New Gun: Ruger’s Pistol-Caliber PC Carbine

Ruger gets back into the pistol-caliber carbine business with the introduction of the Ruger PC Carbine.

The ins and outs of Ruger's new PC Carbine:

Long ago, across the windswept and tumbleweed-infested American West, a simple concept took hold. A feller ought to shoot the same cartridge out of his rifle he does from his six-gun.

This idea made a lot of sense in the untamed empty. Who knew when the next wagonload of ammo would tumble into some unnamed ravine or get bushwhacked by the local union of desperados, No. 462? Mating long gun and sidearm with the same cartridge made certain the prudent frontiersman always had something at hand to put a jackrabbit in the pot or defend the back 40.

Despite the domestication of the West and abundant ammo (usually), this practical paradigm continues to stretch its legs. And presently, Ruger is in the process of fully embracing it.

The New Hampshire gunmaker dusted off its old Police Carbine design, upgraded it and has it set for store shelves in 2018. And the PC Carbine, as it is known, certainly appears capable of protecting a homestead, even if it’s now in suburbia.

Although the pistol-caliber carbines are abundant, Ruger’s new offering has a few features that have the potential to set it off from the rest of the market. First off, turning back to the Police Carbine design breaks from the dominant pistol-caliber configuration, which is decidedly AR-15. But perhaps more appealing than offering a different and a more traditional platform, it’s the 9mm’s flexibility that should make it standout.

Where this facet truly shines through is in the Ruger PC Carbine’s magazine compatibility. The carbine accepts magazines from three of Ruger’s current pistol lines — SR, American and new Security-9 (The last released suspiciously close to the PC Carbine). Quicker than you can say companion gun, Ruger has given fans the perfect cohort to pair their pistol for longer-range or more precision work.

Futhermore, the company has opened the long gun to those who don’t holster one of its semi-automatics. An included adapter makes the PC Carbine compatible with Glock magazines. This is a bit out of step with Ruger’s usual ethos, since the company has preferred the proprietary to the universal. But the move opens up a greater selection of magazines, particularly for those who would prefer to have, say, 30 rounds on tap.

The PC Carbine most definitely has some trappings of Ruger’s Police Carbine (discontinued in 2006). But from its redesign, it is perhaps more closely akin to the company’s famed 10/22. It draws upon some of the rimfire’s trigger group and design. But nowhere is its relationship with the small-bore rifle more evident than in the fact the carbine is a takedown. This certainly adds a new dimension to the Ruger PC Carbine, making it a highly portable option to keep at hand, even when away from home.

The PC Carbine’s action and bolt also seem similar to the 10/22’s, but there’s some interesting engineering at work that makes it markedly different. The bolt assembly houses a tungsten weight in the rear, what Ruger calls a “dead blow” weight. The dense metal provides the mass required to remain a straight blowback action, while keeping the overall assembly relatively small. As an added benefit, according to the company, it also does its part to cut recoil and bolt bounce, even when the carbine chews through +P ammo.

Another slick feature around the action is the reversible charging handle and magazine release. This piece of forethought should make the carbine easier and faster to manipulate no matter if a left- or right-handed shooter is on the trigger.

The stock is certainly a more conventional pattern, but is designed to perform. It is glass filled, giving it the desirable quality of rigidity and has 1.5 inches of play in length of pull through a spacer system. And overall, it is light, with the PC Carbine tipping the scales at 6.8 pounds.

Shooters will find much of this heft where they want it — in their hands. Ruger achieved this by fluting the PC Carbine’s 16.12-inch barrel, and it’s a good thing, too. Given the muzzle is threaded, ½-28, and there is an accessory rail at the fore of the stock, the gun should remain balanced even when wearing a muzzle device or light.

The carbine comes ready to shoulder out of the box with iron sights — protected blade front, adjustable rear ghost ring. But as expected in this era of gunmaking, the PC comes optics ready with an integral Picatinny rail above the receiver.

Overall the Ruger PC Carbine is relatively attractively priced with an MSRP of $649, most certainly less expensive at the local gun store. This could give shooters all the reason in the world to experiment feeding a long-gun and pistol from the same trough.


Ruger PC Carbine
Stock: Black Synthetic
Capacity: 17
Barrel Length: 16.12 in.
Overall Length: 34.37 in.
Barrel Features: Threaded, Fluted
Front Sight: Protected Blade
Rear Sight: Adjustable Ghost Ring
Thread Pattern: 1/2″-28
Weight: 6.8 lb.
Length of Pull: 12.62 – 14.12 in.
Material: Aluminum Alloy
Finish: Type III Hardcoat Anodized
Twist: 1:10 RH
Grooves: 6
Suggested Retail: $649.00

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