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1/25/2019 6:39 PM

I haven’t seen this topic discussed specifically…that I can find.

What is your opinion or experience with a quality Pistol Caliber Carbine?  Or a PDW type build like an AR pistol with brace and a 6” 9x19 upper with suppressor.

I understand that a 9x19 even out of a 8-16” barrel does not have the same terminal ballistics as a 5.56 or 300BLK.  

The advantages I can see with a PCC are:

  • Reduced blast and noise.
  • Reduced muzzle flash.
  • Magazines and ammo compatible with your chosen sidearm.
  • A smaller overall package than even the micro 300BLK can fill.
  • Increase penetration of intermediate barriers (this could be a negative).
  • Cheaper to feed than 300BLK or 5.56.
  • Easier to shoot than a pistol.
  • Am I missing any???


  • Less reliable than a milspec AR (I am assuming)
  • Reduced terminal ballistics
  • Limited range
  • More recoil than a similar 5.56 (that is what I am told)
  • Overpenetration concerns

Do you see any niche that the PCC may fill…or is it just a cool range toy?

Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
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1/25/2019 7:02 PM
Straight up, my experience is with two primary "PCCs", the MP5 and MPX.

Both are excellent and completely reliable and I would take either into harms way without a doubt.

The advantage to me lies with the MPX because of it's direct compatibility with AR type carbines. The controls are identical. Real HKs are hard to come by and expensive when found. MPXs less so though not exactly cheap either.

I don't consider either a "range toy". Especially the MPX since again, the controls are same as ARs. And rather than be relegated to range toy status, I view it as a range training extender as I can utilize it in competitions that bar the use of a full on AR.

As for the .300BO, it is in a class by itself as far as real world application. There is a reason the MCX is used by Tier units overseas, both domestic and international units.

I guess it really involves intended use as to which you might prefer.

Purely defensive use, no question, .300BO. Range work and training, 9mm.

I have no experience with other AR like PCCs. But I like the fact the MPX is backed by a large company that isn't going to disappear tomorrow.
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1/25/2019 7:45 PM

El Mac, thank you for the feedback!

Can you think of a defensive scenario where you would prefer the MPX or compact 9mm carbine over a 300BLK or 556?

I know the 9mm does not have the terminal ballistics that the centerfire rifle rounds do. However, I have killed a mess of stuff with both the 5.56 and the 9mm and I can tell you that a quality 9x19 defense load in the hydraulics is no joke. Pistol bullets may just "poke holes" but the holes I have seen first hand are pretty impressive if you start with a quality bullet and put it where it belongs.

I think (guessing) the real limiting factor for the PCC's is range. Anything more than 75-100yds starts to become a stunt.

Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
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1/25/2019 8:10 PM
You mentioned and covered range, so that's done.

The other would be if you ever had to fight against dudes wearing body armor or other hardened targets (vehicles). Given today's brand of bandits, not an entirely unrealistic scenario, though maybe unlikely. If you had to go unsuppressed and inside buildings, a PCC might be a better option - less ear splitting trauma. If suppression is an option, go .300.

I would also add that the .300 gives you that option of loading a mag with supersonic rounds which in effect would give you an all in one gun...far more versatile. It's both pistol and rifle. But expensive ammo-wise and may not be necessary for your needs as you may have that area already covered.

BLUF, if you like to train and are limited by targets (think steel) or limited by range (pistol berms/rifle berms) or if you like to compete in matches allowing PCCs, then a PCC is a good ticket.

The other factor, and it is a factor, is PCCs are just fun! 😀 So it kinda boils down to shooter's choice and what you want to do. I don't think it's wrong either way as long as you go with a quality maker.
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1/28/2019 12:27 AM
For what its worth:
I don't have much pdw experience, but I'm currently working on an AR build called the "Poodle Shooter" (ala Jeff Cooper).

Its heart will be a 7" 300blk Q Honey Badger barrel with a 1/5 twist. The other notable thing about it is that I'm using the LWRCi UCIW buffer system, and I'm gonna cut down an SBA3 brace to fit that buffer tube.

The finished gun should be fairly effective to 250 yards and be right around 21" in length without suppressor. Hard to beat for "trapper carbine" duties.
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1/28/2019 5:59 PM
Shrubjr, the 1:5 twist sound very interesting. Let us know how it shoots and what type of velocity you are getting with it.

What do you think the velocity will be at 250yd with a 110 to 150gr bullet out of the 7" barrel?

Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
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1/29/2019 12:32 PM
I think El Mac hit the high points, but one thing not mentioned is gun size. The more I mess with PCC, both semi and in lever guns, I find that if the gun is rifle size I want a rifle size caliber. For that reason the PCC ARs just don't interest me that much. I would recommend a MPX or Scorpion for that reason. I got a MP5K/PDW but that was influenced as much by wanting one since I was a kid as it was the desire for a PCC gun. I enjoy shooting it way more than I like to admit, and just enjoy it in general. I have also found myself taking it along when I wanted more than a non-brace pistol, but didn't want the size for an AR pistol. I do wish it was in a bit more of a hard hitting caliber, but can quickly make hits at greater ranges than I can without a brace. One of the factors in my choice on the K vs fullsized is that I wanted it to be as compact as possible as I already had the 9.5" 300blk with a Law. I recently pulled the LAW off my 300blk for weight reasons, but in the back of my mind was the fact I have the K/PDW for really discrete carry. I will also say that I kind of wish I had the longer version simply due to not much room to place a hand and stuff to run the gun. Even with a mlok rail for it, light configuration was kind of a pain in the ass to get sorted out.

I have reservations with the ultra short, in my opinion, rifle caliber guns either as pistols or sbrs. In most cases suppressor companies don't warranty their suppressors for those length guns, and absent suppressors they are going to be loud and flashy. There is simply no way around that. Personally, for me there are two reasons to run a shorter barrel for my uses. The first is for a shorter overall length with a can on. If I can't run a can on the gun, that purpose is pretty much negated. The 2nd is for transport, whether that transport is for discrete purposes or just due to limited space. However, the gun still has to be usable, which brings me back to the noise and flash. Unless you are transporting with the can on, which I have done as well, you may end up shooting it without a can. I guess that is all a long winded way of saying that I don't personally see much reason for a less than around 9.5" rifle caliber gun and actually prefer something more like 11.5 if a can is not in the mix. I shot the new Maxim 7.62x39 last week that was basically a honey badger configuration with an over the suppressor rail. It was very soft shooting, and easy to hit with, but I immediately asked him about a long barrel because as soon as that can comes off you can't even shoot the gun, nor would I want to. Also the ultra shorts are going to have the same rail space issues as my K. If it works for you drive on, but my limited exposure just makes me a fan of more barrel, especially in rifle calibers. I do keep a blast shield on my AR pistols most of the time when a can is not on the gun.

A few more thoughts on barrel length. The 300blk was designed around a 9 or 9.5" barrel (I can't remember which), and that means you get full powder burn in that barrel length. However, you continue to pick up velocity out to about 15"s, enough velocity to make a huge difference in bullet drop. That is something often overlooked by folks when discussing 300blk. As always the question is what is your use for the gun. Maybe that extra drop doesn't matter. I honestly don't know what the velocity difference is under 9.5. Maybe it gets you more range than the 9mm, but how much more and will the ammunition still function at those lower velocities?

I don't want to shoot any gun in a confined space without a can, but I given the choice make mine a PCC especially if barrel length is short.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
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2/1/2019 11:14 AM
What seems to be the break-over point for weapon size/compactness and the ability to stow it in a messenger bag, Umlindi, Connor, or "sneakybag"? Weigh is not as much of a concern for me as the overall footprint/size and the ability to transport it without a lot of hassle.

The idea of a foldable AR with a barrel length around ~16" (suppressor included), with a handguard that is actually of usable length sure sounds good.

Has anyone actually shot an AR with a handguard over the suppressor? How quickly does the heat transfer from the can to the handguard?

Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
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2/1/2019 1:19 PM
Weight is always a factor because a guy who looks like he is lugging a bag full of bricks is going to be unusual. For length the reality is that the shorter the better. Any of the discrete rifle bags, which are all around 26-28 inches, for sbrs/pistols, aren't really discrete. The don't scream rifle bag, but they don't scream anything else either. The shape is just awkward, and outside the norm. The secret then becomes using something that looks like something else and is normal in that setting and for you. For instance I don't look like a guy who plays tennis and walking into a hotel without a tennis court in the middle of the winter with a tennis racket case that looks like it weights a ton is going to attract attention.

For the length you are talking about you want a guitar case or similar, but again if the shape isn't right for what is inside folks are going to look. Plus guitar folks like guitars, better be able to talk guitars if you don't want to arouse suspicion.

Yeah I am taking the point a bit far, but the point is that it really depends on your level of required discretion. Are you looking for not blatantly flashing a gun around, but for folks who look at your gear to wonder/know, or are you looking for no one to think you have a gun in there. If you are fine with the first there are lots of options, and personally I find myself using the 5.11 cvrt m4 bags and shorty bags in those cases depending on gun length. I wait until I get a coupon or find a sale and pick them up for sub 100 bucks. Of the purpose built bags either the FS Noveske or the Tactical Tailor packs are probably the best, but more than I am looking for personally. If the later is what you are looking for then it is a different discussion and I use different bags.

The Connor and Astons will take up to a 11.5 with A2 flashhider and a law folder. In both cases you really kind of have to pack around the gun, and also take into account optic mount heights and magazine lengths. They will also take a broken down 14.5 at an angle. Any larger and you need a bigger bag.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
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2/1/2019 4:42 PM

I tend to agree that PCCs that are essentially the same size as ARs don't offer any advantages, other than training/slightly lower cost of ammo. 

But, a PCC that is significantly smaller, lighter and more packable than an AR definitely does offer advantages for specific applications, imo. 


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2/2/2019 3:03 PM

My "Poodle Shooter" build list:

-7" 1/5 twist 300blk Honey Badger barrel/gas system, Cherry Bomb Muzzle device wearing a Silencerco Omega

-KMR handguard cut off to fit close to the back of the suppressor, and then drilled for gas-block access before cerakote

-As many V7 Weapons lightweight parts as possible to include the receiver set

-LWRCi UCIW buffer system w/ an SBA3 cut down from the front to fit the shorter buffer tube.

-Low-Power Variable Optic of some sort, and a lightweight 1 O'clock scout-style light of some sort



This is my 2nd AR build, and I tend to build "champagne" AR's on a "beer budget" so it may be some time before this gun is complete, but I'll try to report back on it.

Just running some estimate numbers in the Shooter app based on my environment shows this:

-110gr Barnes Tac-Tx 1980fps at the muzzle and 1480 fps at 250 yds

-125gr Nosler Ballistic Tips 1900 fps at the muzzle and 1540 fps at 250yds

I think the 125gr weight-range is the sweet spot for 300blk. A lot better bullet shape and BC's than 110gr, but not fallin outta the sky as dramatically as 150grs. That is mostly based on what I've read though, not experience. I do a fair bit of shooting, but this is my first foray into 300blk.

The plan with this gun is to be as lightweight, and decently compact as possible while maintaining its abilities. Think "hiking rifle" or "trapper carbine". Not really a hard-hitting hunting rifle, but enough to do a lot of things at reasonable ranges, and small enough in terms of size and weight that it actually goes along for the ride more often than not.

To that end, it will wear an LPVO. I personally have no use for red dots. I'm a hunter/recreational shooter, I don't have a need to be "operator-fast" at across-the-room distances. Some magnification is MUCH more useful for me, even though it comes at a weight penalty.

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2/2/2019 3:41 PM
My first choice is always a variable of some kind, although I have migrated to 2x on the lower end, because my experience is the difference between 1x and 2x doesn't make a difference for me, but the difference between 4-5x and 7-10x certainly does. That is after 10+ years of running variables, starting with lpvo, across all platforms. That being said, handling is more important to me, because the better handling a rifle the easier I hit with it at all ranges. I am not fighting the rifles handling. My 9.5 originally had a 1-4 on it, but the weight and length of the scope made the gun handle poorly. It was all out balance and top heavy. After handling Evan's identical pistol with a t1 a few times the scope got switched out for a MRO. Same thing when he took off the Law. I want not only a light rifle, but one that handles well. Now the Law is off I may mess with a lpvo again. However first I am messing with a magnifier as it is easily added or removed, and provides magnification in a more compact package. For me an rds is not about operator speed, it is about handling and the proper optic for the given package. Because that increases my accuracy. Same reason I want/need to sell a Leupold IER 1-4 and buy a 2.5 for my 3030. The weight difference is small, but the handling difference is huge.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
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2/2/2019 6:41 PM
Scot, how would you compare the T1 with the MRO?

I have used 1-4x, 2-7x, 2.5-10x, and 2-12x quite a bit. I found the 1-4x and 2-7x lacking for precision shot placement when vegetation, lighting, and terrain were less than ideal. The 10x and 12x top end seemed good-to-go out to ~400yd on coyotes. I wonder if the new(er) 1-8x's and 2-10x's with better quality glass would offer a bit more resolution in the field.

Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
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2/2/2019 6:58 PM
I like the bigger fov of the MRO. Other than that they seem to work the same for me.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
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2/2/2019 8:08 PM
I too am playing with a 300 blk with pistol brace, they are fun.
The last discussion seems worthy of a question. How are you going to explain a low power variable to the ATF guy when the eye relief isn't useable with a pistol brace unless shouldered? If you read the letters and cases, regular use shouldered is not OK if you care what they think. Maybe it's a non issue, maybe not, but there is nothing from ATF that creates a certainty or a safe zone if regularly shouldered. Same thing for LAW folders, they extend the pull length beyond the length ATF has blessed for a pistol brace, unless you are careful and modify appropriately.
The rules may be dumb, but I'm still going to play by them for now. Sleep better that way.

Good luck
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2/3/2019 8:00 AM

I would say that another consideration, at least for me, is cost. I'd much rather put the money into a high quality AR than a PCC, which is exactly what I've done. Doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to me to spend $1500-$2k on a PCC with the rationale that it's primary advantage is going to be lower cost training. For me, a PCC is a beater that is going to live in my truck, or in a pack of some sort and simply needs to be durable and reliable (plus smaller and lighter than an AR). It's a compromise, in a number of ways, but one that still has some advantages. And as El Mac said, they're just plain fun.

However, if you have a specific application for a high-end PCC and ammo cost is not a relevant factor, it may well be worth it. At the point I'm spending MPX money, I'd rather get more bang, and range, for my buck.

New Post
2/3/2019 11:52 AM

You only need a check weld for a lpvo not a shoulder. The brace on the gun when I had a Law on it was fixed length which I set. I am not a lawyer so everyone is advised to do their own research and make their own decisions.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
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2/3/2019 5:47 PM
I wonder how many have the eye relief set for a check weld, certainly could, just never seen it done. Guess the point is a red dot with non critical eye relief solves all of these questions. The LAW folder makes this a compact package, it just needs a little planning to set it up and stay in the safe zone. The pistol AR is fun and useful, but requires the owner to understand the rules that aren't often discussed. Maybe I'm paranoid but 30 years of practicing law does that to you.
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2/4/2019 7:49 AM
Without getting into the weeds to deep. Where are we with the latest greatest ATF ruling on braces? Is there a chance they could reverse their decision or make the braces illegal?

Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
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2/4/2019 8:07 AM
If you are going to make a response be prepared to cite the specific clarification letter, ruling, or law. Nothing is gained by sharing poor, out of date, or miss-informed information. There is already way to much out there. In large part due to miss-understandings of clarification letters and conflicting "decisions" on the part of the ATF. In short treat this like any other request for information on here.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
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