When we talk about plinking, competition shooting, or personal defense, the 9mm Luger, housed in a fast-handling carbine, stands front and center.
The 9mm Luger cartridge dates back to WW I and has a long history that has withstood the test of time. Even today, the short. fast, high-intensity pistol round finds a solid place among all types of shooters.
CMMG MK-9 T
Ruger PC Carbine
SIG MPX CARBINE
Scorpion EVO 3 S1 CZ
Wilson Combat AR9
Thureon Defense Competition
With an arms industry that has been able to successfully catch on to the 9mm long gun market, varied designs have come out in the past decade or so that make use of the 9mm round as applied to a wide variety of shooting task-orientated rolls.
1. CMMG MK 9 - Best 9mm Carbine
As an option in 9mm chambered AR's, the CMMG MK 9 is a solid working example of a gun platform that is so well known when chambered in the 5.56 Nato, and as such is an easy transition for the standard AR shooter wanting to take up the 9mm as a lower cost, light-use operating system.
Complete CMMG AR uppers can be obtained through Cabela's for under $600.00. These upper systems will drop into most other AR 15 lowers, making 9mm conversion a snap.
The complete CMMG set-up to house the total 9mm package right out of the box will run MSRP $995.47.
This is the CMMG MK9 T 9mm semi auto rifle with a 16” barrel and 32 round magazine. The stock on this package is collapsible, and the hand guard is designed in the KeyMod system.
It should be also noted that there are a vast number of out-of-date 9mm carbine systems in circulation today that can be tracked down through Cabela's Gun Library or over the gun department’s retail counter.
During my research for this review, I spent an afternoon with the gun department at the Rapid City, South Dakota Cabela's store, working with Ed Dunnigan, master sales gun guy.
With Ed's help we sorted out the key elements in terms of availability regarding offerings in 9mm platform carbines on the market.
2. Ruger PC Carbine
One rifle the boys at Cabela's were very high on was the new Ruger PC Takedown best 9mm Carbine.
Admittedly hard to get right now but worth the wait, the Ruger Carbine sells for under $600.00 (and change), it is a takedown model with a nice quick attach Weaver style rail, and will accept Glock 9mm mags.
This past winter, I shot this 9mm rifle during the writer day event at the Boulder City Rifle and Pistol Club during the Great American Shot Show in Las Vegas. I got to see the reaction of many other writers when they picked up the polymer-constructed, very quick-handling takedown model of this very nice little 9mm platform.
The Ruger 9mm carbine rifle retains a nice balance, easy recovery between shots, and has a good feel to it regarding its general performance characteristics.
3. SIG MPX Carbine
Turning around and running straight at big money entries. The SIG was developed as a military and police rifle with full auto and civilian semi-auto function.
This rifle was taking a run at the Beretta MP 5, being the priced entry SWAT weapon of the last decade. Hose a room full of bad guys was the detail assigned to that carbine in 9mm Luger.
Today the mission is the same, however different brands are bidding for the slot as best fire hose in the assault team. I ran this rifle through its paces regarding dry firing and found the heavy pull trigger to be disappointing.
However, because this rifle is police entry equipment, a soft trigger could get a street cop in a pile of trouble. How would I know? Well, 26 years out there in a blue uniform allows me the right to judge.
Well-made, with a nice long heat shield for end, and fully adjustable butt stock, this rife is a smooth shooter once it is up and running those 9mm Luger bullets down range.
4. Scorpion EVO 3 S1 CZ
The CZ Scorpion can also be classed as a military variant in the 9mm carbine style rifle.
The Scorpion is compact and moves a bit away form the AR platform design, and into its own rules of stock dement ions as well as balance.
Priced at the higher end but with the military in mind, the Scorpion is best suited to a professional operator or to a police officer’s stable of weapons.
5. Wilson Combat AR9
The Model TP-AR9, built by Wilson Combat, retains Beretta mags and is manufactured to the exacting standards of this well-known AR-15 builder.
With a magazine capacity of 15+1 rounds, the rifle has staying power if required.
With a barrel length of 16”, the standard for AR platform weapons, and dressed in a black finish, the Wilson Combat is a classic looking and feeling AR system that makes use of the smaller 9mm cartridge.
With adjustable sights, full-length Weaver style rail, and adjustable length butt stock, this rifle can fit almost anyone in terms of proper length and balance.
6. Thureon Defense Competition
The Thureon 9mm Competition carbine is a new entry to the market. This rifle is set up for steel or paper targets and retains a 33+1 round magazine chambering ability.
Designed with a 15” full-length handguard, reduced trigger pull for target work, Magpul furniture with over-sized magazines, and a directional compensator, the rifle is totally ready for three-gun or other competitions.
This rifle will not accept mil spec triggers and comes with a soft case that meet range requirements in some locations.
7. GX-9 Palmetto State Armory
The GX-9, designed by the Palmetto State Armory, is a 9mm pistol caliber carbine built to meet the requirements of competition level performance.
Built of 7075-T6 aluminum for the upper receiver section, this is matched with a solid billet of the same material when constructing the lower.
Everything on the gun is competition-grade material, and it has been designed and set up for the most competitive limits set against the shooter.
The barrel on this rifle is a Craddock Precision 16” 9mm match stainless steel tube, and the handguard is again a Custom Lancer 13.75” system, with the Palmetto State Armory logo.
8. Kel-Tec SUB-2000 Gen II
This rifle is a Kel-Tec SUB-2000 Gen II carbine with folding stock to transform the lightweight 9 mm carbine into a pack rifle system for field applications or tuck away home defense applications if and when required.
Kel-Tec has been building tactical systems in both rifles and shotguns since 1995, and I have had several of these systems cross my path for test and evaluation.
An American company that offers a solid product at a fair price is the best way I can sum up the company’s offerings in firearms.
With a barrel length of 16.25 inches, overall length of 30.5 inches but 16.5 inches folded, this is a very compact unit that will see a good deal of work from vehicles, backpacks, or even on restricted ranges when caliber or weapon sizes are being addressed.
In conclusion, this is one very flexible little carbine.
9. Chiappa M1 -9
In terms of basic design and the ability to transform other heavier chambered weapons into 9mm cartridge chambered shooting systems, the 9mm carbine has many friends that can be acquired either by shopping at your big box stores or tucked-away small gun shops.
I feel I must mention these very fine “cool” little rifles. The very well-made new Chiappa M1-9 which is a copy of the standard WWII American Army M1 Carbine in 30 Carbine caliber, the standard Ruger 10-22 rebuilt into a 9mm pistol shooting carbine, and even the age-old Colt AR-15 offered in 9mm Luger are worth looking at.
Enjoy your search for the ultimate 9mm carbine. Please take the time to let us know what you finally decide. Your choices are both interesting and informative to us who do the research and review work out here in gun country.