Ruger PC9…the original

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Where there’s a will (and poor impulse control) there’s a way.

I’ve been wanting an original Ruger PC9 for several years now. They discontinued them a few years back and the prices skyrocketed. It was getting to the point that all the ones I found on GunBroker were traveling at an altitude of about $800-1000. This is simply stupid money for a carbine that virtually no one bought when it first came out, is simple blowback, and takes a proprietary magazine for a gun that is most commonly found in gun buyback bins and evidence lockers.

But..I wanted one.

I figured that with the reintroduction of the greatly evolved version of the PC9 the prices for the original ones might go down. It appears they have. This particular carbine, with one soon-to-be-thrown-away USA Brand magazine, was $500. Now, for $75 less I could have bought a brand new Ruger PC9 takedown that takes Glock magazines. So..why this original one? Well, mostly because I’ve a dozen P-series 9mm’s tucked away in the safe and I want a carbine to go with them. I think that two pistols, the carbine, half a case of ammo, a dozen magazines, a couple holsters, a cleaning kit, and some other support gear will fit nicely in a Pelican case to tuck away somewhere for that (very) rainy day.

I still very much plan on getting the new PC9 takedown carbines, especially since they use Glock mags and would therefore make an excellent companion to my Glock pistols. But getting the original carbine was on my list and the opportunity finally came together.

It is interesting to note that despite the small size of the carbine, it is deceptively heavy. Not surprising since it is, basically, just a modern version of the Winchester Model 1907….with a rather large counterweight housed in the forend of the gun. In fact, looking at exploded diagrams between the two, it’s hard not to think someone at Ruger might have played with the 1907 and thought “Time for a reboot”.

By the way, for you youngun’s out there, Marlin also had their hat in the ring with a pistol-mag-compatible carbine…the Camp 9 and Camp 45. The former took S&W mags and the latter took 1911 mags. One guess which model commands big bucks today. They were great guns, with Old-Marlin quality, but had a slight design flaw where, once the plastic buffer at the back of the stock ate itself from use, the reciprocation of the bolt beat the stock to pieces. (Aftermarket buffers are available.) After replacing a ton of stocks under warranty, and with the Assault Weapons ban coming in, Marlin dropped both guns. The 9mm turn up far more frequently than the .45 ACP….people hold onto those things with both hands.

As long as we’re flogging this particular deceased equine, I’ll also point that in the last twenty years we’ve had a handful of other pistol-caliber carbines that took popular(ish) handgun mags…incudingbut not limited to: KelTec, JR Carbine, HiPoint, Spanish ‘Destroyer’, Beretta, a handful of AR-ish 9mms that took Glock mags, and a host of pistol-to-carbine conversions.

But…while some of those are better than the Ruger, none of them take the same magazine as the Ruger…and that’s the bell I was trying to ring.