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Ruger PC Carbine .40 S&W Review

Ruger chambered the original PC Carbine, which was in 9mm, in .40 S&W to give the gun more power.

Ruger PC Carbine .40 S&W Review

If you’re of an age that you remember Tim Allen’s standup routine or his “Home Improvement” television series, you know his solution to many household appliance problems was to grunt, “More power.” In coming up with its new PC Carbine, Ruger took that idea and ran with it—chambering the original PC, which was in 9mm, in .40 S&W.

Pistol-caliber carbines have surged in action shooting sports and also in the recognition of how effective these guns can be as defensive tools. I find them much handier for home defense than an AR-15 and certainly easier than a handgun to shoot accurately. Plus, out of a carbine you’re achieving greater velocities and energies with the same ammo than you would out of a handgun.

Ruger’s new PC Carbine sports a fluted, threaded 16-inch barrel with a 1:16 twist and six-groove rifling. The barrel is adorned with a peep rear sight whose base slides on an index-marked ramp to adjust elevation; the peep itself is dovetailed into the base and adjusts for windage by loosening a setscrew and moving it laterally. The front sight’s blade is protected by a pair of sturdy wings.

Ruger-PC-Carbine
Both the charging handle and mag release can be swapped to either side. The gun feeds from the supplied Ruger mag, or by installing the provided mag well it will take Glock mags.

The rifle also has an integral rail machined into the 7075-T6 billet aluminum alloy receiver. That allows shooters to mount a scope or, as I did, a red dot.


I really like the takedown feature because it’s so simple. After removing the magazine and making sure the gun is unloaded, with the bolt locked to the rear simply push a lever in the underside of the fore-end and twist to separate the fore-end/barrel and buttstock/receiver groups.


With the gun apart, you can change the mag well, too. The PC accepts the supplied SR-series magazine as well as Glock magazines. The carbine comes with the Ruger magazine well installed and a Glock mag well (but not a Glock magazine) in the box. Swapping them is simple and well described in the owner’s manual.

Ruger-PC-Carbine
The rifle takes down super easy: just push a button and twist apart. This feature makes it handy for packing in a vehicle or for camping.

Depending on how you like to operate a gun of this type, you’ll love the fact that Ruger has made it super easy to swap both the charging handle and magazine release button. These are simple procedures and are likewise covered in the owner’s manual.

The gun comes with the charging handle in the traditional right-side position, but on my 9mm PC Carbine I found I liked it better on the other side. With the mag release on the left side (as it comes from the factory), I can drop the magazine, insert a fresh mag and operate the charging handle with my left hand while maintaining a firing grip with my right.

If you take the time to remove the fire-control group from the receiver, you’ll discover Ruger’s innovative “dead-blow” bolt. It uses a sliding tungsten weight to shorten bolt travel and spread out the bolt impact force—think dead-blow hammer—to create a softer-shooting carbine.


The rest of the fire-control system will be familiar to anyone who’s shot a 10/22. It has a crossbolt safety in the front of the trigger guard, and the bolt hold-back is forward of the trigger guard. The trigger broke right at five pounds on average, with some creep and grit. Not a great trigger but acceptable in a gun of this kind.

Ruger-PC-Carbine
The front blade is protected by sturdy wings, and the muzzle is threaded for a suppressor or a muzzle brake.

The stock is glass-filled nylon, with stippling on the fore-end and the wrist for a sure grip. The fore-end has a short, molded-in accessory rail for lights and lasers, and the length of pull is adjustable via removable spacers.

I shot the carbine with a number of different types of ammo (see the accompanying chart) with a Leupold Freedom red dot sight aboard. No complaints about the accuracy, which was on par with my 9mm PC Carbine.


For comparison, I shot my MGM steel plate rack at 15 yards with the .40 sample and my 9mm PC Carbine to see how much difference there was in felt recoil and muzzle rise—those factors affecting how much time it takes to run a rack.

For this test I removed the Freedom and its steel rings so the extra weight wouldn’t influence the outcome, switching a Nikon Spur Tactical red dot from gun to gun so the sight was the same. I also used the same type of ammo, SIG Elite Performance full metal jacket—147 grains for the 9mm and 180 grains for the .40.

The difference was insignificant. My average run with the 9mm was 3.4 seconds; with the .40 it was 3.7 seconds. What is significant is the difference in energy. A 165-grain .40 caliber bullet at 1,300 fps generates 619 ft.-lbs. at the muzzle, a figure no standard 9mm load is ever going to approach.

In other words, you’re not sacrificing the ability to deliver fast follow-up shots for the extra power, and that makes the .40 version a great choice if your primary reason to have one is personal defense. And the takedown aspect makes it an outstanding truck gun or camping/cabin gun.

Ruger PC Carbine Specs

Type: “Dead-blow” direct-blowback semiauto centerfire takedown
Caliber: .40 S&W
Capacity: 10-round SR series magazine supplied; feeds from select Ruger and Glock mags via interchangeable mag wells
Barrel: 16.12 in. cold-hammer-forged chrome-moly; fluted, threaded 1/2x28; 1:16 twist
Overall Length: 34.4 in.
Weight: 6.6 lb.
Stock: Glass-filled nylon; adjustable length of pull via stock spacers
Receiver: Type III hard-coat anodized 7075-T6 aluminum billet; reversible mag release and charging handle
Trigger: 5.0 lb. pull (measured)
Sights: Adjustable ghost ring rear, wing-protected blade front
Safety: Crossbolt
Price: $649
Manufacturer: Ruger, ruger.com

Ruger PC Carbine Accuracy Results

Ruger-PC-Carbine
Notes: Accuracy results are the averages of four five-shot groups at 50 yards from a Caldwell Fire Control rest. Velocities are averages of 20 shots recorded on a ProChrono chronograph placed 12 feet from the muzzle. Temperature, 80 degrees; elevation, 4,900 feet. Abbreviation: BJHP, bonded jacketed hollowpoint

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