“What About Pistol Caliber Carbines (PCCs) For Home Defense?”

I got a great questionfrom Dave about Pistol Caliber Carbines for home defense.

Pistol caliber carbines come in many varieties, but the most popular right now are AR pattern/style rifles that take Glock mags and shoot 9mm.

There are also versions with barrels that are under 16″ that fit easily in a backpack or briefcase called “Pistol Caliber Pistols” or PCPs.

You can build them yourself at home, >LIKE THIS< or buy them, if you can find them.  (When you go to the DIY page, just know that it’s not my page and that I know that “terrifies” is not spelled with a y’s.)

The one shown above is a Next Generation Arms X9 Pistol Caliber Pistol (short AR pattern pistol in 9mm with a 6″ barrel) and am a HUGE fan of PCCs and PCPs, which I’ll refer to collectively as PCCs.

I like this minimalist design because it’s the “long” gun that I pick up when our dog goes nuts in the middle of the night.  It’s hearing safe, it’s easy to maneuver, and it’s proven itself at 0300 on varmints outside without causing problems with the neighbors or law enforcement.

Because it’s shooting pistol rounds, EVERYONE who picks it up can shoot it quickly and accurately, regardless of whether they’re using the red dot or the laser…unaided or with night vision.

PCCs let people do AR training way cheaper and in more places than what you can do with a .223 and they don’t have the .22 specific malfunctions that you get with a .22 conversion kit or M&P 15-22 (which we use a lot).  The manual of arms is the same and the training with the 9mm carries over directly to a traditional AR.

Recoil isn’t as hard on PCCs as ARs, but I’ve found that PCC recoil throws my sights off more…although that is mitigated A LOT with a JP captured buffer spring.

Ammo cost and availability is another big benefit.

So is the fact that you can shoot at more ranges with a 9mm AR than with a rifle caliber AR.

With a good barrel, trigger, and decent ammo, you can still shoot hand sized groups out to over 100 yards.  I’m running a LaRue MBT in mine.

As for a home defense weapon…

The bullet design and performance shortcomings of pistol ammo apply to both pistols and PCCs, so there’s no difference there.  You do get more velocity out of a PCC, but not rifle velocities.

That being said, let’s go back to the fact that the best way to avoid a bullet going through several walls is for it to go through your intended target first.

Now we’re not just looking at the bullet, but how to get that bullet on target 100% of the time and as quickly as possible.

And, when that’s the goal, I’d argue that the PCC beats a traditional pistol every time…and that’s why tactical teams are using PCCs over pistols in both military and law enforcement applications. Most still use traditional ARs more often, but PCCs are carrying more and more of the load when teams aren’t expecting distance shots or body armor.

This isn’t a new thing. The PCC is basically an MP5 in an AR shell and the MP5 has been a proven and effective tactical weapon for decades.

You can run a LaserMax Spartan 200 lumen light/laser combo on a PCC that’s intended for a pistol rail and you end up with a very small, compact, effective setup…more effective than a pistol, but still not as effective as a .223 with a bigger/better light & laser.


Which brings us to the question of the best training for using Pistol Caliber Carbines and Pistol Caliber Pistols for home defense.

The fact is, home defense tactics are VERY different than what military and law enforcement use while doing their jobs and VERY different than what you may have learned in a carbine class taught by a military or law enforcement instructor.

In addition, there are high leverage tools and tactics that you can use with a PCC/PCP that aren’t practical with a pistol.

Build your own, >LIKE THIS< or buy one, but I want to encourage you to get one while you can.  (When you go there, just know that it’s not my page and that I know that “terrifies” is not spelled with a y’s.)

That’s why I want to strongly encourage you to check out this home defense training that will help you more effectively defend yourself if you do end up being the target of a home invasion. Learn more now by going >HERE<

Questions? Comments? Fire away by commenting below:

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  • Gregory C Wallace

    Reply Reply October 6, 2021

    Excellent post! Very well written and clearly annotated. My situation is I’ve had my AR-15 for several years now and am very comfortable with it as home defense. Am I missing something here? Is there a reason I would want to go with the 9mm AR as a home defense, other than the specific points you hit on?

    • Ox

      Reply Reply October 6, 2021

      It depends on your situation. As an example, if the most probable cause of a bump in the night or your dogs going nuts is a human threat, then I’d stick with the AR-15. Waking the neighbors isn’t a problem.

      For me, 100% of my issues that I’ve needed to deal with in the middle of the night have been predators that were a threat to livestock or pets. Waking the neighbors IS a potential problem. That’s why I grab a 9mm AR instead of a .223, 300blk, or .308.

      IF the threat that I face happens to be 2-legged, I can still solve the problem with a 9mm.

      Then the question becomes training.

      You can train with your .223, you can do projectile training with 9mm, an airsoft, bb, pellet, or paintball AR. In most cases, ammo for every option is going to be cheaper and easier to find than .223 and you’ll have more options for where you train.

  • Robert Buonfiglio

    Reply Reply October 24, 2020

    Since one is not able to purchase an AR here in the Kommonwealth of Taxxachusetts, I recently acquired a Ruger 9mm PCC. I’m looking forward to developing one proficiency with it, and home defense was a big part of why I chose it. I’ve also heard they’re a lot of fun to shoot.

  • CFLeffen

    Reply Reply February 3, 2020

    Fight like ya train. Train like ya fight. Use th’ same weapon. Kyle Swanson, an the likes o’ Marshal Earp an’ Bill Jordan, would say, that “Slow is smooth, an’ smooth is fast.” “Make haste, slowly.” It ain’t who’s fastest, but the one who puts metal inta yer enemy first. All else is foolishness.

    Dry-Fire works. Shucks, it resides on the shoulders of Fairbairn & Sykes, Applegate, Janick, an’ so many honest ta God gunfighters… Train like ya fight, fight like ya train. Same weapon- can’t stress these enough. It ain’t rocket science…

    IF ya have ta stan’ an’ deliver, make yer shots count. Regardless o’ auto er revolver, count yer shots. A miss with a Big .50 don’t do as much damage as a hit wi’ a .22LR.

    Go fer accuracy, but pack heavy, n’ walk light… Use the biggest bore ya can handle. Go fer quality in gun an’ ammo. It’s yer life, or someone else’s… Go cheap, go without practice an’ trainin’, an get planted… Be first when it counts. As Bill Jordan said, there ain’t no second place winner…

    Dry-Fire- for the smart pistolero…

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