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We Put Four of the Latest Pistol-Caliber Carbines to the Test

Photos By Kenda Lenseigne

How about some wine with that PCC?

Wine tasting is a bit pompous. The concept that one glass of sour grape juice is better than another seems like idle work. Imagine using the same process with any other beverage. Finding the proper glass, looking, swirling, smelling, then finally having a taste. Alcohol’s purpose is to get you loose on a Friday night. Why waste good drinking time on any other endeavor? A sixer will get the job done at a fraction of the cost and in half the time.

Many see pistol-caliber carbine (PCC) shooters the same way I see wine connoisseurs (sommeliers). The little nuances aren’t enough to warrant all the scrutiny. The only difference is one can lead to harsh addiction and the other will get you drunk. Admittedly, I was one of these cynics for a long time, but for the past two years and almost 40,000 rounds I have focused my range time on getting acquainted with the misfit long-gun platform.

Demand has created momentum for the PCC. Until recent years there has only been one way to skin a cat, but attempts to create a better mousetrap have resulted in varying operating systems. Seriously, how many ways can you ignite a 9mm bullet in a rifle? The nuances of these systems are as subtle as the difference in a bottle of 1996 Chateau Lafite and a 2018 box of Franzia. Do you have to smell the plastic tab on box wine before drinking it?


RECOIL has brought you a wine tasting of PCC proportions. The purpose of our test is to find out which platform has the best taste and why. Checking the color and smelling the bouquet will do no good here so we must use more sober metrics, namely a set of shooting tests for each gun to be weighed and measured. Please don’t drink and shoot guns.

The bill drill is a standard test that puts a single target at 7 yards. The idea is to fire six rounds as quickly as possible while keeping the shots in the center of the target or A-zone. The purpose of this drill isn’t just to get rid of those loose rounds in your range bag, but also to track the sights during recoil. It’s easy to set up and is the best way I’ve found to test a gun’s flatness (the gun’s ability to stay on target while firing multiple shots.)

The next test is straight from the world speed shooting championships, or Steel Challenge. Roundabout is a standard course of fire that consists of five 12-inch steel plates arranged from 7 to 15 yards. For those unfamiliar, this match is the top fuel dragster racing of pistol sports. The Steel Challenge will test the gun’s transition times between targets.

The accuracy of the guns will be measured with good old-fashioned group shooting (as if there’s another way). No magnification was used as each gun is saddled with a red dot. Fifty-yard targets and SIG SAUER 124-grain ammo will be the commodities for all accuracy testing. Lastly, let’s focus on the general functionality and ergonomics of each boom stick. Points will be awarded based on how the gun performs in each category. May the best man win?

A Horizontal Tasting

Four different 9mm firearms will be tested. The word “firearm” was chosen in lieu of carbines, as half of the test guns are technically pistols with braces. The KRISS vector looks like something out of the newest Marvel movie. Its futuristic look and curious operation make it a perfect fit for our test. Second, the gas piston-driven SIG SAUER MPX has gained popularity with the NFA crowd as it makes a great suppressor host and SBR if you’re up for two stamps.

Next, CMMG created a rotating delayed blowback system to cushion the blow of the small explosion. The CMMG Guard MkGs DRB2 is the company’s true carbine version with a 16-inch barrel. Lastly, a straight blowback system has to be involved. The consensus with the prominent system is that parts from an assortment of companies come together in what can be best described as Frankenstein guns. In this case, our Dr. Frankenstein is Bad Company Tactical (BCT). The veteran-owned company is responsible for the rapid retention system. R2S is an ingenious way to “holster” a variety of equipment to go hands free. Finally, someone took me serious when I said I wanted to holster my PCC.

For the rest of this article, subscribe here: RECOIL Issue 42

About the Author
Nick Saiti has been a world-class competitive shooter for almost 15 years. He’s an astounding 7 division USPSA grand master. Considering himself a student of the shooting sports, he happily imparts his unique perspective and knowledge teaching at

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