The Best 9mm Carbines in 2020 – Reviewed

Best 9mm Carbines

Almost all shooters know how fun plinking can be. And the 9mm carbine might just be the best affordable option for those who don’t plan on shooting a military or magnum cartridge for this inexpensive sport. These budget-friendly rifles are not only easy on the wallet but they’re also easier to shoot as they’re practically recoil-free. With the right rifle, you can even use your 9mm carbines for hunting, plinking, and even home defense.

The 9mm carbines are fast shooting, light recoiling, fun guns to shoot, however, you shouldn’t expect the same level of performance from the AR-16. Though these are round pistols with slightly higher velocity thanks to the longer barrel, they do have a limited powder capacity.

Those who have been on the hunt for the best 9mm carbines would know that the market is saturated with a variety of options. To make it easier for you, we have done the hard work for you to help shortlist the top best 9mm carbines on the market. Here we will go through a brief overview of what each 9mm carbine has to offer so that you can better figure out whether it’s the best 9mm carbine for you.

What is a 9mm Carbine?

A carbine is a rifle with a shorter barrel length – the baby versions of larger firearms. While you can find carbines in just about every standard rifle ammunition type, many of them are also chambered in pistol caliber ammo to enable their incredibly small and lightweight profile.

Carbines can be seen adopted everywhere from special forces and law enforcement to competitive shooting events. They have also become incredibly popular among those who use guns for home-defense and self-defense purposes due to the rifle-like utility encompassing smaller pistol calibers.

Benefits of Carbines

Better Recoil Management – The carbine offers a platform that is usable and friendly to fit just about anyone. In fact, many people with a disability or injury may find the same enjoyment with the carbines as with their larger caliber rifles.
Excellent Customizability – These firearms also act as an excellent platform for those who enjoy tinkering with their gun. One could even mod their carbine just as much as an AR15, depending on the model they’ve selected.

Reasonable Price Tag – Aside from the crazy amount of aftermarket parts and designs available, the gun itself and parts come at a very affordable price tag to suit almost any budget. Overall, this is a fantastic gun to simply have. It is cheap, fun to choose, and incredibly friendly to try out.

What Aspects to Consider when Looking for a 9mm Carbine

Here are a few factors to consider when shopping for a new carbine gun.

Budget

The gun’s price tag is obviously the first thing you’re gonna look at, especially if you’re shopping with a tight budget. However, you need to remember that the price should not be the only deciding factor when getting a gun. It is always best to aim for the best quality gun within your price range, even if it means spending a few more extra bucks.
Other than the cost of firearms, you may also want to set aside at least $200 to cover any transfer fees, FFL fees, FBI background checks, shipping, etc. You may also want to consider getting ammo and tacticool gear to pimp out your new firearm.

Compatibility

This is important to consider if you already own a few firearms. Not all carbines can handle handgun mags, so it’d be wide to ensure your carbine is specifically designed to accept the same magazines as your pistols, making it easy for you to plop those mags into your carbine for home defense/self-defense.

If you already have some tacticool attachments for an AR15 or similar style rifle system, you may just be able to use them on your new carbine, just make sure to check to see if they’re compatible. Other specially designed guns have proprietary magazines and will not accept mags from other handguns.

Size

You need to choose a barrel length that fits your needs. You may also find some rifles with barrel lengths in the middle to make fit any given situation. However, if you already know for sure what you’re planning to use your gun for, then it’s best to get one with an ideal barrel length. A shorter overall length will be great for home defense while precision shooting will demand a longer barrel length.

You need to also remember that any rifle which possesses a barrel length of less than 16” is considered as a short-barreled rifle and is illegal to own without proper licenses and documentation. 16” will be the shortest legal option for most of you.

Style

Other than the barrel length, the guns also come in various styles with hundreds of options. While most of them are going to operate and perform roughly the same, they don’t have the same aesthetics. Some gun enthusiasts will fancy an AR15 look-alike while others may prefer a compact CQB style. Regardless of which you prefer, you can easily find one in just about every style of the firearm to stand out at the range.

The Best 9mm Carbines – Reviewed

1. CZ Scorpion Evo Carbine

The Scorpion Evo is one of CZ’s best examples of what a famous manufacturer can do to their firearm to change a product category. While most may see the 9mm AR 15 variants as the future for pistol caliber carbines (PCC), six-shot CZ has changed that entire idea with the introduction of guns like the Scorpion Evo.

The CZ Scorpion Evo 3 S1 is available in both pistol and rifle variants and is intentionally manufactured and marketed as a way to have a short-barreled rifle (SBR). The company even takes a step further to sell kits that can help you convert your pistol into a perfectly functional SBR.

Regardless of whether you own a pistol or a rifle, the Scorpion 9mm carbine makes for an awesome firearm from a legal standpoint. It consists of a high-quality polymer, reinforced steel construction that is durable yet light enough to carry around. The 9mm carbines even deliver soft recoil as they are outfitted with a suppressor, making them the perfect gun to train those who are still not familiar with recoil management.

Although the CZ Scorpion Evo Carbine isn’t as high quality as other 9mm pistol caliber carbines on the market, it is definitely more wallet-friendly and accessible than the rest. The manufacturer is even developing more aftermarket parts for this 9mm carbine, so owners have the chance to tinker with their guns according to their preference. You should definitely get this if you’re looking for a project or plan on building an SBR.

You would like this if:

You need a durable 9mm carbine. This is incredibly durable despite its polymer frame and even offers low amounts of recoil.

You enjoy customizability. The CZ Scorpion platform comes with plenty of aftermarket parts to make it part of a great building project.

You might not like this if:

You want something light. This 9mm carbine is a little on the heavy side despite the polymer frame body.

2. Sig Sauer MCX

Anyone who is familiar with the firearm industry will have definitely heard of Sig Sauer. While the company is best known for its combat handguns, they’re quickly breaking into the world of submachine guns and pistol caliber carbines. The Sig Sauer MPX is a 9mm submachine gun that has also become one of the largest game changers in 9mm pistol caliber carbines. The MCX is essentially a civilian legal semi-automatic version of one of the best 9mm carbines on the market.

Sig Sauer has been concentrating on manufacturing military firearms for a few years. However, their shift in focus has led to new and improved innovations in the civilian model. The 9mm carbine was made to compete alongside history winners such as the HK MP5. However, the company has designed this carbine to present more common features with a standard AR-15 than a service rifle.

Nonetheless, the 9mm carbine still shows an ergonomic trigger package similar to a well-equipped AR-15. In fact, owners will find the bolt release and magazine release in the exact same place on your AR-15. The 33 round stick magazines are also easy to find with widely available aftermarket parts too.

Many customers enjoy this 9mm carbine considering the fact that it is legally defined as a pistol that yet can be converted to an SBR. Though Sig Sauer has a policy against selling manufacturer original buttstocks, you can still find plenty of aftermarket stocks easily or utilize an arm brace with it.

Overall, the Sig MPX 9mm carbine is one of the finest 9mm pistol caliber carbines available with the only drawbacks being the price and availability. This Sig 9mm pistol caliber carbine is difficult to find and often commands high prices too.

You would like this if:

You want something that feels like an AR-15. The Sig 9mm carbine comes with common features with a standard AR-15.

You want 9mm carbines made from polymer shells with a flash hider.

You want to convert your pistol into an SBR. There are plenty of aftermarket parts available on the market for you to convert this 9mm carbine into an SBR.

You might not like this if:

You’re shopping on a tight budget. Although this is one of the best 9mm pistol caliber carbines out there, it does come with a high price.

3. Wilson Combat AR9

Wilson Combat is yet another famous firearms manufacturer that creates prestigious firearms on the market today. It is never a surprise to see their firearms on the review of the top 10 list of anything. Part of their wide range of products includes one of the best 9mm chambered AR 15 style rifles in the world that’s also cost-effective enough to fit most budgets.

Not only is this the best budget option for gun owners to save some money on better iron sights, but the Wilson has even redesigned the magazine well of the AR 9 rifle to work amazingly with Glock style magazines. The manufacturer has also optimized the upper receiver on this 9mm carbine instead of just shoehorning a pistol round in place.

However, the thing that truly sets this rifle apart from other 9mm AR-15s is the sheer level of quality and attention to detail the company has given in its manufacture. This level of attention means that the rifles come off the production line virtually flawless with zero mechanical malfunctions, but they do command a high price.

Nonetheless, the Wilson Combat 9mm chambered AR-15 rifle offers you all the advantages of an AR-15 but with a lower pistol round cost. Additionally, the 9mm carbine gives owners the ability to mount optics easily with an astounding number of aftermarket parts for customizability. You can get almost everything from drop-in triggers to buttstocks to build the perfect submachine gun.

The Wilson Combat AR9 is the perfect bedside gun for anyone looking for a 9mm pistol caliber carbine as a home defense weapon. The easy-to-handle profile also makes this a good choice for elderly people and those with a smaller stature.

You would like this if:

You want reliable AR 9s. The 9mm carbine has been designed with high-quality materials to come out of the factory virtually flawless.

You have a short profile. The ergonomic design makes this 9mm carbine easy to handle.

You might not like this if:

You’re shopping on a tight budget. Although this is one of the best 9mm pistol caliber carbines out there, it does come with a high price.

4. Ruger PC Carbine

The newly introduced Ruger PC Carbine feels like an overgrown 10/22 /22LR rimfire rifle. The 9mm carbine features the same technology used by Ruger in their takedown series of 10/22 rifle’s work. This gun can even come apart in two different pieces for easy transport, making it the perfect truck gun or bug out carbine thanks to its space-saving capability.

Despite the portability, this rifle features a long barrel with built-in iron sights and a Picatinny rail for easy optics mounting. Everything about this is basically the same as the Ruger 10/22 takedown rifle except that it’s chambered for a larger caliber. The delayed blowback operating system is similar to other 9mm carbines but other parts feel much more solid.

There have been several rumors stating that this Ruger rifle can be converted to larger cartridges in the future. Nonetheless, the existing model is ideal for small game hunting with a pistol caliber round. It is also a great choice as a first centerfire rifle for young hunters or target shooters.

So, if you’re looking for an affordable plinking gun without needing to deal with the .22 LR, then you would definitely enjoy the Carbine Ruger PC. This 9mm carbine gun gives you more lethality, longer range shooting, and better portability, all while also shooting affordable pistol rounds.

You would like this if:

You want something that’s modeled after the famous 10/22. Ruger has designed their PC carbine with similar features to the 10/22 gun.

You are new to shooting. The gun’s simplistic and lightweight design makes it an excellent first centerfire rifle.

You might not like this if:

You have older Glock 19 magazines. Unfortunately, you may encounter some fitment issues with older 19 Glock magazines on the 9mm Carbine Ruger.

5. HK USC

HK is one of the highest-quality production-grade manufacturers in the world for producing military-grade arms. Almost every special operations unit is armed with HK weapons, including rifles, pistols, and precision rifles. Many of such firearms have even attained iconic status, including the UMP.

The company has even manufactured a civilian legal version called the USC. Though they’re physically different guns, those who know their way around will see that these are identical on the inside with the only difference in terms of stock and cosmetic features that make up the gun. Overall, the HK USC has been engineered into a legal sporting rifle rather than an assault rifle.

So, if you’re one of the many who has been longing for an HK UMP clone but can’t get one since they were banned from importation, then you’ll love how easily convertible the USC is into a UMP. One thing worth noting is that the 9mm pistol caliber carbines variants are not as common as the .45 ACP, but with a little digging you’re sure to find them on the secondary market.

Aside from that, the HK USC is one of the top smooth shooting, flattest recoiling highest grade 9mm carbines in existence. Even if you end up not converting your USC into a UMP, you’ll still be left with an excellent self-defense gun.

You would like this if:

You want the iconic HK UMP. The HK USC can be easily converted into a UMP with little effort.

You might not like this if:

You want something easy to get. The 9mm pistol caliber USC is not as readily available on the market and may require a little more digging in the secondary market.

6. Zenith HK MP5 Clone

The chances for a U.S civilian laying hands on a real HK MP5 are slim to none unless you have an exorbitant amount of cash to burn. But, if you only have a moderate amount of cash to spend on a nice rifle, you can actually consider the HK MP5 clone manufactured by a Turkish company called Zenith.

Despite being just a clone, the company has made the MP5 body the traditional way as the original version did by pressing the steel stampings and welding them together. Zenith has even used the original machining for each individual part work. The 9mm is the most commonly available variant for the MP5 that you can get your hands on for a reasonable price.

Other than that, these MP5 clones even accept modern accessories such as stabilizing braces and can even work with existing MP5s aftermarket parts like the charging handle. Although they’re a bit rough, these 9mm pistol caliber carbines certainly feel true to spec compared to the real HK carbine.

You would like this if:

You want something upgradable. The MP5 clone can take on all kinds of modern accessories, making it easy for customizability.

You might not like this if:

You don’t want to make frequent parts replacement. The MP5 clone extractor pins are notorious for wearing out far before any other components, however, this can be replaced easily.

7. Beretta CX4 Storm

The Beretta is a legendary pistol manufacturer that has been producing some of the finest shotguns and rifles money can buy. In fact, the parent company even manufactures the most expensive African double rifles in the world. The company’s ability to deliver high-quality firearms means that it comes as no surprise to anyone when they released their effective 9mm carbine CX4 Storm.

The Beretta CX4 Storm carbine was designed to give law enforcement a lightweight pistol caliber rifle option that’s just as effective. The CX4 Storm ergonomically performs like a pistol with the ballistics of a 9mm carbine. It can also handle the same magazine as the Beretta Cx4 Storm pistol that’s available as a 9mm 40 S&W.

Designed for hard usage by agencies and training companies, the 9mm gun version is popular and very easy to find. The gun’s injection-molded polymer stock is extremely comfortable and feels more like a .22 instead of a 9mm when you shoot. The popular SBR even has a barrel that protrudes several inches beyond the monolithic stock design that encloses the firing mechanism and barrel all in one.

The gun even features a Picatinny rail to make it easy for owners to mount a forward vertical grip and an optic of their choice on the top strap. The backup iron sights are also built into the stock design with optional parts including the charging handles, ambidextrous magazine release, and extended magazines. Overall, this is one of the best 9mm pistol caliber carbines out there suitable for home defense, small game hunting, or plinking applications.

You would like this if:

You want a highly modular gun. The CX5 Storm can be easily upgraded or modified. It even has a full-length rail system on top for you to attach optics and a tri-rail system for further modifications.

You want to work with a comfortable 9mm pistol caliber gun. The gun comes with a comfortable buttstock spacer to eliminate heavy recoil.

You might not like this if:

None

8. Hi-Point 995TS

This big brother to the Hi-Point’s pistols was designed midway through the assault weapons ban. The 995TS operates on the same delay blowback design that makes the guns look clunky and overbuilt, yet they are often the most inexpensive guns you can buy.

One of the greatest things about the Hi-Point 9mm pistol carbines is their weight. The gun has a skeletonized buttstock design and overbuilt forend for a slightly heavier front. However, the majority of the weight still rests neatly in your hands for comfortable handling. The Hi-Point delay blowback operating system also works to absorb much more noise and recoil compared to the other 9mm AR-15 variants on the market.

All-in-all, this is an affordable 9mm carbine for a truck gun or home defense. The good recoil management also makes it the perfect gun for new shooters and small game hunting. While some may not fancy its style and unique look, the Hi-Point 995TS is definitely a reliable firearm with package deals that include optics, vertical foregrips, folding stock, etc.

You would like this if:

You are shopping on a budget. This is by far the best bang for your buck than any other 9mm carbines will provide.
You’re new to shooting. The Hi-Point 9mm carbine delivers excellent sound and recoil reduction to make it easier to handle.

You might not like this if:

You have other 9mm handgun magazines. Unfortunately, this Hi-Point 9mm carbine gun cannot accept any popular 9mm handgun magazines.

9. Chiappa M1-9

The Chiappa M1-9 is designed for those who prefer military surplus guns but don’t enjoy tracking down the odd and sometimes expensive ammunition for these antiquated guns. This Italian company is most famous for its historical reproductions and revolvers.

The Chiappa M1-9 gun is an Inland Manufacturing M1 carbine clone that was manufactured during WWII and the Korean War. The gun was mainly used as a primary small arm for support troops and infantry companies. Chiappa borrowed technology from the M1 Garang action to deliver a military-style semi-automatic firearm chambered in 9mm.

The M1-9 rifle also uses Beretta 92 magazines, including aftermarket, extended magazines, and functions flawlessly. The M1-9 is one of the top 9mm caliber carbines that are compatible with most aftermarket parts and accessories available for the M1 carbine. Although these rifles may take some effort to find in a local gun shop, you can easily get them online.

You would like this if:

You want a tried and true design that delivers well in both combat and heavy civilian usage.

You want 9mm carbines with a decent aftermarket availability to build one that fits your style and purpose.

You might not like this if:

You plan on using lower grain ammo. The 9mm carbine has minor feeding issues with lower grain ammo.

10. Kel-Tec Sub 2000 Gen 2

Designed by the innovative Kel-Tec company, the Sub 2000 Gen 2 is yet another amazing 9mm carbine available on the market today. Though the company has a reputation for lack of quality control and material selection for their firearms, the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 Gen 2 is one of their most successful products simply because it is a little more than a hinged pipe with a barrel.

The Kel-Tec Sub 2000 can take on either S&W, Beretta, or Glock magazines, including 33 round 9mm magazines.
You can also store this sub-three pound firearm with 100 rounds of ammunition easily in a backpack thanks to its small profile, making the Sub 2000 a great choice for those who want a truck gun or survival rifle.

However, this is definitely not a firearm you should trust with your life. It was designed purely for the enjoyment of plinking and for training new shooters. This gun has been the subject of multiple products recalls and thousands of complaints on quality control with problems stemming from nearly every piece of it.

The only saving grace of the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 gun is how budget-friendly it is. The company is also known for honoring their warranty, so customers don’t have to worry too much.

You would like this if:

You want a cheap and affordable companion.

You prefer lightweight and compact 9mm carbines.

You might not like this if:

You don’t like the cheap plastic design.

You don’t want a heavy trigger pull that feels awkward to fire.

Honorary Mentions

1. Palmetto State Armory Gen4 Shockwave Pistol Carbine

 

These PSA 9mm carbines are modeled after an AR15, but smaller. The pistol grip, pistol brace, and handrail all look similar until you see that tiny little mag-well. Overall, this gun offers a platform that has the modularity you need to make it your own but yet still ready to stock and roll right out of the box with premium parts and craftsmanship.

2. Freedom Ordnance FX 9

Conclusion

So there’s the review of our top best 9mm pistol caliber carbines available for purchase. The virtues of a 9mm carbine are making them more common today for plenty to enjoy the new Renaissance of firearms with an affordable and easy-to-find model. Hopefully, today’s article review has given you enough knowledge and information to make an informed decision.

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