Top 10 Pistol Caliber Carbines

Pistol caliber carbines (PCC) are a popular option for home defense and a blast for plinking at the range. PCCs utilize the stabilizing stock and design of a rifle, but are chambered for a handgun round. They are more accurate and have less recoil than handguns. They also handle well and are (most often) cheaper to shoot than traditional rifle calibers. 

When looking at pistol caliber carbines, there are many options. Most shooters go with a semi-auto carbine for the higher capacity and faster rate of fire. Reliability has come a long way and any of the firearms listed are top-notch. Here are the top pistol caliber carbines on the market today. 

1. S&W FPC

One of the most popular pistol caliber carbines is also one of the newest. The Smith and Wesson Folding Pistol Carbine features a 16-inch barrel, and folds in half for convenient storage and transport. The 9mm carbine utilizes a grip akin to the M&P 2.0 pistol line and accepts both full-size and compact M&P9 magazines. The adjustable stock incorporates storage for two spare magazines, while the M-Lok rail is ready to mount accessories. The FPC is optics ready with plenty of rail space. 

S&W also offers the Victory carbine. The Victory is based on its popular AR line, for those looking for similar operation and handling to their preferred MSR. 

Smith and Wesson FPC


The SIG MPX is based on the dependable AR-15 rifle, with a number of improvements to make it one helluva pistol caliber carbine. The 9mm carbine is built on a fully-ambidextrous lower and incorporates an enhanced charging handle for easy manipulation. It utilizes a gas piston system for improved reliability and ease of maintenance.

35-round magazines mean there’s plenty of ammunition on hand. The premium trigger makes for some incredible accuracy. The MPX carries over expected AR features, such as an M-Lok forend and adjustable stock. Further, the MPX incorporates a specialized muzzle brake for recoil mitigation and flat shooting. 



HK makes some of the most trusted firearms for some of the most demanding operators. Derived from the legendary UMP submachine gun, the HK USC is a semi-automatic carbine variation that’s easier to obtain for the average person. The 16-inch barrel and stock/grip assembly makes it legal for import and classified as a rifle for ownership.

The USC utilizes a simple blowback operating system and lightweight, durable polymer construction. The .45 ACP carbine ships with 10-round magazines. However, 15- and 20-round stick magazines are available, as well as 50-round drums. 


4. Springfield Saint Victor

Springfield’s Saint line of AR-15 rifles has been a breakout hit in all iterations. The PCC Saint Victor is no different. The 9mm pistol caliber carbine accepts 32-round Colt-pattern magazines and utilizes a direct blowback action. Built on forged upper and lower receivers, the Victor is made to last. It’s equipped with an adjustable B5 Systems stock, pistol grip, and trigger guard, as well as an extended M-Lok free-float handguard. Additionally, the rifle features an enhanced single-stage trigger that’s nickel-boron coated for smooth function and reliability. 

Springfield Victor PCC
Springfield Armory Saint Victor

5. Ruger PC Carbine Takedown

The Ruger PC Carbine Takedown model is a good blend of traditional and tactical. The more conventional stock design is slim, lightweight, and points quickly, while the takedown mechanism makes for easy storage and transport. With two pull tabs and a twist, the receiver separates from the barrel and forend, which can fit in a standard size backpack. The dead blow action of the Ruger PC Carbine features a custom tungsten dead blow weight that shortens the bolt travel and reduces the felt recoil and muzzle rise. A reversible mag release and reversible charging handle make it truly ambidextrous, and three half-inch spacers allow for custom length-of-pull. 

Ruger PC Carbine Takedown
Ruger PC Carbine Takedown

6. Henry Homesteader 

The Henry Homesteader is a classic design, based around a rugged direct blowback action. Chambered in 9mm, the carbine comes with 10-round magazines. However, it can be converted to accept Glock, SIG, or other popular handgun magazines. The anodized aluminum receiver is lightweight for easy handling, but durable enough for serious use. The Homesteader is drilled and tapped for Weaver mounts and the barrel is threaded for muzzle devices. Further, the carbine is fully ambidextrous — from the charging handle to the tang safety. 

Henry Homesteader
Henry Homesteader

7. Kel-Tec SUB2000

Similar to the S&W FPC, the Kel-Tec SUB2000 is a 9mm carbine that folds in half for transport and storage. However, the SUB2000 takes Glock magazines and features Kel-Tec’s Gator Grip texturing on the pistol grip and forend for improved control. The SUB2000 is also available in different variations that accept various Beretta, SIG, and S&W magazines, so you can get the version that corresponds to your preferred defensive sidearm. Additionally, the carbine has a 3-position adjustable stock, M-Lok attachment points, and a Picatinny top rail for mounting optics. For a lightweight and portable option to throw in your car or backpack, the SUB2000 is hard to beat. 

Kel-Tec SUB-2000
Kel-Tec SUB2000

8. Hi-Point 10mm

The Hi-Point Carbine is the most affordable PCC on the list. It’s simple and a bit unpolished, but the direct blowback action runs like a top. The Hi-Point Carbine is available in a number of different calibers, but I believe one of the best choices is the hard-hitting 10mm. There are fewer options for 10mm PCCs on the market, and the Hi-Point is accurate and reliable.

The 17.5-inch barrel provides good ballistics with full-power ammunition. The internal recoil buffer (in the stock) helps reduce unnecessary wear and tear. Further, the Hi-Point features fully-adjustable sights, so you can really dial the rifle into your preferred load. 

Hi Point Carbine 10mm
Hi-Point 10mm Carbine

9. Iver Johnson 1911A1 Carbine

Although a bit less conventional, the Iver Johnson 1911A1 Carbine is an incredible PCC. Based on the legendary 1911 handgun, the carbine features a 16-inch barrel and removable stock. All other parts are traditional .45 ACP 1911. The standard military-style iron sights and spurred hammer of the A1 give the firearm a classic look that will turn some heads at the range. The steel frame provides lasting durability and added weight for improved recoil control. The Iver Johnson is the perfect pistol caliber carbine for the 1911 enthusiast. 

Iver Johnson 1911A1 Carbine
Iver Johnson 1911A1 Carbine

10. Kriss Vector 

The Kriss Vector utilizes a unique Super V Recoil Mitigation System that makes the firearm incredibly soft shooting and fun. This innovative, nonlinear operating system re-vectors energy down and away from the shooter’s shoulder in order to reduce felt recoil and muzzle climb. The Vector is available in 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and 10mm — all are built on a closed-bolt, delayed-blowback action that is robust and reliable. Further, the Vector Gen II supports toolless caliber interchangeability and Glock magazine compatibility in order to provide you with maximum modularity and flexibility. 

Kriss Vector Rifle
Kriss Vector

Bonus: Marlin 1894

Up until this point I’ve only covered semi-automatic options, but I believe there’s an alternate option to consider. A lever-action rifle chambered in .357 Magnum allows the versatility of .38 Special use and the reliability of a lever gun. Of the current options on the market, I believe the Marlin 1894 to be of the best quality and value.

Marlin 1894 Lever Action
Marlin 1894

The magazine tube holds 9 rounds of .357 Magnum or 10 rounds of .38 Special. The side loading gate allows you to top off from behind cover. Buckhorn sights make for a precise and accurate sight picture that is also durable enough for field use. Additionally, the rifle is drilled and tapped for scope mounting, and features beautifully-checkered wooden furniture and blued steel. These newer Ruger-produced Marlins are hand-fit for exceptional accuracy and ultimate reliability. 

What do you think of PCCs? What’s your favorite pistol caliber carbine? Share your answers in the Comment section.

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