Ruger PC Carbine Review
Part 5 - Range Tests
February 18, 2018

Ruger PC Carbine Review: Range Tests

In this part of my review I range test the new Ruger 9mm PC Carbine.  My goals for range testing were to:

  1. Sight in the iron sights
  2. Sight in a receiver mounted optic
  3. Get a good idea on the reliability of this carbine with a variety of types of ammunition
  4. Get a good idea on the accuracy capability of this carbine with various types of ammunition
  5. Evaluate how repeatable the zero will be with an optic installed on the receiver when utilizing the takedown feature
  6. Evaluate the use of this carbine with a suppressor
  7. Have some Fun!


Before heading to the range I had to make some decisions on an optic and ammunition.  First, for the optic, I decided to go with a Burris Fullfield TAC30 1-4x24mm Riflescope.  I chose the TAC30 because I wanted both 1x power for close range and some zoom capability.  I also like the Burris Ballistic QC Reticle and thought this style of optic would be ideal on this carbine.  I also decided to go with some QD mounts and selected the value UTG 30mm Low Pro LE Grade mounts which were only $21 from Amazon.  I have used these mounts before and have been pleased with the results, so I thought I would give them a try on this carbine.  If the mounts proved to be repeatable, then this also gives a solution for putting the PC Carbine in Ruger's Takedown Bag which requires the optic to be removed.  Overall I'm very pleased with this configuration and was even more so after spending time at the range.

Figure 1
Ruger PC Carbine Review: Optic Installed

The ammunition I selected for the review was a variety of bullet styles and weights from some premium manufacturers and also some value ammunition for general purpose shooting.  This selection of ammunition is shown below and listed in the table further below showing my range test results.

Figure 2
Ruger PC Carbine Review: Ammo Used in Range Test

I started out with an attempt to zero my iron sights.  I setup a target at 50 yards and shot one 5-shot group.  Overall group size was about 3-ish inches and around my point of aim.  Considering my bifocal eyes, I was pretty happy with this and decided that no adjustments to the sight picture was needed and was pleased with Ruger's efforts on sight alignment from the factory.  As a check, I headed to my steel target range and burned through a couple of magazines to confirm I was minute-of-steel-plate and found the sights to be very effective.

Next I installed my optic and zeroed it using the Tulammo ammunition.  The average of my four 5-shot groups using the Tula 115gr FMJ was 2.56", but I felt that larger size average probably had a little to do with the value ammunition being used.  This was the case and clearly the PC Carbine has good accuracy potential with the Hornady and Sig Sauer ammunition used.  My overall group average for all 34 5-shot groups (including the Tula) came in at 1.61" at 50 yards when shooting from a bench.  I know that this carbine is not intended to be a precision rifle, yet I was very pleased with this accuracy.  If I had used a higher power optic with a true crosshair reticle, I bet I could have squeezed another 1/4" to 1/2" out of that average group size.  I like to compare my results with some of the big name reviewers and was pleased to see very similar results.

In the table below, I tabulated all of the range test data.  I found it very interesting the Delta velocity of what I measured using the PC Carbine's 16" barrel versus the manufacturer's 4" barrel used to advertise muzzle velocities.  In one case there was a 260 ft/sec increase using the Sig Sauer 115gr Elite V-Crown and in another case there was only a 24 ft/sec increase using the Sig Sauer 147gr Elite V-Crown.  The similar weight Hornady 147gr XTP had a 142 ft/sec increase.  The reason I'm pointing this out has more to do with showing you that you will need to check your 147gr ammunition if you intend to use a suppressor and want your factory ammunition to stay subsonic.  The Sig Sauer 147gr had a velocity of 1009 ft/sec and although I didn't check (maybe next time at the range) I would bet the velocities would still be subsonic using a suppressor.

Ammunition Velocity (ft/sec) Group Size3 (in)
On Box1 Measured Std. Dev. Delta2 Max Min Avg
Tulammo 9mm 115gr FMJ 1155 1355 17 200 3.04 1.66 2.56
Hornady 9mm Luger 115 gr XTP® American Gunner® 1140 1255 15 115 2.11 1.14 1.56
Hornady 9mm Luger 115 gr FTX® Critical Defense® 1185 1336 11 151 1.43 1.04 1.30
Sig Sauer 9mm, 115 gr, Elite V-Crown, JHP 1230 1490 11 260 1.84 1.20 1.51
Hornady 9mm Luger 125 GR HAP® Steel Match™ 1110 1202 10 92 1.52 1.05 1.27
Hornady 9mm Luger 125 GR HAP® Steel Match™ (Suppressed) 1110 1196 11 86 1.41 1.04 1.23
Hornady 9mm Luger +P 135 gr FlexLock® Critical Duty® 1110 1183 8 73 1.81 0.81 1.37
Hornady 9mm Luger 147 gr XTP® 975 1117 15 142 1.89 1.52 1.70
Sig Sauer 9mm, 147 gr, Elite V-Crown, JHP 985 1009 21 24 2.52 1.28 1.82
Average of all 34 groups = 1.61
1 - Manufacturer's advertised muzzle velocity using 4" barrel length
2 - Delta is the difference between the measured velocity an box (manufacturer's) velocity
3 - Four 5-shot groups from a bench at 50 yards except for the suppressed ammunition which was two groups
Temperatures were in the mid 60 degrees F

During range testing I did check to see what different velocity I might get using the Hornady 125gr HAP Steel Match ammunition.  Looking at the data, I would say there was only about a 6 ft/sec drop in velocity using the suppressor which is basically none (my opinion).  Also I did notice a point of impact shift of about 1.5" higher using the suppressor which is an indication that putting the suppressor on the end of the barrel modified the harmonics of the barrel just enough so you could see this shift.  Is this major?  My opinion is that this shift will be insignificant in most situations where you might find yourself shooting this 9mm carbine.

I also wanted to evaluate if there would be any zero shift when removing and reinstalling the barrel when using a receiver mounted optic.  This next photo shows the results of a 5-shot group at 50 yards.  This group measured 0.97" and was enough for me to believe that Ruger has definitely got their engineering down to a science when it comes to this takedown feature.

Figure 3 - 0.97" 5-Shot Group
Barrel Removed and Reinstalled Between Each Shot Using Receiver Mounted Optic
Hornady 125gr HAP Steel Match
Ruger PC Carbine Review: Barrel Removed Between Each Shot

These next series of photos show the best groups for each of the different types of ammunition used and should give you a visual indication of the potential accuracy of the PC Carbine.

Figure 4                                                                Figure 5
Hornady 115gr XTP American Gunner                       Hornady 115gr FTX Critical Defense
1.14" 5-Shot Group                                                1.04" 5-Shot Group
Ruger PC Carbine Review: Hornady 115gr XTP American Gunner  Ruger PC Carbine Review: Hornady 115gr FTX Critical Defense

Figure 6                                                                Figure 7
Sig Sauer 115gr Elite V-Crown                              Hornady 125gr HAP Steel Match
1.20" 5-Shot Group                                               1.05" 5-Shot Group
Ruger PC Carbine Review: Sig Sauer 115gr Elite V-Crown  Ruger PC Carbine Review: Hornady 125gr HAP Steel Match

Figure 8
Hornady +P 135gr FlexLock Critical Duty
0.81" 5-Shot Group
Ruger PC Carbine Review: Hornady +P 135gr FlexLock Critical Duty

Figure 9                                                                Figure 10
       Hornady 147gr XTP                                       Sig Sauer 147gr Elite V-Crown
1.52" 5-Shot Group                                                1.28" 5-Shot Group
Ruger PC Carbine Review: Hornady 147gr XTP  Ruger PC Carbine Review: Sig Sauer 147gr Elite V-Crown

Throughout my bench tests, the only issue encountered was due to me removing the O-ring under the thread protector and the thread protector would start working loose after about 5 shots.  It was about 1/2 way off before I noticed this and the vibration seemed to be causing a point of impact shift which made me start looking for an issue.  Once I tightened it, all was good again so I made sure it was tight after shooting every group.  Later after checking out the PC Carbine with a suppressor, I decided to reinstall the O-ring before heading to the steel target range to play for a while.  Once the O-ring was installed, I didn't notice the thread protector working loose.

Throughout my range tests I had no issues with any of the ammunition used, nor with switching over to the Glock magazine insert and using a couple different types of Glock magazines including the Korean 33-round magazines.  The PC Carbine shot like a champ!

You can see the video portion of this review below.

Figure 11



The Ruger PC Carbine proved to be accurate, reliable and repeatable when removing and reinstalling the barrel.  It was a joy to shoot, had very little recoil and has a really good feel.  I could see this platform being used for home defense, hunting for the right situations and clearly having fun at the range.  I'm already looking forward to my next range trip where I must decide on what distance to finalize my zero on my optic for the greatest versatility with the 9mm round and the bullet drop compensation features on the reticle.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments below.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 

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