Enhancing Performance With the 9mm Pistol Caliber Carbine
“Compromise” is a word that I’m not fond of, but all of us right now are compromising literally everyday. Complaining about everything not being exactly correct might come across as superficial, and that wasn’t intended either.Realistically, this particular assembly of parts has the potential for a fun range shooter.
The matched receiver set has absolutely no wobble, and is very sleek and lightweight. The lines are crisp and clean, and the LRBHO (Last Round Bolt Hold Open) is a very clever design. Angstadt uses their own bolt catch set up that allows you to use whatever catch you want, while a steel set up kind of like an AK “Shepherds Crook” goes around the catch to pull off the LRBHO. Maybe other makers do this- I’m not sure. There aren’t tons of these firearms where I live, so studying the internals hasn’t been done by myself.In my very brief shooting sessions, it’s been 100% reliable.
This project wasn’t ever intended for self defense, based on caliber, but the receiver set could serve well if that were indeed the purpose for someone else. The firearms I assemble are for hard use, able to withstand pretty much anything. The Angstadt stuff could likely do just that, so there you have it.
The Tailhook brace is also very well done. I’ve got at least 5 different brace types, going back to the beginning. Like every product, someone had to be first. This isn’t to imply that the early braces weren’t good, because they were, albeit “different”. Since then, many innovations have came along that might not have seen the light of day if not for the original. The older types straddled the lower arm, and used Velcro to keep things steady. The Tailhook opens at the rear, forming a “V” shape that cradles the arm near the elbow. For me, this feels better, but that’s just my opinion. The added ability to adjust the brace also makes allowance for different sized shooters, or clothing based on weather conditions. At the moment, this is my favorite, at least until the next innovation comes forward. Innovation comes at hefty prices in order to regain all the money spent getting the product out in the first place.
I could gush about all of this in an effort to make it seem that I was a genius for putting this combination of stuff together and say I “built” it. Nope, I didn’t “build” anything, I simply put stuff together that other people built. I could also use more buzzwords like “kit”, “system”, and “running/ran”, but that would make me no different than all of the other “tacticool” simpletons. That’s not the intended purpose at all. I’m merely providing tips and lessons learned for those who might be interested in these products, end of list.
On the initial shooting I learned that either steel cased ammo, or ETS mags, or both didn’t work well at all. With my second outing there were more lessons to learn, so here we go. I had a Glock OEM 31 round magazine, and it was loaded with one of my favorite self defense rounds. What should have been an absolute slam dunk was also a dismal failure.
This magazine loaded with paper punchers was flawless. With the hollow point/ mag combo in one of my Glock 17’s, flawless. This mag and defense ammo in the “pcc” was a mechanism that smashed premium defense rounds into “380” sized projectiles that are completely unsafe to try again. In the event you didn’t know, if you push a 9mm bullet one single millimeter backward into the case, chamber pressure triples, at least.
Considering that these are defensive rounds with an awesome real life track record, they’re loaded “hotter” than paper punchers. This is exactly why you need to change out your carry rounds monthly. The constant loading/unloading of that top round will cause that bullet to suffer from “setback”. You can also jack your carry rounds when you get carried away with your lubricant of choice and slather it on. I know you people do this, because I watch other people just like you do it all the time.
Back to the feeding issue. Hollow points just don’t like to work in some platforms. The same holds true for “flat nose” cartridges. There are all sorts of shapes for hollow points in an effort to perform all across the board in multiple firearm types. The specimen I prefer is “puckered” in that the point is segmented to open on impact while being conventionally shaped for improved feeding/cycling.
There are other hollow points that are “wide open” at the front for lighter weight/maximal expansion, etc. While 1 hollow point type had worked in the first session, this one did not. This was a bummer to say the least, because I know that this type is very similar in feeding to flat nosed rounds.
Having said all of this, there is a pretty simple reason as to why this goes on. When you look at certain barrels in the 9mm “PCC” family tree, there’s no feed ramp. This allows the chambering process to smash your expensive bullets into a machined radial ring that runs around the circumference of the barrel, and not up/into the barrel. While ball ammo is shaped to slide into the chamber, these rounds were not. Challenge accepted. Before we get into that part, we need to cover this part.
Magazines and feed ramps, yet again- In my unending efforts to explain things, simplicity has to be key. People look to me to learn, so the burden is to explain things in a way that promotes easy comprehension. The following mantra must be memorized, and reflected upon often, if firearms is your passion and/or vocation. The mantra is as follows “Magazines are the weak link in ANY/ALL platforms relying upon them for reliable performance”. Like any branch of the firearms “tree”, you have the full spectrum of names, prices, features, etc.
You can opt for budget barn, and possibly have the best time of your life. A lot of these “PCC” types clock in around $400 to $600, and that’s pretty darn good. You can also leave your sanity at the door, and jump into “3 Gun Type Stuff”. This is your chance to behave like an utter loon while simultaneously wasting your life, time, and most of all, your money. You’ll get to develop utterly nonsensical skill sets with equally nonsensical firearms, while wearing a shirt that makes you look like a NASCAR door in khaki shorts. People will actually listen to what you say and treat it as gospel, as all good cults have misinformed followers. Whoops, we were covering a different type of malfunction, and I got misplaced.
Let’s consider magazines for a moment. In particular, let’s look at an MP5, ARPlatform, and a Glock mag as a group. Virtually everyone has Glock mags, and this is why they’ve became a defacto “standard” for “PCC” type firearms. However, look at the MP5, and AR Type, and what do you see? You see 2 rounds staggered right to left, or left to right. This design allows the bullets to “see saw” as they travel up towards their date with the chamber/barrel.
Spring pressure shuffles them up until eventually the bullets take flight and the jackets get extracted/ejected. The ramps slide the rounds into the chamber. The “PCC” set up is different in that in many specimens there are no ramps. The Glock magazine is indeed double column type, but the rounds “funnel” upwards due to spring tension while slipping up the radial ring. Depending on bullet shape, they might just smash into said radial ring and quickly become unusable.
I’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeating- there are virtually no standards in this “PCC” world. There are PLENTY of truisms and wild ideas though. There are also “ramps” of a sort that you can install to allegedly enhance feeding. This also seems to cause other issues as a result, post installation (go figure). The easy “fix” would be to just accept the gun as a paper puncher machine. A seperate option might be to install one of these ramps and spend a lot of time “tweaking” the gun because these things are (allegedly, again) the most internally violent machines mankind has ever constructed, and the recoil is tremendous.
Why, these “PCC” guns just break everything inside very quickly. This has nothing at all to do with the “kitchen armorer” who put something together thanks to You Tube. This surely couldn’t be because the “builder” put in a 10 ounce buffer and 2 dollars worth of quarters into the buffer tube (not kidding). None of this chicanery could possibly generate negative results, no way.
Mags and ammo combinations are half of the Reliability War, not the methodologies of the self aggrandizing nitwits capable of generating “tips/tricks” with their cell phones. The third factor would be a decent feed ramp. That’s why I accepted the challenge, and made my own feed ramp.
There will be no information here as to how I did this. There are indeed cases where a little minor stock removal/polishing can really help the mechanics of a firearm, but I’m not putting on a clinic.I want this thing to digest whatever it’s fed, and we have the technology to make this possible. Ammunition availability might be low for some time to come, so why not have a versatile “PCC” specimen?
With the ramp cut in, the defense ammo cycles flawlessly by hand. The same applies to flat nosed rounds.Whether or not it works live fire is unknown until I can get back out to a range. If it doesn’t work, I can gradually get the ramp to better and proper dimension. You want to be patient with a job like that, as you cannot add material, you can only remove it.
So for a recap, let’s cover these prudent points to ponder, should you be interested in exploring this branch of the tree.
1-Just buy a completed firearm from your brand of choice
2-DIY types need the proper tools/skills to perform the assembly
3-Whatever path you choose, research the feed ramp situation, especially if you believe there’s potential use as a defensive tool.
4-The radial ring allows ball ammo to just hum along, but easily trips up on valid defensive rounds of certain types/shapes, and potentially flat nosed cartridges
5-DIY people, please consider a 308 buffer spring before shoving quarters down the buffer tube.
6-Research extensively as to what the vendor recommends for buffer weight, and save yourself a significant chunk of change (quarters, pun intended)
7-If you decide you need a ramp- don’t do anything you don’t have experience with. Buy a barrel with a ramp already cut into it. Don’t become a “kitchen armorer”
8-While the staggered mags may work more efficiently, they may be proprietary/hard to obtain/expensive. This may also apply to the firearm.Spare parts might also be of a unicorn nature, but follow your joy.
9-If you’re the type that insists that you must have LRBHO (and why the hell not?) the Angstadt solution is pretty darn clever
10-As with all firearms, find yourself a magazine/ammo type that works reliably, and stick with it. This is half of the reliability battle.While this might be difficult right now, things will eventually return to whatever normal is.
Until next time,
Stay Safe/ Train when and if you can