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Pistol-caliber carbines (PCC) are all the rage these days in the firearm industry. Any AR manufacturer that doesn’t already have one in production is developing one. Now that 3-gun has three PCC divisions, IDPA lists PCC as an optional specialty division for tier 2 through tier 5 matches and USPSA has a PCC division, they have become popular for competition purposes. This would lead us to believe that PPC firearms are a new and growing niche market. However, history tells us another story about just how new the PCC really is.

HISTORY OF THE PISTOL CALIBER CARBINE

Back in the late 1800s, many cowboys and lawmen matched their Colt Single Action Army revolvers with a Winchester model 1873 carbine (the “gun that won the West”), with both chambered for the .44-40 Winchester cartridge. During World War II, the famous Colt 1911, chambered in .45 ACP, was paired with the Thompson submachine gun or the M3 “Grease Gun”—firing the same cartridge. In the 1960s, law enforcement agencies began pairing their 9mm auto pistols with 9x19mm Heckler & Koch MP5s chambered in 9×19. In 1968, Ruger introduced the Blackhawk in .30 carbine for use alongside the M1 carbine. These pairings were all made in the name of logistics. It is much easier to maintain a supply of a single ammunition caliber than it is to maintain a supply of multiple ammunition calibers. Today, there are many PCCs chambered for popular cartridges, such as the 9×19 Luger and .45 ACP. In many cases, they even use the same magazines as a popular pistol. Perhaps the best example of this is manufacturers’ use of Glock pistol magazines in their PCCs. Glock and various aftermarket suppliers not only offer “standard” and “high-capacity” magazines, but also extra-high-capacity “stick” magazines such as the 31-round magazine for the Glock 9mm line of pistols. This allows both law enforcement agencies and civilians to carry one type of magazine as a spare for both their pistols and long guns.

UIC-9 OVERVIEW

At first glance, the American Defense Manufacturing (ADM) (D.I. or piston) that they realize this is something special. The similarity between the UIC-9 and an AR-15 make it easy for someone who is familiar with the AR-15 platform to pick up the UIC-9 and quickly run it accurately and efficiently.

The lower receiver of the UIC-9 features a bilateral bolt release, magazine release and safety lever. The trigger is a Geissele model G2S.

 

OPERATION/DESIGN

The UIC-9 is blowback operated. The bolt is a simple design without a rotating head to lock into a barrel extension. However, the bolt is similar enough to the design of a standard AR BCG that it uses the same style charging handle and a similar recoil/buffer system. The dust cover found on most ARs is retained, but there is no forward assist and no brass deflector. In the lower receiver, the mag well is machined just enough to accommodate the smaller Glock-type magazine, not an AR mag. The trigger is a Geissele 2-stage G2S model, which breaks cleanly at an average of 5 pounds, 4.5 ounces. The magazine release, bolt catch and safety selector are all bilateral.

ADM just received a patent on its ambi bolt catch. It’s designed so that the right-side catch can be pressed with the trigger finger, making for faster reloads. I found it very easy to operate. Due to the design of the magazine release, only Gen4 ambi-cut Glock magazines will work in the UIC-9. Everything fit like a glove and operated as smoothly as anyone could ask for.

The upper receiver looks like an upper receiver for an AR-15—sans forward assist, brass deflector and gas tube/piston tappet.

There is even a tension screw accessible from inside the pistol grip to remove any play between the upper and lower receivers. If you find it necessary to adjust the tension screw, don’t tighten it too much, because you will have trouble removing the rear takedown pin—and you will not be able to push it back into place.

Bench setup for 100-yard accuracy testing. A LabRadar device was used to measure velocity.

Magpul furniture is provided in the form of an MOE pistol grip with a blank storage compartment and an MOE SL adjustable buttstock. They’re not fancy, but they’re lightweight and work well. Plus, if they are not to your taste, they can easily be replaced by any standard AR furniture your heart desires. The ADM-manufactured handguard is light and strong. It is 13.5 inches long and features a full-length MIL-SPEC 1913 rail on top and M-Lok attachment points at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions. Sights are Magpul MBUS Pro steel flip-up sights, which are solid and work extremely well. The front sight is height adjustable using a thumb roller, and the rear sight is adjustable for windage using a similar thumb roller. They are much better that the polymer Magpul MBUS sights used by many other manufacturers … but they also cost twice as much.

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MODELS AND ACCESSORIES

At the time this article was written, the only models available were the carbine (tested), a pistol with an arm brace and an 8.5-inch-barreled SBR. All three models are only chambered in 9mm Luger. Models chambered in .40 S&W and .45 ACP are expected in the future.

AMMUNITION

My early-production test gun did not have an owner’s manual with it, so I don’t have any factory ammunition prohibitions to report. But I can report that the gun functioned flawlessly with 11 of the 12 factory loads (FMJ and JHP) I tried. The lone exception was SIG Sauer’s 124-grain JHP ammunition. This load did not feed reliably, especially the first round fired from each magazine. Four other JHP loads I fired functioned without a problem.

The UIC-9 carbine appears to shoot both high-quality defensive ammunition and less-expensive FMJ ammunition equally well. Inexpensive Aguila 124-grain FMJ ammunition came out on top in accuracy at 50 yards, but Hornady Critical Defense 135-grain FlexLock ammunition had the best three-group average at 100 yards. Speer Gold Dot 124-grain JHP ammunition had the smallest group (0.64 inch) at 50 yards.

OPTICS

The supplied MBUS sights are excellent for backup purposes, but they are not fast enough for use in action shooting and not precise enough for longer distances. Therefore, I mounted an EOTech 553 holographic sight with a 3X magnifier for action/tactical shooting.

For accuracy testing, I mounted a Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56 F1 rifle scope using a Nightforce Ultralite Unimount. This might have been overkill, but the Nightforce is an outstanding scope, and it gives you the confidence to know that if the gun doesn’t shoot well, it’s not the scope’s fault.

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My go-to choice for an optic on the UIC-9 would be a quality red dot or holographic sight. If you decide on one of these options, make sure the red-dot or holographic sight is mounted at the correct height so the MBUS can be used if the primary optic fails.

FIELD-STRIPPING/CLEANING

Field-stripping and cleaning the UIC-9 is accomplished much the same as for any AR:

First, remove the magazine and make sure the gun is unloaded. Release the bolt to the forward position, remove the rear disassembly pin, rotate apart the upper and lower receivers, pull back on the charging handle and remove the bolt. It is ready to clean. The only thing I did notice was that there seemed to be more residue in the lower receiver with the UIC-9 than I normally find in my .223 Rem./5.56 NATO ARs. That said, there is no dirty gas system to clean and no baked-on carbon to scrape off the bolt as there are on a direct-impingement AR.

AT THE RANGE

During my first range session, I mounted a Nightforce SHV 4-14×50 F1 rifle scope on the UIC-9 and sighted it in. I then ran a total of approximately 100 rounds of FMJ ammunition through the gun to break it in. I was pleasantly surprised at how light the gun was and how little recoil it produced. It was almost like shooting an AR chambered in .22 Long Rifle. I used the PMAG 21 GL9 magazine provided with the gun and various Gen4 Glock magazines without any problems.

The next time I went to the range, I removed the Nightforce SHV scope and mounted an EOTech 553 holographic sight with a 3x magnifier for use at a tactical 3-gun match the following weekend. The EOTech was even more fun to use than the scope. The UIC-9 was so quick on target and so accurate at 25 to 50 yards that is was almost hard to miss any of the targets.

For accuracy testing, I mounted a Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56 F1 riflescope on the carbine. I fired three five-shot groups for 10 different factory loads at 50 yards. The Aguila 124-grain FMJ ammunition came out on top, with an average group size of 1.06 inches for three five-shot groups. Next, I fired three five-shot groups for five factory loads at 100 yards. There were no function issues, and the Hornady Critical Duty 135-grain FlexLock took top honors, with an average group of 2.21 inches.

COMPETITIVE USE

I used the UIC-9 as my primary weapon at my monthly International Infidel Gunfighter League match at 37 PSR Gun Club near Fayetteville, North Carolina. My Glock G17 was my secondary weapon, so I loaded up with high-capacity Gen4 Glock 9mm magazines and four 31-round “stick” magazines In my kit.

The lower receiver of the UIC-9 features a bilateral bolt release, magazine release and safety lever. The trigger is a Geissele model G2S, and the pistol grip is a Magpul MOE.

 

The UIC-9 and Glock G17 proved to be an excellent combination. No matter which weapon I used, I had plenty of ammunition. (During the gauntlet match the previous month, my AR went down during the first stage; and even though I had five high-capacity Glock magazines for my Glock G17, I ran dry during the third of four stages.) The UIC-9 ran flawlessly during the match, and I managed to place ninth out of 32 competitors. It was quick and accurate on every target from 5 to 50 yards. I was especially pleased at how well the carbine shot at the 100-yard stage. I shot a 1.25-inch three-shot group using only the EOTech 553 with the 3x extender, using Aguila 124-grain FMJ ammunition.

FINAL WORDS

The UIC-9 is just plain fun to shoot. It is softer shooting and quieter than a .223 Rem./5.56 NATO, and 9x19mm ammunition costs about two-thirds of what .223 Rem./5.56 NATO ammunition costs. Out to 100 yards, the UIC-9 does everything well. For competition and plinking, I would consider using it out to 150 yards, depending upon the target size. Its light weight made it easy to swing and manipulate, whether clearing the shoot house, shooting while moving or shooting from behind a barricade on top of a Conex box. I was also very favorably impressed with the accuracy of this carbine. Five-shot groups of just over 1 inch at 50 yards and just over 2 inches at 100 yards are very good for a 9mm pistol cartridge. I have fired more than one AR in .223/5.56 NATO; these didn’t shoot as accurately as the UIC-9 does.

Both the design and the build quality of the UIC-9 are excellent. It’s not an inexpensive gun, but I believe it is worth every penny of its $1,750 asking price.

AMERICAN DEFENSE MANUFACTURING UIC-9

SPECIFICATIONS


OPERATING SYSTEM: Semi-automatic blowback

CHAMBER: 9X19 Luger

BARREL: 16-inch (carbine); 4150 CMV nitrided

RIFLING: 1:10-inch twist rate

MUZZLE DEVICE: [Nerd] NC Nano

TRIGGER: Geissele 2-Stage G2S

TRIGGER PULL: 5 pounds, 4.5 ounces (average for 10 pulls using a Lyman digital scale)

CONTROLS: Bilateral

RAIL SYSTEM: MIL-SPEC 1913 top rail and M-Lok at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions

RECEIVER MATERIAL: Billet aluminum

COLORS: Black (standard); FDE, Stealth Gray, OD Green and Midnight Bronze Cerakote

SIGHTS: MBUS Magpul Pro all-steel backup sights

MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 10 to 31 rounds in G17/19 Gen4 configuration

OVERALL LENGTH: 33 1/4 inches collapsed; 36 1/4 inches extended

OVERALL HEIGHT: 7 1/2 inches (lowered BUIS)

OVERALL WEIGHT: (with empty Magpul PMAG21 GL-9 magazine): 6 pounds, 9.1 ounces

WARRANTY: Lifetime for failures under normal operating conditions

MSRP: $1,750 ($1,900 for Cerakote-finished guns)

 

PERFORMANCE RESULTS

Velocity (fps)

Group Size

@50 YARDS

Ammunition

Average

E.S. S.D. Small

Avg.

Aguila 124-grain FMJ

1,286

43 16.0 0.74

1.06

Speer Gold Dot

124-grain JHP

1,487

38 11.5 0.64 1.19

Hornady Critical Defense 135-grain FlexLock

1,269

23 6.9 1.16 1.23

American Eagle

124-grain Subsonic

1,199 65 18.1 1.29

1.41

Black Hills

115-grain FMJ

1,410 42 14.7 1.19

1.47

American EaglE

147-grain TMJ

1,221

28 8.7 1.66

1.75

SIG Sauer

124-grain FMJ

1,491

69 20.0 2.11 2.13

Winchester “White Box” 115-grain FMJ

1,449 71 26.9 1.66

2.13

SIG Sauer

124-grain JHP

1,510

88 28.2 2.07

2.21

Blazer Brass

124-grain FMJ

1,403

33 9.5 2.06

2.49

NOTE: E.S.=extreme spread; S.D.=standard deviation; Small=smallest group in inches; Avg.=average group size in inches for three five-shot groups. Velocity was calculated at the muzzle using a LabRadar device. Distance to the target was 50 yards. Average velocity was for 10 consecutive shots in feet per second (fps).

@100 YARDS

Group Size (inches)

Ammunition

Small

Average

Hornady Critical Defense 135-grain FlexLock

1.71

2.21

Black Hills 115-grain FMJ

1.89

2.44

Aguila 124-grain FMJ

2.29

3.14
American Eagle 147-grain TMJ 1.88

3.91

American Eagle 124-grain FMJ 3.24

4.92

NOTE: Small=smallest group in inches; Avg.=average group size for three five-shot groups.

FEATURES

  • Uses Glock G17/19 Gen4 9mm-style magazines (must be Gen4 ambi cut)
  • Magpul MOE SL buttstock
  • Magpul MOE Grip
  • Type 3 MIL-SPEC black hardcoat anodized
  • Geissele G2S trigger
  • Magpul Pro MBUS
  • Radian Weapons Talon safety
  • [Nerd] NC Nano 9mm muzzle brake

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

AGUILA

AMERICAN DEFENSE MFG., LLC

AMERICAN EAGLE

BLACK HILLS

BLAZER BRASS

EOTECH

FEDERAL PREMIUM

GEISSELE

GLOCK

HORNADY

MAGPUL

[NERD]

NIGHTFORCE

SIG SAUER

SPEER

WINCHESTER

Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the September 2017 print issue of Gun World Magazine.