The world of pistol-caliber carbines has exploded as of late and really carved a place into the collective gun industry. Their popularity has inspired growth, and now more than ever, we have pistol-caliber carbines of all sizes and shapes and in a multitude of calibers. I’ve shot tons of them and, over time, have formed some fairly strong opinions on what I feel the best PCCS are.

In this article, I’ve gathered what I think are the six best PCCs on the market. But first two caveats: First, I’m not including any great guns that have been discontinued or are no longer imported. The guns on this list have to be in production and have to excel in a particular way.

The 6 Best PCCs - Why Pistol Caliber Carbines Rock

Second, when I say best PCCs, I’m only including actual pistol-caliber carbines. There are lots of guns similar to PCCs, but which nevertheless lack stocks and may utilize braces. These are braced pistols and won’t make the list. However, the guns on this list may have a pistol variant on the market as well, or they might be a factory SBR.

The Six Best PCCs and Why You Want One

First and foremost, PCCs are cheaper to shoot on average than a standard rifle. Pistol rounds are cheaper in most cases. Sure, 44 Magnum PCCs exist, and those rounds cost more than 5.56s, but are uncommon. The best PCCs on this list offer affordable ammunition sources.

Because they are handgun rounds, they tend to be much easier to suppress effectively. Subsonic pistol ammunition is much more common than subsonic rifle ammunition and also much cheaper. Subsonic pistol rounds reduce the snap associated with supersonic rounds.

The 6 Best PCCs - Why Pistol Caliber Carbines Rock

Lots of indoor ranges do not allow shooters to shoot rifle calibers but allow for pistol ammunition. This allows you to practice your rifle skills at nearly any range and keep current. Finally, lots of PCCs use pistol magazines. So, you can pair your handgun with your long arm and have them share magazines.

The Best PCCs On The Market

1) CZ Scorpion

The CZ Scorpion premiered as a pistol, but quickly the rifle variant became one of the best PCCs on the market. It’s a simple blowback-operated firearm that internally isn’t much different than most. However, the gun’s ergonomics earn it a place as one of the best PCCs.

The 6 Best PCCs - Why Pistol Caliber Carbines Rock

Everything on the gun is either reversible or ambidextrous, and the rifle model comes with M-LOK rails for accessory additions. While the Scorpion might use proprietary magazines, they are very affordable and easy to find.

Magpul has even gotten into the Scorpion game and produced a variety of magazines, including a drum for the gun. The CZ Scorpion comes with wonderful iron sights, is optic ready, and is surprisingly accurate. It fits in my Plano All Weather Tactical gun case and is always ready to go.

Excellent ergonomics

Trigger is heavy
Ambi safety can pinch the finger

2) CMMG Banshee

The CMMG Banshee comes in a braced-pistol variant as well as an SBR variant. What I love most about the Banshee and why it earns a place as one of the best PCCs is the radial delayed blowback system. This system reduces recoil, ensures the weapon remains lightweight, and makes it super reliable.

The 6 Best PCCs - Why Pistol Caliber Carbines Rock

The Banshee utilizes AR-15 type ergonomics resulting in an outstanding firearm. CMMG cuts no corners and produces a premium-grade gun; although this comes at a premium-grade price point.

The Banshee also comes in a wide variety of calibers. We get 40 S&W, 9mm, 45 ACP, 10mm, and even 5.7×28.

CMMG even uses multiple magazine platforms to feed the Banshee with commonality between Glock, FN, and Sig Sauer pistols. These handy little fellas are perfect for home defense, easy to suppress, and designed for those who like refinement.

Low recoil
Premium-grade features



SIG’s MPX is the true successor to the MP5. It takes all the upsides of the MP5 and makes it better. We get a short-stroke gas piston system that places the weapon in a class by itself for best PCCs. The little gun barely moves between shots and might be the lightest recoiling platform in its class.

The 6 Best PCCs - Why Pistol Caliber Carbines Rock

The MPX mixed AR-15 ergonomics including the charging handle, safety, bolt, and magazine release. These additions make sense and make the weapon easy to wield for anyone familiar with the AR platform.

SIG adorns the weapon with modern ergonomics, including M-LOK rails, ambidextrous controls, and even tosses on a rock-solid side-folding stock. But like everything new and shiny, expect the price tag to reflect the features.

Low recoil
Modern ergonomics
Reliable gas system

Expensive gun and mags

4) Ruger PC Carbine

Ruger surprised us all with the PC Carbine. They were one of the first companies to embrace the PCC years ago, but sadly it failed at the time. They re-approached the platform and produced an ultra-modern and super handy carbine that earns a spot on the best PCCs list.

The 6 Best PCCs - Why Pistol Caliber Carbines Rock

Inside the gun sits a dead-blow blowback system that helps reduce recoil and keep the gun on target. It’s paired with excellent ergonomics and modern stylings including optics rails, modern stock options, and even traditional designs if you so prefer.

One of the neat features is that these are breakdown rifles, so the barrel separates from the receiver to make the package much more handy and compact for travel and storage. This package even delivers swappable magazine wells so you can use Glock or Ruger mags.

Take-down design
Low recoil

Somewhat heavy

5) KelTec SUB 2000

The KelTec SUB 2000 takes the cake for budget-grade best PCCs. It’s a very simple gun that uses a direct-blowback system. It often reminds me of a Sten gun with its use of tubes, heavy bolts, and springs. The main draw, besides the low price, is the fact that it folds in half for storage and travel.

The 6 Best PCCs - Why Pistol Caliber Carbines Rock

The folding action makes it easy to bug out with and deploy the gun quickly. The Gen 2 version incorporates an M-LOK rail system, improved ergonomics, and has much better sights. These guns even use common pistol magazines. Buyers can choose between Glock, SIG, S&W, and more for their magazines.

The SUB 2000 comes in 9mm and 40 S&W. It’s a hot carbine that’s perfect for a wide variety of applications. Plus, it’s cheap!

Super affordable
Folds in half
Compatible with pistol magazines

More recoil than most
Crappy trigger

6) Aero Precision EPC

Aero Precision drugged their feet in getting to the PCC game, but they made a big enough splash to earn a spot on the best PCCs list. Unlike the other guns on this list, the EPC can be built to be whatever gun you want it to be. It’s an AR-type, and Aero sells the uppers and lowers to allow you to make the PCC of your dreams.

The 6 Best PCCs - Why Pistol Caliber Carbines Rock

They use Glock magazines for the gun and add in a last-round bolt hold-open (LRBHO) device, which is rare for such a firearm. They also add a massive magazine-release button and an enhanced magwell for quick reloads. The lower parts kit is reinforced to deal with blowback operation for tens of thousands of rounds.

The EPC delivers excellent accuracy to back those ergonomics, and since you can customize it so much, the ergonomics are on you. I love customization, and this gun delivers on that.

AR ergonomics
Allows you to build your own

Tough To Find

Where’s My PCC?

Okay, so you might be asking why I didn’t include your favorite PCC. First, there are so many out there these days I could only tackle guns I have experience with. I can’t suggest a gun I’ve never handled, so sorry, JP Carbines. Second, some guns like the Hi-Point carbines are great but not good enough for a best PCCs list. Don’t take a lack of inclusion as me saying I dislike one gun or another.

So with that said, these are what I think to be the best PCCs on the market.

Which do you think are the best PCCs? Let us know in the comments below.