Ruger PC4 Review

Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Skip Goldberg of Cutty Security Guards.

The Ruger PC4 is a semi automatic pistol caliber carbine – a rifle that fires a pistol cartridge. The PC4 is chambered for .40 S&W, and there is also a 9mm version available (the PC9). The PC4 (and the PC9) use Ruger pistol magazines, which is especially nice for those who already have Ruger pistols. Both the PC4 (sometimes called the PC40) and PC9 weigh in at about 6.5 pound, with barrels that are just over 16″ in length. The PC4 and PC9 are blowback operated, which is somewhat rare for such carbines. Sighting options include standard iron sights, or ghost ring sights. The standard proprietary Ruger scope mounts are also built in to the receiver. Production of the PC4 and PC9 was stopped a few years ago, after Ruger decided there wasn’t enough demand to justify continued production. However they can still be found at gun stores and online. I found mine at a local gun store for under $600.

Safety Features
The PC4 and PC9 have automatic drop and firing pin safeties, along with a manual safety in the rear of the trigger guard. One interesting feature related to how these carbines are blowback operated. One of the downsides to blowback operation is that the action is not usually locked closed, but is instead only held closed by spring pressure. If the firearm is dropped or jarred, it is possible for the action to partially open, preventing proper operation of the firearm until the user notices those problem and closes it back up. Ruger fixes this by having the action lock closed, and then unlock as either the trigger is pulled, or as the action is manually operated. This feature is very well done, and I didn’t even notice it at first until I read more about the PC4 online after I bought it.

The PC4 feels great to hold, and is pretty well balanced. Balance can be a problem with blowback operated firearms, due to the need to have the action be heavy enough to stay closed as the bullet travels down the barrel, leading to too much weight in one place. Ruger avoided this problem as well, by using weights on the end of a light weight bar to better distribute the weight. The result is a well balanced carbine that is comfortable to hold and shoot. The one thing that I don’t like is the recoil pad. It is made of a rather rigid rubbery material, with ridges in it. I would have preferred a recoil pad that was either a bit softer, or that didn’t have those ridges. I don’t care enough to change the recoil pad, but I thought I would still mention this.

Firing the PC4
This is a fun carbine to shoot, and accuracy was great. I was firing offhand on a 50′ indoor range, and managed to shoot 1″ groups pretty easily. I look forward to going to an outdoor range to see how the PC4 does at longer distances. I will say that recoil was a bit heavier that I expected, given that I was only firing .40 S&W pistol cartridges, although the recoil was by no means unpleasant. I’m guessing the recoil felt heavier than I expected because this carbine is blowback operated, meaning that the action does very little to soften the felt recoil. That said, I do want to be clear that this recoil was quite light compared to any shotgun or centerfire rifle I’ve ever fired, and should not pose a problem for even the most recoil sensitive people.

The PC4 is a nice carbine, especially for those of us who already have pistols chambered for .40 S&W (or the PC9 for those who have pistols chambered for 9mm). Accuracy is good, recoil is light, and a variety of hard-to-notice features relating to safety and the blowback action are nice touches as well. The blowback operation is simple and reliable. Since this carbine is no longer in production, finding one may be slightly difficult, but is worth the effort.

Maximum Effective Range

Gun manufacturers and military analysts give each weapon a length in yards (or meters, if they’re so inclined). This distance is supposed to be the farthest that an averagely-trained soldier using that weapon is supposed to be able to hit a man-sized target consistently. But this number is rather controversial.

Why would that be? Mainly because the way that people find that number is different. For example, Jane’s Defense rates handguns and rifles by finding out how far an averagely trained soldier can hit the target once using the entire magazine. That means that a match-grade .357 revolver (with 6 rounds in the cylinder) would have the same number as a standard 9mm autoloader (with 15 rounds in the magazine).

The Russians are the worst at this. They measure how far the bullet will travel under absolutely favorable conditions and they then assign that number to their guns (they call this the “killing range”). What’s wrong with this? Well, the bullet would have lost most of it’s velocity by the time it reaches the end of it’s flight, so it certainly can’t be expected to kill anyone if it just kisses your T-shirt and drops to the ground. In fact, most bullets would have slowed down below killing speed before they reach the mid-way point.

Another factor is that most Russian arms just aren’t that accurate. Sure, they’re very robust and easy to maintain, but it’s rather problematic to actually hit anything at even half the distance that Western arms can easily perform.

Primer: Barrel Cooling

Automatic weapons have two basic methods of keeping the barrel cool: air and water. It doesn’t take very many rounds through a gun to get the barrel hot. Repeated and continuous fire will quickly get the barrel too hot to touch with the possibility of causing a serious burn if one is not careful. And, in the case of heavy machine guns, one can fire until the barrel starts to glow cherry red, then white hot to almost translucent where the barrel then literally melts down causing irreparable damage. Thus, by necessity, design and function, cooling is extremely important to the reliable operation of an automatic weapon.

Submachine guns are all air-cooled. Since they use pistol ammunition and are personal defense weapons rather than tactical sustained fire weapons, their primary means of cooling is ambient air. Design features such as firing from an open bolt allows air to circulate in the chamber area. Since the round is not seated in the chamber, a cook-off is avoided if the barrel is ultra hot. Sub guns also use twenty- or thirty- round clips requiring “down time” while reloading or replacing clips allowing the weapon to cool a bit between firings. Finally, some models have fins milled into the barrel. The purpose of these cooling fins is to increase the surface area of the barrel, thus allowing more of the barrel to be exposed to the air and more heat can be pulled out of the barrel. The point being is that these weapons, while certainly capable of getting extremely hot under heavy usage, were not designed for long sustained fire. Thus, ambient air is sufficient to cool the gun. The same basic design features hold true for machine rifles, such as the Lewis Gun, BAR and Benet-Mercie, of which they may or may not have cooling fins, even though they fire rifle ammunition. It is interesting to note that the Lewis Gun had an air-cooled radiator system which its inventor claimed sucked cool air in through its radiator casing.

Tip: Improve Your Single Action Revolver Grip

The single action pistol comes with a curved back on its grip. When the gun is fired and goes into recoil, the strong hand has a tendency to climb up the pistol’s curved grip. This upward motion of the hand causes the web of the strong hand to be wedged firmly around the bottom of the hammer, preventing the shooter from cocking the pistol for the next shot.

The best way to grip the gun is to lock your little finger at the bottom of the grip. This keeps the hand from slipping upwards when the gun goes into recoil. Complete the grip with your weak hand, making sure to position your weak hand’s forefinger on the trigger guard front. This acts as leverage against the cocking motion that the weak hand thumb has to perform, a nessessary procedure which prepares the pistol for the next shot.

The strong hand must have a strong, firm grip on the pistol. The weak hand must have a relaxed grip allowing it to cock the single action pistol’s hammer in a smooth and quick manner.

Gripping the single-action pistol may feel different if you are used to shooting a 1911 semi-automatic pistol. But if you spend a little time practicing this shooting tip, you will be shooting it out with the top cowboy pistoleros in no time at all.

Anti Tank Rifle History

Anti tank rifles have a short, 28 year, but interesting history. The appearance of the tank on the Western front in World War I caused the German Army to seek ways to destroy it. This started an international race between the tank designers and the arms designers to create more heavily armored tanks and more powerful guns to defeat them.

Tank armor remained at 1918 levels until the mid-thirties when most anti tank rifles were designed. The Lahti model 39 in 20mm was one of the largest of these rifles. The Lahti anti tank rifle was derived from the Lahti aircraft cannon of 1937. As few modifications as possible were done to produce the ground gun. A pistol grip and trigger mechanism were made; a muzzle brake, shoulder pad, sights and a bipod were fitted.

During the late fifties, many of the Lahti Model 39’s were imported into the United States. The original selling price in 1958 was $29.95! In the early sixties, they were advertised for $99.95, with ammunition selling for 85 cents per round. The firearm came in a coffin-shaped wooden box containing the antitank rifle, a cleaning kit, spare parts and eight magazines.

Other notable 20mm rifles were the Swedish M40 Bofors, the Swiss Oerlikon SSG, the Swiss S18/1000 and the Danish Madsen. By the late 1930’s, most tanks carried more armor than the anti tank rifles could penetrate and for all military purposes their use ended in 1945.

Some Quotes on the 2nd Amendment

One who values his life and takes seriously his responsibilities to his family and community will possess and cultivate the means of fighting back, and will retaliate when threatened with death or grievous injury to himself or a loved one. He will never be content to rely solely on others for his safety, or to think he has done all that is possible by being aware of his surroundings and taking measures of avoidance. Let’s not mince words: He will be armed, will be trained in the use of his weapon, and will defend himself when faced with lethal violence. — Jeffrey R. Snyder, A Nation of Cowards

The Second Amendment is among the most misunderstood provisions of the U.S. Constitution. That is not because it is particularly difficult to understand. On the contrary, for more than a hundred years after it was adopted, hardly anyone seemed the least bit confused about what it meant. The confusion, and some serious mistakes, only became widespread in the twentieth century, when influential people began to think it was a good idea to disarm the civilian population. Because the plain meaning of the Second Amendment rather obviously creates an obstacle to these disarmament schemes, the temptation to misinterpret this provision of the Constitution became very strong. — Nelson Lund, J.D., Ph.D., A Primer on the Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Concealed Carry Laws in Texas

Know the law. Follow the law. Be safe.


Applicants must be at least 21 years of age (unless active duty military) and must also meet Federal qualifications to purchase a handgun. You must complete the form in full, and pay all fees. Many factors may make individuals ineligible to obtain a license, such as: felony convictions, some misdemeanor convictions, including charges that resulted in probation or deferred adjudication; certain pending criminal charges; chemical or alcohol dependency; certain types of psychological diagnoses, and protective or restraining orders. The state eligibility requirements are here: GC §411.172. The federal firearms disqualifications are here: 18 USC 44 §922.


Applicants for a first time License to Carry LTC (previosly called CHL) should submit an online application, and schedule an appointment for fingerprinting. Applicants must also complete four to six hours of classroom training, pass a written examination and pass a proficiency demonstration (shooting). All classroom and proficiency must be conducted in Texas by a LTC instructor certified by DPS.

Upon successful completion of the training class, the instructor should provide each student with a Certificate of Training (CHL-100). It is the student’s responsibility to submit this form to DPS to complete the application. Instructors should not submit the form for the student.

You can get the application HERE.

For any further questions, please see the Texas DPS page.