American Rifleman - June/July 2021 - 69

ONE RIFLE
ONE HANDGUN
ONE CARTRIDGE

The Modern PCC
Having a long gun that accepts the same cartridge as your handgun has made good sense
for 150 years, but some of today's modern pistol-caliber carbines take the idea a step
further by sharing the same magazine.
BY JEREMIAH KNUPP, FIELD EDITOR
he idea of pairing a handgun and a rifle around a
common cartridge is an American tradition. Some
of the earliest, self-contained-cartridge, repeating firearms, such as the Henry rifle, used a pistol-size
chambering. The short overall length of these cartridges
allowed plenty of rounds to be stacked within a tubular
magazine, and their low power wasn't overly taxing on
the locking mechanisms of early repeaters. Colt, Smith
& Wesson and many other manufacturers would eventually offer revolvers chambered in .44 Henry rimfire.
The system had its advantages in the frontier days
of the republic, with revolvers made by Colt, Merwin
Hulbert and Remington using the same cartridges as
rifle designs by Marlin, Remington and Winchester. The
lawman or settler had a single supply of cartridges for
both his rifle and handgun. The handgun provided a
conveniently carried arm, while the longer barrel of
the carbine gave slightly more power out of the same
cartridge, along with the increased accuracy, range and
capacity of a longarm.
In the 20th century, pistol-size cartridges were
adapted to designs beyond the traditional lever-action
and revolvers. One of the earliest American sporting
semi-automatic rifles was the Winchester Model 1905.
Its simple blowback action fired what was basically a
AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG

pistol cartridge with a straight-wall case that launched
a .32-cal., 165-gr. bullet to just under 1400 f.p.s. from
its 22 " barrel-very close to the performance I got from
the modern .40 S&W rifle I tested here.
The past decade has seen a resurgence in the
semi-automatic form of what is now known as
" pistol-caliber carbines " (PCCs). These newer firearms
have often taken things one step further, by adding
compatibility with not only a pistol's ammunition,
but also its feeding device. Glock magazines have
become the predominant choice, but for nearly every
popular semi-automatic handgun there is a rifle that
uses the same magazine.
The 16 " barrel that most PCCs use stretches the performance of pistol cartridges. For this evaluation, I compared
the ballistics of the same cartridge fired from one of our
test carbines and a " service-size " handgun. The results
are shown in the accompanying table (p. 74). The extra
11.5 " of barrel netted a velocity gain of between 13 and
19 percent and a gain in muzzle energy of between 27 and
40 percent.
To survey the current PCC world, I looked at four
very different long guns, each of which highlights a
unique aspect of the market, as well as the four most
popular chamberings for semi-automatic PCCs.
JUNE/JULY 2021

69


http://www.AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG

American Rifleman - June/July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - June/July 2021

Contents
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American Rifleman - June/July 2021 - Cover2
American Rifleman - June/July 2021 - 1
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