Henry Homesteader vs Ruger PC Carbine: A Comparison Review

Pistol Caliber Carbines, or PCCs, are becoming increasingly popular among modern shooters. Among the crowded field of 9mm carbines is the Henry Homesteader and Ruger PC Carbine. Anyone looking for a PCC that isn’t an AR-15-style weapon has probably noticed both of these guns. They’re fairly similar in that each model can be purchased with a Glock-compatible magwell that is easy to swap out, both have side charging handles that can be moved to either side, and both have threaded barrels.

Henry Homesteader and Ruger PC Carbine.
The Henry Homesteader (top) and Ruger PC Carbine are both great shooting PCC weapons. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
This makes them perfect weapons for a comparison review. I’ve been using both for a while now and I’m a little torn between them. Each one has some features I like, and both are made by reputable companies. Deciding which one is best for you may depend on what you are looking for in a new PCC weapon. It depends on how much accessorizing you plan to do and what style you prefer. Price could also be a factor, as the Ruger PC Carbine retails for a bit less than the Homesteader.

While we are comparing the rifles today, I will point out these guns were built for different purposes. The Henry Homesteader was made to be a simple, clean-cut rifle ready to use out of the box. It doesn’t allow for much in the way of accessorizing the gun, which we will discuss below, and I would call it a minimalist gun. The Ruger, on the other hand, has approximately 25 different versions to choose from that include a variety of handguards, stocks, and colors. So, let’s look at each rifle and see if one stands out more than the other for you.

Henry Homesteader 9mm

Everyone knows Henry makes cowboy guns, right? These are classic, lever-action guns like the ones used by the cowboys of the Wild West. Well, that was sort of the case until the Homesteader came along a few years ago. Available in three models, you can select one that uses Glock-compatible magazines, Sig Sauer P320 mags, or Smith & Wesson M&P mags. Aside from a few magazine well conversions, what you see is what you get: a classic American Walnut stock and a blued steel barrel with a hard anodized aluminum receiver.

Henry Homesteader 9mm with Glock mags.
If you want simple and reliable, the Henry Homesteader is a great gun. Glock magwells are available. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Everything on the Henry Homesteader is ambidextrous, making it a great choice for left- or right-handed shooters. It uses a top-mounted thumb safety, which I like, and the bolt hold open can be reached on both sides. It has an adjustable ghost-ring rear sight and removable front blade sight. However, its classic design isn’t overly friendly to accessorization. It does have drilled and tapped screws for a Weaver 63B base to attach a rifle scope or red dot if desired, but that’s about it.

Taking down the Homesteader isn’t hard, but it’s not a simple process, either. There are three pins in the receiver that must be punched out to disassemble the gun. With these pins removed, the magwell, trigger assembly, and stock come off. There is one screw on the end of the handguard that allows it to come off and expose the recoil system. This would be a pain if you broke the gun down very often, but it’s not bad otherwise.

Ruger PC Carbine 9mm

Ruger introduced the Carbine as a customizable, modern PCC weapon. When I ordered mine, I selected the 19115 model, which features a free-float handguard, black synthetic stock, and a Glock magwell. Just like the Homesteader, it has a rear ghost-ring sight, which is great to see on a PCC. It also has a Picatinny rail on top of the receiver for mounting an optic. A quick-release lever allows the front of the gun (barrel & handguard assembly) to come off in seconds for quick and easy disassembly and maintenance.

Shooting the Ruger PC Carbine at the range.
Shooting the 9mm Ruger PC Carbine with a 27-round Magpul Glock-style magazine. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
The safety is a push-button style just in front of the trigger, which I don’t like as much as the thumb safety on the Henry. That’s just a personal preference, but I feel like it’s more natural to use than the push-button style. Ruger used the proven 10/22-style trigger system in the Carbine, which makes for a nice, crisp trigger pull.

Breaking the PC Carbine down isn’t much better than the Homesteader. It has two screws on the bottom of the stock that hold the receiver on. Ruger really torqued them down, so they are a little hard to get off at first. The rest of the gun isn’t bad to take apart after that. I am a little concerned about the screws stripping over time, depending on how much someone breaks it down. They may not be an issue, but I’ve had the threads strip out of older guns in the past, so it’s something I’ll be watching.

Does it come down to preference?

The first thing to look at when comparing two different guns is quality. With these two guns, I think you are getting a close match. Both are reliable and I didn’t have any problems cycling different types of ammo through them. I fired one 17-round mag of hollow-point ammunition through each gun before firing an assortment of other brands like Winchester, Ruger, and Blazer. Global Ordnance provided 200 rounds of Igman 9mm ammunition for the review, so we fired 100 rounds of that through each rifle. Everything performed flawlessly.

Homesteader and PC Carbine handguards.
The Homesteader has an old-school classic look to it, while the PC Carbine is more modern. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
I would call both guns reliable, but there were some things on each model that I preferred over the other, such as the top-mounted thumb safety on the Homesteader over the push-button safety on the Ruger. I also preferred the charging handle on the Ruger to that of the Homesteader. Again, this is just a preference, but I like the rounded bolt-style charging handle more. To me, the trigger is just a little better on the Ruger, which uses some of the popular 10/22 trigger components. Everything else, control-wise, seemed similar between the two. So, in the end, I would probably pick the Ruger PC over the Homesteader simply because I like to customize my guns, and the Homesteader doesn’t lend itself to much customization out of the box. But either one would be a good choice for the price and quality. It really comes down to which one you like the most.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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