The Top 5 Budget Pistol Caliber Carbines


A pistol caliber carbine can be the perfect budget rifle. When you chamber these guns in a common caliber and have them feed from a common magazine, the price of long-term ownership budgets out. What is the most affordable of the pistol caliber carbines? Good question. These PCCs would all make dependable and reliable home defense weapons, are perfect for plinking, and are a great option for training new shooters. Best of all? They are affordable.

Hi Point Carbine

The Hi-Point Carbine is the ugly workhorse of the pistol caliber carbines. It’s a simple gun available in a variety of calibers, including the newest 10mm model. The Hi-Point Carbine feeds from relatively low capacity magazines but in my experience, it always goes bang. It’s also surprisingly accurate, even with its substandard trigger. This ugly little gun is popular enough that a good aftermarket exists for it and you can make it a lot less ugly with a new stock.

They’re Ugly, but they work.

Kel-Tec SUB 2000

One of my personal favorites in the budget pistol caliber carbines is the Kel-Tec SUB 2K. Not only is the gun affordable, but it utilizes common pistol magazines which lowers the price even more. The SUB 2K also folds in half making it easy to store and easy to transport. It’s a blowback gun that’s super lightweight and a lot of fun to shoot. The trigger does kind of suck, but the Gen 2 model is full of new and modern features that help it keep up to the newer, younger generation of guns. The Kel-Tec SUB 2K is an awesome gun and is quite unique in design.

One of My Favorites.

Ruger PC9

The Ruger PC9 is the newest of the pistol caliber carbines and premiered at SHOT Show 2018. Ruger essentially up-sized the Ruger 10/22 into a 9mm carbine. Best of all, the gun comes with interchangeable mag wells that allow it to utilize both Ruger Security 9 magazines and Glock magazines. The future may bring even more magazine conversion kits. This rifle is also a takedown model that basically breaks in half for easier and more convenient concealment and storage. It comes suppressor ready, has proven reliable, and the design makes it legal in most states.

Ruger’s handy little PCC.

AR Pattern Anything

How can I choose just one AR pattern when there are likely dozens of AR pattern pistol caliber carbines? Is company A so much better than Company B that they deserve this top spot? Maybe, but with the different options and ability to build your own it gets hard to pick one. AR pattern pistol caliber carbines feature all the same ergonomic controls of a AR 15 as well as the ability to use the massive AR aftermarket. You can even make one yourself with an unfinished lower and an 80 lower jig. The designs will commonly use Glock magazines, which makes them even more affordable. The second most popular uses the COLT SMG mags. These guns are blowback and perfect for new shooters or AR aficionados.

The Sol Invictus 45 ACP PCC.

Scorpion Evo 3 S1

How dare I declare the Scorpion an affordable option? It’s hardly the cheapest of the pistol caliber carbines. The Scorpion Evo S1 is a little pricier than the models above, but it is the cheapest of the guns actually used by military and police. The CZ Scorpion is a popular weapon with police forces and the Czech military in Europe. It’s also easy to upgrade at an affordable rate and the magazines may be proprietary but they are super affordable and easy to find as well. It’s not a traditional budget pistol caliber carbine, but it is the most affordable professional grade model on the market.

An old Favorite.

Budget Pistol Caliber Carbines

Living inside a budget is tough, especially when you have firearms as a hobby. Luckily, the gun industry find ways to make it work and the above 5 guns are certainly excellent examples of the industry working. Pistol caliber carbines are fantastic little guns and perfect for a wide variety of purposes. Best of all is the fact they are cheap to shoot, and often quite fun to do so. What’s your reason for owning a PCC?

  • Butlers Thucycides

    This is a Ruger Police Carbine 9 (PC9):

    This is a Ruger Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) chambered in 9x19mm:

    They are *not* the same, just as a “clip” is not the same thing as a “magazine”.

  • Duke Nukem

    I have found nothing better than a Mech Tech carbine upper on a Glock frame. This is a $150 Glock 23 lower with a $350 Mech Tech 9mm collapsible upper adapted for a G23. Collapses down to 25 inches and for discreet carry fits into a Wilson racquetball bag. It runs just like a Glock and
    takes Glock 32 round magazines. With stock extended and high velocity 93 grain solid copper rounds easy hits out to about 100 yards. In a pinch you can hold shoot as a pistol with the stock collapsed. All for $500.

  • BonesJones Gunny

    Just when I thought I was done with Hi Points, they introduce the 1095… 😎
    Too Cool, too cheap and just right for maxxing out the Hot Rod 10mm Ammo! The extra ballistic advantage you get from a PCC makes all my 10mm rounds function at near 44 Mag handgun power. The most lukewarm 10mm round I have is the SIG ELITE which is 180gr, 1250 FPS from a 5″ barrel. HP’s 17.5″ barrel will add at least 150-200 FPS and maybe more. Looks great on paper!