SASP Equipment Series: PCCs

Continuing on with my series of SASP equipment articles, let’s talk PCC.

PCCs are a nice transition gun for athletes who started on rimfire rifles, but want to move into a new division as they get older. They are heavier and have a bit more recoil, but are generally not too overpowering even for 10-12 year-olds.

Read on for some thoughts.

Pistols and (NFA) SBRs are not legal for PCC usage in SASP. You need a real rifle with a 16” barrel and a stock (not brace). PCCs in .40S&W or .45 Auto are legal, but they are not competitive.

If budget is a strong consideration, I strongly recommend the CZ Scorpion or the Ruger PCC. The Scorpion is extremely reliable, optics ready, and really only needs a trigger upgrade to be competition ready. It also has a very strong after-market of parts. The Ruger PCC is a newer entry, but the after-market is getting better every day. I don’t love the ergonomics on it, but it will work for SASP. Unfortunately, both of these choices don’t work as well with an AR-cowitness-height optic; you will want something a bit lower.

You have a lot of choices for an AR-9. If you are comfortable building one, that can be a reasonable option (the Foxtrot Mike upper and a QC10 lower being a good combo, or perhaps the Aero EPC). If you want to buy, here are some ideas, albeit none of them are particularly cheap:

  1. CMMG Resolute MKGs Rifle: these utilize a softer-recoiling radial-delay blowback system.
  2. JP GMR-15 or JP-5. The GMR-15 is a standard blowback rifle, whereas the JP-5 is a softer-recoiling roller-locked system.
  3. Lead Star Arms makes some highly regarded PCCs with efficient recoil management systems.
  4. Sig MPX. The MPX uses short-stroke piston operation, and thus recoils quite lightly. It does tend to require regular cleaning of the operating system for reliable function. It is also not the lightest rifle out there.

The standard for PCCs these days is Glock magazines, albeit the Sig MPX and Scorpion magazines are highly regarded if you happen to have a bunch of those. STAY AWAY FROM COLT/UZI MAGAZINES. These magazines CAN be reliable, but you may have to sort through a bunch of magazines to find those reliable magazines.

PLEASE resist the temptation to buy an Anderson or PSA 9mm PCC because they’re super cheap. My upper from PSA had extraction issues and a very short throat on the barrel. I had to replace essentially every part of it to make it run. Similarly, please do not buy MP5/HK94 derivatives; the trigger on these guns is fine for combat, but poor for competition compared to other options.

Considerations for selecting and upgrading a PCC:

  1. Lighter is usually better.
  2. Operating systems that reduce recoil (RDB, roller-lock, piston, etc.) are always better, provided they’re reliable. If you are using a straight blowback AR-9, short stroke operation is a nice improvement.
  3. The trigger matters a lot when shooting at SASP speeds. I am partial to the Hipertouch Eclipse if you can afford it (and they fit your gun). Heavy triggers should be avoided. You want something with minimal take-up, overtravel, and a short reset as much as you want a light trigger.
  4. Stocks should be conducive to coming up from low ready quickly.
  5. “AR-style” extractor, as opposed to the “1911-style” extractor you see on older 9mm AR-15-style PCCs. The old-style extractors are responsible for numerous functional issues in PCCs.

PCC allows both optics and irons in the same discipline. Most athletes will do better with an optic, thus I would recommend going with one. The best value choice is the Holosun HE510C-GR. This optic is HIGHLY regarded in the Steel Challenge and USPSA community, and comes with a QD mount. However, any optic that is reliable will work. Zero at 15yds, and you will be good to go for any conceivable SASP course of fire. Keep in mind that standard blowback PCC recoil is, in some ways, more violent than regular AR-15 5.56 recoil due how the operating system works. It can be tough on optics.

One thing I’ve seen attempted is trying to share the same optic between a PCC and a rimfire rifle (like, literally the same single reflex sight). Generally speaking, this will not work. Differences in rail spec will cause POI shifts even with QD mounts, never mind that 22 and 9mm are just not ballistically the same. Don’t do this.

Ammo

The main thing about ammo is that it needs to work 100% in your gun. Accuracy is not a big deal as no shots are past 25yds in SASP. But it needs to fire, extract, and eject EVERY time in your gun. I find that most domestic bulk ammunition does not have problems in this regard. Generally speaking, heavier bullet weights will give less perceived recoil to the shooter; 147gr ammunition is preferable when budget considerations don’t prohibit its use. Steel-cased foreign ammunition MAY work for you, but test it thoroughly before committing.

Speaking of budget, operating a PCC for an entire SASP season can get VERY expensive quickly. 9mm ammunition in normal times (ie, not now) is about 20 cents per round, so a full season of shooting (~6k rounds) can add up to a LOT of money. If you find deals, jump on them.

At the risk of being a hypocrite, factory ammo is preferable to reloads. I shoot reloads, but I will also readily admit I’ve had a few squibs and even an exciting case head failure. If possible, try to shoot factory ammo at matches.

Magazines

You’re limited to 10 rounds of ammo in your magazine, but can use whatever capacity magazine you want as long as it will hold 10 rounds. I prefer 33rd Glock sticks (purchased out of state) since they’re useful for USPSA and other action shooting events. They are also somewhat easier to manipulate due to their size. I would stay away from magazine baseplate extensions; they tend to produce malfunctions and need to be tested very thoroughly in terms of magazine and ammo combinations (ammo with a longer OAL may be less reliable, for example).

I recommend buying six magazines. This will give you a spare at matches in case one of them goes down for whatever reason. If you want more, that’s great, but six is the recommended minimum.

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