In an effort to start off 2020 right, I participated in the unsanctioned Steel Challenge match at the AGC range near Baltimore. I have never shot Steel Challenge before, so this was going to be an interesting experience. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t going to count towards classification, but in a way, maybe that was for the best.
I was recently contacted by the TargetBarn company – an online ammo and targets retailer – and asked to do an ammo review for them. I was humbled by this opportunity, and we spent a couple exchanges deciding what ammo made sense for this and what protocols I’d utilize for such a review. Obviously, reviewing some bulk blaster 115gr was not going to be terribly interesting to anyone involved (including my readership), and I lack the facilities and time to do proper gel testing on JHPs and similar self-defense ammunition.
We landed on Federal Syntech 130gr “PCC” 9mm ammo. Did you know Federal made PCC-specific ammo? I did not before encountering this ammunition! I am broadly familiar with the “regular” Syntech ammunition, having successfully shot about half a case of the 150gr 9mm variety in competition and classes, but have never used this stuff before. I felt that that made it a good candidate for a review.
I’m going to record my AR-9 trouble-shooting process in this blog post so that maybe someone else can glean some insight into all the things that can possibly go wrong, and how to fix them… because I lived through them.
I bought a DDLES “Glock mag” AR lower from Gunbroker once upon a time because that was the hotness like five years ago, and hard to get hold of. It was a smoking deal; based on the person’s other sales item and lack of engraving on the lower, I suspect they had an illegal SBR they were parting out in an attempt to make it go away. I dutifully filed a Form 1 on it, waited G-d only knows how long, and bought a cheapo PSA upper to put on it – I think it was 10.5″, whatever it took to get it across the magic 29″ OAL floor we have in MD.
It was a terrible performer right out the gate. It didn’t eject right. It didn’t cycle reliably. It tore cartridges in half. But, last night, after months of work, I got it working. How? Read on.