Best 9mm Carbines – 2019 Buyer’s Guide

If you’re looking for the best 9mm carbine, finding one might be quite the challenge. However, if you have a pretty good idea of what to look for then the process might be easy enough. These carbines are excellent firearms that are reliable across all kinds of applications.

It’s important to find the right one so you can rely on it for the long term. To help you on the right path, we’ve taken the liberty of including five of the best 9mm carbines that are currently on the market.

Before we get to the list itself, we’ll discuss the difference between a rifle and a carbine. We’ll also talk about what a 9mm carbine is and what characteristics you need to look for when finding one for your own use.

Comparison Chart of the Best 9mm Carbines

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Thureon Defense - Competition 9mm Carbine Glock Magazines

  • Includes a 33-round magazine.
  • Barrel length measured at 16.5 inches.
  • Flash hider included to reduce the risk of night blindness.
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Alex Pro Firearms - 9mm Carbine 16" 32+1 Glock Mag

  • Includes a 32-round magazine.
  • Best 9mm carbine for the money.
  • Most parts made from high-quality polymer and black finish.
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What's the Difference Between a Rifle and a Carbine?

One of the distinguishable differences between a rifle and a carbine is the length of the barrel. You’ll notice that carbine barrels are relatively shorter than that of their rifle counterparts. Another difference that is worth pointing out is that carbines have less muzzle energy and less range compared to rifles. 

What is a 9mm Carbine?

A 9mm carbine is one of the more unique firearms to grace us with its presence. It’s neither a pistol nor a rifle. It’s more of an “in-between” kind of firearm. Where it stands head above shoulders over pistols is that it carries more power. However, it is slightly shorter than your standard rifles. It’s the kind of firearm that can be optimized for the right kind of applications like target shooting or self-defense.

Characteristics of Our Favorite Models

Mind you, we didn’t choose these carbines randomly. We chose them based on a few good characteristics that we believe are interesting enough to be a match for someone looking for a carbine that will allow for long-term reliability and superior firing power. As you look for your own carbine, you should follow this list of characteristics so you know what to look out for. Here are the following characteristics that should be important to you:

High Capacity Magazines

The highest magazine capacity for these carbines is approximately 30 to 35 rounds. However, some are available with capacities lower than that (i.e.--20 rounds). Regardless of how many you need, there might be no such thing as having too many of them when you're using your carbine for all kinds of applications.

High-Quality Materials

Most of the carbines (if not all of them) are all made from all sorts of high-quality materials. Expect lower and upper receivers to be made from a higher quality of aluminum while some other accessories like magazines will be made from polymer. 

Barrels Are 16 Inches Long

Most carbine rifles will have barrels that are no shorter (or longer) than 16 inches. This would be considered legal in some states where a barrel of a lesser length is prohibited (Side note: be sure to check with the laws in your locale or state prior to purchasing a carbine). These barrels provide a great deal of accuracy and are just at the right length to support a carbine length gas system.

Quick Take - The Best 9mm Carbines

Review of the Best 9mm Carbines

Below are five of the best 9mm carbines that are currently on the market. While the list is subject to change between now and the next year, this will give you a good opportunity to know what is popular among carbine users right now. As you look through each one, take notes on the features, functionalities, and even some of the characteristics. Your mission is to look for your “dream carbine”.

If you see one that matches your ideal characteristics and personal preferences, you know for sure that you’ve found a winner. Now, let’s kick off our list by presenting you our “best overall” choice:

Pros

  • Made in the USA
  • High in Quality and Reliable in Performance
  • Handguard Included For Quick Heat Dissipation
  • Easily Customizable Thanks to the M-Lok System
  • Includes a Soft Carrying Case For Secure Storage

Cons

  • Some Gas Blowback May Occur
  • Might Be a Little Heavy For Some Users
  • May Not Accept All Kinds of 9mm Rounds

What Recent Buyers Report

This is the kind of carbine that had recent buyers singing its praises. Especially when they’re able to customize it to the best of their ability. They were able to attach all kinds of much-needed accessories like scopes and sights to this carbine. Aside from that, the firing ability is smooth and no jamming or reliability issues were reported after 100 to 200 rounds.

​Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the reasons why we chose this was that it has some features that most carbine users would want the most. A lot of customization opportunities, quick heat dissipation, and overall reliability every single time. It’s the way a carbine ought to work. Plus, since it's American-made it’s built to last you pretty much a lifetime.

​Who Will Use This Most

This will be used by all kinds of shooters. This might be the closest carbine that you can get to something that’s multi-purpose. It won’t be rendered useless for applications like small-game or varmint hunting or self-defense purposes. However, this will definitely make its bones as a competition shooter’s favorite firearm.

​What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the things that could improve is possibly looking at the muzzle brake to see where it falls short in terms of gas rerouting. This might be worth looking into since there have been few episodes of gas blowback occurring.

​Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a carbine that is built for all kinds of applications, but can really get the job done in a competitive setting, the Thureon Defense Competition 9mm Carbine might be right up your alley. You’ll have more than enough rounds to work with and it will definitely work to your advantage in the situations where you’ll need something like this the most.

Pros

  • Firing Ability is Quite Reliable
  • Super Durable, Will Last You Years or Even Decades
  • Easy to Customize With All Kinds of Scopes, Optics, and Sights
  • Magazine’s Feeding Reliability is Top-Quality, No Jams to Report
  • Lightweight, Doesn’t Feel Like You’re Carrying a One-Ton Boulder

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the recent buyers were quite satisfied with the carbine. One user stated that it was something that was more affordable than most carbines, it definitely makes its money with a lot of applications. Especially with the target shooting and competitive shooters. Other than that, they were able to easily customize this with their scopes and optics thanks to the top rail.

Why it Stands Out to Us

For an affordable carbine, it works as if you paid twice the price for it (or even more). One of the reasons why it stands out is that it’s quite durable all around. Which means it can take a lot of abuse. It can take the bumps and bangs if you’re using it in applications where you’ll be moving around a lot. Especially when you’re in low-lighting conditions and you can’t predict where the obstacles are.

​Who Will Use This Most

Aside from those who are serial budget shoppers when it comes to firearms and accessories, this can be used for self-defense applications. On top of that, this can also be used for target shooting and competitive shooting purposes. This is definitely a go-to for someone looking for a starter carbine (especially for first-time users).

​What Could Be Improved and Why

Despite no obvious cons, one of the things that we might consider as a possible improvement is making the stock adjustable for all kinds of shooters. Especially something that will change the length of pull. Since we suggest this being a good starter carbine, it should be good enough to fit most shooters who are comfortable with a different length of pull for a better reach.

​Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a 9mm carbine that won’t suck the life out of your bank account, odds are you’ve found it in the Alex Pro Firearms 9mm Carbine. For the price it’s going for, you’d swear that you stole it. Aside from the price tag, it definitely stands out in terms of overall performance and reliability.

Pros

  • Works With a Lot of FMJ-Style Rounds
  • Super Durable, It Can Take Quite a Beating in Some Applications
  • Recoil is Easy to Resist Thanks to the Recoil Pad on the Buttstock
  • Very Accurate Shooting, Shot Groups Are Tighter Within a 25 to 50-Yard Range
  • Excellent Reliability After 500 Rounds, No Jams or Reliability Issues to Speak of

Cons

  • Some Gas Blowback Might Happen
  • Some Complain that the Barrel is a Little Heavier than Expected
  • Brass Ejection Might Be a Little Too Much, It Can Eject Fast and Far Enough to Hit Someone in the Face

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers loved firing this carbine on the range. It’s accurate for a lot of short range shooting. They consistently hit their targets with ease at distances of 25, 30, and even 50 yards out. Most buyers were happy that the magazine can accept all kinds of 9mm rounds (including some that can be fired in standard 9mm pistols).

Why it Stands Out to Us

This carbine stands out to us as the best of the bunch in so many ways. For one, the fact that it’s not picky with the kind of rounds you use is what impresses us. You don’t have to find a specific brand that will work with this carbine. So if you have some 9mm rounds that you’re dying to fire off, you can use this carbine so long as the magazine accepts them. Aside from that, this is a carbine that is built to do some damage.

Who Will Use This Most

This will most likely be used by many of the target shooting and competitive shooting enthusiasts that appreciate something that’s neither rifle nor pistol. The reason being is that it gives them the standard amount of rounds that you’d find in normal carbines. This may also be used for those who intend to use it for home defense applications as well.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the things that might warrant an improvement is to figure out why the brass casings are flying out so fast, far, and furious. It’s always a treat to watch a fellow shooter blast away at a target. But a sudden hit to the face from a fast-moving and freshly fired brass casing might just ruin it. Especially when you risk burns or possible serious injuries.

​Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a 9mm carbine that is considered the best of the best, the PSA Gen4 9mm carbine might be exactly what you’re looking for. This might be the best in terms of reliability, firing, and for any kind of application that will require the use of a carbine or a semi-auto firearm.

Pros

  • Excellent Firing Capability
  • Great For Short-Range Shooting Applications
  • Full Customization Thanks to the M-Lok Rail System
  • Low-Profile Adjustable Sights Don’t Obstruct Your Field of View
  • Ambidextrous Thumb Safety Included, Great For Left-Handed Shooters

Cons

  • Might Be a Little Heavy in Weight
  • Picatinny Rail Might Not Support Any Weaver Rail Accessories
  • Some Complained About the Pistol Grip Being a Little Too Long

​What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers enjoyed using this carbine. Especially when used for target practicing or hunting purposes. Either way, this carbine has a smooth and reliable feeding from the 20-round magazine. No jams were reported even after 100 to 200 plus rounds. While a bit weighty, they were able to carry it and run around obstacles with no trouble at all.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the things that really catches our attention is that it has all kinds of adjustable accessories. You can make as many adjustments as possible until you find the right kind of settings that will maximize its performance and make you the most comfortable. This might be the only carbine where it features so many adjustable options for almost any shooter.

​Who Will Use This Most

This will be widely used by target shooters and even varmint hunters alike. This carbine has the capability to accommodate all kinds of shooters who want nothing more than to make a few adjustments to make themselves more comfortable and more at ease with a carbine.

​What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the things that might be worth improving would be shortening the pistol grip. It does appear to be a little too long, but a little shorter length won’t hurt. You’ll still be able to get an even better grip for better overall control and stability. Or maybe make the pistol grip adjustable in length.

​Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a carbine that will bring a lot of adjustable options to the table, then the CZ Scorpion might be your cup of coffee. Aside from the adjustments, this features an outstanding overall shooting performance that will stay reliable throughout so many rounds. If you’re looking for a carbine for the long-term, you might want to consider this one a little further.

Pros

  • Easy to Take Apart and Clean
  • Accepts Most 9mm Magazines
  • Less Recoil Compared to Most Carbines
  • Open Rifle Sights Are Accurate and On-Point
  • Easily Foldable For Better Portability and Clutter-Free Storage

Cons

  • Sights Might Take Some Getting Used To
  • M19 Mags May Not Fit Without Some Modifications
  • Cannot Be Fired While Stock is in the Folded Position

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers loved the ability to fold and adjust this carbine to their liking. The adjustability fits with so many different lengths of pull. Once folded, the carbine doesn’t take up too much room in storage and can easily be put away in most vehicles. Overall, the firing performance is pretty good and no jamming or reliability issues were reported even through 200+ rounds.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Aside from its adjustments and portability, this stuck out to us in another way. This has less recoil right out of the box. Compared to some carbines that are initially being used, this one specifically won’t require you to add on any adjustments in an effort to reduce recoil. It’s already done for you. Definitely a smart move on Kel-Tec’s part.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used by shooters who have struggled with the “lack of portability” issue in the past with previous firearms. Since there are all kinds of the length of pull adjustments included, this will be usable for pretty much any shooter regardless of size.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the improvements that might be worth considering is the possibility of allowing it to accept M19 rounds. Since this is a Glock-style 9mm carbine it should be able to work with some 9mm caliber style magazines like the M19. Some other Glock model magazines might also work as well.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for something that will give you the power of a Glock handgun, this 9mm carbine by Kel-Tec will definitely stand out among the rest. Aside from that, it’s adjustability and portability features will make this a little hard to resist. 

What's The Effective Range of a 9mm Carbine?

This question is asked a lot by many first-time users. So what exactly is an effective range for a 9mm carbine? Is it really effective for short-range shooting applications? The answers to these questions can be found right here.

It depends on the application. In a self-defense setting, an effective range will be about 100 yards. Meanwhile, in a target shooting or competitive shooting application, a 9mm carbine will be effective against targets situated at 200 yards out.

Conclusion

The best 9mm carbine is out there, and the one you choose will stick with you for the long-term. That’s why it is important for you to choose wisely as you go about finding one for your own use. Find one that will be reliable, durable, and most importantly something that will fit your personal needs and preferences.

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