9 Best 9mm Carbines (Pistol Caliber) in 2024 – Ranked by a Marine

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9mm Carbine Buying Guide Top of Page Image

In our article, we meticulously review the best 9mm carbines of 2024, focusing on a range of models that cater to diverse preferences and requirements. We examine each carbine’s unique features, advantages, and limitations, offering valuable insights to assist you in selecting the most suitable option. We also discuss the overall versatility and practical benefits of 9mm carbines.

At first, 9mm carbine just sounds terribly wrong. Why on Earth would anyone buy a small caliber rifle that isn’t a tried and true .22LR or a bigger and beefier 5.56 rifle? I mean, that’s what all the cool kids have, right?

If that’s what you’re thinking, I hope you keep reading because I intend on changing your mind with some mind-altering facts as to why a 9mm carbine is a perfect addition to just about anybody’s armory!

Related Article: 15 Best Long Range Rifles (Ranked by a Marine Sniper)

We’ll discuss what to expect from a 9mm carbine and then I’ll do the digging for you and post up where to find the best deals!

Quick Summary: Our Top Picks For 9mm Carbines in 2024
Sig Sauer MPX 9mm Carbine
  • Reliability in harsh conditions
  • Superior magazine size to most 9mm carbine variants
  • Extremely modifiable with tons of aftermarket support.
Zenith Z-5RS
  • An 8.9” barrel length with an OA length of 17.9”
  • Paddle mag extractor
  • 3 lug adapter
KRISS Vector
  • Patented V recoil system all but completely eliminates recoil
  • Is this not the coolest gun ever? Cmon man, you’re not fooling anyone, you love its design!
  • KRISS Vector excels in accuracy and reliability.
CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine
  • Beautiful CZ Scorpion platform that loves to draw attention at the range
  • Incredibly durable despite its polymer frame and offers low amounts of recoil
  • M-LOK rails that allow for a plethora of upgrades and modifications
CMMG Resolute
  • It offers improved precision for more accurate shooting performance.
  • Enjoy flexibility with various caliber choices to suit your needs.
  • The Resolute's robust construction ensures long-lasting reliability in any situation.

The Skinny on the 9mm

Sig MPX with Aimpoint Micro T-2 Red Dot Sight
Sig MPX with Aimpoint Micro T-2 Red Dot Sight

You probably know all about 9mm handgun systems and most of you may have even operated one, but did you know the 9mm is one of the most world-renowned calibers and is used in just about every major country’s military and/or law enforcement agencies?

It has a perfect balance of power, considerably more than a .22 with significantly less recoil than larger calibers like the 5.56 or the .45acp. The 9mm is nearly impervious to major shortages like the .22 often faces and continues to be more economically friendly than most other popular calibers.

The 9mm has earned a bad rap, though. In the 1990’s, the craze was focused upon larger rounds. The idea was that home defense effectiveness is based on the size of the round and how much damage its capable of inflicting and this gave people the wrong idea about which platforms are worthy of their armories. People in guns stores everywhere gawked at those who bought small caliber weapons and of course, you’d never see the rough and tough guys with a wimpy little 9mm, right?

Popular Article: 21 Best Red Dot Sights (Ranked by a Marine)

Not all new trends have been fantastically pleasing but luckily the aforementioned demonization of the 9mm round is starting to die off and rightfully so! The 9mm round is more than capable of stopping a criminal and offers a very wide range of options to do so. Don’t let those die-hard large caliber worshipers fool you, a 9mm defense round is going to stop just about any living creature on the planet that can fit through your front door.

Aside from the ability to disable threats, the 9mm packs many benefits that are often overlooked for larger caliber damage. One, in particular, is the recoil or lack thereof. There are many 9mm carbines to choose from but no matter which platform you select, you will be receiving a fully short to mid-range capable rifle with nearly the recoil of a .22lr. This means quicker shooting capabilities, faster target transfer, and a higher level of precision when it truly counts.

Another big consideration when choosing a 9mm platform is collateral damage. The 9mm round doesn’t have the ability like larger calibers to penetrate thick walls and other material. This is ideal in home defense situations where you may have to fire at a target backed up to a wall where there could be people inside. This greatly increases the safety and usability of a 9mm chambered firearm in your home but still packs plenty of punch.

To wrap up a seemingly endless pro’s list about the 9mm, we have flexibility. The 9mm is one of the most usable rounds ever created and can handle a multitude of situations perfectly. From competition shooting to usage on a battlefield, the 9mm is there ready to perform its job. For the average joe, this means having a rifle on hand that is powerful enough to protect your family from a home invasion while also having a rifle to teach little Jimbo how to plink targets.

You can also obtain the 9mm in a massive plethora of flavors! That’s right, the 9mm comes in many different shapes and sizes, all with different features. The 9mm is one of the most researched and developed rounds in the world and with that comes a massive selection of different manufacturers, brands and styles. There have been BILLIONS of dollars dedicated to researching and developing 9mm rounds!

Oh yeah, one more thing. They’re cheap! The only platform you can operate that is cheaper than a 9mm carbine is a .22lr and even then, factoring in availability, 9mm is the better choice. We’ve seen .22lr shortages a few times throughout history now but I have never myself witnessed a massive 9mm shortage.

What is a 9mm Carbine?

9mm Carbine on Wood Deck

A carbine is simply classified as a rifle with a shorter barrel length than what you’d find on its rifle counterparts. An easy way to think of this is to just take any standard rifle, like an AR15 and shorten the barrel size. That’s it! Carbines are just little baby versions of larger firearms but that doesn’t mean they are less effective or less fun to own!

Sometimes, though, a carbine is actually a longer variant of its original platform. Take the Kriss Vector or Uzi for example. To obtain one of these styles in most states legally, you would have to actually increase the barrel length to the minimum of 16”.

A lot of manufacturers decided to add things like faux suppressors and long muzzle attachments to meet the legal length requirements. Of course, an actual vector is a fully automatic submachine gun (SMG), so a semi-automatic variant with a longer barrel (faux suppressor method) was created to offer a vector style carbine to the general market.

You can find carbines in just about every standard rifle ammunition type, however, a lot of carbines are also chambered in pistol caliber ammo to enable their incredibly small and lightweight size. These carbines are dubbed as pistol-caliber carbines (PCC).

Initially, carbines were used in the buddy system with a revolver, firing the same rounds and enabling both close and medium-range effectiveness with one single type of ammo. A classic combo back in the wild western days was the legendary Winchester lever-action carbine paired with a Colt single-action Army revolver in 40 or .38.

Nowadays, carbines fit several rolls and offer incredible versatility and a usable platform for people of all experience levels. Carbines offer a rifle-like experience mixed with a decent amount of precision and range while eliminating a lot of the recoil and noise you’d find in a traditionally chambered rifle. This makes carbines especially perfect for young and inexperienced shooters or those of you with an injury.

Carbines are used everywhere from special forces and law enforcement to competitive shooting events. Carbines have also become especially popular in-home defense due to the rifle like utility encompassing smaller pistol calibers, which means less wall penetration.

Carbines are also often picked up for their overall value. In reality, if you just want something to plink targets with occasionally for fun, a pistol caliber carbine is a far better deal than most other rifles. The ammo is cheaper and more widely available, the firearm itself is generally cheaper, and the recoil is much friendlier!

What’s the Difference Between the Carbine and my 9mm Pistol?

A 9mm pistol is a pretty standard firearm that most people experienced in outdoor sports have probably had some type of run-in with. Some of you may have been underwhelmed by its capabilities and thus allowing you to fall into that “blah blah blah 9mm sucks blah blah blah” mentality. If this is you, don’t worry, it was me too! However, there is a massive difference in the nature and behavior of a 9mm round when shot out of a carbine versus a pistol that you should be aware of!

First and probably the most obvious difference is barrel length. With pistols having barrels around the 5” area, the round doesn’t exactly have a whole lot of time to get spinning and burn off all of its fuel before exiting the barrel.

Carbines solve this problem and maximize the effectiveness of a 9mm round by allowing it plenty of travel time safe and snugly inside a rifled barrel. This means the ballistics of a 9mm is greatly improved when shot out of a carbine. Muzzle velocity is significantly faster resulting in increased range and accuracy. The faster that bullet is moving along the ridges of a rifled barrel, the more likely it is to hold its elevation and angle.

Pistol recoil certainly changes depending on the size of the caliber, but its typically handled roughly the same by most shooters. When using a carbine, though, the recoil is nearly diminished to a small jolt and nothing more, making a 9mm carbine incredibly accurate to fire quickly. Dumping rounds out of a pistol probably won’t hit much of what you’re aiming at but with a carbine, dumping rounds out accurately is truly a thing of beauty.

Some shooters report increases of 300-500 feet per second (FPS) with their carbines over their pistol counterparts! Unfortunately, with how widely ballistics differ based on the exact model, platform, barrel length, 9mm manufacturer, type, and shooting conditions, I can’t provide you exact figures on the difference, so I encourage you to fire a 9mm carbine and experience the difference for yourself!

Why Should You Consider a 9mm Pistol Caliber Carbine?

The recoil is definitely one of the largest advantages of a 9mm carbine. If you can get past the cult-like mentality that a 9mm is not powerful enough, you’ll find a beautiful cauldron of happiness filled with power and control. 9mm Carbines offer a platform that is usable and friendly to just about anyone.

Many people with a disability or injury may find the same joy and usability in a 9mm carbine that they can no longer enjoy in their larger caliber rifles. Furthermore, letting those who aren’t so familiar with firearms wear the greenhorn with a 9mm carbine is a much smoother experience and offers a great starting point for beginners to practice and become comfortable with rifles.

Doesn’t it feel nice when you buy something that you can use in multiple different ways and is friendly with other things you’ve already bought? That’s the feeling you’ll get when you pop your pistol magazine into a 9mm carbine and fire away seamlessly. You should carry one or the other and no matter what, and have mags hiding somewhere that will fit either one. One ammunition type, one magazine style, two totally different platforms; it’s a match made in heaven!

When it comes to rifles, modifying and building them can be nearly just as exciting as shooting them. 9mm carbines offer an excellent platform for those of you who love tinkering. To make things simple, you can mod a 9mm carbine just as much as an AR15 depending on the model you select. They even offer 9mm carbines in AR styles with our beloved barrels covered in Picatinny rails.

Modding is fun, but you know what’s more fun? Modding even more because you saved a bunch of money on the rifle you chose! 9mm ammo is considerably cheaper to practice with and the actual rifles themselves are DIRT CHEAP! You can find great 9mm carbines for as low as $280 brand new!

9mm carbines are often found in crazy designs by manufacturers that are both interesting to use and functionally efficient. Take the Kel-Tech Sub 2000 for example. You can fold that bad boy up and stow it away in your significant others purse! There are tons of variation and features that you may not find in other larger caliber firearms.

A major contributor to the intricate designs of some 9mm carbines is how compact the magazine and other components can be manufactured. It’s easy to throw a folding stock in or some fancy looking grips when the original platform is low weight and possesses additional room otherwise taken up by larger receivers and magazines.

A lot of the AR15 fanboys are going to argue with me, but I promise, a 9mm carbine is a fantastic gun to simply just have. It’s cheap, it’s fun to choose, and it’s incredibly friendly to just about anyone looking to try it out.

You won’t have to go through a safety briefing to brace your kids or your friends from the recoil and you won’t have police asking you if the intruder gave you those shoulder bruises. Throwing a 9mm carbine in the daily driver is also a pretty great way to ensure you have boomsticks at the ready, no matter the situation. The 9mm carbine will likely cover all of the range levels you’d need in a dangerous situation and, as mentioned before, packs plenty of power to get the job done.

Also Read: 8 Best Subcompact Pistols

How to Choose the Best 9mm Carbine for YOU

Choosing the best 9mm carbine involves considering personal needs and preferences. Key factors include the carbine’s size, weight, accuracy, and ergonomics, as well as its compatibility with accessories and ammunition types. It’s crucial to balance these aspects with your intended use, whether for home defense, sport shooting, or tactical applications.


First and foremost, the budget is the number one thing you need to hash out before buying guns. How much can you spend without your significant other beating you with a frying pan?

Most 9mm Carbines are going to run in the $600-$1500 range with a few exceptions like Hi-Points offering at under $300 or Sig Sauer beauties reaching well over $2000. As with just about any firearm you purchase, you’ll want to set aside at least $200 for transfer fees, FFL fees, FBI background checks, shipping, etc. You’ll also likely need (or want) to buy ammo and tacticool gear to pimp out your new boomstick.

Plays Nice With Others

Do you already own a few firearms? Possibly a 9mm handgun? If so, that handgun may share some of its goodies with your new 9mm carbine! Not all carbines take all handgun mags, though, so ensure that your carbine is specifically made to accept the same magazines as your 9mm pistols. This is especially handy if you carry your pistol by day and then come home and plop those mags into your carbine for home defense or maybe a little fun after work.

Some of the specially designed 9mm carbines have proprietary magazines and thus will not accept magazines from 9mm handguns.

If you already have some tacticool attachments for an AR15 or similar style rifle system, you may be able to use them on your new 9mm carbine so long as you check beforehand if they are compatible. Most 9mm carbines also come with the ability to accept many attachments similar to the AR15 platform. Of course, some one-off designs will be difficult to mod and may not play nicely with grips, optics, muzzle breaks, rails, etc.

Does Size Matter?

No matter what they say regarding other topics, in the world of 9mm carbines, size does indeed matter! To choose a barrel length that fits your needs, you’ll need to narrow down what you plan to use your carbine for the most. Of course, there are barrel lengths in the middle that will roughly suffice for any situation, but if you know for a fact that you’ll be using this STRICTLY for home defense, going with a shorter barrel length may be ideal. On the flip side, if you want to get the most precision out of your 9mm rounds, a longer barrel length would be the option to go with (something in the 18” realm).

Remember, in most places, any rifle which possesses a barrel length of under 16” is considered a short-barreled rifle (SBR) and is illegal without proper licenses and documentation. For most of you, 16” will be the shortest legal option you have for a 9mm carbine.

Also Read: Types of Rifles Every Shooter Should Know About

Other than barrel length, some 9mm carbines come in styles that decreased the total length of the firearm away from the shooter. Bullpup and SMG styled carbines meet the standard barrel length of 16” but they are considerably less lengthy when shouldered than something like an AR15 model.

Does it dress nicely?

There are hundreds of options when it comes to carbines, but the truth is, most of them to the average gun enthusiast is going to operate and perform roughly the same. So long as it checks the boxes mentioned before, the difference maker in which you choose will likely come down to the style and design of the firearm itself. Do you fancy an AR15 look-alike or more of a compact CQB style such as the Kris Vector? You can find a 9mm carbine in just about every style of firearm and some of these will really stand out at the range!

Carbine Lineup

After reading through the guide you should have a pretty good idea of what will fit your needs and by this point, I hope you’ve decided on whether or not a 9mm carbine fits your needs adequately. I will now review some of the most popular 9mm carbines on the market and give you the location of their whereabouts so that you too can enjoy these tiny but mighty boomsticks!

I will leave a little disclaimer here. In most cases, the more you spend the more you get. In nearly every other article you’ll find on this website you’ll notice I encourage spending the extra dough to get state of the art equipment, however, this is not usually the case in 9mm carbines. Of course, spending more will get you more, but this “more” is usually for aesthetic purposes in this case and doesn’t always mean the performance of the firearm will be considerably better than its cheaper counterparts. Budget bin 9mm carbines, in my opinion, operate just as well as more expensive carbines and sometimes their simplicity is what makes them so great of a purchase in the first place.

Budget Bin: 9mm Carbines Under $500

These carbines are more aligned for the casual shooter and are perfect for those of you looking for cheap entertainment. With that said, any carbine firing a 9mm round is certainly capable of home defense applications.

As mentioned before, just because these are comparably cheap does not mean they aren’t practical or reliable. At under $500 these are truly amazing deals and are suitable for just about anyone.

Here are the Best 9mm Carbines (Listed by Price)

9. JP Enterprises GMR-15

JP Enterprises GMR-15

Buy on Brownells

My Review: One of the most remarkable aspects of the GMR-15 is its outstanding build quality. JP Enterprises is known for their precision craftsmanship, and the GMR-15 is no exception. The receiver is machined from high-quality aluminum, ensuring durability without unnecessary weight. The attention to detail and tight tolerances contribute to the rifle’s exceptional accuracy and reliability.

The GMR-15 utilizes a 9mm blowback operating system, which delivers consistent performance and minimal recoil. This enables fast follow-up shots and precise target engagement. The rifle’s compatibility with Glock magazines adds to its versatility and ease of use, as Glock magazines are widely available and reliable.

A notable feature of the GMR-15 is its adjustable trigger. JP Enterprises offers a variety of trigger options, allowing shooters to fine-tune their trigger pull to match their preferences. The trigger breaks cleanly and has a short reset, contributing to rapid and precise shooting.

Ergonomics play a significant role in the GMR-15’s design. The rifle features an adjustable stock, allowing users to find their ideal length of pull. The handguard is slim and comfortable to grip, offering excellent control. Additionally, the rifle has a generously-sized magazine release and an ambidextrous charging handle, accommodating both right and left-handed shooters.

The GMR-15 is highly customizable, with an abundance of accessory options. It features a full-length Picatinny rail on the top, allowing for the attachment of optics, sights, and other accessories. The handguard also has M-LOK slots for additional accessory attachment. This flexibility enables shooters to tailor the rifle to their specific needs and preferences.


  • Precision craftsmanship
  • Accurate and reliable performance
  • Compatible with Glock mags
  • Adjustable trigger
  • Ergonomic design
  • Full-length Picatinny rail and M-LOK handguard


  • Relatively high price point
  • Can be hard to get ahold of


8. Ruger PC 9mm Carbine

Ruger PC 9mm Carbine

Buy on Brownells

My Review: This Ruger 9mm carbine has one of the simplest designs on the market today but make no mistake, it’s are top-notch in reliability and performance. If simple and sweet is up to your alley, the Ruger PC 9mm carbine is a perfect match for your next range date. This carbine is recommended by professionals as one of the most reliable 9mm carbines to date.

There’s not much else to say about it other than the rail on top is a fantastic integrated addition for easily adding optics and this pistol caliber firearm is great for some quality range time or home defense! It’s incredibly easy to strip and clean and I’d say these are one of the easier 9mm carbines to become familiar with the platform for someone new to owning a pistol caliber carbine firearm.

The Ruger PC 9mm carbine is incredibly easy to acquire targets with the factory sights. It’s the perfect plinker for anyone on a budget.

This carbine is compatible with SR-Series, security-9, and Glock magazines and boasts a barrel length of 16.12” and a total length of 34.37”. The Ruger PC comes with a top located Picatinny rail and their traditional glass-filled black nylon stock.

These are available in two models, the 19100 and the 19101 versions. The only difference is the magazine they come with, which can either be 10 or 17-round magazines respectively.


  • Highly versatile
  • Accepts both Ruger and Glock mags
  • Reliable and accurate
  • Adjustable length of pull
  • Integral Picatinny rail
  • Interchangeable stock modules


  • No threaded barrel options
  • Some fitment issues with older Glock 19 magazines
  • Factory trigger isn’t as good as it could be

Mid-grade: 9mm Carbines Under 1000 Dollars

This is the price point where you’ll start to find some of the most popular rifles and SMG look-a-likes in 9mm carbine variants. Not necessarily better in performance than our budget bin friends, these carbines usually combine a stylish design with enhanced features such as faux suppressors, larger magazines, and stronger build quality.

Here is a cool video of the Carbine in action!


7. Kel-Tec Sub-2000

Kel-Tec Sub-2000

Buy on Sportsmans

My Review: Before we get started I just want to make it clear that these are “technically” pistols. The arm brace is not a stock, it’s an “arm brace”. Fine, it’s not a carbine, it’s semantically a pistol, but for our purpose and what you’ll be using it for, it will behave and give a very similar (the same) experience as a 9mm carbine platform would provide.

Now, on to the review: 

The Kel-Tec Sub-2000 is a compact and versatile PCC that’s well-known and well-loved for its unique folding design, which allows the firearm to be folded in half and easily stored or carried in a backpack or case. 

Like a few of the other PCCs we’ve already talked about, this Kel-Tec PCC accepts Glock mags, so finding magazines is convenient and affordable, especially if you already happen to have a 9mm Glock sitting in your gun safe. 

In addition, the Sub-2000 offers adjustable sights and a Picatinny rail on top of the receiver for the attachment of optics, further enhancing its accuracy and customization potential.

As far as performance goes, the Kel-Tec Sub-2000 is a reliable and straightforward firearm. It has a blowback-operated system. Its lightweight polymer construction keeps the weight manageable while also enhancing durability. But despite the low weight, recoil is still relatively mild. 


  • Incredibly compact and portable
  • Accepts Glock mags
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Affordable price point


  • Factory trigger is only so-so and more discerning users may want to swap it out
  • Factory build isn’t as ergonomic as we’d like it to be, but once again, you can easily fix that with some aftermarket upgrades

Here is an awesome video of the Kel-Tech Sub-2000 in action.


6. Palmetto State Armory Gen4 Classic Rifle

Palmetto State Armory Gen4 Classic Rifle

Buy on Palmetto State Armory

My Review: These AR-9s should be pretty familiar as they are modeled after a traditional AR platform and basically look just like an AR15, just smaller. The pistol grip, the brace, the handrail, it all looks pretty similar to an AR15 except perhaps being a bit smaller and everything looks normal until you see that tiny little mag-well with that tiny little 9mm magazine. Yes, these are very modular and easily modifiable just like an AR15 platform so if you’re anything like me, the stock furniture will probably be swapped out rather quickly and your PSA will be unique to you in no time, just make sure you either file for SBR or keep a “brace” on it!

The build quality here is phenomenal and the price is competitive. Sure, there are tons of AR9 options on the market but in my opinion, the offerings by PSA are some of the best value options you can find. For the price, the bang for the buck is absolutely insane.

The PSA Shockwave comes tricked out and well-loved with great details like the polished and enhanced trigger, premium furniture, the PSA ½-36 6061 9mm Fluted Flash Can, a 7075-T6 A3 AR upper, a nitride-treated Gen 4 hybrid 8620 steel bolt and a PSA Classic M4 Stock.

You’re getting a platform that has the modularity you need to make it your own but also a platform that comes ready to rock and roll out of the box with premium parts, premium craftsmanship, and a price that allows the purchase of plenty of rounds to put through it!


  • Compatible with AR-15 parts and accessories
  • Comes with a flash hider
  • Ergonomic stock
  • Affordable


  • Uses proprietary magazines
  • PSA calls this lightweight, but it’s nothing special relative to other options

Here is a good video review of this carbine in action!


5. CMMG Resolute

CMMG Resolute

Buy on Sportsmans

My Review: The CMMG Banshee is a remarkable firearm that combines compactness, reliability, and versatility. 

CMMG has established a reputation for producing high-quality firearms, and the Resolute lives up to that standard. It cycles smoothly, demonstrating consistent performance with a variety of ammunition types. Whether at the range or in self-defense scenarios, users can trust the Banshee to function reliably.

This is another option that’s compatible with Glock magazines for easy, affordable magazine sourcing. The ambidextrous charging handle and safety selector make it very friendly to you southpaws out there as well.

Furthermore, the Resolute offers a range of customization options. It features a plethora of accessory attachment points, including M-LOK or KeyMod slots on the handguard, as well as a full-length Picatinny rail on the upper receiver. This allows users to easily mount optics, lights, and other accessories to enhance their shooting experience and tailor the Resolute to their specific needs.


  • Accepts Glock magazines
  • Ambidextrous controls
  • Reliable performance
  • Full-length Picatinny rail plus either M-LOK or KeyMod slots on the handguard
  • Quality construction


  • Higher price range
  • Heavier than some other PCCs
  • Magazine release can be a little stiff straight out of the box, but should break-in over time

Here is a good video review of this 9mm carbine in action.


4. CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine

CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine


Buy on Sportsmans

My Review: The ever-so-popular CZ Scorpion EVO design has finally come to us in the form of a 9mm beauty. Attached, to fit the legal barrel length requirements is a faux suppressor that will certainly get looks at the range. At 16.2” barrel length, this carbine boasts a blowback semi-auto variant to the real CZ Scorpion. This means we’ll still get the folding stock, low profile flip-up sights, ambidextrous thumb safety, and a lightweight polymer frame, all in a package that weighs just under 7 pounds.

CZ is beloved for listening to their customers and providing exactly what those customers request. The CZ Scorpion EVO Carbine is precisely what the market has suggested, and CZ has delivered. In fact, as they were manufacturing the original rifle variant, they already had plans to create American legal variants with 922r kit conversions because so many people loved the design and performance of their rifle. Since converting the rifle was costly and kind of a pain in the butt for the average Joe, CZ did us a favor and created a standalone carbine variant so that everyone can enjoy their design!

This is probably the most comfortable and ergonomic “assault” style rifle/carbine out there. Shooting this thing feels like you’re firing an airsoft gun. The muzzle flash is nearly nonexistent and.. recoil? Where is it? I don’t know, as I can’t find this recoil you speak of with this carbine. It’s a wonderful thing. Like a hot knife through butter, this carbine shreds targets with absolute ease.

It looks cool. It shoots well. It’s unbelievably comfortable. It’s one of the cheapest firearms to fire that encompasses the prior stated metrics. Why WOULDN’T you want one? Alongside M-LOK rails that allow for a plethora of upgrades and modifications, there is really no reason not to pick one of these up.


  • Reliable and well-design
  • Ergonomic
  • Compatible with high capacity magazines
  • Ambidextrous controls
  • Full-length Picatinny rail and M-LOK handguard


  • Factory trigger is just okay
  • Fixed stock
  • Limited barrel length
  • On the heavy side

9mm Cadillacs: Over 1000 Dollars

For those of you who love spending money to have the latest and greatest head-turners, look no further! I’m not going to promise a significant increase in performance over cheaper 9mm carbines, but I will promise some sick designs and extra attention at the range.

Here is a good video review of the CZ Scorpion in action.


3. KRISS Vector

KRISS Vector

Buy on Sportsmans

My Review: The KRISS Vector is a truly unique firearm that pushes the boundaries of design and function. Its standout feature is the innovative Super V Recoil Mitigation System, which effectively mitigates recoil and muzzle rise, resulting in improved control and faster follow-up shots. This system redirects recoil energy downward, reducing perceived recoil and allowing for more accurate shooting. 

The Vector’s recoil management sets it apart from traditional firearms, making it an excellent choice for those seeking enhanced shooting comfort and control.

The design of the KRISS Vector is equally eye-catching. With its futuristic and angular aesthetics, it stands out from the crowd. The ergonomics are well thought out, providing a comfortable grip and easy access to the controls. 

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The ambidextrous safety selector and magazine release add to the overall user-friendly design, ensuring that both right-handed and left-handed shooters can handle the Vector with ease.

In terms of performance, the KRISS Vector excels in accuracy and reliability. Its low bore axis helps keep the muzzle on target during rapid fire, enhancing shot placement. 

The Vector’s short-barreled configurations are particularly well-suited for close-quarters engagements, making it an ideal choice for home defense or personal protection. 


  • Innovative Super V Recoil Mitigation System
  • Unique, eye-catching design
  • Excellent accuracy and shot placement
  • User-friendly controls
  • Ambidextrous safety selector and mag release


  • Price
  • Proprietary magazines
  • Limited customization options compared to AR-15 platforms

Here is another great video by Hickok45 reviewing this carbine.


2. Zenith Z-5RS

Zenith Z-5RS

Buy on Brownells

My Review: Zenith is an American company based out of Afton Virginia and when the Z-5RS came out, the original HK MP5 had no civilian variants and thus, weren’t legal to own for the majority of the people that adored the design for a very long time. HK MP5 platforms (SP5) eventually were released in civilian versions but started to become collectible and extremely expensive and as such, wear and tear starts to really eat into the value of your precious collectible firearm. 

Furthermore, many of the MP5 variants that were imported into the states had to omit certain key features that made the platform great in the first place. Zenith ensures this isn’t a problem and every Z-5RS comes with the same great features we liked to see from the original MP5 design with no omissions.

In comes the Zenith Z-5RS. A firearm that doesn’t have historical collectible value (yet) and a firearm that isn’t just a silly knock-off but arguably right on par with the quality and performance of the actual HK MP5. These firearms are manufactured by MKE in Turkey at state-of-the-art facilities and are imported by the Americans that work at Zenith stateside. 

MKE is a licensed manufacturer of the original MP5 and many other high profile firearms and used very similar or the same true-to-spec machining and tooling to create the parts that later go into the creation of the Z-5RS.

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The Zenith Z-5RS is every bit of a capable 9mm carbine that anything else on the list could be. The 3-lug barrel makes it extremely easy to attach and detach a suppressor if you so choose to jump through the hoops to get that legal. These firearms are just as, if not more, rugged and durable and capable of surviving heavy abuse while still maintaining accurate and reliable function.

The MP5 has an official standard of accuracy at 25 meters consisting of a 3” grouping. That’s a bit of a joke for the Zenith Z-5RS and adding an optic makes with the included Picatinny rail system just exacerbates that point. These are little tack drivers and will send those 9mm rounds downrange as accurate as anything else you’ll ever see at the range.

The Z-5RS is personally the carbine I chose, however, there are actually a few other variants worth checking out:

  • The Z-5 comes with a 16″ barrel and A2 stock.
  • The Z-5 Sport is a more sporty version of the Z-5 and comes with a receiver only adapted for the included 10-round steel magazines, a welded single-piece A2 stock, and pistol grip, and a slightly longer 16.15” barrel.
  • The Z-5K is the shortest variant of the Z-5 lineup and achieves this by dropping the tri-lug and threaded end from the 5P variant.
  • The Z-5K classic is the same as the Z-5 but with an integrated vertical foregrip and no 3 lug adapter. This model does come with a Picatinny rail for optics.
  • The Z-5P is the truest to the form factor of the MP5K with a tri-lug and 1/2×28 threaded muzzle.
  • The Z-5P SB is the truest to the form factor of the MP5K with a tri-lug and 1/2×28 threaded muzzle that instead of the traditional smooth forearm, you get a more modern M-LOK forearm with an optical Picatinny rail system and folding pistol brace.
  • The Z-5RS (Reverse Stretch) is the classic 8.9″ barreled MP5 configured as a pistol or factory SBR and comes with a tri-lug and 1/2×28 threaded muzzle.


  • Authentic HK MP5 clone compatible with MP5 accessories
  • Excellent build quality
  • Accurate and reliable performance
  • Smooth and manageable recoil


  • The extractor pins are notorious for wearing out far before any of the other components. However, this is an extremely simple replacement.
  • Price
  • Magazine availability

Here is a good video review of the Zenith Z-5RS.


1. Sig Sauer MPX 9mm Carbine

Sig Sauer MPX 9mm Carbine

Buy on Brownells

My Review:

As always, Sig Sauer is here to appease our big-spending readers. If you’ve got the money, this is a beautiful piece of art provided by one of my favorite manufacturers. This MPX changes the 9mm carbine game a bit by offering a short-stroke pushrod gas system and a 30 round magazine. 

Something I’ve always complained about was small 9mm carbine magazine sizes, so I thank you, Sig Sauer, for including a nicely sized magazine with this incredible little carbine.

This carbine is a gas-operated 30 round capable MP7 SMG 9mm carbine variant with flip-up sights that are built by Sig Sauer. It features a polymer shell sporting a legal (with flash hider) minimum 16” barrel length and weighs in at 7 lbs. 

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Other goodies include a telescoping stock, AR-style trigger system, lancer polymer magazine construction, 3 prong flash hider, an ambidextrous charging handle, and a KeyMod rail system.

Now let’s talk more about this gas system that Sig Sauer has developed especially for this firearm. The special design of the MPX allows for even less recoil than a traditional blowback 9mm system would generate and allows for a personal defense weapon (PDW) style stock to be used without a special buffer or bolt carrier. This system is by far the best recoil reduction system in the world of 9mm carbines today which allows for accurate firing as fast as you can pull the trigger.

Speaking of little, this thing is insanely tiny! The actual barrel length(13.3”), of course, isn’t legal at all but to adhere to the laws and bring us the smallest possible carbine Sig went ahead and threw on a 2.7” flash hider to meet requirements.

If you just love spending money and the price tag of the MPX wasn’t enough, there is a decently sized aftermarket selection for this firearm including all-new furniture kits, grips, triggers, etc.

If this beast by Sig Sauer is something that interests you, I wish you the best of luck in finding one! They’re tough to come by and have faced insanely high demand.


  • Premium build quality
  • Versatile platform
  • Soft, smooth recoil
  • Ambidextrous controls
  • Modular design


  • Gas-operated 9mm carbines are not very popular due to their complexity and additional weight
  • At this price point, you could purchase top-brand AR-15s and still have the cash to boot for ammunition
  • The Keymod handguard is slowly going out of style and losing market share to the M-LOK handguard style and thus, future modifications may favor the M-LOK design

Here is a great video review on the Sig 9mm Carbine!



What does it mean when a gun is a carbine?

A carbine is a shorter version of the same model. Usually, the carbine has a barrel shortened from its original length.

Modern carbines are compact versions of rifles.

What is the difference between a rifle and a carbine?

A major difference between a rifle and a carbine is the length.

Rifles with long barrels are more accurate while carbines with shorter barrels are easy and fast to fire but less accurate.

What are carbines good for?

Carbines are primarily good for home defense. They are also effective in confined spaces and capable of inflicting devastating damage within a short period of time.

What is the point of a 9mm carbine?

9mm carbines are one of the best because there are a variety of models to choose from. They have proven designs and pistol magazine compatibility.

Also, the ammunition is cheap and recoils are less felt.

Wrap Up

That’s it, boys, that’s the list of best 9mm carbine systems out there and would most certainly recommend all of them! Of course, there are many more and every so often manufacturers release new 9mm carbines so it’s certainly not an end all be all type of list. 9mm Carbines are steadily gaining traction in the world of firearm sports and home defense so don’t be a laggard, pick one up ASAP and enjoy sharing one type of ammo and perhaps even one type of magazine with your favorite hand cannons!

With that said, if something new comes out or you think I’ve missed a major player, post it up in the comments section and we’ll have a discussion about it!

7 thoughts on “9 Best 9mm Carbines (Pistol Caliber) in 2024 – Ranked by a Marine”

  1. Hooo Ahhh! Happy to have run into your website!
    Keep up the great work brother vets!

    -Army vet in Colorado

  2. Let’s talk Ruger PC Carbine. Mine was $439. Swapped out the stock Ruger magwell for the provided Glock one. Perfect match, and saved a bunch ‘o dough, as Glock mags are much less $$ than Ruger. Added goodies: MCarbo Ruger PC Carbine Trigger Spring Kit ($14.95); Tandemkross Victory Trigger ($49.99); inexpensive bipod ($25.00); Sig Romeo5 Compact Red Dot Sight ($119.00). Okay- so I went a little overboard on the extras… nope, not by my math and shooting pleasure. I’ve got me 10 15 rd. mags, a comfortable adjustable bipod, a really cool Red Dot, and a trigger pull that is half of the stock draw. The total cost was about $800, and this rifle has already paid for itself in sheer reliable, comfortable pleasure. I shoot either standing or from a rest, and I’m SO happy with the fact that my first 1,000 rds have produced ZERO ftf’s or any jams whatsoever!! I use splatter targets, 500 grade steel stationary trees, profiles, hostage heads, assorted stuff from around the house… all with great results. Yeah, I may graduate myself to the Kriss Vector or CZ Scorpion someday, but that depends entirely on how soon I discover my wife’s stash-o-cash. Look- even if you decide NOT to do what I did, accessory-wise, the PC in stock form will be worth every cent you pay. I really DO recommend that you use the included Glock magwell… hey, it works and the mags are WAY cheaper than Ruger’s. Think about the Romeo5 too, because there’s just no sense letting zombies get closer than necessary (they smell bad!).

  3. You forgot the PSA 9mm! Comes in carbine and pistol barrels, plus there are gazillions of aftermarket goodies for it! It’s priced reasonably, for a fairly complete firearm (rifle/pistol) around 650 to 750 dollars! Not bad by all means! Thanks for the article/review, it was very interesting/informative! There’s an option on your list I never had considered! And thanks for your service! Peace!

  4. Thanks for sharing! I’m looking at getting the Ruger. I always read reviews before I purchase anything anymore.

  5. I’m a Mountain Police (Special Team) in Pirineo Mountains and former Sergeant Special Ops in the Army, in Europe. Very good trail to the 9mm firearms.

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