By Beyond Seclusion
In today’s article, Beyond Seclusion uses a Springfield Armory SAINT Victor to try to determine what the effective range of a 9mm carbine is. While a 9mm pistol is suitable at 0-25 yards, the ballistics of the cartridge make shooting the handgun at 50 or 75 yards a trickier proposition. Yet, rifles and carbines are expected to provide excellent accuracy at 100 yards or 100 meters. Does shooting a 9mm round from a carbine offer a significant long-range advantage over a pistol?
When it comes to guns and shooting, what do most of us like to do? Sure, we all consider self-defense, but what do we truly like to do more than anything? Send rounds down range, “BANG THE STEEL”, test our skills, have a reason to spend time with friends outside, and just enjoy shooting without breaking the bank.
Many of us also like the challenge of shooting at distance, not just up close at 50 yards and under. But what if we took a pistol caliber carbine (PCC), which is normally intended for closer-in distances, and pushed it out to longer ranges? Springfield’s SAINT Victor 9mm may just be the solution we are looking for regarding this project.
Let’s see just how far we can shoot a 9mm carbine.
The Platform: SAINT 9mm Carbine
Why the SAINT Victor 9mm? This is where the time-tested 9mm chambering comes into play. It has been in service with militaries around the world for more than 100 years in pistol, carbine and submachine gun forms. It is also a very pleasant-shooting round. You can carry a lot of rounds and accurately put them on target quickly, efficiently, and most important, accurately. The FBI even went back to the 9mm after many years with the .40, an endorsement particularly attractive to the civilian market.
The Springfield SAINT Carbine is an excellent gun that feeds reliably from industry-standard stick magazines. It uses top quality materials and construction. As an industry-leading pistol-caliber carbine, it should be an excellent platform to test the maximum effective range of the 9mm.
We are not here to debate the effectiveness of the 9mm hollow point compared to other calibers — that is an entirely different debate. I will say it is my preferred choice for concealed carry and home/self-defense. Remember, we are not talking in the military sense here folks; we are talking about the civilian world. So, with that in mind, addressing the desires mentioned above regarding going to range, practice, fun, accuracy, cost of ammo, distance, etc., the 9mm is definitely a top contender in my opinion.
For most of its history with the military, the 9mm was primarily chambered in pistols and submachine guns. It was about 20-30 years ago we started really seeing PCC’s introduced into the civilian market. They really took hold and are now incredibly popular. The reasons why are everything we just mentioned. One of the biggest reasons is the cost and availability of ammo, not to mention accuracy out of a rifle and the extra velocity you get with the longer barrel.
I typically get at least an extra 200+ fps of muzzle velocity from a 16” rifle barrel compared to a pistol-length barrel. That also typically gets you 100+ ft/lbs of energy from the rifle and puts us in and around 500+ ft/lbs of energy, which is nothing to turn your nose up at. It’s shy of a 5.56 NATO carbine’s power, but easily surpasses that of the standard 115 gr. 9mm ammo.
So What Is the Effective Range of a PCC?
So, what does that mean for us? We can have our cake and eat it too.
We can shoot more for less than any other caliber other than the .22 LR, and we get an audible “BANG” on the steel out to 200 yards — and even 300. I actually tested this once — I was able to punch through 3” of pine wood and ring the steel at 400 yards with 16”-barreled PCC with a scope. That’s pretty reasonable penetration for a pistol caliber past 100 yards.
At 50 yards, we can achieve MOA groups and easily bang the steel out to 200 yards.
Not long ago, Springfield introduced the SAINT VICTOR 9mm Carbine. Their SAINT line has been very successful with an outstanding reputation for quality and accuracy. It made perfect sense to add the 9mm to that line.
With a 16” barrel and SAINT AR quality, we should easily be able to reach out to 200 yards. I included the link below to the SAINT Carbine for all the specs & tech. With an optic with a bullet drop compensator (BDC) reticle, I was actually able to reach out to 300 yards. I will be completely honest, it is a real challenge at 300. The hold-over is somewhere around 6-12 feet depending on the ammo and bullet weight. With absolutely no wind, it is very repeatable. The bullet is going really slow at that distance, and any wind will really move it. 200 is ridiculously easy and with little hold-over with a 50-yard zero.
I used a Primary Arms GLx 2x Compact Prism Scope with the ACSS Gemini reticle and BDC. It was absolutely perfect for this gun. We zeroed at 50 yards just like described in the manual, and the BDC took us out to 200 yards without difficulty.
The SAINT 9mm is light and streamline. It just feels comfortable in the hands both for bench shooting and standing. If you are shooting from the bench with a bag, you may find the 32-round mag challenging. You will have to have a pretty tall bag, or simply get a 10- or 20-round mag so it is not digging into the table. I was very surprised how easily I was able to consistently hit the steel at 200 yards standing. The 16” barrel really helps with that.
Conclusion on 9mm Bullets from the AR Platform
The 9mm PCC has very little recoil. You literally could shoot all day with no notable effect on your shoulder — maybe your wallet, but not your shoulder. It’s just fun to shoot and, with the ability to reach out to 200 yards, which compared to a pistol, offers a better experience. What’s not to like?
The bottom line? 9mm is cheap, and you can shoot more for less. That lends the pistol cartridge to be a very fun shooter that is still practical and effective. And, as I’ve hopefully demonstrated here more accurate than many people would assume.
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