There’s something nice about building something yourself and having it work right away. Or mostly work. I shot my new AR-9 carbine — an AR-15 chambered in 9mm — yesterday for the first time.

I built the entire rifle myself from parts. Some of the parts, like the trigger, I just had lying around. Others I had to carefully research to ensure compatibility. I was apprehensive about shooting it for the first time — I have little love for troubleshooting firearms, something that tends to be expensive and take weeks or months to complete. A gun isn’t something you can fiddle with at your work bench and then take it into the yard to test.

Why a 9mm AR? My outdoor range is currently closed for renovations and indoor ranges don’t allow 5.56mm rifles. A pistol caliber rifle, on the other hand, is A-OK.


Spinta Precision 7075 Slickside Upper Receiver
JP 9mm Tactical Compensator 1/2×36
Aero Precision Quantum 12” Free Float Handguard
Aero Precision Charging Handle
Samson HK (Front) and A2 (Rear) Iron Sights
Spinta Precision 9mm Nitride Bolt Carrier Group

Quarter Circle Glock Small Frame Lower Receiver
ALG Defense Milspec Trigger
JP Lower Parts Kit
KAK Industry 9mm Buffer
Kaw Valley Precision .308/Pistol Caliber Extra Power Carbine Buffer Spring
B5 Systems SPOMOD Bravo Stock
Hogue OM Grip
OEM Glock 10 round magazines and 10/30 magazines.

I shot 70 rounds from the rifle and experienced two “stovepipes”, a failure to properly eject the empty brass casing out of the rifle ejection port. So, a malfunction rate of about 3 percent. I’ll shoot the rifle a bit more to break it in before I start worrying about it.

Recoil was surprisingly strong, similar to a regular AR-15. Unlike the AR-15, the AR-9 design doesn’t siphon off gasses to cycle the action.

Update: three times to the range and one trip to the gunsmith and it’s mostly working. Still getting a few jams but plan to run it wet on yet another trip and see if that helps.

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