New for 2022, the Extar Arms EP9 Gen 2 resets what we should expect from a GLOCK magazine-fed 9mm large-format pistol.
Large-format 9mm pistols (sometimes incorrectly referred to as Pistol-Caliber Carbines or “PCCs”) have had quite a run in recent years. Unlike their 16″-barreled big brothers, the large-format pistol doesn’t quite replace a rifle for practice, but it does have a very valid role.
By shortening the barrel and dropping the stock, guns of this format are lighter, smaller, and more maneuverable than a true PCC. As long as a 9mm pistol’s barrel length exceeds 4″ you’re also assured extra velocity and muzzle energy beyond what the manufacturer listed. The end result is something easier to learn and shoot, with more energy than a handgun, while being more compact than a rifle. It’s easy to see why this format has become so popular.
Some of the most common versions are those that use AR-like controls and sometimes even AR-15 receivers, but that results in something larger, heavier, and more expensive than it really needs to be.
Enter Extar Arms, one of the few companies that’s only making an affordable option, but they also didn’t raise their prices dramatically during the crunch of 2020 and 2021. The founder of Extar has over 40 years of experience in injection molding polymer and even took a swing at beating the ’94 Assault Weapons Ban by producing .223-chambered firearms that were too light to be impacted by the prohibition. That’s patriotism!
The Extar EP9, now in its second generation, is constructed mostly of weight- and cost-saving polymer. Rather than adapting the AR platform to accept parts needed for 9mm blowback operation, the Extar EP9 was designed from the ground up.
The EP9 looks, feels, and in general operates like an AR9, but is lighter, less expensive, and devoid of unnecessary materials. AR users will find the controls familiar aside from a left-side charging handle which eliminates the AR’s awkward face movement when charging the firearm.
Priced at just $449, and weighing just a touch over 4 lbs. you might not think the Extar EP9 Gen 2 is worth anything more than a range toy. The polymer side-charging handle, polymer receivers and handguard all somehow look less serious than aluminum, but they accomplish the same task for less cost and weight.
Extar designed and patented the first GLOCK-magazine last-round-bolt-hold-open device (obviously licensed to several other manufacturers) so one of my first questions was, “Which GLOCK magazines?”.
There’s a plethora of Glock-patterned magazines available on the aftermarket and not all of them work in all “GLOCK-pattern” guns. I hit the range with no less than ten variants to give them a try. The results can be seen in the video below.
Mags tested include GLOCK factory mags, Extar’s own magazines, ETS, TorkMag, ProMag, Jagermann, the Fab Defense UltiMag, two types of Korean 33-round stick magazines, and more.
I was also curious to see if Extar’s unique buffer system would result in any ammunition sensitivity. As always this was tested with the What’s For Dinner Test which included rounds ranging from 65gr to 165gr.
Aside from some of the magazines fitting a bit tightly, all models were usable. What really took me by surprise was how pleasant the Extar EP9 Gen 2 was to shoot.
Over the years I’ve found that most blowback 9mm guns have as much, if not more recoil as a rifle caliber guns do. The Extar’s light weight made me expect more than average. I was wrong.
Tucked inside the Extar’s proprietary buffer tube is a conically-shaped buffer that ends its travel by fitting into a second buffer made of polymer. This eliminates the classic slam most 9mm blowback guns exhibit and greatly reduces perceived recoil.
Even “punchier” loads like Winchester Silver Tip and Federal’s 124gr Punch were soft-shooting. That makes the Extar EP9 Gen 2 and excellent choice as a defensive tool, especially if there are members of the house hold that don’t shoot often.
Specifications: Extar EP9 Gen 2 9mm Pistol
Barrel Length: 6.5″ Barrel
Extar Stabilizer included for optional mounting
Last round bolt hold open
Integral QD Point at the aft end of Lower Receiver
1/2-28 Muzzle Thread
Overall length 24″
Weight without Brace 4.06 lbs
Weight with Brace 4.22 lbs
*Note the included brace is not factory installed. Should BATFE overstep their place AGAIN, this is not a braced firearm.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Reliability * * * * *
Ten magazine types and eleven different ammunition loads couldn’t slow the Extar EP9 Gen 2. What more could one ask for?
Ergonomics * * * * *
If you can run an AR, you can run an Extar EP9 Gen 2. The only difference is the smart left-side charging handle. The inclusion of a B5 Systems grip keeps things comfortable with the shorter length of pull.
Accuracy * * *
Untested beyond 25 yards. Tossing a 9mm bullet from a 6.5″ barrel, I hit everything I was aiming at, but grouping just felt wrong.
Concealability * * * *
When compared against other PDW/PCC/large-format pistols the Extar’s light weight and reduced footprint makes it smaller and easier to place, but it’s of course still larger than a standard handgun.
Overall: * * * * *
This is a soft-shooting, under-$500, made in America, 100% reliable, firearm. The Extar EP9 Gen 2 is a great buy for plinking or personal defense.
I saw “Glock magazines” in the very first sentence of the article and was drawn in to continue reading…
…then I saw “constructed mostly of polymer” and squinted. This looks interesting, but I’ll wait for the reviews down the road once some samples get some mileage on them.
The Gen1 (which looks to be about 95% the same) has been out for years and has great reviews nearly universally. Look at YT’r Honest Outlaw for a few.
I have owned one for over year and a half. It runs like sewing machine. Just put a “notify” in and you will get one. They don’t stay in stock long. One of my most fun guns I have. It’s not going anywhere.
But will they ever be in stock?
Probably not. It’s a waiting game. Im gonna do the wait for this one.
They were in stock for more than a month prior to this article. I know because I’ve had the tab open and been thinking about buying one. Oh well. Guess I’ll wait till Gen 2 is back in stock.
Sign up for email notification on the extar website and have your CC ready because they sell out fast most times.
Forgive my ignorance but have a question.
He’s shown firing the pistol using the brace as a stock.
Wouldn’t this defeat the “it’s an arm brace” argument? Look more like an SBR?
Not making any political points here. Trying to understand the in’s and out’s for braces.
Jeff, great question. I don’t get it either. In the picture, the shooter doesn’t seem to be handling the weapon like a pistol. Plus the fact that the “brace” comes in the box but not installed seems odd. I’m also not making political points, just confused.
By not installing the brace the company can say “we are selling a PISTOL and what the end user does with it is their concern”. Decreases the odds that the ATF comes knocking because the end user bought a gun that they’ve now decided was actually an SBR from the factory. Because as we all know, once an SBR, always an SBR..
I think you could probably still install the brace and have it pass the ATF’s point system, but the main point is Extar keeping themselves and their customers from being first in line during an ATF witch hunt.
A underlying decision factor in that ‘SBR’ trap has to do with the receiver being recognized as a ‘pistol’ from the point where it is transfered from the ‘raw’ manufactured point to the assembly plant, and then to the retailing outlet.
A problematic point for AR/AK/ect. receiver is whether it passed through the 4473 (and/or FFL retailing paperwork) as a ‘pistol’. You -CANNOT- retrograde a ‘rifle’ designated receiver as a ‘pistol’ (by the rule s sheet), and if the pre-assembled part (finished ‘raw’ receiver) has -ever- been designated ‘rifle’, then that is what it IS – ALWAYS – going forward. The ‘folks-with-NO-sense-of-humor’ simply DON’T accept excuses, or ‘fudging’ of their rules – what so ever – !
I use the brace and/or tube against my cheek so that my eyes are in line with the sights. It’s a safety issue to ensure I know where rounds are going.
De Facto and Mr. Baates – thank you. Makes more sense now.
Of course this is a pistol caliber carbine. It sure as shit ain’t no pistol. Or a SMG. I own a few pistols. None of them look like the weapon in the article. Makes my head hurt wondering how I would holster it. I own a few carbines, too. A couple look remarkably like the pistol caliber carbine in the article. Except, they shoot rifle calibers. Because, well, they’re a shoulder fired weapon. Why wouldn’t you want it to chamber a rifle caliber?
If I understand your question, I can only answer for myself. My EDC is a Glock19, my Ruger PCC truck gun I carry shoots the same ammo and uses the same mags. Of course the Ruger is a full fledged carbine and not one disguised as a pistol or sbr, but you get the point.
+1 for Manse Jolly’s answer.
Personally, if I’m going on a trip I rarely bring a rifle. It’s too large to conceal or carry on my person, and I’m not leaving it in my vehicle. I do usually throw my KelTec sub2k into my backpack though – because it’s small and light, concealable, and it shares magazines with the pistol I’ll be carrying on my person regardless, and I can keep it close at hand without being obvious.
The EP9G2 might be superior to the SUB2000 if it’s got softer blowback and gives me the option of 1 or 2 handed firing. While I can fire my SUB2000 one handed, I’m not very accurate trying to support that 16″ barrel one handed.
Manse, I understand your point and it’s a good one. Any cowboy would understand the concept today. Look at the number of ’92s and SAA in 44-40, and other calibers, that rode horseback. What bothers me is the POG altering our vocabulary to apiece the left. Don’t get me started on the assault rifle/MSR thing.
Still, if it’s shoulder fired; rifle.
Well I shot an AR-15:inside a building once. The noise was stupendous! Then I shot a braced 8″ barrel pistol in 5.56 NATO outside and the loudness of that was astounding. I just have no wish to shoot a short-barreled rifle caliber gun inside a building for any purpose. That why I have a less loud 9mm braced pistol.
I think it would be a great buy for drive by shootings.
Long barrels clanging around in a car might get your buddies shooted.
Driving by on coyotes in western Oklahoma 😂
Only using my bandanna to wipe my face in this 104 heat
Matt’s it’s been triple didigets here for a couple of weeks. If not, the actual temperature, the heat index is hitting 105. The Gulf of Mexico can cook some humidity. But, it’s loaded with grouper. Snapper, amberjack, etc. It’s like big game hunting, except with a bottom rod.
“You hit what you were aiming at but felt it was wrong” !?!
That makes no sense
That hit me too. How does a grouping “feel” wrong? 😀
Mr. Baates is a war veteran.. watch his excellent youtube channel to see his “groups” with the many pistol reviews he has done.
I understand that. I’m just saying that hitting what you aim at is the definition of accuracy 🙂
It’s either accurate or it’s not. How can grouping “feel” inaccurate?
Great song btw 🙂
I’m a satisfied Gen 1 owner.
Sems like the Gen2 differences are pretty modest.
1) Streamlined handguard with MLOK
2) A QD connector at rear
3) Reworked brace aspect to respond to ATF
4) Muzzle device change (already did that on mine for $20)
I’m thinking #3 was the primary driver for Gen2
Would have loved for them to switch to CZ EVO mags but now that I read about their patent history with Glock I can probably be assured that we wont be seeing a CZ mag version.
Dissapointing because I think this gun would look a LOT better with CZ mags. Plus they are cheaper. Oh well. I’m glad I bought my Gen1 instead of waiting for a Gen2 that I thought would be logical for it to move to CZ mags.
Lastly, this gun is eating Keltecs Sub2K lunch and rightfully so. Unless you’re a hiker living with a backpack on 24/7 I see no need for the Sub2K now.
It also now has an all metal fire control group.
Great thorough review! More, please!
Great review and cool gun. It’s a shame that tall receiver (extended all the way over the handguard) doesn’t incorporate a mass that would allow them to dispense with (or at least fold) the buffer tube.
I agree that the Extar being so light, light recoiling, and actually offered at a blowback price makes it all the more ridiculous to pay 1500-2000 for a blowback PCC.
Valid role. ? It’s a bloody semi-auto and has but one use to kill people. It’s a sub-machine gun and what’s the betting that any compentent mechanic can make it full Auto. I see some comment about BLOWBACK weapons ALL bloody military 9mm machine pistols, and that’s what this is, are blow-back simply because that’s the most reliable and cheapest way to go. Why would anybody want anything else OTHER than blowback? Certainly all SL 9mm hand guns are blow back or delayed blowback operated. ‘
Personally I do not see the point of these things other than another lethal ‘toy’ for the socially inadequate gun-freaks of America
Plain blowback and simple blowback are not the same. The vast majority of “SL 9mm hand guns” are short-recoil, which is nothing like blowback.
You aren’t just a contrarian, but also an ignoramus committed to advertising your ignorance at every opportunity.
You can hit 8″ targets out to 100 yards with no problem with this gun. I can’t do that with my Glock 17.
yes that’s my same question
Probably never happen but if you ever make it to the Detroit area, look me up. I’m easy to find online. I’ll take you shooting 🙂 I’m not being sarcastic. You may be quite surprised at how much fun it actually is. Having nothing to do with violence or hurting anybody.
Guys, Prince Albert does not matter. He can’t even vote here. I’ve thought about this for a minute. He doesn’t matter. He never did. The English stopped mattering in 1776. Except when we had to kick their ass. Twice. And save their ass. Twice. Is it just me, or is this shit getting a little tedious?
Very much so. Everyone always wants to just ignore the troll, and some advise others to do so, but every so often the “Kick Me” sign just glares too bright to pass up.
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Can I trust the quality?
Surprisingly, the gun is not that noisy!
Can I rely on the quality?