PSA AR-V (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)
PSA AR-V (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)
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It’s hard not to be a fan of Palmetto State Armory (PSA). It’s a great American company that’s managed to consistently put out a wide variety of firearms, often at some of the best prices on the market. Case in point: the 9mm AR-V.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com.

The AR-V is an entire line of pistols and carbines put out by Palmetto State Armory, based on the AR-15 platform. This particular gun is a traditional 16” carbine, and it’s an absolute ball.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com.

The guts of the entire AR-V line are simple, but quality-made. A forged 7075 T6 aluminum receiver set houses a straight blowback action pushed by an 8610 bolt.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com.

For this version, Palmetto State Armory chose to go with Magpul furniture and a slimline, very lightweight and skeletonized M-LOK compatible handguard. It’s a great choice.

There are four picatinny slots on top in the front of the rail, four slots at the rear, and M-LOK attachment points everywhere else. The lack of a full-length top rail, and no need to make space for a gas block, means the handguard’s circumference can be very small, just 6” in total. This result is that even folks with relatively small hands can get a solid grip round the front of the rifle.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com.

The AR-V is fed by a single supplied 35-round magazine and the receiver is compatible with still fairly common CZ Scorpion mags. The lower receiver includes a flared mag well that does a great job funneling the mags right into the gun for fast reloads.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com.

The magazine release is a dual paddle-style lever tucked in against the trigger guard. I like to sweep down with my support hand thumb to remove the magazine on a paddle-style receiver, and with this configuration, it works perfectly. That said, if you have very long fingers, you can also simply push the lever with your firing hand index or middle finger to release the magazine. Either way, you’ll need to remove the magazine with your support hand, as it will not drop free on its own.

The AR-V has a last round bolt hold open feature. For a whole lot of folks, this is a huge selling point, and it’s great PSA could accommodate it. The bolt lock/release is that fairly small slider button just above the magazine release paddle on the lower receiver, on the left side. It’s easy to lock in place, and very easy to release.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com.

Maybe too easy. With the bolt locked back, any strike to the buttstock will release the bolt forward, as long as there’s a round in the magazine or the magazine is removed from the receiver. It’s not a big deal, but it’s sensitive enough that, in attempting to reload the gun quickly, there were a couple of times the rear of the gun hit my body while I was reaching for another magazine, and the bolt came forward.

This isn’t a real safety concern, but, of course, when this occurred, it increased my reloading time significantly.

The trigger is a bit squishy, with no obvious breaking point. The pull weight measured 5 lbs 12.2 oz averaged over five pulls from my Lyman digital trigger scale. The reset is strong and short, making rapid follow-up shots easy, if not particularly precise.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com.

Unfortunately, I had a few reliability issues with the AR-V. I ended up shooting 630 rounds through the rifle over four days of shooting. Over those 630 rounds, I had a total of four failures to feed.

Each failure was the same, with the round at too high an angle as it entered the breach. It was never the first round in the magazine and never the last round either. Each failure was from a 147gr FMJ commercial bullet, from two different manufacturers.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com.

All the failures occurred in the first 300 rounds and only one of them happened with a silencer attached. A hard pull on the charging handle and good shake is all it took to get the gun back up and running.

As usual, I sprayed some CLP into the gun prior to shooting, and didn’t clean it or open it up again until the shooting was done. Like all simple blowback actions, the cases were left filthy when they exited the chamber, especially the ones fired suppressed.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com.

The bench-rest accuracy of the AR-V was acceptable, if not exceptional. Shooting from a Caldwell Stinger shooting rest at 50 yards, most of the better five-round groups averaged just over 1″ over four-shot strings. No round shot quite to 1.75″ groups at that range, and the heavier 147 gr FMJ rounds from a variety of manufacturers were the better shooters. All groups were shot using a 10X US Optics scope, in whatever time it took.

The fun of any pistol caliber carbine is in the shooting, and that’s right where the AR-V really shines. The AR-V sports a simple birdcage style flash hider at the end of its 16″ 4150V chrome moly steel barrel. It swings fast, stops fast, and recoil is almost theoretical.

This rifle accepts most AR-15 style triggers, and I’d love to see what it could do with a very light single-stage gas pedal. As it is, it’s still tons of fun.

Keeping to its intended purpose, I twisted off the flash hider, installed a silencer and an Aimpoint red dot optic, and got to blastin’. Very quiet, fast, controlled blastin’.

I spent most of this review focusing on fast follow-ups, target transitions and move/shoot drills with the AR-V. The time — and the round count — ticked right on by. I got far more tired of the moving part of the drills than the shooting part, and found myself hitting my desired round count before my allotted training time was up.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com.

Shooting the AR-V exactly as it is out of the box is great. Really, pistol caliber carbines of all types are just so easy to shoot, it’s hard not to have fun with them. But quiet them with a can and a fast optic that doesn’t have the same parallax concerns as a traditional scope, and the fun is, as the kids would say, a whole, notha, level.

I don’t really have a need for a pistol caliber carbine, at least not semi-automatic one with a full 16” barrel. And yet, the PSA AR-V leaves me wanting exactly this gun. Equipped with a silencer, it’s just too much fun to put down.

Specifications: PSA AR-V 16″ 9MM 1/10 LIGHTWEIGHT M-LOK MOE EPT RIFLE

Barrel Length: 16″
Gas System: Blowback
Barrel Profile: A2
Barrel Steel: 4150V Chrome Moly Steel
Barrel Finish: Nitride
Muzzle Thread: 1/2-28
Chamber: 9mm (9×19)
Twist Rate: 1 in 10″
Barrel Extension: Blowback
Muzzle Device: Birdcage Flash Hider
Receiver Type: AR-V Slick Side Upper
Handguard Type: PSA 13.5″ Lightweight M-Lok
Bolt Carrier Group Included: Yes
Bolt Steel: 8620
Bolt Carrier Profile: AR-V 9mm Bolt Carrier Group
Last Round Bolt Hold Open: Yes
Charging Handle Included: Yes
Receiver: Forged 7075 T6 Aluminum
Receiver Finish: Hardcoat Anodized
Fire Control Group: Single-Stage, Enhanced Polished Trigger (EPT)
Grip: Magpul, Black
Buffer Tube: 7075 T6 Aluminum
Adjustment: 5-Position
Stock: Magpul MOE Stock, Black
Magazine: PSA AK-V U9 35 Round 9x19mm Magazine, Black (Also compatible with CZ Scorpion Mags)
Price: $829.99

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style and Appearance * * * *
The finish is smooth and even throughout. The handguard does a good job of blending to the slick receiver.

Customization * * * *
Just about anything that can go on an AR-15 platform can go here. The paddle release is ambi.

Reliability * * *
It’s rare to get any PCC to run perfectly, and this one had a few hiccups.

Accuracy * * *
Nothing stands out, but 2 MOA groups for a PCC is good enough.

Overall * * *
The PSA AR-V is about as bare bones a pistol caliber carbine as it gets. It’s fun as it is, but throw a can on it and it will very likely outlast the time and ammo you have to put through it. A simple, fun little gun that’s well worth the money.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Direct blowback AR-9s aren’t that exciting anymore. But this one seems to have solid features, including the very good magazines, and comes at a solid price.

  2. What we want is the PSA Krink…the 105 was on sale for 999 this week. Sans stock, for those who want to SBR and make zero mods to it.

  3. I’m interested in a bunch of Palmetto offerings but I hesitate to buy sight unseen. The mini Dagger may change my mind(not this).

  4. I have an upper from PSA that must of been assembled by the rookiest worker, hungover on a Friday afternoon. The front pin hole on the barrel for the A2 sight isn’t a hole it’s gouge where the bit tore through the side. You would never know it unless you replaced the gas block.

  5. Nice review as usual. I pretty much built this same gun quite a few years ago right before the whole 9mm PCC craze took off. KAK Industries Colt-style mag well adapter (Glock ones started coming out about 2 years after I built mine). Poverty-Pony lower. Spinta Precision barrel & BCG. Just slowly picked up pieces when stuff was on sale. It runs like a champ, eats anything & everything, and has the same quirk as JWT wrote, “With the bolt locked back, any strike to the buttstock will release the bolt forward, as long as there’s a round in the magazine or the magazine is removed from the receiver.”

    • I’m sure it’s significantly heavier that the 4.1 pound $449 Extar.
      Perfect for when I take newbies to the range.
      Granted, I do wish Extar had Scorpion mags with a SBA3 brace.

  6. This is an intellectual Gun Review of Palmetto State Armory AR-V Lightweight 9mm Carbine which is so reflective and thriller to having for safety purposes but there are also very beneficial and criticizing College Assignment Writing Services available to taking interest as well in that in the UK so perfectly.

    • I’ll just stick with my $399, Sub-2K that shares magazines with my G19 for a 9mm PCC.. That said, I do totally love the 5.56 PSA AR15s that I’ve built. They are all awesome, and one of them is my “go to” rifle. Big fan of PSA, and want one of their AK’s.

      • I recently got one of their AK pistols in 7.62 amd I love it. I reccomend grabbing a BLEM when they come up, minimal machining marks you won’t notice on an AK and saves a nice couple C notes.

        • I bought an ar upper and a lower, as well as a blem gen 2 ak from PSA about a year before they released the gen 3. I paid just under $1k for everything and both have been fantastic. The ak has been 100% reliable and I’ve had 1 malfunction with the ar. Both rifles have over 2k rounds through them with the ak being closer to 3k. The only issue I’ve had was the castle nut trying to remove itself from the ar. An easy fix and probably what caused the malfunction. Which leads me to my 1 complaint about PSA, their quality control. If you’re competent enough and don’t mind doing your own QC their components are of excellent quality and their prices are hard to beat.

  7. There must be a sweet spot for the chamber not to be too tight especially in a blow back causing an FTE but a blackened cartridge might mean the the brass couldn’t expand enough because the chamber was too large and gas blowing around the brass.
    A fine line to walk.

  8. There must be a sweet spot for the chamber not to be too tight especially in a blow back causing an FTE but a blackened cartridge might mean the the brass couldn’t expand enough because the chamber was too large and gas blowing around the brass.
    A fine line to walk.

  9. “It’s rare to get any PCC to run perfectly…”

    Nothing is perfect, however if your 9mm AR is having “hiccups” there is a problem. In my experience most PCCs are just as reliable as any AR platform. Ammo types and springs are forgivable issues, gas systems and cycling issues are a big deal.

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