Pistol caliber carbines are all the rage these days, and for obvious reasons. They’re fun to shoot, the ammo is inexpensive, there are competition divisions just for them, and they often share the same magazines as your favorite pistol. As long as it’s a GLOCK. That is, until now . . .
Not content to pigeon-hole buyers into running Gaston’s gat, Nordic Components has completely blown the doors off the PCC magazine compatibility world with their NCPCC. As the photo above shows, the NCPCC employs interchangeable magazine wells — $149 each — to provide compatibility with many of the most common 9mm pistols on the market.
Okay, okay, at the time of this writing they only have GLOCK and Smith & Wesson M&P magwells available, but they’re going to release GLOCK Competition (flared magwell), 2011 Competition, SIG P320, Beretta 92, SIG 226/228, and CZ 75 versions soon. I’m sure more will follow, should the NCPCC prove popular.
Taking a step back to look at the NCPCC as a whole, it’s a gorgeous gun. It oozes readily-apparent quality. Machining is flawless, finish is even and consistent and parts fit is flawless. Now, at an MSRP of $1,599 it really should be flawless, but it’s nice to report that the NCPCC walks the walk.
One of the first things I noticed was the unique looking bolt carrier peeking through the ejection port. While 9mm ARs always run a special bolt, this shiny piece of sculpted metal really stood out.
It’s a polished, stainless steel job with a larger extractor than most 9mm AR bolts use.
Additionally, it’s a solid design. There are no weights pinned into the back of the unit as there are with the vast majority of other brands’ PCC bolts. On the plus side, it’s one piece and it’s rock solid. On the downside, the solid center means it isn’t compatible with the JP Silent Captured Spring system or the CapArms Silent Shuttle System.
Not that those systems are necessary here. The NCPCC comes with Nordic Components’ own 9mm buffer, which is an extra heavy, stainless steel affair with a nice overtravel bumper on it. The action is smooth and pretty quiet.
Upper and lower receivers are Nordic’s own, and are machined from 7075 billet aluminum and hard coat anodized. Note how the NC15 upper flows right into the handguard.
A Magpul MOE grip is one of the few non-Nordic Components-made parts along with some of the small parts like the “Mil-spec” controls (bolt catch, safety, charging handle), buffer tube assembly, fire control group, and presumably various springs, detents, and pins.
The other big, non-Nordic-made component is the Mission First Tactical BMS stock. It’s a great choice for a pistol caliber carbine, offering six adjustment stops and extremely light weight with few frills. I really like this stock.
Up front, Nordic Components’ NC-3 freefloat M-LOK handguard provides all the accessory mounting real estate you could ever need or want. It’s 15.5 inches long for your C-clamping pleasure, and its slim diameter feels really great in the hand.
Even up front-ier is an NC PCC flash hider or compensator. Underneath it, on the end of the 16″ 1:10 twist barrel, are 1/2-28 threads and a generous shoulder for mounting a suppressor.
The magazine release (which is part of the magwell) is where you’d expect, though the 7075 aluminum lever is nicely oversized and serrated for non-slip grip.
As you can see inside the bottom right corner of each magazine well, the mag catch varies in size and shape to work with the given pistol mag. The catch could also go through the front of the magwell and latch into the front center or front left corner of a magazine depending on where its slot or flange is located.
Now to the big question: Yes, the NCPCC locks back on empty. An effective last round bolt hold-open lever is integrated into the left side wall of the lower receiver. The pivot pin holds it in place at the front, so, when the follower pushes up on the tab, it lifts up the rear of the lever and activates the Mil-spec bolt catch.
Though this lever worked with both the GLOCK and M&P magazines, I expect other versions will ship with other magazine wells should their mags not be compatible.
Swapping magwells couldn’t be simpler or faster. Just push or pull out the single, captured cross-pin and the magazine well comes free. Slide the new one into place on the hook at the bottom front of the receiver, then push the pin back in. Done and done. Time spent: under 10 seconds.
Both the GLOCK and M&P magwells fit their charges perfectly. Magazines locked in place smoothly, rounds fed and ejected flawlessly, and the bolt locked back on empty without fail. While the M&P mags ejected out the bottom with authority, the stupid plastic-covered GLOCK mags didn’t quite drop free.
Fit between receiver and magazine well is so good that it’s hard to even notice they’re separate parts. Once installed, the magwell is rock solid.
On the range the NCPCC was a joy to shoot. Its smooth action, soft recoil, and nearly non-existent blast and concussion make it a perfect rifle for any shooter. While it was at TTAG HQ no fewer than three first-time (or near as dammit) shooters got behind the NCPCC as their ballistic hors d’oeurve, and found it easy and unintimidating.
Experienced shooters immediately recognized the quality fit and finish and the rifle’s nice balance. With the slim, lightweight handguard, fairly light barrel, and lightweight stock, the NCPCC is quick and nimble. In every way it feels like a top-of-the-line AR-15. It looks the high-end part, too.
Not a single beat was missed, regardless of ammo or magazine choice. Over the course of a few hundred rounds, including hollow points and reloads varying in weight from 90 grain to 147 grain, the NCPCC fed, fired, and ejected it all. And locked back on empty.
On accuracy I did something a bit odd. After shooting a few cloverleaf groups — all five holes touching — at 25 yards, I backed off to a full 100 yards in breezy conditions and shot a handful of groups just like the ~4-inch one seen above. For a 9×19, this thing’s a relatively straight shooter.
Overall, the Nordic Components Pistol Caliber Carbine is a fantastic rifle. It’s well-sorted and nicely balanced. Its quality is readily apparent, and it backs that up with unquestionable reliability and plenty of accuracy to clean house at a PCC competition.
While the NCPCC sure ain’t inexpensive, there’s a lot of potential utility in the ability to quickly and easily swap magazine wells. While the NCPCC sure ain’t inexpensive, it’s worlds from cheap. Though, especially at this price, I’d appreciate an upgraded trigger.
Specifications: Nordic Components Pistol Caliber Carbine
Magazine Compatibility: GLOCK and M&P magwells available now. GLOCK Competition (flared magwell), 2011 Competition, SIG P320, Beretta 92, SIG 226/228, and CZ 75 coming soon.
Barrel: 16″ nitrided barrel with 1:10 RH twist and 1/2-28 muzzle threads
Receivers: 7075 billet aluminum, hard coat anodized
Trigger: Mil-spec AR-15 trigger
Handguard: NC-3 15.5″ M-LOK slim guard with full top rail
Overall Length: 32.875″ to 36″
Weight: 6 lbs, 11 oz
Ratings (out of five stars):
Reliability * * * * *
Straight blowback actions tend to be simple and reliable, and the NCPCC is no exception. It’s also well-tuned with appropriate bolt and buffer weights.
Accuracy * * * *
Better than your average pistol caliber carbine, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. I can’t help but feel there’s an ammo choice out there that would really shine in this thing, though.
Quality * * * * *
Top notch. Materials, machining, fit, finish, and assembly are all exactly as you’d hope.
On The Range * * * *
The NCPCC is soft-shooting, nimble, and well-balanced. It’s an extremely pleasant gun to shoot. I’m dinging it a star because, at this price point, the Mil-spec trigger is a poke in the eye. Additionally, an upgraded safety selector would be appreciated, and maybe a set of iron sights.
Overall * * * *
Nordic’s PCC is a high-quality, well-sorted firearm with a big bonus in the utility department thanks to its interchangeable magazine wells. However, it comes at a price.