Let’s be real here; this isn’t an attractive, well-crafted or particularly effective firearm by any objective measure. We’ll go into why, but the TEC-DC9M is not a great gun. Why, then, is it an obscure object of desire?

For me, it’s because this gun was so hated by gun control proponents like Diane Feinstein. It perfectly exemplifies how dumb gun control is and how foolish gun control proponents are.

The TEC-9 and its various incarnations are largely useless weapons. They are outclassed by every semi-automatic weapon and most manual action repeaters. Yet, it remains hated because it looks scary.

And it has a barrel shroud! Oh my! It also has a magazine that’s forward of the trigger. But don’t forget the barrel shroud. That’s the thing that goes up.

The TEC-DC9M was also cheap, and none of the poors should be allowed to own weapons. In short, he TEC-DC9M carries on the proud tradition of being a troll in gun form.

The TEC-9 was probably the original scary-looking pistol with a longer barrel and built-in barrel shroud. Over time the design changed for various reasons, and one of the big ones was the fact that it had to stay one step ahead of gun control laws.

At one point, they just changed the gun’s name when it was specifically banned.

The TEC-DC9M is the compact version, for lack of a better term. The barrel shroud is removable and the weapon is most certainly more compact than the original TEC-9, although it’s still massive and larger than a full-sized, double-stack 1911.

What’s in a Name?

The name TEC-DC9M is a mouthful, but it breaks down into a descriptive name and helps share the history of the gun. TEC comes from Intratec, the parent company that produced the TEC 9 series as well as several other cheap and often crappy firearms.

Nine — surprise! — stands for 9mm. Makes sense, right?

DC can stand for a lot of things and reportedly does. According to some, here it stands for Designed for California, but I can’t find any documentation for that.

The head honcho of Intratec’s marketing claimed DC stands for District of Colombia. Washington, D.C. banned the gun by name, so changing the name made the gun legal in the capital once more. According to the owner of Intratec, DC stood for defensive carry.

The M stands for Mini…because it’s so small, right?

The Dirty Details of the TEC-DC9M

Mini means the barrel is a petite 3 inches long, and that’s the only place they trimmed. Other than that, it’s a TEC-9 through and through. You can even attach a barrel shroud for that classic TEC-9 look.

The TEC-DC9M is a blowback-operated weapon with a massive bolt against a heavy recoil spring. The frame is made of polymer, and that was advanced for the time.

Here is the oh-so-glorious front sight (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The sights are, um, well they are sights. The rear is an open notch and the front sight is a piece of metal folded downward.

Here is the rear sight, it works (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The TEC-DC9M also features a bolt handle that doubles as a safety. Press it down, and the gun is on safe, pull it upwards, and the weapon is ready to go.

It’s probably the worst designed safety I’ve ever seen. It’s very easy to bump it into safe when manipulating the bolt. If the bolt handle is even slightly depressed, it stops the gun’s operation.

The magazine release is a tab on the bottom, behind the magazine. Press it and pull the magazine out, and that’s it. No drop free goodness here. Also, you can under insert the magazine, and over insert it! Good luck on guessing the right magazine depth for proper function.

Shooting the Thing

That leads us to TEC-DC9M’s biggest problem; reliability. The gun doesn’t always function and will shoot two or three rounds before it inevitably fails in some way or another. I’m sure it has to do with magazine issues, and maybe a better mag will make the gun run, but who knows which magazines work?

Another issue is the fact the gun needs hotter ammo to run. Plain old 115-grain ammo just won’t do it. 124 grain Winchester White Box seems to work the best. One time I fired a whole eight rounds in a row, and it was all WWB 124 grain.

A wild TEC-9 – the TEC-DC9M with a dreaded barrel shroud (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The recoil of this gun isn’t as harsh as a snappy little subcompact, but it’s hard. What I mean is the gun moves a ton because of that big blowback-operated bolt. It jumps and jives and keeps you from tracking the front sight.

The gun itself has plenty of real estate to grip and rip with, and the pistol grip is quite comfortable. That’s about the only nice thing I can say about it.

So yes, the TEC-DC9M sucks, but its history of irritating anti-gunners makes it a certfied obscure object of desire. At least for me.

82 COMMENTS

  1. Travis, glad it’s a desire for you. I desire that my opponent in a gunfight be armed with one. A coworker was shot at with one. It fired the round in the chamber and malfunctioned. He dropped it and ran. We got him later that night. K-9 are wonderful animals.

    • somewhat unreliable..possibly even dangerous…with sub-sonic ammo…especially on full-auto, which one of mine is…really has a problem with controlability…even with the custom designed and somewhat heavy light attached underneath…people love it, but it tends to scare the hell out of most who shoot it…producing a lot of “Holy Shit!” moments…that being said,..I like to keep one close at hand, just for its intimidating appearance and the fact it’s pretty hard to miss down a hallway!….

      • The modern versions of this type of gun are called pistol caliber carbines.
        With a folding brace and a red dot sight they are very effective out to 100 yards.
        PCC‘s are immensely popular right now.
        I certainly enjoy bump firing my CZ scorpion!

  2. This looks like if a Sten gun and a Grease gun got drunk, had drunken sex and the Tec9 was the bastard child. I could live with the grease gun. But not the other two. Just sayin’

      • ….guess my Sten was unusual then…two-groove rifling, and a long, heavy bolt-drop…yet I was able to hit a clay pigeon…[sitting, not flying]…every time on semi at 50 yds…and so was everyone else who tried it…did develop a little problem with mushrooming casings at one point that a quick trip to the drill press seemed to cure…the gun was simplicity itself…finally sold it for 3k…which some have said was overly-generous…still, not bad for an initial investment of 250 bucks…..

    • Whoa. Look, the Grease Gun was in Great Britain because the US was about to invade Normandy and the Sten Gun damn well knew that. The Grease Gun was looking for companionship and the Sten Gun was looking to trap him into a relationship. I feel sorry for the TEC-9. However, his poor performance is easily attributed to growing up without a father figure.

    • Not a single one.
      Make it an HK MP5 and I’m interested.
      If for no other reason then to complete the my firearms of “Die Hard” collection.

  3. Always wanted one. It was the Evil Gun of my youth and yes it really rattled the antis. Never got one. I had a pair of TEC .22s for a while that ran well. Pawnshops in states where they can loan money on guns (not PA) are both a boon and a bane to young men who have yet to establish themselves and thus I both acquired and lost the TEC 22s along the way.

  4. The Tec and mac family I figure was the main AWB boogeyman. All those Karen’s in the burbs saw scary looking black men posing with them on album covers in their kids rooms. The super-cool lookalike water pistols were everywhere and apparently a kid might have gotten shot by a cop while playing with one. ARs weren’t nearly as common and all the gangstas posed with shotguns, pistols and these awful things.

    If 2 Live Crew and Twisted Sister are the faces of Parental Advisory then Tec and Mac are the faces of the AWB.

    • then there were “The Sons of Anarchy”…who always managed to hit somebody with these things….amazing!…

    • can still Schumer waving one around…glasses down on his nose and all that…while trying to defend the ATF after Waco…..

  5. 124 gr. isn’t necessarily hotter, but it is the NATO standard bullet and, generally speaking, manufacturers will design around this.

    I won’t buy 115 gr. anymore – newer firearms tend to take it just fine, but older stuff, particularly of European manufacture, has too many issues. This is noticeable on some heavier bullets, as well (HK PSP/P7 pistols notoriously experience increased slide wear, for example).

  6. This has nothing to do with a Tec-9, but I knew no other way to get it out to the TTAG community. I just went to pick up dinner. Sitting at a red light I saw something jarring. In front of me was an Audi Quatro Q4. My left wing, over educated pinko sister drives an Audi Q4. In fact she won’t drive anything but a European vehicle. Anyway, it had Virginia plates. Gadsden Flag Virginia plates. “Don’t Tread On Me.” How can Northam even issue those with a straight face? I retched. Went home. Lost my appitate.

  7. Meh… a machine pistol in 9mm is silly. The whole point of the platform is to serve as a “keep the bad guys hugging the dirt while you run the hell away from your burning tank / IFV / truck / etc…” for vehicle crews and rear echelon troops. The Czechs got it right the first time with the original .32 ACP Skorpion. Get me a Vz. 61, and I’m all over it. Hand me one of these, and I’ll hand it right back.

    • pweserge, yeah, that’s what I want a .32 ACP sub-machinegun. Though, if it were .22 LR I could carry more ammo.

      • Just going to point out your obvious lack of understanding vis a vi the tactical and technical difference between a sub gun and a machine pistol. Here’s a hint: they are inherently designed based on different starting axioms.

    • Pweserge, your silence is disconcerting. Normally you’re very vocal. Let me continue the argument for you. I’m armed with a rifle. Or, at least a carbine. The bad guys are trying to unass their A.O. with a .32 ACP. Watch me fuck up their day. Tiny little pistol cartridges should be limited to tiny little pistols. Want a small SMG? May I suggest an MP5-K or a Micro-UZI. A little bigger maybe. Got experience, not theory, with all three.

      • When the tiny little pistol cartridge is controllable in full auto, it will be enough to keep your head down while they break contact. I don’t care how badass you are, incoming fire will be enough to keep you hugging the dirt.

        • pweserge, you are unassing your burning vehicle. Whatever. You have a .32 ACP squirt gun. The bad guys are 200 meters away with rifles. What’s your hold over? Shit! At 50 meters what’s your hold over. .32 auto is for Bond movies. Silly little man.

        • Skorpions are nothing but assassin’s weapons.

          They were often part of the kit for three man NK teams crossing the DMZ headed south.

          Very ineffective when engaged by USGI ambush patrols at 100 m or more.

        • Everyone is a Delta Seal Commando badass until they catch a sucking chest wound. Ever heard of the “empty battlefield” concept? There’s a reason it exists.

    • For little tiny guns I’d tend to agree.

      Though if I’m gonna go with a tiny little cartridge in a PDW I’m tempted to go with the 7.62×25mm Tokarev and probably do a PPSh-41. Yeah, it’s a 10.6″ barrel, so it’s not tiny, but it’s pretty effective out to ~125m and can be loaded out with a 71 round drum. And it’s practically indestructible and spits out around 1000rpm.

      It was good enough for the Germans to rework into the MP41(r), though their cartridge was supposedly a slight loss in power compared to the the Tokarev, but whatever. Good nuff.

      • The idea is that it’s something you can carry like a sidearm. They had full blown thigh holsters for the originals.

        • I get that. I’m just saying that if I’m thinking about small cartridges then my question is “What’s the best weapon for small cartridges?”.

          The Skorp comes in a few, but if I’m going to get into smaller sub-gun cartridges, and the gun in question came in .32 (7.65x17mm) I’d prefer to drop the diameter a smidgen and stretch the case length even if that results in a larger weapon. The PPSh fits that bill and was issued to vehicle crews. So if I get a choice within those parameters rather than whatever is issued, I’d take the PPSh-41 over most other options.

          The Skorp is really kind of an oddball weapon since it was issued as a sidearm even though it was primarily designed, IIRC, for close personal protection jobs, sort of a Euro “Room Broom” (though the Skorp came first) but without the weight since the design and cartridge(s) the Skorp use facilitate light recoil in a closed bolt design.

    • “greasers” were still in the tracks in Vietnam…MAC-10’s were supposed to replace them…but the army wasn’t interested…..

  8. I finally got a hold of a DC-9 a couple of years ago. Strictly for toy purposes, but have actually had pretty good luck with running it. Mine takes most of whatever loads you throw in it, the function is more so dependent on your grip. Anything short of a fully locked and extended wrist and forward support hand will lead to malfunction.
    However, when it performs it is outrageously fun.

      • That’s one funny as hell cartoon!

        Thing is she carries two Tec-9’s, no reloads and always blazes away with both until empty. But when Lana Kane is really pissed off at the bad guys, she’s the best door gunner on a helo you ever did see!

        “Archer” is a hoot!

  9. I have a DC9 and love it. It was in somewhat rough shape when I bought it, but I stripped it down and cleaned/polished everything and now it runs like a champ. I get the occasional FTF, maybe 1 every couple of magazines, but it eats anything I feed it. I shoot it a couple times a year and it always gets attention at the range. Great item in my collection.

  10. “The TEC-9 was probably the original scary-looking pistol with a longer barrel and built-in barrel shroud.”

    Open boat KG9 was the original model, and the original polymer frame as well.
    Mostly just a bullet-hose.

    • Actually the OG in that bloodline is the Swedish Interdynamic MP-9.

      The KG-9 was the civilian semi-auto variant of the original FA version.

    • …let a co-worker of mine….big burly cop who liked to boast “I carry a .357 and 18 rds!”…fire a short burst out of mine one night….with the predictable “Holy shit!” response…then I told him to remember that on his next traffic stop…that was back in the eighties when these things were just becoming popular and easy to convert….

    • …let a co-worker of mine….big burly cop who liked to boast “I carry a .357 and 18 rds!”…fire a short burst out of mine one night….with the predictable response…then I told him to remember that on his next traffic stop…that was back in the eighties when these things were just becoming popular and easy to convert….

  11. This is one of those guns that in my mind is less desirable due to lack of stock. Supposedly the early ones were of much better reliability overall and I could see this being a gun viewed much better in the light of decent build quality, full auto and most importantly a stock.

    SMGs make crappy pistols. Plain as day.

  12. I always liked the Tec guns. Nothing really useful but fun to play with.

    They were ahead of their time. If they had come in the time of braces they’d be all the rage.

    They got caught in Brady days and banned by name like the Street sweeper.

    But they did pave the way for a lot of what we have now.

    And they did yeoman service on Miami Vice.

  13. I’m sorry but my AR15 bump stock accessory was lost in a boating accident. It was scary enough to some people. And it was a lot cheaper than a TEC 9.
    (SMILE)

  14. I had a Tec 9 about 30 years ago, before it was banned in California. I sold it before the ban because it was hard to get it to run well. I think that they were poorly built and blowback design made it recoil enough that you basically just sprayed when trying to rapid fire. If you grabbed the magazine it would jam, just like a Sten gun. I bought a Beretta 92fs and with a 30 round magazine and it was much better defensive gun than that Tec 9. I had no problem selling it because was the hot number in California, and everyone wanted one before the ban.

  15. The Tec-9 seems to have worked well enough at the 101 California Street Massacre and Columbine. Shitty circumstance, but true.

    When Wonder Nines with their double stack mags hit the streets, the desire for Tec-9 like firearms really dropped off. If you can put 30+ round mag in a reliable Glock, why fool around with a Tec-9 or the others? Even as a Range Toy its only fun if it runs, frustrating when it doesn’t.

    I’d never been intrested enough in these to read about them. I seem to have more time under “Stay at Home” guidance and read damn near anything. Lol

  16. Another firearms from back then that got the usual suspects riled up was the “Street Sweeper” shotgun. One columnist (Mike Royko, I think) bemoaned how someone could carry one in each hand and slaughter scores of innocents by shooting each one like a pistol (good luck with THAT, LOL).

    A while back, Ian from Forgotten Weapons did a video on the street sweeper. What a piece of junk!

  17. I had a toy version of this thing back when I was in the single digits. Didn’t know what it was at the time but it was a fun toy gun, pulling the trigger resulted in a tri-burst noise. Cool for a little kid around 1990.

    Older, and I kinda want one too because Biggie.

    Mad respect for the“Original hustler with the muffler on the TEC”.

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  19. Long ago I had a TEC-22. It was a fun gun, used the same magazines as my Ruger 10-22. And as I recall, I don’t remember it ever had any problems with jams. It was a very simple gun too, take it apart and you had about 3 moving parts to clean.

    Back then I had dropped out of college for a while and when I went back, I sold both guns since I was moving onto the campus. That was a couple of months before the assault weapons ban and their value skyrocketed. I’ve always regretted getting rid of it, and if I ever do find one in good shape I’ll have one again.

  20. I have one. It’s crappy in most of the ways you say it’s crappy but mine is actually fairly reliable, believe it or not. A friend and I shot probably 200 round through it last time I shot it, generic 124 grain FMJ in a plastic bag from a gun show, with exactly one stoppage. It’s also, well, I wouldn’t say “accurate” but surprisingly more so than one would expect.

    The ergonomics are weird, the trigger is atrocious, the sites are rudimentary, but it’s still a lot of fun to just shoot. I have other guns to actually rely on.

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