Pistol Caliber Carbine: (NERD) NC NANO 9mm Brake (pt 1)
Pistol Caliber Carbines have seen a huge spike in popularity over the past year and it’s no secret why. The ability to train on a rifle platform that runs cheap 9mm ammo is a huge benefit to many shooters. Ranges that don’t allow high powered weapons on their pistol-only bays are now welcoming PCC’s. With the introduction of the PCC division to USPSA, competition shooters all across the country have been pushing the limits of the platform. Companies such as Sig Sauer, CZ, Wilson Combat and JP Enterprises all have their own complete carbines. For the builder, New Frontier Armory, Quarter Circle 10, Angstadt Arms and Palmetto State Armory all have offerings that make building a 9mm AR even simpler than any mil-spec AR-15. But the 9mm AR platform is still relatively unexplored with many questions yet to be answered. Everyone seems to be out there experimenting with their own setups, so we thought we’d have a go as well. We’ll be attempting to put together the best competition oriented AR-9 we can and then running it in USPSA matches.
First we’re going to be taking a look at a common question: which is better – a 16” barrel or a 14.5” barrel with a pinned and welded muzzle device? There are many good arguments for going with the shorter barrel. A shorter barrel means a more maneuverable gun, whether on a tricky USPSA stage or in a close quarters environment. There is no loss in accuracy. With the same ammo, a shorter barrel will have slightly more pressure at the muzzle device, which could make a compensator more effective.
However, the 16” barrel has a few advantages as well. You can mount a 15” handguard, allowing your support hand to reach farther out for greater recoil control. For reloaders, the same muzzle velocities can be achieve with a smaller powder charge, which in turn will make the recoil impulse slightly softer. Plus, the increase in forward weight should help to reduce muzzle movement.
One of the main drawbacks of the 16” is its maneuverability. With a traditional muzzle device, that extra length can make a big difference around ports and tight spaces. But we’ve found a company with an answer.
[NERD] has a very interesting 9mm muzzle brake called the NC Nano. While most of the 9mm brakes out there are basically a .223 brake with a bigger hole drilled through the center, the NC Nano looks like it was designed from the ground up for the 9mm platform. It’s small, light and only has a single gas chamber with a slight downward bias. This is a good call because the pressure from the 9mm cartridge is so low compared to .223 that secondary ports are likely unnecessary or even counter-productive. And, here’s the kicker, it only extends past the muzzle an inch. It’s so short that pinning and welding it to a 14.5” barrel still will not meet the 16” requirement.
We have high hopes for this brake from [nerd] which looks like it can offer most of the agility of a 14.5” system without the hassle of pinning and welding, while retaining the benefits of a 16” barrel. Stay tuned for more updates on the NC Nano’s performance and the rest of the AR-9 build.