For quite a while I’ve been wanting a 9mm submachine gun/pistol carbine. There were only a few on the market and none that really jumped out at me. Most clearly looked like conversions, no sex appeal at all. I entertained the idea of a CZ Scorpion EVO but I really wanted something with AR controls. I considered the SIG Sauer MPX but I came across the opportunity to acquire a Wilson Combat AR9 pistol that ran on Glock magazines and I couldn’t pass it up. As soon as I put my hands on it I decided I was going to build myself the meanest little gun I could.
The AR9 came to me without any sights so that took priority. All my ARs run Troy flip-up sights so that was my immediate go-to. I found their Micro set, which are shorter than standard sights, and they were exactly what I was needing. I decided to go with the HK style front as I’d been wanting to try one out for several years now.
I had a Trijicon RMR I was itching to try out but the thought of a big riser mount wasn’t appealing. Plus I wanted to cowitness it with the iron sights. Thankfully I’m not the first person to want to do this. American Defense Manufacturing (ADM) had a RMR mount that was a perfect cowitness with Troy’s Micro sights. Since optics can break or get shot and ruin your sightline a QD (quick disconnect) mount was a requirement for me and they delivered.
One of my requirements for this project was to be able to fit inside a backpack. Which itself will be a future article. Since ARs have a buffer tube it takes a special setup to make that happen. That’s where Law Tactical comes into play with their Gen3-M Folding Stock Adapter.
The final piece was a good light. For that I decided on the Streamlight TLR-1 HL ‘Long Gun Kit’. With 800 retina searing lumens at a very reasonable price it’s one of my favorites. The Long Gun Kit model comes with a remote pressure switch and everything you need for mounting it to a rail. It also has a a thumb screw style tightener that I much prefer for this use.
But all that stuff is just the icing, what about the cake? Per Wilson Combat’s website the specs are:
What the specs fail to convey is how seamless the design is. It’s clearly evident that this isn’t just some conversion. Which considering it has a base price of $1995 it better not be. The AR9 is a fully updated design while still giving you the AR controls you know. The fit and finish, as you would expect, is superb, everything is tight and smooth.
The AR9 comes with a Shockwave Blade pistol stabilizer. While not designed to be shouldered the ATF has clarified their position, which can be read about here. The key part being “firing a pistol from the shoulder would not cause the pistol to be reclassified as an SBR.” SBRs (Short Barreled Rifles) are rifles with barrels under 16″ and are regulated by the ATF.
It’s advertised as having a two stage 4 pound 8 ounce trigger and in testing it measured at a consistent 4 pounds 7 ounces. While I traditionally like my triggers about a pound lighter the Wilson Combat TTU (Tactical Trigger Unit) in this gun is so smooth and crisp I’m not going to change a thing.
Shooting the AR9 instantly brought a grin to everyone’s face. As you would expect the recoil is nearly zero. It uses a closed-bolt blowback operating system designed to run everything from light FMJ to +P JHP. As it should the AR9 ran 100% and locked open when it ran dry.
Considering the iron sights were taken right out of the package and installed it shot remarkable close to point of aim. It required only a few horizontal clicks to be zeroed at 50 yards.
Nothing is perfect but I could only find two points to pick on, and one is very much just personal taste. My personal taste issue is the hand grip, with the beavertail found on many aftermarket grips I have a hard time reaching the safety comfortably from a standard low ready position. I like to rest my thumb on the safety so I can quickly flip it upon raising the gun.
The second issue is after the gun locks open and I remove the magazine if the gun is bumped the bolt closes. I wish it was a bit more secure but not a big issue.
There’s no denying the AR9 is great looking, accurate, and reliable. The ultimate question is whether the it’s worth the price. The SIG Sauer MPX PSB, a comparable competitor of the AR9, has a MSRP of $2,084, $89 more than the AR9. So at the very least the AR9 isn’t priced outside of the market.
I think what says the most about it is when I traded into it and I had no real intention of keeping it. I figured I would review it and then promptly move on to something else. As I stated at the beginning, once I laid my hands on it I decided to go a different direction. It is a superb shooter that I look forward to putting a lot of rounds through.