PSA PX9 Review: 3-Year Report By: Jason Mosher

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Palmetto State Armory has a self-professed goal of producing quality guns at an affordable price. They want to put as many guns in law-abiding citizens’ hands as possible. However, that low price sometimes causes people to write them off as unreliable. There’s a reason for the old “you get what you pay for” aphorism. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with this manufacturer; I’ll use this PSA PX9 review to explain why I think so.

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PSA PX9 Pistol Caliber Carbine

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PSA AR9 Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Overall length 24″
  • Barrel length 8″
  • Rifling 1:10″
  • Weight 6.5lbs

PSA PX9 (AR9) Background

The AR15 is the most popular rifle platform in the United States. An extremely wide array of calibers can be carried in a single configuration the owner is used to, and with just a few exceptions, the manual of arms is consistent across all of them.

PSA has created a whole line of 9mm platforms that are based on the AR15 design and have several models to pick from. While there were reports of feeding problems in the early models of PSA’s AR9s, those complaints are becoming ever fewer and far between.

PSA PX9 pistol caliber carbine with Crimson Trace CTS 25, SB4 pistol stabilizing brace, Nebo Protec 6109 rail-mounted light, and Strike Industries Extended Charging Handle.
The specific weapon used in this PSA PX9 review. It has been equipped with a Crimson Trace CTS 25, SB4 pistol stabilizing brace, Nebo Protec 6109 rail-mounted light, and Strike Industries Extended Charging Handle.

The PSA X9 is designed to use Glock-compatible mags; as many of you reading this already know, this is significant because of Glock’s popularity. Glock pistols have become the most popular and widely sold handguns on the planet. There are many tactical, logistical, and financial advantages to using the same magazine in your handgun and long gun – the ready availability and low price of Glock-compatible mags is a big one.

PSA PX9 Features

PSA X9 Review PCC features

1 Lightweight handguard

PSA 7″ lightweight M-LOK.

2 8620 Bolt Carrier Group (BCG)

The BCG is one of the most important parts of an AR style rifle. 8620 is military specification for M4 and M16 rifles.

3 Mil Spec. Fire Control Group (trigger components)

The X9 uses mil spec. trigger components allowing for easy trigger upgrading.

4 Adjustable SBA3 Stabilizing Brace

One of the best stabilizing braces available, the SB3 comes standard with the PSA X9.

PSA AR9 Models and Colors

Palmetto State Armory’s AR9 series offers many choices of style, features, and colors, including:

PSA X9 Shockwave Pistol Caliber Carbine

PSA PX9 Shockwave

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PSA Gen4 AR9 Classic Rifle

PSA-16in-MLOK-Classic-Rifle-PCC

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PSA PX9 Review – Our Take

The PSA is built on the classic AR-15 platform. This has several benefits to me because it allows the owner to customize the X9 to their taste. The finish and quality of PSA’s guns are hard to match in their price range. They often rival guns that sell for much more than the asking price from PSA. I am in my third year with my PX9 and have put thousands of rounds through it. I’m very happy with how it has performed.

Let’s start with the basics and then move on to its performance on the range.

On the range with the PX9 pistol caliber carbine from Palmetto State Armory

What parts are military specifications?

Because the PX9 is chambered in 9mm, there are, of course, some major differences between it and AR15 configurations chambered in rifle carbines. Most PCCs are blowback rather than gas-operated weapons.

This keeps them simple and reduces the number of parts. The BCG (bolt carrier group) is also different (and simpler). However, despite these seemingly major changes, anyone familiar with the AR15 will be completely comfortable running the PX9.

The PX9 has plenty of room for customization. Here are some of the parts on the X9 that are interchangeable (mil-spec) with any AR-15 rifle.

  • Pistol Grip
  • Charging Handle
  • Fire Control Group (trigger components)
  • Fire/Safe Selector
  • Handguard
  • Picatinny Rail
  • Buffer Tube & Stock/Brace

These are some of the most commonly upgraded parts on AR-15 rifles and leave room to individualize your PCC however you like. The upper receiver accepts standard AR-style 9mm barrels and muzzle devices as well.

A major difference between this PCC and a typical AR- and on of my only complaints about it – is that the bolt does not lock open on the last round. The mag release is extended, bring it within easy reach of the index finger, but without a bolt hold-open mag changes will take longer.

Quality

The quality of any gun starts with the type of metal it is made from. A flashy, cool-looking gun isn’t worth a lot if made from cheap materials. When you’re looking for a gun, don’t just look at the price to determine its quality. Look at the specs. See what it is made from. PSA uses billet 6061-T6 hard coat anodized upper receivers and forged 7076 T6 aluminum hard coat anodized lower receivers for their PCCs. These are solid, proven choices.

Barrels are 4150V Chrome Molly steel with a nitride finish -4150 is one of the better steels you can get for a barrel. They also use nitride treated 8620 steel bolts with an enhanced firing pin. These metals are some of the same materials used in high-end guns. This does not mean there isn’t a difference in quality when it comes to treating and producing parts from the metal, but it does let you know what they started with.

Reliability & Accuracy

I have used the PSA X9 on the range a lot. I’ve been shooting it for three years. I’ve had it so hot the handguard couldn’t be touched without gloves, and I have fired more rounds through it than I care to reckon the cost of without stopping to clean it. I always keep it oiled, but cleaning…well, that is only done when I get around to it.

The PSA X9 is a smooth shooter. It makes running drills fun.

Accessorized AR9 from Palmetto State Armory

I have never had a single malfunction, though admittedly, most of the ammo I put through it has been FMJ target ammunition. I have put some Hornady critical defense through it without issue, but I’d want to do further testing on how it runs defensive rounds before I relied on it for protection.

One thing that makes the PSA stand out from some of my other PPCs is its accuracy compared to the recoil and ease of operation. Compared to my Stribog, FX-9, and some custom build PCCs, the PSA is relatively dead-on. It’s at the top of the list (of my PCCs) when it comes to accuracy and ease of shooting. With a simple red dot sight, I can easily hit 8” targets at 100 yards.

Strike Industries charging handle (from Gun University's PSA PX9 review).

Finished Product

For what you get out of the box, the PSA PX9 is hard to beat. The finish on the upper and lower receivers is not the smoothest I have seen, but it’s not terrible. The upper is slightly rougher than the lower. The lower has that matte finish that looks like it is one birthday away from starting to shine.

Crimson Trace CTS 25 RDS (from Gun University's PSA PX9 review).

I upgraded the original stabilizing brace on my PX9 with an SB Tactical SB4 brace, a Strike Industries charging handle and a 3” KAK flash can on the muzzle. A Crimson Trace red dot and some backup iron sights have made this low-budget PCC one of the best and most used guns I have (regardless of the price point). And that’s why we’re adding it to our best pistol caliber carbine lineup.

PSA AR9 Pros and Cons

  • Familiar- AR15 manual of arms
  • MilSpec Commonality- Many interchangeable AR parts
  • Extended mag release – Helps with the reloads
  • Accepts Glock mags- There’s a reason so many PCCs do this
  • Affordable- The price is within just about any budget
  • No hold- No last round bolt hold-open
  • A little rough- Upper receiver finish could be smoother.
  • PCC (SBR?)- This *could* be an issue considering current legislation

Report Card

Shootability

Easy to handle, very low recoil.

B+
Reliability

I never had a malfunction with this weapon.

A
Ergonomics

No last round bolt hold-open.

B-
Accuracy

For a short barrel PCC, accuracy was pretty good.

B+
Value

The PSA PX9 can be had for around $600, making it a good price for what you get.

B
PSA-PX9-review-final-grade

PSA PX9 Pistol Caliber Carbine

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Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Jason Mosher

Reader’s Grade

TBD

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PSA’s PX9 Pistol Caliber Carbine Gun Deals

  • Gun.Deals

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  • Guns.com

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  • Palmetto State Armory

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PSA AR9 Ammo 

I’m a big fan of Maxx Tech for range ammunition, and my preferred self-defense ammo is Hornady Critical Defense. Some other options include:

Range/Target Shooting

Winchester 115gr FMJ

Marketplace
Cost
Gun.Deals $varies
Optics Planet $.40

Range/Training Ammo

Rainier Arms remanufactured 9mm ammunition

Rainier Munitions Remanufactured

Marketplace
Cost
Rainier Arms $.39

Range Rounds

MagTech-9mm-Ammo

MagTech 9mm 115 GR FMJ Ammo

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $0.24
Palmetto State Armory $0.34

Self Defense Ammunition

Box of Hornady 9mm pistol ammunition

Hornady Critical Defense 115 GR

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Cabela’s $1.24
Midway USA $1.24

Targets? Targets!

If you’re going to shoot, you’ll need some targets. We have ’em for you. You’re welcome.

PX9 PCC Accessories 

I accessorized my PX9 with a few things, including

  • Strike Industries Extended Charging Handle
  • SB Tactical SBM4 Stabilizing Brace
  • Crimson Trace CTS 25 Compact Red Dot
  • Nebo Protec 6109 Rail Mount Light

Some more options are:

1.

33 round factory Glock “Extendo”

33 round factory Glock
  • Durable polymer construction
  • Full-length steel reinforcements
  • Numbered witness holes
  • Impact-resistant polymer follower
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2.

KCI 50-round Drum

KCI 50-round Drum
  • Steel-lined polymer body
  • Chrome silicon wire spring
  • Polymer follower
  • Compatible with all double-stack Glock 9mm pistols
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3.

Magpul MS1 Sling

Magpul MS1 Sling
  • Every rifle should have a sling and a light
  • MS1 slider provides rapid adjustments
  • Strong and wear resistant
  • Survived testing with tens of thousands of cycles in wet, dry and sandy conditions.
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4.

Thorntail light mount

Thorntail light mount
  • 4 light mounting positions
  • 45 degree offset for ergonomic activation
  • Ambidextrous 4 total hand-guard mounting solutions
  • Designed by Haley Strategic for use with laser aiming device
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5.

Surefire M640U Scout Light Pro

Surefire M640U Scout Light Pro
  • Proven WML option
  • 1000 Lumen Ultra Hight Output LED
  • Rugged and reliable
  • Mil-Spec Hard Anodized finish, and O-ring sealed to keep out the elements.
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6.

Streamlight ProTac HL-X Rechargeable Long Gun Light

Streamlight ProTac HL-X Rechargeable Long Gun Light
  • Less expensive WML option
  • Up to 22-hour battery life
  • TEN-TAP Programming
  • Includes 2 switch controls (single button & remote pressure switch)
  • Dual fuel capable
  • Includes USB-rechargeable battery pack with charging cord
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7.

SIG Romeo5

SIG Romeo5
  • Good budget RDS option
  • 2 MOA Red-Dot
  • Motion Activated Illumination
  • Integrated M1913 Picatinny interface
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8.

Aimpoint CompM5b

Aimpoint CompM5b
  • Excellent (higher end) WML option
  • Quickly adjust the reticle in accordance with projectile ballistics and distance to target
  • Wind compensation adjustment in 3 levels
  • Compatible with the Aimpoint 3X & 6XMag-1 magnifiers
On Amazon
9.

Paragon Optic Cleaning Lens Cleaner

Paragon Optic Cleaning Lens Cleaner
  • Clean your optics and weapon light lens
  • 5ml Weapon Light Cleaner
  • 10ml Optic Lens Cleaner
  • Micro Fiber Cloth
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10.

The first half of “Eyes and Ears”

The first half of
  • Proper eye protection is critical and should always be worn
  • Ballistic rated, not just sunglasses
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11.

The second half of “Eyes and Ears”

The second half of
  • Ear protection is also critical. Protect your hearing!
  • Many styles (some stackable) are available
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12.

Appropriate cleaning kit

Appropriate cleaning kit
  • For cleaning, care, and maintenance
  • Not all kits are created equal
Compare top kits
13.

Dark Angel D.A.R.K. Trauma Kit

Dark Angel D.A.R.K. Trauma Kit
  • You should always have medical gear when shooting (any gun)
  • External Tourniquet for easy access
  • Pull handle for rapid deployment
  • Vacuumed sealed insert to keep your contents protected
  • Kit content scalability
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More About Your AR9

Need a guide to breaking down and cleaning up your PX9?

For more info regarding the Dissent, and some ways to train, check out the following resources:

  • PA9 Owners Manual
  • How much ammo do you need?
  • Check out the Maine Urban Rifle Qual Course
  • Hope you don’t need to know, but..cover vs. concealment
Gun University’s PSA PX9 Review: see how scholarly we are?

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