The 9mm Ruger PC Charger is Ruger’s first pistol-caliber entry into what can best be labeled the “personal-defensive weapon” — or “PDW” — category. This is a compact self-defense arm best fired with two hands.

The PDW category has literally exploded in popularity due to a recent position letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It basically declared that such an arm — when equipped with a pistol brace rather than a rifle stock — no longer requires specialized firing positions that prohibit it from being fired off the shoulder.

About the Ruger PC Charger

The Ruger PC Charger is basically the 9mm Ruger PC Carbine modified to PDW configuration, making it totally reliable, accurate, easy to shoot and fun. Having worked with two different PC Chargers, I would say that Ruger has another winner.

The Ruger PC Charger ships without a pistol brace. I suppose this is because there are so many pistol braces available now that no matter which one Ruger installs at the factory, the purchaser will want something different. Think about which brace to buy before purchasing a PC Charger. The Charger also ships with a 17-round Ruger SR-series magazine and interchangeable mag wells for the Glock 17. A mag well for Ruger American magazines is available for purchase.

The rear of the PC Charger’s receiver has a segment of integrated 7075-T6 Picatinny for attaching Picatinny-compatible braces. There are also two quick-detach sling mounting points at the rear for general carry or for shooting the PC Charger without attaching a brace.

The PC Charger is built with Ruger’s typical bank-vault solidness, meaning it’s fairly heavy! Handling and firing with a pistol brace attached is much preferred to trying to shoot it like a true handgun.

Ruger PC Charger Specs

MSRP: $799
Overall length: 16.5 inches
Barrel length: 6.5 inches
Barrel type:
Threaded/blued alloy steel/cold hammer forged
Receiver: Aluminum alloy/type III hard-coat anodized with integral Picatinny rail
Forend: CNC-machined aluminum/M-LOK compatible/factory-installed handstop
Action type: “Dead Blow”
Weight: 5.2 pounds
Operating controls: Push-button crossbolt safety/reversible magazine catch/reversible charging handle
Magazine capacity: 17 rounds

About the Crimson Trace CTS-1000

With the weight of the PC Charger being what it is, I didn’t want to add any additional weight by using an older, heavier optic on it for testing. For a modern, lightweight optic, I turned to Crimson Trace.

Crimson Trace isn’t just about laser sights anymore. It has added electronic sights to its lineup, encompassing the full spectrum of optical-sighting-system options.

Designed for rifles and carbines, the CTS-1000 is a compact 2.0 MOA Red-Dot sight with 1x magnification. Dimensions are as follows:

In testing, the CTS-1000 proved to be the right selection for use on the PC Charger. It is lightweight but large enough in diameter to allow the red dot to be easily picked up when bringing the PC Charger to bear on target. The CTS-1000’s red dot is easily turned off and on — as well as adjusted — by the up and down control buttons on top. The lenses are scratch-resistant. A microfiber cleaning cloth is included for lens care. Only one CR-2032 battery is needed for power.

Crimson Trace CTS-1000 Specs

MSRP: $299
Weight: 5.9 ounces
Length: 2.7 inches
Width: 2.1 inches
Material: Aircraft-grade anodized aluminum
Illumination settings: 10x
Adjustment gradations: 1 MOA
Mounting system: QD lever

At the Range

After popping on the CTS-1000 (in about 20 seconds), I headed out to my lieutenant’s range with a selection of SIG Sauer’s hot 124-grain M-17 Elite Ball practice ammo as well as the 124-grain Elite V-Crown defensive ammo. Recoil was almost non-existent with both these loads.

The charging handle of the PC Charger is easily grasped and retracted, providing good leverage. The included Ruger magazine loaded easily. If I were going to purchase a PC Charger for myself, I would mount the charging handle on the left side and the takedown button on the right since I’m right-handed. This way, it would operate in a fashion more similar to an AR-15. Because I own a Glock 17, I would also change out the mag well to the one that accommodates G17 magazines. I would also add a pistol brace.

The PC Charger performed flawlessly. With a pistol brace attached on my previous test, I was able to fire five-shot 1-inch groups using a rested position out to 40 feet and 2.5-inch groups out to 50 feet. My lieutenant and I both tested the PC Charger using full 17-round magazines. Without a pistol brace on the Charger and with each of us shooting from a two-handed standing position, our groups at 25 feet measured between 3 and 4 inches. (Not bad, but the groups would have been even better with a brace attached.)

Wrap Up

The Ruger PC Charger is very well-thought-out and an exemplar of the new breed of PDW with great defensive potential. They are currently available for $699 at most dealers. The innovative interchangeable mag wells give the user additional flexibility. Ruger has another hit on its hands.


Crimson Trace:

About Scott W. Wagner

After working undercover in narcotics and liquor investigations, Scott W. Wagner settled down to be a criminal justice professor and police academy commander. He was also a SWAT team member, sniper and assistant team leader before his current position as patrol sergeant with the Village of Baltimore, Ohio, Police Department. Scott is a police firearms instructor certified to train revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun.