I’m in love with pistol caliber carbines. They are a very special product in my book. They fit the role of home defense and general defense firearm better, for some people, than a centerfire rifle caliber carbine does but for some reason are overlooked by many. You gain a lot of positives when you run one as a defensive firearm. Commonality of magazines and ammunition is a pretty huge plus to me. You also gain a fair amount of velocity and energy increase from the longer barrel on a pistol caliber carbine, well into the 1100FPS territory for the .45 ACP model I tested. There are a few options on the market for those looking for a pistol caliber carbine (PCC). Kel-Tec and Hi-Point make a couple of the most popular and highest selling PCC’s out there, both are also about as ugly as original sin. There are also a few makers of AR patterned carbines that make pistol caliber versions which will run you a few bucks for sure. Today however, we are going to focus on the Just Right Carbine.
Just Right Carbines is an American manufacturer located in New York. They are producing a pretty exciting and innovative product, the JR Carbine. The JRC is a totally ambidextrous and modular firearm that allows for a fair amount of customizing. The ejection of the shell casings can be changed from left to right as well as the bolt handle. You can change caliber and magazine used with very minimal effort as well. Calibers offered are 9mm .40S&W and .45 ACP (there are no plans for them to make any other calibers) All models but the .45 also exclusively use Glock magazines currently. The model I got my hands on was a .45 ACP version that fires from Glock 21 magazines. The .45 offering also is able to be converted to use GI patterned 1911 magazines.
You will notice two things when you have a JR Carbine in your hands, first thing is the very familiar controls and form factor. The manufacturer went to great lengths to make this carbine very easy to use for those that are intimately familiar with the AR platform, although the magazine release is not where you would expect it. It is located on the left side of the carbine and magazine changes are effected by depressing the mag release with your left thumb and removing the magazine. The second thing you’ll notice is the weight of the thing. The JRC is a blowback operated semi-automatic which is the standard for PCC’s. When things are blowback operated, mass of the bolt is what’s used to counteract the force of the round being fired from the carbine, as opposed to using some of the gasses and spring pressure to cycle the bolt through a gas tube that is connected to the barrel towards the muzzle, like in an AR-15. One of the things I preach constantly to anyone that will listen to me is that lightweight is key. If a firearm is simply too heavy to carry around then you won’t carry it. The 17 inch barrel is very thick on these and from my shooting, it affords very acceptable accuracy, although with it being a 17 inch barrel the velocity of rounds isn’t as spectacular as it could be if the barrel was shortened by just one inch. Powders that propel pistol rounds are very fast burning, when the powder is all burned up in the barrel and the round still has some distance to cover it will start to slow down from the friction against the rifling in the barrel. This is less than ideal.
The particular model I shot had a few aftermarket features installed on it by the owner that should be mentioned. It had Magpul MBUS sights (which I hated so much, they made me want to kick puppies) and a Lone Wolf muzzle brake as well (Which was very cool on this carbine). The model I tested was also finished in a digital desert camo. The finish was nice and well applied, I am however not a huge fan of camo patterns on firearms. The stock was also replaced with a Magpul ACS.
The owners manual tells you a couple things that you will need to know about this carbine. There is no last shot hold open, which isn’t uncommon with a PCC. The JRC is also sensitive to over insertion of magazines and resting the carbine on the magazine. There is no mechanism to stop the magazine from being over inserted other than the magazine release itself, so they specifically inform you to not slap the magazines in place like you would on an AR. The buffer tube on the JRC is going to look very familiar to those of you with AR platform rifles. Do not under any circumstance try to use AR buffers or buffer springs in this carbine, also make certain to use the rubber bumper and nylon disk in place in the buffer tube as well. You will damage the firearm if you don’t follow this instruction.
The JR Carbine was a joy to shoot. Recoil was extremely manageable (read non-existent) making controlled pair shooting and follow up shots very easy. The controls and pistol grip are straight from an AR (as is the entire trigger group from what I understand) so it was a very comfortable and familiar firearm for me to shoot. The trigger wasn’t anything special, about what you would expect from an off the rack AR. The trigger reset was very short which made follow up shots very quick. One thing to mention is that since the carbine is ambidextrous, it has a channel cut on the left side of the receiver for the reciprocating bolt handle to ride in. This channel also is fairly efficient at blowing gasses into your face. Don’t let this sour you on this great carbine though, it’s not that bad at all. The carbine is sold without sights on it which allows you to choose your own or run glass of some kind. This carbine also uses a standard AR barrel nut which allows for using aftermarket free float AR handguards. Disassembly is not very easy with this carbine, actually it’s pretty involved and requires removing screws. Pistol ammo does tend to run dirty so you will become intimately familiar with the disassembly procedure. As I said in the first paragraph, this carbine is very easy to customize. It is sturdy and runs well. I feel as though this carbine has made a very nice place for itself in the PCC category. They can be found pretty easily for sub $700 and the abundance of Glock magazines on the market makes for easy access to feeding devices(JRC recommends factory Glock magazines). Pistol ammunion is generally cheaper than rifle rounds and is easier to find than most rifle calibers are as well. If you are contemplating a purchase of a carbine of some sort and haven’t made up your mind yet, the JR Carbine is certainly deserving of your consideration. One is definitely in the running for a spot in my gun safe.