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Palmetto State Armory AR-9 Review

These days, 9mm Pistol Caliber Carbines (PCC) are all the rage. When you are looking at 9mm AR’s, there are several options on the market to consider. One of the most popular is the PSA, Palmetto State Armory, PA-9 pistol. The popularity is mostly due to the price that PSA offers, but is it worth the money?

PSA PA-9 AR Pistol

The PSA PA-9 features an 8-inch chrome-moly steel barrel chambered in 9mm, of course. These new PCCs feature PSA’s Gen 4 Hybrid 9mm bolt carrier group that features an enhanced firing pin and external 5.56 style extractor. The bolt weights 14.5 ounces and combined with a 5.5-ounce buffer. 

The lower is assembled with a Palmetto State Armory MOE SBA3 lower build kit with a Magpul Grip,  PSA six-position buffer tube, and SBA3 Adjustable Brace. The lower is compatible with Glock-style magazines. The downside is that it doesn’t feature a bolt hold open on the last round; more about this later. 

Historically, PSA hasn’t had a great reputation as far as quality goes. However, I had a chance to visit their factory and see the improvements that they are making. When PSA was outsourcing parts, things were hit-and-miss. Now the manufacture of most parts has been brought in-house. They even have a Lifetime Warranty on their PSA firearms. So if you have issues, then send it back to them, and they are going to fix it and make it right. Again, for the sub $600 price, depending on features, that is hard to complain about.

Palmetto State Armory PA-9 9mm AR pistol
Palmetto State Armory PA-9 9mm AR pistol

Palmetto State Armory PA-9 Review

There are some shortcomings with the PA-9, specifically around certain magazines. I tested a 50-round drum that I got from Gun Mag Warehouse, and do not recommend it. The ETS magazines that ship with the gun were not without their issues either. I also tested the MEAN Arms Endomag that allows you to use your regular AR lower with the PSA PA-9 upper

Lastly, the video addresses the difference between a $500 AR 9mm and a $1,500 AR (start around the 12-minute mark).

Palmetto State Armory PA-9 Results

Is the PSA 9mm AR worth the money? Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it for home defense or depend on it for security purposes without using Glock factory mags. In this gun, the magazines make the difference. Is it a good gun? Well, it is great for the range and target practice; however, it is not better than a CMMG Banshee, though it is a third of the price. Short answer: you get what you pay for. 

The good news is that it feeds all the ammo I ran through it, and with the Endomag you get the bolt hold open on the last round. If you plan on doing that, then think about just getting the upper. The trigger on the full gun is nothing to write home about and measured out at 6-7 pounds. 

The gun ran fine with the Bowers Vers 9S silencer. That is a plus, but be aware that the muzzle is threaded 1/2-36 instead of the standard 1/2-28 that most 9mm’s are threaded. 

The PSA PA-9 is a nice little budget gun overall. In the end, the choice is up to you. 

Key Features: PSA 9MM AR Pistol

Barrel Length: 8″
Gas System: Blowback
Barrel Profile: Heavy
Barrel Steel: 4150V Chrome Moly Steel
Muzzle Thread: 1/2-36
Chamber: 9mm
Twist Rate: 1 in 10″
Barrel Extension: Blowback
Muzzle Device: Birdcage Flash Hider
Handguard Type: PSA 7″ Lightweight M-Lok
Bolt Carrier Profile: 9mm Gen4
Grip: Magpul, Black
Pistol Brace: Adjustable SBA3 Brace, Black
Magazine: ETS Clear Magazine, 31 Round
MSRP: $799 (as featured)

Palmetto State Armory PA-9 9mm AR pistol
Palmetto State Armory PA-9 9mm AR pistol
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