Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC)

One of the hottest trends in current USPSA Action Shooting events is the number of competitors trying out the recently-added Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) Division.  The new division allows rifles chambered in a pistol caliber allowed per USPSA rules (9mm, .357 SIG, .40 SW, 10mm, .45 ACP).  It might seem odd to envision competitors shooting rifles in a pistol competition, but once you become more familiar with the specifics you’ll see this new addition to USPSA can be a ton of fun and adds a new dimension and challenge for many shooters!


PCC appeals to both experienced and new USPSA competitors for various reasons.  For a competitor who has been shooting USPSA events for some time, PCC offers a new experience and challenge, as many of the techniques honed through years of handgun training need to be relearned when shooting a PCC.  For new competitors, some may choose to start with PCC rather than a handgun division, either due to physical limitations or just because it’s fun! Optics are allowed on PCC’s in USPSA competition, so those with vision issues using iron pistol sights may find PCC an ideal way to “stay in the game”! (Note: in Steel Challenge, optics are optional and classified in separate division from iron sights – PCCO vs PCCI).


Here’s a video of our USPSA Section Coordinator shooing PCC at a local ENPS match!


Due to the physical properties of a rifle vs. a handgun, several of the procedures used in USPSA events must be modified when shooting a PCC. Typical regulations related to holstering and transporting a handgun cannot be applied to a PCC as there is no holster! Therefore, rules have been adopted by the USPSA related to this, and specific procedures have been put in place by the ENPS Committee, to make PCC competition safe and efficient.

The bottom line is that a PCC should be transported to the range in a case/bag, transported around the range in a case/bag, and only removed from the case/bag on the line of fire at the direction of a Range Officer. At the conclusion of shooting your course of fire, immediately place the PCC back in it’s case/bag. One of the RO’s or a buddy will hand you your case/bag at your finish position so you can “bag it”.

Some helpful information/tips from our USPSA Section Coordinator regarding PCC:

General things to know about PCC:

  1. There is no designated berm area for bagging and unbagging PCCs. As such, PCCs must remain bagged or in a cart and brought to the line in that fashion. When the RO says make ready, the PCC may be removed from the cart/bag, keeping in mind rule PCC and PCC which says that failure to point the muzzle at a side berm or back stop during casing or uncasing will result in a DQ.

  2. At the end of the course of fire, the bag/cart will be brought to the shooter’s ending position, and the unloading/clearing process will end with the competitor re-bagging the PCC prior to the “range is clear” command. (Arranging this beforehand with a squadmate will save a LOT of time and headache.)

    Given those two procedures, no PCC should ever be out of a bag or cart UNLESS in a safety area. If you bring it to the range in a bag, just leave it in the bag the whole time—this is the easiest way to not DQ yourself.

  3. If a PCC is secured in a cart without a bag or case, the PCC must have a visible chamber flag inserted. If in a bag, a chamber flag is not necessary. For those using PCCs in carts without bags or cases, note that it is a DQ if the PCC sweeps “any person with the muzzle of a PCC, whether loaded or not, even if a chamber flag is inserted” per PCC As such, if your cart does not have the muzzle angled downward, it is (at some time) probably going to be an issue that gets you DQed. (Even if it IS angled downward, it might be an issue. It is strongly suggested that if you use a cart for transport of your PCC, do so using a bagged PCC. Some people have gun sheaths mounted on that carts, and that seems to work REALLY well.)
  4. We used to have a default start position for PCC as part of the ENPS match rules. This practice has been discontinued as it appears to not be necessary. Either the WSB will specify a PCC start position, the start position in the WSB will be able to be applied equally to PCCs and pistols, or the PCC competitor may assume whatever start position they want subject to the rules of the PCC ready condition.
  5. The PCC default ready condition: Magazine inserted, chamber loaded, safety on, finger visibly outside of the trigger guard. (If unloaded start, just like pistols the bolt must be forward and the hammer down.)
  6. 6) “Strong hand only” and “weak hand only” in PCC mean “both hands on the gun, gun shouldered on the designated side, trigger pulled with designated hand.” Course descriptions may never require a PCC to be fired using only one hand. PCC competitors may NOT be required to perform any uprange starts while holding the carbine.
  7. There are no magazine capacity limits, so a 33-round Glock mag with a Taylor Freelance +10 extension is completely legal. So are 10-round mags. Extra magazines must still be carried according to USPSA rules (and PCC rules for equipment carry match Open rules.)
  8. In PCC, there is no separation between optics and irons. All PCCs run in the same division, so having a dot and a compensator does NOT move you to a separate division like it does in Steel Challenge.
  9. SBRs are legal, as long as the competitor owns it legally and follows all applicable state and federal laws. AR-type pistols are not, however—all PCCs must have a shoulder stock attached and be able to be fired from the shoulder.

If you’re excited to give PCC a try, whether you’re an experienced or new USPSA competitor, DO IT!

And you don’t need to be a GM-level shooter to have fun with PCC, here’s a video of a first-year USPSA competitor trying PCC for the first time at the 2016 Zombie Match, YOU TOO can do this!