U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Aero Precision, one of the largest AR manufacturers in the country, has finally decided to produce a pistol-caliber carbine. We first saw the Aero PCC at SHOT 2019, and then things got quiet. Covid hit, a lot of things slowed down, but this year we finally saw the release of the Aero Precision EPC. It’s not entirely fair to call the EPC a pistol caliber carbine, and Aero doesn’t even call it that. EPC stands for Enhanced Pistol Caliber.
You might have an Enhanced Pistol Caliber carbine, or you might have an Enhanced Pistol Caliber pistol. At the heart of the EPC sits the upper and lower, and whatever you make out of that is up to you. Aero is a builders brand, and as such, once you have the EPC upper and lower, you can build whatever you want as the system is compatible with 99% of the AR 9mm parts out there.
I went with a full-sized rifle. That means a 16-inch barrel, full-length handguard, Magpul MOE SL stock, and all the fixings. I build mine from a box of parts and pieces, and assembly is quite quick. The EPC lower utilizes some of the features on the M4E1. This includes the threaded bolt catch, an integrated trigger guard, and threaded takedown pin detent channel. Also, the bolt release and magazine release are preinstalled.
With the right tools, I spun the EPC together in about an hour or so.
What Makes the EPC Enhanced?
ARs in 9mm is pretty simple. Chamber it for Glock mags, toss in a blowback system, and call it a day. Luckily, Aero took the time to enhance a few things and change it from the normal AR 9. For example, the EPC’s magazine release is massive, and even though you are utilizing Glock magazines, the magazine release sits exactly where it would sit on a 5.56 model.
The EPC also features a last-round bolt hold-open device. LRBHOs are rare in the world of AR9s, especially when they utilize Glock magazines. Aero Precision built the LRBHO in the upper receiver, and it is a proprietary part. It works like a charm.
Additionally, the lower receiver sports a flared magazine well that makes reloads quite quickly. When you combine a flared magazine well, an LRBHO device, and a massive magazine release, you get a weapon that’s very quick to reload. With 33 round Glock magazines, it’s not like you lack space to grab the magazine.
On The Range
I love PCCs. They are so much fun to shoot, and the EPC is no different. Mines quite light with most of the weight in the rear with the heavy buffer and stock placing it more rearward than forward. The Atlas rail up front gives me plenty of room to grip the gun and plenty of room to mount accessories as needed. Plus, it keeps the forward portion of the gun super light and easy to drive from target to target.
Recoil from an EPC with a 16-inch barrel and VG6 compensator delivers low recoil and even lower muzzle rise. You can spew 9mm rounds through the gun with minimal muzzle rise and recoil. Keeping it on target and dumping rounds feels so good. At 50 yards, my muzzle stays low enough to ding an 8-inch gong through half a dozen rounds fired in quick succession, with the sights rising just a bit between shots.
I did lots of reloads with this thing and found it to be insanely smooth. Magazines drop free without protest, and slamming a new magazine home takes very little effort. Honestly, the combination of features of the EPC allows it to be very easy to get up and running once the bolt locks to the rear, and the last round is fired.
In terms of reliability, it’s unfortunate that ammo is somewhat scant. I can’t put a dozen different types of ammo downrange to see if I can make it fail. What I can do is toss some cheap steel case, some moderately priced brass ammunition, and some expensive JHPs. Everything worked except for an exceptionally hard primered round of steel-cased ammo. I tried and tried and couldn’t get the round to fire in the EPC or a Glock.
What About Magazines?
Let’s talk Glock mags. Everyone makes them, right? Glock, Magpul, KCI, ETS, and more all make some variations of Glock magazines. I wanted to see if the EPC could use all the Glock magazines out there, or at least as many as I could gather. GunMagWarehouse happily sent me some magazines to test out. I ran Glock OEM, ETS, KCI, and Magpul magazines from full to empty. Each one fed fine was reliable in the rifle and activated the bolt hold-open device without issue.
The Enhanced Pistol Caliber
Currently, the EPC is available in 9mm and 40 S&W receiver sets. In the future, Aero Precision plans to release a 10mm and 45 ACP variant of the EPC. They will also take Glock magazines. The EPC from Aero Precision is a heckuva platform for those looking for a AR 15 style 9mm rifle. Is it for you? Let us know below!
About Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner, a lifelong firearms enthusiast, and now a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is the world’s Okayest firearm’s instructor.