CMMG recently released a 9mm version of their Guard Rifle – a radial delayed blowback pistol caliber carbine. And just like the 45ACP version, it is a soft shooting and reliable setup.
Reliability: I had way too much fun testing the 9mm Guard. I probably sent over 1,000 rounds downrange with it and it never had a single hiccup. This was right out of the box with no oil or lube and nearly always suppressed, which tends to make guns a bit dirtier than normal. I either shot with the supplied Glock 33 round magazine or my shorter G19 mags just for convenience sake. The Guard never failed to feed or lock the bolt back when empty. Downright impressive.
Uniqueness: The main difference with CMMG’s Guard line is the Radial Delayed Blowback operating system. Most AR15 style PCCs (Pistol Caliber Carbines) utilize a straight blowback operation that requires a heavier bolt and buffer than a standard 5.56mm AR15 style rifle resulting in more felt recoil as each action has Newton’s Third law of physics states. However, with the unique bolt design the CMMG Guard’s bolt weighs up to 6 oz less than other PCC bolts and uses a standard AR buffer that can weigh less than half traditional blowback compatible buffers making the Guard one heck of a soft shooting rifle. As you can see in the video it tends to look like it has just a little more buck than a .22LR.
Specs: The Guard boasts of a billet lower that accepts Glock magazines. A duel pinned machine bolt catch linkage keeps the bolt catch in the same place as traditional ARs. It has a oversized low profile magazine catch. The forged upper comes with either Keymod or MLOCK CMMG hand guard. The 1/2-36 threaded barrel comes in either 8.5” or 16” lengths. And finally you can order the Guard in black or Cerekoted in Flat Dark Earth, Burnt Bronze, Midnight Bronze, Sniper Grey, or Titanium finish.
Extras: Because of the lightweight action design, CMMG offers an action tuning kit allowing you to add a few extra ounces in order to tame higher pressure loads. While the stock setup cycled reliably, I ended up installing a 2 ounce weight in the back of the bolt since I primarily shoot suppressed. Other options were the 1 ounce or 3.4 ounce weights which might be handy if shooting suppressed with +P rounds. Besides rail options and barrel lengths, you can also trade out the 6.25# mil-spec trigger for a Geissele SSA trigger for an added $200 when ordering.
Accuracy: Using Angelfire ammunition I had no problems knocking down plate racks from 50 yards. Testing further back for accuracy I used either Federal HST or my own Hornady XTP 147 handholds and was getting sub 4” splatters easily enough from 100 yards with only a red dot optic. Interestingly enough, the Federal HST 147s were actually supersonic out of the 8.5” barrel. When testing accuracy for the video with reloaded Hornady XTP 147s all but two rounds looks like they were touching in a 3.5” area.
Final Thoughts: I’d probably be leery of a new action if I hadn’t tested it with thousands of rounds of mixed ammunition. But since I have had the chance to do just that with the Guard in 45ACP and now 9mm I’m a fan. The rifles just work. I love the option of shooting a 9mm AR style rifle at my range from pistol to rifle distance. The Guard is also a convenient defensive choice, especially if you already use a Glock. The ability to tune for hotter ammo or suppressed makes it a win/win/win for me. This sucker is going to cost me thousands in ammunition because it’s too much fun to put down. Prices start at $1,299 with six options currently from pistol, NFA SBR, to full length rifle. Check them out here: https://www.cmmginc.com/product-category/rifles/9mm-guard-rifles/