PTR 9CT 9mm Pistol

It is good sometimes to step outside the comfort zone.

After decades of using and testing many types of standard handguns, carbines, rifles, and shotguns, I had the bug to test one of those big heavy pistols that is basically a cut down carbine. I did so and found a firearm with far more utility than I would have imagined.

The PTR 9CT 9mm is an interesting pistol. At this point I do not have to have a clearly defined mission for every firearm. Recreation, personal interest, and a whim is good enough.

When the particular firearm is very well made it is an investment in a firearms industry at its best.

PTR moved to South Carolina a few years ago.  I was at the plant for the opening ceremony. PTR has provided the best jobs many of the employees have had in their entire life. One reason for the move for the company was the choice of excellent human resources. The move was a pleasant one for the company. The situation for business in the north is not good. The anti-gun movement is in many ways an assault on business as well. High taxes and oppressive regulations are an antiseptic to business growth, a way to suppress without a ban.

As an aside I saw Governor Nikki Haley at the meeting. It was interesting that when handed a PTR rifle for use as a prop for a photo, she checked the chamber to be certain the rifle was not loaded. When a reporter walked in front of the muzzle she deftly raised the muzzle away. She knows how to handle a rifle! Her husband is an officer in the National Guard and also the real deal by all reports. As for the rifle – I was impressed with the modern machinery and quality of parts.

At the time the PTR 91 rifle was the only product. A US made clone of the venerable HK G3/HK91 7.62mm battle rifles.

PTR rifles are based on the Heckler and Koch roller cam operated rifle and built on that tooling. These rifles are superb, high quality, and offer excellent value. PTR now manufactures a copy of the Heckler and Koch MP5 in the 9CT. The MP5 is a submachinegun designed in the 1960s, often copied and very popular.

The primary advantage of the MP5 over other SMGs from the era is that the MP5 fires from a closed bolt. This results is much greater accuracy. The MP5 is also a better candidate for manufacture in semi automatic form. Most SMGs fire from an open bolt. The bolt slams forward when the trigger is pressed. This prevents a chambered round from cooking off in a hot chamber. The MP5 was designed for greater accuracy potential. The MP5 is a high point in quality manufacture and as a result very expensive. The PTR version is a semi auto version manufactured completely in the United States. 

The pistol’s fit and finish are exceptional.

The grip is well designed and the safety very easy to manipulate in the ergonomic sense. The safety is positive in operation and indents positively into position. The pistol features a diopter rear sight and a hooded front sight. The hooded front sight offers one of the finest combat sights ever designed. This sight is brilliantly fast on target and offers good accuracy. An advantage of the PTR over the original HK product is that the PTR version features a rail for mounting optics standard, not something the 60’s were as concerned with.

During the evaluation I have experimented with red dot sights, most of the testing has been with the stock sights however. The pistol features an 8.8 inch barrel and it isn’t overly heavy for its type at 5.5 pounds. The pistol is supplied with two clear plastic 30 round magazines, a sight tool, and a single point sling in an impressive foam lined locking hard case.

The PTR 9mm is operated like other HK type firearms with a non-reciprocating cocking handle. Bring the bolt to the rear, lock it in place. Insert a loaded magazine and release the bolt handle. The bolt flies forward loading the firearm. The HK design does not lock open on the last shot, a feature often picked on as showing the design’s age.

Prior to my experience with this pistol, I had little known use for a large heavy firearm like the 9CT. Either a SIG P226 or Beretta 92 was right, and the next step up was an AR 15 carbine. Intermediate weapons include a 12 gauge riot gun. The PTR 9CT did not fit my world view.

After a few weeks use and fifteen full magazines of various types of ammunition I it to be found a useful firearm. I have never mounted a wrist brace. Rather, I have used the pistol as built and delivered. I may step on some toes here, and while the AR 15 pistol may be a candidate for a wrist brace this pistol isn’t in my use. I have used the single point sling for a brace or simply used tension in holding the pistol on target. Sling tension method.

Often I simply used the front sight set low on the target to lead bullets into the X ring. This pistol is very easy to shoot well. Recoil is negligible. The pistol is very easy to stow away and keep at ready in the home or vehicle. The 9mm pistol doesn’t have much recoil to speak of with the roller action. Muzzle flash is modest, just a subdued glow with some loads.

The 9CT is easy to get hits with. Firing from waist level it isn’t difficult to send hits into the X ring of a man sized B-27 target out to 15 yards. Firing with the sling as a brace, the pistol is useful well past 25 yards. I have fired the pistol with a wide variety of loads including the Federal 115 grain FMJ load, Federal Syntech, and a good mix of hollow point loads. The pistol fed the Federal Hydra Shock, Federal HST, and Speer Gold Dot without any type of problem. The pistol has never failed to feed, chamber, fire or eject.

As far as absolute accuracy this isn’t the easiest pistol to benchrest properly. I managed to get a solid rest against the truck bed and fire the pistol from a cover. Firing carefully the pistol will place five rounds of 9mm into 4 inches at a long 50 yards when I manage the trigger properly. 

The only thing about the pistol I was not impressed with is the magazines. They are easy to load and proved reliable feeding. However I have tested similar clear plastic magazines in the Glock pistol. When dropped loaded they shatter. For a recreational piece that isn’t as important. At present with the PTR moving into a more serious role in defense plans I obtained two original German HK magazines. They lock in place and function properly. The PTR features two magazine releases. One is a paddle type and the other a push button type. Each works well depending on your style.  The HK magazines are necessary for me and my recommendation for critical use. These magazines are not inexpensive but may be found at around ninety dollars each. 

I am impressed with this pistol. It is very well made, smooth in operation, and in many ways an important tribute to the history of HK firearms for the past sixty years. It is well worth the money and more useful than I would have thought.