When Federal launched its Syntech ammunition in 2017 shooters were blown away by the unconventional bullet design. Through the use of a polymer encapsulated projectile, the legendary manufacturer found a way to produce a round that is gentler in the barrel, cleaner and safer to use on steel targets. While the introduction of the Training line of ammo met the needs of the pistol shooter, it left out an entire class of firearms owner: Pistol caliber carbines. Federal Syntech PCC fills that void.

Federal Syntech PCC

When folks think of 9mm Luger they immediately associate it with handguns. While this is usually the case, the pistol caliber carbine has taken its foothold in the shooting sports and was in need of appropriate ammo. But only handloaders were able take full advantage of slinging the iconic round through a long gun. Everyone else simply used factory ammo developed for shorter barreled firearms.

While putting pistol ammo through a long gun isn’t necessarily dangerous, it isn’t ideal. For starters, the feeding systems are a little different. Most pistols will cycle rounds with an aggressively curved bullet the best, as the typical feed ramp best accommodates this profile. AR-style 9mm carbines usually require bullets that have a more gradual slope, as they generally have further to travel during their trip to the chamber. Furthermore, powder type and charge weights in most 9mm ammunition are optimized to burn completely in a short  barrel, usually no longer than five inches. This same ammo in a carbine does not make the best use out of the extra 11-plus inches of barrel it is afforded, and thus doesn’t reach its maximum potential velocity.

Built to Feed in Carbines

Utilizing the same polymer coating, Federal developed its PCC line of Syntech ammo to correct all of these deficiencies for the carbine shooter. Through the use of a 130-grain conical bullet, it achieved an overall cartridge length that fed reliably though a variety of carbine rifles. This round uses a different powder charge than that of Syntech Training and/or Syntech Defensive ammunition. Syntech PCC essentially burns slower to ensure that the bullet picks up as much velocity as possible as it travels down the longer barrel of today’s typical carbine.

Federal’s new Catalyst primer sets off the powder charge. It ensures a very hot and complete ignition in any weather, without the use of lead. All together we get a round that is safer on the lungs and safer to shoot at steel. It lacks the traditional copper jacket that is notorious for splashing back and injuring the shooter and/or bystanders. Federal eliminated metal on metal contact with the omission of the jacket. In turn, this reduced barrel friction and wear while completely eliminating the dreaded copper fouling.

Excited to get my hands on it, I stopped by Federal’s booth at the recent Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous. Here we sent a few hundred rounds of this stuff into the basin of the Grand Teton Mountains. You know, for science. I started my evaluation by comparing how the new Syntech PCC fed up the feed ramp of a custom build JP Enterprises 9mm carbine when compared to the original Training line. While the Training ammo fed and functioned, it did indeed hit the nose of the bullet on the way up, on the top of the chamber. The Syntech PCC cleared the chamber walls on the way up and went in effortlessly, without any bullet deformation.

Competition Ready Ammo

This of course was also one of the contributing factors to the round’s accuracy. It was easily observed as we engaged steel past 100 yards. Although this type of accuracy isn’t atypical out of a carbine, I raised an eyebrow by scoring a first-round hit on our 100 yard target with a Glock 17 handgun.

As I left the range I took three boxes “to-go” for some continued work in my upcoming 9mm assignments. Overall I can give this ammo my highest recommendation. It works for anyone who just needs their PCC to run and wants to keep it clean and cool.

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