Investing in a high-quality 9mm AR lower is a solid foundation to make your AR-9 more reliable and more durable. At the same time, customizing and upgrading your AR is a satisfying and enjoyable experience. I have spent quite some time at the range and ended up with these three top ar 9 lower pics:
- Palmetto State Armory (PSA) 9mm Classic Lower Receiver: An awesome lower comes with AR-15 9mm uppers and accommodates various 9mm pistol bracing.
- PSA PX-9 Glock Style MOE Lower: This lower is created from 7075 T6 forgings with a hard-coat anodized body and designed to handle 9mm Glock-style magazines.
- CMMG AR-15 9mm Dedicated Lower Receiver: This nice lower is built of 7075 T6 aluminum billet, which is strong and long-lasting.
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What is an AR-9?
One of the original iterations for the 9mm AR was the Colt 9mm Carbine released in the mid+1980s. It was also known as the Colt Model 653. The Colt 9mm Carbine was essentially a scaled-down M16 and chambered for the 9mm cartridge.
Today, the concept of pistol caliber carbines have exploded in popularity. With a 9mm carbine, you can use the same ammunition (and sometimes even the same magazine) as your handgun, but because of the longer barrel you should get much greater bullet velocity and accuracy. Furthermore, their compact size makes them very nimble and adept for home defense.
With a 9mm AR lower, you can either upgrade your existing 9mm AR-15, or you can use it to help build a custom made 9mm AR as well. Either way, it’s very important to invest in a high quality lower for your AR. This is because without a quality lower it doesn’t matter if the upper and the rest of the components are high quality either. After all, it is the lower receiver that does the business and enables you to pull the trigger. If you are about to start a new build consider reading our article on 9mm BCGs as well.
In this article, we will go over the main benefits of the 9mm Luger for the AR. We’ll cover the top features and qualities to look for in a lower receiver for the AR9. Alternatively you should also look into AR-15 9mm conversion kits, as they can often offer an easier way to convert your AR.
Why Go With The 9mm Luger For Your AR?
There are two fundamental reasons for investing in a 9mm AR. 1) it allows you to shoot the same ammunition as your 9mm pistol, and 2) It’s a great choice of weapon for home defense.
Think about it from this perspective: say you have a 9mm pistol such as a Glock 19. By investing in a 9mm AR, you now have a carbine that accepts the same ammunition and perhaps even the same magazines as your Glock, which simplifies your loadout greatly.
Most 9mm AR15s are also very short, compact, and lightweight. This makes them easier to maneuver in tight conditions. Granted, there are 5.56 caliber ARs that are very compact and lightweight as well. You may also say that it doesn’t matter if your carbine and pistol have the same ammunition or magazines.
Well, the 9mm will kick less than the 5.56 from your AR-15. Furthermore, it will not be as loud as a 5.56 either. In a home defense situation, this means that you can potentially shoot faster follow-up shots. Besides, a quieter rifle will deal less of a blow to your ears in the tight walls of your home. Take note, that ‘quieter’ does not mean that the 9mm is quiet. It’s just not quite as loud as the 5.56.
So any downsides?
Granted, there are cons to going with a 9mm AR-15 9mm as a pistol round. It has drastically inferior ballistics and less range compared to the 5.56. 9mm can be great for a defensive round, but only if you go with proven jacketed hollow point self-defense rounds.
As a hunting round as well, 9mm is definitely inferior to 5.56. The 5.56 is a solid round to use for medium-sized game such as deer or wild boar. Additionally, while the 9mm *can* be used on such game, you will need to be within significantly closer ranges.
Most 9mm AR lower receivers are also 80 percent lowers, which means that they are not entirely complete. The benefit here is that they are legal with a minimum to no checks in most states. For more on why going with an 80% lower read our Best AR-15 80% Lowers guide.
If you buy a stripped lower receiver, you can have it shipped directly to your home. No need to have it transferred through an FFL. This can make the process of shipping it out to you very convenient.
Finally, 9mm ARs are just fun to shoot. Practical applications aside, you can get a lot of fun out of shooting them at the range.
Buyer’s Guide To Finding The Best AR 9 Lower
These are the most important factors to consider when you are looking for an AR 9 lower:
Remember that your AR9 is only as good as your lower receiver is. Your lower receiver needs to be built from high-quality materials. This is not something that you should negotiate on. Pay extra for a lower receiver if it means it’s going to be more durable and long-lasting.
The gold standard for materials in a lower receiver is a forged aircraft-grade 7075-T6 aluminum build construction. Aluminum is very lightweight and also highly durable. You’ll find many other firearms built out of aluminum that has stood the test of time. Now, a billet 6061-T6 receiver is also a great option.
High Quality Finish
While having a durable lower receiver certainly helps make your receiver tougher and more long lasting, it’s only part of the equation. You also need to have a high-quality finish. This means that your receiver will hold up much better to wear and tear. This, in turn, means less rust and corrosion.
If you use your ARs in inclement weather with lots of moisture you should pay extra attention to this. An anodized Teflon finish is a great example of a surface that can hold up well against the elements. A stainless steel finish is another good option. Yet another choice could be to get your gun covered in Cerakote. This is not an actual finish, but still a protective coating that holds up well to moisture.
Stripped or Assembled AR 9 Lower?
With an AR lower, you have the choice between a stripped or an assembled/complete version. Assembled or complete means that the lower is ready to go out of the box. They are incredibly easy to install, requiring few skills or tools.
Whit the stripped you’ll need to do a bit of work before you can shoot. And, of course, this involves paying for more components. It also involves hiring a gunsmith if you don’t have the skills or tools to do the job yourself. However, the main advantage of a stripped receiver is customization. You can customize the gun as you see fit with your desired components. You can really make it truly yours.
Last but not least, pay close attention to magazine compatibility. Not all 9mm AR lowers will work with all 9mm magazines. For example, the Colt 653 Commando we’ll look at later and the PSA forged Glock style have their preffered mag.
Note that even if the manufacturer of a 9mm lower says it is compatible with Glock magazines, it may not work with all aftermarket magazines. In short, do think ahead about which 9mm magazines you want to use.
Now that we have gone through the basics let’s get on to my top three picks for 9mm AR lowers.
The 3 Best AR 9 Lowers
PSA 9mm Classic Colt-Style Lower Receiver
One of the original 9mm ARs was the Colt 9mm Carbine (also known as the Model 653), which was essentially a more compact AR-15 scaled-down, re-chambered for the 9mm, and with a Colt 9mm AR magazine. If you are looking for a classic-looking lower receiver for your AR9, this is an excellent option. The PSA 9mm Classic Colt-style lower receiver is essentially designed to look and feel the same as the lower receiver for the Colt 9mm Carbine.
Many who purchase this product are Colt enthusiasts who already own Colt AR-15 carbines and Colt 1911 .45 pistols, but they don’t want to pay the higher Colt-level price tag for a 9mm lower receiver. The PSA comes ready to install on AR 9mm uppers right out of the box, and the buffer tube is long and secure enough to accept a wide variety of different 9mm pistol braces. If you are looking for more info on buffers, we also got a guide for 9mm AR buffers.
However, there is no buttstock that comes on this particular PSA lower, as it is designed to be used with AR pistols rather than AR carbines and rifles. You can, however, add the stock yourself, along with a carbine or rifle upper if you so choose.
The PSA Classic may not be the exact same thing as the lower receiver featured on the Colt 9mm Carbine, but it’s also pretty darn close, and is available for only a fraction of the cost.
Overall, the PSA 9mm Classic Colt-style Lower Receiver is an excellent option to go with if you are looking for a high quality alternative to the Colt 9mm Carbine. The PSA Classic is easy to install, has a classic look and feel, and is fully compatible with other PSA 9mm AR upper receivers.
- High quality finish
- Classic look and feel
- Easy to install
- Accepts most Colt-magazines
- Buffer tube is very secure
- Great option for AR pistols
- Accepts Colt 9mm AR magazines
- Retainer pins longer than usual
- Does not come with a stock
PSA PX-9 Forged Complete Glock Style MOE Lower
The PSA PX-9 Forged Complete Glock Style MOE Lower is one of the best lower receivers to go with if you want to use Glock magazines for your 9mm ar lower receiver. Not all AR9 lowers will accept Glock magazines. In fact, most will mainly work with Colt or Colt-style 9mm AR magazines.
However, the PX9 is fully compatible with Glock 9mm magazines. As I said before, it may or may not be compatible with the massive variety of aftermarket Glock magazines that exist. Therefore, if you have any aftermarket magazines in your possession for a 9mm Glock, see if you can test it before you buy. Ask a friend at the range or at your local gunshop.
This 9mm ar lower is very durable and built to the same level of quality that we have come to expect from Palmetto State Armory. It’s fully compatible with all PSA 9mm upper receivers and hybrid uppers as well. The trigger pull is also very crisp, and the entire upper receiver is very lightweight. The recoil reduction system that comes installed on the lower is also welcomed. If you are a Glock enthusiast, the PX9 will be an excellent addition to your 9mm Glock pistol, and you can use the same magazines for both weapons.
All in all, the PSA PX-9 Forged Complete Glock-Style MOE Lower comes fully assembled and ready to install on your AR-9 Carbine. The durable construction and added recoil reduction system are also very welcome benefits. The PX-9 will work with Glock factory magazines, but you’ll need to double check that it works with any aftermarket magazines that you have.
- Comes fully assembled
- Easy to install
- Solid and durable construction
- Not all aftermarket Glock mags
CMMG AR-15 9mm Dedicated Lower Receiver
The CMMG AR-15 9mm Dedicated Lower Receiver allows you to build a 9mm AR without your AR looking like it’s a conversion gun. That’s because this 9mm ar lower is designed to eliminate the need for a conversion block, and thus any reliability issues that could come from converting a 5.56 AR-15 lower will not be a hindrance for you. The magazine well will accept any Colt 9mm AR or modified Uzi 9mm magazines.
This lower also comes with a bolt catch, ejector, and feed ramp that are designed specifically for the 9mm cartridge. All you will need to do is add a trigger group, buffer spring, and buttstock. This lower is also built out of a high-quality 7075 T6 aluminum billet, which is very high quality and durable. Meanwhile, the Teflon hard-coat anodized finish further helps aid in corrosion and rust resistance, which makes the entire lower resistant to abrasion, discoloration, or scratches.
All in all, the CCMG AR-15 9mm Dedicated Lower Receiver is a very durable and well-finished lower receiver that is optimized for the 9mm round. All you’ll need to do is add a trigger group, stock, and buffer spring, and it’s ready to roll.
- Magazine well
- Built out of durable 7075 T6 aluminum billet
- Finished with a Teflon hard coat anodized finish
- Comes with a feed ramp, bolt catch, and ejector optimized for the 9mm round
- Magazine well will not accept Glock-style magazine
- Does not come with a trigger group, stock, or buffer spring
|PSA 9mm Lower Receiver||Easy to install, and a classic look||$259.99|
|PSA PX-9 Forged Lower||Solid and durable construction||$269.99|
|CMMG AR-15 9mm Lower Receiver||It resists scuffs, scratches, and discoloration||$194.99|
Any one of the three AR lowers that we have discussed here today will be a great choice for your 9mm AR rifle or carbine. Once you find a quality lower for your AR9, it should last you a lifetime and can be passed on down to future generations. Moreover, go make your AR truly yours by building it from the ground up to suit you. It’s a process that has its low moments, but I can guarantee you satisfaction and joy at the end. If you are a newbie, it will also teach you a lot about how your weapon actually works.