Extar EP9 Introduction
If you’ve been paying attention to the firearms market AT ALL in recent years, you will have noticed that the popularity of the Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) has been on the rise. Within that niche, the Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) has become prominent. The PDW’s small size and light weight have made this class of firearms sought after as home defense guns, vehicle guns, and bugout guns among many people who feel that a full-sized rifle is a bit too cumbersome in those roles. Since the regulations on Short Barreled Rifles are a hassle to many people, the braced pistol has truly come into its own within the PDW concept. Enter the Extar EP9.
(Be sure to read to the bottom for the Rating!)
The Extar EP9 is a small, lightweight pistol chambered in 9mm Luger (including +P ammo). It mostly follows the venerable AR-15 pattern, with some differences. It comes from the factory with an SB Tactical SOB brace and one Glock pattern magazine. Mine came with a Magpul 21-rounder.
Both the upper receiver and lower receiver are made from a glass-filled polymer. The bolt assembly and barrel are both steel. It takes standard AR-15 trigger parts, but the installed pieces are plastic (with a steel insert where the hammer strikes the firing pin). The upper has a polymer picatinny rail that runs to the end of the handguard (though the handguard is a separate piece), and the removable handguard has one along the bottom as well.
The muzzle is threaded ½ by 28 and includes a flash hider. The buffer tube is NOT mil-spec. It is 22.5 inches long without the brace, and with the brace it weighs 4 pounds. There is a QD attachment point at the rear of the lower receiver under the buffer tube, and it has a last round bolt hold open.
The Extar EP9 DOES NOT include sights or an optic.
The Extar EP9 appears well built. There is no mold flashing and fit and finish are both well executed. Despite being a mostly polymer gun, it doesn’t feel flimsy at all.
The only caveat I have is that the magazine well MAY not be entirely within spec for its intended use. I had to be force every magazine into the mag well and had to tug to get them out. Glock OEM mags DO NOT drop free.
Neither did the KCI 33 round magazines I used. In fact, I had to lightly sand the sides of those magazines in order to get them to fit.
The Magpul Glockazine that came with it could be inserted smoothly and dropped free every time.
I’m not sure if the mag well is meant to be that tight, so your mileage may vary on this one. Extar says this is due to magazines “swelling when stored loaded”. You be the judge.
The ergonomics are pretty much the same as an AR-15. The magazine release, safety lever, and bolt release are in the same places. The non-reciprocating charging handle is located on the left side of the upper receiver.
The Extar EP9 is VERY comfortable to shoot. Despite its blowback operation, there is very little felt recoil since the bolt has its energy absorbed by the buffer spring. It points naturally and its small size and negligible weight make toting it around the range almost unnoticeable. I had TONS of fun with it!
Accuracy with the EP9 was easy to achieve. I had a Fieldsport red dot mounted to it on a UTG riser, and I could hit 6-inch Newbold knockdown targets and 6-inch steel plates with almost boring regularity from 5 to 25 yards. If you pay attention to your fundamentals of breathing, sight alignment (when using iron sights), and trigger control you should have no issues putting rounds on target at longer ranges.
As previously mentioned, The Extar EP9 will accept aftermarket AR-15 trigger upgrades, so getting an even better trigger pull (which is already pretty good out of the box) should be no problem. I’m not sure if any of the binary triggers will work, though that would be WAY cool if one did.
You can mount any picatinny accessory on the included rails, and Extar will sell you rail sections that you can mount to two other locations on the handguard. The grip can also be swapped out for your preferred model.
However, you CAN NOT switch out the handguard, buffer, buffer tube, and barrel.
The Good and The Bad
The things I like about this PDW are its size and weight, its maneuverability, its accuracy, it’s AR-like ergonomics, the fact that it takes Glock magazines, and its ability to feed a wide variety of ammunition.
I do NOT like the fact that the handguard doesn’t have a heat shield, so you are pretty much required to use an angled foregrip if you plan to do any extended shooting sessions. That thing can get pretty hot!
The relative lack of aftermarket parts is also a strike against this pistol.
Another negative isn’t so much with the pistol itself, as it is with the company. At this point the only way to get it is from Extar’s website, and it is RARELY in stock. There is a long wait in between batches, and this thing sells out almost immediately. If you want one you must check back to the web page FREQUENTLY, and I would advise you to snap one up as soon as you see that it’s back in stock.
As of this writing they are available from EXTAR for $419! That’s a small price for how much gun you get for you money- this thing is a great value.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Extar EP9. It is a small, light maneuverable firearm that would do well in the home defense, vehicle gun, or bugout gun role. If Extar can manage to meet the demand for their product they could take over that market.
You can find the disassembly process HERE.