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[Review] New Frontier Armory C-9 & G-9: 9mm Upper & Lower

It’s no secret that the Pistol Caliber Carbine craze has pretty much been the gun-world’s ‘it’ fad for the past few years, so what separates new entrants into an already saturated market?

If you’re New Frontier Armorythe answer lies in refining the existing AR-15 fire controls to better suit the PCC package.

NFA G9 Lower (1)
NFA C-9 and G-9 Variants

Starting with the brand new G9 Lower, a new and improved billet lower from NFA.

Check our full video review below!

Then enter the NFA Side Charging C9 – probably the most ergonomic take on a side charging 9mm upper we’ve ever seen.

And if that was awesome, please sub to our YouTube Channel for shenanigans every week.

Table of Contents


The G9 and All Options

New from NFA is the G9 9mm lower, a sleeker, and sexier version of the C9 lower with some minor improvements such as finger grooves.

NFA G9 Lower (4)
(top to bottom) New Frontier Armory G9 and C9 9mm PCC Side-Charging Rifles

But with all of the functionality and quality that you should expect from a great manufacturer.

at New Frontier Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

That isn’t the only thing that NFA offers though, with a huge list of different uppers you can choose from it’s easy to build up a PCC in basically any configuration that you’re interested in.

NFA G9 Lower (1)
New Frontier PCCs

Side-charging is our favorite, but you do you.

at New Frontier Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

If you’re interested in all of the cool details, you’ll want to keep reading…

Features of New Frontier Armory

The vast majority of 9mm ARs are going to run on a direct blowback system, which are stiffer feeling on average than your standard buffer spring and BCG setup.

Combined with the fact that a lot of PCCs don’t utilize a bolt hold-open feature, and you’re left to deal with a sub-optimal rack of the t-shaped charging when reloading on open bolt.

NFA’s solution is to integrate a pretty huge side charging handle onto the left side of the upper receiver, complete with aggressive finger grooves.

New Frontier Armory C-9
New Frontier Armory C-9 Pistol

The Pew Pew

We met up with NFA out at Gunship Gunrange outside of Las Vegas, who let us send a ton of 9mm downrange between flying tourists around in a helo with a SAW mounted on the side of it.

The side-charging feature allows you to chamber a fresh round without moving the gun out of your workspace, which I quite enjoy. That huge charging handle also ensures that you’re not going to have a problem finding and grasping it when you’re moving quickly.

We did find however that you’ve only got a tiny bit of clearance between the charging handle and your optics mount. While the QD throw lever on our EOTech didn’t get in the way too much, we suspect you may have issues if you’re using anything bulkier. The bolt can be locked to the rear during installation, but you obviously don’t want to have the charging handle obstructed in any way.

Additionally, this gun’s charging handle doesn’t reciprocate in the way you’d find on the SCAR series rifles, meaning that you don’t have to worry about accidentally nailing your grill when firing.

When first picking up the C9, you’re likely going to notice its relative heft. This is certainly a chunky little pistol, but weight-saving measures have been taken through some extremely aggressive cuts on the front M-LOK handguard.

Incredibly obvious disclaimer: You should always wear ear protection when firing.

However, we did find that the gun’s linear compensator made firing the gun sans ear pro tolerable. Perhaps something to be considered if you’re looking at using the gun in a defensive situation in which you’re likely not going to have time to grab ear protection.

That linear comp also eats nearly all vertical recoil, making it especially easy to hop the muzzle over to the next target when running plate racks.

It should be noted, however, that the NFA C9 didn’t seem to play too nicely with Armscor 9mm. We ran into two squibs that required unjamming within about 10 rounds. The issue seemed to clear up after we switched to American Eagle 9mm Ball and Hydrashok 147 HST, and we experienced no further issues for the rest of our time spent with the C9.

The gun includes Magpul MBUS Pro flip up sights – which are totally serviceable, but I really prefer throwing a red dot or holographic sight on shorter PCCs to speed up target acquisition.

The C9 features a bolt hold open feature, but it’s a little bit finicky. It seems to work best with OEM Glock stick magazines and seemed to have some issues with Glock mags from EPS and Amend 2. Regardless of their ability to get the bolt to hold, all mags fed flawlessly in the gun.

NFA also offers the C9 in a full-length carbine variant, making recoil all but non-existent. While we didn’t get too much trigger time on the full-size gun due to time constraints, it was just as much fun to blast away with as its smaller cousin. While we didn’t shoot groups or run any real accuracy tests with either gun, they ran the steel courses we’d setup for the day just fine with no issues.

NFA also informs us that the C9 side-charging upper should be cross-compatible with 9mm lower receivers from other manufacturers. However, your mileage may vary any time you’re working on Frankenstein gun builds.

New Frontier Armory C-9 Carbine
New Frontier Armory C-9 Carbine

By The Numbers

Reliability: 4/5

We ran approximately 400 rounds of 9mm through the NFA C9, and only experienced issues with Armscor C9. We’re still not quite sure what the issue was with that cartridge, but everything else ran great.

Accuracy: 4/5

We didn’t get the chance to shoot groups with either C9 setup, but we had absolutely no issues hitting any of the steel targets at various ranges on our 50-yard course.

Ergonomics: 4.5/5

The side-charging feature is great and facilitates fast reloads without the T-shaped charging handle hassles. However, it is still a direct blowback gun, and that spring is stiff. But again…great side-charging handle.

Looks: 4/5

We quite enjoy the aggressive lightening cuts on the handguard, and the full-length build looks great with the recessed linear compensator.

Customization: 5/5

It’s an AR-15 platform with a full Picatinny optics rail and an M-LOK handguard. What more is there to say?

Bang for the Buck: 4/5

The C9s are going to run about $1k for a complete gun, which honestly isn’t too terrible and isn’t too much more expensive than a stock 9mm AR from the likes of PSA (full review).

Overall Rating: 4/5

Parting Shots

If you’re in the market for a new PCC, or you’ve got an existing pistol caliber lower that you’re looking to add side charging functionality to, we’d definitely recommend taking a look at New Frontier Armory’s C9 side charging upper receivers.

And for lowers…check out the Gen 2 G-9.

at New Frontier Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

What’s your PCC setup look like? Do you compete? Let us know in the comments section below! Or, if you’re looking for other PCC options, check out our Favorite Pistol Caliber Carbines here!

PSA 9mm PX-9
PSA 9mm PX-9 (Full Review)

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8 Leave a Reply

  • Roy C

    Hows the trigger?? Look just like a Gibzz upper to me, love mine unless the gun is in admin, then the handle is jabbing into my guts. You forgot to close the rear gas door in that last pic, but should mention the reduction of gas to the face when its closed..

    June 2, 2020 8:07 pm
  • Fyrfytr998

    If I were gonna go AR9, a LRBHO would be a must. Around my area Foxtrot Mike is a popular choice. I personally don't see a need to upgrade from my Ruger PC Carbine with MCarbo internals though.

    June 2, 2020 2:44 pm
    • Scott C.

      Agreed on the bolt hold open. I have a Foxtrot Mike and I’m liking it a lot..

      June 2, 2020 2:49 pm
  • Ryan Loghry

    Hello John, thank you for the info on New Frontier Arms. I am looking to get a NFA complete AR45 upper, and was wondering if you think the side charging handle is a must have feature?

    November 9, 2019 6:54 am
  • Dean martin

    Thanks john..very informative. .I just bought a c9 and can't wait to get it out in the field..I got a question. .will a tlr-2s streamlight Mount on this gun and your opinion is it worth putting it on the reason I say this is I already have the scope from a glock 19 Gen 4 pistol...some people told me just to go with a red dot... your opinion is very helpful..thanks john..

    September 24, 2019 5:35 pm
  • Andrew I.

    Great review! Have you tried the Gibbz Arms side charging upper? I really like mine I have on a long range build. I got it so I don't have to come off the scope if I need to cycle the gun.

    June 25, 2019 7:43 pm
    • lrsimpson58

      $1,000 vs. PSA $500 Comparable?

      June 25, 2019 8:00 pm
    • Brenton Cheney

      Gibbs Arms looks like a private label NFA side charge upper. There are a number of guys out there getting them made with slight modifications and special labeling.

      October 18, 2019 12:53 pm
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