[Review+Video] PSA AR-V: Best Budget 9mm PCC?

We review A LOT of AR-15s around here, and after a while, they can all start to blend together.

So, it’s refreshing to get an AR with enough pizazz to hold our interest.

PSA AR-V Left Side
PSA AR-V

Today’s cool toy comes courtesy of Palmetto State Armory, who let us take a whirl with their AR-V.

Now, PSA is definitely more well-known for its slew of reasonably affordable ARs (and, more recently, AKs).

But they’ve also kind of always had this recurring theme of creating mutant guns by mashing parts from different firearms together.

990
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

And the fact that they generally run pretty well is neat on an engineering level, if nothing else.

PSA’s AR-V falls pretty squarely into that category.

We’re going to spend some time with the PSA AR-V, take a look at what makes this platform cool and investigate potential pitfalls.

Be sure to check out the video below to see the AR-V at the range.

Also, peep Pew Pew Tactical on YouTube for even more awesome video reviews!

Table of Contents

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AR-V Stats & Specs

The AR-V is essentially an AR-15 adjacent pistol caliber carbine that takes either Scorpion EVO magazines or Palmetto’s own proprietary AK-V mags.

(PSA’s AK-V being their own take on the PP-19 Vityaz.)

789
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

As one might expect, that means you’ve got some reasonably superficial AR-15-esque features mixed in with a slew of AR-V-specific parts.

Altogether, it kind of feels like an off-brand, best value direct blowback MPX — and to be clear, that’s not at all intended as a dig.

The specific AR-V we got to play with it in Las Vegas a few months back was the 10.5-inch pistol variant.

PSA AR-V On Bag
Getting ready for some desert shooting.

But as you’d expect from Palmetto, there are a number of different lengths and configurations to choose from.

From front to back, you’ll find a standard A2 birdcage flash hider sitting on that 10.5-inch barrel, surrounded by a PSA 9-inch M-LOK handguard.

M-LOK slots sit at the 3-,6- and 9 o’clock positions. Picatinny rail segments also sit flush with the receiver’s optics rail on top.

PSA AR-V Optics and Handguard
Think of the accessories…

Speaking of the receiver, indeed, both the upper and lower here are proprietary and specific to the AR-V.

This means you, unfortunately, aren’t going to be able to slap an AR-V lower directly on an existing AR-9 setup.

Although we didn’t get the chance to test anything besides the stock components out, the AR-V allegedly accepts other direct blowback compatible 9mm barrels.

PSA AR-V Shooting Car
Living our John Wick dreams.

The barrel nut should be your standard AR-9 fare as well.

As is often the case when you start jamming stuff from different manufacturers together, your mileage may vary if you get a little too weird.

But it’s cool to know you’re not necessarily going to be stuck with a super boutique proprietary gat if you’re trying to trick this thing out.

No surprise here (considering the gun-specific upper), the bolt carrier group is indeed AR-V proprietary as well.

1040
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

On the Range

Technical stuff out of the way; we ran probably close to 500 rounds through the AR-V in a race against rapidly fading daylight.

What did we see?

Zero issues…during that admittedly short eval period.

PSA AR-V Shooting Car
No issues during our short test.

It’s always worth noting that Gen 1 PSA stuff can be a bit finicky. So, keep that in mind if the AR-V piqued your interest.

It could very well be that issues might only become apparent as you get into the 1,000 round count and beyond.

Who knows?

PSA AR-V Shooting Left Side Close Up
Yeah, we know, eye pro. Our bad.

But PSA also has a pretty good track record of setting things right when mishaps do occur.

That said, this thing is a blast to plink away with at the range!

If you’ve ever put rounds through a 9mm AR, PCC, AR pistol, pistol caliber pistol, or any combination thereof, you’re going to be in pretty familiar territory here.

PSA AR-V Receiver and Stock
It has an AR-15 feel.

There’s not particularly anything special or mind-blowing about the AR-V’s performance or the experience. But that’s not a reason to knock it either.

If 9mm ARs are your thing, you’re probably going to be pretty stoked about this PCC.

Once we got the Trijicon MRO on, we saw repeated hits on steel at a variety of medium and close ranges.

Best Green Dot
429
at Optics Planet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Shooting felt fluid and natural, even in slightly strange positions and while on the move.

One thing I will say that could either be a bug or a feature, depending on your tastes, is that the gun’s bolt release takes almost no force to activate.

PSA AR-V Left Side Receiver
The Trijicon MRO atop the PSA AR-V.

Functionally this meant that I rarely had to touch the lever itself.

The act of making sure a fresh magazine was seated correctly or giving it a good tap was often enough to send the BCG home, chambering a live round.

PSA AR-V Bolt Open
The bolt had a tendency to slam forward, chambering a round when a new new mag was seated.

For what I was doing that day, that was fine. Obviously, if I’m putting a loaded mag into an empty gun with the bolt locked back, I’m probably about to go hot with it.

However, I can see how that might be concerning if you’re not expecting it.

Whether or not that’s how all AR-V’s behave, I can’t really say. The point is, be aware of this quirk and continue to be safety conscious.

PSA AR-V Receiver
The mags are pretty beefy.

While I’ve shot a bunch of Glock mag based AR-9s before, I actually think I prefer the PSA’s proprietary Scorpion EVO clone magazines.

These mags are much beefier and substantial than even a Glock big stick magazine.

As a result, reloads felt much smoother.

14
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The mechanical action of grabbing a new mag from my chest rig was similar to the sort of ‘beer can’ grip that’s standard muscle memory for reloading an AR-15 for me.

I also found that the magazines fit real nicely in my Crye Rig single AR magazine pouches.

No need to crank down retention at all. I could run them open top even while moving — didn’t seem to threaten to dislodge them.

PSA AR-V Mags in Vest
That Crye Rig tho…

In short: MAGS GOOD.

(And if you want to read more about this super cool Crye Rig, head on over to my review and video.)

As I mentioned before, the gun should also be compatible with actual Scorpion EVO magazines if you have those floating around.

It’s worth mentioning that PSA’s mags hold 35-rounds a piece. We repeatedly filled them to capacity with no issues.

The trigger is PSA’s normal single stage enhanced polished trigger or EPT found on many of their other rifles.

It does the job fine but isn’t particularly notable.

And as one might expect, the recoil impulse of a 9mm round is pretty nonexistent — even with no fancy muzzle device at play.

PSA AR-V Trigger Close Up
PSA AR-V Trigger

By the Numbers

Reliability: 4/5

We had zero issues at the range, but we only put about 500 rounds through the AR-V. Given that this is a Gen 1 PSA, there could be kinks in the platform that appear after 1,000 rounds.

Ergonomics: 4.5/5

It felt okay to shoulder, and the recoil was practically nonexistent courtesy of that 9mm round. We fired from various shooting positions and on the move and had a blast!

Accuracy: 5/5

Hits landed on steel at a variety of distances – both close and medium ranges. The gun also handed different shooting positions just fine.

Customization: 4/5

While we didn’t really get the chance to try customizations out, if the AR-V works as advertised, you should have some flexibility with accessories and parts.

Value: 4/5

The AR-V’s MSRP hovers around $900, which isn’t terrible for a fun little 9mm PCC.

990
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Overall: 4.5/5

So, all things considered, is the AR-V worth taking a look at? In my personal opinion, if you’re already considering picking up a 9mm AR platform and aren’t sitting on a stash of big stick Glock magazines – I’d definitely consider it.

Conclusion

With an MSRP of $900 or so and build kits available, PSA’s AR-V is a pretty cool 9mm PCC platform. The fact that the AK-V/AR-V EVO mags both look and feel better while running the gun gives it a leg up.

PSA AR-V Shooting
We had a blast with the AR-V!

Though it’s a blast to shoot at the range, I suggest doing some research to fully understand what you may be getting into with a first-generation PSA gun.

Overall, I think it’s a rad little piece that’s perfect if you’re into that bootleg MPX, not really a subgun but kind-of thing.

1040
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Don’t forget to see our video review of the PSA AR-V to see it in action.

Are you willing to take a risk on a first-gen PSA PCC? Sound off in the comments below. Want even more PSA goodness? Check out our review of almost all of PSA’s guns. Or, if PCCs of any variety are more your speed, hop on over to our list of best PCCs.

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10 Leave a Reply

  • P.C.

    (this pulled from 80lowerjig.com, but seen in other sites): "Can you shoulder an AR pistol stabilizing brace? Yes. In 2014, the ATF argued this was illegal. But in 2017, they reversed their opinion and now state "sporadic, incidental, or situational" shouldering of a pistol brace is legal." But why show them videos of constant, intentional use for gun control nuts to leach onto is my only thought? But anyways, I love your website and excellent reviews and opinions. thx

    1 month ago
  • CB

    Good info. I'd be interested to see how this stacks up against the Grand Power Stribog or CZ Scorpion.

    1 month ago
  • P.C.

    And we wonder why the ATF tries to question the use of Pistol Braces when we continue to show them videos of using them as Rifle Stocks. just sayin' Thanks for the review...

    1 month ago
    • David, PPT Editor

      Since the ATF has an official letter stating that shouldering a brace is legal, I think they know that's how people use them :)

      1 month ago
    • H P

      You took the words right out of my mouth!!! Use some common sense and stop giving the feebs ammo

      1 month ago
  • Daryl Hawken

    mag "beefiness" aside, I like something that takes glock mags (since I'm in the glock ecosystem already). That aside, I don't feel this is double the price better than the extar ep9 for "budget 9mm PCC". Maybe someone can help me out.

    1 month ago
  • Silky Johnson

    People that dismiss PCCs don't understand the many positives of this alternative platform or maybe they are just fudds. Of course they aren't as powerful as a rifle round! Duh! They are quieter, especially in an indoor range. Ammo is generally cheaper. PCCs are less intimidating to newer shooters. Most importantly to me, they are just plain FUN! I wish the Scorpion mag was the standard instead of Glock pattern mags used by most PCCs.

    1 month ago
  • Duncan L

    AWCY Arms released a fairly reliable AR-V/Scorpion mag that can be 3D printed.

    1 month ago
  • Robert

    Cool article. I see NO benefit using a pistol cartridge in a rifle size package. If I have to use rifle length (16”), as a self defense weapon, then it’s going to be a rifle cartridge. My only concession MiGHT be a .44 magnum.

    1 month ago
    • Robert

      I know this was a 10.5 barrel, however I believe the positives of a rifle round outweigh an anemic 9 mm, when my life is on the line .. then I don’t have to worry about the possibility of the bad guy having body armor

      1 month ago
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