9mm AR Carbine Build (Glock magazine compatible)

I’ve concluded there’s not many things more fun in the world of AR’s than a simple and reliable 9mm AR carbine.

As mentioned in a recent article on carbine caliber ARs, I had decided to build a 9mm AR carbine as a range toy. My goal was to keep costs around $1,000 and come away with something that used Glock mags and could compare with my B&T APC9, which impressed during a comparison I did with carbines vs. the 300BLK SBR.

In response to that article, AR15Discounts was kind enough to send me parts for a build…and I’m pleased to report the pistol has turned out even better than I could have hoped.

The finished 9mm AR Build with parts courtesy of AR15Discounts…minus the Octane 9 suppressor.

Now, let me be clear up front: For defensive purposes, my 300 Blackout AR remain king of the castle, with less recoil and report than the 9mm.  But, for plinking and fun, this 9mm AR Carbine build is a no-brainer.

B&T APC 9, 9mm AR, Glock 6 second, Honey Badger
The B&T APC 9 (left) is one of my current favorite “fun” guns in 9mm. Could my new inexpensive 9mm AR build (second from the left) be as dependable or as much fun as the B&T or my other current favorite “fun” guns…the ALG 6-second Glock or my much beloved go-to PDW, the Honey Badger?

9mm AR Carbine Lower and Upper Receiver

When I received the packages of build parts in the mail, what stood out most was the beautiful receiver from Dirty Bird Industries. Full disclosure, ARBuildJunkie is sponsored by AR15Discounts/Dirty Bird Industries, so please keep that in mind as you read the following article.  As with any firearms purchase, do your research before you buy. Never rely on a single source of information.

Dirty Bird DB9 9mm / Pistol Caliber Receiver Set
Dirty Bird DB9 9mm / Pistol Caliber Receiver Set

The new Dirty Bird DB9 receiver set has some of the best build quality I have seen in a pistol caliber lower.  It’s machined by New Frontier Armory from a solid block of 7075-T6 alumnium, and has a black anodized coating.  The lower also accepts Glock magazines, which was a key requirement for me.

On the range, this receiver set impressed. My mags dropped easy and free using both standard and extended factory Glock mags. With its use of a standard mil-spec bolt catch, last round bolt hold-open was also flawless over the course of 30-plus magazines.

9mm AR Carbine

Also worth noting, I built the receiver up with an NBS ambi safety selector, a Strike Industries Extended Latch Charging Handle, and a Magpul MOE pistol grip.  Finally, a simple pair of Magpul MBUS was added.


9mm AR Carbine
ALG ACT Combat Trigger installed, along with an ODIN Works 9mm BGC

In discussing this build with AR15Discounts, I decided I wanted something slightly better than mil-spec, but nothing too expensive, as again, I was trying to beat the B&T APC9 for HALF the cost.

Going overboard on a trigger didn’t make much sense.  Frankly, I’m fast-slapping a trigger to hit large steel plates at 15-20 yards…To me, the ALG ACT Combat Trigger was an ideal solution.  It’s basically like cleaned up mil-spec trigger, minus the grit.

9mm AR Carbine Bolt Carrier

9mm AR Carbine

I’ve heard a lot of good things about the ODIN Works 9mm bolt carrier group and was not disappointed when it arrived.  It is a 9mm blowback type bolt carrier advertised to work well with Glock-compatible lowers like the Dirty Bird.

At the range, the gun ran like a sewing machine.  Some credit must go to this bolt, which has an external M-16 style extractor, vs. the possibly problematic internal style.


9mm AR Carbine

For the barrel, we ended up going with the Ballistic Advantage 8.3” 9mm modern series. Now that I plan to keep the pistol suppressed full-time, I’m thinking a shorter 4” barrel underneath the handguard with an Octane 9 suppressor peeking from underneath might look pretty slick.

For now though, I like the overall profile. It’s a great barrel for simple builds, as it is compatible with all styles of bolt carrier groups and both Colt and Glock magazines.


9mm AR Carbine

I was sent the FDE version of the Strike Industries Strike Rail M-LOK Handguard at 10”…with the idea being the inside dimensions of it at 1.57″ would accommodate my Octane 9 suppressor with some room to spare.  The outer dimensions of that particular can is around 1.37. 

Making sure the Octane 9 can clear the Strike Industries handguard.

This was my first experience with the Strike Industries Handguard and I was quite surprised.  To be honest, I had heard a bit of negativity over the fact that it’s imported…but to its credit, the rail had a great fit and finish and went on without any issues.  The FDE also looked wonderful.

When the suppressor is not on the firearm, I opted to put a Blitzkrieg Tactical Flash Can on it.  It has a nice look.  If I pretend hard enough, it is about what it would have looked like had we gone with the 4” barrel plus the suppressor.

Stablizer, Etc.

9mm AR Carbine KAK Brace
KAK Shockwave

I’d seen the KAK Shockwave before, and for a no-nonsense, inexpensive stabilizer it does not disappoint.  It compares very favorably with the stabilizing brace on the APC9.  In practical terms when comparing the two while shooting, you don’t notice a difference.

The KAK Shockwave was installed onto a KAK Shockwave Pistol Reciever Extention/Buffer Tube paired with a mil-spec carbine buffer spring.  Inside sat an extended KAK 9mm Carbine Buffer.

AR15Discounts sent me this extended version because, in a 9mm AR Carbine, the 9mm BCG travels farther back into the buffer tube than a 5.56 BCG typically does.  Due to this overtravel, there is potential to damage the bolt catch by placing undue stress on it. In addition to the extended buffer, I was also sent a heavier buffer as well, just in case I had issues.

Range Test

For the first range test, I was very anxious to see how this build functioned.  To be honest, this is the first blowback AR I have attempted, so fingers crossed, I went to my favorite part of my range, the steel section…

I brought along 10 boxes of 115-grain UMC and another 10 boxes of 147-grain along with a pile of new Glock mags.  The 9mm AR Carbine was lubed somewhat liberally with Break Free CLP and firing commenced.

During this range session on the 25-yard steel range, the gun performed flawlessly.  1,000 rounds fired without malfunction. 

Just as pleasing was the fact eyes closed, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell a difference between this carbine and the more expensive B&T.  So far…Mission accomplished!  The gun was just as smooth, just as accurate with the Magpul MBUS…and simply about as much fun as you can have with an AR.

In the next few weeks, I look forward to spending more time with it, getting a feel for its accuracy on paper and putting as much ammo through it as I can.  Down the line, I might also consider swapping out that 8.3” for the 4” barrel and seeing what, if any, differences I feel.

Regardless, the 9mm AR Carbine build so far is an absolute joy…both on the pocketbook and at the range.  If you’ve been on the fence, I’d recommend taking a look at this build and seeing if it might be right for you.

Thanks again to AR15Discounts.com for the parts.  Links to the parts and their store can be found below.

9mm AR Carbine Complete Parts List

9mm AR Carbine finished build
The finished 9mm AR Build with parts courtesy of AR15Discounts.

Did you find this article useful?

Let the author know with a 5 star rating!

Average rating 4.9 / 5. Vote count: 112

No votes so far! Your rating will help us continue to provide valuable and interesting content.

Since you found this post useful...

Follow us on social for first dibs on brand new content!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

  • 341
All comments are now powered by the forum but you can find the historical comment archive below:
Notify of
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

The link to the Magpul pistol grip is wrong. It links to a hand guard.

Reply to  James Burton
2 years ago

I’m ordering the parts and building this. Thanks for the great article!

Reply to  James Burton
2 years ago

It’s done. This gun is fantastic. So much fun and runs like a top.

Tim McCallum Sr.
Reply to  Jason
1 year ago

How much did you have in it?

Ray Ma
Reply to  Jason
1 year ago

Can I follow this and get longer barrle

2 years ago

Quick question. Why have the Dirty Bird Buffer kit and the KAK Buffer Tube?

Reply to  James Burton
2 years ago

OK, thanks. I’m going with the KAK 9mm buffer, tube, and stabilizer. I’ll add a spring as well.

Reply to  James Burton
2 years ago

Thanks. That’s what I ended up ordering.

2 years ago

Have you swapped out the 8.3” for the 4” barrel to see what, if any, differences you felt?

Reply to  James Burton
2 years ago

Actually, I was going to buy a pcc until I read your article, so, now I’m thinking of building one instead. This would be my first attempt at buying parts and assembling a handgun, so any advice/recommendations for this newbie would be appreciated. Thanks for the great article and for opening my eyes to a whole new world of building vs. buying.

2 years ago

I’m trying to do this build. It looks really nice but I cannot find the dirty bird db9 receiver set for sale anywhere. Any place you recommend looking for it?

Reply to  Kevbo
2 years ago

You’re in luck. AR15Discounts.com just received a shipment of them today. Receiver set is on sale for $277.95 – https://ar15discounts.com/products/dirty-bird-db9-9mm-pistol-caliber-receiver-set/

2 years ago

What was the cost of this build? I am looking to build this rifle and am wondering what it will be

Reply to  Russ
2 years ago

parts list at bottom of article. i just added a bunch of the parts at the end of the list to a cart, and I was under 1,000. A few of the parts, like the receiver set were on sale. I skipped the BUIS and a few other small parts i already had. for the price, this is a very hard setup to beat for a fun 9mm.

1 year ago

At approximately 40 seconds in on your video it looks like the optic is really flopping around.

1 year ago

I know you wrote this a while ago, but how’s the mil spec bolt catch holding up so far?

1 year ago

The barrel listed above has been out of stock for a while now. Any other barrels you’d recommend as a substitute (all other things staying the same)? Thanks!

1 year ago

Great article. I’ve bought all the parts and with a friends help we put it all together. I have one question. You call out the Odin 9MM BCG, which is the option I went with. A friend mentioned Stealth Recoil Springs the other day, was looking at the Armaspec version for 9MM groups. Is this compatible with this build and if so how would you install it. It appears to just replace the buffer and spring. Wasn’t sure if you would have to modify the BCG in anyway. The site states “the extra weight on the back of the BCG… Read more »

11 months ago

Would a Cry Havoc takedown system work with this build?

Jack Mason
10 months ago

I just finished this build and boy was it a challenge finding parts. For those of you who do not know, the DirtyBird receiver is the same as the Spartan and New Frontier 9mm receivers. Over the past three months I was only able to find the Spartan lower, but the upper was out of stock everywhere. Finally, the Spartan upper with the side charging handle became available, so I incorporated that in my build. Two things were impacted by this change to a side charging upper, the vise block and handguard. I contacted AR15Discounts. They recommended a rail mount… Read more »

Jack Mason
Reply to  Jack Mason
9 months ago

Okay, I was not able to get a good fit with the Aero Precision handguard using the Bar Nut. The handguard holes will not match up to the holes in the Bar nut. I ended up going with the 9.7” Dirty Bird AR-15 SMRS Handguard – Slim M-LOK Rail System Gen 3. It’s a great looking handguard and so easy to install.

Aaron Davis
8 months ago

I would love a AR pistol but I’m in CA. gun Nazi place

If you want to be among the first to know when we release new content, your best bet is to sign up via email:

We’ll keep the emails to a minimum and we will never sell or give your information to a third party.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x