Foxtrot-Mike FM9 The Ultimate 9mm AR-15 ~ VIDEO
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USA – (AmmoLand.com) – Pistol-caliber carbines, also known as pseudo-sub-guns like the Foxtrot Mike FM9, have been on the rise in the U.S. commercial market in recent years – and that’s a good thing. While they lack the range and power of a rifle-caliber carbine, they are (usually) cheaper to shoot, have low recoil, and have significantly less lightning and concussions on shorter runs compared to SBRs. They are great for exercise equipment and are also an excellent choice for a firearm or “truck gun”.
But what is a PCC? Classifying certain firearms can often be like trying to determine the genus or species of some extinct creatures – since they share certain common traits with one another, but can also be very different in many ways. I essentially view PCCs as a firearm that meets two criteria: 1) they fire a straight-walled (usually) semi-automatic pistol cartridge and 2) they have a front end and some sort of stock or (for NFA reasons in the US commercial market ) a pistol rest. Hence, certain firearms that aren’t exactly pistols – like the MAC10 or the Tech-9 – wouldn’t fall into the PCC category. Conversely, some exceptions can be made, such as the FN P90 or the H&K MP7, both of which can be viewed as PCCs that fire unique high-speed cartridges that are the size of pistols but have shoulder housings.
Foxtrot Mike FM9
PCCs are actually nothing new. Many older lever pistol carbines that fire cartridges, also used in revolvers, could arguably be considered the first PCCs. Then we have the venerable Thompson submachine gun in 45 ACP. Then came the German MP40, the American grease gun, and the British Sten – all sub-cannons from WWII. Sub-weapons such as the H&K MP5 and the Israeli Uzi then appeared in the second half of the 20th century, which then evolved into weapons such as the P90 and MP7.
The Foxtrot-Mike FM9 is an incredibly handy little pistol. IMG Rob R.
In the US commercial market we recently saw firearms like the Ruger PCC, Keltec Sub2000, Beretta Cx4 Storm, and many others (with the exception of those chambered in 22lr). But what would the world and the United States of America be without an AR in a pistol cartridge? A sad place. Fortunately, there are a multitude of manufacturers who make ARs in 9mm, 45-ACP, and other pistol cartridges.
The idea is of course not new. Every 9mm AR you see on the market can trace its ancestry back to the Colt Model 635 SMG – the forefather of sub-caliber ARs. However, the Colt SMG had its limitations and shortcomings, and so many companies have tried to improve on the design. With this we introduce the Foxtrot Mike FM9.
The Foxtrot Mike FM9 is a blowback powered 9mm PCC with an AR pattern and some major improvements over the original Colt 635 SMG. IMG Rob R.
While the Colt 635 uses a straight 32-round magazine based on the Uzi magazines, the FM9 uses angled, double-stack Glock pistol magazines such as those that come with the Glock 17, 18, 19 and 34. The main reason for this is simply logistics. Glock magazines, along with their hosts – the 9mm Glock pistols – are some of the most widely used and productive magazines on the market. Everyone who owns a 9mm Glock already has magazines that can be used in the FM9. Another benefit of using an FM9 instead of a long gun when carrying a Glock pistol as a sidearm is that the magazines and ammunition you carry can be used interchangeably on both platforms.
In my tests, I found that the magazines made by Glock and Magpul ran flawlessly and without a single malfunction. The magazines used in testing were: 17-round Glock 17, Gen 5, 31-round Glock 18, 15-round Glock 19, Gen 3, 27-round Magpul PMAG GL9, and 21-round Magpul PMAG GL9. I understand that magazines from other manufacturers are a hit or miss and may not be inserted as the outside dimensions can be slightly larger than those of the Glocks and Magpuls. So it’s best to stick with Glock or Magpul magazines for the FM9.
Last-Round Bolt Hold-Open. IMG Rob R.
A simple, reliable, and unique design that is offered for the FM9 and that has been patented and licensed by Foxtrot-Mike is really one of its biggest selling points: the final round of the bolt hold. Anyone familiar with a standard 5.56 AR15 knows that the screw will run backwards when the magazine runs dry. This allows the shooter to reload the gun with one hand without charging it like an AK, and gives the shooter tactile feedback to let them know that the gun has run out of ammo. This reduces the time it takes to get the weapon back into operation.
The Colt Pattern magazines allow the same bolt opening mechanics in the pistols they use as the original Colt SMG. However, the 9mm ARs that use Glock magazines always had a problem getting the bolts to open on the final round due to the difference in magazine design and how pistols work. Other 9mm AR manufacturers use springs in the bolt lock / release but these have always proven to be unreliable.
The Foxtrot has an aggressively structured bolt release. IMG Rob R.
Foxtrot-Mike solved this problem with their design. A small tab in the front part of the magazine well is operated by the magazine follower in a similar way to a Glock pistol. This tab is connected to a small transmission rod that sits outside on the left side of the lower receiver and then connects to a standard looking AR bolt lock / release. When the tab is actuated by the driver on an empty magazine, it rotates the transmission rod, which in turn rotates the bolt lock to the upper position, whereby the bolt is locked backwards.
In all of our tests with all the different magazines used, the bolt could not lock backwards once when the magazine was empty. Between this function and the FM9 with a standard AR rechargeable handle, the FM9 has exactly the same weapon manual as a 5.56 AR. Because of this, the FM9 is a great replacement training tool for a 5.56 AR and / or an excellent choice for a home defense rifle for those (such as military veterans) who are very familiar with the AR rifle but would rather not use it a rifle cartridge with full power for central defense.
The Foxtrot’s AR-15 line is very evident in its design. IMG Rob R.
Special 9mm lower receiver
One of the biggest drawbacks to the original Colt 635 9mm SMG was that Colt was just retrofitting a 5.56 CAR-15 deeper to fire 9mm. They never designed the lower receiver from the ground up as a dedicated 9mm receiver. Instead, they just took a standard 5.56 lower receiver and pounded a magazine insert into it so it could accommodate the 9mm rod magazine. One of the other problems was that the increased mass of the blowback actuated bolt meant that when the bolt lock locked the bolt backwards on an empty magazine, there was significantly more force on it each time and eventually the bolt locks began to break.
The FM9’s bottom receiver gets it right, however, and was designed from the ground up for the 9mm cartridge and easy blowback operation. The magazine well has a nice flare to enable faster and more accurate reloading of the magazine. The mag well is also built around the dimensions of the Glock and Magpul magazines (Glock pattern) rather than a 5.56 NATO mag well with a pinned insert. The magazine release is robust and easy to find. Most importantly, several internal parts are reinforced to maintain the forces created by the increased mass of the bolt, such as B. the bolt lock and the buffer retention lock. And of course, the components discussed above for opening the final lap are all built into the unique lower receiver.
The pistol also has an oversized magazine release that is easy to reach for shooters of all sizes. IMG Rob R.
The Foxtrot-Mike FM9 can use all AR15 handles, triggers, safety selectors and supplies / braces as standard. The device we received from Brownells came with an MFT handle and MFT clamp which are decent. However, I quickly replaced the MFT clamp with an SB Tactical SBA3. A note on triggers, however, is that some aftermarket triggers you may want to install may lack the hammer spring force to detonate the cartridge in 9mm ammo. So experiment and thoroughly test each trigger you install in the FM9 before trusting it with your life. The mil-spec trigger that came with our FM9 gave the impeccable reliability that we experienced when testing it.
The general build quality, fit and finish, as well as the general appearance of the FM9 were exceptional. The thoughtful design and attention to detail that you can see in it was a huge bonus too. The accuracy was just right for a 9 mm PCC with a 4 inch barrel. However, the largest blue ribbon must be used in the reliability department for the weapon to perform. Our FM9 used both Glock and Magpul magazines and didn’t have any malfunctions or hiccups – and this is a brand new / never broken weapon.
For the sake of clarity, this means both reliability in the cycle of operation (ie firing the cartridge and then pulling out / ejecting the used housing and feeding in a new active cartridge) as well as reliability in locking the bolt on an empty magazine. As an added note, we’ve used several different types of ammunition, from 90-grain Underwood defensive rounds (which have a unique Philips screwdriver shape) to the Winchester flat-nose white box (which are usually very fussy, I have found) and Standard 115 and 124 grain FMJs. The FM9 devoured them all.
The FM9 was also surprisingly softer and less snappy in its recoil than many other PCCs and sub-guns I’ve had experience with. All in all, the difference in felt recoil between a 5.56 AR with a carabiner-length gas system and the FM9 was barely noticeable.
Whether you’re looking for a training replacement for a 5.56 AR or home defense rifle, or just an all-round fun firearm to keep within reach, the Foxtrot Mike FM9 is definitely worth considering.
Check current prices for Foxtrot-Mike FM9 online:
About Rob R.
Rob R. is a U.S. Army / Iraq War veteran with a penchant for freedom, firearms, BMWs, and cats. After his military service, he worked for 9 years in 14 different countries on the African continent as a military advisor and trainer and prepared the African Union peacekeeping forces for deployment in various conflicts in the region as part of the US State Department’s ACOTA program. The native Florida native currently lives in southwest PA.