As you’d know, if you’ve read my posts about the PTR91, I’m a big fan of the modular rifle system Heckler & Koch (H&K) developed in the mid 20th Century. Although I owned an HK91 (7.62x51N) as a young adult, I always wanted an HK94, but couldn’t get it, due to the importation ban and the lack of finding a used one for sale. Even if I had found one, the price for one back then, would have far exceeded what I could afford.
Well along comes PTR with their model “9R PTR 608” 9mm carbine, and behold, my “Unicorn” was within reach. As said many times by yours truly, the modularity of the H&K system outshines any other system of long guns. The ability to quickly change out sub assemblies like stocks, forearms, or trigger groups, along with the fact that many parts for those subassemblies fit some, if not all, of this series of firearms, makes having their rifles in your “Survivalist Armory” a “No-Brainer”.
As a Survivalist, do you need a Pistol Caliber Carbine? Probably not. What reasons do I think I might need one? First, having a rifle chambered for the same caliber as one of your pistols makes sense from a logistical stand point, just like it did for the cowboys of the 19th and early 20th Century. Having more than one gun in a specific caliber, especially if it’s a more accurate (Longer sight radius for more precision) and powerful (Longer barrel usually produces more velocity, equaling more energy) than you pistol.
Second, it’s more efficient. Even if you’re going for a walk close to home, you should carry a rifle. Does that rifle need to be a heavy 5.56 or 7.62 caliber one? Not necessarily. Why don’t you just carry your pistol then? Because even if it’s only a pistol caliber, you will be more accurate, and generally have a higher capacity for ammo with a PCC than with a pistol by itself. The primary difference between operating PTR’s 608 carbine, compared to my PTR100 7.62x51N, is the weight and balance, and the charging handle on the 608 carbine does not fold, as shown below.
Except for the paddle mag release, the welded on optics rail, and the M-LOK handguard, the 608 is pretty much identical to the original HK94 9mm carbine. All three of the items just mentioned are upgrades to the original carbine, and make the 608 more shooter friendly.
The paddle mag release makes mag changes ambidextrous. The optics rail saves the cost of buying a scope mount, and lets you mount an optic as low as you’d like to on the receiver. The M-LOK handguard gives you the opportunity to mount foregrips, lights and lasers if desired.
As pictured above, but with a loaded 30 round polymer mag, the 608 weighs in at 8 pounds. It has the typical HK roller-delay system, with a 16.2″ barrel. It is very well balanced, and obviously, the 9mm recoil is negligible. Once I had several reliable mags (more about this in a bit), I started testing the accuracy and reliability. I zero all my pistol caliber carbines (PCC) at 50 meters, because I believe this is a more practical distance for the power produced by these weapons.
Accuracy with the HK diopter iron sights at 50 meters averaged 2.5-3″and the red dot shrunk that group average to 1.5″. This accuracy was using Winchester “White Box”115 grain ball. As long as I was using reliable mags, the 608 carbine was 100% reliable. Obviously, I haven’t been able to determine the durability of the 608 carbine yet, because I’ve only put about 500 rounds through it.
The only problems experienced with the 608 carbine, were from magazine issues. The 608 came with two 30 round ETS magazines. and they proved reliable, so I bought a few more. I originally made the mistake of buying some metal KCI MP-5 mags, and it was a terrible investment. Out of the four mags, none were reliable.
The AC-Unity 30 rounders proved to be reliable as well, but needed some sanding of the mag, where it contacts the mag well, due to a very tight fit. Real HK mags run great and they are obviously the reliable mag you’d expect out of a factory H&K magazine. You also pay for it since they are about $70 a piece. The ETS mag cost about $30, and the AC-Unity 30 rounder cost is about $19. The AC-Unity mag also appears more durable than the ETS mag does (reminds me of a MagPul AR mag).
The first thing I added to the 608 carbine was a MagPul Ambidextrous Safety (same one used in my PTR100). Being a lefty, this was for obvious reasons. Conveniently, the 608 already comes with the polymer lower that accepts this safety, unlike the PTR100 HK91 clone I have, which initially comes with a steel lower. Next, I put a Holosun HS403C red dot optic. This is the model with the solar panel back up.
I bought a B&T collapsible stock for compactness (32.75-27″), and the standard MP-5/HK94 forearm, because I like the look of the original polymer furniture (shown above). I also like and want the ability to have a more compact and versatile weapon (collapsible/folding stock and able to mount a light and/or IR laser), so I have the collapsible stock and the railed forearm. As with all weapons in this HK System, the stocks can be changed out in less than a minute.
For the Survivalist who already owns any of the HK type rifles made by PTR, this is the perfect understudy/light weight alternative. The 608 carbine is accurate, reliable and uses a universally available cartridge. Ironically, the 608 carbine costs about $400 more than the PTR100 7.62x51N model, but I’d imagine it has something to do with the popularity of the MP-5 in the movies, and I know there are probably many out there, that like me, always wanted an HK94, and didn’t have access years ago.