REVIEW: Mech Tech Carbine Conversion Unit

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With the fast-growing interest in Pistol Caliber Carbines driving new options onto the market, here’s an idea that’s easy, efficient, and effective. Read more!

Mech Tech CCU
The CCU is compatible with most single- and double-stack frames, however, the bolt does not lock back on an empty magazine.

SOURCE: NRA, American Rifleman Staff

Installing without tools onto a full-size M1911 frame (not included), the Mech Tech Carbine Conversion Unit (CCU) legally coverts John Browning’s venerated pistol into a 16.25-inch-barreled carbine.

Essentially functioning as an AR-style upper receiver once mounted in place, the non-serialized CCU (which is deemed by the ATF to be an accessory until installed atop an autoloading pistol frame) replaces the host gun’s slide and barrel assembly. The new configuration allows the carbine to retain the pistol’s superb single-action trigger and comfortable grip angle, as well as to utilize some of the host handgun’s operating controls — which will be seen as real boons to fans of old Slabsides — while increasing the firearm’s ballistic performance and accuracy potential.

Made of rolled steel with a powder-coated finish and a corrosion-resistant interior coating, the CCU’s cylindrical housing encases a simple blowback operating system that uses the energy exerted by expanding propellant gases on the cartridge case to cycle the action. An extractor located on the bolt draws the spent case from the chamber where it can be expelled from the upper by the lower’s ejector. The bolt’s rearward motion is then stopped upon contact with a thick rubber block, and the gun’s recoil springs (located along the top of the bolt assembly) drive the action closed again, stripping a fresh cartridge from the detachable box magazine and chambering it along the way. The CCU does not lock back on an empty magazine.

A reciprocating charging handle is found on the left side of the unit, and the bolt can be locked in the open position by retracting the handle and then pushing in on it until it engages a notch in the wall of the housing. Even after conversion to a rifle, the CCU still utilizes the host M1911’s grip and frame-mounted thumb safeties, as well as its magazine release button, which should make the carbine’s manual of arms familiar to handgunners.

Mech Tech offers the CCU with four different buttstock options. The unit reviewed here includes an adjustable M4-style stock that can be replaced in typical AR fashion; however, fixed and telescoping versions are also available. Base models all come with a 6-inch segment of Picatinny rail along the top of the receiver and a molded foregrip. Many optional accessories — such as additional rails, sights, lights and vertical foregrips — can either be factory-installed at the time of purchase or bought separately. While federally permissible, state and local laws in certain areas may prohibit some configurations of the CCU, so care should be exercised to ensure legality.

No permanent modification needs to be made to the host M1911 in order to install the CCU, and the process is easily reversible. First, separate the slide and barrel from the pistol’s frame, leaving the hammer cocked. Next, retract the unit’s bolt and lock it in the open position. Now, mate the rails inside the CCU with those located on the frame, pushing the frame forward as far as it will go. Finally, reinstall the M1911’s slide release to lock the components together.

Mech Tech assembly

Mech Tech CCU assembly
Once the host gun’s barrel assembly and slide have been removed, installation of the CCU requires only aligning the rails inside the unit with those on the frame (1.) and then sliding the frame forward as far as it will go (2.). Re-installing the M1911’s slide release (3.) secures the components together.

Our evaluation CCU was chambered in .45 ACP, with a 16.25-inch stainless steel barrel and 1:16-inch right-hand twist rifling. Mech Tech also offers 1911-compatible uppers in 10mm Auto and .460 Rowland — with 9mm Luger models likely coming in the future. According to Mech Tech, the CCU should be compatible with nearly all single- and double-stack 1911 frames, however, it would be prudent to check with Mech Tech regarding suitability with a specific model.

In addition to the M1911 unit tested here, Mech Tech produces CCUs that are compatible with both compact and full-size Glock models and most Springfield XD/XD(M) platforms. The Glock conversion kit is offered chambered in 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, 10mm Auto, and .45 ACP, while the Springfield uppers are being produced in 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.

In order to function- and accuracy-test the Mech Tech CCU, we installed it atop a Colt Competition, same one that we tested previously. Through approximately 400 rounds, the CCU did not have a single function failure. We elected to conduct accuracy testing using a load that had previously been shot through the gun during its prior evaluation — SIG’s V-Crown 230-gr. jacketed hollow point.

With help from a Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X 24 mm scope, we followed our protocol of firing five consecutive, 5-shot groups through the unit. Taking advantage of the host gun’s 4-lb., 4-oz. trigger pull, the CCU managed a solid average group size of 2.35 inches at 100 yds — not much worse than the Colt Competition had managed with that load at 25 yds. (1.91-inches) while still configured as a handgun. We also chronographed SIG’s load through the CCU and found that the longer barrel of the rifle did manage to squeeze extra velocity out of the .45 ACP cartridge. Through the 16.25 barrel, the 230-gr. V-Crowns produced 968 fps and 479 ft.-lbs. of energy, up from the 839 fps and 360 ft.-lbs. exhibited by the same load from a 5-inch pistol barrel. The ballistic gains achieved through the CCU could be expected to be even more pronounced when chambered in higher-pressure cartridges.

For fans of the M1911, Mech Tech’s CCU represents a paperwork-free accessory that grants improved terminal ballistics in a platform that is familiar to, yet easier to shoot well, than their favorite pistol. Given the level of accuracy and reliability that we encountered during our testing of the CCU, it is easy to see why someone already in possession of a compatible host handgun would find such a product appealing.

Mech Tech CCU testMech Tech CCU specifications

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4 thoughts on “REVIEW: Mech Tech Carbine Conversion Unit”

  1. I’d love to see them come up with a take down or folding version of this. I’d buy one in a second. The ability to convert a pistol to a carbine and back and stow the conversion unit in a backpack or briefcase would be terrific. For now, I’ll stick with my Kel-tec sub2000.

    1. I have them in both 45acp and 460 rowland with plans to have the 45acp modified for 45 super. Both of mine have the extendable wire stock that when collapsed reduces the over all length to 24 1/4 inches. That should fit in many back packs. That is only about an inch longer than without a stock. Both of mine have a red dot and a laser sight so you can use the laser and shoot from the hip with out bothering to extend the stock.

  2. Got one for my XD now I’d like to get one for a 1911. Once shot your sold. You do need to look at the list of firearms and sometime how they are configured especially the 1911. When I ordered they shipped it right away and I think I had it in less than a week. For me that’s great service because 2 day Prime shipping from Amazon takes a minimum of 3 days. Don’t misunderstand that statement thinking that you can get the CCU at Amazon, because you can’t, it comes form the great state of Montana, and the city of Kalispell.

    I built an AR-9mm, what a pain, and it cost me nearly $1000.00 to build and it doesn’t shoot any better than the CCU at half the cost. If your thinking about a pistol carbine check it out you’ll be surprised at what you find. You can get it with a number of accessories, I got mine basic with the barrel sling mount and installed my own stock.

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