Aero Precision started offering EPC (Enhanced Pistol Caliber) line-up of AR9-style parts and accessories in early 2021. The EPC shares many features of the company’s flagship M4E1 line of products. But this was the first time I had any experience with any of their products. I’m completely impressed and blown away by the fit and finish of the Aero Precision EPC-9 parts. Just by picking up the parts, I knew I was in for a treat.
The Aero Precision EPC-9
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of the EPC-9, it might be best to explain my plans for it. Part of my home defense is my ZEV OZ9c, which my wife knows how to use. I figured it would be great to get a Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) that uses the same Glock-compatible magazines as the ZEV.
Plus, shooting a PCC in 9mm would be a breeze for my wife to handle. Not to mention a fun plinking experience for me. This is where the Aero Precision EPC-9 comes in.
The start of my EPC experience arrived in four parts; 9mm bolt carrier group (BCG), AR15 Breach charging handle, and completed upper and lower receivers. The BCG is machined from 8620 steel with a nitride finish and features a fracture-resistant titanium pin and 4140 steel extractor.
As a result, the entire BCG is built to meet and exceed the extreme demands of a blowback AR carbine. The BCG, the heart of the carbine, only weighs in at 14.7 ounces.
The completed upper has a black finished 16-inch barrel that contrasts nicely with the FDE-finished ATLAS S-One 15-inch handguard. Additionally, the Aero Taper Lock Attachment System (ATLAS) is new and features two mirrored tapered locking nuts. They evenly distribute pressure across a custom-engineered barrel nut using a turnbuckle screw. This system helps to avoid distortion of the handguard.
The handguard features plenty of M-LOK space, front and rear Picatinny rails, and QD sling sockets at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. Likewise, the handguard has indexing grooves on the 12 o’clock position for positive grip control. This is a very nice extra touch.
One of the best things about the EPC upper is the installed last-round bolt hold-open mechanism. There is no forward assist or dust cover, nor is there any need for them.
The FDE finished completed lower features a flared magazine for quick reloads and is compatible with standard-frame Glock magazines. The controls, magazine release, safety, and trigger were in a nicely contrasting black finish.
A Magpul MOE Grip and MOE SL-S Carbine stock is used, both in FDE, to match the receiver. An EPC 7.7-ounce buffer is housed in an enhanced buffer tube along with an M5 carbine buffer spring. Both the upper and lower receivers are machined from custom-forged 7075-T6 aluminum.
Last but not least, the Breach charging handle is ambidextrous and constructed of 7075-T6 aluminum. It has cuts on the charging handle to help clear stuck-on carbon and debris from the upper. It also features a gas deflection shelf, which helps prevents you from getting a face full of gas when shooting suppressed.
When all four pieces came together, the EPC looked fantastic; the contrast of the FDE and black finishes just look awesome. The feel of the carbine, especially the handguard, just felt right and robust.
To prepare the EPC for home-defense work, we rounded up some 15- and 27-round magazines from Magpul. Also, from Magpul, we added an M-LOK MVG vertical foregrip to make it easier for my wife to handle it if the need arises.
For the optic, we went with Holosun’s AEMS (Advanced Enclosed Micro Sight), which lets you choose from three different reticles. We went with SureFire’s Scout Pro with its game-changing Low Profile Mount for a fight in the dark.
The EPC’s trigger was great, but I wanted better. A blowback system can easily damage trigger pins, so please make sure the trigger and pins are PCC rated. I went with Rise Armament’s Blitz Trigger, which just made the EPC stupid fun to shoot. It was fun to shoot before, but nothing like this.
After cleaning and oiling up the EPC, it was time to hit the range. Transitions from target to target were quick and easy thanks to the Holosun AEMS and the lack of felt recoil.
In total, I put the EPC-9 through more than 800 rounds without cleaning, and there were no hiccups whatsoever. From Winchester, I ran Defender 147-grain Bonded Jacket HP (EPC like this is the best and would be my choice for home-defense ammo), USA Ready 115-grain FMJ, and Active Duty 115-grain Ball.
Remington’s UMC Centerfire 115-grain Range Bucket ran the most in the EPC, and their High Terminal Performance 115-grain JHP ran like a champ. New from SAR USA is their 124-grain NATO FMJ which proved to be a top-notch plinking round.
I didn’t bother with formal accuracy measurements because this rifle would primarily be used as a home-defense carbine. Meaning follow-up shots and reliability were my main concerns. It’s still chugging along 800 rounds in without cleaning and shows no signs of slowing down. My transitions between targets were super quick, and double-taps were quicker still.
The true test was when I asked my wife to shoot it. I can gladly say it went well because at the end of the range session, she proclaimed it was hers. Aero’s EPC is a much-welcomed addition to our home-defense lineup. My only regret is that I didn’t get two. Don’t make my mistake.
For more information, please visit AeroPrecisionUSA.com.
This article was originally published in the Personal Defense World February/March 2022 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email email@example.com.