Over the last several years the firearms industry has exploded with AR-15 style rifles. Once the realm of large manufacturers, an increased demand and the potential for profit has spurred the launch of countless new rifle companies. At a more detailed level the market has seen an increase in ARs chambered in 9mm. The lower cost of 9mm ammunition versus rifle calibers and advancements in 9mm performance are two of the factors in that growth. With an ocean of ARs it can be tough for a company to stand out. A new path must be forged and innovation becomes part of the mission statement. If companies are to stand out they must stand above the crowd. One such company that has moved away from the herd is Desert Design and Development in Scottsdale, Arizona. With an eye on carving out their own special niche, they have launched the D3-9SD integrally suppressed 9mm carbine.
- Chambering: 9mm
- Barrel: 6.75 inches
- OA Barrel Length w/ suppressor: 14 inches
- OA Length: 27 inches
- Weight: 7.5 pounds
- Stock: MVB Industries ARC 9mm multi-position stock
- Sights: Trijicon MRO / Holosun 403C
- Action: Semi-Auto
- Finish: Type III Hard Coat Anodizing
- Capacity: 30
- MSRP: $2,699.00
Ultimate Urban Carbine
Desert Design and Development has dubbed their new creation the “Ultimate Urban Carbine.” It is a short-barreled rifle (SBR) built on an AR platform that’s chambered for 9mm (as tested) with .40, 10mm and .45 versions also available. The engineers at Desert Design have created a suppressor unit that shrouds and integrates with the barrel, which creates an especially quiet weapon.
The major upside to the AR platform it is familiarity of operation and ease-of-use by anybody in the industry. The learning curve for using this weapon is almost non-existent as the manual of arms is based on the standard AR-15. An additional bonus feature of this SBR is the fact that it runs on standard Glock pattern magazines. This is a move which shows vision from the designers. Glock handguns are by far the most popular pistol carried across the country. For law enforcement, this is a special bonus. This carbine is designed to complement their existing Glock handguns and give them the advantage of carrying only one caliber magazine and share it on both pistol and carbine. Utilizing the Glock 17, 19, and 18 magazines, it allows quick transition from a sidearm to an extremely quiet and accurate suppressed carbine.
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Trick it Out
Like its other AR counterparts, the carbine is modular and allows for standard AR modifications such as drop-in triggers and aftermarket safeties in any other AR design furniture on the market. The overall length of the gun ranges from 23 to 27 inches depending on the stock you choose to mount. The stock on the gun I received for testing was the MVB Industries ARC 9mm multi-position stock which put the gun at 27 inches in length. The unique lower is milled from 7075 billet aluminum and is dedicated to the Glock-style magazine. While some companies insert blocks into the magazine well to make this happen, the D3 gun is a dedicated weapon cut specifically for the magazine. It is billet machined and hard coat anodized for the finish. Desert Design is also developing an even shorter “K” version. The barrel on that one is a mere 5.75 inches and with suppressor the length is only 9.5 inches which makes this a nice small package for carry and use.
While built as an AR style weapon, the designers have included an enhanced bolt carrier as well as a 9mm specific brass deflector for the carbine. The D3-9SD has a 9-inch forend with a choice of key mod or a quad rail. While small, it allows users to mount critical items like lights. The gun is finished out with a Magpul K2 grip and MOE stock. Additionally, the gun can be built as a select fire weapon for LE and military use. They can choose from three round burst to traditional full auto. The entire gun comes in just over 7 pounds which is close to the standard weight of a full-sized M4 rifle. Some may question the weight, but it is important to remember that this includes the suppressor. This is a very manageable weight that not only makes it easy to carry, but to manage recoil as well.
The gun I received was chambered in 9mm and was a three round burst select-fire version. First impressions of the gun were that it is well made and lightweight with a great deal of attention to detail. Fit and finish of the gun are not an accident. For my trip to the range, I ran the Holosun 403C Red dot optic. Any trip to the range is a good day, and the time with the D3-9SD proved to be no different. First order of the day was shooting the gun for groups. For this test, we utilized three different types of ammunition. These included Remington UMC 9mm Luger 115-grain Full Metal Jacket, Aguila 9mm Luger 115-grain Full Metal Jacket and Federal American Eagle 9mm Luger 115-grain Full Metal Jacket. Factoring in that this weapon is designed primarily as a close-quarters weapon system, the five-shot groups were performed at 25 yards. Each brand performed as well as could be expected in the D3-9SD. The best group we got came from the Remington ammunition with a group of 1½ inches.
While my focus was on getting good groups, it was the suppressor that kept my attention. D3’s claim of exceptional suppression held true during our testing. The gun was very quiet even with standard ball ammunition. With the introduction of subsonic ammunition the gun was almost comically quiet. I loaded a few magazines with Magtech 9mm Luger Subsonic 147-grain FMJ and the gun became the weapon people in Hollywood put in movies. Already hearing safe, the introduction of subsonic ammo dropped the muzzle sound dramatically. The last test regarding ammunition was based on what I feel is one of the major applications of the weapon—home defense. I believe it would be exceptional in this role because of its size, caliber and the fact that it is suppressed. With that I loaded several magazines with a variety of duty / personal protection ammunition. While not as quiet as our subsonic ammo, the hollow point ammunition was still hearing safe and ran well with no malfunctions. The best performer out of this group was the Sig Sauer Elite Performance 147-grain V-Crown JHP. It produced a group coming in at a very respectable 2 inches. A two inch group in close quarter combat is a fight winner. I believe this was one of the more critical tests not just because of its home defense capacity, but because the gun is marketed heavily to law enforcement as well.
Run and Gun
Where the D3-9SD really began to shine was in the dynamic application phase of the range tests. The gun was comfortable and easy to run. All of the manipulations of the gun including safety operation were within easy reach with no change in position. The trigger on the demo gun was a standard mil-spec version which was a bit stiff, but that would be quickly remedied with a new drop in trigger. The cyclic rate was well balanced and muzzle rise was negligible. Accuracy opened up as expected but still remained much better than other weapons. The mix of a low-recoil 9mm round with a seven pound gun allowed me to quickly engage steel at super-close quarter distance out to 75 yards with no issue whatsoever. The gun gained extra stars when it came time for reloads. The dedicated Glock magazine well made reloads fast and effortless. The overall small size of the weapon made it feel as if I were reloading a large pistol as opposed to a rifle. They were fast, smooth and allowed me to get back into the fight with only a momentary break. They also made a great pairing as I ran the gun from a variety of nontraditional positions such as urban prone and around various barricades. One specific area the gun shined was inside a vehicle. Wielding a rifle inside a vehicle can get tricky to say the least. For this test I kept the stock completely collapsed and secured the rifle in a standard carry position inside the vehicle. When the flag went up, the D3-9SD went to work like a champ. Its small size, lack of recoil and suppressor made it one of the best guns I have run inside a car. It allowed me to quickly get the gun into the fight and maintain a more traditional shooting position that cannot be acquired when you are running a full sized AR in close quarters. At the end of the testing I stood over a pile of brass impressed with the rifle.
I have had the luxury of running some of the most iconic 9mm suppressed SBRs available. While name trumps all in some people’s minds, the Desert Design and Development D3-9SD has established itself as a player in this market. It runs on demand, eliminates the need for ear pro and is accurate. This is the trifecta of what we need in a suppressed SBR. I would enthusiastically use this as a personal protection gun as well as an extra duty rifle in a squad. No one single weapon is designed to fit every contingent, but the D3-9SD covers a lot of ground.
To learn more, visit https://d3llc.com/product/d3-9sd/.
To purchase a 9mm carbine on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=9mm%20carbine.