Today I want to go over what I think is a very good home/self defense carbine. I have said it many times I would rather fight with a rifle over a pistol any day and shotguns too. Let’s take a look at the MasterPiece Arms MPA 9mm for the home defense/personal protection role.

I have done 2 other pieces for HD (home defense) rifles in the past. The Bushmaster Carbon -15 and the USGI .30 Carbine. Remember that before you look into buying any weapon you should consider three things. First, make sure the weapon you’re getting is right for you by trying out a few at a range, many will let you hire theirs. Second, do your research into sellers locally to check you’re getting proper eqiupment. Third, if you’ve never even fired a gun before seriously consider getting some home defense training here to make sure you know what you’re doing. I have had plenty of training from my army days, so I recently picked up this MasterPiece Arms MPA 9mm “Mac-11” rifle and I really think a lot of it.

So let’s start with some general guidelines of what I look for in a HD rifle. The rifle must be short, lite-weight, user friendly, well made and totally reliable. It needs to be mainstream enough that accessories and parts are readily available. I want it in a caliber that is easy to find and it must fire considerably more accurately than I can with a pistol at the same range. This MPA 9mm rifle meets all that and then some.

This is not my first MPA Mac style weapon, my sixth if I remember right. I had I think four pistols before this carbine over the years and since buying this carbine I bought the Mini 9mm pistol pictured here. I have never had a malfunction of any kind over the years with any of them. I admit the Mac-10 and 11 pistols are kind of just fun “bullet wasters” but this MPA 9mm carbine brings some serious butt-kicking, defensive capability to your home.

The model I bought was the MPA9300SST. It is essentially the “mini” MPA 9mm pistol with a 16 inch barrel and solid stock. It is the side charger model which is nicer than the top cock version because you get an optics rail when it charges from the left side. It came with a forward ventilated grip that is ready to attach rails too making it a full quad-rail if you wanted. I didn’t need that much rail space but it’s there if you do.

Furthermore you get a pair of reliable, smooth feeding 35 round magazines and a light, smooth trigger that is conducive to being able to shoot accurately. One thing I love about this is additional 32 round magazines are only about $17 a piece and in this day and age that is a bargain. The 35’s are a bit more but who is ever going to need a mag change in an HD scenario when you have 35 rounds to start with? If you need more than 35 rounds for your bad guy problem then you may want to consider “advancing in the opposite direction”. So spare 32’s are good enough for me.

So summing up so far before we get into some modifications this MPA 9mm kicks ass as is. MasterPiece Arms is a great company, turning out reliable, well made defensive weapons. I’d bet you could use this the rest of your life and it would never disappoint. This is a rifle that out of the box I would trust in a life/death situation. As with most things though there are ways to make it just a tad bit better for the individual user.

Mod 1: The muzzle brake that comes from the factory seems like 100 lb’s of wasted metal. The thing is huge and weighs WAY to much. To be perfectly strait it looks stupid on the end too, sorry MPA but that’s what I think of it. That’s no problem whatsoever though. Fortunately the barrel is threaded 1/2×28 so attaching any one of a number of other 9mm brakes is no problem at all. I looked at a few and then just decided to drill out a 5.56 AR brake I had in a parts box. Problem solved. I don’t think it does much of anything anyway. By the time a 9mm gets all the way to the end of the rifle barrel there just doesn’t seem to be much left. I don’t feel any difference in recoil with or without a brake screwed on. So it’s not for effect so much as this mod is for weight and aesthetics. With the stock brake off and a new one on we shed quite a bit of nose weight and it looks much better as well.

Mod 2: The stock is too long and I’m a big dude. It would be really long for a lot of smaller framed people. Again no problem. Using an Allen wrench just loosen the single bolt clamping the butt-plate to the stock tube and remove it. Then remove the foam piece your face rests on. Simply cut off the desired amount of the metal stock tube and re-attach the foam piece (cut down as well) and then the butt-plate. Easy as that. You end up with a very comfortable easy to handle little rifle.

I cut off 4.5 inches. It’s perfect for me but something to consider. If you are the main shooter then that might be fine, I cut it off for me and then found that the little woman kept getting her face bumped because the receiver would bump her cheek during the recoil cycle. This caused her no pain as it’s not a hard kicking weapon obviously, but she said it ANNOYED her and she didn’t want to shoot it anymore…TYPICAL…she can find something wrong with any weapon known to mankind. THAT happens to annoy ME because we should endeavor to be proficient with all kinds of weapons My Dearest. I say a bump on the cheek is nothing compared to the horrors one may be subjected to in the event of a home invasion or other serious issue. I think just dealing with it honey and learning to shoot it is a better idea……but what do I know.

Back on track here the stock mod will benefit many and now the carbine’s muzzle remains closer to me than my out stretched hands with a pistol.

Mod 3: Heat shielding the barrel. The quad-rail is a solid, well made piece of gear but it has no heat shield. I also think the cap that holds it on could have been made from aluminum to lighten up a bit but whatever, it is solid and decent looking. Now for a home defense situation your fine, no worries of heat. If you’re going to run her hard though consider making a heat shield between the barrel and the quad-rail/your hands. I fiddled around with some scrap aluminum but in the end just trimmed the lips off of a set of M-4 carbine heat shields and bent them to fit up in there. They are tight and haven’t moved.

The other alternative to this is to just use a forward grip. That works too and you can run pressure switches for lights or lasers down to it too if you want.

So what we ended up with is a rifle that is considerably lighter and shorter. She now tips the scales at 6 lbs 11 ounces with sight and light and is 30.5 inches long.

I used a Streamlight TRL-1 160 lumen weapon light and a Vortex SPARC red dot with the kill flash on it. I really like this rifle. Lets get in a bit of range time and wrap up.

These groups were fired using Winchester Ranger 147 grain Law Enforcement loads. All but one were fired from 50 yards and none of it was from a rifle rest. Two were slow fire off hand and the others were fairly rapid fire from various positions I fired from cover. I think you can see this little girl is more than accurate enough for the task. I can’t fire a pistol at 50 yards and get groups anywhere near what I got from rapid firing the MPA 9mm Rifle.

Summary: Wrapping up this MasterPiece Arms MPA9033SST is awesome. I love it. It is a fearsome home defense weapon for sure. Tight into your body, accurate, quieter than your average center-fire pistol and very, very well made. The safety is right where you need it to be for quick manipulation, with the mods it handles very well and weighs little. You’ve got 35 chances in that magazine and you shouldn’t need them all. The trigger is great, the accuracy is great, this little thing just leaves very little wanting. Load this with some quality ammo designed not to over penetrate in the home and put her away for a rainy day. I can’t see the MPA 9mm Rifle letting you down.

A special thanks to Darah Smallwood of MasterPiece Arms. Not only is she an excellent customer service lady with MPA but on a more personal level she went above and beyond to support the troops in Iraq during our last pump in 06-07. I will never forget and always appreciate the lengths you went too for me and my boys. Thank you Darah, I hope your flag is still hung up somewhere.

As always thanks for reading and train often.

By: Cary Kieffer



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Cary Kieffer

USMC Infantry/Combat Veteran/MUESOC/Sniper School - Med Retired LEO w/ 8yrs on job before Iraq wounds caught up with me.

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