The Trailblazer Pivot: Ultimate Everyday Carry 9mm Carry PCC? – Firearms News


The Pivot, open and ready to be loaded. The ejection port is on the right side, and the charging handle is on top, producing a pretty flat package.

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When carried or stored, we want a firearm to be as compact as possible. This usually requires a compromise of one kind or another. A shorter barrel, or a (gack!) bullpup design. Trailblazer has a different idea. The Pivot does just that: the top half rotates around to un-compact the carbine, and ends up being a usable size with a non-SBR barrel length. This does, however, require other compromises. But we’ll get to those. The Pivot is a 9mm carbine with a blowback system, feeding from Glock magazines. The upper receiver is an aluminum shell with a partial rail on top. Partial in that there are sections out front and at the rear, in case you want to mount back-up sights on it. The rear rail is long enough to park a red-dot optic or even a low-power magnifying scope, should you wish to. The barrel, at sixteen inches, is threaded at the muzzle for a muzzle brake or to install a suppressor mount. The upper has an ejection port on the right side, and the charging handle is a near-vertical knurled steel rod that locks open not unlike the charging handle of an MP5.

The Pivot has a bit of jolt to the recoil, due to the heavy bolt, but it is not at all a problem.

The lower is also aluminum, with polymer parts attached to it. It is the firearm, with the serial number stamped in an inset plate on the right-hand side, ahead of the stock latch. The safety and magazine release are both ambi, present on both sides, and while the safety lever looks a bit on the small side it is entirely useable. The stock is adjustable for length of pull, with three inches of travel. I found it at the full extension still a bit on the short side, but hey, we want compact, we’ve got to take compact, right? And not all shooters have a seven-foot wingspan as I do. The stock also has a magazine holder, which is necessary to keep the magazine handy, which we’ll get to in a moment. I have to mention that in some jurisdictions, a loaded magazine in the same case as, or in contact with the firearm, constitutes a loaded firearm. (That’s the sort of thing only a legislator or Judge who is utterly ignorant of firearms could say with a straight face. But I digress.)


The pistol grip is located in the middle of the Pivot when folded. (Folded? Pivoted? Rotated? Collapsed? We’ve got to find a better term.) The upper and lower receivers are the same length with the stock collapsed, so the Pivot as a package is compact and lacks protrusions. The stock, with magazine inserted, does stick a smidge below the pistol grip, but that is unavoidable. The pistol grip is relatively short, so it will work with G19 magazines, and anything longer. The stock is as compact as it can be and still be a stock. In-between the pistol grip and stock is the stock latch, which you use to unlock and extend or collapse the stock length of pull. Both upper and lower have M-LOK slots, so should you feel the need to clutter up the clean lines of the Pivot by attaching a light, laser, cup holder or other extra, you’ve got places and choices. Me, I would be tempted to find a place to put a light, but only if I could do so and keep the clean lines intact. That would mean locating it underneath the lower receiver, where it would be out of the way and not add thickness to the sleek, flat contours of the Pivot.

The Trailblazer Pivot, rotated to its compact storage size (top). The Pivot does just that, it pivots open or closed.

You will notice that when the Pivot is rotated closed, the muzzle is pointing back, more or less in your direction. That is a bit disconcerting at first, but you get over it. The Pivot is so compact, and so lacking in protrusions it almost seems a shame to put sights on it, but you have to have sights. So, the most compact red-dot you can afford would be a suitable companion to the Pivot. Ok, you have the Pivot in your hands, with a loaded magazine in the stock, and the bolt locked back. Slide your support hand up to the front of the receiver set, and you’ll notice a button on the lower receiver. Press this, and it unlocks the receivers. Now simply rotate (a slap or swipe of your support hand will do the job) and the upper will rotate around. Once it gets through its full 180 degree rotation, it will automatically lock in place. You have to make sure you get it there, there is no mechanical assist to complete rotation, but it isn’t difficult to manage. You can rotate the upper in either direction, the Pivot doesn’t care. Once you have the latch pressed, swinging the upper around is easy. Now, pull the magazine out of the stock, or off your belt, slam it home, and then slap the bolt handle to close and you are ready. Press the safety lever down, and when you press the trigger it fires like any other PCC.

To unlock the Pivot and open it up, you press the button on the front of the lower receiver. You can see that the upper, rotating across the lower, means the bolt must be back and the magazine out, for clearance. The charging handle of the Pivot turns up and locks into place, not unlike the charging handle of the MP5.

The Trailblazer Pivot comes with a fifteen-round magazine (ten rounds in the un-free states) but it will use any Glock 9mm magazine of the G17 size, and of the ambi-mag catch generation. (I didn’t try it with any of my ancient legacy Glock mags.) So, while you have fifteen rounds stashed in the stock, you can use any other size you want, off your belt or out of your ready bag. Now, the downsides, or compromises. First, you have to have the bolt locked back with the hammer cocked to pivot it, and second, you have to have the magazine out. These are both an unavoidable detail of the design. You have to have the bolt back, otherwise it would not pass over the hammer. The hammer needing to be cocked should be obvious. And the magazine presents the same obstacle: if it were in the mag well, the feed lips would be above the top line of the lower receiver, and prevent rotation. These “drawbacks” are also safety provisions: since you can’t have a loaded magazine in the pistol grip, and you have to have the bolt back, there’s no way you can have a chambered round in it while you are rotating it. If you properly follow the manual of arms as laid out, you are good to go.


You can see the clearance slot milled out of the upper, to pass over the tip of the cocked hammer. The pistol grip is short, so it works with G19-sized magazines. And any longer magazines as well. The Pivot has M-LOK slots, to mount accessories if you wish. You can see the partial rail on top, there for a front sight or light if you wish one. The muzzle is threaded and comes with a thread protector.

To rotate the Pivot closed, remove the magazine. Pull back the charging handle and rotate it up to the locked position. Check the chamber, just to be sure. Then press the locking button on the front of the lower receiver, and then rotate the upper around to closed position. Again, you can rotate in either direction. In test-firing, the Pivot worked like a champ, but the heavy bolt was clearly doing its job on each shot. However, the Pivot is again not the PCC you’d pull out of the rack with the intention of winning a competition. Instead, it would ride in the bag behind the seat of your car or truck, or be tucked into a gear bag, as an unobtrusive emergency tool. In that, it would excel. Also, the mass of the bolt and guide shaft add to reliable function. Cold, dirt, or other problems are things a bolt with mass simply shrugs off. With a folded length of just twenty inches it would disappear in a medium-sized duffle bag. A medium-sized messenger bag would also work well. 9mm isn’t the hammer of Thor as far as power goes, but when you have an emergency need of a firearm, 9mm is better than harsh words, a sharp stick or a big knife.

The stock is adjustable over a three-inch distance, but you can use it even at the shortest length. The stock is also a magazine storage space as well, with room for a 15-shot magazine.

The trigger is, again, not what you’d choose to win a match. But it is clean and is heavy enough to keep you out of trouble in times of stress, and it did not pose a hindrance to hammering the 100 yard gongs at the club’s rifle range. Disassembly? Do not try to figure it out on your own, read the manual that comes with the Pivot. It involves using a punch to press a recessed rod in the back receiver plate, and you won’t figure it out just by pushing things. Yes, the rotational design is unique, and eye-catching, but in all other regards, Trailblazer has hit the right marks. Opting for 9mm is the smart choice. Yes, .45 ACP has more power, and a couple of club members I showed it to were hot to get one in 10mm if Trailblazer ever made one. However, for someone preparing for troubled times, the most common ammunition to be found behind .22LR is 9mm. So kudos, Trailblazer. Ditto for using Glock magazines, especially down to G19 size. Were Glock magazines any more common you could buy them at the local 7-Eleven or gas station with a discount for filling-up your tank. Double-good if your sidearm is a 9mm Glock or a Glock clone. And coming out of the box lacking sights is another smart step. Everyone out there has their own favorite 
red-dot, optic or iron sights. Anything they included would find probably 75% of the buyers grumbling as they took them off to replace them.

Apart and ready for maintenance. Do not try to figure it out, read the manual. The disassembly start involves a rod and the rear plate of the receiver. The stock adjustments are made by using the lever in front of the stock.

The muzzle being threaded for the standard 9mm size; 1/2×28, means you can install pretty much anything you want, or nothing at all. Leave it alone with the provided thread protector or put on a muzzle brake, or a suppressor QD mount, and it won’t add too much extra length to the pivoted package. As an emergency tool, it is quick out of the bag, unfolded and ready to go. As an auxiliary tool to hand to someone in your party who is otherwise unarmed (Who invited that guy?) it is equally easy. You can snatch it out and unfold it before they know what is going on, and from there it is just like any other 9mm carbine: magazine in the pistol grip, work the charging handle, and put sights on-target as-needed. In testing the Pivot, I grabbed an EOTech sight off the shelf, bolted it on, got it zeroed, and went to work. The chrono session was as-expected, with the sixteen-inch barrel giving the loads tested a bit of a boost over what a pistol would do. The Pivot proved quite accurate, and on that day I was able to post some impressive groups from the bench at 50 yards. Yes, I had fun ringing the 100 yard gong, but to really test accuracy out there I’d need a magnifying optic. That is just too much for such a compact and handy carbine, and the Pivot is more of an up-close-and-personal emergency tool anyway.

With a low-profile messenger bag or something like it, the fact that you are armed in case of problems won’t be apparent to observers. These are the kinds of groups I was able to shoot at 50 yards with the Pivot and a 1X red-dot, in this case an EOTech Holosight.

As an emergency firearm to pack on travel, or to have handy to hand to someone who needs one, a compact red-dot optic would be better. Were I setting this up for that use, I’d go with something more compact than the EOTech, such as an Aimpoint, a Holosun or Crimson Trace. The last detail to consider is the cost. At the list price, the Trailblazer Pivot is not out of bounds with a well-made 9mm based on the AR-15. A slick AR-based 9mm is going to cost as much, or more than the Pivot, and the AR won’t fold. You can get other carbines, even some few that fold, for less, but none as easy to use, slick or compact as the Pivot. You can make an AR in 9mm as small as this, by taking the two receivers apart. But who wants to be assembling a rifle under stress, when seconds count? So pivot to the solution: Trailblazer Pivot.


Trailblazer Pivot Specs

  • Type: Hammer-fired, semi-automatic
  • Caliber: 9mm Parabellum
  • Capacity: 15 rds. 
  • Barrel: 16 in. 
  • Overall Length: 20.9 in. folded, 26.7 in. extended
  • Weight: 5 lbs., 1 oz. 
  • Finish: Blued steel, anodized aluminum, polymer
  • Grips: N/A
  • Sights: None
  • Trigger: 5 lbs., 7 oz. 
  • MSRP: $1,795
  • Contact: Trailblazer Firearms

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