Extar EP9 Upgrades- How To Make a Good Gun GREAT!

Take a look at some updates I’ve made to my Extar EP9!

The Extar EP9 comes right from the factory as a pretty darn good PDW type firearm. It’s light, handy, good-shooting and accurate. Let’s take a look at a few little Extar EP9 upgrades that make a good gun into a GREAT one!

Extar EP9 Upgrades- The Forearm

The stock Extar EP9 comes with a smooth handguard without any accessory mounting options. If you want to attach a light or sling mount you have to buy their rail sections and attach them to the piece. A company called SMX Industries saw a need for a more convenient way to customize your EP9, so they started marketing their Protos handguard. The Protos is a carbon fiber reinforced polymer handguard. SMX put M-Lok slots at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. It’s an easy item to swap out, and it lets you mount whatever you want to the firearm. If you want one, you’d better move quickly- SMX is phasing the Protos out in favor of their improved Octos handguard. The Octos is machined from carbon fiber and gives the user 7 planes of M-Lok mounting options.

The Protos handguard from SMX Industries lets you use M-Lok slots to mount accessories to your Extar EP9.

Extar EP9 Upgrades- The Buffer Tube Adapter and Pistol Brace

The stock Extar EP9 has a proprietary buffer that mounts an SB Tactical SOB brace. There’s NOTHING wrong with the factory option. It works quite well.

However, the stock configuration lacks adjustability. Never fear, though, because Farrowtech makes a buffer tube adapter for the Extar EP9! Remove the stock buffer tube mount and replace it with the solid Delrin unit from Farrowtech and you can mount either commercial or mil-spec buffer tubes… along with any buffer tube compatible pistol brace you want! I chose to use the KAK Industries Shockwave Blade 2.0 on mine. This allows me to adjust the length of pull of the pistol so I can put the brace exactly where I want it.

The Farrowtech Buffer Tube Adapter lets you use commercial or mil-spec buffer tubes on your Extar EP9.
The KAK Industries Shockwave Blade 2.0 pistol brace gives you adjustability that the SOB brace lacks.

The Buffer Retainer Plate

Extar makes the stock EP9 buffer retainer from plastic. I haven’t had any problems with it, but I decided to change it out in favor of the plate from ZR Tactical Solutions. ZRTS cuts their plate from stainless steel and it has a lifetime warranty.

Here’s a comparison between the ZRTS retainer plate (right) and the stock Extar plate (left). The ZRTS plate is stainless steel, while the Extar plate is plastic.

The Recoil Buffer

I read that some people were having issues with the stock Extar recoil buffer bottoming out on commercial and mil-spec buffer tubes. This being so, I decided to change mine. I chose to install an AR Stoner Extended Heavyweight 9mm buffer. This 8-ounce buffer is stout enough to soak up the recoil energy of the EP9’s blowback operation. The recoil bumper on the end allows it to prevent any damage if it DOES bottom out on the tube.

UPDATE 6/30/21: Farrowtech let me know that they now include a recoil buffer in the package with their adapter. Theirs is a bit shorter than the AR Stoner buffer, so it lets the bolt travel further, which reduces the risk of the buffer bottoming out even more.

The AR Stoner buffer (top) compared to the Extar buffer (bottom).

The Trigger

The Extar EP9 uses an AR-15 trigger design. Extar makes the stock version from polymer, with a steel insert in the hammer. Although it works just fine and is reliable, I wanted to upgrade the trigger a bit so I could squeeze a little more accuracy out of the pistol. Since the receiver is compatible with mil-spec (and some drop-in) AR triggers, I chose what I consider to be the best value in that type of trigger- the Palmetto State Armory Enhanced Polished Trigger. (If you can’t find just the trigger in stock, you can usually get it as part of a lower build kit which will also get you a pistol brace.)

You should note, though, that if you change out the trigger parts you really need to swap the safety selector as well. The factory selector is, you guessed it, plastic. Install a steel selector and you’re good to go!

The Palmetto State Armory Enhanced Polished Trigger is a real value in AR-15 trigger upgrades.

Extar EP9 Upgrades- Conclusion

So… do you strictly NEED to do some upgrades to the Extar EP9? Nope. It’s perfectly fine right out of the box. As I’ve stated many times, it’s a good little PDW style pistol. That being said, it DOES benefit from a few little tweaks. If you take the steps I talked about above, you will transform your Extar EP9 from a Good gun into a GREAT one!

Be sure to check out the video on my YouTube channel!