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3 Reasons Pistol-Caliber Carbines ‘Outgun’ Everything Else

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Each weapon in your home armory is there for its own unique purpose. While that polished 1950s-era coach gun might have secured its spot as your safe queen, your other rifles and handguns were likely purchased for more active roles. And whether for hunting or for tactical applications, a weapon should fulfill the reason why you own it.

In an emergency situation, the mission at hand might be somewhere between a long-range engagement and an up-close defensive scenario. It is in such a situation that a pistol-caliber carbine rifle system could be the perfect sidekick.

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Pistol-caliber carbine rifle systems are very literally in a class of their own. What exactly is the point of this class?

I could agree that for most close-quarters combat (CQB) applications, you might as well just go with an AK-47. However, depending on JUST how close, how many threats and how fast you need to move from one target to the next, you’d theoretically be able to outgun an AK with something that’s more maneuverable, lighter and has less recoil.

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At the same time, where a handgun falls short is when sight picture stability is needed for a target that’s more than 20 yards, or so, away. I’d want to draw my Glock at 0 to 10 yards, and I’d want to run an AK for those 25- to 100-yard engagements. But what about that 10- to 25-yard gap?

That’s when I want a pistol-caliber carbine rifle. Two of my favorites are the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 and the Beretta Cx4 Storm, and I’ll discuss those more in detail below.

Here are the advantages of carrying a pistol-caliber carbine rifle:

1. You Can Maneuver in a Tight Spot to Avoid a Sticky Situation

I’d grab my AR-15 once I’ve reached more open areas, or perhaps a Springfield XD if I’m in a back alley and someone jeopardizes my life and limb.

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But aside from those types of scenarios, I’d pick a pistol-caliber carbine for those trickier 5 to 75 yarders, such as urban-to-rural bugout and home-defensive situations. For one, pistol-caliber carbines are just amazingly maneuverable. Take a look at the TNP run-n’-gun footage below:

As he was running the Sub 2000 through the “trenches” (which I believe is called “The Sledgehammer”), I noticed two interesting points:

  • First, there’s no way I could hit those longer-range targets with the same speed and accuracy with a handgun. At the same time, there would be little noticeable speed/accuracy advantage in using a full-blown battle rifle.
  • Second, he was able to hit targets with an effectiveness comparable to that of a handgun, but also have more maneuverability and speed.

2. You Can Run Them Seamlessly With Your Glock or Beretta

One of my absolute favorite parts about the Sub 2000 and the Cx4 Storm systems is the fact that they’re built for gorgeous integration with certain handguns. For instance, here’s a list of handgun magazines that the Sub 2000 will take (based on which model you purchase):

For the 9mm chambering:

For the .40 S&W:

One of the reasons why I’d go with the Glock 19 or 23 models of the Sub 2000 is because it will accept those huge, 33-round Glock magazines. The G17 or 22 models aren’t able to accept mags from their smaller compact counterparts.

And whereas the Cx4 Storm might not have nearly the magazine diversity options, it’s still designed to accept your Beretta Px4 magazines because it’s practically the same exact platform as its pistol counterpart: the Px4. The only difference is the addition of the buttstock, the barrel length and the aesthetics.

Why is this important? Well, when situations get lively, I like things simple. One great way to promote such simplicity is to require only one type of magazine for both weapons.

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3. Comfy Ergonomics + Featherweight + Reflex Optics = High-Speed Lethality

I’m not saying that AR/AK systems are inadequate for CQB applications. I am saying that pistol-caliber carbines offer a few additional advantages over battle rifles for those particular scenarios. For instance, having mentioned the aspect of maneuverability before, here’s a huge reason why the advantage goes to the PCC on this point. Compare the weights below:

  • Kel-Tec Sub 2000 – 4 pounds
  • Beretta Cx4 Storm – 5.68 pounds
  • AR-15 – 5.5 to 8.5 pounds

Granted, the featherweight AR beat the stock Cx4 by weighing in at only .18 pounds lighter. However, those weights aren’t based on a fully loaded weapon. And a 5.5-pound AR-15 is uniquely made for its weight, likely forsaking its own design capabilities to reach out and touch someone at 300 yards.

In that sense, you might as well just go with the Cx4 (and most certainly the 4-pound Sub 2000) for a run-n’-gun scenario. In most cases, your typical ARs should be about 6 to 7 pounds, with an overall standard length of 39.5 inches. Both the Cx4 and the Sub 2000, however, are about 29-inches from buttstock to muzzle.

This is one reason why the sheer ergonomics and weight would make a downright lethal combination, especially if a reflex-style optic were mounted. Essentially, that would allow the operator to engage a single target at stunning speed – and even move quickly to engage multiple targets in a single, fast-moving fight.

Final Thoughts

Super short, pistol-caliber rifles do have their place among the more lethal firearms. This is because force-on-force engagements often occur at closer ranges. Sure, it’s possible to get an exchange of fire out to 200 yards or so. But if each opponent has been tactically maneuvered into a range of 0 to 50 yards, that’s when the stakes become desperately high. Then it’s the best-trained and properly armed team that will be standing when the battle is over.

Do you agree or disagree? Share your views in the section below:

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