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Pistol-caliber carbines

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Arrogant Bastard, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. Arrogant Bastard

    Arrogant Bastard Well-Known Member


    I have an urge to get one of these (not necessarily THIS brand), but I need to convince myself it has a practical purpose and fills a niche in my collection.

    If there's already a recent thread devoted to this topic, I apologize -- please post a link?

    My collection currently consists of:

    S&W 640
    Glock 30
    Taurus PT1911
    Ruger 10/22
    Ruger Mark III Hunter
    Remington 870 Express 12-ga 18"

    I also have plans to pick up an AR-15 eventually.

    Why would I want one of these, other than that it looks neat, and I want one? Give me the pros and cons, and models I'd probably consider, if I were serious about getting one, please.

    My current thinking is that for home defense, it would make the most of a pistol caliber, getting the maximum velocity from a round, be far more accurate than a handgun, without the spread and possible collateral property damage of a shotgun, and less penetrating than a rifle round.
  2. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    Pistol-caliber carbines tend to be the worst of both worlds. You get the poor performance of a handgun round, without the portability of a handgun.

    IMO, they are only useful for plinking.

    SMG's are a little different story, especially when supressed.

    You'll be much happier with an AR-15
  3. oneshooter

    oneshooter Well-Known Member

    High-Point 995 9mm carbine, light, as accurate as needed, will feed and fire anything I have fed it.

    The only sore point is that it is as ugly as warmed over sin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D


    Livin in Texas

    Attached Files:

  4. tinygnat219

    tinygnat219 Well-Known Member

    Check out this thread going on about the Kel-Tec SUB 2000:

    • More effective than a handgun as it's a rifle
    • Ease of engaging a target beyond handgun distances.
    • More accurate than a handgun
    • Little felt recoil due to pistol ammo.
    • Pistol ammunition becomes more effective due to extra velocity.
    • Follow up shots are easier to make.
    • Good option for an inexperienced shooter to build confidence.
    • Good option for a secondary rifle in a group.
    • Prices are reasonable.
    • Some share magazines with existing handguns
    • Easier to find places to shoot them (most indoor ranges are pistol caliber only)
    • More compact than a full-blown rifle.

    • Loses effectiveness past 100 yards
    • Pistol cartridges are not rifle cartridges

    I own two: A KT Sub 2000 in 9MM that takes Glock 17 Magazines. This means that it also takes 31 round Glock 18 magazines. Since I also have a Glock 19 pistol, these can be interchanged if necessary. I keep the SUB 2000 folded up with 4 loaded G18 magazines and a Glock 19 with 2 G17 Magazines. These are kept in a separate gym bag in the safe for a "Bug out Kit" if I have to evacuate. I also know that I can hand the SUB 2000 to my spouse while I wield something heavier. The weight of the SUB 2000 is a laughable 4.5 pounds. Maybe 5.5 fully loaded.

    My other one is an 1894 Lever Action in .357 Magnum. I feel that this is the perfect carbine as the heavier .357 loads REALLY gain a punch coming out of it's 18 inch barrel. It's also dead on accurate at 100 yards and allows for easier follow up shots. Toss in a .357 Revolver and you don't have a need to even HAVE a magazine that can get caught, lost, or damaged.

    I have owned the Hi-Point 995 and while neat and accurate, I wanted something with more than 10 rounds and one where magazines could be shared with a handgun. The KT SUB 2000 answered those requirements and more.

    I think the distance these carbines REALLY shine is between 50-100 yards. The longer barrels and better control give some extra legs and oomph to those pistol cartridges. It also gives a shooter a better chance to hit something at that distance than a handgun would. These are something of a niche tool, and are a nice supplement for a full powered rifle.
  5. macadore

    macadore Well-Known Member

    I hear that a lot, but have not seen evidence to confirm it. I have heard that pistol bullets slow down in barrels over 10 in inches. I don’t have any evidence either way. Just curious.
  6. JFettig

    JFettig Well-Known Member

    my 9mm carbine with a 19" barrel(haven't cut it to 16 yet) puts out almost 600 ft-lbs 1530fps. I've engaged steel at 200 yards with using only a red dot, accurately. Its lots of fun, cheap to shoot, and works well for small animals, I tore a rabbit apart not long ago with a 115gr gold dot.

  7. nalioth

    nalioth Well-Known Member

    "Pistol ammo" gains velocity in longer barrels because the powder has more time to burn completely.

    All those cool muzzle flashes you see at the end of your 1911 are just wasted potential.
  8. spuscg

    spuscg member

    i want to find a good 357 carbine, magnum calibers are supposed to be great for leverguns, and i want a levergun eventually.
  9. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Well-Known Member

    I've got a semi-auto Uzi. Mags are cheap, ammo is about 1/3rd the price of 5.56 NATO.

    I mostly shoot it at local matches where rifle calibers aren't allowed because of damage to targets/safety. It's a great training tool for practicing CQB and getting additional trigger time.

    PCCs (Pistol Cal Carbines) aren't rifles. They don't have anywhere near the hitting power or the range of a rifle. I'd buy (and did) a rifle in a common military caliber before getting ANY PCC. I'd say a PCC is something to acquire when you already have a decent handgun and rifle set up.

  10. tinygnat219

    tinygnat219 Well-Known Member


    The pistol round becomes more effective because it has a longer barrel to take advantage of the powder. As has been posted here before me, the muzzle flash you see is powder that wasn't burned in the barrel. The longer barrel gives that powder the opportunity to burn, thus increasing the velocity and therefore the effectiveness of the round as it also gains stability with the increased rifling.

    Here's something for you:
    Out of a pistol barrel, the 357 magnum produces about 535 foot pounds of energy with a velocity around 1235 fps. This same round, out of a longer rifle barrel, will be accelerated to around 1600 fps, giving it an effectiveness of about 900 foot pounds of energy to deliver to the target.

    It's much more effective out of a rifle barrel.
  11. telomerase

    telomerase Well-Known Member

    Pest control without losing your hearing.

    Hunting of small to medium game without losing your hearing.

    Moving inexperienced shooters up to something hotter than a .22 without giving them a flinch from muzzle blast.

    Use of cheap ammo.

    And yeah, plinking (aka practice) at ranges where you can't use rifle ammo.

    The guys saying to get a real 'rifle' (actually even an AR-15 is hardly a real rifle if you look at the low energy of the cartridge, the ever-improving body armor, etc.... that's why the M-N is the rifle of the future AND the past :D) are probably right for most people, depends on your situation.
  12. macadore

    macadore Well-Known Member

    Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. I know long barrels were important in the black powder days, but I was under the impression that pistol powder burned completely long before the bullet reached 16 inches.
  13. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Well-Known Member

    First off, pistol caliber carbines are just plain fun!

    That said, I'd get the AR-15 first (just don't confuse it with a "real rifle" :neener: ), a PCC later. I have an AR-15 (heavy match rifle, but it still fires 5.56 rounds) and it is more accurate, easier to engage at distances with and has a very low recoil impulse for what you get down range. But I would NOT take it hunting anything larger than coyotes and small deer, personally.

    However, right next to the AR-15 sits a Marlin 1894 in .44 Magnum. Yes, I hear all the time, "why have a rifle in a handgun round?" It works for me though. Out of the 20" rifle barrel, 240gr JHPs run about 1700-fps, about 400-500 fps faster than they do out of a handgun barrel. To me this is enough gun to be a plenty comfortable 100-yard deer and black bear killer.

    The downside is that it is much more difficult to hit things past 100 yards with than the AR-15 (or something in say, .30-06 or even 7.62x39). Yes, the 200-yd steel gong is in trouble from the Marlin, but it takes a very good knowledge of your trajectory.
  14. Ratshooter

    Ratshooter Well-Known Member

    I have rifles in 32 mag, 357 mag, 44 mag and two in 9mm. I like them a great deal. Easy on the shoulder and powerful enough for deer. Plus they can be very cheap to shoot.

    My 357 Marlin is my favorite rifle. My buddies son killed his first deer with a Marlin 9mm Camp Carbine. It ran about 40 yards and dropped.

    Whats not to like?
  15. telomerase

    telomerase Well-Known Member

    It keeps pushing for a while after it's finished burning.

    Though of course that's not the real reason that there are no 15" barrels :cuss:
  16. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  17. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    Maybe they're powerful enough for deer in Texas. :) I would NOT try to knock over the mulies here in Utah with a 9mm carbine.

    I will always tell someone to shoot something that they think is fun. If you like it, you'll shoot it more. If the ammo is cheaper, you'll shoot it more still. All shooting practice is good. You are allowed to have a gun just because it's fun.

    But the only weapons of this type that really deliver overwhelming stopping power fire bursts, are fully automatic, or both. If I wanted a weapon of this type for cheap, low-recoil practice, I would use a 10/22. If I am going to use a long gun for real defensive uses, I want full advantage of a full cartridge. The velocity increase of a longer barrel might well help, but you can't tell yourself it's the same thing as a rifle cartridge.

    The only ones that really are in the power range to have real potential would be .357 mag or .30 carbine. (A pistol cartridge seldom used in pistols at all.) I absolutely concur with machivshooter.
  18. hqmhqm

    hqmhqm Well-Known Member

    I had a Ruger PC9 but I wasn't very happy with it; shooting 9mm out to 100 yards just doesn't have a lot of appeal.

    I now have a Winchester 1894 trapper in .44 magnum. It has substantial recoil, but is very accurate out to 100 yards, and is just more satisfying; if I am going to get pistol-like ballistics, it is nice to have a substantial bullet to really knock things over when it finally arrives.

    My hands down favorite carbine is the M1 Carbine though. It is such a pleasure to shoot, and very accurate at 100 yards.

    I also had a Marlin 1894C in .357 mag, which was wonderful to shoot. I would recommend that highly. The whole idea of a pistol caliber rifle came from the frontier cowboy wild-west days, and so I think it only makes sense to experience it with a real wild west rifle.
  19. ctdonath

    ctdonath Well-Known Member

    Consider whether a rifle-caliber carbine would provide more power in a comparable sized package.
  20. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    I have to say, I bought myself a Hi-Point .40 carbine for Father's Day, just because I've picked up some much .40 brass, I wanted something to shoot it with. And they were on sale.:rolleyes:

    First time out, with the stock sights untouched, two targets with 50 rounds each. 10 yards.



    May not be acceptable accuracy to some purists, but I just wanted a paper puncher and can shooter, and this is plenty good for me! Just something inexpensive for FUN! I've since put a red-dot on it, and it's a killer now.

    This weekend I let my 11 y.o. grandson shoot it, and I nearly had to pry it away from him. He finally gave it up when the ammo ran out. I didn't care, it's so much fun watching a kid shoot! I need to videotape him sometime, especially with my 1911's.

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