I know I’m probably going to get a lot of flak for this, but if you have an AR15-style rifle for “home defense” I think you’re making a big mistake. It’s a totally unsuitable weapon – too long and with far too much penetration. Do you actually want to open fire inside your home with a weapon that can effortlessly rip through most internal walls? Unless your mental map can instantly plot trajectories and be 100% certain none of your bullets are going to end up sharing a bed with your kids or neighbors I would suggest not. Equally, one of my co-writers has already discussed the harm some open-carry advocates are doing. I’m going to go a bit further: If you carry a rifle when you go out for groceries, you’re being either childish (“Hey look folks, I got a gun!”) or dangerously irresponsible. In the unlikely event an incident kicks off in Costco, you’re really going to unsling that weapon and start laying down high-velocity rounds in the breakfast cereals aisle? Remind me never to go shopping in your town.
Anyway, I’ve been wondering about personal defense weapons recently. These haven’t exactly caught on very widely, mostly on financial grounds, but I think the concept is sound from a civilian point of view if not a military one. The basic idea is a military one and it’s not entirely new. Most soldiers don’t regularly take part in the infantry battle. They have other jobs to do and while they need to be ready to defend themselves, winning the firefight isn’t their main role. That means a full-size rifle is, generally, just dead weight. They’d be better off with a lighter and more compact weapon that had a reasonable part of a rifle’s capability but didn’t get in the way as much the rest of the time.
The US Army was the first to act on this idea and they did it as early as 1942. The M1 Garand rifle was a superb weapon but it was also long and heavy; for drivers, logistics troops and most other non-infantry it tended to get in the way. The result was the famous M1 carbine. This has had its share of criticism over the years and, true enough, as a rifle it’s awful – underpowered and short on range. It isn’t a rifle though – it’s a personal defense weapon. At 5.2 pounds empty, compared to the Garand’s 9.5, and a full eight inches shorter, it was a lot handier to have around if you needed to concentrate on doing something else. It had a 15 round magazine (later it got a 30-round one and, as the M2, selective fire capability). And it worked. Sure, it was outranged by a Mauser Kar98 and outgunned by the new Stg44 assault rifle, but most of the time it was a convenient, reliable little weapon with pretty decent firepower out to a couple of hundred yards. In fact it worked so well it soon became the standard weapon of US airborne troops, and regular infantry liked them for house-to-house fighting. It certainly beat a submachinegun.
Now there are modern versions of the PDW on the market; FN has their futuristic-looking P90 and the German Army has adopted Heckler & Koch’s MP7. These are compact, SMG-sized weapons that fire small caliber rounds out to an effective range of about 200 yards. Military ammunition for them is designed to penetrate body armor, which isn’t desirable in a civilian PDW – it means it will also penetrate your kids’ bedroom door – but switch that for an expanding bullet and it might just be the perfect home defense weapon. With most of them coming in at 18 to 20 inches long they’re also ideal for the car or, if you really have to take a gun shopping, stuffing in a bag. That way it will be out of sight, so when ISIS attacks your local Walmart you can go for it while they’re busy shooting all the guys with slung AKs.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.