August 08, 2006

Violence Begets Violence Part Five: Extensions

"One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that 'violence begets violence.' I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure — and in some cases I have — that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy." -Jeff Cooper, "Cooper vs. Terrorism", Guns & Ammo Annual, 1975

I used that quote in the first four posts of this series (which may be found here, here, here & here). If you haven't read them yet then by all means go take a glance.

We'll focus on a tool that combines some of the pros & cons of rifles & handguns:

Pistol Caliber Carbines:

There really aren't a lot of choices in this category, at least not compared to handguns. The purpose of a pistol caliber carbine is to replace the pistol, not the rifle. It simply will not do a rifle's job. It will do a handgun's job with the steadiness of a rifle although it sacrifices the handguns compactness. Think of it as an extension of a hangun rather than as a short rifle.

Another advantage is that since it's used with two hands & typically weighs what a light rifle would you can use bigger &/or more powerful cartridges with more ease than you would in a handgun so chambered. To put it bluntly a 7 pound carbine in .44 magnum will not kick as hard as a 3 pound handgun in .44 magnum. More of your body takes the recoil & since the firearm weighs more the recoil itself is not nearly as dramatic.

A pistol caliber carbine won't be as convenient to move around the inside of a house or boat as a handgun will be, but odds are it'll be a little bit better than trying that with a full sized rifle. The range will be in between the low end of a rifle & the high end of a pistol in capable hands. I wouldn't expect more than 80 yards or so but then again with practice 100 should be doable, though at 100 yards the projectile is reaching its limit of sufficient power even if accuracy can hold up a ways beyond that.

Close up there should be an increase in velocity due to the longer barrel. The more tube the more time the propellant has to build up pressure & thus the faster the projectile is going when it exits (up to a point, but most carbines & rifles don't reach that point of diminishing returns). An auto pistol cartridge such as the 9x19mm sees some gain from a 16" barrel but because of its relatively small case capacity it doesn't see an extreme gain (maybe 100 to 200 fps or so over a 5" barrel firing the same load). where the extra barrel length really shines is in revolver cartridges like the .357 & .44 magnums respectively.

In any situation where concealment &/or carry of a firearm isn’t an issue the pistol caliber carbine is a better choice than a handgun. It offers a little more power in the same cartridge as a handgun with the added stability & ease of use as a rifle. If you're looking for a home defense tool or a trunk gun the pistol caliber carbine is most always a better choice than a handgun & in some cases the best choice for your circumstances. If a shotgun or rifle risks too much penetration or recoil is a serious issue then the carbine is possibly the solution you've been looking for.

But as I said the choices are a bit more limited. I don't have much personal experience with most of these so I'll just throw some links your way & let you browse.

FeatherUSA makes some interesting carbines in pistol chamberings. You're looking at $600 or so for their basic model.

Kel-tec's Sub2000 will set you back close to $400.

Taurus offers pump actions in revolver chamberings starting at $500.

Beretta offers the Cx4 Storm for $775.

Ruger has pistol cartridge chambered autoloaders starting at $625 & a revolver cartridge chambered autoloader for $700.

Hi-Point has a .40 S&W carbine & a 9mm carbine both starting at around $200.

If you already have a 1911 or a Glock then Mech Tech offers its CCU for around $340. This is basically a unit that replaces your slide & barrel, turning your frame into the bottom component of a carbine in a number of interesting chamberings. It does not have to be in the same chambering as your pistol as long as the pistol's frame can accommodate the magazine of the chambering you desire in a carbine (for example a 9mm pistol probably wouldn't be convertible to a 10mm carbine, but the reverse should work fine).

There are some lever actions chambered for revolver cartridges (such as the Marlin 1894 Cowboy) & I'd expect $400 to be a reasonable starting point for them. Folks have also been modifying semi-auto's such as the AR-15 & Ak-47/AKM to take 9mm, .40 S&W & even .45 ACP cartridges. These will probably be a bit pricier. I'd offer an estimate but to be honest I've only seen them as project guns (i.e. you buy a .223 AR & then convert it to 9mm) but I'm sure I'm just overlooking some company that sells 9mm AR's ready to go.

There used to be a few more models available, notably the H&K MP-5 & USC (in semi-auto only of course) & the much missed Marlin Camp Carbine. When I checked the Heckler & Koch webpage it didn't list any carbines as available to the civilian market; they were only in the military & law enforcement section.

The used & military surplus market may yield a few more choices. I do know that a few companies are still making the Mac-10's & Mac-11's & I believe they are available in carbine configuration. I also see that Vector Arms is still selling Uzi's as pistols, carbines & short barreled rifles, but they say they're out of stock until December. Even then the cheapest Uzi carbine will run you $600. i also see that vector carries the H&K MP-5's. The .40 S&W or .357 Sig chamberings will set you back $1,500 & that's a dealer price! The9mm is currently sold out. Keep in mind these are Uzi & H&K parts kits on Vector's American made receivers. (This is in order to comply with a very asinine law concerning the number of u.S. versus foreign parts on certain imported rifles.) I'm sure there just as reliable but probably not as collectible if that's a concern.

I would be negligent if I didn't mention the M1 Carbine. While designed specifically for the M1 carbine the .30 carbine cartridge has been & can been considered a hot pistol cartridge rather than a weak rifle cartridge. The M1 carbines are getting pricey though, with 460 or so a realistic starting point (if not a little bit optimistic). Still it will serve in the same roles as the other pistol caliber carbines & shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. Besides, it’s the only option I’ve seen in this category that accepts a bayonet. Smirk if you will but any intruder who sees you with a 2.5’+ long piece of wood & metal with a 6� blade on the end will know you ain’t playin’.

(An aside: In WW2 a few big shots in the limitary were dying for then Col. Lewis “chesty� puller to see a demonstration of their brand spankin’ new style flame thrower. When the demonstration was over they asked Puller what he thought, eager to hear his praise. He said it seemed like a fine weapon, but he couldn’t figure out where the bayonet went on the damned thing. The moral – if it was good enough for Chesty & Stonewall, it’s good enough for you.)

So you do have some options. Pump actions, lever actions & auto-loaders are out there. Few of them are cheap & some of the discontinued models will be hard to find (thus even less cheap when you do find them).

Next we'll look at rifles.

Posted by Publicola at August 8, 2006 05:04 AM | TrackBack

Remember, conflits should be prolonged until right can prevail.

Posted by: Windy Wilson at August 8, 2006 02:02 PM