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View Poll Results: Would use be comfortable with a 9mm carbine for self defense?
Yes 109 81.34%
No 19 14.18%
Maybe so (please state why) 6 4.48%
Voters: 134. You may not vote on this poll

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Old August 25, 2013, 12:13 PM   #1
Model12Win
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Pistol caliber carbines...for defense!?

The title says it all.

Pistol caliber carbines really seem to draw a lot of flack when it comes to discussions about defensive arms. Especially those chambered in the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge. Critics are often quick to denounce these guns as nothing more than range toys with no real capabilities as a self defense option. I don't have much of a dog in this fight but I've been looking into picking up a Beretta CX4 Storm in 9mm for quite some time now. I have a rather small arsenal at this time, so something with multipurpose capabilities is really needed for me. I plan to use the CX4 Storm as mostly a range/plinking gun, but I'm wondering if it could also pull double duty as a home defense or SHTF gun.

So I decided to make this poll just to get the general consensus on using pistol caliber carbines for defense, especially those chambered in 9mm. What are your thoughts on this? This should be an informative thread.
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Old August 25, 2013, 12:20 PM   #2
tahunua001
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9mm out of a handgun is more than capable of killing bad guys. out of a carbine it has even more velocity behind it. even though it's even more lethal from a rifle it still does not have problems with over penetration like 5.56 and 7.62x39 and since it's a rifle it doesn't have the issue of stray shot like 12 gauge.

I still reach for the handgun first but if all I had was the rifle I would not feel undergunned.
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Old August 25, 2013, 12:24 PM   #3
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While it would not be my first choice, based on your post, it is a decent option. The 9mm is considered by many to be suitable for SD and there are probably more 9mms defending person and home than any other caliber. If you pick a premium load for the SD/HD duties, you will be fine.

Most of the folks who choose to bag on the 9mm AR have a variety of reasons, most of which come down to the fact that there are much better choices for that platform, or they want a shorter platform like the MP5. It all comes down to what you need/want and can afford. No matter what you choose, someone is always going to recommend more horsepower and better quality. Just the way it is, especially on forums.
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Old August 25, 2013, 12:31 PM   #4
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There is nothing wrong with pistol caliber carbines in my opinion. The Kel Tec Sub 2000 would be a great choice and it can be folded down for mobility if you had to go on the move. I have a Hi Point 995 and a Beretta Cx4 storm and both are great guns.
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Old August 25, 2013, 12:47 PM   #5
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People have been using pistol calaiber carbines just about as long as smokeless powder has been around. I am not ever sure what the first one was. They were used extensively in WW2 by Axis and Allies alike.

I have no problems at all using my Marlin Camp Carbine as a HD weapon. Super light recoil and and almost no muzzle flash.
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Old August 25, 2013, 02:37 PM   #6
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There is nothing wrong with them really. The problem is that carbines chambered in 223 are better in every way. They have all but killed pistol caliber carbines among military and LE. Civilian use is following.

Quote:
it still does not have problems with over penetration like 5.56 and 7.62x39 and since it's a rifle
Heavier 7.62X39 bullets could be a problem, but 5.56 ammo is LESS likely to over penetrate than handgun rounds. Especially SP ammo, but even FMJ 223 pretty much stops in building material.

Combine safer rounds in that are less likely to over penetrate, cheaper ammo, cheaper more reliable guns, better stopping ability, and added range if needed and a 223 carbine is just a better choice.
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Old August 25, 2013, 02:39 PM   #7
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I used to have an HK USC (.45), which I'd think would be more than adequate for defense, especially since I personally am a better shot with rifles/carbines than pistols. The only reason I'd go for my pistol would be the barrel length being a little more unwieldy in my small apartment. If it were an SBR/UMP-type conversion, it'd be no contest. And perhaps the pistol would be more readily available.
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Old August 25, 2013, 02:40 PM   #8
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jmr40 I'm not sure where you are regularly finding .223 for cheaper than 9mm? I'd be interested to know!
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Old August 25, 2013, 03:04 PM   #9
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They were certainly effective in WW2 and are used by some special forces even now.
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Old August 25, 2013, 03:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tahunua001
it still does not have problems with over penetration like 5.56
Like Jmr40 said, .223 and 5.56 hollow points will over-penetrate FAR less then almost any handgun or shotgun load. They fragment violently, so anything that makes it through a human body will usually be in small fragments. And the same goes for drywall; they'll penetrate far fewer walls than any 9mm load.

And at the same time, these same .223 and 5.56 hollow points are FAR superior for self-defense use than any 9mm load. For me, the only advantage of a 9mm carbine for home defense over a 5.56 is that the action will be slightly shorter and they tend to be lighter and cheaper.
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Old August 25, 2013, 03:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FairWarning
They were certainly effective in WW2 and are used by some special forces even now.
This is true. But if you notice, almost any time you see a recent photo of special forces troops, they're carrying rifle-caliber carbines, usually in 5.56.

The only advantage of a select-fire pistol-caliber carbine for the military (a sub-machine gun) is they're slightly more compact due to the shorter action and high cyclic rates of full-auto fire can be more controllable. But you get FAR better terminal ballistics from a 5.56 carbine than any submachine-gun, at both close and especially longer ranges, which is why 5.56 carbines are used FAR more often than sub-machine guns.
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Old August 25, 2013, 03:29 PM   #12
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There is a reason SWAT teams are dumping sub guns and going to 5.56 carbines. Effectiveness, or lack thereof of the 9mm. The carbine 9mm gives nothing in effectiveness over a handgun.
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Old August 25, 2013, 03:34 PM   #13
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I would rather have a 357 lever-action
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Old August 25, 2013, 03:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nanuk
There is a reason SWAT teams are dumping sub guns and going to 5.56 carbines. Effectiveness, or lack thereof of the 9mm. The carbine 9mm gives nothing in effectiveness over a handgun.
To be fair, it's not the ineffectiveness of the 9mm per se, it's the ineffectiveness of ALL defensive pistol calibers when compared to the 5.56.

And a carbine 9mm gives you around 200 FPS more velocity than a 9mm pistol and is easier to aim and shoot for most people.
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Old August 25, 2013, 03:48 PM   #15
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After reading your guy's opinions on this and doing some more research, this is what I am kind of leaning towards myself in regards to the question I asked.

The Beretta CX4 Storm comes in at 29.7" in overall length. An M4 comes in at 29.75" with the stock fully collapsed. I can't shoot an M4 with the stock collapsed, in fact I like it fully extended or one click in depending on what I'm wearing. I have to say, with the stock fully collapsed an M4 is very short. I didn't know the CX4 Storm was that short. Also, I've had the unpleasant occurrence of my ear defenders falling off during M4 qualification on an indoor range. It was painful. From what I gather 9mm carbines sound almost as quiet as a .22, with much less muzzle blast than anything 5.56.

Also, it seems that hot 124 grain +P or +P+ 9mm, with the boost of the carbine barrel, can produce muzzle velocities of about 1400-1450 fps... hmmm... a .355 caliber 124 grain JHP bullet at 1450 fps... sounds a lot like a very famous police load from the wheelgun era? Yup... with today's advances in ammo, when using premium full power ammo, a 9mm carbine can produce ballistics very similar to the vaunted .357 Magnum 125 grain JHPs that had such great success in law enforcement in the past 3 or so decades.

But unlike a revolver, a Beretta CX4 Storm can accept 30 round magazines, has less muzzle blast and noise, and is more accurate over distance yet is still shorter than any non title II rifle with stock deployed/unfolded. I don't count rifles with stocks removed an option.

Now I know the virtues of 5.56mm carbines are numerous and well deserved, but I'm looking at this gun for more reasons than just pure defense. I want something I can afford to shoot on a regular basis, and 5.56/.223 is just more expensive than I would like to invest in right now. Also, with my career I could find myself in many different places around the country and most ranges will allow pistol carbines even if they don't allow rifles, due to the caliber being the same as handguns.

These capabilities are important to me and economically it makes sense to go with this option for a multipurpose long gun. I understand 5.56mm carbines are wonderful defense guns, but like I said I am looking for an option with more uses than that.

Your mileage will vary. More opinions welcome!

Last edited by Model12Win; August 25, 2013 at 04:05 PM.
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Old August 25, 2013, 03:56 PM   #16
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Model12Win: It looks like you're making your choice for all the right reasons! The CX-4 will be a great home-defense and plinking gun for sure.
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Old August 25, 2013, 04:06 PM   #17
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Thanks!
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Old August 25, 2013, 04:12 PM   #18
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I don't believe there is anything to be gained with a carbine length barrel and a blowback action. Can someone with a chronograph give us some data,please? A locked breech design like a Colt car 9 might give a little boost, but probably not 200 fps. I'd much rather put a .357 out of a trapper. If it was 1939, and I was on some lonely island wishing for anything that would go bang, well of course I'd like one, but these days-pass. There are too many good options.
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Old August 25, 2013, 04:22 PM   #19
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Hmm I respect a .357 lever gun just as much as the next guy, it isn't going to be capable of the firepower of a semi-automatic carbine. Is this going to be needed? Probably not for home defense, SHTF? Maybe. While it would be certainly more powerful, something like a CX4 Storm would be the better gun for SHTF. There are many reasons why I think this.
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Old August 25, 2013, 04:39 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strafer Gott
I don't believe there is anything to be gained with a carbine length barrel and a blowback action. Can someone with a chronograph give us some data,please? A locked breech design like a Colt car 9 might give a little boost, but probably not 200 fps.
The Colt 9mm carbine is not a locked-breech design, it's also blowback. And Ballistics By The Inch shows the CX4 has approximately between 100 and 200 FPS of an advantage (or more) depending on the load and which pistol it's tested against:

http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/9luger.html
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Old August 25, 2013, 04:52 PM   #21
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As other posters have said, I would feel comfortable with my Hi-Point 995TS as my HD gun, although I don't presently use it that way. It's stored with a loaded mag nearby, however, where it could be easily pressed into service if I felt it necessary to do so.

Last edited by spacecoast; August 25, 2013 at 04:59 PM.
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Old August 25, 2013, 04:59 PM   #22
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It seems to me that all these SHTF scenarios involve 1 or 2 individuals making a valiant stand against hordes of hooligans, hence many seens the need for vast amounts of firepower and ammunition. I.E hordes of Red Chinese charging up the hill. While I believe in preparing and training for the worst I suspect that a true worst case scenario will involve more breakdown of public services,loss of electricity and power,transportation disruptions tha widespread rioting and roving bands of brigands. And,like the question of the 22LR for Self Defense, a hit from a 9MM hurts a lot worse than a miss from a rifle caliber. My experience with my Marlin rifle caliber carbines is like firing a 22LR rifle-the light recoil lets you get back on target quickly.
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Old August 25, 2013, 05:29 PM   #23
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Old August 25, 2013, 06:22 PM   #24
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My mistake. So what carbine designs are locked breech?
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Old August 25, 2013, 06:30 PM   #25
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Although I don't own it for a defensive weapon if it came down to a choice in a situation where I had a little breathing room, I would choose my 32-20 1892Winchester over any pistol. The extra barrel length would close the gap slightly in power between the 32-20 and a 45 ACP, and I could shoot the 1892 so much faster with accuracy than I could any pistol. Even if I had a 32-20 single shot rifle in my hands when something bad started in most situations I wouldn't set it aside and go for my handgun until I fired the first shot, and even then I wouldn't set it aside unless I was sure I wasn't going to have time to reload. Unless we're talking grappling distance virtually any kind of rifle or carbine beats any handgun, and at grappling distance, a knife is probably better than the handgun.

So, if I am willing to use a handgun, I certainly would be willing to use a 9mm carbine. The 9mm carbine might not be my first choice, but I'd certainly prefer it to any handgun.
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