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  1. #1
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    Default WHEN A 9MM BEATS A 5.56

    WHEN A 9MM BEATS A 5.56

    Monday, November 27, 2017



    At the risk of starting another caliber war, I want to answer a question that several members have asked.

    In essence: Why would we pick a 9mm like the Glock PDW or an AR-15 in 9mm when we can have a 5.56x45? Well...it is a valid question and I will give my perspective on this based on 32 years of experience going into harm's way as well as teaching those who go into harm's way.

    Every weapon is a special weapon with a specific application. There are no weapons that handle every possible combat task equally well, and any choice is an exercise in compromise. While we all have personal preferences, the professional, or professionally-minded enthusiast should not have a "favorite weapon". Rather he should be skilled at a variety of weapons so that given some forethought and planning, he can select the best tool for the job.

    Now lets recall the concept of the PDW and its pseudo-official definition:

    A personal defense weapon (PDW) is a class of compact magazine-fed, self-loading, hybrid between a submachine gun and a carbine. The name describes the type's original role: as a compact but powerful defensive weapon that can be carried by troops behind the front line such as military engineers, drivers, artillery crews or administrative staff. These soldiers may be at risk of encountering the enemy, but rarely enough that a long-barrel weapon would be an unnecessary burden during their normal duties. Because of their light weight and controllability, they have also been used by special forces and by police units.

    One point is very important over the others and the decisive point when selecting a weapon to add to the daily-carried handgun.

    "These soldiers may be at risk of encountering the enemy, but rarely enough that a long-barrel weapon would be an unnecessary burden during their normal duties."

    It will be far easier to go about one's daily urban life with a light and extremely compact PDW than an 5.56 rifle. Again, if the Islmaic Jihad has issued a fatwah on you and has dispatched a bevy of ISIS hitmen to take you out, you would be justified in going about your day in armor, driving a fortified vehicle with a Magpul D-60 equipped M4 at your side.

    Those not is such a situation will immediately find such steps impossible to maintain.


    1). Weight
    . It is not simply about being short and compact as even an HK-91 can be made that way. Weight is a consideration. A heavy weapon is harder to carry, more cumbersome to deploy and slower to use. Thus more likely to be left behind out of convenience. A 9mm PDW is far lighter than any M4 SBR. A Glock PDW is perhaps the most compact of all, specially if equipped with a folding hinge. A compact AR-15 in 9mm, such as the Angstadt UDP-9 (in my opinion, the best of the breed) is almost as small as a Glock PDW and far lighter and handier than any 5.56. Thus both are more likely to be on hand and to be deployed.

    2). Convenience.
    Aside from the weight issue is one of convenience. Having less to bring, less to remember and less to train is a good thing. Being required to stay on top of the manual of arms of a different platform is not a huge problem, but one that needs to be addressed. With the Glock PDW you have the same manual of arms...almost, as your everyday carry handgun. If you have spent a great deal of time on the M4, a 9mm version is an excellent choice. All the better if it takes the same magazines as your EDC Pistol.

    3). Greater efficiency.
    This is a catch-all category where things other than caliber fit in. Some will question the point of adding a stock at all since they fancy themselves great pistoleers. Well, I suspect they have not worked with a stocked handgun.

    The addition of a stock does a number of things to a Glock. It allows for greater accuracy. Look, we shoot steels at 100 yards, and dimes at ten yards, routinely with our carry guns and I will tell you that doing that is easier with a PDW. Dramatically easier. It allows for faster shot to shot recovery. There is nothing to argue about here as you have at least four points of contact with the PDW as opposed to just two with a handgun. More points of contact equals more control equals faster shooting.



    4). The caliber issue. This is and will remain a controversial point but there are situations where the 9mm is preferable to the 5.56. Unless one has actually fired a non-suppressed 5.56 indoors, with unprotected hearing, he will not think this is a big deal. Will your brain leak out of your ears and all your future earnings devoted to Miracle Ear? No, but the results will not be inconsequential either. And having several suppressors/silencers I am well aware of the possibility of adding one to the rifle, but then you have the issue of weight and length...again.

    The 9mm on the other hand does not have either of these concerns in the close quarters realm (the place where these weapons are intended for). An non-suppressed 9mm indoors will not be overlooked, but it is substantially less objectionable than a 5.56. And a suppressed 9mm will allow you to eliminate a crew of home invaders without waking the kids.

    The argument about penetration is not as important today with the proliferation of rifle plate armor. In the past one could argue that the 5.56 was a better choice since it would go through body armor like a hot knife through butter. Now, with the availability of armor that is more "rifle proof", that argument doesn't hold as much weight. And yes, such armor is available and prevalent - all we need to do is examine the recent terrorist events in Dallas and other places. In short, if you can buy it, the bad guys can do so as well.

    So the answer to defeating impregnable armor is not to continue testing it, but rather to bypass it. We do that with a greater degree of marksmanship skill and greater precision in our weapons. We seek the face shot as a matter of course rather than as an immediate action response. And if we are talking about shooting an adversary in the face, it will not matter if it was a 9mm or a 5.56.

    Not really. And that being the case, I suspect doing just that with a 9mm will be considerable easier, faster, and even quieter.
    Last edited by Gabriel Suarez; 11-25-2017 at 09:56 PM.
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #2
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    Well said Mr. Bond. Another Martini?

  3. #3
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    I concur.

    Great write up & great content.

    John
    "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes" Alan Temby

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntindoc View Post
    Well said Mr. Bond. Another Martini?
    I was getting more of a "Man from U.N.C.L.E." vibe for some reason.
    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies" -- Groucho Marx

    "The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. --John Adams

  5. #5
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    I do have a hankering for that Angstadt Gabe.

    Furthermore, this post summarizes why I'm not crazy for thinking it has niche, and more importantly one that I need to fill!!!!
    "I find your lack of faith disturbing." Darth Vader

    IDPS, DOK, TMCO, FVGF, CPM, CRM, SCPIS, TASI

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  6. #6
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    Funny you should mention stocked pistols. I was just flipping through my copy of Keith's classic book "Sixguns" and looking at the many great pictures of old guns. There are a bunch of pics of stocked handguns and a brief bit of text to the effect that a stock on a pistol was a great thing for the times you want it and worth having on hand. He felt it was a loss that a silly law complicated a good thing. (Great book. Lots of "gun porn" and Keith was a great writer. Some of what he wrote is out dated, some timeless. A gentleman killer and a man of letters.)

    As much as I've grown to like the AR pistol, it's obnoxiously loud in 5.56. I like what it can do at outdoor distance and that I can take it wherever I can take a pistol, but the wisdom of a more "inside voice" version is inescapable.

  7. #7
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    I'm happy with my 9mm AR pistol. I picked up one of Gabe's PDW kits as proof of concept on a Gen 1 G17 and really like it. The G17 with the brace and w/o the RMR is still a formidible weapon, but like all the other stocked pistols, places the sights too close to the eye for precision shooting. Mine is the perfect candidate for the L-mount. IMO the RMR makes the stocked handgun a viable weapon, but without it the non-RMR'd AR pistol has better sights for longer range shooting.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pict View Post
    .......but like all the other stocked pistols, places the sights too close to the eye for precision shooting. Mine is the perfect candidate for the L-mount. IMO the RMR makes the stocked handgun a viable weapon, but without it the non-RMR'd AR pistol has better sights for longer range shooting.
    All weapons intended for combat use...except perhaps a 12 ga, benefit greatly from a red dot.
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  9. #9
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    Wish I'd gone for an AR pistol and not a Kriss. Mine is about to go back to the factory for a second time. I've never gotten more than a magazine through it without a failure to extract and it's a nasty malfunction to clear with the tiny ejection port area. It's also a whole different manual of arms to learn....

    I do see the value proposition of the 9mm sub gun. Light, easy to carry in a small pack (Vertx rocks), easy to maneuver in small spaces like a car.

  10. #10
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    I really began to undestand the advantage of a PCC for the reduced sound and blast when I started shooting USPSA they opened up a PCC division with the 16 inch PCC ARs we have to hold the timer close to the barrel or ejection port because they are so quiet.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
    The gun has played a critical role in history. An invention that has been praised and denounced... Served Hero and villain alike... and carries with it moral responsibility. To understand the gun is to better understand history.

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