Are Submachine Guns Obsolete?

I asked this question a few years back, but decided to do a little redux for TFBTV:

Submachine guns are pistol caliber fully automatic firearms that were very important in 20th Century military and police use, but seem to have faded in popularity by a tremendous amount.
In this video we talk a little about the historical use of the SMG, and try to see what applications today they might be useful for.

Please subscribe!!! Click here.

Please subscribe!!! Click here.


Thanks to our sponsorย Ventura Munitions. Without them TFBTV Would not be possible.

 



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


Advertisement

  • Lance

    For general issue yes SMG ate a thing of the past. BUT there always notches where SMG ate preferred maritime security and ship take down like Navy Seals practice a MP-5 much preferred over a overpowered M-4. Recon and other needs for quit and surpresed weapons preferred. SOCOM still have MP-5s for a reason.

    • Anonymoose

      inb4″but 5.56 penetrates less than 9mm!”
      55gr breaks up on impact, but NATO militaries don’t use 55gr.

    • Rob

      MP5’s remain in the armory. They might get checked out for a fam fire every now and again. Otherwise they sit unused.

  • Martin M

    Obsolete? No.
    Niche? Yes!

  • VF 1777

    Excellent assessment. Hard to argue any of it. Intermediate cartridges (and all of the excellent rifle options that employ them now) have relegated the (select fire) SMG to an even smaller niche role. I think it’s similar to the ‘discussion’ we had about the revolver and would even be a similar discussion with the (combat) shotgun… Not obsolete in the sense that they are useless, but their utility and capability is overshadowed by newer and better options for most situations. Yet they still have a place. Another cerebral assessment, Alex.

  • MPWS

    9mm shot is twice as heavy than 5.56. This by itself is a valid argument for using it within realistic ranges. Knock down power is there.

    • Rob

      Ah…. Knock down power.

      • CommonSense23

        So you think a 9mm is more lethal than a 5.56.

        • Anon

          You can’t fix stupid, what’s next, a .45 ACP is more powerful than a 7.62×51 because the bullet’s heavier and fatter?

          That was seriously the most retarded thing I’ve read all day.

          • imachinegunstuff

            Totes is, muh grains!

          • Anon

            Muh knockdown power!

          • Bullphrog855

            I believe .45 came about because they wanted to take down a war horse at 1000 yards tbf.

          • I’ve heard that claimed for .45-70 (as well as a “600 yards” figure), but that’s completely incorrect for .45 ACP.

          • Bullphrog855

            over_your_head.jpg

          • Was that a human joke!? I’ve heard so much about these human jokes!

          • Thinker-1

            Wow, talk about indirect fire!

          • M

            I thought it came about because of the drugged up Moro warriors that wouldn’t go down

      • Anon

        That statement is so retarded that I don’t even know where to begin, seriously, “KNOCKDOWN POWER”?!

        What makes it even more hilarious is that you’re arguing a PISTOL round has more power in any way whatsoever compared to a RIFLE round.

        • A Fascist Corgi

          Ah, the Nathaniel F effect…

          Knockdown power does indeed exist. I don’t care what convoluted post Nathaniel comes up with to “prove” otherwise. Someone shot in the head or chest with .50 BMG is going to die a lot faster than someone shot in the head or chest with .22 LR.

          • Anon

            “Nathaniel F effect”?

            You do know that I believe that test of his is full of crap because of the aforementioned 22 LR, right?

            The reason that I absolutely hate the term “knockdown power” is because that term is misleading as hell. To elaborate, I KNOW that you’ll be killed faster by a .50 BMG than a .22 LR (or in OP’s case, with a 5.56 vs a 9mm), I’m just saying that the rounds don’t knock you off your feet when you get shot, that is why I hate that term.

            Anyway, to elaborate on WHY that post of his is stupid, by the logic of that video, if you got shot by a 12 gauge slug wearing a IIIA kevlar vest, you wouldn’t have broken ribs from the impact based on the recoil of the shotgun. But anyway, the point was, you don’t get knocked over by getting shot, thus why that term sucks in my opinion, but I KNOW that more powerful rounds kill you faster.

      • Porty1119

        Uhh…no.

    • M

      At the ranges 9mm are effective at the 5.56 has enough velocity to fragment and basically punch fist sized holes in people. Much more damaging than 9mm which would just poke an in and out straight hole

  • BattleshipGrey

    I usually think that anything that can kill you in short order isn’t obsolete. Even if there are more efficient weapons that can do it easier, faster or cheaper. The FA function has almost been priced and legislated out of common use, but I’d never say SMGs are obsolete. I wouldn’t even say swords are obsolete.

  • Bub

    As cool as I think subguns like the MP5 are, for the most part they are obsolete. And I say obsolete even after seeing Benicio del Toro wheel one around with John Wick like skills in one of the best movies of 2015 “Sicario”. BTW if you haven’t seen Sicario, it really is worth checking out. I’m not an operator and never will be, but I have talked to a few and they all seem to agree the subguns’ time has past. Good news for those like me looking for a reason to buy one. USPSA recently began allowing PCC in their matches. So now all I need to do is decide which new model and how much money I want to spend.

  • John

    I remember reading (i forget from where) that subguns are still preferred by Russian boarding parties. They experiment with firing at low angles and ricocheting pistol bullets off the floor and around the enclosed hallways of ships.

  • Darkpr0

    SMGs are definitely dead as far as general-issue goes, but they’ll live on in situations where having an effective weapon is necessary, but its likelihood of usage is so low that giving up performance (versus a general issue weapon) for compactness is acceptable. Oddly enough, this is not so different from the original philosophy of the M1 carbine. If we’re restricting it only to pistol-calibre SMGs, they’re done. Something like the Magpul PDR is more likely: standard calibre, but ultracompact. Something that can be tucked away in a tank or aircraft in the unlikely event it is needed, but that will be there at minimum cost of equipment or ammunition central to primary mission.

  • thedonn007

    .300 BLK subsonic can fill the role of 9 mm subsonic. As you stated it is hard to beat a SMG for compactness.

  • MechanizedSwede

    For modern day infantry use, most definetly. For counter-terrorist units and police nope.

    • CommonSense23

      What advantage does a MP5 give over a MK18?

      • MechanizedSwede

        Have you ever fired a unsuppressed 5,56 sbr inside a room, or even worse a concrete room. Well i have, and it blows your brains out. Lets not talk about overpenetrating walls, doors etc.

        • CommonSense23

          Well 5.56 has less overpentration issues than a pistol smg. One of the reasons the FBI HRT switched to the 5.56. And yes I have fired a unsepressed in 10inch 5.56 in a room many times. Including concrete bunkers. Its this wonderful thing called hearing protection.

          • valorius

            you wear hearing protection during field ops?

          • Bill

            That’s the norm: Peltor Comtacs or MSA Sordins, unless you’re running really effective cans.

          • CommonSense23

            Don’t forget sylinx or invisio.

          • valorius

            things have really changed.

          • CommonSense23

            Why wouldn’t I?

          • valorius

            awful hard to hear whats going on before the shooting starts with hearing protection in. We did not wear hearing protection in the field when i was in the Army.

          • CommonSense23

            Well when it’s electronic hearing it does. And it connects to my 148

          • valorius

            We definitely did not have any such things when i was in. We went sans hearing protection at all times in the field.

          • Modern electronic hearing pro can actually enhance your hearing, too, especially if you haven’t been in the habit of wearing hearing protection previously. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • CommonSense23

            What makes me laugh is all the people complaining about noise with a 10inch for military use don’t realize that if you are getting issued a 10inch you are probably getting issued electronic hearing pro.

          • wclardy

            Hearing protection doesn’t address the increased muzzle flash from that short barrel.

          • CommonSense23

            There’s things called flash hiders. They work quite well.

          • wclardy

            Even with 8 or 10 barrel-inches of still-burning powder?

          • CommonSense23

            Yep.

        • Gary Kirk

          Try a .50 BMG… Think I should have gone back to the dentist and had my fillings redone after that affair…

        • valorius

          I once let loose about 600 rds of 7.62 linked over the course of a few hours in a MOUT exercise.

          What’s that ringing sound?

          • BigFED

            ITS YOUR PHONE! I CAN HEAR IT FROM HERE!

        • PK

          WHAT? SPEAK UP.

          To answer your question, yes, and it was awful. My HD gun wears a silencer for exactly that reason, these days.

    • Iggy

      Can’t agree with you more, I can see where an SBR would be preferable if you’re expecting to be doing alot of transition in and out of buildings, and thus changing engagement ranges and have to carry all your gear on you.

      But if you’re simply charging into a building and a shooting certain individuals as quickly as possible, (gross simplification of SWAT tacticts). then I feel the recoil, noise and lack of penetration are much preferable with an SMG.

      Also it hasn’t been outright stated yet, but I’m relatively certain the use of SBR,s in the Lindt cafe siege led to over penetration that killed two hostages. Especially since Australian SF prefer subguns for that kinda situation (anecdotal, but from someone who should know).

      • Zachary marrs

        Lack of penetration? A rifle caliber will penetrate less dry wall than a pistol caliber

        • Bill

          It boils down to ammo selection re over penetration, but rifle rounds trump handgun rounds.

      • FarmerB

        Hi – I’m not sure that the over-penetration angle works in the Lindt case. They fired 22 rounds and only hit the target with 4. That’s your problem right there.
        Sure, they were using Winchester 55gn PSP (reportedly) which isn’t the best hostage friendly ammo out there, but it’s hardly an irresponsible choice (and I suspect local content and price had a lot to do with it).
        And there is no dry wall in the Lindt cafรฉ – plenty of highly polished marble though – I checked it out on my last trip to Sydney. Ricochet alley.

  • MIke H

    Buddy of mine owns a gunshop on the other side of the state, and supplies several local LE agencies. Said a couple of agencies were involved in one particular shooting that resulted in bad guy’s death. LEO’s were using SBR’d AR15’s, and he said within a couple of days, one of those agencies were in asking about SMG’s and pistol caliber carbines, because their officer in the incident suffered hearing issues from being forced to shoot his AR15 indoors.

    • Anon

      Yep, if there’s one thing SBR’d AR15s are good at, it’s being earsplittingly loud, while pistol caliber carbines/SMGs are much easier on the ears.

      One anecdote I read said that firing a MP5 (unsuppressed, and don’t do this, they even said so themself that you shouldn’t do it) with just a beanie over the ears was bearable, while you’ll never hear someone say that for an unsuppressed SBR’D AR15.

      • Gary Kirk

        WHAT!!? I COULDN’T HEAR YOU…

        • Anon

          MAHP.

          • Gary Kirk

            ?? Sorry, don’t know that one

          • Anon

            It’s an Archer reference.

            (Type in “Archer deaf” into your search engine if you’re interested)

          • Gary Kirk

            Ahhh.. Gotcha, discharge in the elevator.. Nice

    • Mazryonh

      Unless your buddy had some MP5s or UMPs for sale, it’s likely those LEOs didn’t find much worth buying, since H&K has dominated the SMG market for decades. Also, semi-automatic pistol caliber carbines have never been very popular (though they have their uses), are often manufactured to have civilian-legal 16-inch barrel length (which is even longer with a suppressor attached), and those that don’t use Glock magazines often use proprietary ones.

  • PK

    “Are Submachine Guns Obsolete?”

    Yes and I offer a free disposal service to any government agency that wishes to get rid of them. Send them here.

    All of them.

    Please?

    • Brian Peterson

      Why good sir, I cannot sit idly by while you martyr yourself with the burden of all those obsolete subs. I must insist on relieving some of your burden and taking on half of the useless slag to uh, dispose of.

      • PK

        No I’m good really I got this go away they’re mine

        • wclardy

          But we can’t sit by while you attempt to provide for the care and feeding of all those subguns, alone and unaided. You should let us help feed them a regular diet of proper ammunition.

          • PK

            Fine, fine… you can buy me ammo and load the mags, then. Deal? Ha!

          • wclardy

            That’s fine by me — and while I’m loading the magazines into the magazine wells, I might as well help with unloading the rounds from the magazines. Why only help with half the challenge?

    • jay

      I have extra safe storage. I’d like to assist you.

  • CommonSense23

    The sub gun is definitely obsolete for military use at this time compared to a SBR. Just cause they are still in use doesn’t mean anything. Its just whoever is using them is low on the totem pole in terms of getting good gear. The one area the sub gun was doing fine was the dedicated suppressed use. And those days are over due to the MP5 being vastly outclassed by the .300BLK.

    • PK

      Exactly, the 300BLK allows you to fire a better BC bullet around the same weight/velocity as a .45acp, and then if you’d like you can swap to supersonic with minor fuss and have something close to 7.62x39mm. Best of both worlds.

      • Anon

        Isn’t it hard to get subsonic rounds to expand with the .300 Blackout?

        Also, it’s important to remember that it can’t penetrate a level II vest let alone a IIIA vest if it’s subsonic.

        Although I won’t deny .300 Blackout’s versatility…

        • CommonSense23

          There a plenty of excellent .300BLK rounds on the market. And the point of the .300BLK is you can have both super and subs without needing to change the gun. Need to engage a sentry at 50 yards. No problem. Need to make 250 yard shots, no problem.

          • Anon

            Admittedly, I’m kind of biased against .300 Blackout.

            Fair enough.

        • Gary Kirk

          If the military is using it, it can’t be an “expanding bullet” anyway

          • Anon

            Well if you can’t use expanding bullets, then what you get is a round that ice-picks at subsonic velocities.

          • Gary Kirk

            All mil spec ammo is non-expanding, even the hp stuff.. The hp is for accuracy only, all pistol ammo is ball. So the 300blk in subsonic form offers little over the 9mm subsonic, with the exception that.. With a simple mag change, you go to a supersonic rifle round as opposed to a mediocre at best pcc.

          • Anon

            I’m just saying that if you just use subsonic ammo, you’re gaining absolutely nothing over a pistol round. If you’re using supersonic ammo, you get all of the drawbacks of 7.62×39.

            The point I’m trying to make repeatedly (and probably annoyingly) is that while .300 Blackout is a versatile cartridge, it absolutely doesn’t do everything better than other cartridges.

            Part of the reason I hate on .300 Blackout is because I saw it get defeated by an AR500 level IIIA hard plate at supersonic velocities (and no, that wasn’t a typo, it was an AR500 steel pistol plate, while that was over and beyond regular IIIA, the same plate was defeated by M855, which sucks with steel armor, out of an equivalent to an AR pistol).

            The video in question was made by Buffman, by the way. It was a part three, with the other two parts being soft armor testing with stuff made by the same company.

          • CommonSense23

            If you are getting a .300BLK in the military, you are definitely using expanding ammo.

  • gunsandrockets

    Hmmm… sounds like the Sub-2000 could have a real future as a police cruiser gun?

    • VF 1777

      Uhhhh…. No.

      Sub2k (as much as I love mine) are not ‘police-spec’ (let alone ‘mil-spec’). They are more like ‘civilian-spec’ or even ‘backpacker-spec’. Don’t get me wrong, I’m on my 3rd, but it is in no way an LEO-grade piece of kit. (honestly, I think you were joking anyway)

      • Twilight sparkle

        I remember reading a few years back when ar-15s weren’t made by everyone and their grandmother that some rural police forces were using hi point carbines to have something with a little more range than their side arms, if that was true (which is still questionable) a sub 2k wouldn’t be the worst thing for cops to adopt.

        • VF 1777

          No argument there. That would be a pitiful sight. Especially if they paired them up with those whale-back Hi Point pistols ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Major Tom

    Curiously I’m going to say subguns are NOT obsolete in the strict sense. Yeah your Thompson, Papasha, MP5 style stuff that fires traditional pistol cartridges is woefully obsolete with the advent of body armor and compact carbines.

    However the modern sub-machine carbine (no, not the Indian MSMC) and personal defense weapon have arisen to replace it. With lightweight, high-velocity ammunition in very high capacity mags or heavy as hell magnum rounds more resembling rifle ammunition but subsonic, you see the evolution of the SMG. Instead of being a wannabe storm rifle that can’t hit hit the broad side of a tank at 200 meters you see lightweight compact weapons intended for vehicle crews, close quarters engagements such as boarding actions on a ship and for dedicated suppressed weapons.

  • john huscio

    Is the Glock 18 obsolete?

    • Wanderlust

      Does anyone actually use it anymore?

      • john huscio

        Idaho state police and Austrian EKO COBRA I think

    • Austin

      I wouldn’t say obsolete as much as pointless. In that small of a package full auto seems nearly uncontrollable.

      • Pete – TFB Writer

        Its amazingly controllable. Weird little package.

        • Austin

          Hmm, I know this might be a long shot but have you been able to fire the Beretta 93? Just curious how the two compare.

          • PK

            I found the 93R to be more controllable. Seemed like either the slower rate of fire was helping, or the fact that it was capable of bursts only.

          • Austin

            My money is on burst fire

          • PK

            Don’t be so quick to discount the lower RPM. Even with a fast trigger finger and a second grip so you can release the trigger quickly without losing control of the grip, short bursts at higher RPM make for a lot of dancing around.

            The burst control didn’t hurt, that’s for sure, but I do wonder if I’ll get a chance to directly compare both at the same time. Problem is, the 93R is just so rare these days, where converted Glocks are easy to come by, ported or not, and G18s aren’t exactly scarce either.

          • Austin

            IIRC They have the same rpm

          • PK

            Really? I didn’t get to directly compare, I fired the 93R much earlier. Burst sure helps, then.

          • Austin

            And it’s heavier

          • PK

            Alloy versus polymer, fair enough point. Now I really, REALLY want to compare them side by side. Perhaps some day I can run into someone with a postie, or just modify the cam and burst parts from an airsoft example (or copy them) and help get a postie made… at least the Glock side of the equation isn’t going to be difficult to find.

        • PK

          The -C model is, certainly. The unported? Not really useful as far out as a stocked SMG is, even with a second vertical grip and using the push/pull stance.

          • Mazryonh

            I thought Glock discontinued their models with compensated barrels a while back, so you’re left with aftermarket ones.

      • FarmerB

        I’m with you. Pointless.

    • iksnilol

      That something is obsolete would imply that it was useful at some point. A Glock 18 is just a worse version of a Glock 17.

  • Wanderlust

    Things like personal defense weapons (P90/PS90) could arguably be the modern equivalent of the older sub machine guns.

    • PK

      Best of both worlds in my opinion. Short, still short with a silencer, pretty good capacity, not overly heavy. It is somewhat bulky/blocky/wide, reloads are a bit slow, but I love mine.

      • CommonSense23

        MP7 with a suppressor isn’t that small or light.

        • PK

          I mean the P90/PS90. I have one within arm’s reach, with a silencer. It’s one of the HD guns here.

          I have no personal experience with the weight or overall size in comparison to the MP7, sadly.

          • jcitizen

            I like the 5.7 mm round on my AR – it dusts tough prairie dogs which are hard to kill, believe me; but I have no idea how well it work in entry situations. I’d think it would be at least similar to using a 5.56mm in close quarters, even though there is a gap in velocity between the two.

  • Austin

    I tend to think of the PDW as the evolution of the SMG but traditional SMGs still have their place especially if you want subsonic rounds

  • vwVwwVwv

    for transport of security relevant personal it may be still beter than
    a 223, specialy when on thinks abot colaterals, in terms of
    guarding VIP’s or buildings a smg has to be
    considered and when sturming
    a komplex.
    as a 223 can go true light walls what can bring gas to explode or just kill innocents.

    • Gecko9mm

      9mm/40/45 will as well won’t they?

      • vwVwwVwv

        on 5yards yes on 50 i doubt. a 223 is designed to penetrate a helmet on 300m,
        but you are the expert so its up to you to deside. in buildings a sub may
        be more a chalange to a handhun than a 223, it is not realy heavier
        than a large handgun and beter manuverable, at least
        for me, so i assumed it may be beter,
        whats your vive on it?

        • Gecko9mm

          5.56mm is designed to penetrate a steel helmet at 500 or 600 meters isn’t it? That’s not the same as going through walls though. If anything, many 5.56mm loads have been known to be less effective penetrating walls than many service handgun loads. Yet, it can still easily penetrate soft body armor. It’s counter intuitive, but 5.56mm is good for armor penetration but not really that great at going through walls. At least, that’s the conventional wisdom. I’m not sure what you mean by exploding gas.

          • vwVwwVwv

            now i own a 9mm and a 223 you see, i dont want to go down deep
            in to this discussion, i was in some wars and i have seen
            people who tok kover behind a “wall”, may
            they forgive us and rest in peace.

            there is a reason why military uses usualy a m4 and not a p5,
            a tavor and not a uzi, ak74 and no scorpion…

            i ask myself with what you wuld feel more comfortable with
            against a large animal like a black bear, with a AR15
            or with a mp5 if you have just 2 rounds left.

            in hamburg a pitbull kild a boy, he was shot, they neded more
            than 20 shots from a 9 mm to kill the dog, i assure you
            for a dog one 223 is enough but
            you are risking colateral damages in urban areal.
            if you hit a house with gas heating system
            you may cause fire.

            imagine you have to bring a captive to a place in a city
            and you get in to a firefight. it would be nice
            if you do not burne down the city
            and kill some dosends
            of citysens, just cuz you have infantry arms….
            there is a reason why police uses shotguns and its
            not the shotguns precision on 500m i guess,
            but i dont know, i am no expert.

    • CommonSense23

      You understanding of terminal ballistics in a intermediate barrier is wrong.

      • vwVwwVwv

        ok, explain it, its up to you, i love to lern, prefere listening
        wise man to babbeling stupid stuff and making me a dinky.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    Way too many people ignore how loud rifles are. An AR-15 chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO creates about 167 decibels. And that’s out of a 16-inch barrel. It’s even louder out of a shorter barrel. And anyone who’s shot at both indoor and outdoor gun ranges knows that indoor ranges greatly amplify the sound that firearms make. So, when fighting inside buildings, an assault rifle is going to make a ton of noise.

    I honestly don’t know how common the use of hearing protection is in modern warfare, but it seems to be pretty rare from the combat videos that I’ve watched on YouTube. It seems like only special operations units use electronic hearing protection when going on raids. If that’s the case, then most combat veterans are going to have permanent hearing problems. And not only will the hearing damage be permanent, but I imagine that it can be very disorienting while it’s happening.

    So, in order to avoid the problem of assault rifles creating too much noise in urban combat, an easy way to deal with that problem is to use submachine guns since a 9mm pistol creates about 161 decibels and a submachine gun using a longer barrel would probably create about 157 decibels. And since sound doubles in strength about every 3 decibels, that would make a submachine gun much quieter than an assault rifle.

    Another way to solve the problem of assault rifles being extremely loud is to use suppressors, but that would make the assault rifle somewhat unwieldy in urban combat (which is why bullpups are superior in my opinion). But I don’t see a lot of soldiers using suppressors. Again, it seems to mostly be limited to special operations soldiers.

    The biggest problem with using a submachine gun is the unpredictability of combat and the loss of terminal performance. When you raid a house, you might have to shoot someone hundreds of yards away from you as you’re approaching the building. And rifle bullets are way more lethal than pistol bullets.

    Personally, I think that submachine guns are indeed obsolete. For soldiers that will be in vehicles of various kinds and doing lots of urban warfare, a bullpup assault rifle equipped with a suppressor would be my top choice. Maybe if you were part of a hostage rescue team and you knew that you were almost always going to be shooting at people, then a submachine would be a perfectly viable choice. But, me personally, I’d still prefer a bullpup assault rifle with a suppressor for that role as well due to the increased terminal performance of rifle rounds.

    Now, for civilians, I actually think that 9mm carbines (which are usually submachine guns with longer barrel) are one of the best home defense weapons. Most gun owners in America aren’t willing to go through the hassle of getting the ATF to approve their suppressor, or put on their electronic hearing protection during a home invasion. So, for them, a 9mm carbine makes a lot of sense since the 9mm round being fired out of a 16-inch barrel only creates about 152 decibels. That’s still not hearing safe, but it won’t rupture your eardrums like the 5.56x45mm NATO round will. Yeah, you’re giving up terminal performance, but 30 rounds of 9mm is more than enough to deal with 99.9% of home invasions.

    9mm carbines are also a lot easier to aim and shoot rapidly than pistols. And 9mm ammo is a lot cheaper than .223/5.56, so you’ll be able to shoot more at the range.

    The only role where I see submachine guns still thriving is VIP protection. It’s a lot easier to conceal a submachine gun under a coat than a rifle.

    • Gary Kirk

      Normally in combat operations, there are a whole lot more things making a whole lot more noise than your rifle.. And as odd as it seems, once adrenalin sets in, noise kind of gets masked. Don’t know why, and haven’t been in combat. But have had to fire my rifles more than once unexpectedly, and in those moments, the signature(noise or flash) was never noticed

      • WAL

        Just because the noise wasn’t noticed by your conscious mind during a time of stress doesn’t mean the damage wasn’t done to your ears.

        • Gary Kirk

          Never said it didn’t, I have tinnitus (or however you spell it). Was just referencing the rifles making too much noise in urban conflict.. Or any conflict for that matter.

          • Bill

            I have tinnitus too, even though I NEVER trained without ear pro, and wore it on some entries, particularly those with NFDDs or explosive breaches. I’ll take tinnitus over a GSW from a bad guy who wasn’t anchored after being hit with a pistol round anyday.

          • Gary Kirk

            Exactly, but pistol, rifle, shotgun or muzzleloader round.. Doesn’t matter at that point does it, use what you are good with

      • Austin

        While I believe you it still puts you on the fast track for tinnitus

        • Gary Kirk

          Already have it

        • iksnilol

          To be honest, you kinda learn to live with it. Sure, you take precautions and whatnot, but in the end you’ll get it.

    • FarmerB

      I’m with you. I’m not putting down SBR type 5.56 (I have a few) but they are brutal in enclosed spaces, even with hearing protection in shorter barrel lengths. A friend just got one with a 7.5″ ‘PDW’ barrel. My God. And you should try one in 7.62×39!! I don’t feel under gunned with a 9mm SBR and it is my first choice as home defense or PDW.

      • Anon

        Also, 20 inch AR15s aren’t that bad for home defense either.

        Don’t believe me? Check the length, they’re about the same length as a full size shotgun (say a Mossberg 590).

        I’ll never understand why anyone ever said that a 20 inch AR is too long and unwieldy for home defense, and yet their shotgun that is about the same size is very handy somehow.

        And plus, isn’t it a better idea to ambush intruders (wait for them, that is) instead of clearing rooms anyway?

        • Tassiebush

          On the last point it probably depends on if you live alone or have kids.

          • FarmerB

            Yep – depends whom else you have to defend.

          • Anon

            Good point, also, it depends on how much time you have as well.

        • FarmerB

          No argument from me, the shottie is the firearm I’m probably most proficient with and up close, they are awesome. There are only two problems with a shotgun: 1) reloading it and 2) it’s pretty much useless beyond 50m. Yes, you can mitigate around some of that, but those remedial measures all have disadvantages. Not that these shortcomings would disqualify it for most legal home defence situations.

          My favourite combat shotgun is 112cm/44″ long and takes 8 shells.

          Any of my PCC/SBR’s are about 46cm/18″ long folded/collapsed and 68/27″ expanded (84cm/33″ with a can) – all have 30 rounds magazines with plenty more available in about 2 seconds.

          • Mazryonh

            If you’re talking about a shotgun with a tube magazine, there are speedloaders for those. They arrange the shells in a straight tube so they can be inserted into the tube magazine all at once. And you can extend the effective range by putting on a good optic and using slugs.

          • FarmerB

            As I said, one can mitigate around some of the shortcomings, but they have downsides. Various speed loader methods just aren’t as easy to use quickly and fumble-free, or practical as a magazine (and magazine fed 12g has other issues). And slugs? In a shotgun for home defense? Putting slugs in the thing just negates many of the reasons for using it. And because of the tube magazine, it’s not like you could have a different magazine with slugs in it if ever you needed to use it. Now for pure home defense, a limited effective range shouldn’t be a big issue – esp in an urban setting.

        • 35Whelan

          The problem with length is not just the corner factor. You also will lose time in bringing the weapon into point of aim. An intruder with a handgun can snap it up or shoot from the hip much quicker than you can turn that 20″ battleship to bear. He who can shoot first has the advantage. The pistol combatant can also keep moving and firing while his opponent with the long gun is always swinging it around to stay on target.

    • iksnilol

      10.5″ barrel, 7.62×39 (handloads with faster powder help with noise) and a 4″ suppressor help immensely.

      At least where I am (Europe), the common suppressors add 4″ to the OAL, the ones that don’t extend out back extend about 6″.

      • PK

        For anyone wondering, that’s reflex/”telescoped” design that goes over the barrel at least partway vs. the more common style in the US that only extends forward of the mounting point.

      • FarmerB

        Yeah, the B&T tri-lug that fits my pistol calibre SBR’s adds 6″

  • Kivaari

    Great piece. I’ve demonstrated that to a city council. I had my pre-teen sons demonstrating the MP5s. They had only used HK 94 SBRs prior to that. They kicked butt. Proper form learned on the M94 transferred to the machinegun with no issues. It was enough that it shut up the few complainers. When the kids shot them, then the adults, it was easy to show how good a 9mm SMG is for cop work.

  • valorius

    A SMG typically cannot penetrate lvl IIIA body armor, a PDW or SBR can.

    That’s a big disadvantage.

    • Austin

      9×19+p+ and 10mm can certainly do it

      • valorius

        ive tested both those rounds fired from SMGs vs various OLD IIIA vests- nope.

        • Anon

          There is the old tried and true armor-piercing ammo, which admittedly is not something that a rifle round would need for soft armor.

          • valorius

            Non expanding AP pistol rounds are far inferior to fragmenting and/or expanding 5.56mm rounds, wouldn’t you agree?

          • Anon

            Other than having the advantages of producing less noise than rifle rounds, having less weight (smaller cartridges and guns), and having less recoil, yes, they are inferior.

          • valorius

            SMG rounds are less destructive in soft tissue also.

          • Anon

            Yes, I know, that’s the trade-off you get by using SMGs, right there.

        • Austin

          I would be surprised if Underwood’s loading of the extreme penetrator in one of those couldn’t beat IIIa.

  • Mark

    Alex, next time just post an article called “MP5 day at the range”. We know all you wanted to do was have an excuse to go shoot your MP5.

  • Rasq’uire’laskar

    I hate to be that guy again, but “Obselete”? That’s a wee bit of a typo on the video’s title card.

    • Rasq’uire’laskar

      I see what you guys did there.
      If you need any more proofreading done, y’all know where to find me!

  • Bob

    Alex, I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, I’m sure you a far better shot than I am, but the way you take your finger off the trigger after firing a few shots drives me nuts. It’s all I can see when you shoot. ;D

  • vwVwwVwv

    i think the sub machingun is not dead it needs just ammo evolution.
    something like a 10mm auto with a 7-6-5mm projektile
    would be may be a option for gainig
    a market but as long as
    no body orders
    nothing will
    change.

    • Mazryonh

      Your idea has already been tried. The .224 BOZ caliber tried fitting a 50-grain armour-piercing projectile in .223 caliber into a necked-down 10mm Auto case. Not much has been heard about that caliber for a long while now.

    • 35Whelan

      460 Rowland SMG with SiCo Hybrid suppressor. Gives you magnum power in an auto loading magazine fed pistol caliber platform. The beauty of it is that it has same boltface as 45 ACP and the overall cartridge length is identical. Same mags. Same bolt. The 460 Rowland barrel will allow you to fire both rounds with everything else being the same. Imagine having something akin to a .44 magnum ready to go in 30 round grease gun mags…devastating. One could quite literally take down a grizzly bear with a single shot. Suppressor keeps it smooth, shields the eyes, and saves the ears.

      Best part is the versatility. If you NEED barrier penetration, load the hot mags marked red. If you want to keep it minimized, use your 45 ACP loaded mags with the yellow tape. It is an ideal setup that many are not aware exists.

      • vwVwwVwv

        sounds like a “pornfantasy” becomes reality

  • Tassiebush

    they seem to have had their day but perhaps with a change there is still life in the concept. The compactness point was very well made. The easy control was also a good point. Perhaps in a conscript heavy war of attrition a subgun using really hot AP or sabot loads and 60-100round quad stack mags with a constant recoil system might be a good way to hold on to urban areas. Would have to be a cheap way to arm a lot of people.

    • Iggy

      Conscripts!? CONSCRIPTS!?!? A sub-machine gun is a weapon for a gentleman and must come with a proper batman. The rabble can have sticks.

      • Tassiebush

        haha a fellow CandR follower I see ๐Ÿ™‚

  • John

    It depends? What’s the best competitor for the pistol caliber SMG?
    For the sub-sonic suppressed arena a Sig MCX with a 8-9″ barrel and folding or collapsed stock in 300 BLK is an improvement in power on target, with AR platform common controls in semi or full auto – Or similar AR platforms in a 300 BLK PDW. If subsonic & silenced isn’t needed then an ultra-compact 5.56 AR PDW works, or micro Tavor.
    If the mission required absolute minimum package requirements and full auto, a 9mm sub-gun/PDW wins. If no full auto, a Glock 34 with an MRD wins.

  • valorius

    You cant use steel core or AP ammo in 9mm+P+, all those russian rounds are illegal for civvies, and not exported to the west, and do not expand in any case, making them far inferior to something like 75gr 5.56mm TAP out of a 10.5″ carbine.

    I tested civilian legal US 9mm+P+ rounds of various types vs both US Armor and Safariland IIIA vests.

    • M

      Why would you talk about civilian ammunition in a discussion about SMGs in LEO and Military use?

      • valorius

        Because most LEO dont carry AP ammo in their SMGs, as it would be an enormous liability should they hit someone (after the bullet went through six walls and a car door, etc, etc).

        What’s more, the killing power of 9mm or 10mm AP rounds is dwarfed by rounds like Mk262, TAP, M855A1, etc, etc.

  • Fox Hunter

    Obsolete? No! If it wasn’t for the stupid NFA laws, most civilian gun owners would be carrying SMGs for self defense instead of handguns. And with the advent of the Sig MPX-PSB, PCCs might still become the self defense weapon of choice for civilians.

    Obsolete maybe for the military or law enforcement. But that’s a good thing, we can now tell the libtards, no ! SMGs are for civilians, see, the police and military don’t use them.

  • Dave B

    Are SMGs obsolete? Maybe, but I sure miss them! I well remember the day I became a section commander and could hand-in my C1A1 (SLR) for a C1 SMG (Sterling). It was like being freed from a ball and chain. I loved that thing. Wish I had one, for nostalgia’s sake if nothing else.

    • Mazryonh

      Maybe you would have been less nostalgic about that SMG if it were the 7.62mm NATO version. It sounds like your “freed from a ball and chain” feeling was mainly due to the lighter weight of the Sterling.

  • rdsii64

    I wouldn’t call the smg obsolete. There are situations where it is the correct tool for the job. There just aren’t that many of those situations.

  • I would suggest that they are definitely of more limited use. a PDW type would be useful indoors, CQ type applications, in the cabs of vehicles, subsonic/silenced. But an intermediate cartridge rifle is still superior in most roles excepting compactness. New rounds like the 300 blackout offer a good short barrel or subsonic/silenced option too. Bullpups like the micro-tavor have also changed the game too.

    9mm carbines are good for training newbies and kids on though ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Zebra Dun

    There will always be a mission for pistol caliber submachine guns.

  • idahoguy101

    I’d like to know how the MP5 in 10mm Auto worked out for the FBI. Anyone familiar with it?

  • BigFED

    FWIW, The sub-gun discussion should be about sub-guns and shot guns! In todays modern police/law enforcement world, there is little use for the shot gun save door breeching! Useless in any situation where collateral damage, i.e. hostages, is unacceptable! Sub-guns can be quite a bit more controllable and offer a longer effective range.

    • Mazryonh

      Shotguns are useful for more than just breaching doors. Those with smoothbore barrels and chambers that can accommodate shells of longer lengths can use less-lethal ammo and even grenade rounds, like the FRAG-12. Slug loads can also be more precise than buckshot.

  • Jamie Clemons

    Spray and pray that you hit something.

    • Mazryonh

      That might apply if you were using a MAC-10 or MAC-11 in its original configuration, or the Micro Uzi. Thankfully SMG design has left that kind of design paradigm behind.

  • Mazryonh

    Even that the West German government felt that 4.73x33mm was too long for a compact weapon, so it decided to go for a 4.73x25mm variant for a PDW instead. So it’s unlikely the original 4.73x33mm round would have fit inside an MP5-style platform.

    I can’t find anything saying that the .224 BOZ failed in combat situations (there’s very little information on it, so it’s not a problem you didn’t know about it), so it could be that the original company just shelved the project due to not having the money needed to promote it sufficiently. Now that caliber could have fit into an MP5.

    • vwVwwVwv

      till now, no body realy jumped on the pdw’s with slim
      calibers, the mp7 and the fn90 are kind of exotic guns.
      i ask myself if the 22. or smaller calibre can get the
      speed in such short barrels, but i am no expert.

      the 7.62 tokarev was may be a thing we shuld magnumise.
      i dont know, with caseless ammo guns in the cise of
      a MP5 will have a renecance, may be.

      i must be careful, we have experts here and evan as a quite
      ok of a shooter sometimes i can provoke
      a gunsmith or something to coment,
      ripping me in to shred.

      • Mazryonh

        The MP7 is at least in service among the German armed forces and a few others.

        If 7.62mm diameter rounds are what you want, then the .300 Blackout (7.62x35mm) caliber is already becoming popular and has interesting subsonic performance as an option to replace SMGs.

        • vwVwwVwv

          sub machine guns use what you can use in a service pistol,
          the blackout is to long, as long as two 9mm lugers.

          i just see a future with caseless ammo, what makes the bulets small
          what makes the use of a combined ammo for both an option.

          you know lots about ammo. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Dominik Albrecht

    Well a lot of ppl here seem to think spraying down the bad guys with .308 FMJ is a smart idea…
    Well probably sometimes a valid option but do you really want that to happen in your neighborhood?
    300m away the police saves a maid in danger from a evil thug while you are enjoying a beer in front of the TV.
    .308 goes through the shoulder of the thug, through a stop sign, through your wall, TV Chair, spine, lung, beer, TV, next wall, fridge and finally ending up in your washing machine.
    .223 .308 goes through the shoulder of the thug, through a stop sign, through your wall, TV Chair, spine, lung, beer and ends up in your TV
    5.7×28 goes through the shoulder of the thug, through a stop sign, through your wall, TV Chair and ends up in your spine putting you in a wheelchair.
    9×19 lacks major penetration? Definetly! But hey ever thought about that being a major advantage? For sources of what rifle cartridges in LE use can cause investigate about the LE in Rio .308 ftw…

    Any scenario which contains
    1. Semi professional trained armed LE
    2. Urban surroundings
    3. innocent bystanders
    4. Armed criminals
    5. Necessity to actually shoot

    is only solved properly with SMGs

    Battle Rifle – Nothing but Neglient

    Assault Rifle/PDW – Still to dangerous without exessive training (yes shooting when the background is a major concern is a bit more than plinking)

    Pistol – insufficient sights and precision mostly due to missing stock and/or missing exessive training

    Shotgun – Lack of precision

    SMG – Lack of penetration against protected targets but still the best compromise as against the real bad guys its smarter to get professionals