Pistol Caliber Carbine Effective At Distance

Haley Strategic shows a pistol caliber SMG can get combat effective hits out to 300 yards. The 300 yard hits are a bit of a stretch but it can be done.

Here is a screen capture of his hits using a 25 yard zero. 50 yards is a couple inches high and the 100 yard hits are opening up but close to the 25 yard zero.


At 200 yards there is a 24″ drop in hits. James points out that those hits would be in the pelvic region assuming you did not adjust your POA. Which is still combat effective.

300 yards was a little bit different. With this particular gun and ammo combination, he had to hold over by about 10 feet to get hits on target.

Have any of our readers used a pistol caliber carbine out to distance?

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


  • Major Tom

    Question: Why does everyone keep setting their sight zeroes to such stupidly short distance like 25 yards?

    • EC

      If I’m unlikely to fire at a target more than 100 yards away, wouldn’t it be stupid to zero for longer distances than that?

      • Kivaari

        No. Put it 1 or 2 inches high and it brings you onto paper at the longer ranges using a dead hold. If you are only poking holes in paper and want the x ring only at 100 yards than leave it dead on. If you are hunting having the higher POI just makes hitting at ~200 yards easy. It is quite common to zero hunting rifles and battle rifles for 300m/yds as they typically only hit a couple of inches high at 100.

        • EC

          Yes… but a pistol calibre carbine is not a common hunting rifle or a battle rifle.

          A 25 yard zero means that the MPBR of a 4″ target is maybe from 0-100 yards. For a PCC that’s plenty fine.

          • Kivaari

            The response was for general centerfire rifle use, not just the pistol caliber carbines. There is no need to zero a PCC beyond 100m/yds. Guns like the Uzi and Beretta have two apertures for “short range” and “long range”. The Uzi is marked 100-200. The Beretta SR-LR. I set the Beretta at 50yds for both iron sights and red-dot. The trigger pull is such that longer range shooting is just impractical.

      • Blake

        Here’s the reference article on what is referred to as “maximum point blank range zeroing”: http://www.rmvh.com/MPBR.htm

        The basic idea is that you want to set your scope zero to maximize the distance out to which you don’t have to think about hold-over. A lot depends on the size of what you’re planning on shooting with your rifle; e.g. +/- 3″ is fine for deer hunting but you’re going to want half that or less if you’re shooting varmints or tree rats. Even with the same rifle & scope height, this will change the MPBR zero significantly.

        • EC

          Of course. So that’s why with a PCC if you get a ~25 yard zero then you’re good against reasonable targets out to 100 yards.

          I think specific to my Ruger PC4 an 11 yard zero means that I’m good to hit a 4 inch target from 0-89 yards or something like that. It’s been awhile since I’ve looked at the numbers.

          Anyhow, just because you zero for 25 yards doesn’t mean your rifle is only good for hitting @ 25 yards. I think that’s the point that’s been forcefully hammered home.

    • int19h

      To get a second zero further away.

      With M855 fired from a carbine, if you zero at 50, your second zero is at 200, give or take. If you zero at 25, your second zero is at 300.

      Same thing goes for most other calibers. 25 is usually that sweet spot where you get a long point-blank shot range, but still far enough that zero is meaningful, and mid-trajectory elevation is not too great.

      • Joshua

        this, I shoot .243 out of a long barrel bolt gun, my “zero” is 200 yards, to achieve it I shoot at very close distance, 40 yards is what jumps in my memory but I’m not sure, I haven’t had to do it in a while.

        It gets you on paper at the longer range, and fine tuning can be done from there

      • FarmerB

        Yeah, I have a 325 yard zero on my .22/250. Cannot remember where the first cross was, but for bore sighting it was about 22 meters.

        But for a PCC I’d think a 25m zero is probably a fair compromise (mine are). The tricky bit is to train yourself for the POI being below the LOS for ranges much closer than 25m – and with high mounted red dot sights at closer range, it can be quite a distance – like the width of a hand. Takes some training to think constantly about it, but not too hard.

        But the closer you get to where your zero range approaches the max expected range (e.g. 50m) the less of an issue that is. What you really want with a PCC is for the bullet to be close to and parallel to the line of flight for as long as possible – out to say 75m.

        The problem with making it too close for a PCC is that the bullet will fly a long way above the line of sight at still practical ranges. Imagine that you sighted it in at 5m – with a high red dot, you might be 2’/60cm high at 50m, which is clearly useless, and you have to deal with the transition between POI low (inside zero range) POI high then POI low again. We all do it with rifles, but with high speed sun-gun work, can be mentally taxing. I find it best to always expect the bullet low out to a reasonable range and call it on as the target is further away.

    • KestrelBike

      Much of the time, 25yd distance is all people have to zero with at their only range facility.

      At least that’s what it’s always felt like to me.

      • FarmerB

        True, even if they don’t exactly have a 25m zero, militaries (such as the Swiss) have a special target at 25m which will give a 100m zero.

    • jonjon7465

      Why do you think a pistol caliber carbine needs a zero more than 25 yards?

      • Kivaari

        I used a 50 yrds zerom and it makes hitting at 100 yds quite easy. Less guesstimate for hold over. On some guns they have a 100 and 200m rear sight leaf (Uzi).

        • jonjon7465

          Thats great if you anticipate longer range engagements, but MP5’s are for house/ship clearing, and other close range scenarios. I would go with an M4 or similar SBR for anything else.

    • anonymous

      “Question: Why does everyone keep setting their sight zeroes to such stupidly short distance like 25 yards”

      In my case, because a 25 yard shooting range is usually all I have access to.

    • adverse4

      Because at 25 yards or closer is where you are most likely to have to engage stupid people.

    • Kivaari

      The military has used 25 meters for decades. Look on your AR15A2/A3 and there is a “Z” marking on the rear sight drum. You set the sight on “Z” to get a 300m zero at 25m. After it is zeroed you return to using the marked calibrations.

  • Jason Culligan

    Honestly, I’d like to see what the terminal ballistics are of a 9mm at 300 yards fired from an MP5 before calling it ‘effective’. Just because you’re hitting something doesn’t mean it’s having the desired effect.

    At that range, a 5.56mm is going to do far more damage to the target IMO.

    • EC

      180 gr. .40SW out of my Ruger PC4 is supposed to have 256 ft-lbs of energy @ 300 yards, which is about the same as the muzzle energy of .17HMR.

      • 40S&W is actually one of the few pistol cartridges that sees a serious bump in power when going to a carbine. The 150gr Corbon is clocking 1436fps / 687ft.lbs from the PC4 according to Ballisitcs by the Inch, which ups it to 10mm power.

        Though I really wish Ruger had made a PC4 in .357 sig – out of the Aero Survival Rifle, Underwood 125gr is clocking 1875 fps / 976ft.lbs.

        • Cal S.

          Indeed! Even though .357SIG is better, of the top three common semi-auto cartridges, the .40 performs the best.

    • IraqVet8888’s did a test of “how far will 9mm kill part 2” and took 124gr HST out to 440 yards. At least on bare gelatin, a decent amount of them expanded.

      • Cal S.

        You beat me to it…

      • cloud_1911

        So the takeaway is

        WWII strategists were optimizing cost w/ range and firepower by issuing GIs with subguns, and it can work to a certain extent. But given technological advancements a PDW or AR pistol will serve you much better today when trying to reach out 400 yards while retaining a small and lightweight platform.

        • I think WWII strategists went with what was available and easy to produce, more then deliberately choosing SMG’s over Sturmgewehr’s.

          Though, without optics and using conscript forces who might not live through the year, there is something to be said for the hit probability of a controllable SMG…

      • LGonDISQUS

        I thought they used plywood as the test medium?

        • Cal S.

          They do. It’s an old US Army standard. They found that it takes just 59 Ft-lbs to cause a lethal injury, which coincides with the force needed to perforate a plywood board of a certain thickness.

          They use a ginormous plywood board because it’s easier to hit from 400 yards than a ballistics gel block would be. Not that they didn’t nail a gel torso at 440 yards with a 9mm carbine, when they sort of had it dialed in.

          Scientifically-speaking, it’s certainly not the most precise. However, it is useful for their purposes of myth-busting/fact-checking.

          • LGonDISQUS

            You are now my go to guy on nights when I’m too buzzed to google anymore.

          • Cal S.

            Haha, you bet!

        • That was round 1, the 2nd video uses a Clear Ballistics Gel torso.

          • LGonDISQUS

            Too much youtube melts the brain, Ma says. I’m a prime example of this.

    • John

      To be frank, getting shot in the testicles would hit a lot harder than getting kicked there. It’d be “effective enough”.

    • kalann

      fmg 9mm should be enough to penetrate at that range, and as WW2 showed and in many latin american countries whose police still use fmj, it does the job. Just got shoot them in the right place, but that’s the case with hollowpoint too.

  • CommonSense23

    Pretty much a gimmick. Calling something effective cause you have made hits at that range doesn’t make it effective. I have taken my 9mm pistol back to 300 yards and made hits steel silloutes with ease. But I’m going to be hard pressed to use that same gun at 25 meters under stress.

    • Cal S.

      Good point, and perhaps the best rebuttal to James Yeager’s “Pistol-chambered carbines are useless because I say so” rationale when he pretty well proposes what you tried at the range. There’s a difference between a pistol and a pistol-chambered rifle, though. The latter can be zeroed for longer ranges and employed with the stability of a rifle.

      • Mark

        James could probably benefit from one of those WWI style rifles with the periscope for firing from a ditch.

        • Cal S.

          Well, pretty much anything he can shoot at his cameraman with…

    • LGonDISQUS

      Doesn’t IV8888 do a video series “how far can this kill”? This sounds like a great candidate!

  • Used an MP-5 for several years with a 50-yard zero. Every year during an advanced training course held on a National Guard base, we shot on the rifle Ivan course with pop-up man-sized silhouettes out to 300 meters. I was able to knock down every silhouette out to 250 meters without too much problem (aiming at head for 250). At 300 meters it became a crap shoot, but if I played my hold over just right I knocked it down a few times.

  • Walter, NOT The Dude

    .40 Sub2000 G2 w/ UTG “circle dot”
    Set it at 30 yds; plink at 100 all day w/o a miss.
    Will get to try at 150yd range by EOM.

    Also my Rossi M92 in .357; straight outa the box dead on at 100 yds.
    I will be taking it also to the longer range.

  • Kivaari

    I had trouble with horizontal drift thanks to wind. It was easy to hit with as long as the wind wasn’t blowing. That was with the HK and Uzi.

  • Cal S.

    Do I what?! No, I don’t actually plan on taking it out that far. If I were planning on going out that far I’d use my AR-15/10 because those ballistics are much better suited for those ranges. I have my .40S&W Sub2k zeroed for 50 yards because I figure anything past that will be very, extra, super-hard to justify to a jury. Since my Sub2k is my camping gun, then that’s the most likely role it will fulfill. It’s certainly not my ‘Go to war’ rifle choice, as NutnFancy would say.

    However, if I had to make the shot at 300yds, I’m glad it’s proven to make it that far.

  • Kivaari

    A serious challenge is to do this long range shooting with the iron sights. The Uzi series guns have two leafs for the longer ranges and “normal”. The HK doesn’t adjust for range, just diopter size, to account for lighting conditions. It is seriously hard to do well at 200 yds even from a good rest. Even adding a long barrel as found on semi-auto variants doesn’t improve the sight picture. The trigger pulls on the HK, Uzi and Beretta CX4 carbines are typically bad. The CX4 in particular is hard to do well beyond 50 yds. even with an optic. There is an after-market trigger available that costs half the price of a complete gun. It may make a difference. In using all of the above in both semi auto and FA when available (HK) the HK is the easiest to hit with. The quality of workmanship is quite good on all three. I’ve noticed that triggers in the Beretta vary quite a bit from gun to gun. The plastic parts in one may give a decent pull, whereas the one I own sucks.

    • LGonDISQUS

      Furthest I’ve been able to land two consecutive shots with my HiPoint 995 is 70 yards before scoping it.

  • Darrell Elmore

    MP5 Family is different too in that it fires from a closed bolt, not like so many others. Even in a carbine design, most SMG are not accurate beyond 50 meters or so.

    • laman

      A glock 19 pistol can reach 200 metres offhand though, even more I assume with a proper stock, sight and shooting position.

  • MR_Mr_Deplorable_Hapla

    I’d find it interesting and informative to see this recreated with blocks of ballistic gel, or pig carcasses, behind the paper silhouettes,,,at 25, 50, etc yards,,,,..Please, thank you.

    • Blake

      check IV8888’s video mentioned earlier: “how far will a 9mm kill”

      • MR_Mr_Deplorable_Hapla

        Thanks,,I will.

  • Ευστάθιος Παλαιολόγος

    My Unit uses the P-90 SMG (or PDW if you like)
    We have some FN posters that show the advantages of the 5,7mm over the 9mm as FN Herstal says.
    In one the conclusion is that the 5,7 with an effective range of 200m (again, according to FN) gets pretty much safe after that distance (meaning to say that innocent bystanders will not be hurt by stray bullets after some distance). For the 9mm with an effective range of 50m it remains “dangerous” well over 400m (don’t remember now what FN says)
    useless info of the day by

  • Blake

    “Have any of our readers used a pistol caliber carbine out to distance?”

    No, but trying to shoot a pumpkin at 200yds from a pistol with 22LR tracers is a heck of a lot of fun 🙂