Army still looking got a "subcompact" gun

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

I had heard no news about the Army search for a “subcompact” for quite a long time and thought that the idea had been dropped. Apparently this is not so. The Military Times reports:

Despite initial industry suspicion that the Army would let the effort die a slow death, the service is moving forward with the development of a compact weapon that shoots like a rifle but slings like a sub gun.

According to the Army official in charge of fielding new weapons for the service, the search for a so-called “subcompact individual weapon system” is moving ahead in earnest. In May, the Army sponsored a user evaluation where Soldiers put subcompact weapons through their paces to see if the idea would stick.

“To some people [the issues] are fundamental, to other people they’re on the margins – it depends on who you talk to,” he added, declining to be more specific.

The service is also waiting for the final version of the fiscal 2010 Pentagon budget to be signed by the president, releasing nearly $10 million to start the program.

Army officials have said that if all the benchmarks are met, Joes could potentially see a new rifle or redesigned M-4 by 2012.

The more important question is if they are willing to adopt a new cartridge. I don’t think anyone would argue that the 5.56mm NATO performs well out of a sub-carbine (11″ or shorter) barrel.

11″ Barreled Colt M4 Commando. Another example is the HK416 sub-carbine.

My 2c: develop a 9mm +P+ round that is compatible with the M9 pistol (lets call it the 9mm Steve), then develop a short barrel, foldable stocked, sub-carbine which chambered the 9mm Steve. Deploy it. [ Army officials : contact me for the address to which you can send my hefty consultant’s fee 😉 ]

Discuss in the comments …

  1. The word sub-compact usually refers to small pistols, not rifles. Sub-carbine or PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) would be better terms to use. 

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • Edward Edward on Nov 02, 2009

    I loved the PDR concept when I saw it, but Magpul explained over at ARFCOM (, right?) that it's not a priority to R&D when the biggest potential customer hasn't enough interest to call back.

  • Michael Oppenheimer Michael Oppenheimer on Jan 30, 2010

    we do not pay 500 dollars for a hammer that is put in the buget to hide the money that we send to the C.I.A. and other black ops and spec ops and other thing that we do not want you and other to know about,the army is put up 10 million to come up with a replacement for the m-16 and it well be the 6.5 or the 6.8 and bullpup rifle that comes from the army so that all I know at this time thank you for you time and your input. Mic