Are Submachine Guns Obsolete? The Readers Have Spoken!

    My last article entitled “Are Submachine Guns Obsolete?” asked the readers of the blog to comment on what they thought about the SMG’s place in the modern world, and you responded! After about 100 comments I have selected a few highlights that I felt were excellent points:

    Kyle said:
    “They’re cheaper for police departments to feed. Instead of PDW’s with boutique rounds like 4.6x30mm or 5.7×28, you have 9mm, .40, and .45 which are easily bought off the shelves.”

    Deviant Saint said:
    “The SMG just has been re-visioned as the PDW.”

    Phil W., our own Senior Writer even weighed in:
    “I was issued the MP5 SD for use on our SRU team. I had a lot of faith in the MP5 for entry work, It’s just an excellent weapon even now. We did switch to the P90 several years ago. I liked it but no more so than the MP5.”

    SvenOrtmann argued:
    “The HK MP5 concept of an accurate SMG for use by police/LE is still as viable as ever.
    Its great advantage is that you do not get very strong overpenetration if you choose the ammunition accordingly. You won’t get a good .223 bullet that doesn’t overpenetrate.”

    n0truscotsman made me laugh with his comment:
    “Leave subguns where they belong: on class III ranges.”

    Ben Branam said:
    “The SMG isn’t dead just becoming more and more specialized. The fad is towards 5.56 but that could change.”

    Nathaniel had this to say:
    “SMGs don’t really have a role. This may change if pistol ammunition gets a shot in the arm (think calibers like 5.7×28), but right now, almost all submachine guns are simply worse than short barrel carbines.”

    Doug, a police officer in a rural area had a great perspective:
    “I personally feel that in a LE role, the SMG is not dead, or at least shouldn’t be. When they utilize the same ammunition that their sidearms use, they’re trustworthy by default because officers trust that their primary gun, the pistol, is already trusted to save their lives. The SMG merely offers more velocity through a much more stable platform.”


    So there you have it, looking back at all the comments you have people declaring that sub-guns are as relevant and needed as ever, and the contrary saying that they are fossils kept around as nothing but a novelty or curio. People in the middle laid out a few scenarios where a submachine gun may still reign supreme, but one thing kept popping up; Over-penetration seemed to be the main point of contention with both sides proclaiming that a short-barreled rifle either will penetrate more or less than a round fired from an SMG (a +p+ 9mm round for example). There was also some debate as to whether or not firearms like the FN P90 or H&K MP7 are truly SMGs as they may well fall into a new category, the PDW (personal defense weapon). The PDW concept is not lost on me, but is interesting to see these firearms gradually replacing submachine guns in roles where they had previously dominated, like protection of the US President:


    So if you commented in the previous article thank you for sharing your opinion. While there was no clear consensus (as there usually isn’t when it comes to most things pertaining to this great hobby of ours), I know that I learned a lot and enjoyed reading your comments!

    Alex C.

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