The world of concealed carry firearms has drastically changed from where it was 10-15 years ago. The endless amounts of firearm options to carry has become mind-boggling and the overall quality, as well as reliability, have gone up. In terms of innovation when it comes to carrying capacity and overall size, we have grown lightyears in the last twenty years. We can talk about innovations and changes all day long, but most people don’t talk about how the carrying world has changed as well. People are now arming up and carrying not only handguns but also PDW-style firearms and sometimes even soft body armor panels for added protection. This new trend has become a rather polarizing topic among various groups in the gun community, but regardless of your stance, it’s definitely happening and important to talk about even if it’s just to be aware of what’s going on. Let’s take a closer look at the rise of PDWs for personal protection.
The PDW Market
For years, the king of the PDW market was the HK MP5K as well as the Mini or Micro Uzi. Both were rather hard for everyday people to acquire and the micro Uzi wasn’t exactly controllable in a self-defense situation. Fast forward in time and more options start to roll out like the FN PS90 and HK UMP series that update classic models or create entirely new systems. After that, the PDW race really starts to ramp up with certain firearms like the CZ Scorpion/K series, SIG MPX, B&T TP9, APC and GHM9. The options for having a small PDW-style weapon have exploded which means more options and availability to the consumer. No matter what your budget or preference is, there’s probably a PDW out there for you.
.300 Blackout Options
The addition of PDWs chambered in .300 Blackout has really spiced things up when it comes to personal defense weapons. The SIG Rattler was really one of the first true PDW options for a larger caliber. 556 ARs work well, but with anything shorter than a 10.5″ barrel, you really start to lose velocity and bullet stabilization at any reasonable distance. With the .300 Blackout round, you have the ability to run a much shorter barrel while getting the proper velocities and bullet stabilization. Even with this being true, the SIG Sauer MCX Rattler really did push the envelope by choosing a 5.5″ barrel for the compact platform. I’ve shot everything from 110gr supersonic all the way to 220gr subsonic rounds with no issues in accuracy or reliability at 50 yards.
Other options have come onto the market like the CZ Bren 2 in .300 Blackout with an 8″ barrel or the PSA JAKL. Both of these offer a really compact package that is completely self-contained with no need for a buffer tube. This allows you to run a folding stock as well as shoot it folded. It offers slightly more versatility compared to a regular AR15 with a buffer tube. The AR platform is incredibly modular but the buffer tube assembly can make the overall length longer to conceal than other options on the market.
Back Pack And Armor Options
One of the biggest components to more people carrying larger firearms on their body is the fact there are tons of bag options available for carrying larger firearms. Whether it’s a Vertx, Viktos, FirstSpear, or 5.11 packs, there are a huge amount of choices when it comes to bags. Whether it’s for a micro PDW firearm or a larger 12.5″ AR Pistol, there’s a bag out there for you. Add in the fact you can buy soft side or hard plate body armor for almost all these bags and you truly start to have a passive protection plan for yourself.
Companies like Premier Body Armor or DFNDR Armor make a wide variety of backpack plates to slide right inside your backpack giving you the ability to not only have either pistol or rifle-rated plates but a very capable firearm as well. Typically these bags will have compartments for everyday items and then a separate compartment for armor, handguns or larger firearms. Most of these bags are brightly colored or have natural earth tones rather than having that tactical look. The trend lately is to move away from tactical-looking bags in an effort to blend in with everyday society.
Driving Force Behind Carrying PDWs
Whether you agree with carrying a PDW for self-defense or not, the trend is not only here but is growing amongst the gun community. Some of you will be yelling in the comments that I shouldn’t even be talking about this because it’s ridiculous and flat-out idiotic. I understand your point of view, but truthfully it’s a growing trend and I really do think it’s important to look at carry trends to understand what’s going on in the industry. Whether you blame social media trainers or companies coming up with products to sell, the trend is here and it’s got fairly large market support behind it.
Personally, I tend to shy away from PDW carry just because I think it offers just as many drawbacks as benefits, but I know a number of people who carry PDWs on a daily basis. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to reach out and just casually talk to some of these people about the main reasons behind carrying a larger firearm over a pistol. One of the most common answers between the 10 individuals I talked to was about taking your own personal protection seriously.
A really interesting response I got from almost all of them was the decrease in police presence in metro areas and having a plan to keep safe as a result of less policing. The vast majority of the people I interviewed have families and carry PDW-style firearms to keep their families safe. I didn’t get the impression they were out actively looking to stop a bad guy or had any type of violent fantasizing which is what I worried would be the case. Almost everyone talked about personal safety and the importance of self-defense.
Whether you agree with carrying a PDW-style firearm, the trend is growing in popularity and becoming more popular than you may realize. More companies are jumping on board with new firearm models and accessories supporting larger firearm carry. I personally feel confident with a medium or full-size handgun, but there are certainly people out there who want to have larger firearms as well as body armor for personal protection.
What do you guys think about the rising number of individuals carrying PDWs? Is it a public safety risk or is it understandable with the recent rollback in police presence in American cities? There’s no real right or wrong answer so leave your thoughts down below. If you have questions about various PDWs or carrying in general, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!