Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: Pistol-Caliber Carbines Might Be The Perfect Home Defense Gun

Guns and Gear Contributor
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By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

In the Wild West days, it was common for a person to carry a Winchester rifle in the same caliber as their pistol, which we all think was invariably a Colt Single Action. Most of them actually were, but some people were mighty partial to the Remington 1875.

Today, much the same capabilities are available as pistol caliber carbines have come back around. In fact, PCC matches have even been added to a number of shooting competitions, which some people bemoan as – they feel – it lets in the plebes. Shooting a handgun really well is hard, but shooting a carbine is comparatively much easier.

While pistol caliber carbines are an easy way to shoot up a heck of a lot of ammo (pew!) they’re arguably the perfect home defense gun as a result.

Since long guns are easier to shoot accurately given the longer sight radius, that means they’re (potentially anyway) more accurate than handguns. As few are terrifically heavy, they’re fast to get into action.

Whereas the pistol caliber carbine of the 19th century was a lever-action with a tube magazine, today’s semi-auto carbine is often made to accept magazines. Some, such as the Beretta CX4, are built by a gun company with use of their magazines in mind, and others – such as Ruger’s PC Carbine – can actually be used with more than one make or model of magazine, the PC Carbine can be used with Ruger or – with an adapter – Glock magazines.

The additional barrel length also gives pistol ammunition a boost in velocity. Granted, the boost isn’t dramatic; per Ballistics By The Inch, 9mm only gets an extra 100 fps to 250 fps by stepping up to a 16-inch tube compared to muzzle velocity from the more typical 3-inch to 4.5-inch handgun barrel. Other typical handgun calibers get a similar increase.

However, credit to the lever guns: the longer barrel actually gives a bit bigger boost to .357 and .44 Magnum. If you wondered if there was any reason to get that Henry or Marlin 1894 in .44 Maggie – it’ll make short work of a home invader and look good doing it. Maybe they aren’t the most tactical thing on earth, but so what?

Some people get concerned with the potential for overpenetration with long guns, which is why some folks insist that a long gun – shotgun, AR, what have you – is overkill inside the home. If the buckshot, slug or bullet goes through the bad guy, it’ll easily go through walls and into your children’s room or out into the street and take out some poor passerby that’s just out for a walk with their dog.

While the same danger is just as present with handgun rounds, the pistol caliber carbine does present a happy middle ground between a handgun, with a more moderate projectile, and the easier accuracy of a long gun.

And some of them look pretty darn cool too.

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Sam Hoober is a Contributing Editor to, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit