The pros and cons of pistol caliber carbines, which are rifles that have a relatively short barrel and are chambered for pistol cartridges, are discussed below:
Pistol caliber carbines, such as the Beretta CX4 Storm (pictured above) or the incredibly low priced Hi-Point Carbine can be a good option for home defense, although I personally prefer a shotgun in most situations. These rifles have a relatively short barrel, and are chambered for pistol caliber cartridges, such as 9mm or (my favorite) .40S&W.
Pros of pistol caliber carbines:
- Less recoil than most shotguns or traditional rifles.
- Less risk of overpenetration than traditional rifles chambered for rifle ammunition.
- Shorter gun length can make maneuvering inside one’s home easier.
- Pistol caliber ammunition is sometimes cheaper than traditional rifle ammunition.
- More accurate than handguns, due to the longer sighting plane.
- More room and attachment points for tactical/self defense accessories.
- Greater velocity from a pistol caliber cartridge, than would be achieved in a handgun.
- Better medium/long range accuracy than many shotguns.
- Allows ammunition to be shared with a handgun.
Cons of pistol caliber carbines:
- Less effective at stopping an attacker than a shotgun.
- Less effective at stopping an attacker than a traditional rifle.
- Less maneuverable than a handgun.
For those who already have a pistol and want to keep just one type of ammunition on hand, or those who don’t like the heavier recoil from shotguns or traditional rifles, a pistol caliber carbine may be a good choice for home defense. Keep in mind that a single bullet from such a carbine will not have the stopping power possessed by a 00 buckshot shell fired from a 12 gauge shotgun. Nor will it generally match the stopping power of a traditional rifle. However, such pistol caliber carbines will have more stopping power than a handgun, and are suitable for self defense or home defense. Regardless of which gun you select for home defense, the key is to become familiar with that gun and practice, practice, practice.