As regular readers may know, I advocate the use of pistol-caliber carbines for home defense. Any long gun is more accurate than a pistol. The ability to shoulder the firearm, the length of the barrel, the ability to add a scope, and the reduced recoil all make a pistol-caliber carbine easier to shoot well than a revolver or semi-automatic pistol. And it takes a lot more training and significantly more skill to defend against an aggressive attacker with a pistol as compared to a long gun. Your accuracy does not improve under duress.
Now when we compare a pistol-caliber carbine to a rifle-caliber carbine or a shotgun, the pistol-caliber option has still some advantages. Lower recoil, muzzle blast, and flash all make the pistol-caliber easier to shoot. And if you are unable to put on hearing protection, due to the suddenness of a home invasion, a 9 mm round from a 16-inch barrel is less likely to damage your hearing than a rifle or shotgun fired indoors, in close quarters. Outdoors, the sound from any firearm disperses in every direction. Indoors, the sound bounces back at you from every wall and ceiling, making gun noise effectively louder and more damaging indoors.
You might use a sound suppressor (where legal), but even then, a suppressed 9 mm carbine is quieter than a suppressed rifle or a suppressed shotgun. In fact, a suppressed 9mm carbine is quieter than a suppressed 9mm pistol. Barrel length gives you about 1 decibel sound reduction for each additional inch of length. But, unfortunately, sound suppressors are still restricted under the NFA (national firearms act) and are illegal for civilians in some States.
Recently, several new options for pistol-caliber carbine have come onto the market: Sig Sauer’s MPX, the IWI x95, Steyr’s civilian 9mm AUG, CZ’s Scorpion Evo 3 S1 carbine, and several AR-type 9mm carbines. But they all have one thing in common: they are pricey.
Is there a pistol-caliber carbine that won’t require you to take out a second mortgage or win the lottery before buying? In my opinion, the best inexpensive option for a pistol-caliber carbine is the Hi-Point carbine in 9mm. It has long had a reputation for reliability — and ugliness. But the new camo version is pretty enough take home to mother. And Hi-Point has just announced a new 20-round “RedBall” 9mm magazine. This mag solves one common complaint, which was the lack of reliable hi-capacity magazines. Hi-cap mags in .40 SW and .45 ACP are planned for future release.
Cost? The low-end basic 9mm model is just under $300.00, as listed on the Hi-Point website. (Prices subject to change without notice, and not guaranteed.) That’s a fair price considering most revolvers and semi-auto pistols cost significantly more.
If you are looking for a home defense gun, a pistol-caliber carbine is one good option, and the Hi-point carbine is perhaps the best inexpensive pistol-caliber carbine.