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Choosing a 9mm Carbine for Home Defense

This is a guest post by Tyler Capobres9mm carbine

There came a point in my life when I debated back and forth about what the ideal home defense weapon would be. I wanted a weapon that would stop an attacker, without risking penetrating through multiple walls and potentially striking family members or pets. At the same time, it needed to be lightweight and short enough that I could maneuver through tight spaces. Lastly, it needed to have a large enough capacity that firing off four or five shots wouldn’t leave me with little to no ammunition.

Shotguns vs Rifles vs Handguns

The last part is what, in my opinion, ruled out a shotgun for home defense. I’ve owned my fair share of shotguns, from break action to semi-auto. It would be one of my top weapons of choice to go to war with, but not for home defense. I found that most are simply too long for navigating hallways and rooms.

My next thought was to go with the precision and stopping power of a rifle. It definitely had a larger ammo capacity than a shotgun, and I liked the shorter barrel length over the shotgun. The downside, however, was the bullets are more likely to go through multiple walls than standard buckshot. Sure, there are frangible rounds that will break upon impact with hard objects, such as steel, but would drywall be enough to stop it at 2800 feet per second?

Lastly, I looked at a handgun for home defense, due to its lower chances of penetrating multiple walls with proven hollow point ammo (Speer Gold Dot, Winchester Ranger, etc.). While I do my fair share of training with handguns, I recognize it is much more challenging to be accurate with a handgun over a long gun. No matter what anyone tells you, your aim will suffer when your adrenaline starts pumping and your target is moving, and those sights start bobbing up and down. You simply don’t have the stability as you do with having a buttstock and forend to stabilize your aim.

9mm vs .45ACP – The Never-ending Story

Bearing all of this in mind, I did some research and decided to go with a carbine chambered in 9mm. I love the power you get with .45 ACP, and will always be a fan, but there are more options for large capacity magazines in 9mm.  In my mind, for a home defense situation, smaller magazines meant more reloads. The last thing I want to do is reload multiple times, in the dark, while trying to stop an assailant. Lastly, choosing 9mm also had the added benefit of cheaper practice sessions, since the cost is anywhere from 30-50% less for 9mm.

Choosing A Carbine Platform

As I did more research on carbines, I realized there were multiple platforms available to me. While the most popular options seemed to be an AR conversion kit (Which required an AR lower that I didn’t possess), there were other dedicated options like the Skorpion EVO III pistol, Hi-Point 995TS and a pistol conversion kit offered by MechTech. While the EVO III was certainly the most maneuverable of the three, it also had the highest price tag to go with it. At an MSRP of $849, it certainly was much less appealing than the Hi-Point (MSRP of $297) and MechTech (MSRP of $489.90).

You’ve heard the saying “Buy once, cry once”, and we’re all more-or-less guilty of making the mistake of buying cheap and regretting it later. While it wasn’t quite the case when I broke down and opted for the Hi-Point, there was definitely a quality difference compared to other rifles I owned. I ended up doing a YouTube review on the Hi-Point and highlighted both the good (Accurate, cheap, reliable) and the bad (Not-quite-ideal trigger, the stock butt plate has an odd spring built into it, etc.). At the time I was stuck using 10-round magazines, but recently a company has introduced 20-round magazines that make it a much more viable candidate. While I would still recommend the Hi-Point 995TS as an affordable carbine for home defense, I still wasn’t quite satisfied with it.

Eventually the opportunity presented itself to trade my old PPS43 for a 9mm MechTech upper. Since the upper was designed to work with Glocks, I knew I could easily find larger capacity magazines for it. Since I didn’t have a Glock, I decided to purchase a Timberwolf complete lower from Lone Wolf. Since the stock rail is relatively short, I ordered the full quad rail to take advantage of the carbine’s full sight radius. I put on some AR sights I had on hand, put on a Bushnell TRS-25 (My go-to budget red dot that won’t break the bank) and was ready to sight it in.

The difference between the Hi-Point and MechTech were night and day for me. While they both are very accurate guns, the ability to opt for a better trigger on the Timberwolf lower was huge. The trigger felt less stiff, and had a lot less travel to it. The Hi-Point is 31 inches in length, whereas the MechTech’s skeletonized stock collapses it down to 25.44 inches in length. I found that difference of about 5.5 inches makes it much easier to maneuver in the tight spaces of my home.

Final Thoughts

The decision is ultimately up to you on whether or not a 9mm carbine is best for home defense. For me, it was the best compromise between maneuverability, stopping power and ammo capacity. Most importantly, I felt comfortable using it. If you’re not comfortable using any weapon, you’ll be reluctant to train with it, and having it won’t do you any good when you really need to use it. If a 9mm carbine is right for you, then great! If not, keep looking! There is a staggering selection of guns, and a near-endless offering of accessories to customize it into your own ideal defense tool. Have fun researching, train hard, and have fun!

 

Tyler Capobres has over eleven years of experience with gun and knives, with four years of experience torture testing weapons and gear on YouTube. Published on thetruthaboutguns.com. Owner of thegoodgun.com, a website dedicated to all gun and knife enthusiasts.

Photo Credit – DstEduNet

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