Two of a Kind – Paired Pistol Caliber Carbines and Pistols

by Home Defense Gun staffer Pat

Somethings belong together. Paired pistol caliber carbines and matching pistols are one of them. I have long believed that a lot of the things that pistol caliber carbineare truly worth knowing were originated in the American West. This runs from animal husbandry to other homesteading skills, and from driving cattle to personal defense. I like bowie knives, saddles with a Mexican horn, and boots with a Bull-Dogger heel and a leather sole. I like 501 jeans, shearling barn coats and oilskin dusters. I also love old army Colts and Lever guns of all description.

What the old-school cowboy realized in pairing a pistol with a carbine was the advantages afforded by having a handgun and a long gun in the same chambering. For one thing, it cut down on the amount of ammo you needed to stock and carry. In a tight spot, it made it real easy to reload on the fly, pistol or rifle could be loaded from the same cartridge belt without looking. Should your rifle or pistol be damaged or separated from you, you weren’t left holding a bunch of useless cartridges. Stuff like that, all very good stuff.

There are of course a few drawbacks to a pistol caliber carbine. For one thing, you don’t get the same long range accuracy and stopping power that you find in high power rifle calibers. This can be a disadvantage in big game hunting and in long range stand-offs or gun battles over a distance. For a lot of hunting scenarios, particularly in the brush or from stands where long shots are not likely, many pistol calibers with the extra oomph of a longer carbine barrel are perfectly capable of taking larger game. I have killed both deer and wild hogs with a Winchester lever gun chambered in the legendary .45 LC, and I don’t find this round lacking at all out to 100 yards. For the CQB of the old west, a peace maker and a Winchester in this caliber were formidable and they are still valid choices for home defense today. A dedicated high power rifle was and is recommended for serious large game hunting.

Even if you are not ready to go cowboy-retro in your weapons choices, there are some great options out there in modern weapons that continue this legacy of a carbine and a pistol chambered in the same round.

Some years back, I purchased a Hi-Point C9 for my wife on Mother’s day. Nothing says I love you like the gift of guns. I had never handled a Hi-point before the purchase, but had spent a lot of time reading reviews and forums on the subject. The Hi-Point seems to be one of those guns that you either love or hate, and I read a lot on both sides of the issue. There was enough on the love side of the equation, particularly when price was factored in, to peak my interest and so I made the leap and dropped 165 bucks on my wife’s first hand gun.

We then embarked upon a course of training to bring my wife up to speed on hand gunning. Through the course of the training, I had occasion to fire this weapon many times myself and I found that I like it quite a bit. I am a big fan of full size autos, and my personal weapon for almost all occasions is a Taurus PT92, so the heft and bulk of the C9 was not a draw back for me. These are not a light gun, and despite their relatively short length they really can’t be classified as a compact due to their blocky, almost brick-like, construction. They are however an accurate, easily handled, and reliable, given the right ammo. I have read many unfavorable reviews of the C9’s reliability, many involving failure to feed malfunctions, but I have found that if you feed it quality +P personal defense rounds you will never have a problem with feed. For whatever the reason, C9s love +P! In defense of those who bemoan the reliability of this weapon, I have had several failures to feed using inexpensive standard pressure rounds, and have had some pretty bad results with reloaded brass. We stack our magazines with the good stuff when we are carrying for real.

The long and the short of it is that I liked the C9 so much that I was forced to buy a second one for me. When I am not packing the Taurus, there is a very good chance that the Hi-Point will be tucked inside my waist band at the small of my back, loaded with PMC Star Fire +Ps.

Once I had the pistol, the Old-School cowboy in me was screaming to be let out, louder than ever after I saw a 995TS at the local gun store.  The 995 carbine is not only a 9mm for ammo compatibility, but has the added bonus of using magazines that will function in the C9 pistol as well. This is a great feature. If I am involved in anything heavy and my carbine goes down, I can go right on fighting without having to ignore loaded magazines. I can instantly retask them to the pistol. One thing to note is that the 8 round magazines that are standard for the C9 and the 10 round magazines with the grip extension don’t work in the carbine, but any carbine magazine will work in the pistol. Most of my spares are 10 round carbine magazines, although I stock a few of the 8s for when I am only carrying the pistol.

I have been very happy with the carbine. It is remarkably accurate and very reliable. Again, with +P ammo I have been unable to jam it up. It makes an excellent trunk gun, camp gun, and evening property patrol gun. I have added a single point sling and a tactical flashlight to the abundant rails and often carry it to investigate strange outdoor noises at the farmstead.

If you aren’t sold on the Hi-Points, there are other options available. One notable choice is Kel-Tec’s SUB 2000. This is a neat little carbine that folds in half and uses ubiquitous Glock magazines. Beretta has a carbine offering, and Taurus has recently thrown its hat into the ring. Don’t forget the cowboy guns, lever action carbines are perfectly fine for home defense as are single action army revolvers (these revolvers take a lot of practice, and I don’t recommend a single action as a primary weapon).

Whatever you decide on, pairing a pistol and a carbine in the same chambering offers a lot of advantages in defense and survival situations. It is definitely an option to consider.


Photo Credit – Phillip Williams

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