Personal Defence Weapons

I do see I didn't write much lately, and in an expression of continued laziness I'd still like to give readers at least something:
A hint at a somewhat embarrassing hardware-centric website I did once create and maintain until I got tired of the hosting fee. It's all about personal defence weapons and was several times praised for offering a useful overview. It's still -unmodifiable and almost forever (the internet does not forgive!)- in the wayback machine of the Internet Archive:

It was created in a 1990's html editor software, and looks that way.

One of the most frustrating things in creating and maintaining the website was the inflation and seemingly endless quantity of extremely short-barrelled 5.56x45 mm weapons that was incompatible with the goal of comprehensiveness. I did totally not know about and thus also did not include handguns that used the .30 carbine calibre. They should have been mentioned.

Easter egg; I am really, really not creative in creating banners. ;-)

Anyway, feel free to visit that mirror above if you like to have a nostalgic look back at the pre-youtube internet and the time when I was still hardware-centric! :-)



  1. I wonder if PDW will make a comeback for police officers that might come across some terrorist with mil surplus body armor. The MP7 is available and a lot lighter and easier to carry than a rifle.

    Only skimmed it, but looked like an interesting project. Do you still consider the pistol with foregrip and shoulder stock the way to go? In my experience pistols are a lot harder to shoot well to begin with and in my opinion you would need to carry them with the folding stock to be able to make decent hits in full-auto.

    1. Well, the machine pistol with folding stock is the scenario in case an army decides to use a handgun-ish approach to PDW. Most handguns are sidearms with a merely nominal combat value. Such as a NCO with ball cartridge pistol escorting recruits who march with blank cartridge assault rifles. The nonsense about backup pistols used by infantry is largely confined to Americans, luckily.

      The carbine-ish PDW proposal is obsolete due to the success of the M855A1 EPR bullet design since. Nowadays you can simply use any short carbine as PDW. There appears to be little interest in intermediate-size PDWs such as the MP7 today.

      Law enforcement could easily equip its officers with old MP5 as is typical in Germany, and issue a magazine with AP rounds (even saboted AP), which would easily penetrate all sot body armour vests at ranges where regular policemen would be expected to hit at all.

      The lessons since I wrote the PDW website were really that bullet design was more important to the challenges than firearm design.
      To neglect the "cartridges" page was very poor judgment on my part.

    2. Thanks for the answer. But is the pistol-as-a-sidearm really a thing in the US military? Isn't this more of a video game and SOF thing? As far as I know normal US soldiers weren't issued pistol as a secondary weapon in the world wars, the korean war and the vietnam war. And when I had the opportunity to talk to some US army reservists that were getting ready to deploy to Iraq I was told that people who carry rifles aren't issued pistols and private ones aren't allowed.

      Anyways, one of the good thing about the HK MP7 is that you can carry it on a holster and that it is more in line with what people expect from normal police officers.

      But other than that I agree that there is little reason to not go with a short, light-weight assault rifle if the come with the proper cartridge. Those M4s are already very light and can be made even lighter with carbon-fiber parts that are already available on the civilian market in the US.

    3. There's no reason for anyone to carry a sidearm in battle. You need to fix your primary weapon if it fails and to trust your comrades to protect you in the meantime, period. The entire idea of sidearms as weapons for battle is nonsense because of the weight and bulk.

      I understand officers and medics may be issued one weapon even though they're not supposed to use it except in super-rare self-defence. That's meant for psychological support, so they don't feel unarmed. This is where a folding stock 9 mm pistol with steel core bullets may come into play, but the MP7 is simply too big. It's better to give them a 9 mm with two magazines and one kg of crossloaded supplies than a MP7 and two magazines.
      The shit has already hit the fan if an officer or medic needs to shoot (instead of doing their primary job) anyway. The rapid fire of a MP7 won't change anything then.

    4. Ok, understood. :)

    5. By the way: the MP 5 which was standard in nearly all german police forces is now replaced by PDW Style Weapons and Carbines in many german country polices. For example in Baden Württemberg it was replaced completly by the MP 7. In a shooting against an criminal armed with an assault rifle there the MP7 proved to be very good and fullfilled its purpose. Moreover the police in germany also gets heavy body armour now. Since around two years nearly every police officer has gotten a SK4 body armour and training for it. In the case of the shooting in Baden Württemberg this rescued the live of the police officer.

      The northern parts of germany on the other side seems to go more into carbines and mikro-assault rifles, especially in AR-15 systems from Haenel. And in Berlin the police is now replacing their MP5s with SIG MCX. So there is much of change actually in germany in this sector in the police.

  2. There is going to have to be a return to these hardware discussions relatively soon. A couple of NATO countries have been learning from UKR. Ratnik is effective against 556 and M80. There are new itterations on the 556 but they have reached the physical limit for that calibre. From now on increasing AP efficiency will decrease terminal effect even further, worth noting this effect is worsened by the universal move to shorter barrels.

    The US have a project for adopting an interim 7.62 rifle precisely because they are worried that in a barney against RUS they wouldnt be able to penetrate. This seems like a paniced compromise. It might be. It probably wont complete to a purchase. But it shows the recognition of a problem.

    Move to a heavier standard round and rifle, without poly case or telescoping, and the role for the 30 carbine comes back. Bigger than a pistol, smaller than a garand.

    Your central point about discussions on hardware being pointless are true. However there a potential chain of events; someone tells Trump about the stupid 264 USA, he demands it be a NATO std, compromised Europe unwilling to stand up to Trump and half way through its transition to 416s buy whatever tat the US demands and they are stuck. Hardware discussions are pointless but political interference in hardware discussions can produce some hilarity.

  3. In the 90s there were several ideas about RMA Infantry soly armed with pdw style weapons and the equipment to direct the fire of other systems as part of the network warfare. And i still like the idea to replace assault rifles with a mix of lighter pdw weapons (for self defence and short distance fighting) and support weapons - especially with area effects (blast - rocket launchers, commando-mortars, grenade launcher etc) and with more precision rifles (DMR, SSG)

    Instead of assault rifles which do not deliver much to the fighting power an infantry unit could have much more firepower with around the same weight or only an low increase of that weight.

  4. LE is not really interesting here. LE is much concerned about overpenetration, which the military is not.