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Discussion Starter #1
Since it was realized that the 5.56 penetrates less than the 9mm (especially in tissue), the SMG has all but fallen off the map. So, is it just plain obsolete, or does a role for the SMG still exist?
 

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Since it was realized that the 5.56 penetrates less than the 9mm (especially in tissue), the SMG has all but fallen off the map. So, is it just plain obsolete, or does a role for the SMG still exist?
Did you mean penetrates more?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No, I meant more. In tissue stimulants the 5.56 penetrates less than a 9mm hardball. In softer barriers such as walls and whatnot, the 9mm penetrates more. For hard barriers such as steel, the 5.56 tends to penetrate more.

For many years it was thought the 5.56 had too much penetration for the CQB role, so the SMG was preferred. Once it was demonstrated by Fackler in Ordnance Gelatin that the 5.56 offered greater wounding capacity and less risk of over-penetration, SMG’s have greatly fallen out of favor, and short 5.56’s are often the weapon of choice.
 

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Depends on a lot of things... I'd guess 5.56 carbines probably wouldn't work as well as the MP5 or Uzi in Executive Protection and similar "discreet and CQC" needs profiles (break out the tape, I doubt you can get a 5.56 to fit under a suitcoat or in a briefcase like the aforementioned SMG's), and last I heard the FBI still had some Thompsons in the armories... though my armchair assessment is that while the TSMG is still powerful when properly employed, nowadays it'd be more more psychological effect than actual firepower.

Of course, having little direct subgun experience and ALL of it having been with Thompsons, it's an open question whether this is going from my gut or talking out my butt. LOL (I HOPE it's the former...)

So, the subgun still has a very limited niche, but a niche use is still a valid use, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It’s funny you mention Executive Protection where discreet firepower is sometimes a premium, because that was one of the specialized uses I see as still very much valid. With that said, when I was doing executive protection there were a couple of times there I wanted some real hardware just in case. Both times I found an under-folder AK with a couple of 40 round RPK mags in a duffle bag was awfully hard to beat. That’s a whole lot of mayhem in a very small, flat package.

I know of one guy in the industry to plunked down for a Mini-UZI. I have to say, as far as ultra-compact SMG’s go, the Mini-UZI is top notch. The MP5-K was pretty much worthless until they came up with the side folding stock, then it became downright decent.

As for the Thompson, later SMG’s have it very much out classed. The greatest asset of the Thompson wasn’t so much the weapon as the cartridge. For WWII it was an outstanding weapon due to its quality and cartridge (I still say the best SMG of the war was the PPSh-41). But it’s not very small, it’s really heavy and not the most ergonomic thing in the world. But it has cool in spades, that much is for sure. To my way of thinking, there has never been a better SMG made than the Sterling. The Colt SMG on the M16 platform is an oft forgotten SMG that was really outstanding; I give it best of the closed bolt SMG’s; considerably better than the MP5.
 

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Gotcha, but I have to agree with Diamondback, they still have their uses.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
From the standpoint of military use, I see the SMG as obsolete. Let’s be real, no military has adopted a new SMG in decades, and you’re not seeing much in the way of pistol caliber SMG’s being designed anymore. There are a few players pursuing the PDW market, but NATO politics has that whole thing stillborn.

As a specialty weapon, it certainly still has its uses. I still consider the SMG to be THE platform for a suppressed weapon inside 100m. And for instances where ultra compactness and full auto fire is needed (not many situations where that’s a requirement), the SMG is THE tool for the job.
 

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The Colt SMG on the M16 platform is an oft forgotten SMG that was really outstanding; I give it best of the closed bolt SMG's; considerably better than the MP5.
We have one Colt 9mm Sub Gun I loved the thing. Light recoil, accurate and real familiar to a guy who cut his teeth on an M-16. Our current sub-guns are H&K .40 cals. The narcs like them. Me, not so much. Mostly plastic...uhh, excuse me, polymer, never liked the feel of them. Functionally they were great. Just didn't appeal to me.

If I were still making dynamic entries and needed a long arm, it would be the M-4 type semi auto loaded with 55 grain Hornady TAP or the equivalent. And I'd probably wear ear plugs. ;)
 

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Kevin Gibson,

AGREED.

In Venezuela & several other Latin American nations the "compact" buzzgun (often an UZI) is a HOLSTERED "daily carry" gun for the National Police & Civil Guard!

personally, i LIKE the Sterling in 9x19mm.
(the Sterling was also made, i understand on contract, in 9x21mm & 9x23mm, too, "for export".)

yours, sw
 

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Gee guys, you've skipped a whole new class of weapons: the FN P-90 and H&K MP-7 both of which are being used by both military (Seals) and law enforcement (secret service).

I have some experience with the P-90 and it's 5.7X28 cartridge and think it is terribly cool. Some of the gunstock folks may remember a target on my wall that had a 50 round burst from the P-90 with all rounds inside the 8 ring of a standard pistol target at 25 yd.

Sadly I have no experience with the H&K and it's similar cartridge but have no reason to doubt it's pedigree,

I have good experience with the MP-5 in 9mm, .40 and 10mm and the fact that it is still in production says something. The plastic successor- UMP- works well but is sorely lacking in cool.

I share the board's fondness for the Uzi for both size and slow rate of fire that makes it very controllable. And as much as a love the Thompson it is rightly relegated to a place in history that everyone ought to shoot.

The comments about the M-4 family are properly favorable and it might well be my choice if I had to go to war, but does it really fit the definition of subgun?

So my answer to the original question is that it is not obsolete at all if the situation calls for one.
 

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Charlie Petty,

I've never even SEEN, much less fired, either the FN P-90 or the H&K M-7.

I'd guess that i fit the description of experienced OF.

yours, sw
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Gee guys, you've skipped a whole new class of weapons: the FN P-90 and H&K MP-7 both of which are being used by both military (Seals) and law enforcement (secret service).

I have some experience with the P-90 and it's 5.7X28 cartridge and think it is terribly cool. Some of the gunstock folks may remember a target on my wall that had a 50 round burst from the P-90 with all rounds inside the 8 ring of a standard pistol target at 25 yd.

Sadly I have no experience with the H&K and it's similar cartridge but have no reason to doubt it's pedigree,

I have good experience with the MP-5 in 9mm, .40 and 10mm and the fact that it is still in production says something. The plastic successor- UMP- works well but is sorely lacking in cool.

I share the board's fondness for the Uzi for both size and slow rate of fire that makes it very controllable. And as much as a love the Thompson it is rightly relegated to a place in history that everyone ought to shoot.

The comments about the M-4 family are properly favorable and it might well be my choice if I had to go to war, but does it really fit the definition of subgun?

So my answer to the original question is that it is not obsolete at all if the situation calls for one.
Agreed,

While the H&K and FN PDW products are cool and having some commercial success, they are hopelessly mired in NATO veto's with no end in sight. Both are somewhat different from the traditional SMG mostly in their sub-caliber cartridges. Until there is some movement on the PDW front, I don't see any new adoption of an SMG from a major military. Once again, we see the Russians are way ahead of us with the "Krink". It's not as small or light as the FN or H&K products, but has interchangeability for training, parts, ammunition, and magazines. I can't say where NATO's proposals have the AKSU-74 beat. I mean, if I were a support soldier going in and out of combat zones, I'd take the AKSU-74 over the FN & H&K PDW's.
 

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To ALL,

FYI, according to a PhD candidate from The College of William & Mary, MORE people in certain 3rd World countries can disassemble, perform operator maintainence upon, reassemble & engage targets with the Ak rifle than can READ/WRITE in their own language.

That's SAD.

yours, satx
 

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Kevin I was not endorsing anything but the original post asked if SMGs were obsolete. Since both H&K and FN have relatively new products that were not mentioned it seems that at least somebody doesn't think they are
 

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to ALL,

Would anyone care to DEFINE Submachinegun?
(i"ve aways thought that it was a full-automatic weapon, chambered for a HANDGUN cartridge, but maybe i'm wrong???)

yours, sw
 

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Discussion Starter #16
to ALL,

Would anyone care to DEFINE Submachinegun?
(i"ve aways thought that it was a full-automatic weapon, chambered for a HANDGUN cartridge, but maybe i'm wrong???)

yours, sw
Evil looking, holds lots of boo-lets, not for sporting purpose...Oh wait, you weren't looking fo a politicians definition.

Well the Sub part come from being less than a full machinegun cartridge, which usually means pistol cartridges. The M2 Carbine was labeled a SMG by many because it fired a "pistol" cartridge. Never mind the fact that it's operating system was that of a full size rifle, and the cartridge was specifically designed for a rifle*. Then there are some who call the MP5 an "assault rifle" based purely on its operating system, disregarding the cartridge. Inconsistency abounds in the definition.

So the power level is in there somewhere but I couldn't tell you where the dividing line is. If you go back several decades, it was often something that could be a simple blowback design, which precluded high pressure cartridges that required a locked breech.

*Although many disagree with me, I still maintain that the M2 Carbine was the first assault rifle based on its operation and the fact that the cartridge was specifically designed to be an intermediate power, admittedly on the low end of intermediate, cartridge for use out to 300m.
 

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the only thing i can add to this is 'can you fit your "assault rifle" into the same square footage as what, say an mirco-uzi or a beretta 93r, or the mac 10- the whole point of the smg was concealment- ie the size of a pistol an extended volume of fire- the most "accurate " "pistol" i have is my full size uzi on semi
 

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With all due respect, I do not agree "the whole point of the smg was concealment," more like mobility and individual firepower.
 
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