PDW Gun Types: Unveiling Personal Defense Weapons

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘What is a PDW? [The 4 types of Personal Defense Weapons]’ by 9-Hole Reviews

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PDWs are compact firearms between pistols and rifles with different types.

Key Insights

  • Key Insights from the video transcript:
  • The video discusses the concept of a Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) and its design attributes.
  • PDWs are compact, wearable, or concealable firearms that bridge the gap between pistols and rifles.
  • The PDW's design intent is focused on defensive roles for special or mechanized troops, police officers, executive protection agents, etc.
  • There are four major types of PDWs based on their design attributes:
  • 1. Type 1 PDWs: Ground-up designed weapons with unique cartridges (e.g., FN P90, H&K MP7).
  • 2. Type 2 PDWs: Stocked machine pistols or pistol PDWs (e.g., VZ61, Soviet Stechkin, Beretta M93R).
  • 3. Type 3 PDWs: Miniaturized submachine guns that use pistol calibers (e.g., MP5K, Uzi Micro, APC9s).
  • 4. Type 4 PDWs: Micro rifles that bridge the gap between submachine guns, pistols, and rifles (e.g., Honey Badger, Micro Galil, AKS-74U).
  • Each PDW type has specific strengths and weaknesses, including considerations for ammunition logistics, range, armor penetration, sound, and size.
  • Some weapons may not neatly fit into these classifications, and their design attributes may vary.
  • PDWs can be used in offensive roles in certain situations.
  • The video concludes by mentioning that future overviews of various PDWs will be released and asks for viewers' opinions on PDWs and tricky classifications.
  • Please note that the transcript may not capture the full context or details of the video, as it is based solely on the provided text.

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All right, ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the range. Today we’re out here and I’m wearing my combat vehicle crewman or combat mechanic coveralls, US Army issued. Why? Because we’re going to talk about a weapon class that is fairly poorly understood. A weapon class that was designed for a defensive role for those who are expected to either not engage in frontline combat or designed for those who need to do other things with their hands.

If you’re recovering a vehicle, you’re trying to stretch a winch cable, it would be very advantageous to have a weapon like a PDW that could cover the distance between a pistol and a rifle. So let’s get into that.

The personal defense weapon, compact, defensive in nature, and yet one of the most misunderstood classes of firearms. Today we talk about what makes a PDW and the four major types of PDW based on their design attributes.

Unlike most other firearms that are defined by its physical design attributes and the type of munitions used, the PDW’s core idea is defined by its design intent or intended role and it’s this intent based definition as a defensive weapon that makes it quite confusing when it’s not describing a physical or design attribute.

For example, the rifle is generally a long arm operated with two hands that shoots a high powered cartridge where its barrel imparts a spin on the projectile. Or the submachine gun would be an automatic firearm that discharges multiple subcaliber or pistol caliber cartridges per trigger pull.

In contrast, the PDW was designed to arm special or mechanized troops, police officers, executive protection agents, or end users whose primary functions are not frontline fighting like the infantry.

In short, the PDW trades off a firearms performance, whether it’s cartridge ballistics, ergonomic controls, and sighting systems for a compact, wearable, or concealable weapon that bridges a gap between a short pistol range and a medium rifle’s range.

Think of a combat medic who is busy tending to patients, or an EOD bomb technician who’s trying to defuse an IED, or a combat mechanic who is attempting to recover a vehicle in a war zone. These military roles require the soldier’s hands to be freed up for non-combat tasks in locations that expose them to sudden attacks within 200 meters.

Or perhaps an executive protection detail covering an open air public engagement, requiring a low profile firearm that can cover up to 200 meters. Or a police officer, who requires a bagged compact weapon on patrol during a time frame of an increased anti-terrorism posture.

So by definition, the PDW is a weapon that prioritizes for a compact, lightweight, concealable, or wearable firearm that bridges a gap between a pistol that lacks the firepower, or a traditional long arm that is unable to be holstered, easily stowed, carried, or operated with a single hand.

More importantly, PDWs are generally made from weapons across four different subclasses. Firearms that were designed from the ground up as a PDW, a modified or a stocked pistol, a miniaturized submachine gun, or a miniaturized rifle.

So we propose the four PDW types based on their design attributes rather than their applications directly. Let’s dive into it.

The Type 1, ground up designed PDWs, are the purest form of a PDW, since they were conceived from scratch with the goals of a personal defense weapon in mind, rather than altered from a base firearm design, and many of these also use a proprietary cartridge to help achieve those certain design goals.

One of the major drawbacks to this class is often the specialized munitions used to accomplish the PDW requirements, however, this can be offset with widespread governmental adoption.

The FN P90 and the H&K MP7 are the classic modern takes on the Type 1 PDW, where their initial designs clearly favor a compact carry, lightweight, armor-piercing for their era, and an increased range when compared to the standard 9mm NATO pistol, but both have their drawbacks of ammunition availability.

Not that you can’t get it, but you must logistically plan for the 5.7×28 FN and 4.6mm H&K ammunition if you or an entity decides to use it. A historical Type 1 PDW option would have been the M1 Carbine. If you can keep an open mind and think of this in terms of relative size and weight, the M1 Carbine was a ground up design with a unique cartridge, where it bridged the gap between the M1911 pistol and the M1 Garand rifle.

One interesting Type 1 PDW would be the Russian PP2000. It feeds the 9×19 cartridge to solve a munition logistics problem, but the Russians developed an enclosed sub-caliber 63 grain steel penetrator 7N21 and 7N31 variant of the 9mm cartridge.

They were able to achieve a Class 1 PDW that could use standardized or specialized 9mm cartridges to take advantage of current munitions manufacturing capacity and the availability of the non-armor-piercing standard cartridges. It must be noted that regular 9mm weapons may have issues firing the 63 grain Russian steel armor-piercing 9mm cartridges. However, with a 9mm base, the PP2000 lacks the range that the 5.7 and 4.6mm Western PDWs possess.

The Type 2 Stocked Machine Pistol or Pistol PDW Perhaps the oldest class of PDWs are the Stocked Machined Pistols, Auto-Loading Pistols and Pistol Conversion PDWs. Remember that when the first Type 2 PDWs were conceived, submachine guns and auto-loading rifles did not exist yet.

For us, the VZ61 is an example that we have in our library. Historically, the artillery Luger was issued to German rear echelon troops in WWI to carry, but had a holster that functioned as a stock to increase its stability and later was fed from a 32 round snail drum. Another famous Type 2 Machine Pistol PDW would be the Automatic Schnellfeuer C96 Mauser Brumhandl. And in more modern times, the Soviet Stechkin and the Beretta M93R are equally famous examples.

In the current era, the BNT USW or a Glock with a Flux Adapter can be considered as a Type 2 PDW. These are holsterable weapons that provide better control than a pistol with a stock and thus bridges the gap between a pistol and a rifle for the user to have a greater defensive range and capacity.

Typically, the Type 2 Stocked Pistol PDWs are very wearable and very concealable as they are based on a pistol design,

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘What is a PDW? [The 4 types of Personal Defense Weapons]’ by 9-Hole Reviews