The PDW concept came to be at the end of the 1980s and was a product of a NATO request. NATO wanted to replace their 9mm submachine guns. They wanted a weapon that wasn’t as large as a rifle, but more potent than a submachine gun. NATO specifically wanted something that could efficiently defeat body armor. That’s the military/NATO PDW, but today we are going to talk the civilian PDW.
There isn’t a hard and fast definition of civilian PDW, and I wanted to explore the concept. Your standard civilian weapon for day to day use is a concealed handgun. I’ve been studying the concept over three different platforms, and this will be a 4 part series. Today we are merely looking at the idea and defining what I think the civilian PDW package would be.
A civilian PDW should be a weapon that offers a substantial advantage over a carried handgun.
The advantage could be power, range, or even significant capacity differences. The idea is that a civilian PDW would be designed for situations where a handgun is insufficient. A civilian PDW gives its user an edge in a violent situation.
A civilian PDW still needs to be compact, so it’s easily carried and stored in a vehicle or even on the body in some circumstances.
Lastly, the gun needs to be easy to use, and preferably in a common platform.
I also want to stay away from NFA weapons. NFA weapons are undoubtedly awesome PDWs, but do require some stamps, some money, time, and may not be legal under your state laws.
What is a Civilian PDW For?
A civilian PDW is for events where a handgun is overwhelmed and not enough. This could be an active shooter. To be perfectly honest a PDW is still likely not a fair match for a rifle, but it’s a substantially more equal option than a handgun.
You could be in a situation where you are facing multiple opponents. It could also be carried only occasionally when times of civil unrest seem likely, recent riots over police actions come to mind.
One reason I applaud the concept is that I travel frequently and I’m often staying overnight in a new location. I’m not bringing an arsenal with me, just my EDC and a PDW. In this case, I always have a weapon that offers me something more substantial than my EDC handgun.
The idea is simple. A civilian PDW is a gun that’s small enough to be carried easily, but large enough to offer a substantial advantage over my handgun.
Will You Ever Really Need it?
Oh man, I hope not!
I also hope I never need my EDC handgun or my Emerson CQC-7. Either way, I carry them. I don’t need a PDW every day, but I like the concept enough that I see value in it for niche situations. I’ve never needed my decked out bolt gun, but I have it.
The three guns we will be examining as Civilian PDWS are the following:
The Backpack AR
The Pistol Caliber Carbine
The PGO 12 Gauge
We are going to examine each of these platforms, their concept fulfillment, and dig out the pros and cons of each.