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Which is more useless?

Rifle caliber pistols or pistol caliber rifles?

Depends. Rifle caliber pistols, never felt the need for. But pistol caliber rifles are quite handy to have so you can shoot them at the indoor range. My 9mm AR was basically set up identically to my 5.56 AR for exactly that reason. And pistol caliber carbines do offer increased performance.

21 Responses to “Which is more useless?”

  1. Miguel Says:

    I can see the use of a Rifle Caliber pistol for hunting and not wanting to carry a rifle.

  2. mikee Says:

    Think of hand guns in rifle calibers as short stocked, short barreled rifles. They are easier to carry than full sized rifles but require more skill to shoot as well. Maybe that will warm you up to them a bit more.

    Agree that pistol caliber carbines are a hoot to shoot.

  3. Tam Says:

    Rifle caliber pistols are handy in some states.

    For instance, if I shoot a deer with a .243 or .30-’06 out of a rifle here in Indiana, the bullet will apparently go through three schools and an orphanage and they will arrest me.

    However, if I shoot the deer with the same .243 or .30-’06 out of a T/C Encore pistol, well, that’s just okey dokey, ’cause then it’s a pistol bullet, see?

  4. Shootin' Buddy Says:

    Both are very useful for states with . . . burdensome hunting regs. *cough* Indiana *cough*

    See, if you shoot a .243 out of a pistol it turns into pixie dust if it misses the deer. However, if you shoot a .243 out of rifle it turns into a weapon of mass destruction seeking out women, children and minorities.

    Oh, perfectly fine to use your .308 rifle shooting up at a squirrel target angle 46 degrees, but you cannot use that same .308 rifle shooting down from a tree stand at a deer.

    Stop me if I’m making any sense.

  5. karrde Says:

    How does a shotgun-caliber pistol count?

    I’m not talking about that Taurus thing in .410-bore. I’m talking about a 12-gauge pistol that I got to shoot exactly once.

    Thing must have been an AOW. It was a stockless pistol-gripped Remington 870 with a less-than-16-inch barrel and a vertical grip attached to the slide mechanism.

  6. wizardpc Says:

    Yes, that was an AOW. Probably the Serbu Super Shorty.

  7. Texas Jack 1940 Says:

    This isn’t a new idea. One of my nephews has a Colt Bisley model .38-40 revolver a great-uncle carried as a deputy back around the (previous) turn of the century. Someone (Winchester?) made a lever gun for the same cartridge, I think on the idea that a cowboy might want a pistol and a rifle that he could feed with the same rounds. I remember the pistol was very “Western” looking and great fun to shoot. A friend who had hunted deer with the rifle told me it was “OK, but had about a foot of drop at a hundred yards.”

  8. Tarrou Says:

    In terms of performance, a pistol-caliber rifle always gives you better performance with the round, while a rifle caliber pistol does the opposite. In fact, I’d go so far as to say a rifle-caliber pistol has no function whatsoever that isn’t better performed by other weapons. If you hunt with one, you’re just upping the challenge difficulty (being generous) or increasing the risk of a wounded animal (being less generous). A pistol caliber rifle offers several advantages, from reduced recoil to cartridge compatibility. I doubt anyone backs up their Winchester 70 30-06 with a T/C in the same caliber, but a 9mm AR carbine would be a great companion to a 9mm pistol (though a 5.56 would give better performance overall).

    TL:DR pistol rounds are slightly better out of a rifle, rifle rounds in a pistol are either irresponsible hunting or competition gaming.

  9. Kevin Baker Says:

    I’ve got a .260 Remington pistol and a 7mm BR pistol. I don’t hunt, though. I have them because they’re fun.

  10. Matt in AZ Says:

    I hope your happy, cause that question just gave me a headache. A pistol cartridge in a carbine length barrel generally gives better velocity and accuracy. A 30-30, .257 Roberts or .308 cartridge in a pistol is an effective hunting set-up. Which is better or less horrible depends on the use. Neither is one gun solution.

  11. Oddball Says:

    I’d say there’s a good reason why it became common in the old west for someone to carry a pistol caliber carbine (usually lever action) that matched their revolver. Only having to carry one type of ammo is damn convenient, and you can get modern carbines that share magazines with matching pistols. PCC’s tend to also be more compact and produce less recoil than most “real” rifles. I’d say there’s a decent amount of reason for them to exist.

    I see less of a reason for rifle caliber pistols to exist. I have a hard time seeing them as either a manufacturer doing it as proof that they can build a handgun that can deal with the pressure, or for recoil junkies that don’t think the big pistol calibers have enough bang. Yeah, there’s the hunting argument, but I think that’s more of an excuse for most folks. Of course, my thought is “you think it’s neat? good enough for me!”

  12. RML Says:

    My wife’s cousin has a lever action rifle chambered in .357. I’d buy it from him if I had the chance.

  13. DirtCrashr Says:

    It’s the old-time thing. Good article in this month’s Reloader about the .44-40, one of the better power-factors in the 1873 Winchester rifle and also the Colt SAA. The rifle’s added sight-radius helped for getting deer (only eclipsed by the .30-30 rifle cartridge in the number of deer taken) while the SAA helped by being so handy on the hip.

  14. wizardpc Says:

    I suspect the only reason rifle caliber pistols exist is because of the NFA.

  15. Kevin Baker Says:

    @Oddball: My .260 bucks less than a .357 Magnum. It weighs 6+lbs and has a very effective muzzle brake.

  16. Sigivald Says:

    The Ruger Deerfield (and other magnum-caliber carbines – .357 or .44) seems pretty useful. Especially if someone made a bigger magazine for it…

  17. Anon R.D. Says:

    Pistol caliber carbines are viable home defense guns. I have non-gunny family members who strongly dislike anything with more recoil than 9mm in a long gun, and dislike any handgun that’s not a .22. (Shotguns, obviously, are completely out for such people.)

    These people love my 9mm carbine and can shoot it quite effectively; target transitions and everything.

    They could also handle the recoil of an AR-15, but then the objection is muzzle blast, not recoil. 9mm carbine is pretty quiet (as firearms go!). Good for indoors.

    As for rifle caliber pistols, got no experience with ’em, so no opinion.


    PLR-16 FTW.

  19. Critter Says:

    i love me some PCC’s. fun to shoot and easy to teach new shooters on. being a .44 special snob, i like having a carbine and a single action in that most noble of calibers.

  20. Ghostcat Says:

    I have always been amused by the myriad of gun writers over the years who have decried the 30-30 in a rifle or carbine as being barely powerful enough for deer and then turned around to extoll the 30-30 in a Thompson Center Contender as the cats meow for anything that walks the North American continent.

  21. Ghostcat Says:

    In the old west it was common for a man to carry a rifle or carbine in the same caliber as your revolver. It simplified ammunition purchases and the rounds worked well in both. I would also mention that the .22 is the penultimate example of the two guns one caliber meme.