Is the Submachine gun completely moribund?

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The world's militaries have shifted away from the submachine gun (SMG) slowly since the Second World War. The last gasp could, arguably, be the 1980s with various light infantry. Now it seems ultra light automatic carbines rule the day. Occasionally, personal defense weapons (PDW) are issued, but they aren't as pervasive as the SMG in years past.

So, what say you, is the SMG gone from the military for good or not?
 
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The shift of the SMG started with the advent of the 5.56 round being adopted by NATO, and automatic rifles. SMG was mainly used by tank crews and drivers where they need a short barreled weapon. The weapons issued to tank crews and drivers are basically cut down versions of the M-16.

In Afghanistan they are learning that the 5.56 round is ineffictive at distances further then 250 meters, so many times the Americans where attacked but they could not shot back since the enemy was out of range. They are probably going to switch back to the 7.62 round. Most likely the SMG will see a comeback then.
 

003

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Yes, I think we can now expect more modern military equipment and guns now. Time change and so as the ways and the equipment. If we don't know how to keep up, we'll be the one who's going to lose, same for different countries.
 

Urhin

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SMGs are still used by many special forces group. They are an irreplaceable weapon in the military's arsenal. As long as you continue to fight in close quarters, the short barrel length of the SMG, it's light weight, rapid autofire and good clip size will continue to be very important. When fighting in urban areas, or on ships for instance, SMGs are still superior to rifles.
 
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Like Urhin said, special forces groups and privately funded security groups will always rely on the SMG as its a cheaper alternative to carbines and easier to move with. Urban area warfare (where most of these companies are located) is a prime example of why the SMG won't fade, at least not soon.
 
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Agreed on the special units. Most of them pack whatever they want. I can also see that the PDW concept is kind of a modern iteration of the subgun. But massive amounts of troops them as in the Second World War will likely never been seen again.
 
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Like Urhin said, special forces groups and privately funded security groups will always rely on the SMG as its a cheaper alternative to carbines and easier to move with. Urban area warfare (where most of these companies are located) is a prime example of why the SMG won't fade, at least not soon.
Of if you have a good machine shop, you can make your own. During WW2, many resistance groups made their own sten guns, the reason why it used the 9mm round is so they could use captured German ammo. You are right you can't beat the price and the size, and for urban warfare you can not beat it. Saying all that I am not a fan of SMGs.
 
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That is a good point, Orangesunset. I've seen some knock-offs of the STEN made in Poland and elsewhere during the war in Europe. They were crude, but they worked for their purposes. The life of a Partisan was hardly an easy one.
 
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I view SMGS like a Shotgun for intermediate soldiers; most of them don't burst tap or fire single shots like an SMG excels at, but rather hold down the rate of fire. It's easy to get caught in sprays like this, off walls or obstacles. It's not the mark of a good shooter, however. Rifles will always be a better option.

I'm a fan of rifles myself, which focus on being accurate above all else. Why do the job of eight bullets when you can fire two or three and be done with it? But for quick mobile warfare, it's hard to beat. Handguns even come into talks at the urban stages too. Hand cannons. The like.
 
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I'm not sure SMGs are going to fall by the wayside so easily. Thanks to our military industrial complex we seem to continue purchasing items that are not put to use. So, if you mean they will become obsolete on the battlefield? Yes, they will. I'm just not sure that this applies to our general arsenal.
 

jdzla

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But for quick mobile warfare, it's hard to beat. Handguns even come into talks at the urban stages too. Hand cannons. The like.
If I may second your opinion, SMG's do have a different purpose in the battlefield. They aren't exactly used for when range and stopping power is the prime concern but are used when firing rate is more important. This happens in close-quarter battle (CQB) situations.

Thus, SMG's have now been primarily used as PDW's, or personal defense weapons. The concept essentially is in putting the most firepower in the most compact package. An example can be found with the FN P90.


Now, this is my conjecture, but I believe that SMG's will become more or less default "sidearms" for militaries because of the greater firepower it packs. I just want to know what the advantages of traditional pistols are compared to these SMG's or PDW's.
 
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As a tool for the infantry, the SMG is gone. Too short range and modern carbines and rifles aren't that much heavier, and certain bullpup designs are just about as short as a SMG.

They will have uses as PDWs and for specialised units but I doubt they will be making a comeback into the life of an ordinary infantryman.
 
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That's why more often than not actual military is fitted out with different capabilities. The personal effect of SMGs will not go away; like I said it's evident by the personal-private sector in military warfare, hiring out private bodyguards and the like. I believe they will still favor them because of their portability, accessibility, and cost.

And we all know those companies aren't going anywhere as long as there's war to be mongered, someplace.
 

jdzla

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As a tool for the infantry, the SMG is gone. Too short range and modern carbines and rifles aren't that much heavier, and certain bullpup designs are just about as short as a SMG.
May I find out what those bullpup designs are? I do understand that the bullpup is becoming a trend in military weaponry, but I do think that they have certain limitations. For instance the SAR-21 rifle (Singapore's bullpup rifle) is not ambidextrous. Further, bullpups have a tendency to eject too close to a person's face for safety. In that case, a submachinegun may be better.
 
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I hear you, jdzla. While the bullpup is well established in European and Asian military forces, they never really were accepted here in the United States or, for that matter, our ally to the North, Canada. There are a number of theories why, and some of them are the reasons you referenced, but it also could be that the shooting tradition in North American doesn't really feature many firearms of that pattern.
 
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