It’s no secret that submachine guns as a class of law enforcement and military weapon are in decline. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is an alarming trend in law enforcement where criminals, gang members in particular, are found to be wearing soft body armor similar to that worn by most police officers. Pistol caliber weapons will not penetrate this armor and most law enforcement agencies that haven’t already transitioned to intermediate caliber AR-type carbines or something similar are either in the process of doing so or at least considering obtaining .223 carbines. But bad guys wearing body armor isn’t the only reason for the changeover. Pistol caliber weapons also are defeated by many barriers that .223 carbines will handily defeat. Of course, barriers like brick walls and concrete aren’t defeated by any .223 caliber weapon, but at typical close quarters battle (CQB) distances of 25 yards or so, the .223 carbine’s ballistics are superior to a pistol caliber carbine or submachine gun in every meaningful way.
Readers may have heard about the reliability issues of M16 and M4 rifles and carbines in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the widely known lethality problems. Those reports are true as far as we can determine, but for law enforcement these aren’t the problem that they are for the military. First, the environment where virtually all police officers operate is far less hostile than soldiers in the “Sandbox,” where sand has the consistency of talcum powder and gets into virtually everything, causing stoppages in M16s and M4s. There also are lubricants such as Mil-Comm’s TW25B available that will keep an AR up and running in just about any environment.