Is the pistol outdated in the assault rifle era?

Is the pistol outdated in the assault rifle era? Security guards outgunned against terrorist. Shootout at the Israel festival attack. NATO's CRISAT and PDW's. Body armor against assault rifles.

 By the terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris police armed with pistols where not able to provide any significant defense against terrorists armed with assault rifles. At that time terrorist with assault rifles killing civilians was a new tradegic experience.

Police was at the scene armed with their 9mm pistols but could not provide any significant protection. The terrorist attack at the Israeli music festival showed again that only military police armed with assault rifles could engage in a shootout with terrorists. The security police armed with pistols were outgunned and shot instantly while they did try to oppose the terrorists armed with assault rifles.


Accuracy of the pistol firing under stress.

Lots of real shootout evaluations shown that the accuracy of the pistol fired under heavy stress decrease significant. While pistol shooters at the range in ideal circumstance can hit a man size target at 25 meters this performance of accurate shooting declines serious under stress.

Most people who fire a pistol under stress in a life threating situation do not even use there iron sight and simply point the gun at the direction of the threat and shoot. This means that the pistol shooter under stress can only accurate fire to a distance of maximum 7 meters. This means that even brave security agents engaging the firefight with there pistol at the site of the music festival where simply not able to form any threat to the terrorist armed with assault rifle who could shoot back accurate over much longer distance then 7 meters.

Although the pistol can provide a certain protection at a range to 7 meters, once beyond that a shoulder weapon is fare superior in accurate use even under heavy stress. By the fact that more and more terrorist attacks happen with assault rifles in the middle of streets and open arias brings us to the conclusion that a pistol is not an efficient weapon as protection against an terorist attack with assault rifles. 


PDWs and CRISAT (Collaborative Research Into Small Arms Technology)

The conclusion that a pistol lakes the accuracy under battle stress was already a topic in NATO’s CRISAT weapon and ammunition program in the early 90’. While the CRISAT demands did change over time and at the end required an accuracy of the weapons system to 200 meters. Most experts did doubt about the practical use of a PDW at a distance of 200 meters with a pistol ammunition caliber.

What we see today on the weapon market is that the concept of the PDW (Personal Defens Weapon) is grown out to rather a small size assault rifle in the 5.56mm rifle caliber. Sufficient fire power, penetration and accuracy to 200 meters. But this new type of assault rifle PDW does not replace the pistol but is rather an companion weapon to the pistol, too big to be carried as a sidearm just like the pistol is carried. The change overtime in the CRISAT demands did went away for the first concept to develop a weapon an ammunition system to replace the 9mm pistol.

The first CRISAT demands did ask an accuracy of the PDW to 100 meters which was possible with a pistol size barrel and a PDW which could be carried as a sidearm just like the 9mm pistol and could be of use today for police and security service in the fight against terrorism. The pistol was already outdated in the 90’ and is certainly outdated in a shootout with terrorist armed with Kalashnikov rifles today.


Not ready to replace the 9x19mm NATO caliber

With the confusing changings of the CRISAT demands there is not jet a PDW caliber on the market to replace the 9mm pistol caliber. All technical efforts where focused to achieve the required distance of 200 meters accuracy and CRISAT penetration without considering to have an sufficient stopping power in a pistol.  

4.6x30mm: The 4.6x30mm caliber was ridiculous as stopping power in a pistol. In a PDW with retractable butt stock the PDW was too big as a sidearm.

5.7x28mm: Although several new 5.7 PDW calibers where developed all have the same lake in stopping power inherent to the small 5.7mm bullet diameter. Yes, it is true that the 5,7x28mm pistols get more in the public interest especially in the United states. Still after more then 20 years been available on the market we see no police or special forces dumping the 9x19mm caliber to step over to the 5.7x28mm caliber. In the opposite experts call the 5.7x28mm caliber marginal for personal defense in a pistol.

Some armies who accepted the P90 do also have a 5.7 pistol, which not means that there choice is based on a sufficient stopping power of the 5.7 x28mm caliber, but rather to the P90 as sub machine gun and 5.7 pistol combination.

1) 9x19mm NATO cartridge

2) 7.92x24mm (S) Short cartridge

3) .30 Super Carry cartridge

4) 7.92x24 mm (N) Normal cartridge

5) .45 ACP cartridge

.30 Super Carry: Is at this moment the only small caliber on the market that can challenge the 9x19mm NATO caliber. The .30 Super Carry is more powerful than the Chinese 8 mm which is almost similar in dimensions. At this moment the available ammunition uses heavy .32 caliber bullet which causing a recoil impulse similar to the 9x19mm caliber. So, in this composition it makes no much since and has no serious advantage to the 9x19mm caliber. 

7.92x24mm: Was a PDW caliber designed in Belgium in the year 2006 after a series of complains about the 5.7x28mm caliber. The project did suffers from local governmental opposition against a local firearm industry. The 7.92x24mm has similar identities to the .30 Super Carry and uses the same .32 caliber bullets but has a significant larger case capacity which can significant increase the performances. This caliber is not yet full developed to the maximum of its potential.  

All these new PDW calibers have a flatter bullet trajectory at midrange which out performs the 9x19mm caliber and should be of interest for a PDW sidearm that can replace the 9mm pistol. Small PDW sidearms with a retractable butt stock could provide the accuracy of a shoulder weapon to 100 meters and could provide the security agents the firepower to stand-off terrorists armed with Kalashnikov rifles.


Concealed body armor


As concealed body armor the level NIJ-3A in combination with stab proof identities is mostly in use by security agents and provide protection against the pistol calibers 9x19mm, .44Magnum and 7.65x25mm Tokarev. However this is not efficient to stop the bullets of an assault rifle as a AK 47 Kalashnikov.

There also exist concealed bullet proof vest that can be provided with hard ballistic plates level 4 to stop assault rifle bullets. These vest can be normal worn  as a soft concealed body armor and in risky situation be provided with hard ballistic plates level 4. This kind of body armor should have been recommended when a terrorist assault with Kalashnikov rifles was a possibility.


New for recent years is that a large number of concealed plate carriers level 4 can be worn. The low profile plate carriers could be worn under an police or security agent uniform and could provide protection against Kalashnikov assault rifles.