If you are new to the world of firearms, understanding the different types of guns can be a bit overwhelming at first. Carbines are one variety that is often defined imprecisely or inaccurately. A carbine is a type of rifle and is often, although not always, a shortened version of an existing model. This basic definition is enough to know what people are referring to when they mention carbines. However, like almost any firearm-related term, there are more nuances to consider to fully understand this type of weapon.
Carbine vs Rifle
People often mention carbines and rifles together. The question of how these two are different can be a source of confusion. A carbine is actually a specific type of rifle. Compared to a standard rifle, a carbine is generally shorter and easier to handle. If the carbine is a shorter version of an existing rifle, it will often have the same caliber. However, this is not always the case.
It can sometimes be difficult to determine which rifles are carbines and at the end of the day, there isn’t one definition that works in all cases. For the most part, a rifle with a barrel shorter than 20 inches can be called a carbine. If the barrel length is less than 16 inches, it is also a short-barreled rifle (SBR) and is regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA).
History of Carbines
The word “carbine” comes from the French word “carabinier,” which means “rifleman.” The first use of the word carabinier was describing the Battle of Neerwinden in 1693. At this time, the soldiers would have been using longer muskets. However, these were harder to use on horseback. As a result, a shorter, more lightweight rifle was created. Advancements in technology allowed these shorter guns to become more accurate over time. Today, the military uses carbines such as the M4 for close-quarters combat.
Pistol Caliber Carbines
Pistol caliber carbines (PCCs) are a subcategory of this type of gun and are semi-automatic lightweight rifles chambered for pistol cartridges. Experts believe that PCCs originated in the American Wild West. Cowboys and lawmen would often carry a lightweight rifle and a revolver that used the same caliber of ammunition, which was more efficient. Many modern PCCs are based on the AR-15 design. The main benefit is that these can be easier to control and have less recoil than rifle calibers, although whether or not any individual would benefit from a PCC will depend on how they use it and their personal preferences.
Carbines and Training at The Hub
At The Hub, we offer a wide variety of firearms including carbines. If you are interested in learning more about how to handle this type of gun, our Lakeside location offers an AR 101/Intro to Carbines course.