Submachine Guns & PDWs & Stuff & Whatever

Alright. Enough with the nonsense. I’ll be discussing submachine guns (SMGs) and PDWs (personal defense weapons) in the following sequence. By the end, you should be able to figure out the difference, even if you’re dense, between SMGs and weapons of personal defense.

Desperation will make you do crazy things. In this case, I was desperate for an intro to this page, so I made one up that rhymed, though I though about just doing it in iambic pentameter for shots and goggles. What you may not be able to guess about me now, is that I was cool in high school. K, that was an atrocious lie. I was in the marching band. Draw your own conclusions about my popularity in a school of roughly 4,000 hormonal teenagers.

So now that I’ve lost your attention, I’m going to start off with submachine guns. In terms of real steel, SMGs are often smaller, more concealable weapons that fire pistol-caliber ammunition (e.g. 9mm MP5s). Because of their caliber, submachine guns are generally less powerful than assault rifles, which use larger, rifle calibers like the 5.56mm or 7.62mm NATO rounds. One attribute of having less power, is less distance. Thus, SMGs are not really designed for long range engagements. They’re much more suited for the CQB environment. Since the vast majority of airsoft guns use the same “caliber” 6mm BB, the general rule on whether an airsoft gun is an SMG or not simply relies on whether the real steel version would be considered one.

Airsoft submachine guns are similar to their real steel counterparts in that they are less powerful than a carbine or battle rifle. Most CQB venues that allow SMGs usually limit their power to somewhere around 350 FPS, give or take a few, for safety reasons, given the players shooting at each other within a close proximity of each other. One of the benefits of an airsoft SMG over most airsoft pistols, is the rate of fire (ROF). SMGs are usually allowed to run on full auto, and given the nature of their lighter springs, can be setup to have a pretty high ROF with the right parts and gunsmith to tune the gun. Check my Airsoft AEG page for more info on the parts you’ll need for a high-ROF setup. Pay particular attention to the ratio of the gears you use (the lower the better, in this case), as well as the type of motor. Bushings with bearings, a light-weight, short-stroked polycarb piston (don’t forget to mod the sector gear as well) and proper cylinder to barrel volume ratio are a few other points to ponder as well when it comes to increasing your rate of fire. Again, refer to my AEG page. It’ll hook you up with most of what you need to know.

Airsoft submachine guns don’t just come in the AEG variety. There are an ever-expanding variety of SMGs that are gas-powered. While I haven’t had too much experience with these guns just yet, I do know that the several models I’ve seen have an insane rate of fire without any modification and offer the gas-blowback (GBB) simulated recoil feature. Models like the KWA M11, Tokyo Marui Hicapa 4.3 Extreme and the KSC Glock G18C all fire a lot a BBs in a very short amount of time. Oh, by the way: they’re also very reputable airsoft SMGs as well.

If you’re into the “Tim-The-Toolman-Taylor” (Google him) approach and are looking for more power/better performance in just about any of those GBBs mentioned above, a good [i]general starting point[/i] would be short-stroking the slide/recoil unit, installing an extended tightbore barrel (you may need to add a compensator or mock suppressor to hide the extra length of the TBB), stronger recoil & hammer springs, and high-flow valves.

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