The demise of the pistol-caliber submachine gun (SMG) has been predicted for many years, even decades. And yet, small arms companies are still developing new platforms, and demand for the platform remains steady.

The CZ 3 A1 is typical of the current crop of pistol-caliber longarms. It is a compact, lightweight weapon in 9x19mm (9mm Parabellum), fed by a thirty round magazine, also incorporating the virtually-standard M1913 Picatinny rail system. The EVO Skorpion is offered in selective fire (the "A" model) and semi-auto only (the "S" model) versions. Not without cause, the CZ 3 A1 is being touted as the most-likely replacement for the venerable Heckler & Koch MP-5:

But the larger question is, why are submachine guns even around? The notion for the design dates from before World War 2.

Once the assault rifle became widespread in use, the demise of the submachine gun was considered a foregone conclusion. And yet, thje SMG remains.

In fact, as real professionals know well, there are distinct advantages to a sub. The ammunition is cheaper. The weapon's lower recoil makes it easier to train people. The short barrel is a winner in tight quarters. The SMG is easy to suppress effectively. The nature of the ammunition reduces blow-through and collateral spall damage.

The SMG's single failing versus the assault rifle is it's range, a direct consequence of it's pistol-caliber cartridge...But this is not really a disadvantage, when considered in light of the fact that the SMG was never intended to fight more than 100-150 yards (c.90-140 meters). While we are no longer treated (thankfully) to spectacles of entire front-line assault units being armed with pistol-caliber SMG's, they maintain their dominance in hostage-rescue, vehicle crew and police units, none of whom require significant range, nor penetration -- but for whom, accuracy, ease of handling and "good enough - but not too much" penetration essential.

Thus, like all weapons systems, SMG's are evolving and adapting constantly, and this is a good thing, as the nature of war and security in the "One & Twenty" has evolved and adapted, right along with computers, the internet and striped toothpaste. The submachine gun has been, continues to be, and will likely remain, a distinct and relevant part of any nation's "boots out front" arsenal for decades to come.

It's development bears watching closely.

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