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A few years ago it was the great .380 tsunami. Then it was .300 BLK. Right now? Maybe a resurgence of pistol caliber carbines. What’s the next “I liked it before it was cool” fad? My guess is. . .

fat, heavy, and slow. Bullets, that is. Suppressed. With the meteoric rise in suppressor ownership — a trend of its own, for sure — I think the next big thing will be maximizing downrange energy while capping velocities to just shy of supersonic.

Why subsonic? Especially with a larger bullet, the crack of it breaking the sound barrier is actually extremely loud, as we attempted to show here.

Sure, a 220 grain bullet from a .300 BLK doing 1,000 fps hunts better than a 147 grain 9mm going the same speed, but we’re still talking about .45 ACP energy levels. How about a 600 grain slug from a .458 SOCOM? Or a 700 grain .50 Beowulf? Suppressed. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I’d dang sure like to see integrally-suppressed AR uppers for these calibers and/or more readily-available suppressors for these calibers with ammo manufacturers loading as much bullet as will fit in an AR magazine, with room for enough powder to push it between 1,000 and 1,100 fps.

What do you think the next big trend will be?

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100 Responses to Question of the Day: The Next Firearm Trend?

  1. For my part I just started putting together a very light .338 Spectre SBR. It’s funny because I was already started on this when I commented on the MPX article that I didn’t get pistol caliber carbines. Well, it’s not a pistol caliber carbine but it is pretty similar. I guess I didn’t think that comment through very well.

        • The point is that .308 isn’t a great all around round, even though I prefer it to almost anything else.

        • @ Russ, the .300 Blackout is a cool round, but it damn sure isn’t “all around.” The .308 and .30-06 if people are willing to load for them will always kick its butt in that regard except for the suppressed thing, but then again . . . .45 ACP . . .

      • You make a good point on that one aspect but can you take an 800 yds shot with confidence from the blackout? I guess I just don’t like fads. I know if someone breaks into my house, I’ll hit them with 149gr of lightning from 2 or 3 yds. If I see some zombie coming, I can stop them effectively from 500 with no problem.

        • Agreed, there is no real “Do it all round” .300BLK is not a long range round, just as .308 isn’t a fantastic suppressed round. Neither is 5.56.

          Physics doesn’t support an “All around” great round.

        • The supersonic .300blk has been tested and proven effective at distances of 1000m. It is also important to note that this is being done with shorter barrels. It doesn’t take a 20″ barrel to make that shot, it does take a steady aim and good trigger pull though.

          https://youtu.be/tgKjbySsAik

        • Joe, you say the .300 AAC has been proven effective to 1000 yards? Well, Jerry Mikulek took 9mm to 1000 yards, so I guess its effective too.

          Wind would slap .300 AAC around all silly like. Shooting it to 1000 yards doesn’t sound effective, it sounds frustrating.

  2. I’d like to see a subsonic 600-900 grain 12 gauge slug that could penetrate barriers and still expand 150%. Heck, maybe 1200 grains. How about a 900-1200 grain subsonic 000 buck load that could still function out of an autoloader. Well, maybe some autoloaders, anyways. The pump still rules for running exotic loads.

  3. I completely agree. I think that I’d the way the market has been headed for some time.

    I’d also like to add rounds at full velocity in short barrels. There’s a lot of that coming along, and it compliments suppressors quite nicely.

    • The Smith is out of production so you’ll have to settle on Uberti. The good news is you’ll have $3400 left over for other purchases.

      • Hey, just because they haven’t made one for 110 years is no reason to not have one – just check out the firearms auctions. Sure, you will have to mortgage your house and sell your first-born, but it will be worth it!

  4. For those of us who refuse to voluntarily sign away what little remains of our 4th Amendment rights and want to retain the freedom to cross state lines without asking permission first, our only hope is to get silencers removed from the NFA.

    Even without a silencer, an AR in .458 SOCOM has been on my wish list for a while. At least the savings on magazines would offset some of the set-up costs for reloading that caliber.

    • Mike, the idea that you give away your rights to privacy or open yourself up to random searches by registering an NFA item are completely wrong and baseless. I think I’m going to write a post about it for next week.

      Additionally, no permission is required to transport a silencer across state lines. As long as it’s legal where you’re going, you’re fine. Only the other NFA items — the ones that are actual firearms — require approval (form 5320.20) to transport across state lines. I guess on the bright side, that form can approve your transport for up to 364 days. So my Scorpion SBR is okay for traveling between WA and ID as much as I want from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016. Come March 1 of next year, I’ll submit another 5320.20 (it’s free, btw) for the next 12 months. Anyway yeah that sucks and is pretty ridiculous, but it does NOT apply to silencers.

    • $20 a brick would be wonderful. Sad part is though, I wouldn’t mind continuing to pay $30+ per brick so long as I could buy a brick anytime I wanted to without having to hunt it down.

      • If I was guaranteed to be able to buy a brick pretty much any time I went to my local sell-all store, I’d pay 10 cents a round. $50 a brick wouldn’t faze me. But I want to see a pile of them and I don’t want to see lines of people waiting to buy them.

        • I’ll go for that price on a 325 count box when that ammo is good ammo. LIke Fed Auto Match or even Rem Golden bullet. I’m not giving $20 a Winchester bulk box. But, hey, I wouldn’t buy that inconsistent crap when it was $15 on the 325. I still have some where the HP is in the side of the bullet or the whole tip was missing,..etc. Its not just the Win Bulk stuff, but you get my meaning.

    • “The next big thing will be $20 bricks of .22LR.”

      Gov, whatever you’re smoking, can I have some from your bag?

      (That’s called humor, folks…)

  5. I’m interested in pistol caliber carbines as a HD weapon due to the high capacity magazines, reliable AR platform, interchangeable Glock mags, and (probably the biggest difference) less-abrasive report of a pistol round from a carbine (11-16″), even compared to standard 3-5″ barrels. I’ve fired 9mm, 45 & 45LC from carbines and they almost sound suppressed, compared to the standard rifle calibers. 45 will always be king in a handgun, but I think the increased capacity, development and longer ballistics places the 9mm in a pretty high position as this plays out.

    • Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding!!!!!

      I just commented on this two days ago in the post about the CZ carbine. I shot .40 S&W 180 grain bullets out of a carbine with a 16 inch barrel and the report (blast) was
      stunningly muted compared to the same ammunition in a pistol with a 4-inch barrel. And .45 ACP out of a 16 inch barrel was bordering on tame.

      The carbine:
      — increases muzzle velocity roughly 10% for 9mm, .40 S&W, and 45 ACP
      — enables you to use pistol magazines of whatever capacity
      — greatly improves accuracy
      — maintains maneuverability in close quarters combat
      — decreases recoil,
      — and greatly decreases muzzle blast.

      All of those are huge benefits of course.

      The only down side is that you are still shooting a pistol caliber which is definitely on the weak side and is still limited to about 50 yards. To compensate for the low velocities and energy of pistol rounds — especially if you want to stay subsonic — I believe you need the largest diameter possible. That is why I would go with .45 ACP. And if anyone ever scaled up .45 ACP to .50 or even better .54 caliber, I would go with that. I cannot picture too many people taking something like a 330 grain, .54 caliber bullet at 1,100 feet per second in the chest and doing anything other than falling over immediately.

      For that matter, imagine a 330 grain, .54 caliber bullet striking a human attacker at just 700 fps. Even at that relatively low velocity, the shear mass and diameter of the bullet would still have to be immediately debilitating. And yet such a bullet should be relatively quiet to shoot out of a 16 inch barrel at 800 feet per second … and shouldn’t generate much recoil, either.

      • I keep fooling myself into thinking that one day I’ll be needing to take a 100 yd shot on a deer or something and I’ll have either a 9 or 45 carbine. At that point, I’d prefer the relatively flatter shooting 9mm. Shot placement and what not.

        As an aside, I’ve been tossing around that Glock Mech Tech conversion that Jeremy S reviewed a week or so ago. That would basically be like having 2 guns in one, and I’m big on versatility, especially thrifty versatility.

        • I cannot see a 9mm round being able to quickly drop a deer unless you managed to shoot it in the head. The much larger and heavier .45 ACP might do it fairly well at close range (20 yards or so).

          Sure, if you hit a deer with a 9mm round and place a good shot, it will eventually die — and that might happen hours later and miles away.

          Stick to larger calibers for deer.

        • You’re right. It’s a farce anyway. But FYI the deer here are in the +/-120 lb range and a head shot would be attempted. Thoughts on that Glock Mech Tech CCU?

        • The Hornady .45 230 XTP has a BC of .275. Out of a carbine it’ll still be going over 1000fps and have 520flbs of energy left at 100yds. That’d probably do a number on a 120lb person.

        • I’ve had a Mech Tech .45ACP (Glock lower) for a few years. I picked it up to have an item as accurate (EOTech/stock/etc) as my other long guns, but with much lower muzzle blast, flash, and recoil…for indoor defense. I favor .45ACP for carry.

          The .45ACP is unique among the common handgun calibers in this way, which you can verify at BallisticsbytheInch: The heavy slow 230 grain subsonic loadings stay subsonic in the longer-barreled carbine. However, the fast light loads (i.e. 165 grain +P and such) speed up 10 to 15% in the longer barrel. You get two very different ballistic profiles with one unit.

          Additionally, the same suppressor can work with the threaded barrel in the 30S, the 21, the 21 set up as 460 Rowland, and with the Mech Tech with threaded barrel.

        • That’s a good point ROPINGDOWN, thanks.
          As for the MechTech, I’m trying to fit two uses out of the same cartridge. I like 45s, but all I’ve shot was in a full size. I’ve had my eye on the GLOCK 19 in 9mm for CCW, then would add the MechTech upper for HD or distance.
          But you make a compelling point. I’ll have to ask around for any friends with a small 45 to try out.

      • FWIW, I have it on good authority from a former (bona fide) SEAL that he could consistently hit a man sized target at 100 yards with a Beretta 9mm. Assuming that is true, the same shot from a carbine should be a cinch for just about anyone.

        • It’s very easy to do that with a .45ACP Mech Tech. Just use one of the lighter faster loadings, like the Corbon 165 grain +P or 185 +P.

        • I can barely SEE a man-sized target at 100 yards unscoped. I’m sure it can be done by those in the know, but I’m not one of them.

        • I have no doubt that any operator type could do the same. I am certain because it doesn’t take special ops level of training to pull off. I think most any shooter with a solid grasp of marksmanship fundamentsals ability could go for 50% at a minimum at 100y with a full sized target. The drop at 100 is only 4-6″ for most pistol calibers. I can usually hit an 12″ plate 4 or 5 times out of a 13 round magazine with my Glock 23 (.40) at 100y. I imagine my misses would be close enough that many would be “on paper” if it were a man sized target. It just takes a little practice.

          And I am a very average shooter.

        • Joe, I think you are misremembering – even +p 124gr 9mm bullets will drop about 13″ in 100yds.

  6. Affordable Tracking Point tech… I just don’t know if it’s a year away or ten. Only time will tell. But when it does hit the mainstream everyone will have it on their AR’s.

    • We’ll see scopes/gun cameras that transmit the image to Google Glass (or some other little HUD wearable or military goggles or helmet face shields or a tablet, etc). See what the gun’s seeing complete with crosshairs, the ability to zoom in, get some data in the image as well (distance to target, etc), but not actually have to be looking through a scope. It could integrate all of the Tracking Point technology into it also.

      If I had the funds, I’d be doing this as a startup business right now. Optics or gun-mountable cameras that transmit to Google Glass. I don’t think it would be a “trend” because it would be expensive, but it would have lots of legit military applications. Tracking Point with no reason to expose yourself by being in the line of sight… stick the gun out a window, over a wall, around a corner, etc, and do all the aiming and such via Heads Up Display…

    • Mark, with horror I recall the sense of incredible relief I felt when the HildaBeast lost to Obama in the Dem primary last time around.

      Now I damn sure don’t want her as POTUS, but her replacement could be one hell of a lot worse than her, as the last 6+ years has proven.

    • A Hillary victory will be good for a least one group, the Army Corp of Engineers: If she’s going to grab the guns she’ll need to have most U.S. navigable waters…and streams, ponds, and lakes…dredged. Or so the paperwork will indicate.

      “Cackles and Cankles and a Gun View that Rankles. No Hilly and Willy in 2016.”

  7. For pistol caliber carbines to REALLY take off, ammo makers would need to start developing ammo that is designed to expand properly at 200-300 more ft/s. Many offerings will separate or over-expand (which is possible) when fired from a PCC.

    • I was thinking the same thing. It makes no sense to use a pistol-caliber hollow point in a rifle that causes muzzle velocities that exceed the design specs for proper expansion of the bullet.

      Even when using a pistol, some cartridges are intended for short barrels (less than 3″), normal barrels (around 4″) or longer barrels (5″ or more). A bullet that expands properly from a 5″ barrel, might not from a 3″ barrel, or vice versa. For example, look at the difference between Hornady Critical Defense (for shorter barrels) and Hornady Critical Duty (for longer barrels).

      • Maybe someday, ammo manufacturers might put some labeling on their boxes telling us the range of barrel lengths for that particular cartridge. For example, “This cartridge functions best in a gun with a barrel that is 2″ to 4″ in length.”

  8. I think, maybe not next but soon, a computing red dot, most likely programmable. As in, electronics is advancing so fast, and prices are dropping so fast, the idea of an affordable red dot which uses a laser rangefinder to adjust the dot to be “on target” at any range. Dial in muzzle velocity and coefficient of drag, and your dot is point of impact from muzzle to 600 yards. Shouldn’t be that difficult, or expensive.

      • Is anyone doing any work on those lines currently?

        (BTW, someone will have to develop a fully-submersible version of Google Glass for your other idea…)

  9. I have two thoughts on this, probably the most reasonable, is the growing popularity In long range and ultra long range shooting. So more specific to this will be ultra long range calibers. Although the rounds are by no means “new” I suspect we will start to see them more, and that is the .375 and .408 Cheytac. IMO, arguably the greatest ULR calibers ever made to date, but certainly lacking in popularity because of what I believe is a lack of marketing. But again, I seem to see a lot of videos lately of people making 3000-3600 yard shots.

    The other next big caliber/round I think that might take off is the .375 Reaper. Sort of the 300 Blackout on Crack. Cut down and necked up 308 brass with a 375 bullet. I think it’s main shortcoming right now is the cheap availability of 375 bullets. If there were such a thing as mil-surp .375 bullets at $200 per 1k , I would already own one of these.

  10. What do you think the next big trend will be?

    Constitutional carry in 35 or more states would do it for me. The rest aren’t trends, they’re fads.

  11. Not a long or easy shot hear but . . .

    PDW style carbines in intermediate cartridge chamberings – .30 carbine, 10mm, 5.7, Tokarev, etc. Some are already out there. If you could pump them out @ the same cost as traditional pistol caliber carbines they would take off.

    • Bullpup pistol caliber carbine. FN’s P90 has the right idea, I just wish 5.7×28 wasn’t 50 cents/round… IWI’s Tavor X95S also has the right idea, with an integrally suppressed 9mm bullpup.

      I’d be first in line for a bullpup that used M1 Carbine mags in .30 Carbine and was as lightweight as the original M1 Carbine.

  12. The next thing will be more Short barrel carbines in .30.40 .45 .50 458socom etc. I would like to see someone resurrect and update the Thompson Sub in both semi and auto . Probably will not happen but I would like to see it make the rounds again.

  13. Does “the next big thing” really matter?

    Anyone would be very well armed with a 1903, a 1911, a M1928A1 and a M-1 Garand, even though your arsenal would consist of design that are about 100 years old.

    • No, it really doesn’t matter, which is why Ralph’s point above is so…on point. Whatever else might amuse us, our firearm-based self- and home-defense really only requires a handgun or two and perhaps a reliable shotgun and rifle. More is better, of course.

      Our rights are more important than our amusement. Our liberty is more important than any gun novelties. Tearing down such legislation as infringes on our carry freedom is key.

      Long before I care what new cartridges or firearms come to market or into fashion, I’ll stay focused on being able to lawfully carry with me at least one suitable handgun nearly everywhere. I’ll also stay focused on this goal, making it possible that a member of the “honest working poor” can afford to buy and carry a handgun, buy and store a home-defense shotgun….without having to cut into the budget for food they feed their children.

      Too many states have raised the ongoing costs of training and permits too high. Millions of men and women must walk streets far more dangerous than I do, just so they can get to work or grocery shop. Threatened by hooligans every day, mugged, intimidated, they need their gun rights more than I do, or Bloomberg (by proxy) does.

    • Only matters on the hobby front, most likely. Although I think fat, slow, and suppressed has incredible hunting applications with lots of power that’s hearing safe. Would be great for hogs, deer, etc. Heck, for home defense an integrally-suppressed .458 S or .50 B would be pretty convincing.

  14. First – suppressors might be getting more popular – but the costs and difficulties aren’t going away. It’s going to take an act of Congress flying in the face of the anti gun party and that is a lot of political capital to spend.

    One move will be to use active hearing suppression. If you can’t reduce the actual report, you can reduce the perception of that report. That is existing tech and actually as old school as MSA and Peltor have made it over the last 20 years.

    Just wear electronic muffs. Nobody can tell you not to.

    Firearms? Straight wall cartridges to get around anti rifle laws for hunting, same as the AR pistol gets around the SBR.

    What we see as trends is often based on popularity – and also thumbing our nose at authority. Just not TOO much, as Brace owners have belatedly discovered.

    So, intermediate power cartridges that have decent 150m ballistics that can deliver ethical performance. LIke, a 5.56 with a .38-55 in it. But not the existing ones, cause Remington won’t give anyone credit, will they?

    And that means some really interesting complex powders to get them up to speed.

    • 235,000 NFA applications last year. Grabbing a percentage of that is still big business, $200 tax and 3-month wait to get your item or not.

      I do own electronic muffs but dislike wearing muffs. Uncomfortable after wearing them for a while, especially with most eyewear under them, and they often make getting a cheek weld problematic. Too many deaf hunters because it isn’t comfortable to have muffs on all day, even if good electronic ones actually help you hear better when not shooting. I’d rather take something suppressed out on a hog or deer hunt, or for home defense use, and not have to worry about putting ear protection on quickly enough not to miss the shot or wearing it all day…

  15. Before the .300 Blackout/Whisper was the 6.8 SPC. The next one may be the .25-45 Sharps since it can take same bolt and mags as the 5.56 and the brass is easier to turn in the the .25-45 than it is the .300.

  16. I’d like to see bullpups become a thing. Apparently the Tavor fixes everything people complain about (except the haters). Instead of making AR after AR, all companies should have their own bullpup design to get the competition and the innovation going. And the caliber diversity.

  17. what I’d *like* is the revolver market to heat up with more manufacturers producing good guns at reasonable prices in both DA/SA and DAO

    • Ditto. I had all but sworn them off until I happened to have a Ruger LCR .357 catch my eye at my local range/gun store. The dude behind the counter told me to dry fire it and I was instantly hooked by the trigger pull and bought it and we have been inseparable ever since. I’m a hardcore Glock user and owner but the little Ruger has become my EDC and backup gun at work

  18. Big straight walled rounds like the .450 bushmaster. States like Ohio and Michigan have recently approved these types for deer hunting in previously no – rifle zones. That should generate big demand. Could also work for subsonic supressed.

  19. The next big trend? Well, now that Hillary Clinton has formally announced, I think the next big trend will be stocking up as much as one can before Nov. 2016 😉

  20. I have a feeling that we will see more than a few more entries in the semi-autoified LMGs after the big splash FN has made. Not like Atlantic hasn’t been selling RPDs and Heavy 1919s for years now, but we will be seeing more modern LMGs in semi for sure.

  21. It seems like there is already a small but slowly-growing trend of chambering more and more firearms in 10mm as more people realize what an amazingly versatile handgun round it is. I mean, you can load it to mouse-fart 9mm levels or close to 41mag levels.

    But the cartridge itself is rimless and shares an OAL with .45acp making it more suitable for semi-auto’s.

    I want to see more guns coming out STANDARD in 10mm options (Sig P227 please???), more 10mm 1911’s, and JUST ONE 10mm carbine that’s NOT blowback/recoil operated.

    I would also like to see the bullet/cartridge industry respond with better quality hollowpoint bullets that can stand up to 10mm velocities. Most 10mm “defensive” ammo uses bullets designed for .40S&W velocities and can come apart without performing properly at the higher 10mm velocities.

  22. I would also like to see a super-sonic-only 6mm or 6.5mm cartridge based on a necked-down .300BLK. The shorter OAL of the case would allow you to use longer bullets with much better BC’s than trying to neck-up the .223/5.56.

    Yes, you would probably have to give up the subsonic capabilities of .300BLK, but that’s fine. MANY people are shooting .300BLK supers entirely already.

    This would keep you in a hunting-legal cartridge for many states but give you better BC bullets for better SD and longer range capability, as well as precision. Instead of shooting, for example, 125gr .30cal bullets you could be shooting 125gr 6mm bullets with higher precision and capable of longer distances.

    • Seems like a hard sell when there’s 6.5 Grendel and 6.8 SPC available, plus in AR-10 format there’s .260 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, .243, etc available already…

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