Reader Jason Bayne writes:
I tend to gravitate toward firearms that exhibit excellent recoil-control and promote quick and accurate follow-up shots. After many years of shooting, buying and selling semi-auto pistols, a few years ago I settled the pistol caliber debate for myself.
I decided with developments in modern bonded hollow-point ammo, that 9mm offers the best balance of terminal performance and recoil moderation. Any decent 9mm bonded hollow-point will give you virtually the same performance as a similar 45 ACP hollow-point, with considerably less recoil.
The milder recoil of the 9mm round enables the shooter to not only put more shots on target quicker, but also deliver those shots more accurately. After all, what’s the purpose of a defensive handgun? It’s a tool you use to stop a threat/attacker. As I understand it, the best way to stop a threat/attacker is to put as many well-placed shots on target as quickly as you can. For me, 9mm is the caliber I choose to achieve that end if need be.
Not only is 9mm an excellent choice for a typical carry pistol, but if you want to move up to large format pistol with a brace rather than a stock* for home defense, or a pistol caliber carbine, you get more than a trivial increase in velocity, and the extra weight of the larger platform further dampens recoil. Boosts in performance aside, LFPs with a brace or stock and PCCs are just a lot of fun to shoot.
If the fun factor doesn’t entice you, LFPs with a brace/stock and PCCs are also easy to shoot well. At home defense distances, whether you’re taking slow aimed shots, or pulling the trigger as fast as you can, it’s easy to put all the shots in one place (see the pictures below). Certainly easier than when using a standard pistol, especially under rapid-fire conditions.
There are those of you who will say “If you are going to use a rifle for home defense, why not use an AR-15 in 5.56?” An AR-15 is considerably longer than a Scorpion with a brace/stock; which makes maneuvering in small spaces difficult. Plus, if you choose to, you can cut the length of the Scorpion basically in half by folding the brace/stock.
Length aside, those who have had the misfortune of shooting an AR-15 indoors without hearing protection can tell you the noise, flash and concussion produced by .223/5.56 rounds indoors is deafening, blinding and disorienting. A 9mm fired indoors, especially from a longer barrel (the Scorpion’s is 7.72 inches) is much quieter and far less disorienting.
I have experienced firing both 9mm and .223 indoors without hearing protection. I will take a 9mm over a .223/5.56 every time. Especially if I know I may have to fire multiple shots.
Home defense and real-world scenarios aside, after shooting 10 rounds as fast as I could and seeing all the shots in a little group downrange, all I could do was chuckle. The two hours I spent putting over 200 rounds through the Scorpion SBR, was some of the most fun I have had at the range in a while.
I ran four different 9mm loads and didn’t experience a single hiccup. Despite the somewhat heavy and long trigger pull of the Scorpion, I was having so much fun, I didn’t even notice the trigger’s shortcomings.
A couple of years ago I built a 9mm SBR on the AR-15 platform. I bring it up because I installed a 3.5 pound match trigger in it. While the trigger on the AR-9 I built is so superior to the Scorpion’s trigger, I would choose the Scorpion over the AR-9 every time.
Why? While I enjoy my AR-9 and it’s been 100% reliable both suppressed and unsuppressed in over 2500 rounds, it is simply not as smooth or refined as the Scorpion. Nor is it as fun to shoot.
The straight blowback operation of the AR-9 is surprisingly punishing on the operator. It exhibits considerably more recoil than an AR-15 in 5.56 (DI gas-operated recoil system with a locking lug bolt). I’m not referring to muzzle flip here, I’m talking about the way the bolt of the AR-9 blows directly back at your shoulder when firing. The Scorpion doesn’t exhibit this type of recoil and is much milder and smoother shooting.
If you haven’t had a chance to play around with a Scorpion, you’re really missing out. Not only is it a blast to shoot, it’s also a solid choice for a home defense weapon.
*The addition of a stock turns your pistol into a short barreled rifle, an NFA item that requires a tax stamp.