U.S. Army Evaluating 10 Submachine Guns for Possible Service Use

The B&T MP9 is one of the Army’s candidates for the role of Sub Compact Weapons or SCWs. (Photo: B&T)

The Army is thinking about adding a submachine gun to its toolkit for select users. In recent years the military and many police and security agencies have been moving away from submachine guns to personal defense weapons, but it’s apparent that the Army feels that there’s still room for subguns.

Common personal defense weapons, or PDWs, are most often rifles or assault rifles cut down to submachine gun size. They usually use rifle or intermediate cartridges which aren’t well-optimized for short barrels.

These PDWs generally produce a lot of muzzle blast and produce a large flash signature without special muzzle devices. Submachine guns just don’t have these problems and tend to weigh less, especially with ammo and magazines in the mix.

Submachine guns are also easier to suppress with smaller, lighter suppressors. The Army knows this and is asking vendors to provide full kits, including suppressors if possible, for all of their contracted packages.

The Army awarded Beretta USA, CMMG, Colt, CZ-USA, Lewis Machine and Tool, PTR Industries, Quarter Circle 10, SIG Sauer, Trident Rifles and Zenith Firearms with fixed price, sole-source contracts for firearms, magazines, special tools if needed, spare parts, any accessories including suppressors, cases, and manuals.

The CZ Scorpion is already a favorite among shooters, military and otherwise. (Photo: CZ)

The Army is looking for a Commercial Off-the-Shelf, or COTS guns, for evaluation. This means guns that are already in production and the manufacturers don’t have to re-tool to accommodate the Army’s order.

Specifically, the Army is evaluating the Beretta PMX, the CMMG Ultra PDW, the Colt Modular 9mm, the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 A1, LMT MARS-L9, PTR 9CS, QC10 5.5 CLT and 5.5 QV5, the SIG MPX, the Brugger & Thomet MP9 and Zenith Z-5RS, Z-5P and Z-5K.

This doesn’t guarantee that the Army will select any of these for service. It’s possible that by the end of their evaluations the Army will stick with current rifles and carbines already in service or go with a different future weapons program.

See Also: Glock 19 MHS Unveiled–And Why the Army Went SIG

There are plenty of special forces units that can also benefit from having small, modern submachine guns, especially suppressed SMGs. One of the features the Army is focusing on is concealability, which indicates clandestine operations.

The SIG MPX is another popular and successful option. If any of these companies rise to the top of this trial it will be a huge deal. (Photo: SIG)

The notice specifically states that the new Sub Compact Weapon, or SCW, needs to be a “highly concealable subcompact weapon system capable of engaging threat personnel with a high volume of lethal and accurate fires at close range with minimal collateral damage.”

Interestingly, this could bolster the rumors that the military is also considering a new rifle or rifle cartridge for other users. There is a lot of gossip floating around that the Army and other branches of the military are looking for an alternative to 5.56 NATO, at least for some weapons systems.

If the military does adopt a more powerful, potentially heavier cartridge for service in the field, it stands to reason that rear-echelon forces may be better off with compact, lightweight 9mm submachine guns. Armies around the world issue subguns to troops and security teams working away from the frontlines.

Time will tell if this is part of a new small arms doctrine or if the reign of the M4 will continue as the Army’s standard for the bulk of its forces.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Thomas October 17, 2020, 11:32 pm

    I still like my Mac 10 in 45 with a suppressor a 22 lr would be nice also but I could not buy both then . Now the prices are rediculous .

  • Lucius F Foster April 2, 2020, 7:34 pm

    The H&K MP7 is the best CQB subgun made to date. Indoor rounds need to always be hollow point or cross cut because of the possibility for collateral damage. The MP7 with FMJ rounds and just factory iron sights to 100 meters is spot on and the 4.6 FMJ rounds will go through any body armor made to date. NOTHING ELSE COMES CLOSE, yet.

  • Dell July 6, 2018, 4:50 pm

    When did 45ACP become a Mil.caliber in stock by mil.again..thought pistol rd inventory was 9mm..better choice for a SubGun more rds per mag more range not nearly as heavy as a mag of 45ACP anyone remember the Thompson and Grease guns..Heavy Duty and 10 full mags is FKin Heavy..a very wrong choice IMO

  • Ti June 18, 2018, 5:47 pm

    To my mind, like every other piece of hardware, put it in the quiver.

    Right tool for the job – right job for the Tool.

    Colt w the CAR-15 system comes to mind. They have/had? a 9mm subgun for the DOE and other such things.

    5.7 upper would be interesting. And then there’s machine pistols w arm brace/stocks ala Ronis et all. MP5k, 93r’s, G18’s,VP70z’s, etc.

    Use what you need. Need what you use.

  • B June 16, 2018, 11:19 am

    How about one based on a select fire 5.7 pistol like a G-18? Compact, high capacity, light weight of both arm and ammo. The SS is using it now so it’s not like it’s a new thing.

  • Richard June 15, 2018, 2:21 pm

    Short barrel… 9mm you have too be kidding”

  • Norm Mullenix June 15, 2018, 12:58 pm

    The Army has already decided upon a new rifle design that isn’t American made. I challenge the American firearms producers to stop this movement toward NATO politics and design both rifle and PDW for American troops, “Made In USA” it what should matter, not the cheapest contractor. This is just a “bone” thrown out there to any American manufacturer to come up with winning design. Colt and Zenith are capable of co-producing a gun that works! That’s my two cents……

  • Lee June 15, 2018, 12:37 pm

    I don’t see why FN isn’t putting forward their P90… Seriously FN already produced 90% of the small arms (M4, M16, M240, M249’s) that the military uses. The P90 is a simple reliable and cheap to produce design. They are literally the Glocks of the SMG world. The cartridge performance compared to the 9x19mm is proven. It’s 22cal so having lake city or someone tool up for manufacture wouldn’t be that difficult.

    The downside is that the 5.7x28mm is not a nato cartridge, which is probably the one deciding factor preventing it from being adopted. But seriously its time.

    • Gunsmith June 16, 2018, 2:21 pm

      I couldn’t have said it better! The 5.7 would already be a NATO standard cartridge if it weren’t for the Germans being sore losers with their inferior 4.6×30. The P90 is small, fast, accurate, reliable, effective, and comes standard with a 50-round magazine. I’d carry one in a heartbeat.

  • Kalashnikov Dude June 15, 2018, 8:33 am

    If I cannot have a sub machine gun as a civilian, then the government cant either. That simple. M4s and all other “arms” because the highest law of our land says very clearly that my right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Dont like it? Too bad. Its the law.

  • Nick M June 15, 2018, 5:32 am

    Good. Bring back SMG in .45 Auto. Easily suppressed and lethal. I also like the idea of getting rid of the bullshit idea about 1 bullet, 1 weapon, 1 wrench, 1 type of oil….

    • Irish-7 June 16, 2018, 12:19 pm

      I concur, .45 ACP is the caliber for submachine guns. I’d be happy to see an American made pistol in .45 ACP become the standard sidearm for the US Army as well. Perhaps bring Colt out of bankruptcy?

  • HKfanboy72 June 15, 2018, 2:32 am

    The Army should just go with the HK MP7 or FN P90 and be done with it. As much as they’d like to stick with 9mm in the interest of ammo availability, there comes a time when concessions need to be made. The P90 is good enough for issue to U.S. Secret Service, so it’s a no-brainer.

    • Kenneth Steen June 15, 2018, 6:31 am

      The P90 is an ergo nightmare.

      • Gray June 15, 2018, 9:25 am

        “The P90 is an ergo nightmare”… Having carried one for years I have to snort at this statement. Not only is it ergonomic, it is far more lethal and many times more accurate and flat shooting than any 9mm, not to mention much lighter to carry, more compact and more effective vs soft armor… even with subsonic rounds due to the higher sectional density of the 55gr bullets used for this purpose. It works wonderfully with a suppressor, but gives up a fair amount of its lethality with subsonic for obvious reasons… but then it’s as quiet as a 22lr and magically slides through kevlar like butter, so pick your poison =P

  • CaptMidnight June 12, 2018, 4:19 pm

    MAC 10/11 in 9mm Luger (9×19) or .380acp (9×17) would seems to fit this requirement.
    Why go to the expense of something else?

    • John Bibb June 15, 2018, 12:10 pm

      HI CM–Please explain why you think the far weaker .380 acp would be a better choice than the more powerful and more common 9mm Luger. What are the benefits going this way?
      John Bibb

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