Pistol Caliber Carbines are a great place to start for budding shooters who might have preconceived reservations about what to expect. The gentle recoil of pistol cartridges in a carbine-length platform can ease those newer shooters into firearms, allowing them to work on the basic skills of shooting. From there, stepping up to larger calibers and other firearms seems much less daunting.

What is a Pistol Caliber Carbine?

A PCC is a firearm that occupies the space between handguns and more full-powered rifles. Shorter than a traditional rifle and longer than a pistol, these carbines are compact and chambered in pistol calibers -- most often 9mm, .45 ACP, and .40 S&W. 

PCCs are lightweight and compact, a useful trait helpful to both young and petite shooters. Far too often, I see eager gun owners attempt to start new shooters with a miserable 6-pound, magnum deer rifle. Even worse, sometimes these gun owners chuckle as they anticipate the overwhelmed face of a frightened shooter after that first, unexpected bang. This is neither helpful nor funny and only feeds the fear of new shooters. Impressions matter, and bringing a new shooter to the firing line should be a fun experience. 

The smaller, lightweight PCC design is less intimidating and easier to wield. (Photo: Jeff Wood/Guns.com)

Generally, people new to firearms are nervous all on their own. Choosing a firearm chambered in a pistol cartridge with minimal recoil, like a PCC, is ideal for newbies. The mild recoil impulse still requires some skill to manage, providing a valuable learning experience. Meanwhile, the ranges for which these carbines are effective give the shooter immediate feedback on trigger pull and recoil management. 

PCCs share many aspects with the grandaddy of trainers -- the .22 Long Rifle. Both .22 LR and other pistol cartridges offer an economic advantage. With a .22 LR, you can train new shooters all afternoon for less than a couple combo meals at your favorite burger joint. While difficult to find in 2020, 9mm isn't normally horrendously expensive to shoot either. 

Add a Can and Toss Up Some Targets

Adding a suppressor to a PCC is another helpful tool that eases shooters into shooting. Removing the worst of the noise helps timid shooters focus on the task before them. Most PCCs, when suppressed, prove much quieter than centerfire rifle rounds. Not to mention, adding a suppressor to a PCC makes it even more tolerable, creating hours of fun for new shooters. 

Throw on a suppressor and watch the smiles roll in. (Photo: Jeff Wood/Guns.com)

Another tool to aid new shooters is a simple steel target. The reactive nature of the steel gives immediate confirmation to shooters that they are doing something right. It also simplifies the task for the apprentice as it's easy to register hits and misses. Shooting steel targets with pistol cartridges inside 100-yards is safer than shooting steel at the same distance with rifle cartridges -- it's also reasonably gentle on your steel.

Final Thoughts

Whether it’s a child coming into the age of curiosity, a significant other who wasn’t raised around firearms, or a head-of-household looking for new skills to protect loved ones, some newcomers are apprehensive towards handling guns. Our duty as gun owners is to give these prospects every opportunity to learn safe and proper firearm use.

Despite political pressure to deter firearms ownership, the firearms community continues to maintain an upward trend. More and more people are warming up to the shooting sports and the exercise of their Second Amendment rights. If ever there was a time to get into shooting, it’s now.

If you find yourself lucky enough to be introducing a new shooter or a group of new shooters to the shooting sports, don’t overlook the great option and training tool that is the PCC. 

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