Best Personal Defense Weapons: Top PDW “Truck Guns” (2023)

If a person takes their protection seriously, they’ll really work to find every advantage to make their security easier like buying the best conceal carry clothes or having a well-rounded stock of firearms for home protection.

For most gun enthusiasts this usually means a few assorted pistols, shotguns, and, of course, one or more semi-automatic rifles with specially configured upper receivers and optics that are optimized for the job at hand. 

However, very few gun owners realize the guns and ammunition they’ve picked out typically happen to be on the lower tier of home defense in most situations. 

When it comes to choosing the right PDW for home or personal defense, you’ll discover that most gun owners believe their choice of pistols firing a hollow point home defense round is adequate.

If you want to step up your game regarding PDW or personal defense weapons, then here are a few different options to consider before making your final decision.

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Best Personal Defense Weapons

Heckler & Koch MP5

One of the more unique personal defense weapons is the MP7, designed by Heckler & Koch and introduced over two decades ago. To compete with rival defense weapons on the market, such as the Herstal FN90, the HK MP7 fires a unique 4.6 30mm armor-piercing round.

Because of advancing technology and the proliferation of soft body armor, Heckler & Koch created the MP7 to penetrate these types of armor. In doing so, H&K made a better defense option without the need for higher caliber machine guns or conventional pistols firing .45 ACP or 9mm parabellum rounds that fail to penetrate many types of today’s soft body armor.

While the 4.6 30mm round is exclusive ammunition to the MP7, the H&K shot is unique in that the round consists of almost entirely hardened steel bullets instead of more common soft copper or lead bullets. 

Another unique feature of the MP7-specific ammunition is its ultimate stopping power while delivering an extremely low felt recoil. 

The lower felt recoil allows a much quicker target acquisition and follow-up shot and often outperforms most top-of-the-line full-sized pistols in many situations.

The H&K MP7 cyclic rate offers an impressive 950 rounds per minute fire rate, accomplished by a short-stroke gas piston system instead of a typical blow-back system used on many sub-machine guns. Additionally, the standard MP7 features an ambidextrous operation of the fire selector, bolt catch lever, and magazine release. 

Several variations of the MP7 also include extendable stocks and a folding front grip which allows you to fire with one or both hands when necessary.

FN PS90 5.7x28mm Bullpup Rifle

Like its rival PDW, the H&K MP7, the FN P90 from Fabrique Nationale Herstal ranks as one of the globally recognized top-shelf bullpup personal defense weapons. The FN P90 is a bullpup PDW meaning the action is behind the trigger assembly instead of in front of it.

The unique manufacture of the FN P90 means that the weapon is much lighter and provides a more compact and maneuverable weapon than conventional guns with the same barrel length and still provides the same or better muzzle velocity. The FN P90 was created in 1989 to meet stringent NATO requirements and is today used by multiple agencies in over forty different countries.

FN typically manufactures three FN P90 iterations – the Tactical, the USG, and the TR, which features three MIL-STD 1913 rails for accessories and only increases the overall weight by less than a quarter of a pound. 

With its 5.7x28mm weapon system, the FN P90 provides greater accuracy and reliability and delivers an almost unbeatable stopping power.

The FN P90 is exceptionally compact, and the ergonomic build offers a fully ambidextrous thumbhole stock and operating controls. One of the many unique features the FN P90 has is a fifty-round top-mounted detachable magazine. While most AR-15 platform magazines offer up to thirty-round magazines, the FN P90 beats that and then gives you another twenty rounds on top. That’s certainly enough ammo to defend your home from unwanted intrusion.

The FN P90 sports a unique configuration with a top-mounted magazine from the gate, and you may think having a top-mounted magazine may hinder your ability to acquire and sight a target, but that’s not the case. The FN P90 offers a Tritium-illuminated reflex optic system with backup iron sights.

You’ll quickly discover that sighting and firing a P90 is exceptionally intuitive. 

When you factor in the terminal velocity of the caliber, the massive fifty-round top-mounted magazine, and a lower ejection port that puts the spent rounds on the ground instead of to the side, the FN P90 makes an excellent personal defense weapon to have at your disposal.

Sig Sauer MPX K

While both the H&K MP7 and FN P90 are excellent choices when searching for a quality personal defense weapon, there is another PDW you’ll need to investigate before making the final choice. As sub-machine operation guns go, this MPX K from Sig Sauer represents a redesigned, groundbreaking entry into the sub-gun world.

Firing a 9mm Luger round, the MPX K features a Sig Sauer PCB folding brace that, even when collapsed, can be utilized effectively in a folded position. 

The K series of the MPX also features an updated M-LOK rail system for accessories with multiple lengths and a suppressor system. Sig Sauer upgraded the MPX K with a Timney Trigger which is super-fast and manages the harsh punishment a sub-gun typically delivers. 

The MPX K is a gas piston-operated modular sub sporting a modest 4.5-inch barrel length, with a total length of only twenty-two and a quarter inch and weighs five pounds which is in the sweet spot for either one hand or two-hand operation. 

Sig Sauer’s MPX K PDW is the preferred choice for professionals worldwide, promising durable operation and accuracy, making it perfect for anyone wanting to up their defensive game.

Glock Chassis and Conversion Systems

However, many gun owners want a more stable platform for their full-sized Glocks. There are a few options if you’re looking to upgrade the capabilities of your existing Glock pistol without spending your hard-earned money on a sub-machine-style gun. 

While a Glock chassis or conversion system will undoubtedly improve overall efficiency and accuracy, remember that you’re still limited to firing a lower caliber round which may not have the penetration ability when defending yourself from an attacker with highly rated soft body armor. 

However, any of these conversion kits represent the best way to increase the performance of a .45 ACP or 9MM round and offer improved performance kits utilizing a carbine-length barrel. (1)

CAA MCK Conversion Kit

CAA USA offers an advanced conversion kit for the Glock 17, 19, 19X, and generation three through five models that are easy to mount and provide a perfect example of quick and easy shooting improvement.

One of the best features of the Glock MCK is that there is no pistol disassembly required, and all you need to do is insert your Glock into the kit, lock it down, and you’re ready to go. 

CAA offers a broader range of pistol compatibility with the MCK, ultimately providing you with a cost-saving measure since you won’t have to purchase different conversion kits for other model pistols. The MCK Glock conversion kit comes loaded with improved features such as ergonomic grooved finger grips for better stability. 

Also included are side and top Picatinny rails for accessories and added improvements like thumb rests.

Another significant aspect of the MCK conversion kit is the right-folding stock or arm brace that helps when concealment is necessary. The arm brace locks in the folded position and allows operation even when the arm brace is in the folded position.

Known for being the most cost-effective conversion globally, the MCK from CAA offers the fastest assembly or disassembly on the market and will dramatically improve your accuracy up to an unbelievable two hundred yards.

FAB KPOS Scout PDW Conversion Kit

For the budget-conscious Glock pistol owner who needs improved performance without breaking the bank, the KPOS Scout by FAB Defense is a perfect choice. 

Priced competitively, the FAB KPOS retails for less than three hundred dollars. The genuine cost savings comes from the broad range of Clock pistols this kit handles.

The FAB KPOS fits Glock 9/40 S&W models, versions seventeen through thirty-two, generations three through five, and most C models without backstrap grips. FAB Defense didn’t stop there, choosing to include compatibility with Glock .45ACP 10mm models twenty-one and twenty.

Sporting a new hybrid design of aluminum and polymer, the KPOS is compact, a perfect choice for concealed carry, and extremely lightweight. The KPOS doesn’t require any assembly tools or force you to modify your Glock handgun.

Your pistol mounts into the conversion kit with a simple snap-lock mechanism that promotes easy and quick insertion and removal of your pistol. One excellent feature FAB Defense does with the KPOS is the inclusion of an M-4 style charging hammer that allows real-time ambidextrous operation. 

If you’re seeking a conversion kit that’s inexpensive yet offers tactical features such as built-in thumb rests and removable rails, the KPOS is a conversion kit for Glock pistols you should consider.

Hera Arms Triarii

Last on the list, but certainly a viable option for any nineteen, twenty-three, or thirty-two, generation-four versions of Glock pistols is the newly designed Triarii from Hera Arms. Founded in 2008 before branching out to markets in the U.S., Hera Arms’ claim to fame was their attention to quality and manufacturing performance for magazines to handguards and everything in between related to firearms. 

A German manufacturing company Hera Arms leaned in on producing some of the best carbine pistol conversion kits for Glock, CZ, and Walther, arguably the most well-known pistols on the European market.

In the world of pistol carbine conversion kits, Hera Arms promotes the Triarii as one of the best click-and-fire systems for reduced response time and maximum capability. The Triarii has proven that it’s not a gimmick accessory with an approximate four-second installation time until ready to fire.   

Weighing less than three pounds, the Triarii can convert your Glock pistol to outstanding carbine efficiency in seconds without making the overall weight too heavy to use effectively. Another interesting fact about the Triarii is that Hera Arms built the Triarii specifically with dynamic shooters in mind. 

Whether you’re a member of law enforcement or military or love to compete in tactical shooting competitions, the Triarii helps you convert compatible handguns to provide exacting carbine accuracy in less than four seconds.

Although the Triarii sports a chassis with the charging handle on the left side – a standard configuration for European-made firearms – operation is still manageable with your right hand. 

Strangely enough, most left-orientated gun owners find the process of operation on the Triarii a little awkward and lean toward conversion kits such as the CAA MCK or the Fab Defense KPOS. 

Still, this carbine conversion kit from Hera Arms checks all the boxes when it comes to improving your Glock pistol’s performance and accuracy at a reasonable price point.

Conversion or Sub-Machine?

As you can see, depending on how much you’re prepared to spend and the results you intend to get, there are several options to take when seeking the perfect PDW for you. One great thing to note is that each solution will ultimately provide various degrees of what you’re trying to obtain with a PDW firearm. 

Each one will give you improved accuracy and efficiency in protecting yourself and your family in the long run.

One thing to note is that a carbine conversion kit system helps you gain as much performance as possible with your Glock pistol. The end game is that your choice of personal defense weapon should provide you optimal sight radius, offer you a more stable platform and give you more attachment points for accessories.

The option is yours whether you obtain these features by purchasing a sub-machine gun such as the Sig Sauer MPX K, an FN P90 from Fabrique Nationale Herstal, or a Glock conversion chassis system.

Although most conversion kits may not provide you with the additional muzzle velocity that a carbine will, each conversion chassis will give you the best of what you need. Extra contact points, much more reduced recoil, and better accuracy while utilizing the same accessories on your long gun.

When it comes to having the best personal defense weapon, you can always stick to the pistols or AR15 you already have in your collection. However, if you’re in the market for the best defense weapon you can find, these sub-machine guns or Glock conversion kits may be just the ticket you’ll need to up your defense game. (2)

More On Personal Defense Weapons

This article is just getting started, there are a whole world of weapons out there perfect for self defense, one of the most notable being the 9mm carbine. Luckily we have an entire article on the best 9mm carbine rifles out there, worth checking out for sure.


  1. John B. Snow, The Ultimate Truck Gun Build (Plus 14 More Guns for Your Pickup). Retrieved from
  2. David B. Kopel, The Human Right of Self-Defense. Retrieved from

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