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Best Personal Defense Weapons: Top PDW “Truck Guns” (2024)

L.p. Brezny | Updated January 5, 2024 | Why You Should Trust Us | How We Earn Money
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If you’re someone who takes your protection seriously, you need to find every advantage you can to make your security easier, like buying the best concealed 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

Best Overall

Heckler Koch MP5 product image

The Heckler & Koch MP5 is a compact, lightweight weapon with low-felt recoil designed to penetrate soft body armor.

One of the more unique personal defense weapons is the MP5, 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 MP5 fires a unique 4.6x30mm armor-piercing round.

Because of advancing technology and the proliferation of soft body armor, Heckler & Koch created the MP5 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.

Pros

Designed to penetrate soft body armor

Low recoil

High rate of fire

Ergonomic design

Compact and lightweight

Cons

Uses specialized 4.6x30mm rounds, not as widely available

While the 4.6x30mm round is exclusive ammunition to the MP5, 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 MP5-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.

Heckler & Koch MP5 on a bag

The H&K MP5 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 MP5 features an ambidextrous operation of the fire selector, bolt catch lever, and magazine release. 

Several variations of the MP5 also include extendable stocks and a folding front grip which allows you to fire with one or both hands when necessary.

My Personal Thoughts:

As an experienced hunter and firearm connoisseur, I highly recommend enhancing your MP5 experience by investing in some top-notch accessories. Consider outfitting your weapon with a suppressor for noise reduction, a red dot sight to improve targeting accuracy, and a tactical sling for optimal carrying comfort.

When it comes to acquiring these accessories, don’t settle for second best. Conduct thorough research and compare prices, as well as customer reviews, from well-respected sellers like Brownells, Palmetto State Armory, and Cabela’s to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

Heckler & Koch MP5 close up

The beauty of the MP5 lies in its versatility, as it seamlessly adapts to a wide array of applications, solidifying its status as a prime selection for firearm enthusiasts and hunters alike.

Drawing upon my background as a seasoned firearm aficionado, I have been privileged to operate and fire the MP5 under a multitude of conditions. This exceptional submachine gun has repeatedly demonstrated its unwavering reliability and pinpoint accuracy in a myriad of law enforcement and military engagements, thereby cementing its esteemed status among the elite echelon of small arms weaponry.

As a seasoned hunting connoisseur, I can attest to the fact that the MP5 distinguishes itself from the pack with its sophisticated closed-bolt roller-delayed blowback mechanism, providing peerless precision among submachine guns. Boasting an array of configurations, such as the MP5K and MP5SD, this versatile weapon caters to a wide range of requirements.

When pitted against contemporaries like the Uzi or MAC-10, the MP5 unequivocally outshines them in terms of ergonomics and controllability. It is this superior handling that has cemented the MP5’s esteemed reputation and contributed to its widespread adoption in the field.

FN PS90 5.7x28mm Bullpup Rifle

Best Bullpup PDW

FN P90 5.7x28mm Bullpup Rifle product image

The FN PS90 is a unique, maneuverable rifle with a very high magazine capacity and an ambidextrous design.

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 manufacturing 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, but still provides the same or better muzzle velocity.

Pros

Compact and maneuverable

Ambidextrous and ergonomic design

High-capacity magazine

Includes a Tritium-illuminated reflex optic system

Efficient ejection system

Cons

Uses specialized 5.7x28mm rounds

Unique design may need some getting used to

FN P90 on the ground

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.

FN P90 in an outdoors setting

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

Best High-End PDW

Sig Sauer MPX K product image

The Sig Sauer MPX K is a quality sub-machine that fires 9mm Luger, with a range of features that enhance its usability.

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. 

Pros

Compact and versatile design

Fires widely available 9mm Luger rounds

Sig Sauer PCB folding brace enhances weapon’s usability

High-quality trigger

Updated M-LOK rail system allows for easy attachment of various accessories

Cons

Limited range and power

Offers more recoil compared to the smaller calibers

9mm Luger lacks specialized armor-piercing capabilities

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 inches, and weighs five pounds, which is in the sweet spot for either one-hand or two-hand operation. 

Sig Sauer MPX K on a post

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

Best Overall Conversion Kit

CAA MCK Conversion Kit product image

The CAA MCK Conversion Kit is a hassle-free kit with a concealable design that is compatible with a broad range of Glock models.

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.

Pros

Easy and hassle-free installation

Compatible with a broad range of Glock models

Includes side and top Picatinny rails

Compact and concealable design

Includes ergonomic features like grooved finger grips and thumb rests

Cons

Limited to Glock pistols

Requires familiarization of the transformed handling and ergonomics

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.

CAA MCK Conversion Kit on a wooden table

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.

My Personal Experience:

As a seasoned marksman and devoted Glock aficionado, I have personally put the CAA MCK Conversion Kit through its paces during numerous shooting competitions. The enhancement in precision and steadiness were conspicuous, and the user-friendliness of the kit allowed me to concentrate on refining my marksmanship without fretting over convoluted assembly procedures.

CAA MCK Conversion Kit in an outdoors setting

What sets the CAA MCK Conversion Kit apart from the rest of the pack is its versatility with a range of Glock models, which enables shooters to economize by avoiding the purchase of multiple kits. Moreover, the MCK’s distinct right-folding stock configuration provides superior concealment potential that remains unparalleled among its rivals.

I wholeheartedly endorse the CAA MCK Conversion Kit for Glock proprietors seeking a substantial performance boost without emptying their wallets. The MCK can be procured from a variety of online vendors, such as Cabela’s, PSA, and Sportsman’s Warehouse, which offer competitive pricing and customer testimonials to further corroborate its worth.

FAB KPOS Scout PDW Conversion Kit

Best Budget Conversion Kit

FAB KPOS Scout PDW Conversion Kit product image

The FAB KPOS Scout is a budget-friendly option that offers broad compatibility and useful tactical features.

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 come from the broad range of Glock 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.

Pros

Cost-effective

Broad compatibility

Lightweight and compact

Easy installation

Tactical features like an M-4 style charging hammer, built-in thumb rests, and removable rails

Cons

Limited to Glock pistols

Incompatible with C Glock models equipped with backstrap grips

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.

FAB KPOS Scout PDW Conversion Kit outdoors setting

My Personal Findings:

As a proficient hunter and firearms connoisseur, I’ve personally put the FAB KPOS Scout PDW Conversion Kit to the test on my Glock during rigorous tactical drills. The kit’s robust build and straightforward assembly made it a dependable and expedient option for augmenting my Glock’s capabilities in diverse situations.

Utilizing the FAB KPOS Scout PDW Conversion Kit, I observed a marked enhancement in precision and bullet placement. The kit contributed to mitigating felt recoil and muzzle climb, yielding swifter consecutive shots and elevated shooting performance throughout my time on the range.

The FAB KPOS Scout PDW Conversion Kit distinguishes itself with a hybrid composition of aluminum and polymer, rendering it both lightweight and robust. Furthermore, its M-4 style charging handle facilitates ambidextrous usage, a characteristic seldom found in rival conversion kits.

FAB KPOS Scout PDW Conversion Kit held in two hands

While the FAB KPOS Scout PDW Conversion Kit boasts numerous advantages, such as heightened accuracy and flexibility, one potential downside is its incompatibility with Glock models equipped with backstrap grips. Nevertheless, the kit’s comprehensive performance and adaptability overshadow this minor shortcoming.

For Glock owners in pursuit of an economical conversion kit that delivers exceptional results, the FAB KPOS Scout PDW Conversion Kit is worth considering. To make an informed choice, compare prices and peruse customer feedback on various online retailers like Cabela’s, PSA, and Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Hera Arms Triarii

Quickest To Install

Hera Arms Triarii product image

The Hera Arms Triarii is a top-tier German-produced kit with an extremely quick installation time, made for a variety of applications, from law enforcement to competitions.

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, 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.

Pros

Lightweight design

Easy and quick conversion with 4 seconds installation time

Attention-to-quality manufacturing

Provides enhanced carbine accuracy

Designed with dynamic shooters in mind

Cons

Left-side charging handle may be cumbersome for some left-handed shooters

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. 

Hera Arms Triarii on a grey background

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.

My Personal Findings:

As a dedicated hunting expert and firearm connoisseur, I had the distinct pleasure of testing the Hera Arms Triarii on my Glock 19, allowing me to scrutinize its installation process and the performance enhancement it afforded my shooting experience.

Utilizing the Hera Arms Triarii, I observed a marked improvement in both stability and accuracy. The expeditious conversion from pistol to carbine elevated my shooting prowess, rendering it an invaluable addition to my Glock for target practice and tactical applications alike.

What sets the Hera Arms Triarii apart is its astonishingly swift installation time of a mere four seconds. This rapid conversion, in tandem with a design tailored for agile shooters, renders the Triarii a remarkably efficient and pragmatic choice among Glock conversion kits.

While the Hera Arms Triarii boasts myriad benefits such as speedy installation and augmented accuracy, its left-side charging handle may prove cumbersome for some left-handed shooters. Nevertheless, its overall performance deems it a commendable contender.

For those in pursuit of a top-tier Glock conversion kit offering breakneck installation speed, the Hera Arms Triarii emerges as an exceptional option. Investigate various online retailers like Bass Pro Shops, Scheels, and Cabela’s to compare pricing, peruse customer feedback, and make a well-informed decision prior to your purchase.

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 with 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 AR15s 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 is 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.

References

  1. John B. Snow, The Ultimate Truck Gun Build (Plus 14 More Guns for Your Pickup). Retrieved from https://www.outdoorlife.com/story/guns/the-ultimate-truck-gun-build/
  2. David B. Kopel, The Human Right of Self-Defense. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.law.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1396&context=jpl

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