28 February 2023

The Era of Pistol Caliber Carbines - The Smith and Wesson FPC

 Apparently, Smith and Wesson has developed their own semi-auto rifle in pistol calibers. The FPC takes the same path as guns such as the Keltec SUB2000 and Ruger LC Carbine using a system that feeds from existing pistol magazines that feed into the grip. In this case, the rifle uses the same magazines as the full size M&P 9mm pistols that have been around for years now. Those pistols work just fine in my experience has I had all the first generation 9mm M&Ps with the exception of the CORE model. I ended up getting rid of the full size and subcompact 9c versions but kept the shield. I also have a first generation M&P45 full size. I use it as 45 ACP suppressor host.

What's most striking about the rifle is that it folds sideways. The SUB2000 folded before folding was cool but it does it over the top. That made having an optic tricky business since the optic would get in the way of the fold. Companies have created products to help with the SUB2000. The FPC won't have that issue since it folds to the left. If you want to mount a light on the left side, you won't be able to do it easy. Just mount on top or on the right and use a tape switch.

The price is pretty good at under $700. It might be good enough as a travel rifle at that price and given the way it folds. I also appreciate that it has a threaded barrel. At this point, modern rifles that don't have threaded barrel's just don't make sense. Even older designs need to start offering SKUs with threaded barrels. 


Looking at products released by Smith and Wesson over the last few years, I keep getting the feeling like they aren't exactly innovating in the last few years. They just take a look at products being made and make their own version of it. The first generation Shield was a great gun but it took the P365 to push S&W to make the Plus version. I don't know how long it was in the works but the Plus didn't come out until well after the P365 was introduced. S&W does have an odd-ball shotgun but it's not that different than a KSG but it does have M&P grips and aesthetic. On flip side, their M&P15-22 has been very well received and I liked mine enough that I regret selling it. I consider that pretty innovative but that came out years ago.

All that said, I like what the FPC has to offer on paper but I don't see it displacing the Henry Homesteader in my applications. However, as I said in the beginning, I do still have my M&P45 and the several magazines for it. Were Smith and Wesson to offer a 45 ACP version, I would seriously consider that.

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