I know it’s common knowledge and I don’t mean to sound like your old high school history teacher, but let’s talk about machine guns real quick. A machine gun fires in full auto and is chambered in some powerful big boy cartridge, like the .50 BMG. You can’t carry it around with you because it’s too heavy.
A sub machine gun or SMG also fires in full auto but it can be carried around because it’s smaller, and it’s chambered in smaller and weaker cartridges, like the 9mm.
Machine guns and SMGs both fire in full auto. And since civilians aren’t allowed to own guns that fire in full auto, then the semi auto version of any SMG for civilian use shouldn’t be referred to as an SMG, the same way any semi auto AR 15 or AK style rifle shouldn’t be referred to as an assault weapon. If you think I’m wrong about this, have a go at me in the comments. But I digress.
A semi auto SMG style gun is much weaker than its full auto military counterpart but comes in handy for when you need something that has significantly better ballistics and higher ammo capacity than a pistol. It is easily maneuverable in tight spaces and has more manageable recoil.
Still, if the prospect of owning a semi auto SMG sounds appealing to you, stick around to the end of this topic where we’ll take a look at some of the best neutered SMGs on the civilian market today.
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In 2007, Ceska zbrojovka started developing an SMG. With feedback from countless experts both inside and outside the company, that SMG would eventually become the Scorpion EVO 3 which CZ would release to U.S. military and law enforcement in 2013.
The Scorpion EVO 3 is a 9mm carbine that comes in two variants: a select fire submachine gun model with the suffix A1, and the semi automatic variant with the suffix S1. The EVO 3 is the third generation of CZ’s line of small submachine guns but is not related to the Škorpion vz. 61 mechanically or otherwise.
The Scorpion EVO 3 is a popular blowback operated carbine that evolved from a Slovak prototype submachine gun developed by Laugo. The firearm is mostly made of polymer, which makes it a lightweight and compact submachine gun designed for easy maneuvering in confined spaces. It features low profile iron sights and a collapsible stock, making it easy to transport and store.
The S1 variant’s selector switch only features safe and semi auto fire. The standard version comes equipped with a folding, adjustable, and fully removable stock for easy transport. The handguard has multiple Picatinny rails for the addition of attachments such as grips, sights, flashlights, et cetera. The handguard has M LOK attachment points with a single Picatinny rail on top for a red dot sight.
As far as dimensions, the CZ Scorpion EVO3 model that is closest to the A1 full auto SMG version is the variant with an 8-inch barrel. It has an overall length of 16.5 inches with its stock collapsed and 26 inches with its stock extended. It has a width of 2.4 inches and a height of 10.31 inches. It weighs approximately 5.7 pounds when unloaded.
The CZ Scorpion EVO3 S1 has an MSRP of $935.99. Upon purchase, it comes with a 10 round mag which is kind of meh, but Gun Mag Warehouse dot com has 35 round Magpul Pmags available for $19 a piece.
H&K is known for its precision made weapons, and for its iconic MP5 submachine gun. The MP5 was designed in the early 1960’s to meet the needs of German police and security forces. It was built to be compact, reliable, and accurate.
Chambered in nine mil, it has become one of the most popular submachine guns in the world. The MP5 is used by military and law enforcement forces in the US and all around the world. H&K has continued to refine and improve the MP5 over the years, and it is still in production today. The MP5 has become an iconic weapon thanks to Hollywood hits like Die Hard.
In 2019, Heckler & Koch introduced a semi automatic version of the MP5, known as the HK SP5. It features a roller delayed blowback operating system, which makes it inherently more accurate compared to firearms that use a gas operated system.
The SP5 without a stock has an overall length of 17.8 inches, a barrel length of 8.86 inches, a width of 2.4 inches, and a height of 8.66 inches. The unloaded weight of the HK SP5 is 5.1 lbs, and the loaded weight with a 30 round mag is 6.3 lbs. It can accept a 10 round, a 30 round, or a 40 round mag. It doesn’t have a top mounted rail for optics and other accessories so you’ll need to purchase your own rail and optic mount.
The SP5 has a significantly worse trigger compared to the original MP5 but it breaks in nicely. The gun can fire only in semi automatic mode, and while many SMGs and PCCs have a barrel length of 6 inch, HK has optimized the SP5 with an 8.86-inch barrel to provide the best possible performance without sacrificing maneuverability.
It has a 1 in 10 twist rate that offers increased accuracy resulting in improved 9mm ballistics, and the benefits of improved ballistics become even more apparent when using heavier bullets and plus P loads.
For instance, when tested with 124 grain plus P loads, the SP5 delivered an impressive velocity of 1,430 feet per second from its 8.86-inch barrel. This performance is remarkable because it places run of the mill 9mm plus P loads in the same ballistic range as the 357 Magnum. If you’re interested, it has an MSRP of $3,389.
FN USA is best known for producing the FN P90, a submachine gun that was first produced in 1990. The P90 is a compact, lightweight, and highly accurate weapon chambered in 5.7 x 28mm, a cartridge that uses light weight high velocity bullets that can defeat body armor and tumbles upon impact. It has great terminal performance against human targets but doesn’t penetrate walls, making it great for urban encounters.
The P90 has a high rate of fire and has a 50 round mag capacity, making it an ideal choice for military and law enforcement use. It has been adopted by many countries around the world, and is currently in service with the US Department of Defense.
In late 2005, FN USA released the FN PS90, a semi automatic version of the FN P90 with a carbine length, a 16.04-inch barrel and a 50 round mag. Designed for civilian use, the FN PS90 firearm isn’t anywhere near as good as its military counterpart but it’s still lightweight and relatively compact, making it an ideal choice for home defense.
It has an overall length of 26.23 inches, a width of 2.3 inches, and a height of 8.2 inches. The empty weight of the PS90 is 6.28 lbs, and its loaded weight when fully loaded with 50 rounds of 5.7x 28mm is 7.04 lbs.
The PS90’s mag capacity is 50 rounds of 5.7x28mm ammunition for standard mags.
The PS90 top loaded magazine design allows for a compact overall length while maintaining a full length barrel for increased accuracy. Its 5.7 x 28mm ammunition has low recoil, making it easier to handle than many other firearms. Additionally, the PS90 is fully ambidextrous. All of its controls the mag release, safety, and charging handle, are easily accessible for left handed shooters.
The PS90’s factory sights provide a clear sight picture for quick and accurate shooting. The top mounted Picatinny rail allows for the attachment of a variety of accessories, including optics, lasers, and flashlights. With its MSRP of $1,949.00, it is the most affordable semi auto SMG on this list.
Israel Weapon Industries or IWI is a leading manufacturer of small arms and light weapons, founded in 1933. IWI is best known for its iconic guns like the Galil, the Tavor, the Jericho, the Uzi SMG, and the mini Uzi, which was developed in the early 1980s.
The Uzi is designed for close quarters combat. It is a short barreled, select fire SMG with a high rate of fire and a large mag capacity. The Mini Uzi is used by military, law enforcement, and security forces around the world. It has been featured in many movies and video games. IWI continues to produce innovative firearms and remains one of the most recognizable names in the firearms industry.
The IWI Uzi is a family of compact submachine guns that come in various models and configurations. The latest version of the Uzi is the Uzi Pro. With its folding stock collapsed, it has an overall length of 18.5 inches. With its folding stock extended, it reaches 25-inches overall length. It has a barrel length of 4 and a half inches and a height of 5.1 inches. It weighs in at 3.66 pounds unloaded and approximately 4.5 pounds fully loaded with its 25 round mag.
Chambered in nine mill, The Uzi Pro comes with a 20 round mag as standard, but it can also use a 25 round mag and a 32 round mag. It uses a blow back operated recoil system and advanced polymers in the lower section of the receiver that results in a reduction in weight.
Unlike previous UZI models, the Uzi Pro’s magazine release has been relocated to a more practical and traditional location commonly found on pistols, while the charging handle has been repositioned from the top of the pistol to the left side of the receiver. This modification has allowed for the inclusion of a full length Picatinny rail on the top of the pistol, making it possible to use any optical device that utilizes a Picatinny rail clamp mount.
Furthermore, an additional Picatinny rail is included in the polymer lower which permits the attachment of lights and or lasers directly under the barrel. In permitted states, each UZI PRO pistol comes with a 20 round mag and a 25 round mag. It has a wallet friendly MSRP of $1,109, but it says on IWI’s website that it has been discontinued, though Gunbroker dot com has them in stock as of the making of this topic.
KRISS USA is a firearms engineering company that specializes in developing and manufacturing innovative and technologically advanced firearms. The company was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia. They are best known for their flagship product, the KRISS Vector.
The Vector was first made available for purchase in 2008 with both full auto and semi auto versions. Since then, military, law enforcement, and security forces all around the world have started using the full auto models.
The first KRISS Vector was only designed to chamber and shoot the .45 ACP cartridge. However, in 2014, KRISS USA introduced the second generation, which not only made several aesthetic and ergonomic improvements, but also added several new options for the cartridges it could use. The newer Vector Gen II is available in several barrel length configurations, including a carbine, a pistol, an SBR, and a select fire SMG. It’s now also available in five different chamberings, including 9 mm, .357 SIG, .40 Smith & Wesson, .45 ACP, and 10mm.
The KRISS Vector is a submachine gun that utilizes the company’s signature operating system, the Super V Recoil Mitigation System which greatly reduces felt recoil, helping the shooter maintain better control of the firearm while eliminating muzzle rise. The sights never leave the target even with rapid shots.
The civilian friendly model is the KRISS Vector CRB with a collapsible stock. It measures 35.25 inches with its stock collapsed and 38.25 inches with its stock extended. It has a barrel length of 16 inches, a width of 2.56 inches, a height of 6.8 inches, and a weight of 7.7 pounds.
The KRISS Vector CRB boasts several features that are worth noting. Firstly, it is compatible with Glock double stack mags, which means that users can easily find mags for their weapon if they already own a Glock pistol. Additionally, the firearm has a low bore axis, which helps to reduce recoil and improve accuracy by lowering the gun’s center of gravity.
Some other neat features of the KRISS Vector CRB are its low profile flip up sights and its full length Picatinny top rail which allows users to mount any optics or accessories that use a Picatinny rail clamp mount. It also has a 6 position adjustable stock to improve comfort and accuracy when using the firearm, making it easier for users of different sizes to shoot and aim properly.
The KRISS Vector CRB chambered in 9mm has an MSRP of $1,799.99 but I wholeheartedly recommend you go for the 10mm version which costs only $50 more because it’ll be more versatile. Not only is it good for home defense and target shooting, but with hot 10mm loads, you can also use it to hunt deer and even up to black bear size game.
Overall, the KRISS Vector is a highly innovative and effective firearm that is widely used by military and law enforcement agencies, as well as civilian shooters. Its unique recoil mitigation system, modular design, and versatile capabilities make it a popular choice for a wide range of applications.