A submachine gun (SMG) is an automatic carbine, designed to fire pistol cartridges. Smaller than rifle carbines, but larger than machine pistols, submachine guns

The FN P90, one of the latest and greatest PDW's

combine the close range firepower of a machine pistol with a more ergonomic long gun layout (which almost always includes a stock) and a somewhat longer barrel. They are easy to use and carry, and they usually hold large amounts of ammunition (about 30 rounds per magazine). Submachine guns are comparable to pistol-caliber carbines in power, range, and accuracy. Indeed, the two categories have a lot in common and overlap a fair bit in the same way that automatic rifles overlap with semi-automatic rifles. True submachine guns are select-fire and as such are usually not available to civilians. Semi-automatic variants of various submachine gun designs do exist and are typically classified as pistol-caliber carbines, but even these are illegal in some jurisdictions. As SWAT and special forces teams are overrun, however, it may become easier to obtain a fully automatic submachine gun.

The first true submachine guns saw combat in World War I, where they proved an asset in trench warfare. During the Prohibition era in the United States, the Thompson submachine gun grew infamous 

Ump 45

A UMP 45, this variant of the UMP series of SMGs uses the 45 ACP round

for its heavy use by gangsters and police officers, and was later used by U.S. soldiers in WWII. Submachine guns were used by all sides in WWII to provide soldiers (who were typically armed with bolt-action rifles) with superior close range firepower, and continued to see service afterwards, but were soon usurped as standard military weapons by automatic rifles. In recent years, submachine guns have mainly been used by law enforcement officers, counter-terrorism operatives and special forces soldiers, but they have begun to fall out of favour with these groups due to their poor effectiveness against modern body armor.

Sub-machine guns occupy the middle ground between pistols and rifles in terms of effectiveness. They're

lighter and shorter than rifle carbines, making them easy to manuever in close quarters, and have somewhat softer recoil. On the other hand, they're less accurate at range than most rifles and have inferior stopping power. Despite this, sub-machine guns (and their semi-automatic equivalents) are far more practical than machine pistols (due to their more ergonomic layout) and they will suffice for a primary weapon if you should come across one, though a rifle is preferable. If you do choose to use a sub-machine gun, it is important to keep it on semi-auto mode, as fully automatic fire is only a waste of ammo against zombies. The temptation to go full auto may be an argument against the use of these weapons by some people. Well known submachine gun designs include the Thompson submachine gun, the IMI Uzi, the MP-40 and the H&K MP5.
Hk mp5n

The H&K MP5


Personal defense weapons (PDWs) are a relatively recent development in submachine gun designs. They are submachine guns that fire newly developed cartridges which are essentially scaled down rifle cartridges designed to have superior penetration to the pistol calibers traditionally used in submachine guns. The most well known design in this category is the FN P90.

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