Tactical

Rifle Roundup: S&W M&P FPC Carbine with a Leupold DeltaPoint Pro

This week, we’ll be looking at a Smith & Wesson FPC carbine that’s topped with a Leupold DeltaPoint Pro optic, as well as Speer’s Gold Dot ammunition for pistol caliber carbines.

Smith & Wesson FPC Carbine: MSRP: $699

Not too long ago, if you wanted a rifle-length gun chambered in a pistol-caliber cartridge, your choices were a lever-action gun chambered in .357 Mag. or .44 Mag. or a few scattered manufacturers making AR-pattern carbines and similar guns. Two things changed all of this. The first was when people started to want slightly more accuracy and longer engagement distances than they could get from a defensive pistol, but didn’t want to go all-in for a dedicated AR-15. The second event was the introduction of the Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) division in USPSA, which let competitors engage the same targets as everyone else, at distances that mimicked those of a defensive encounter.

As a result, the floodgates were opened, and gun makers started rolling out pistol-caliber carbines of all shapes and sizes. One of the latest to appear is the Smith & Wesson FPC, or Folding Pistol Carbine. The FPC is, well, it’s a folding pistol carbine chambered in 9mm.

Talk about truth in advertising.

The gun folds in on itself forward of the chamber, creating a gun that’s only 16⅜ inches long when folded, and because the barrel folds sideways, you can leave your optic on top of the gun and it won’t lose zero. The FPC has a 16-inch threaded barrel and comes with one 17-round and two 23-round magazines (more about those later). The charging handle on the stock doubles as a barrel retention device when folded, creating a very portable, easy to carry gun that packs a little more than just a pistol does.

Speaking of pistols, the grip and trigger should look very familiar to M&P pistol owners. Standard full-size 9mm M&P magazines slide right into the grip like you’ve done with an M&P pistol since Day One, and there are two more 23-round 9mm M&P magazines tucked into the stock of the FPC. This means that if you carry a 9mm M&P pistol which uses a 17-round magazine, you’ll have at least 80 rounds of ammo at any given moment if you have an FPC nearby, which is a very comforting thought.

Which brings me to the uses for an FPC. Obviously, it’s a tremendous home defense gun, as you can store it in places where you can’t store an AR-15 or a shotgun. The small size of a folded FPC also makes it a tempting choice for a “truck gun,” something you leave in your vehicle in case you need something more than your defensive pistol. I am not a big fan of this idea, but I understand the desire. Rather than a “truck gun,” I consider firearms like the FPC to be a home defense gun for when I’m away from home, giving me a little more oomph than just my defensive pistol for when I’m traveling around the country.

Leupold DeltaPoint Pro Optic MSRP: $449.99

While the FPC ships with flip-up iron sights, a simple, easy to use optic like the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro is ideal for this sort of gun. The lower velocity and larger bullet of a PCC results in an effective range of 100 yards or less, which in turn rules out any real need for any magnification on your optic. The DeltaPoint Pro is rugged enough to stand up for use on a carbine that’s going to be carried around quite often and has features like a motion-sensing on/off switch for extended battery life and eight brightness settings for use in almost any light level.

The 2.5 MOA dot in the DeltaPoint Pro gives you a simple, easy to use aiming point, and the unit is waterproof and fogproof. We’ve added an extended height mount so the optic lines up with our eyes when we get a cheek weld on the gun,

Speer Gold Dot Carbine Ammo: MSRP $76.99

One of the reasons why a pistol caliber carbine is a popular defensive firearm choice is that the longer barrel on these guns translates into a little more velocity, resulting in bullets that hit with a little more force. However, modern hollow point ammunition is designed to work within a specific set of parameters, and one of the parameters is muzzle velocity. There are defensive rounds designed to work with shorter barrels in micro-compact pistols, so it stands to reason that a defensive round that works with longer barrels would be a good idea as well.

And that’s the thinking behind the new Speer 135 grain Gold Dot Carbine ammunition. The Gold Dot bullet is known and trusted by both law enforcement agencies and armed civilians, and this version is tweaked to work well with the higher velocities from the longer barrels found in pistol caliber carbines, giving you the right blend of penetration and expansion found in an effective defensive round. 

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