If you've gone searching online for rifles recently, you will almost certainly have encountered a carbine or two like the Hi Point 9 mm. They're a cost-effective option that is becoming ever more popular with gun owners across the US, but many don't understand quite how they differ from regular rifles.

In this article, we look at variances between rifles and carbines, so you can make a more informed decision when purchasing your next weapon. Who knows? It could be that a carbine is better for you.

So, What Exactly Is a Carbine?

If you’re not someone who’s been exposed to the world of guns before, you’re not likely to know a Hi Point 9 mm from a hole in the ground. It can get pretty confusing.

The easy answer to the question ‘what is a carbine?’ is that it’s a compact rifle with a short barrel. They’re also typically semi-automatic and will usually feature magazines of up to 30 pistol-caliber 9mm rounds - the same type that 9mm handguns use.

Modern varieties of carbine will also often fire an intermediate cartridge, such as the 5.56 NATO, rather than a full-power option like the .308 Winchester.

How Rifles & Carbines Differ

The obvious difference between carbines and rifles is that they’re shorter, more compact and lighter. It’s a characteristic that makes them easier to handle for the user, particularly when talking about operating in tight areas.

What’s the effect of this on firing? Well, what you’ll find when using carbines like the Hi Point 995 9mm is that the muzzle velocity is lower. This means that range, penetration and power are reduced, so they’re not always practical for personal defense and hunting.

It’s All a Question of Purpose

When it comes to choosing the right kind of weapon for your needs, you really need to think long and hard about what you’re going to be using it for. If, for example, you’re going long-distance hunting, you’re going to need a rifle, as long-range accuracy and power aren’t exactly the forte of the carbine.

However, in close-combat scenarios, the carbine is more manoeuvrable, lighter and interestingly, noisier, so it might be an idea to wear ear defenders when practising with one!

Hi Point 995 9mm Or Full-Length Rifle? You Decide!

Money has been tight for everyone of late, so you don’t want to be wasting money on products that don’t do what you want them to.

If you’re not going to be firing over long distances and you need a light weapon that allows you to move freely and quickly, then it’s going to be a carbine every time. For just a couple of hundred bucks, you’ll get everything you need and while the 995 might be quite a cheap and cheerful weapon with no frills, it’s reflected in the price. 

On the other hand, if you are hunting over long distances, you’ll need the accuracy that only rifles can offer. Comparing rifles and carbines is a little like comparing chalk and cheese.

If it turns out that your needs suit a carbine, then great, you’ll save money on cost-effective options like the 995. If not, then you need to forget about carbines and concentrate on getting the best possible standard type of rifle you can for your money.