I recall a tour of a military museum in Europe a few years ago. We saw the evolution of the sword. First the Roman Gladius...perfect for its day and the tactics of its users. Then as mounted fighters became the norm the swords grew longer, and then wider and of better steel to deal with the prevalent armor. And then as the west grew more urban, and firearms made armor obsolete, the swords became easier to carry and more suited to street combat in urban Europe. Firearms shared a similar developmental path. Any visitor to the Cody Museum in Wyoming will see the same things.
The west today - America specifically - is a world at war with itself. The identities of the left and the right are increasingly in conflict and historically, when such ideologies reach an impasses, compromise is impossible. Historically, one side will simply refuse to submit. The other side will either leave things as is and separate from them, or seek to force a unified submission. We surely recall the Symbionese Liberation Army, the Black Guerrilla family and the Weathermen of several decades ago. An age of growing insurgency in America.
Add to this mix the influx of Jihadist influences. Their tactics are difficult to circumvent by a civilized western nation. The vanguard being women and children, and their foothold is a finger pointing at the statue of Liberty and the accusation of "racist" unless the Trojan horse be allowed to pass the gates of Troy. We can well imagine the next few years with leftist rioters, leftists terrorists, and the run of the mill Jihadist shooting people at schools and malls now and again.
It is no surprise that Americans are armed...more now than at any time in history. And with good reason.
But the needs of a modern urbanized nation where most live in urban places has caused some changes in the weaponry. Primarily it has shrunken the size and weight, increasing ease of carry. It has enhanced the basic packages for greater application and utility in the urbanscape. Truth be told, many people carry weapons even if extra-legal to do so. But keeping them out of sight seems to be as high a priority as anything else.
Finally, the readers need to understand that all weapons have special and specific applications. A pistol and a rifle are not the same, and are not used for the same purposes. Each tool has attributes that the wise gunfighter can exploit to his benefit if he chooses his weapons carefully. A pistol used when a rifle is needed will cause as much grief as using a shotgun when a pistol is the best choice. As well the reader should not be limited by the competition crowd, whose choices are driven by the goal of overcoming the rules arbitrarily set by others. There is a place for the pistol, the shotgun, the rifle, and the submachinegun (what some are calling a pistol caliber carbine today).
The pistol has gotten smaller, but with high capacity weapons, this has not been a reduction in effectiveness. Rather than the eight shot, all steel, heavy 1911, the pistol most seen in American holsters is likely a Glock 19, and likely with a red dot and other enhancements to allow the user to extend its use beyond what was considered reasonable for a pistol even fifteen years ago.
The rifle most suited for the urbanscape is this. Without getting into the morass of weapon definitions, this is an AR "pistol", but I will call it a rifle because I want to, and because it has nothing in common with the preceding Glock 19. This can be carried in a small bag anywhere the owner wishes. It is compact and usable, but it is also short and light. There is a tendency to set weapons like this up in 9mm caliber. I shrug at these because if one will be accepting the length and the width and the weight, he may as well have a 5.56 or a 300 BO. The main attributes of this are it can reach out accurately, and it can penetrate up close. I have had our rifles like this out to 500 yards. Thus this is the most multi-purpose of all the modern weapons but there are other weapons that will fulfill those niche applications better. For example, all the magazine ads notwithstanding, this is not the first choice for gunfighting inside your house.
The shotgun is not dead, 5 foot tall, 100 pound, egalitarian cops to the contrary. If your expected confrontation is inside 20 yards. If you will be facing multiple adversaries all at once. If your need to respond exceeds the realistic ability to use traditional marksmanship principles. If you do not have nuns and orphans being held as human shields by the advancing hordes. Then the shotgun may well be a top choice for you. I know the issue came up due to the roadside riots, violent road blocks, and similar events. And in such events, the shotgun exceeds the pistol, rifle, or anything else. Today's development of the weapon for the urbanscape is a shorter and far more maneuverable weapon. And thanks to new developments, the Mossberg Shockwave, and the more refined version of the concept - the Suarez Stakeout 870 are now available to everyone.
Then we have the submachinegun. I don't like the term commonly used in the gun media (pistol caliber carbine) so i won't use it. The SMG was intended to be a reduced rifle for close in duties. The HK MP5 is probably the most notable example of the genre. But if we exclude the full auto capability (which is rarely used by professionals anyway) we are left with a pistol caliber semi-auto firearm. The smallest and most concealable version today is what is pictured above. It is an enhanced Glock 17 with a Shockwave/Endo stock. Anything a semi auto MPX, MP5, or Evo can do, this can do equally well, but what is more, it can be concealed and carried around everywhere in the urban world.