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A Carbine is a shortened firearm designed for use by high-mobility and mounted troops that do not require full-sized rifles. When cavalry was still in widespread use, the carbine offered a form factor more easily managed on horseback than full-sized muskets or rifles. In the modern age, there is a trend towards arming infantry with carbines to balance firepower with portability.
The smaller size and lighter weight of carbines makes them easier to handle in close-quarter situations such as urban engagements, when deploying from military vehicles, or in any situation where space is confined. The disadvantages of carbines relative to assault rifles include inferior long-range accuracy and a shorter effective range due to their shorter barrel. Larger than a submachine gun, they are harder to maneuver in tight encounters where superior range and stopping power at distance are not great considerations.
Modern carbines generally utilize the same intermediate-caliber ammunition as assault rifles, giving them the advantage of standardization over PDWs that may use proprietary cartridges, and range over submachine guns that often use pistol ammunition.
A special class of carbines is the pistol-caliber carbine (PCC). Using the same cartridges as pistols or revolvers, these weapons often feature longer barrels, giving them a better velocity and accuracy than normal pistols while still being very maneuverable.