New For 2023: Smith & Wesson Response Carbine

by
posted on October 21, 2023
SW Response 01
Images courtesy of Smith & Wesson.

Earlier this year, Smith & Wesson introduced its first rifle chambered for a pistol cartridge in more than half a century with the Folding Pistol-Caliber Carbine (FPC). Looking to match the FPC’s innovative styling and features, the company has released its second 9 mm rifle for the year with the Response, a firearm that offers its own twists on the pistol-caliber AR-15 format.

A man holding the Smith & Wesson Response Carbine next to a Smith & Wesson handgun on an outdoor range.The Response is a pistol-caliber carbine that not only uses Smith & Wesson M&P magazines, but is adaptable to magazines from other manufacturers.

The Response is chambered in 9 mm Luger and uses a blowback-operated action with a spring and buffer housed in a receiver extension and an AR-compatible fire control group that uses a flat-faced trigger. The action is contained within a polymer receiver that is comprised of upper and lower halves. A 16.5" barrel with its muzzle threaded 1/2x28 TPI is surrounded within a FPC-esque 15" polymer handguard with a Picatinny rail extending across the top and a generous number of M-Lok slots on the sides and bottom.

The rifle’s controls are in standard AR format,with a left-side safety lever and bolt release, a right-side magazine release and a rear-mounted charging handle. Stock and pistol grip are also AR-compatible, and the supplied furniture is a Magpul MOE SL buttstock and a proprietary grip unit from Smith & Wesson that mimics the shape and texture of the grip on the company's M&P 2.0 handguns and comes with four sizes of interchangeable palm swells. The stock telescopes to six positions, and the rifle’s overall length is 32.13" fully collapsed or 35.38" fully extended. It weighs 6 lbs., 3 ozs.  

Left side of the Smith & Wesson Response carbine.The Response has its controls, including the safety, bolt release and charging handles in positions familiar to AR-15 users.

Where the Response differs from other AR-type PCCs is in what Smith & Wesson calls its “Flexmag System.” The magazine well area of the lower receiver is detachable. This allows for the rifle to utilize multiple formats of magazines. The rifle ships with an installed magazine-well adapter that accepts Smith & Wesson’s own M&P series and two 23-round extended magazines are included. An accessory adapter for Glock pattern magazines is also supplied. Both adapters will accept any double-stack 9 mm magazine from each manufacturer that holds 15 rounds or more. Based on the language Smith & Wesson used in announcing the release of the rifle, expect magazine-well adapters for other manufacturer’s magazines in the future.    

The detachable magazine well of the Smith & Wesson Response carbine.The Flexmag System uses magazine-well adapters to allow the Response to feed from various manufacturer’s magazines.

The Smith & Wesson Response has an MSRP of $799. For more information, visit smith-wesson.com.

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