Knight's Armament Company PDW

The Knight's Armament Company 6×35mm PDW is an experimental personal defense weapon designed by Knight's Armament Company (KAC), firing a new 6mm cartridge optimized for short barrel weapons. A variant chambered in .300 AAC Blackout also available.

Knights Armament Company PDW
TypePersonal defense weapon, rifle
Place of originUnited States
Production history
DesignerKnight's Armament Company
ManufacturerKnight's Armament Company
Mass4.5 lb (2.0 kg)[1]
Length28 in (710 mm) overall
19.5 in (500 mm) with stock folded
Barrel length254 mm (10.0 in)
203 mm (8.0 in) barrel available

.300 AAC Blackout
ActionGas-operated, rotating bolt
Muzzle velocity2,425 ft/s (739 m/s) with 10-inch (250 mm) barrel
Effective firing range250-300 m
Feed system30-round detachable box magazine
SightsIron sights

As with all personal defense weapons, the KAC PDW is intended to be compact and lightweight (similar to submachine guns), but have a longer useful range (out to the low end of combat rifle ranges, 250–300 m).


The KAC PDW combines new and off the shelf components in its design. The lower receiver, holding the magazine and trigger assembly, is essentially a shortened M16 rifle lower receiver, which makes the basic operating controls familiar to many potential users.

The cartridge, upper receiver, and operating mechanism are all new designs by KAC.[2]

The KAC PDW uses a completely side-folding stock, unlike the M16 and M4 designs which have their main operating spring in a tube in the stock, and therefore can only partially telescope, and not fold sideways at all.

The KAC PDW is over 10 inches shorter (19.5" vs. 29.8" with stocks folded) and more than 1 pound lighter (4.5 lb vs. 6.3 lb) than the currently serviced M4 carbine, a carbine in service with every branch of the US Military, and the barrel has been lightened with a new dimpling process.

The KAC PDW has two gas pistons tapping hot gas from the barrel to operate its mechanism, located on the top left and right sides of the bolt carrier. The single mainspring is located on top, between the two gas pistons.[3]


The KAC PDW fires a 6×35 mm cartridge, a full centimeter shorter than the western military standard 5.56×45mm NATO round. The 6mm bullet is slightly wider, and the standard 6×35mm bullet slightly heavier, than the standard 5.56mm bullet (65 grains (4.2 g) versus 62 grains (4.0 g)).[1]

Fired from a 10-inch (250 mm) barrel, KAC claims that the 6×35mm cartridge reaches a muzzle velocity of 2,450 ft/s (750 m/s), slightly faster than the muzzle velocity of a 5.56 mm cartridge fired from a similarly short barrel. The larger diameter, shorter 6 mm cartridge is optimized for these shorter barrel lengths, and would perform less efficiently from rifle-length barrels. The round's muzzle energy is 831 ft⋅lbf (1,127 J) versus 792 ft⋅lbf (1,074 J) for a 5.56 mm bullet, again from the same 10" standard barrel.

There is a discrepancy between the velocity claimed by Knight's for 5.56 mm 62-grain (4.0 g) SS109 NATO ammunition fired from a 10-inch (250 mm) Colt Commando barrel (2,400 ft/s (730 m/s), 792 ft⋅lbf (1,074 J) energy) and other M16 manufacturers' stated muzzle velocities (2,627 ft/s (801 m/s), 950 ft⋅lbf (1,290 J)). In any case the energies and velocities are roughly comparable.


The weapon was formally introduced at the 2006 NDIA Small Arms Symposium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Some writers were shown samples at the earlier 2006 SHOT Show. The only KAC PDWs ordered by the U.S. Government were for the United States Secret Service. They were the only ones to order this weapon.


  1. PDW 8 & 10 inch, accessed Oct 22, 2012 Archived 2012-11-01 at the Wayback Machine
  2. KAC's NEW PERSONAL DEFENSE WEAPON Archived 2007-01-17 at the Wayback Machine, Gary Paul Johnston, November 7, 2006, Soldier of Fortune magazine website, accessed January 16, 2007.
  3. Defense Review article on KAC PDW and competitors, accessed December 21, 2006.
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