The .224 BOZ – A Forgotten PDW Cartridge By: Travis Pike

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(DB Militaria)

The world of PWD cartridges is a weird one. The term PDW has shifted around a bit. The original definition was of something between a rifle and a handgun cartridge. Rounds like the 5.7x28mm and the 4.6x30mm defined the genre. They were a lot like light rifle cartridges, similar to the old .30 Carbine. While the FN and HK rounds dominated the genre, there was a contender that is often forgotten, and he goes by the name .224 Boz. 

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A British company called Civil Defence Supply was the force behind the .224 Boz. The intent was to provide special operations and law enforcement an intermediate option between a full-powered rifle round and a pistol round. 

The .224 Boz was a PDW cartridge intended to provide the same benefits as the 5.7 and 4.6. It would be a relatively short-range round. It would outperform a pistol, but getting beyond 150 yards might be challenging. The round was also designed to be able to punch through soft body armor and some helmet designs. The design started in the 1990s, which would make it a contemporary of the 4.6 and 5.7. 

(Wikipedia)

While the 5.7 and 4.6 were radically different from other rifle rounds, the .224 Boz would utilize some familiar components. The original cartridge utilized a 10mm case that was necked down to .223. The projectile weighed 50 grains and was able to reach velocities of 2,500 feet per second. It was capable of piercing soft flak jackets as well as military helmets of the era. 

One test had the .224 Boz, the 5.7 and 4.6, competing in head-to-head trials. The trial included penetrating a NATO CRISAT spec target of layered titanium and kevlar armor. The .224 Boz performed favorably compared to the two O.G.s of PDW cartridges. The .224 Boz flew flat out to 100 meters and provided low recoil. 

One of the big benefits of using the 10mm case was the ability to use established weapons. Civil Defence Supply utilized the MP-5/10, the Glock 20, and a 1911. The cartridge worked in each gun, which ensured there was minimal need to develop new firearms to chamber the cartridge. New barrels and other such parts were needed, but existing weapons and even magazines could be used. 

With that said, the .224 Boz didn’t perform well from short barrels. According to Civil Defence Supply, the handgun would be available as a 5.5-inch compact version and a 6.5-inch standard version. These would be fairly large handguns, and a lot of their value was probably lost. It’s not too different than handguns chambering the classic PDW cartridges. 

Reddit

As the 1990s turned into the 2000s, this crazy thing called the GWOT occurred. This seemingly stalled the need for PDWs since we weren’t facing the Red Menace at the Fulda Gap. With the GWOT, we saw the rise of the small carbine; the M4 took over, and even smaller variants like the MK 18 came to be. This largely eliminated the military need for a PDW. As the war continued, the PDW role was taken over by .300 Blackout with guns like the SIG LVAW. 

In 2010, there was an attempt to revive the project. The new .224 Boz would use a 9mm case and could reach velocities of 2,200 feet per second. It was sadly lost and didn’t pick up any steam. What didn’t help that Civil Defence Supply only marketed the cartridge to law enforcement and military forces. It might not have succeeded if offered to the civilian market, but the 5.7x28mm is still kicking around, and FN released the PS90 years ago. 

For now, the .224 Boz is dead. However, it seemed like a cartridge that could have really succeeded as a light rifle option. Sadly, the market for a ‘light’ rifle is more or less dead with the versatility of the .223/5.56 round dominating the market.