, like Trainman
said, there's always compromises, when it comes to tires.
Sadly, even current technology has yet to provide for a tire that excels at everything....don't get me wrong, there are tires that are good at a lot of things, but for them to excel? that requires, as with us humans, some specialized dedication.
So, with that said:
I've got a set of "Performance Winters" on my '05 Legacy 2.5GT, a set of Dunlop SP WinterSport 3Ds. Four seasons ago, they were "king of the hill," but they've long been toppled, in terms of quantitative performance comparisons via the most respected international winter testing sources (i.e. ADAC, NAF, etc.). Nevertheless, on my Legacy, straight-line, I can easily keep up with virtually any vehicle on the road, in the winter, with the exception of our municipal snow plow trucks (i.e. http://www.ogdenny.com/data/images/Highway/Snow_2.jpg
) and the typically "gigantic" Ford F350 SuperDutys that serve, here in the US, as private-property snow-plows.
Of the latter, there's an interesting comparison that happened just this previous winter:
A new plow truck, using AT tires, set a straight-line pace that I just couldn't keep through deeper, fresh-fallen "wet" snow. My Legacy is lowered by about an inch all-around, and the relatively wide "Performance Winters" that I use, combined with the vehicle's relatively light curb-weight, simply means that I can't put down enough traction, when things get deeper. Slowing down to reasonable speeds again makes me almost invincible, but you get the picture.
The funny thing?
He comes to an intersection, and he powers through, 4-wheel-drifting wide onto the perpendicular street, with his AT tires throwing up a white-out's worth of snow, off the ground.
I enter the same intersection, and by the time I'm again on the throttle, powering out, I've passed him, on the inside.
What does this mean?
His vehicle weight plus the inherent capabilities of his AT tires to "self-clear" meant that, straight-line, he could put down a pace that I couldn't keep up with - but once the corner came up, it well illustrates Trainman
's point above, in a very real-world manner.
In terms of winter tires for off-road use, you'll want to remember that they typically lack for the more serious sidewall protection that AT and true off-road tires may offer. Similarly, their compounding will be different, and they may not be as durable, when put to the harshest of use.
So, the question becomes one of, as Trainman
There's no right or wrong answer, per-se, as long as you take your specific driving preferences and needs into account in the proper manner.