I am having a hard time trying to decide on a caliber for a defensive handgun


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gomakemeasandwich
August 20, 2007, 08:51 AM
This is kind of a long post, just to let you know in advance.

I currently own a Bersa Thunder .380, which, even though I think is a good handgun, has a caliber that I think is just too small for serious defensive carry. Therefore, I have thinking about moving up calibers, with this tentative list in mind to consider: .38 Special, 9mm, .40, .357 Magnum, .45.

Part of my considerations have been about stopping power, part of my considerations have been about price (of both the round and the gun), and part of my considerations have been about capacity (how many rounds each gun can hold). As you can probably tell, I am all over the place with my choices.

The .38 Special I know isn't much of a step up from the .380, but the heavier bullet with a Chicago load makes it worthy of consideration in my mind. Plus, a gun I found for $170 for it that seems reasonably good (it's a revolver) helps as well.

The 9mm is my current frontrunner for several reasons: it's cheap, recoil is low, you can carry more rounds in a magazine, and with several loads, it compares favorably with the more powerful calibers that I mentioned (though not on par).

I have never been a fan of the .40 caliber, I'm not sure why. It compares well to the .45 and even the .357 Magnum, but there is just something about it that I don't like (maybe because it was the first handgun round I ever shot, and it was in a Glock, which I don't like. I shot the same round later in one of my friend's S&W autoloaders and loved it). I can't really explain it. With that said however, recoil is manageable, and I can shoot accurately with it.

The .357 Magnum is always hailed as the ultimate manstopper, but I am not sure I need something that can punch holes through a car. I have honestly never shot the .357 Magnum, but I think I can control its recoil. Still, I don't think I could line it up for a second shot as quickly as the 9mm or the .40 caliber.

As for the .45, I am considering it mostly because it its service history. I don't think the .45 offers so much more than the .40 caliber that I should deal with the extra recoil of the .45, as well as the reduced carrying capacity. Still, my friend bought a Ruger P90 and I simply loved that gun. It's a large handgun with limited capacity, but the feel of it and how it was balanced (it is heavy, but the weight is well distributed) convinced me that I could probably get off a second shot at the same rate as a 9mm or the .40 caliber.

Now, with all of that said about the calibers, price is probably the main factor. I am not rich, so I don't plan on spending more than $350. That probably puts me into the range of the Ruger automatics, used .357 revolvers, and .38 Special revolvers. As I said, I am not a fan of Glocks, and I like the Ruger autoloaders, so I have no problem with picking up a Ruger autoloader. Any of the P series Rugers would work for me.

Still, I have also heard a lot about the Springfield XDs, which every person I have talked has described as one of the best autoloaders out there. I handled one, and while I like it more than the Glock, I don't think I am as comfortable with it as I am a Ruger. I know that the XD would push me way out of the $350 range, but I am willing to spend more if I absolutely feel it is the right gun.

As for revolvers, I know that they actually violate one of my considerations (carrying capacity), but I have to consider them too because of the calibers I am considering, as well as the price and reliability that they offer. On revolvers however, I am a little lost, since I am more familiar with autoloaders. I assume that any used S&W that I can find for $350 will probably be a good bet, but I really don't have a starting point for them, beyond S&W.

With all of this said, I am considering the .38 special, because it is cheap and I think that the round can compare with a 9mm for stopping power. Plus, the gun that I found for it is a very nice gun to handle, and I think I can be accurate with it. I think it will either be that or a Ruger autoloader in 9mm, but I worry that the 9mm even isn't much of a step up from the .380 (after all, the .380 is also known as (and basically is) the "9mm short"). When I make my purchase, I just want to make sure that I pick something that I can depend on, which is why I have all of the contradictory thoughts about all of these rounds.

So, if you have made it this far and still want to offer your opinion, please do. As you can probably tell, even though I favor certain rounds, I am far from decided on a round, so I value any opinion. Thank you.

Also, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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LSCurrier
August 20, 2007, 09:13 AM
.45 ACP in a 1911 would be my recommendation. It worked well for the US armed forces for over 60 years.

.357 Magnum will work well too - if the recoil is not a problem for you.

Luke

Tomac
August 20, 2007, 09:25 AM
If you have a local rental range then rent several different calibers/types and find the one you shoot best, regardless of caliber or action type (only hits count).
Tomac

40SW
August 20, 2007, 09:41 AM
based on what you said, a .357MAG would be an ideal choice. It would allow you to practice with .38 loads and build muscle memory and become more proficient, your confidence will increase as a result.
The other flexibility is that a .357MAG will allow you full house .357MAG loads as well as very respectable .38+P loads, which can be very effective.
I would recommend a Ruger SP101 or GP100, these are built like tanks, very durable , accurate, dependable, and fun to shoot. A revolvers capacity is easily augmented with 1 or 2 extra speedloaders. Please dont discount them.

moxie
August 20, 2007, 09:57 AM
At your price point of $350, you are definitely talking about a used gun if you want quality. In that price range, a used .38 special or .38 special/ .357 magnum revolver is probably your best choice. The Ruger Speed Six, Service Six, or Security Six would be top choices. Also the older S&W model 19 or 65/66 are great. Any of these guns loaded with .38+P rounds or .357 magnum, where possible, will be outstanding self defense pieces. Think about automatics later on. Good, reliable, autoloaders will cost somewhat more as a general rule.

benEzra
August 20, 2007, 11:36 AM
Given your price constraint, I'd personally go with a Ruger P-series. Those can handle 9mm +P and +P+, which are ballistically WAY superior to .380 (closer to .357), and they are good, reliable guns.

A good .357 revolver would be a close second for me, I think.

FWIW, when I "moved up" from a Bersa .380 to a 9mm, I went with an S&W 3913 Ladysmith, because I wanted to retain the DA/SA mode of operation in a 9mm pistol that was roughly the size of the Bersa (I have a CHL). I thought about the similar but cheaper S&W 908 instead, but really liked the features of the Ladysmith and went with it.

Houston Tom
August 20, 2007, 12:12 PM
+1 on the Ruger Security six

highfive
August 20, 2007, 12:42 PM
i'll say 357 too. that's what i carry and you can practice with 38's also. The recoil is not bad at least my opinion and after good practice you will see they're very accurate. I carry a taurus tracker and I love it. Used, it can be in your price range. NIB will be like 60 more. Have fun

earplug
August 20, 2007, 12:56 PM
Since you have the 380 I assume your looking for A carry gun.
Check out the S&W J frames and check out the revolver forum and 642 club.
Many small 9MM are available that may fit your needs.
You have to have A pistol with you when you need it.
A big service size pistol/revolver will frequently be left at home.

camslam
August 20, 2007, 01:03 PM
If you can handle the .45 ACP, get it. The recoil between it and the .40 is sixes, you get maybe 2 or 3 more rounds with the .40, but you have similiar penetration between the 2 with bigger holes in the .45.

That is my choice.

kymarkh
August 20, 2007, 01:27 PM
My take on this: I went with the 9. Of the calibers you mentioned you can practice more with the 9mm for the same amount of money. The practice is more important than the gun. The practice is more important than the caliber. The practice is what will make you so familiar with your choice that handling it becomes second nature. The practice is what is going to be the difference between a hit and a miss. One other thing - you can purchase a box of 9mm carry ammo/Hollowpoints for about the same price as a box of .45 target ammo/FMJ - allowing you to actually practice with your carry ammo occasionally. While it is sad but true, a box of 9mm is cheaper than a box of .380 in my neck of the woods. And there is nothing wrong with Ruger autoloaders if they fit your hands well. Let us know what you decide.

CountGlockula
August 20, 2007, 01:31 PM
Get a .40S&W caliber. My motto has always been: "Go .4+ ONLY."

strat81
August 20, 2007, 01:33 PM
The .357 Magnum is always hailed as the ultimate manstopper, but I am not sure I need something that can punch holes through a car.

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/buickot3.htm

Most handgun rounds WILL penetrate a car door. Even the "lowly" 9mm.

Cougfan2
August 20, 2007, 01:35 PM
+1 All weapons mentioned would be good choices, but it doesn't make a bit of difference what you choose unless shooting it, and shooting it well come as second nature.

fletcher
August 20, 2007, 01:38 PM
Don't concern yourself with caliber too much. General concensus is that .380 and larger will do the job. 9mm or larger if you want to be sure (I'd put a good .38 into this category).

Find a platform that you like and can handle well, then work with the calibers available. If you like the Ruger autos, go for it. Any of those calibers will work fine.


I am not rich, so I don't plan on spending more than $350.
As you mentioned, the used market will be your friend. Don't hesitate to look at used autos also.


With that said however, recoil is manageable, and I can shoot accurately with it.
That is the most important thing. Even if you like .45/.357/whathaveyou on paper, if you are not able to make accurate follow-up shots with it, toss it or allot a few hundred $$ for ammo to practice practice practice.

Papaster
August 20, 2007, 03:08 PM
Have you considered the Taurus 617? 7 rounds of .357 mag. a couple of speed loaders, and you're up over 20 rounds of some of the best power out there. And this revolver will keep you well within your budget brand new.
That said, you can get into the auto business, and get entry levels like the Sigma series from Smith & Wesson, at under $300, or the Millennium Pro pistols from Taurus for around $300. These are good pistols, and after break-in should serve you well.
Unless you are familiar with buying used semi-autos, or have a dealer or friend who can guide you that you trust a great deal, I'd be a little wary of any great deals in this market. It's much harder to gauge wear on these pistols than on a revolver. If you're more comfortable carrying semi-auto, get the semi-auto. If you're most comfortable with Ruger, go for it. For me, they're too bulky for concealed carry. But everybody has their own reasons and taste. Good luck and happy pistol hunting!

Rex B
August 20, 2007, 03:25 PM
I'm good with the .380, which is what I carry most all the time.
In colder weather I can pocket a 9mm.
Both are Keltecs, well under $300 with spare mags, mag pinkie extensions.

As others have said, if you have it with you always, and can shoot it accurately, it doesn't much matter if the OD of the bullet varies over .07".

perpster
August 20, 2007, 03:26 PM
Used .357 Magnum revolver.

Meets your requirements in every way I think.

You can "download" with cheap .38 special and gets lots of practice, "upload" with .357 Mag for defense, or even good .38 +P.

Keeps your options open with a most versatile caliber, from plinking to hunting to defense.

Scorpiusdeus
August 20, 2007, 04:39 PM
Though I'm a .40 S&W kinda guy, if you are comfortable with a 9mm, go for it. It may be the reason you first didn't like the .40 is because you were shooting it out of a Glock. I think Glocks tend to have a kind of Love/Hate feel to them.

If you have the time and money. try renting some guns, different makes, different calibers ans see what feels best to you.

browningguy
August 20, 2007, 05:53 PM
Anything you mentioned would be ok. I currently have 9mm's and .40's in BHP's (9&40), EAA Witness (9&40) and Springfield XD9.

The XD is a good pistol, the BHP's are great pistols, and the EAA Witness series may be the best deal going for the money.

md7
August 20, 2007, 07:18 PM
a good used ruger gp100 .357 would should not be hard to find at $350.00 price range. they are some very sturdy guns too. if you are prefer auto loaders, take a look at the CZ 75B. Brand new those guns are around the $450.00 mark. nothing wrong with Ruger auto loaders either, just throwin some ideas around.

Snapping Twig
August 20, 2007, 07:32 PM
If money wasn't an issue, I'd say go straight to a quality 1911 and the .45acp. That's my personal choice for several very good reasons.

Many here suggested a .357 and I'd have to agree with them. Price, ammunition availability and dual caliber convenience makes it a winner.

Practice with wad cutters and try a few magnums every practice session. You can keep the cost low and be well armed.

The most important thing, regardless of the caliber/platform you select is to practice, practice and practice some more.

10-Ring
August 20, 2007, 07:58 PM
2 things...
1st -- I would suggest going to a range & shooting the calibers in question so you know exactly what you're in for and have a clearer picture in your mind of what you're buying.
2nd - I would recommend a small or medium frame 357 magnum so that you could go 38 or 357 depending on your personal needs & circumstances.
Good luck

theboondocksaints22
August 21, 2007, 03:36 AM
my personal choice is the 45 acp in a 1911 commander 230 g ranger sxt 8+1 .
you can get a rock island 1911 for around 350 brand new and they are a good gun .

gbelleh
August 21, 2007, 11:30 AM
If ammo cost is a big factor, I'd go with a 9mm. If you want a semi-auto, a good 9mm with decent capacity should be plenty adequate for defense.

If you prefer a revolver, a good used .357 would also be a good, versatile choice that would serve you well as others have mentioned.

GunTech
August 21, 2007, 12:22 PM
Don't pick a 1911 unless you are going to practice extensively. If you are looking for a home defense gun, you want something that is simple to use and intrinsically safer that a 1911. Chances are, you are going to be woken up from a deep sleep and you brain won't be fully functional. A 1911 is a pro's gun and design for someone with full control of his faculties. You have to disengage the safety and the trigger is relative light.

My suggestions would be a double action revolver, double action auto or something similar. In the case of a double action, there are no safeties to disengage, but the double action is heavy enough to resist an accidental discharge in the event you aren't thinking (half asleep) and put your finger on the trigger. A glock with a 8 pound NY trigger, a Kahr or most double action autos give the same effect.

Remember, you will almost certainly will not be ready, and probably not thinking clearly in the first few minutes when you wife/girlfriend wakes you in the middle of the night because she hears a noise. Pick you gun based on that criteria, not what is the ultimate 'shooter'.

I'd also seriously consider a weapon light. I have a SureFire on my G26. You get the bonus of being able to see, and blinding the other person.

DawgFvr
August 21, 2007, 06:22 PM
.357 mag. As stated...you can use/practice with .38 special and move up to the mag rounds. Weapon of choice: used Ruger Speed Six, 2 3/4 inch barrel or GP100 with 3 inch barrel.

S&Wfan
August 22, 2007, 12:50 AM
All the above will get the job done . . . provided it fits your hand well, you shoot it well and it doesn't malfunction.

It's kind of a champagne headache isn't it!;)

HOWEVER . . .

For home defense, consider these points:

1. OVERPENETRATION - Overpenetration can kill a loved one and/or even exit the house and enter another one, killing or wounding other innocent people. Overpenetration is bad, of course. So, choose your ammo wisely and use a type that will fragment well once it penetrates a simple wall.

If you choose a .357 . . . load it down with .38spl. self defense ammo that won't penetrate. .45ACP? Ditto with the lighter, fragmenting loads.


2. TIME OF NEED - Most perps will come after dark. I'm a huge fan of nightsights and have 'em on my Kimber Ultra CDP .45 auto. Put the center green dot between the back two and there's where the bullet goes.

If you use nightsights, keep the firearm covered with something that blocks the view of the three "lightning bugs" when the perp is working his way through the room, for you don't want HIM to pick up your gun while you sleep.

Lazers say . . . "shoot at the source of this red line." Nightsights can't be seen by the perp as long as the barrel is pointing his way.

3. LET THERE BE LIGHT! - Keep a small tactical-type flashlight handy. Mine stays under my pillow. I would use it to verify my target is hostile, while also instantly blinding him, before I decided to pull the trigger. You sure don't want to shoot your teenage daughter who is sneaking back into the house after sneaking out!!!

4. DON'T GIVE 'EM MUCH TO GRAB ONTO - I prefer my house guns to have shorter barrels!!! The longer barrels can bump into things as you swing it around. Also, you don't want a struggle to break out where the perp may get a firm grasp onto your gun and wrench it away from you.

5. REVOLVER OR AUTO? - Whatever you shoot well. I use the Kimber mainly because of the nightsights, but if I ever add nightsights to my 3" barrelled Model 65 and 25-2 S&W revolvers my preference would quickly swing to those guns.

Why? Well, when your are startled out of a deep sleep to the hint of impending danger your mind will still be a little foggy, and nothing is as simple to bring into action as a point and shoot revolver.

Also, if the perp DOES grab the barrel of a wheelgun you can still pull the trigger. But if he can push the slide of your auto back just a little, all you have is a paperweight you two are struggling to get control of. He's wide awake and you are in a fog. Not good odds!

6. THINGS THAT GO BARK IN THE NIGHT - Get a dog, it will love you for it and give you lots of warning to the sound (or scent) of an intruder. The dog may run the threat off too before you wake up much, so you won't have to shoot the S.O.B. and then spend months in court as the perp or his heirs sues you in civil court to support the low-life's family for the next 50 years.

Plus, the dog will grow on you, I promise!

7. SECURE THE CASTLE - Make it as hard for a perp to break in as you can.

8. FOR $350? - Get a fine, used S&W, Colt or Ruger double action revolver. Either .357 or .38spl. will do just fine to protect your castle from home invasion . . . and all three brands have the quality that you can bet your life on!

Dollar for dollar on a budget, you'll get typically a more reliable and more accurate firearm for your money with a .357 or .38 spl. revolver. If you have a choice and the guns are equal in other ways, choose a .357 over the .38.

Soybomb
August 22, 2007, 04:05 AM
General concensus is that .380 and larger will do the job.
According to who? People like dr gary roberts are saying things like the .380 isn't a good choice at all even for a bug.

Get a 9mm, cheap practice ammo (the really important thing), and plenty of power to penetrate deeply enough and expand. You can download a .357 to .38spl but practice rounds are still more expensive.

Torghn
August 22, 2007, 11:13 AM
I'd vote .357 as well. I got a used GP-100 in really good condition for $330.

ojibweindian
August 22, 2007, 11:30 AM
Don't worry about the caliber as .380 on up is okay. More consideration should be given to the type of pistol, and that can be determined by trying as many different types as is possible, selecting the one that best fits your needs/desires.

wizard of oz
August 22, 2007, 02:45 PM
couldn't agree more - original posted talked about defense, carry, stopping power and price. Surely you have to choose the platform/weapons system in conjunction with calibre. I for one would be perfectly happy with a .38 revolver or a 9mm semi (give me a g19 for carry) and think that anything more powerful that you can control is just icing on the cake. If you are interested in a revolver I think the benefits of getting one that can shoot both .38 and .357 outweigh the disadvantages.

TMann
August 22, 2007, 02:55 PM
While there are many good options for you at this point, I'm going to vote for a 9mm semi-auto. You are already familiar with the feel of your Bersa. It wouldn't be that difficult to get used to the feel of a larger 9mm semi-auto, such as the Ruger. I personally find that I don't shoot revolvers as well as I do semi-autos.

In terms of the caliber, I think that 9mm is a good compromise in terms of power, recoil and cost. Lower ammo costs equals more range time, and more range time should lead to better shot placement if you ever need to defend yourself.

Good luck with your purchase!

TMann

Deanimator
August 22, 2007, 04:56 PM
The .38 Special I know isn't much of a step up from the .380,
It's a BIG step up, especially with the "FBI" load, especially from Buffalo Bore.

Any reliable firearm 9x19mm and above would do, circumstances depending (your size, build, etc.)

I have four alternate CCW guns, a 2" S&W .38Special Model 36, a Glock 19 9x19mm, a 3" S&W .357 Model 65, and a Norinco M1911 .45. All of them have strengths and weaknesses in various environments, but all are credible CCW guns.

ronto
August 22, 2007, 05:45 PM
A DAO 357 Ruger SP101 5-shot revolver for a CCW... "Capacity" is not a big issue in civilian SD situations, the vast majority end in less than 3 rounds...However, reliability, effectiveness, and ease of operation under stress ARE big issues.

Jerry Morris
August 22, 2007, 06:11 PM
FYI, the .38 Special Chicago load is far superior to the .380 ACP and easily tops the 9 mm, shot for shot.

Jerry

Schwebel
August 22, 2007, 07:54 PM
I think you need to decide what format of weapon you want before caliber,
an auto or a semi. Which one do you shoot best and feel the most comfortble with? Then you decide what size weapon you want, sub-compact,compact,or mid to full size. That will make picking caliber alot easier when you narrow it down to the platform you wish to use. Find the gun that seems to "fit" your hand, and your needs the best. You can almost always get the gun you like in 9mm/40/45 for autos and .38/.357 for wheelies.

I have a gun in each of the mentioned calibers and feel that the 9mm is great for sub to compact guns, the .40 is great in a mid sized gun and the .45 is awesome in a full sized 1911. The .38 is great in an airweight S&W and the .357 is awesome in a larger framed wheelie. I feel just picking a gun because of its caliber and capacity is just a small part of the process of picking the right gun. Figure out what the gun is mostly going to be used for, that will help you pick the platform. If all else fails just rent a bunch at the range, while it may be little expensive, it's cheaper than spending $700 on a gun you end up not liking/carrying or use. Good luck.

Soybomb
August 22, 2007, 08:41 PM
FYI, the .38 Special Chicago load is far superior to the .380 ACP and easily tops the 9 mm, shot for shot.
You're talking about a 158gr lswchp +P round? That load is notorious for not expanding after going through clothing out of a 2" barrel. It is in no way better than 9mm.

Black Adder LXX
August 22, 2007, 09:21 PM
I'm with the 357 group. A Ruger will be a good reliable piece. Yeah, you may not get that SA follow up shot like a pistol, but a 357 with HPs doesn't take many shots to do the trick.

I've got a Beretta 9mm and a Ruger GP100 357 and I go for the wheelgun for the things that go bump in the night.

Jerry Morris
August 22, 2007, 09:25 PM
Soybomb, Did I say it was out of a 2 inch? I have 40 years of exposure to the 38 Special. And expansion is not all the story,although out of a 4 inch, or longer barrel, expansion is there. There is no way the 9mm out performs the 158 LSWC at, or above 900 fps, on a shot for shot basis. Until, you consider the semiautomatic features,or special loadings, ie DPX. They are close together, but my nod goes to the Chicago Load.

And I speak as one whose second choice IS the 9mm. 45 ACP is the first.

Jerry

thebaldguy
August 22, 2007, 10:20 PM
9MM semi auto
.357 revolver

There are lots of good selections out there for reasonable prices.

chaim
August 26, 2007, 02:36 AM
The answer for the list of calibers you give is "yes."

All are good calibers, all have advantages and disadvantages when compared with each other, but all are good calibers that will do the job. Given that, I think it is most important to decide on a platform (auto v. revolver, and which particular auto or revolver that feels best in your hand) and then worry about caliber. Once you narrow down the platform, you will have narrowed your caliber list at least a little.

That said, some advantages and disadvantages of the calibers:

-.38spl:
Depending upon the loading it may be just barely acceptable, or it can be a pretty good caliber. With the right load it can be a great caliber, you can get very light wadcutters for easy practice, and you can get inexpensive practice rounds. Only 9mm will cost less to practice with in the major service calibers. It can give decent stopping ability while limiting your risk of overpenetration, with relatively low recoil (quick follow up shots) and low report (better for your hearing).

-.357mag:
A revolver in .357mag can shoot .38spl so it is even more versatile. I load my magnums with .38+P for home defense. Using magnums, you have some great powerful rounds to chose from. Some of the best. You also have minimum power for bear defense out in the woods. However, for self-defense (whether CCW or home defense) the .357mag has a lot of penetration, too much- I see overpenetration to be a big issue. I don't want to risk hitting the bad guy, having the bullet go through the bad guy and then hitting a bystander or a family member. Also, it is loud so you can pretty much count on some hearing damage after an indoor defensive shoot.

-9mm:
As cheap as you can get (outside .22lr) for practice ammo and with the right loadings you have some good defensive choices. Recoil is low so you can get quick follow up shots as needed. The guns chambered in it will either be smaller than comparable .40s and .45s or have more rounds in the mag. Drawbacks include: overpenetration (high velocity rounds like 9mm are more likely to overpenetrate than a lower velocity round like .45ACP), less ammo flexibility (while there are some very good loads, there are also some very poor performers in this caliber).

.40S&W:
I used to be with you, it didn't do it for me. Now it is my favorite CCW caliber. Power levels up there with .45ACP, it can be put in smaller guns than .45ACP or it will hold more rounds in similar sized guns, much more flexibility in loads than 9mm (you can buy what is on sale since there aren't really any bad .40S&W defensive loads), to me recoil isn't bad, prices of practice ammo pretty much split the difference between the cost of .45ACP and 9mm. However, I don't like it as much for home defense as it is a high velocity round like 9mm so overpenetration may be an issue.

.45ACP:
The standard everything else is compared to. It is powerful (as handgun rounds go), plentiful (not that any of your other choices aren't), recoil isn't bad, being a slower round (it gets its power from its size) it is less likely to overpenetrate. In my mind it is the best auto caliber for home defense because of the combination of power without too much overpenetration.

I have guns in all the listed calibers (and others) so I don't have to choose. I started with a 9mm and .38spl, and see nothing wrong with you doing the same (though I quickly traded both on a .45ACP and a .357mag, usually loaded with .38+P but I found the ability to shoot magnums reassuring). If I wanted one gun to do it all, it would either be a .45 or a K-frame .357mag loaded with .38+P.

If you choose a revolver, since you are worried about capacity I'd suggest looking at Taurus. They have three K-frame sized .357mag revolvers with 7 shots (the 66, the Tracker, and the 2" 617, plus the 2" 7 shot .38spl 817). If you were looking for home defense instead of carry, you could look at the 8-shot, large frame 608. Anyway, in autos and revolvers there are a ton of good choices. Again, I suggest going to the gunshop and handling them, and try to test fire some at a range with rentals, to see what feels best to you, then caliber will be easier to figure out.

sandy4570
August 26, 2007, 03:04 AM
If you are budget constrain the best choice would be 9mm . The .38 SPC would be a best choice 10 years ago because the ammo still plentiful and affordable . I think the used 9 mm pistol probably will be within your budget.I pick up very beat up Tanfloglio TA 90 last year for $249 and it shoot just fine (I need to replace a few parts here and there to get it running reliably ).I often spot Ruger P 89/95 and CZ 75/85 in used gun shelf for $350 .
$350 will not get any decent .357 Magnum or .45 ACP in my area -new or used but once in a while Norinco M1911A1 turn up on the consignment shelf .
You should take your time and find the right pistol because I think the Bersa Thunder is not a bad defensive pistol ( I have one myself ) , remember it is the shot placement that count -.380 ACP in center mass beat .44 Magnum that hit the wall .:)

chaim
August 26, 2007, 12:54 PM
If price is an issue, there is someone on Gunbroker selling late model Taurus 82s he got from a security company with a starting bid of $165. There are only a few hours left in his auction, but if he has a bunch of guns like he says, look for his other auctions and I'd bet he'll have them relisted after the current auction is over (he also has a couple S&W M10s for $160 starting bids and no reserve).
http://gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=79011434

Look around Gunbroker and Auctionarms and you'll probably find a few similar deals. These guns are .38spl and you'll be below your limit by enough that you can also pick up a nice 12ga shotgun for home defense, or you may be able to find a 9mm police trade-in and still be under your limit.

Choclabman
August 26, 2007, 07:01 PM
I agree, a person sbhoukld get very comfortable with a 1911 before using it for SD/CCW.

You could look for a Sig P220 CPO. Its .45ACP. Mine has been nothing but reliable, with around 1,000 rounds through it.

They sell for around $500 here

Timthinker
August 26, 2007, 08:12 PM
I would champion a good double-action revolver in .38 Special or larger. I recommend a revolver because I consider it a safer handgun than a semi-auto for someone who is not very familiar with firearms.


Timthinker

Jerry Morris
August 26, 2007, 08:27 PM
I would champion a good double-action revolver in .38 Special or larger. I recommend a revolver because I consider it a safer handgun than a semi-auto for someone who is not very familiar with firearms.

What ever a new, or novice shooter gets, he should attend a decent instruction designed around that firearm. Safety is between the ears, not in the hand.

Many new shooters have been taught well, how to safely use the 1911. It only takes proper instruction and a good learners mindset. Study safety well, use the lessons. A goof up with any firearm is courting disaster.

Jerry

Lonestar49
August 26, 2007, 08:49 PM
...

9mm if you want to shoot at the range a lot, along with lowest price of the next choice in case/box cost.

40cal if you want to shoot, somewhat, a lot at the range and pay alittle more per case, but gain in size of bullet, weight, and punch. But this caliber takes the most time to get the feel and into the comfy zone with IMHO.

45cal if you believe me, that between the 9mm and the 40cal, is the most expensive ammo, but needs the least amount of time to get accurate with any 45 gun, has the biggest bullet, biggest punch, and requires the least amount of range time to stay current with.

For me, with my 9mm, 150 rounds per range visit, I'm current.

With my 40 cal, 200 rounds per range visit, I'm current.

With any of my 45's, 50 rounds per range visit, I'm current.


I guess you really have to ask yourself "how much shooting per week, or month, do I really want to do, and why."

Accuaracy, sure, but it can be, and is, for MOST, alot of fun too.. There's the catch.. lol


LS

hapuna
August 26, 2007, 08:59 PM
I agree with those that have suggested 9mm. It is inexpensive for practice and you can get it in many many variations from +p to +p+ and any style bullet. It appear to be a good compromise between stopping power, price and good choices of guns for ccw. Very hard to beat.;)

1911RjB
August 26, 2007, 09:02 PM
I would try shooting a few .45ACP 1911's, or a P220 or maybe even a 10mm, and decide what fits you the best.

personally i love my 1911, and would go with anything else.

Lonestar49
August 26, 2007, 10:15 PM
...

I would agree with a comment on page 2 about not getting a 1911, to start, as it does demand "knowledge".. Where, as also mentioned, a Sig, P220, or a P229 Carry, both DA/SA hammered 45's are very forgiving, reliable, easy to learn, very accurate out of the box, and VERY easy to field strip, disassemble, inspect, clean, and reassemble, making for a far- less steep learning-curve than that of the 1911 in all areas just mentioned.

There are some other fine DA/SA 45's of other makes as well. Basically, it should be the gun that feels the best, most natural, point to aim, in "your hand/s", along with what price (how much) you want to invest your dollars in for a long marriage between you and your gun along with the knowledge you will learn and, with such a forgiving type gun will, also, provide you with knowledge in a life long journey together.

Also, as mentioned, can't beat a 9mm for the same above reasons in Sigs, Beretta's, Glock, CZ's, and some other fine makes out there..


Luck, again,


LS

kgriggs8@yahoo.com
August 26, 2007, 10:17 PM
Carry the caliber that you can shoot well. It sounds lame but it is true. You are FAR better off with a 9mm that you can hit with than a 10mm that you can't.

Shoot it weak hand rapid fire and see how accurate you are. Most people don't ever do this but it is a mistake. It is a very real possibility that not only with you hand to defend yourself with only one hand but it may be the weak hand that ends up doing the shooting. There a million reasons this could be the case, you could be injured, carrying something you don't want to drop (baby, money, ect), you could be fending off someone with one arm, you could be using the arm to drive or hang on to something.

Whatever it is, you still should be able to shoot rapid fire with your weak hand. You should not only be able to hit with your weak hand but also control the gun so it doesn't slip out of your hand during recoil.

This is how I found that my beloved SIG 220 .45acp was not the best gun for me. I shoot it like a house afire in my right hand or using both hands but left hand rapid fire and I found I could hardly hold onto it. The first few rounds were find but after 3-4, the recoil started making the gun feel like it was slipping out of my grasp.

I switched to 9mm and I have never looked back. 9mm penetrats far better and there are some great loads for 9mm that really make it into a serious choice. I wouldn't want to be hit by a 9mm JHP +P any more than a .45acp. In fact, if I HAD to choose, I might choose to be hit by the .45acp only because it goes so much slower and is less likely to expand. I don't like the idea of being hit by either but I know a 9mm will tear you up. I did some tests and I was impressed with 9mm. I feel it is a better caliber than .45acp for a bunch of reasons.

1. It is cheaper so you can practice twice as much with it and get twice as good.
2. It has less recoil so you can shoot it faster and more accuractly. Put more lead into the target faster.
3. It has a larger choice of loads.
4. The guns chambered for 9mm often hold several more cartridges than .45acp. More shots are only a good thing. If you have to reload in a gunfight, you are probably going to die. If you don't need the extra rounds, at least they were there just in case. It is better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.
5. You can talior the loads to preform a wider range of tasks than the .45acp. For example, you can use FMJ +Ps if you need extra penetration or you can use JHP+P if you want your 9mms to expand for maximun soft tissuse damage. A .45acp doesn't have this luxury. Even FMJ .45acps won't penetrat much.
6. 9mm is better for beginners.

Timthinker
August 26, 2007, 11:50 PM
Previously, I championed a good double-action revolver for the sake of safety, but I did not elaborate upon my reasoning. While anyone who purchases a firearm for self-defense needs training with it, some designs seem more "user friendly" under the stress of a potential life-and-death situation. And I believe this applies to a good double-action revolver. Now, I do not wish to imply that a person can not learn to use a semi-auto well under the circumstances I am describing, but the DA revolver removes one less complication when a person is fighting an adrenaline rush among other factors. My conscience requires me to put forth this recommendation.

Incidentally, I once owned a Colt .45acp, but I realize this would not be the ideal choice for others. I truly believe that the semi-auto is the choice for a combat situation due to its greater magazine capacity and easy of rapid reload with spare clips. But I am speaking of a home defense situation here where I would hope these factors would not apply.


Timthinker

Lonestar49
August 27, 2007, 12:23 AM
...

+1

Valid points TT


LS

flyfisher000
August 27, 2007, 01:32 AM
For the love of Pete stick with the 380 if you are good with it. The new thing now is bigger is better. The more bullets a gun has the better. Don't believe everthing you read on the internet. You don't know its origin. More people die from the shock of being shot then from the wound itself. If you can keep a person from going into shock after being shot, he has a good chance of making it unless he was hit in a vital organ. Once you shoot someone with your 380 the fight is over. When a person gets shot, his first thought will be am I going to die or not? That is when the shock factor will kick in. His next thought will be escape with whats left of his life. He may recover and come after you another day BUT not that day, that can happen if he gets shoot with anyother caliber and lives. I know someone is going to say well if he is on drugs then... There have been documented cases with shootings involving bad guys on drugs and being shoot with 45s. I am not saying by any means that there is not some good advice from people who know alot about the subject but it will be mixed with postings from those that have watched alot of Die Hard Movies. Lastly I would like to say NOTHING replaces knowing your gun well and good marksmanship. If that were not the case I would not waste my time with 9mm, 45, 357 and just get a 50cal gun.

Arcticfox
August 27, 2007, 01:51 AM
If you have a local rental range then rent several different calibers/types and find the one you shoot best, regardless of caliber or action type (only hits count).
Tomac

+1

Jerry Morris
August 27, 2007, 07:05 PM
If you are a total clutz, ignore this and hire a bodyguard.

The best response, is the trained response. I know from experience, the double action revolver trigger is one of the most difficult of trained responses to deliver accurately and accuracy must be good enough. I love revolvers, but my response is more reliable from the 1911.

Everyone I have helped to transition from the revolver to the 1911 gained much more accuracy and speed. To say the 1911 is difficult to learn is to admit to a lack of knowledge of it. And proper ingraining of training.

Training is the key. Embrace training like a beautiful lady! Pay close attention to it. Accuracy and reasonable speed are the end demands of self defense with the firearm. If you cannot deliver these demands from contact range to 25 yards with reasonable safety, you had better rethink your needs. Training helps you counter the the fear factor.

Also, if your emotions do rule in a crisis,you are in deep trouble. Let training rule the situation. Let the fear affect you in the aftermath.

Whether it is the firearm, motorcycle, the auto or any other more common tool, Fear defeats you. I prefer to take the desired action and later go "Woa! THAT was close!" Hold off fear, at an arms distance, until a quieter time arrives.

The is only one time emotion can be "helpful" and that is when the situation is truly hopeless, then perhaps rage came overcome the bad odds. But count on getting hurt badly, terminally even.

Jerry

Timthinker
August 27, 2007, 08:05 PM
Although Jerry and I disagree agreeably over the merits of the revolver vs. semi-auto, we both strongly believe in good training. I would like to expand upon this idea of training to also include vigorous physical conditioning. Why? In a life-and-death senario, people experience the "adrenaline dump" brought on by sudden fear. In this situation, the body literally releases a large amount of adrenaline which can cause a person to experience tunnel vision and the "shakes" among other factors. One way to counter this effect is through physical training that prepares a person for it psychologically and physically.

Preparing for the "adrenaline dump" is not as bizzare as it may seem initially. Some unarmed fighting instructors have their students perform strenuos physical exercise before a sparring match to mimic the effects of the adrenaline factor. If the students can work through the adrenaline effect, then it improves their chances of dealing with it in a real fight. This is something that I think merits consideration.

In closing, I would like to stated that the presence of the "adrenaline dump" leads me to favor the revolver as more "user friendly" in the circumstances I have described. Does this mean I oppose the semi-auto. No, I owned one for years and felt quite comfortable with it. But my level of self-confidence and physical conditioning may not apply to others. It is for this reson that I adopt the position stated here. Whatever choice that you, the reader, make, please train with your weapon until you become proficient with it.


Timthinker

Jerry Morris
August 27, 2007, 08:48 PM
Timthinker; If you have truly mastered the DA trigger, you have been proper in your choice. I wish I could shoot my 4 inch S&W Model 19 as well as I can my 1911s.

But, then, would I miss the ease of reloading???? ;)


Jerry

Trope
August 28, 2007, 12:11 AM
I chose 9mm because of the relatively inexpensive ammo. I need the practice. And yes, there are some fine defensive rounds available, too.

(with my .22 pistol, I get even more practice now :) )

obxned
August 29, 2007, 06:53 PM
Spend the money on .380 ammo and practice, practice, practice.

RPCVYemen
August 29, 2007, 09:42 PM
When you all say ".45", do you mean the real .45 that Wyatt Earp used, or that dinky little sawed off 20th Century version? :)

Shoot whatever you are comfortable with. All of the (common) handgun calibers are pretty wimpy - arguing about them is like my brother and I arguing over which one of us is better equipped to be a porn star.

If you hit what you aim at, then how quickly the perpetrator ceases action will depend on a lot of factors - probably the least of which is caliber. If you miss what you aim at, it doesn't matter what caliber you are shooting.

Mike

jpwilly
August 30, 2007, 02:02 AM
Well, all my hadguns happen to be .45 for a reason. The PT145 carried IWB works great for me. The PT1911 is a range gun mostly and the Llama stays at home for the Wife. Recoil? The 45 doesn't have much more recoil if any than most of the other calibers you listed worthy of self defence...namely the 357mag or 40cal. Actually, ever shot a 2" snubby in 357Mag? Talk about recoil and muzzle climb!

Soybomb
August 30, 2007, 02:07 AM
Don't believe everthing you read on the internet. You don't know its origin. More people die from the shock of being shot then from the wound itself.
Along those lines could I ask you to cite a source for that information and what type of shock they're refering to.

jpwilly
August 30, 2007, 02:20 AM
Get a 1911 in 45ACP and you wonder why you even had to ask!

Socrates
September 1, 2007, 07:25 PM
I currently own a Bersa Thunder .380, which, even though I think is a good handgun, has a caliber that I think is just too small for serious defensive carry. Therefore, I have thinking about moving up calibers, with this tentative list in mind to consider: .38 Special, 9mm, .40, .357 Magnum, .45.

Part of my considerations have been about stopping power, part of my considerations have been about price (of both the round and the gun), and part of my considerations have been about capacity (how many rounds each gun can hold). As you can probably tell, I am all over the place with my choices.

OK: Here's how I divide this problem for defensive carry, which was what you posted about.

.380, with ball ammo, will penetrate about 15" of Gello. With accurate shot placement, that works. HP's will NOT penetrate enough

Now, here's how I divide the problem: not caliber but BULLET weight.

100-140 grain bullets, in .38, .357, .40, or 45 are marginal for penetration, if HP's are used.

Heavier bullets in the .38/357, starting at about 145 grains to 180 grains, will penetrate to the FBI standard .40 load distance of 17.9" in gello, sometimes.

Now, here comes the fun part. Velocity can play a HUGE part in how bullets preform, and not always in the way you think. And, add to that, when you start chopping inches off your barrel, the .357 you just bought could be a 2"
Plus P, really.

The good news is generally, heavy bullets create resistance, and, loose less velocity in short barrels.
The real world tests of some of Buffalobores ammo is posted below. You can
see both the huge energy, and velocity lost, when going from a 4-6" barrel to a 340-360PD:
Item 19E/20—158gr. Speer Uni-core, (Gold Dot) hollow cavity, bullet @ 1,100fps from a 2.5 inch barrel. It is designed to mushroom, yet hold together and penetrate deeply—roughly 13 to 15 inches in human tissue.

S&W mod. 340PD 1-7/8 inch barrel—1,015 fps (361 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 66 2-½-inch barrel—1,097 fps (422 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 65 3-inch barrel—1,172 fps (481 ft. lbs.)
S&W Mt. Gun 4-inch barrel—1,232 fps (532 ft. lbs.)
Colt Python 6-inch barrel—1,198 fps (503 ft. lbs.)

WARNING—shooting this ammo out of revolvers weighing less than 16 OZ. produces tremendous felt recoil. We recommend our +P 38 SPL ammo for revolvers that weigh less than 16 OZ., if you are recoil sensitive.

Item 19F/20—140gr. Sierra JHC bullet (jacketed hollow cavity) @ 1,150 fps from a 2.5 inch barreled S&W mod. 66. Designed to mushroom and penetrate deeply—roughly 12 to 14 inches in human tissue.

S&W mod. 340PD 1-7/8 inch barrel—1,088 fps (368 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 66 2.5 inch barrel—1,156 fps (415 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 65 3 inch barrel—1,246 fps (483 ft. lbs.)
S&W Mt. Gun 4 inch barrel—1,321 fps (542 ft. lbs.)
Colt Python 6 inch barrel—1,286 fps (514 ft. lbs.

Item 19G/20—125gr. Speer Unicore (Gold Dot) bullet @ 1,225 fps from a 2.5 inch S&W mod. 66 barrel. Designed to mushroom violently, yet hold together and penetrate deeply—roughly 12 to 14 inches in human tissue.

S&W mod. 340PD 1-7/8 inch barrel— 1,109 fps (341 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 66 2-½-inch barrels—1,225 fps (416 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 65 3-inch barrels— 1,322 fps (485 ft. lbs.)
S&W Mt. Gun 4-inch barrel— 1,445 fps (579 ft. lbs.)
Colt Python 6-inch barrel— 1,388 fps (535 ft. lbs.)
http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#tactical357

A 3" barrel seems to be the best compromise, at least from the data above.

I've also found other tests at Brassfetcher.com where a Glock 26 averaged
1200 fps with 9mm ammo, and the same 125 grain Gold Dots used above. the 26 barrel is 3.48" long, and, the Glocks rifling helps boost velocity.

Now, let's add another layer to this mess:
the same bullet, at different velocities.

From Double Tap ammo, compare the .40 S&W 180 grain Gold Dot results with the 10mm results:

"DoubleTap 9mm+P
115gr. Gold Dot JHP @ 1415fps - 12.00" / .70" 511 ft pds
124gr. Gold Dot JHP @ 1310fps - 13.25" / .70" 473
147gr. Gold Dot JHP @ 1125fps - 14.00" / .66" 413 ft lbs

DoubleTap .40 S&W Penetration / expansion
135gr. Nosler JHP @ 1375fps - 12.10" / .72" 567 ft lbs
155gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1275fps - 13.00" / .76" 560 ft lbs
165gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1200fps - 14.0" / .70" 528
180gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1100fps - 14.75" / .68" 484 ft lbs
200gr XTP @ 1050fps - 17.75" / .59" 490
Now, look at the 10MM, and his 45 Stuff:
DoubleTap 10mm
135gr JHP @ 1600fps - 11.0" / .70" frag nasty 768 ft lbs
155gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1475fps - 13.5" / .88" 749
165gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1400fps - 14.25" / 1.02" 718 ft lbs

165gr Golden Saber JHP @ 1425fps - 14.75" / .82" 744 ft-lbs
G29 the 165gr GSHP went 15.0" / .84" The petals were folded further back on the bullet fired from the G20.
-Mike
180gr Golden Saber JHP @ 1330fps - 16.0" / .85" 707 ft lbs
180gr XTP @ 1350fps – 17.25” / .77” 729 ft lbs
180gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1300fps - 15.25" / .96" 676
Using the G29, the 180gr GDHP: 15.5" /.98"
200gr XTP @ 1250fps - 19.5" / .72"
230gr Equalizer @ 1040fps - 11.0" and 17.0" / .62" and .40" 553 ft lbs
DoubleTap .45ACP
185gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1225fps - 12.75" / .82" 617 ft lbs
200gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1125fps - 14.25" / .88" 562
230gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1010fps - 15.25" / .95" 521 ft lbs

Here, I'll make it easier:
180gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1100fps - 14.75" / .68" 484 ft lbs
10mm
180gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1300fps - 15.25" / .96" 676

So, the same bullet, going 200 fps faster, penetrates only .5" deeper. However, it expands MUCH more, .68 vs .96".

Keep in mind that both these loads are short of the FBI loads 17.9" of penetration, what they wanted, in the .40 S&W. How did they get it?
They slowed the bullet down, sacrifice expansion for penetration. IIRC,
the FBI load is only going 980 fps.

So, how do you pick? First, you have to be able to conceal the gun.
Find something you are looking at, and find the biggest gun you can conceal, and go from there.

Next, 45 ACP REALLY needs a 4" barrel to get consistent bullet performance, and, consistent weapon reliability.

Then, find ammo you can afford to shoot, that out of the barrel length you are considering gives decent performance.

Your Bersa Thunder weighs only about 23 oz. At that weight, the only guns that really provide the same weight, and increase power are the Glock 26/27, at 20 oz. in 9mm and .40, and, the Glock 29/30, in 10MM and 45ACP.
The 3.78" barrel in the 29/30 gives about 4" barrel results in velocity.

CZ's RAmi weighs 25 oz, and, the Bersa MiniThunder weighs 27 oz, and is only $350 New. I almost bought a Bersa Thunder, but, the Glocks are lighter, parts are cheaper, and, with either a block, or the Wolf trigger safety, I'd be happy with either.

If you are considering an XD, try and figure out where you are going to put it. They are bigger, and heavier then the Glocks, with more features, safeties, etc.

Hope this helps.

S J.D.

Michael_2112
September 1, 2007, 08:09 PM
9mm is certainly the cheapest of those listed to feed. If you intend on reloading, that isn't necessarily the case.

With the rising cost of ammo, I find myself shooting a whole lot more .22 and 9mm.

As far as platform: You may be able to find a CZ or Ruger or in that price range, used of course. I don't think you can go wrong with either.


Mike

Socrates
September 1, 2007, 09:10 PM
http://www.savvysurvivor.com/tanfoglio_eaa_witness_pistols_fo.htm

http://www.gundirectory.com/more.asp?gid=20002&gun=Pistol

I've found this gun in 10m, new, for 375.00
http://www.gundirectory.com/guns/20059-1.jpg

http://www.gundirectory.com/more.asp?gid=20059&gun=Pistol

It can easily be converted to 40 and 9mm with mag changes, and different barrels.

S Esq.
PS this one too:
http://www.gundirectory.com/more.asp?gid=20063&gun=Pistol
http://www.gundirectory.com/guns/20063-1.jpg

Glockman17366
September 1, 2007, 09:40 PM
"With all of this said, I am considering the .38 special, because it is cheap and I think that the round can compare with a 9mm for stopping power. Plus, the gun that I found for it is a very nice gun to handle, and I think I can be accurate with it. I think it will either be that or a Ruger autoloader in 9mm, but I worry that the 9mm even isn't much of a step up from the .380 (after all, the .380 is also known as (and basically is) the "9mm short"). When I make my purchase, I just want to make sure that I pick something that I can depend on, which is why I have all of the contradictory thoughts about all of these rounds. "

I think you're way over analyzing the choice...

If you like .38 Spl, then that's the one to buy.

Just remember, your goal is to stop a fight or attack...that's all. You'll be within 5 feet of the assailant....a .38 will do fine.

So, buy the .38...carry it and don't look back.

gomakemeasandwich
September 1, 2007, 11:40 PM
Thank you to everyone who responded to my question. Your answers were appreciated. I believe someone asked me to post after I had decided and to let you know what the decision was. I have made a decision. After taking the suggestion to rent and shoot guns of some of the calibers I was considering, I bought a Ruger P95 in 9mm (over a Glock 30). Several of reasons included: it was NIB for $350 (OTD at $380), ammo is really cheap, it has 15+1 ammo capacity, it is small enough for CCW, and it included an extra magazine with it. So that is why I made my choice.

Is it a good one? I am not sure just yet. I have dry fired it at home, and the DA trigger pull is extremely heavy. Also, there is a small problem with the magazine not fitting fully into the grip. Both of those might need to be worked on--or it could just need breaking in too.
Despite those problems, it feels nice in the hand, and it seems like a well built gun, so I will be curious to see how it shoots. I may be going to the range as early as tomorrow, so I could know then.

Anyway, that was my choice, and while I don't know if I would have made the same choice if money wasn't an issue (the Glock 30 is an amazing gun), it's the gun I have now. I guess I will see how it works out. Thanks for all of your help.

Also, I will responding to select posts from the past two weeks or so that have been posted on here, so I still have more to say.

gomakemeasandwich
September 1, 2007, 11:53 PM
.45 ACP in a 1911 would be my recommendation. It worked well for the US armed forces for over 60 years.

If money wasn't an issue, I'd say go straight to a quality 1911 and the .45acp. That's my personal choice for several very good reasons.

my personal choice is the 45 acp in a 1911 commander 230 g ranger sxt 8+1 . you can get a rock island 1911 for around 350 brand new and they are a good gun .

Several people suggested the 1911, and while I think it is a good gun, I would have to disagree for a few reasons. The most obvious one is price. Other than the Rock Island Arms 1911 (which I had seriously considered, but couldn't find anywhere around here, since none of the gun stores around here are any good) that was mentioned, most of the gun stores my area charge outrageous prices for any 1911s.

I know I said that I would spend a little more if I felt that I was getting the right gun, but I can't afford $800 for a 1911. It is simply out of my price range. Secondly, the Glock 30 holds more rounds (10+1), is smaller, and I shot really well with it. Additionally, with the 1911, you usually have to keep it "cocked and locked," as opposed to the Glock, where all you have to do is pull the trigger. With all of this in mind, I don't think the 1911 would have been a good choice in this situation.

gomakemeasandwich
September 2, 2007, 12:17 AM
If you have a local rental range then rent several different calibers/types and find the one you shoot best, regardless of caliber or action type (only hits count).
Tomac

1st -- I would suggest going to a range & shooting the calibers in question so you know exactly what you're in for and have a clearer picture in your mind of what you're buying.

While this turned out to be an expensive suggestion, it was a good one. As I mentioned, I did rent several guns, and it did change my opinion as to what gun I was going to buy (from the .38 special revolver to a semi auto).

By the way, the indoor rental range (there is only one range in the Pittsburgh area) out here sucks and is full of pricks, so that is why I was hesitant to go to an indoor range. I looked around a little bit though and found a much cheaper range with much better people a little farther away, so I was still able to go to an indoor range. As I mentioned, it changed my purchase decision.

Now, as I said, I rented a Glock 30 and a Ruger GP100, and also took along my Bersa for comparison. Shooting the Glock 30 was amazing. It is probably the best gun I have ever shot (which was a major surprise after my bad experience with shooting a Glock the first time), and I don't think I have ever been more accurate with a handgun. I thought it could just be a fluke, but I spoke with a firearms instructor who my grandfather is friends with, and he confirmed that the pistol really was that good--and also that he owned one himself, which he has shot in competition (local competition between gun clubs). Also, out of the three guns I shot (in four calibers), the .45 ACP kicked the hardest. I didn't have any trouble handling it.

As I mentioned, I also rented a Ruger GP100. I hated that gun, and shot awfully with it. Surprisingly, the .357 magnum didn't have much punch in it. The Glock honestly was harder to control. The .357 on the other hand, was easier to control, but I was less accurate with it. Why? I think because of the DA trigger I kept pulling it to the right. Anyway, the .357 was a disaster for me for that reason. My sister, by the way, who had trouble with the Glock, had no trouble with the .357 magnum in the Ruger, and even put up better groups than I did with the round. Embarrassing, I know.

I also tried out the .38 special in the Ruger, and did better with that round. The .38 special, by the way, at least out of a Ruger GP100, kicks less (hardly at all actually) than my .380 with a hot load. I was more accurate with the .38 special, but not nearly as accurate as with the .45 ACP. Anyway, with either round, I wasn't happy with the Ruger GP100 for whatever reason. I'm sure it is great for many people, but it is just not for me.

ZeSpectre
September 2, 2007, 12:22 AM
Buy whatever you can afford to shoot the most and get good with it under varied conditions.

gomakemeasandwich
September 2, 2007, 12:25 AM
Don't pick a 1911 unless you are going to practice extensively. If you are looking for a home defense gun, you want something that is simple to use and intrinsically safer that a 1911. Chances are, you are going to be woken up from a deep sleep and you brain won't be fully functional. A 1911 is a pro's gun and design for someone with full control of his faculties. You have to disengage the safety and the trigger is relative light.

My suggestions would be a double action revolver, double action auto or something similar. In the case of a double action, there are no safeties to disengage, but the double action is heavy enough to resist an accidental discharge in the event you aren't thinking (half asleep) and put your finger on the trigger. A glock with a 8 pound NY trigger, a Kahr or most double action autos give the same effect.

Remember, you will almost certainly will not be ready, and probably not thinking clearly in the first few minutes when you wife/girlfriend wakes you in the middle of the night because she hears a noise. Pick you gun based on that criteria, not what is the ultimate 'shooter'.

I'd also seriously consider a weapon light. I have a SureFire on my G26. You get the bonus of being able to see, and blinding the other person.

The gun I was looking for would be for concealed carry. Thank you anyway though.

gomakemeasandwich
September 2, 2007, 12:27 AM
All the above will get the job done . . . provided it fits your hand well, you shoot it well and it doesn't malfunction.

It's kind of a champagne headache isn't it!

Yeah, I did kind of get a champagne headache with all of the choices out there.

gomakemeasandwich
September 2, 2007, 12:30 AM
According to who? People like dr gary roberts are saying things like the .380 isn't a good choice at all even for a bug.

Who cares what Dr. Gary Roberts thinks? Is Dr. Roberts willing to stand downrange and take a few .380 hits? Probably not. The .380 is fine for normal defensive carry.

gomakemeasandwich
September 2, 2007, 12:32 AM
While there are many good options for you at this point, I'm going to vote for a 9mm semi-auto. You are already familiar with the feel of your Bersa. It wouldn't be that difficult to get used to the feel of a larger 9mm semi-auto, such as the Ruger. I personally find that I don't shoot revolvers as well as I do semi-autos.

In terms of the caliber, I think that 9mm is a good compromise in terms of power, recoil and cost. Lower ammo costs equals more range time, and more range time should lead to better shot placement if you ever need to defend yourself.

Good luck with your purchase!

TMann

I thought this was actually really good advice (maybe because it fit my line of thinking). Still, if I could afford that Glock 30, I would buy it.

gomakemeasandwich
September 2, 2007, 12:38 AM
FYI, the .38 Special Chicago load is far superior to the .380 ACP and easily tops the 9 mm, shot for shot.

Jerry

I disagree, but arguing ballistics is a boring pursuit. Most people (including me) believe that the 9mm is a step up from the .38 special in any load, but if you want to believe the .38 is better than the 9mm, that's your decision.

gomakemeasandwich
September 2, 2007, 12:41 AM
The answer for the list of calibers you give is "yes."

All are good calibers, all have advantages and disadvantages when compared with each other, but all are good calibers that will do the job. Given that, I think it is most important to decide on a platform (auto v. revolver, and which particular auto or revolver that feels best in your hand) and then worry about caliber. Once you narrow down the platform, you will have narrowed your caliber list at least a little.

That said, some advantages and disadvantages of the calibers:

-.38spl:
Depending upon the loading it may be just barely acceptable, or it can be a pretty good caliber. With the right load it can be a great caliber, you can get very light wadcutters for easy practice, and you can get inexpensive practice rounds. Only 9mm will cost less to practice with in the major service calibers. It can give decent stopping ability while limiting your risk of overpenetration, with relatively low recoil (quick follow up shots) and low report (better for your hearing).

-.357mag:
A revolver in .357mag can shoot .38spl so it is even more versatile. I load my magnums with .38+P for home defense. Using magnums, you have some great powerful rounds to chose from. Some of the best. You also have minimum power for bear defense out in the woods. However, for self-defense (whether CCW or home defense) the .357mag has a lot of penetration, too much- I see overpenetration to be a big issue. I don't want to risk hitting the bad guy, having the bullet go through the bad guy and then hitting a bystander or a family member. Also, it is loud so you can pretty much count on some hearing damage after an indoor defensive shoot.

-9mm:
As cheap as you can get (outside .22lr) for practice ammo and with the right loadings you have some good defensive choices. Recoil is low so you can get quick follow up shots as needed. The guns chambered in it will either be smaller than comparable .40s and .45s or have more rounds in the mag. Drawbacks include: overpenetration (high velocity rounds like 9mm are more likely to overpenetrate than a lower velocity round like .45ACP), less ammo flexibility (while there are some very good loads, there are also some very poor performers in this caliber).

.40S&W:
I used to be with you, it didn't do it for me. Now it is my favorite CCW caliber. Power levels up there with .45ACP, it can be put in smaller guns than .45ACP or it will hold more rounds in similar sized guns, much more flexibility in loads than 9mm (you can buy what is on sale since there aren't really any bad .40S&W defensive loads), to me recoil isn't bad, prices of practice ammo pretty much split the difference between the cost of .45ACP and 9mm. However, I don't like it as much for home defense as it is a high velocity round like 9mm so overpenetration may be an issue.

.45ACP:
The standard everything else is compared to. It is powerful (as handgun rounds go), plentiful (not that any of your other choices aren't), recoil isn't bad, being a slower round (it gets its power from its size) it is less likely to overpenetrate. In my mind it is the best auto caliber for home defense because of the combination of power without too much overpenetration.

I have guns in all the listed calibers (and others) so I don't have to choose. I started with a 9mm and .38spl, and see nothing wrong with you doing the same (though I quickly traded both on a .45ACP and a .357mag, usually loaded with .38+P but I found the ability to shoot magnums reassuring). If I wanted one gun to do it all, it would either be a .45 or a K-frame .357mag loaded with .38+P.

If you choose a revolver, since you are worried about capacity I'd suggest looking at Taurus. They have three K-frame sized .357mag revolvers with 7 shots (the 66, the Tracker, and the 2" 617, plus the 2" 7 shot .38spl 817). If you were looking for home defense instead of carry, you could look at the 8-shot, large frame 608. Anyway, in autos and revolvers there are a ton of good choices. Again, I suggest going to the gunshop and handling them, and try to test fire some at a range with rentals, to see what feels best to you, then caliber will be easier to figure out.

This was a really good answer. Thank you.

gomakemeasandwich
September 2, 2007, 12:45 AM
You should take your time and find the right pistol because I think the Bersa Thunder is not a bad defensive pistol ( I have one myself ) , remember it is the shot placement that count -.380 ACP in center mass beat .44 Magnum that hit the wall .

I agree with, I like my Bersa a lot, and I have no problem with the Bersa in most situations (I actually don't carry often). Still, I need something with either a high magazine capacity or a backup to the Bersa, which is why I posted in the first place. Normally, I would have no problem carrying the Bersa, but sometimes I need more.

gomakemeasandwich
September 2, 2007, 12:47 AM
What ever a new, or novice shooter gets, he should attend a decent instruction designed around that firearm. Safety is between the ears, not in the hand.

Many new shooters have been taught well, how to safely use the 1911. It only takes proper instruction and a good learners mindset. Study safety well, use the lessons. A goof up with any firearm is courting disaster.

Jerry

I am not a novice.

gomakemeasandwich
September 2, 2007, 12:50 AM
Shoot it weak hand rapid fire and see how accurate you are. Most people don't ever do this but it is a mistake. It is a very real possibility that not only with you hand to defend yourself with only one hand but it may be the weak hand that ends up doing the shooting. There a million reasons this could be the case, you could be injured, carrying something you don't want to drop (baby, money, ect), you could be fending off someone with one arm, you could be using the arm to drive or hang on to something.

Whatever it is, you still should be able to shoot rapid fire with your weak hand. You should not only be able to hit with your weak hand but also control the gun so it doesn't slip out of your hand during recoil.

I like this suggestion, and I think I will try it. Good suggestion.

molonlabetn
September 2, 2007, 12:50 AM
Lots of good answers up here... All I have to add is an alternative; why not keep the platform you have (which I assume you are familiar and comfortable with aside from your stopping power question)... and buy some hotter SD loads for it? Double-Tap produces a .380 load which roughly equals .38spl +p, and even some low-end 9mm.

Double-Tap .380 90gr Gold-Dot @ 1100fps 242ft-lb from 3.5" Bersa Thunder barrel (http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_62&products_id=233)

gomakemeasandwich
September 2, 2007, 12:54 AM
I think you're way over analyzing the choice...

If you like .38 Spl, then that's the one to buy.

Just remember, your goal is to stop a fight or attack...that's all. You'll be within 5 feet of the assailant....a .38 will do fine.

So, buy the .38...carry it and don't look back.

Maybe, but I'd rather put too much energy into it than not enough.

Tomcat47
September 2, 2007, 01:02 AM
Sandwich!....

I disagree with anyone who down plays the .380...History says otherwise and ballistics as stated above is a pointless argument. And most of all self defense has little to do with caliber, and everything to do with preperation.

I carry a .380 myself, and IMO it is the best self defensive gun I have, not because of ballistics, but due to the fact that it IS more than powerful enough to change the outcome of an attack, but most of all I have awesome control and accuracy with my Taurus PT58 HC. Out of all my firearms (and I do have better firearms than the little Taurus) If I am ever caught in a bad situation and have to defend myself and / or family I hope it is on my prson or close by, and the aggressor will not like it being there.

The .380 has a balanced performance factor in a close quarters self defensive situation.

here is an interesting site for you... www.internetarmory.com a lot to read re: self defense and calibers and so on so forth.

If you can hit with your Bersa .380 RETHINK your decisions. I had a Bersa .380 and I liked it.

When the time for action has come...The time for preperation has passed.

Jerry Morris
September 2, 2007, 02:06 AM
I disagree, but arguing ballistics is a boring pursuit. Most people (including me) believe that the 9mm is a step up from the .38 special in any load, but if you want to believe the .38 is better than the 9mm, that's your decision.

Will not argue with you. Just remember, I said one load, not all .38 Specials.

For someone who was undecided, you are so authoritative. -=<BEG>=-

Jerry

Jerry Morris
September 2, 2007, 02:26 AM
I disagree with anyone who down plays the .380...History says otherwise and ballistics as stated above is a pointless argument. And most of all self defense has little to do with caliber, and everything to do with preperation.

The .380 is lethal. Just remember, some of have seen it fail to stop against living flesh. Shoot enough live things and you begin to understand what stopping power is. I have.

I am not about killing power for defense. I want that, which I can place where it needs to be, with all the power I can control and see the result is a stop. You might get that with a .380, but it is a known fact, many times you do not. History supports this FACT. Wounded predators are dangerous things. And we are at the top of the food chain, which makes it even more dangerous. Add deviant practices, like substance abuse and the issue is compounded.

If caliber meant so little, we would all be toting .22 shorts.

Jerry

labcoat31
September 2, 2007, 02:53 AM
Just came across this website and joined. I have a 9 mm and a 357. The 9 holds 8+ 1. The 357 holds 6. The 357 has more stopping power but I still like my 9. There both good!!

Jerry Morris
September 2, 2007, 03:03 AM
Just came across this website and joined. I have a 9 mm and a 357. The 9 holds 8+ 1. The 357 holds 6. The 357 has more stopping power but I still like my 9. There both good!!

Yup, they're good. I like mine, too. If they work like they're supposed to, they will do.

Welcome to the site.

Jerry

labcoat31
September 2, 2007, 03:18 AM
Thanks for the reply. I'm looking forward to many informative discussions here!:)

flyfisher000
September 2, 2007, 04:13 AM
Quote:
Don't believe everthing you read on the internet. You don't know its origin. More people die from the shock of being shot then from the wound itself.

Quote:
Along those lines could I ask you to cite a source for that information and what type of shock they're refering to.

I see you have over 2000 post, my that is a lot of posting. I wasn't going to answer this because that will just go into a pissing match. If that is not your intention then I am sorry to have assumed that. Having said that...

Ok, I have really read this in many reputable articles over the years. The only source that sticks in my mind is an article written in JAMA while waiting in the Doctors office about two years ago. I remember it only because they are so very antigun. Let us forget about gunshot wounds for a moment. The 1st rule when someone suffers trauma is to keep that person from going into shock, and to keep them awake. I know that litttle tid-bit of information because both my children are in the medical field. I asked my daughter how to best explain shock without having to quote the dictionary and she told me to tell that person to go and sit at one of the large city hospitals for an hour on a Friday night and they will get a idea of the shock that I am refering to. Again I am not just refering to trauma caused by gunshot, a bad car accident can cause the same amount of shock, so can being stabbed or shot with a 22cal bullet.

Jerry Morris
September 2, 2007, 04:35 AM
flyfisher000: JAMA info is not infallible. In fact JAMA has been used politically as an anti-gun weapon, by its own people. They have an agenda.

What is shock? How fast is its onset?

How do you explain people, who have already suffered a lethal wound, going on to kill their killer? When I say lethal wounds, I mean heart shot and brain shot wounds, that did end in death! Just look at the FBI Miami Massacre for more evidence on the unreliability of shock induced incapacity. Those guys were shot to ribbons, on both sides.

Shock is not a fight ender. Yes, some timid souls get shot in the little finger and die of fright. Do not count on this effect universally.

Jerry

Socrates
September 2, 2007, 05:47 AM
Well, most of the time the shootings we hear about are done with service caliber rounds that have very minor changes. In fact, the industry seems determined to take even the Magnum calibers, load light bullets, at slow to medium velocity, and turn your 44 mag into a 9mm, or 45 ACP.

I think this shock does happen, just not with the loads the big 3, and the industry feed us.

Example: Deer are pretty tough. Friend ham shot one, missed every vital organ.
However, a 400 grain, expanded .475 bullet opened up, and made a huge wound, end to end on the deer. Deer went 5 yards, fell over dead, no CNS, no explanation.

Jack Huntington's .500 JRH, 440 grain LFN bullet, at 950 fps, seems to have the effect of a 375 H&H rifle on 1000-2500 pound bovine. I suspect if wasn't politically incorrect, and we had 260-300 grain HP's for defense, there would be REAL one shot stops...

Also, there appears to be multiple wounding dynamics. Yes, that 400 grain XTP at 1350 works well, but, how come that 440 grain .500 caliber flat nose, non expanding bullet at a wimpy 950 kills all out of range for what the FPE is?

S esq.

Jerry Morris
September 2, 2007, 05:55 AM
Socrates; I have fired some of those monsters. They are boomers! Never did try to conceal one. 1911 seems to be as big as I go for defense in a handgun.

Yup, think I'd go for a 12 gauge instead, if I felt I needed that much punch.

Jerry

labcoat31
September 2, 2007, 10:25 AM
I keep a 12 gauge at the head of the bed, I keep it loaded but not chambered. The first warning is the very familiar pump of the shot gun, the second warning is bird shot, to me thats enough warning. The next shot is 00 BUCK!!!:cool:

Lonestar49
September 2, 2007, 12:01 PM
...

Seriously, your best bet is to start off with a 9mm.. Cheapest ammo, allows you to spend the time learning and lots of practice. This will also determine if you want to stay involved in guns. If you do, then you, like most of us, will buy several, many, more guns over the years.

Then you'll end up saying, "why didn't I get a 45 cal?"

On the other hand, if you don't want to pursue your gun knowledge, a 9mm will be a user-friendly item to sell, as compared to a 380.

Sig P232 SL 380:

I will say this about the 380, that size wise, the gun, it is very ccw, and as far as punch, effect, it's there, but it's the shot placement that will do it, not so much the size of the bullet. But one thing I can tell you about 380, it is not as soft a shooter compared to a 9mm IMO, and it requires high maintenance, in that, because of the "blow back" action it uses to cycle each round, they get dirty quick, and from my experience, anything past 200 rounds of clean, new, ammo, FMJ for range, HD/SD, everything, IMO, and your chances of a jam go way up..

Keep it clean, on or before 200 rounds, and you should have no problems.

Sig P229R 9mm

Speaking for my other Sig 9mm, it can and does go, 800 rounds without any problems before I give her a total cleaning..

9mm ammo comes in many loads, so the question of impact punch, is mute IMO, but once again, it all comes down to shooter's shot-placements.

Another advantage of a 9mm is most can be fitted with Crimson Trace Laser "grips", which can't be beat for Night time use, at will.

To my knowledge, least for my 380, these laser grips are not an option available.

Last, even if you say price is not the concern, let's say it is concern, and you're having a hard time justifying spending 900-1000 dollars for a first SD/HD gun that you may or may not like up the road after the money has been spent.

That was my big concern, for my first gun, and it all came down to natural feel, point to aim, ease of slide action and field-stripping. The 2 guns, one for 500 bucks, the CZ, and the other for 600 bucks, the Beretta Px4 were the final choices, and Beretta won out because of size, weight, ease of action, ease of field stripping for inspection, and all around finish.

I would point you at either a CZ or a Beretta Px4 in 9mm, as the 40cal which I bought, and still is my favorite gun out of the bunch, demands the most practice to get used to the recoil effect, even though, looking back, it wasn't, and isn't that bad. But after shooting it for some 800 rounds, then getting my second gun, the Sig 9mm, and the rest in the order you see, they ALL shot so easy compared to the 40cal, which, when I went back to the 40cal, after shooting the 9mm, it too, seemed more docile.. With the exception of the 380, I was, still am, surprised at the amount of snap/recoil it serves out, each round. Love the gun, just not a forgiving gun in 95gr IMO.

It's just getting proper technique down that makes each gun work, some more forgiving than others.. IMO.

Best of luck, again


LS

labcoat31
September 2, 2007, 01:04 PM
Lonestar49 I have a 9mm and I agree it's easy to use and is effective. I also have a 357 that packs a good punch and you practice with 38 speacials that are cheaper so you can get in a lot of practice at the range.:)

Jerry Morris
September 2, 2007, 01:49 PM
Lonestar49 I have a 9mm and I agree it's easy to use and is effective. I also have a 357 that packs a good punch and you practice with 38 speacials that are cheaper so you can get in a lot of practice at the range.

Any practice is better than none. But, serious preparation for defense demands that you practice with a load that duplicates the recoil and point of impact as the serious load that will be your defense load.

Those who try to prepare for defense by using a softer, cheaper load and then going to a decent load for defense, cheat themselves. If a cheaper load handles and recoils the same and hits to same point of aim, this is good. But, it is seldom the case.

It seems that some 124 grain 9mm FMJ will hit paper the same as a similar decently designed JHP. I get the same results with 230 Ball and Federal 230 Hydra-Shoks, in my 1911s. It will work, but you just do not blindly trust that it will.

If you practice with .38 Special in a 357 Magnum, then use those loads in defense. No way, does the 38 prepare you for the magnum in practice.

Jerry

Lonestar49
September 2, 2007, 02:16 PM
...

I agree with his above statement, in that, while trying to find the best, most accurate, bullet for my Px4 40, I kept going back and forth between 165gr and 180gr. I finally scored some Remington 180gr JHP, 2 boxes 50 rounds each, for 13.95 each. I like the less recoil of the heavier bullet, 180gr, and shot the first box of the 50 JHP 180gr with accuracy the same as with the same FMJ 180gr, and since have had that "smile/assurance."

The same holds true for the calibers weight in both JHP & FMJ for the rest of my guns.. All the same weights for both range and HD/SD loads.


LS

labcoat31
September 2, 2007, 02:33 PM
Jerry, You are right. I use both 357 & 38's at the range. I have someone else load the gun and I dont know what round is going to come out when I pull the trigger, the first two rounds might be 38's, the next 357, and then 38. I learned this from a guy I know who owns a gun shop and is a NRA certified instructor.

labcoat31
September 2, 2007, 02:37 PM
Can anyone recommend any good books on the second amendment?:)

MikePGS
September 2, 2007, 02:45 PM
Since you said that 9mm is the frontrunner, i suggest that you go with that. Your right, its relatively inexpensive, and easy to find ammunition for. Which means that your more likely to practice a good deal with it. Which is the most important aspect of a defensive handgun: Shot placement. A handgun is far from an ideal weapon but of course you can't carry a shotgun or rifle with you concealed, so we have to settle for handguns. Your .380 is probably more than adequate, but if you would really feel comfortable with a bigger round, the 9mm should be more than enough provided that you load it correctly. Yes, .45 ball ammunition is clearly superior to 9mm ball... but you of course will not be loading it with ball, you will be using premium hollow point ammunition, possibly of the +p variety. I read somewhere, and i don't really have a source so take it with a grain of salt, that the highest percentage of 1 shot stops comes from +p 9mm ammunition, which the author attributed to police officers using the round frequently. The reason for this wouldn't be that the round is a "magic bullet" or any sorts, but rather that the shot placement is ideal in these situations. Theres a really good article written by one of the Moderators here, Stephen Camp on his website that breaks down 9mm vs .45 in a way that really puts things into perspective. http://hipowersandhandguns.com/9mm%20vs%2045.htm Theres the link, hopefully it will help you with your decision.

kashton
September 2, 2007, 02:49 PM
gomakemeasandwich -- "I have never been a fan of the .40 caliber, I'm not sure why. It compares well to the .45 and even the .357 Magnum, but there is just something about it that I don't like (maybe because it was the first handgun round I ever shot, and it was in a Glock, which I don't like. I shot the same round later in one of my friend's S&W autoloaders and loved it). I can't really explain it. With that said however, recoil is manageable, and I can shoot accurately with it."

I see that you are not a fan of the .40 caliber. Especially in a Glock... many people aren't fans of Glocks but many are die hard fans too.

I know a lot of people will disagree but I personally LOVE the .40 caliber for self defense. All of my guns are .40 cal for SD besides my S&W 642 CT which is .38 Special +P. The truth is that 9mm/.38/.40/.357 sig/.45 will all work if you use them right. Pick the one that you feel suits YOU the best. Shoot them all. First find a gun that feels good in your hands and THEN shoot the different calibers for that gun model. Feel the kick and see how well you aim/shoot with each caliber. Then choose a caliber for that specific model/make. That should work well for you. Since you don't like Glock, I would suggest the H&K P2000/P2000SK (P2000SK is a smaller model that will conceal better). The H&K is a VERY reliable handgun, very durable, and VERY accurate. It also looks sweeeeet. I own an H&K P2000SK and LOVE it. I also love glocks, I own a Glock 27 and it is one of my top two favorites, along with my H&K P2000SK. Try one out and see how it feels, I was dead accurate with it the first time I shot it. Try out the V2/V3 as the V2 has a LEM/DAO (Law Enforcement Modification, Double Action Only - 7-8 lbs) trigger and the V3 has a DA/SA (Double action / Single action) trigger where the hammer locks back much like a 1911 style pistol. The V3 also has a decocker. Best of luck and let us know what you decide on!

Kevin

Socrates
September 2, 2007, 02:54 PM
I bought a Ruger P95 in 9mm (over a Glock 30). Several of reasons included: it was NIB for $350 (OTD at $380), ammo is really cheap, it has 15+1 ammo capacity, it is small enough for CCW, and it included an extra magazine with it. So that is why I made my choice.

GUYS. HE ALREADY BOUGHT THE 9MM.!!!!

S

Lonestar49
September 2, 2007, 02:58 PM
...

5 pages, and still going.. lol

Maybe the Mods should lock this one up.. it served its purpose.. lol


LS

kashton
September 2, 2007, 03:00 PM
Sorry, I didn't want to go through 5 pages to see if he bought one already. My bad... just trying to give some friendly advice. Maybe another person will have the same question and will have 5 pages of answers to look at ;)

Socrates
September 2, 2007, 03:29 PM
labcoat31
New Member


Join Date: 09-02-07
Location: Quincy Il.
Posts: 6

Any ideas
Can anyone recommend any good books on the second amendment?

It's not that simple. To understand the absurd, convoluted, non-Constitutional law system with Firearms, you need to understand the following:
Supremacy Clause, Scope of the Bill of Rights, according to the 14th Amendment, The Commerce Clause, The 10th Amendment, and that's a good start.

In short, the 2nd Amendment was extended by the 14th and the 5th, to apply to the states. So, all Federal laws governing firearms are non-constitutional, if you are a 'strict constructionist' who believe 'no law' means 'no law.

Now, if the 2nd Amendment is extended against the states, then all firearms regulations by city, county, and state governments are non-constitutional.

Plus, the Commerce Clause should also be applied to the Federal gun laws, since they inhibit interstate commerce, with no real benefit to balance them against.

The 10th Amendment says that all areas of law not reserved to the Federal Government are to be governed by the states. However, the 14th amendment, and the 5th, IIRC, extend the Bill of Rights against the states, limiting the states rights to pass laws that contradict the Federal Authority, and, that contradict the Federal Constitution Bill of Rights.

You can pretty much put all of this stuff at the feet of FDR, who, with his tremendous majority, and threatening the Supreme Court with expansion, forced the judges who blocked him to retire, and, so we ended up with Federal laws that are illegal, and, likewise the Federal Agencies to enforce them.

Do a web search, and you'll find sites like this:
http://www.virginiainstitute.org/publications/primer_on_const.php
S esq.

Lonestar49
September 2, 2007, 04:15 PM
Quote: Can anyone recommend any good books on the second amendment?
-----------
...

LC31,

You might want to post a "new thread" with this question so you'll get a lot of responses.

My own would be a simple, when they were written, it was basically a black and white issue, but thru time, such as "free speech", they've amended this Right, where you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, for example.. etc.

Same deal with "The Right to Bear Arms".. it's been " reinterpreted by Judges that lean toward a political agenda and, depending on what side of the bed a Judge gets up on, could, would, may, deem how one's "right to carry" or "bear an arm/s" would turn out, if brought up on a charge/s, in our "many" court of laws.

Post it, should be some vibrant discussions..


LS

Socrates
September 2, 2007, 04:24 PM
It's also fear. Judges, just like all elected officials, realize how vulnerable they are to being shot. However, in their quest for safety, they reduce law abiding citizens ability to actually protect public officials.

I go back to the old saying from Yamamoto about a gun behind every bush, or the Airplane movie, where the terrorist pulls a gun, and, everybody on the entire plane pulls one, and points it at him. Makes the point of the 2nd amendment in a graphic, and efficient way.

S esq.

Lonestar49
September 2, 2007, 04:48 PM
...

Yep, we agree there S..

But LC31, if you decide to post the question, post it in the "Legal" forum above.


LS

flyfisher000
September 2, 2007, 05:06 PM
Jerry Morris:
I am not in the medical field and i can just repeat what Webster says, but Shock is when the body starts to go into a semi state of coma. Parts of the body start to shut down. It is like putting the mind and body on standby. That is where the body can go into a point of no return. How fast is the onset of shock, it depends on the individual person. The rest of what you say only supports what I am saying bigger doesn't mean better.
I don't think that there is a person with a 40cal gun that will not dive for cover just because the other guy just has a 22cal gun.
The 380 is a cal that has been and still is in service in many parts of the world. It has been around like the 45 for a long time. It was effective back then and is effective today, even more so with all of these types of new bullets.
In a nut shell, I would much rather face (ANYDAY) a bad guy who has a 40 cal handgun and who has fired it twice in the backyard, then someone with a 22cal that goes to the range once a week and fires a 100 rounds or more to practice. I do not believe in bigger is better and spray and pray.

Lonestar49
September 2, 2007, 05:31 PM
...

Medically speaking, acc Websters, I'm sure that is the right meaning of shock, but it has many applications..

Such as, one can go into shock, by witnessing an event (bad event) which basically puts one into shock, the inability to act, so to speak, or tweak ones thinking capability's, to lose thought (processing) or one can go into shock and not feel pain and continue lifting, running, etc., with a broken bone.

I think the shock value of a 380 cal could be like comparing getting hit in the chest with Bee Bee, as compared to say, a 45 cal, like getting hit in the chest with a frying pan..

Both could, cause shock, but I think the frying pan, being bigger, with more Punch, due to weight, may just knock the wind out of someone, or knock them down, putting them out of the fight for the shooters advantage, in taking another shot, or getting out of Dodge..

I think we all agree that shot placement wins the day for the ultimate shock value, but given the same shot hitting a non-killing zone, I'd bet the 45, 44 357, 40cal, and not necessarily in that order, would have more shock value than a 380 IMHO, be the receiving end on super drugs, or none at all.

There are advantages with speed/velocity, but weight is what carry's the day over less weight with more velocity, as a lighter object is gonna slow down faster up against the same wall/impact area than a much heavier object, that takes more time to stop, even though it's going a little slower, due to its own inertia (its own mass/weight).

But like you, I would not want to stand in front of either a 22 cal, or a 40cal, etc., because either one, if it hits, it's gonna have a shock value within your own mind, feeling the sting, punch, pain, etc., that one knows, he's been hit.

And I don't take enough drugs of any kind, to dull that factor, personally..lol


LS


PS.. You see this weight-effect everyday with SUV's going slow but doing so much damage to the cars they hit, as opposed to the same speed, or faster, of a light car hitting another car, and far less damage, both for the car being hit and the occupants inside (as another example, in general).

golden
September 2, 2007, 05:48 PM
Sandwich,
I would just try and use common sense.

Use the most powerful handgun than you can control and is within the size and cost goals you have set.

I would skip the .45ACP. I do not believe it can do anything that the .40S&W caliber cannot do if you use the right load. If you put them side by side, compare the .40 cal. using 155 grain hollowpoints. They can do as much damage as a .357 magnum and you can get them into a lighter, more compact pistol.
I have fired a BERETTA 96D Brigadier at a measured 100 yards and hit a man sized silouette target.
The downside is that recoil can be severe in some guns. I sold my GLOCK 22 because of the recoil and only shot .40 in a SIG 229 and BERETTA 96. Then my agency switched to the H&K 2000 in .40 caliber. Recoil is about on par with a +P+ 9m.m. and reliability is excellent. It also cost $800.00, so it should be good!

Another reason to skip the .45ACP round is that I find the 1911 to large and I have not found them to be as reliable as a more modern gun like the GLOCK. Some of the newer 1911 models put out by KIMBER, PARA-ORDANCE and SPRINGFIELD ARMORY are great guns, but still too large and then cost as much or more than the already expensive H&K or SIG. GLOCK'S are much cheaper.

The .357 magnum is very effective, but has heavy recoil with the 125 grain hollowpoints which established this caliber with the police. Also, the handguns in this caliber are either too large and heavy for concealment like the S&W 686 or RUGER GP100 unless you use a wear a good holster/belt combination.
The 125 grain load is the one that many State Police and Highway Patrol agencies carry. It has proven very effective in the many fights it has been used in. The U.S. Border Patrol swore by it and they had more gunfights than any other federal agency.
I have carried the 125 grain load in my .357 magnum, but the recoil was hard on my hand and the flash could be seen at noon time in August.

Compact .357 magnums will be easier to conceal, but are very difficult for the average person to control with full power loads, like the 125 grain hollowpoint.
If you go with the .357 magnum, start with regular .38 Special loads, then try both +P .38 Specials and 110 grain .357 magnums. I found the 110 grain .357 magnums recoiled no more than the 158 +P lead hollowpoint that is frequently called the FBI load, Chicago load, Miami load and a couple of other names. The 110 grain load is also very effective and inexpensive if you buy the WINCHESTER white box loads at WALMART or sporting goods stores.


The 9m.m. is my all around choice. The 9m.m. +P hollowpoint ammo is nearly equal the .357 magnum 125 grain load. Yet it kicks quite a bit less. If you find the +P+ and +P loads to hard to control, use the regular 9m.m. hollow points. I like the FEDERAL and WINCHESTER 115 grain hollowpoints. They are inexpensive and accurate. The FEDERAL load has a proven track record with Police agencies.
You can get a 9m.m. in a compact, flat sided gun like the GLOCK 19, WALTHER P-99, H&K 2000 or SIG 228 or 229. These sort of guns can be concealed well with a good holster. They are large enough to give good control of the weapon and carry a large magazine.
The H&K with the LEM trigger and the SIG with the DAK trigger are outstanding.
I have found the grips on mini-guns like the GLOCK 26 to be to small to get a good grip. This makes controlling the gun harder and accuracy usually suffers.

On duty, I have to carry the H&K in .40 caliber. For a house gun, I will use BERETTA 92D Centurion or one of my concealed carry guns. I usually go with a GLOCK 19 or WALTHER P-99. when I am dressed to conceal a gun.

When I am exercising, I like something smaller and lighter. I usually end up with a snub barreled .38 Special loaded with 125 grain +P ammo. Not great if a fight developes, but adequate.

Never, ever use the Full Metal Jacketed (FMJ) or ball ammo. It has been proven to overpenetrate a human body in most calibers. .38 Special, 9 m.m., .357 magnum or .45ACP, it does not matter which, it is likely to overpenetrate.
I do not worry about the FBI pentration requirement. That requirement was arrived at after 8 FBI agents nearly lost a gunfight with 2 criminals. Several law enforcement analysis after the gunfight listed a long series of errors made by the agents. The FBI preferred to blame lack of penetration by a 9m.m. bullet.

Whatever choice. Consider getting professional training. It really does help and you can also get some practical training like shoot/don't shoot and weapons retention. Also, if you go with a semi-auto, jam clearing training can save your life.

This has been my experience. I know some of the others have different ones.

Autolycus
September 2, 2007, 06:53 PM
Just get a .40 so you get the best of the .45 ACP and the 9mm. Its a good round with a large following.

Socrates
September 2, 2007, 07:10 PM
One More Time; He Already Bought A Ruger 9mm...
Read The Thread.

S Esq.

critrxdoc
September 2, 2007, 08:51 PM
I probably don't need to tell you any of this as you probably already know, but anyway here is my 2cents:

.45 is a great caliber, but big and heavy in most platforms. You lose round count and ammo is expensive for practice rounds and defensive ammo. In a CCW package that is easy to conceal, a .45 is not going to give you many more rounds than a .357. I think I would rather try to conceal and carry a brick than a 1911, especially in warm weather.

.357 - incredible round. Used revovlers fit in your price range and you can practice with .38s as already mentioned. You only get 6 rounds in most platforms and ammo is expensive. Both .38s and .357s are pricey to practice with in comparison to both .40 and especially 9mm.

.40 - great round, although you said you have a bias against it. You would be looking at something used in your price range, but you could find it. You would have several options in a easy to conceal CCW. You should be able to find a used M&P, XD, glock or as you alluded to a ruger. The .40 is more expensive to practice with than 9mm, but cheaper than the other rounds discussed in WWWB value packs.

9mm - should be able to find something used in multiple platforms. Capacity in any of the polymers is better than any caliber. Rounds are the least expensive to practice with. Carry ammo is expensive, but hopefully you would only need to use a few hundred.

So given your criteria, I would look for a used 9mm after I went to the range and rented a handful and decided which platform I wanted. Good luck.

Lonestar49
September 2, 2007, 09:46 PM
...

With all the responses to get a 9mm, you've all convinced me to go out and buy "another" 9mm.. lol

But, I'd rather carry my 1911 Colt Defender 45 with 7 rounds and one back-up mag of 7 more rounds, than a brick..

Even today, 102 degrees here and still summertime.. :neener: lol


LS ;)

http://img211.imageshack.us/img211/5088/07000d1sa1.th.jpg (http://img211.imageshack.us/my.php?image=07000d1sa1.jpg)

GlenJ
September 3, 2007, 06:57 PM
I vote for 9mm. Lot's of different loads and practice ammo is cheap.

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