Minimum Caliber for Self-Defense


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GrandMoffBrandon
July 30, 2008, 02:52 PM
What is the minimum caliber I should consider for self-defense and why?

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burningsquirrels
July 30, 2008, 03:18 PM
the caliber war is pretty much a dead horse. a lot of people say 9mm, some say 380 is fine, some believe that nothing but a 40 or 45 is the only way to go.

my answer: buy the biggest one you can comfortably shoot and control reasonably well for follow-up shots.

rcmodel
July 30, 2008, 03:28 PM
A .32 or .380 in your pocket beats a big ol .45 at home in the gun-safe.

Because it was too big & heavy to carry!

rcmodel

Conqueror
July 30, 2008, 03:29 PM
.380 is the smallest I would ever willingly choose. I would use less in a pinch.

jfh
July 30, 2008, 03:34 PM
As important as the "stopping power" of the bullet-cartridge is, probably more important is the ability to shoot it well in a self-defense situation.

I wouldn't consciously choose a .22 for self defense, or 25 and 32 ACP--but I'm minimally comfortable with .380 and rely on one when I want maximum concealability. A Kel-tec P3AT in my vest pocket is, as rcmodel noted, much better than the Kimber 1911 10mm I have at home.

But, I also practice a lot--a real lot, and mostly with j-frame revolvers, shooting a 38+P or higher load.

Jim H.

possum
July 30, 2008, 03:39 PM
here we go again. i say go with what you are comfortable with and what you can control. i personally wouldn't go any less than 9mm.

MMCSRET
July 30, 2008, 03:47 PM
Whatever is at hand when the emergency takes you, be prepared and you won't be under gunned.

OFT
July 30, 2008, 03:48 PM
My opinion, for what it's worth, is 38 Special in a revolver and 9mm in an auto loader.

Kayback
July 30, 2008, 03:55 PM
I have no problem carying a 9x19mm Glock 26 with me all day, every day, same with the .45ACP 1911 I owned and carried before that. It's very hard to imagine a reason why you'd need a smaller gun.

If you desperately want one, there are some very small single stack 9x19mm's out there.

Personally I'd err on the side of 9x17mm being the smallest I'd be happy to carry. the .380 ACP, 9x17mm, 9mm Short or 9mm Kurtz *did I miss any?* is about the smallest decent caliber around. Why? Because it has respectable bullet weights, respectable energy and a respectable supply of guns for it.

I've seen some good things done with .32ACP and I've seen a .25ACP that I would't mind carrying if the gun was bigger.

Small mouse guns are hard to hold properly, hard to aim, and they are not the most ergonomic things around. There are some exceptions like the KeL Tek's and the NAA guardians, but still.

IIRC the NAA Guardian comes in a .32 Corbon special winder caliber of a bottle neck round that has some proimise.

The .25 I'd carry was loaded by an IDPA shooter friend of mine. The rounds he loaded went along the lines of basically a case dipped in a can of fast burning powder, and a .25 Hornady XTP bullet head squashed down on it. I can't remember the Chrono speeds he got on it, but it punched through two telephone directories without a problem.

But it was from a small, crap gun.

IMHO weapon ergonimics means I'll never have a mousegun. Shot placement is king though.

KBK

burningsquirrels
July 30, 2008, 03:58 PM
put one (or several) rounds into someone's soft face, neck, abdomen, groin, lower thigh, or kneecap at 10 feet. follow-up shots are guaranteed and easily controlled with the nonexistent recoil of the 380 auto in a medium sized metal framed gun. seriously, if someone takes a hit in a soft spot they're going to have to stop and think what they're doing.

part of a post in a different forum when someone asked me why i bought a gun that was 380.

CatsEye
July 30, 2008, 11:04 PM
A lot of variables involved in this question. But, to answer a complex question in a simple manner I would say the the .380. I wouldn't feel as secure as I do with my .40 but the .380 can throw a 90gr bullet at 1000fps. It is the very minimum I would trust.

Drgong
July 30, 2008, 11:12 PM
I would say being able to hit the right spot is more important then the actual bullet, though for most situations, I would say that .380 and 38 Special are the nominal "smallist"

though a .25 ACP is a lot better then nothing!

burningsquirrels
July 30, 2008, 11:16 PM
shoot, reagan was almost had by a 22, wasn't he? shot placement > caliber any day. which is why i stick to the advice "biggest you can shoot quickly and accurately", which for me is 40sw. i compete with it, so i have a natural advantage. now about the size and capacity of those said 40sw.... :( which is why i want a 9mm like the Kahr. the cw9 with 8+1 is a good compromise, but that's just IMO.

Halo
July 30, 2008, 11:22 PM
A .22 sure beats fingernails. Shot placement is the mantra for good reason. I think before you can really consider something like minimum caliber you have to first consider what the intended role of the pistol is. Concealed carry? In that case you're probably going to be looking for more compact pistols, and the smaller calibers have the advantage there. Home defense? Your options are much wider.

marineman
July 30, 2008, 11:28 PM
.380. Accurate, controllable, and the pistols are small enough to tote around and conceal.

burningsquirrels
July 30, 2008, 11:30 PM
yup. i picked 380, 9mm, and 40sw for carry. home defense i have high cap 9mms, high cap 40s, and a few other things i do care to omit.

burningsquirrels
July 30, 2008, 11:32 PM
there's also this man (http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dws/wfaa/latestnews/stories/wfaa080214_lj_hawes.bfc57dff.html) who defended himself successfully with a 5-shot 22LR revolver.

criminals are looking for easy money because they're lazy. laziness is part of why they became criminals, too lazy to work for themselves and thus take from others when convenient. being armed and aware takes that convenience away... but that direction of discussion is for another thread.

Jeff F
July 30, 2008, 11:41 PM
I carry a .32 acp some times. Don't feel under-gunned when I carry it.

JKimball
July 31, 2008, 12:03 AM
Massad Ayoob's book says .22LR with hollow points is a lethal option. Not the best, but he thinks it is even better than .25 ACP.

Confederate
July 31, 2008, 01:30 AM
The obvious answer is, whatever you're comfortable with. Look, most of the time I'm happy to have a blade or even a .25ACP pistol. But if you put me in the wrong part of town at night (and I've found myself in those situations), a .25 would seem ridiculous. A .380ACP would be ridiculous.

There was a power outage in New York City years ago. Rioting broke out and mobs of people were breaking into stores and the police were overwhelmed. Some people, finding themselves in bad parts of town, were assaulted and their cars vandalized. I recall reading one story of a fellow with (I think) a Ruger Mini-14 in his trunk, and he was able to comfortably extract himself from his difficulties.

The lowlife anti-gun people think we're safe under the protection of the government, but they didn't even address the New Orleans mess. But when you say, what's the minimum caliber for self defense, you have to be prepared to say where and when, and under what circumstances.

For dining out, walking in the neighborhood and local driving, a .25ACP pistol is a splendid device. At night, downtown, it still will do the job. Go to the outskirts of town in a place like Baltimore and I'd want to up the ante a bit. I'd feel comfortable with a .38 revolver snubnose or a 9mm (the Star BM was an exceptional choice). If your girlfriend gets ticked off at you and throws you out of her car in a run-down part of town with broken streetlights and graffiti and out-of-order pay phones, I'd want to up the anti again with a hi-cap 9mm or .40 badboy ammo with gaping hollowpoints. And perhaps an extra clip.

You can keep going until you're hiking in the great Northwest, in which case you might want to consider a handgun that will kill a bear and put you in the hospital—you know, those calibers that loosen the fillings in your teeth?

The bottom line is there is that the answer is whatever it takes to make you feel secure in the time and place you happen to be.

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh198/jriler/659side.jpg

Prepster
July 31, 2008, 01:54 AM
The correct answer is whatever you're good with. If you're surgical with a .25 acp, so be it.

Macchina
July 31, 2008, 07:52 AM
The minimum I would choose would be a .380. This is my minimum because I can pack a Kel-tec or Ruger LCP as easily as I can a .22lr. I also always have a knife on me, which I consider to be under a .22 for effectiveness.

wnycollector
July 31, 2008, 08:41 AM
The smallest gun I carry as a CCW is a J frame S&W .38. I carry it because it is the smallest gun that actually fits my big hands and I shoot it quickly and accurately. My father-in-law routinely carries an old llama .380. he shoots it very, very well and have no problem unloading an entire mag into a bad guy before they knew what hit them! I say carry what you shoot well and what you are comfortable with.

Defensory
July 31, 2008, 08:55 AM
"I would recommend the .38 Special (revolver) or 9mm Luger (auto) as minimum caliber in a defensive handgun."

--Massad Ayoob

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob97.html ....

Jason M
July 31, 2008, 10:08 AM
.32 if I had to.

.380 if I must.

9mm will do the job.

.40cal will do it better.

.45 sets the bar.

I have a Kahr CW9 and I love it. A friend of mine just bought a CW40 (yet to shoot it). A Para Ordnance LDA or a Springfield Micro Operator would be a jewel of a piece for a .45ACP SD pistol.

It is all personal preference. Do you feel safe with just the button lock on your front door knob? Or do you turn the dead bolt, too? To each his own.

-Jason

REPOMAN
July 31, 2008, 10:36 AM
DRGONG has it !!!!!
Shot placement is key.... FWIW I'd rather have a well placed
.22 LR wound than a .45 wound in the sholder or leg...

Z71
July 31, 2008, 10:43 AM
I carry a Walther PP .32 auto quite a bit. Yes, probably too small for some folks.

None of the handgun calibers really impress me except the .357 and .44 magnums!

I'm a hunter, and have used most of the more commen pistol calibers to do a bit of small game hunting. Handgun stopping power is pretty pitiful sometimes!

Then you have the magic hollowpoint ammunition! Never shot anyone with the stuff, but recovered at the range from the backstop, few expand much or any. That is, until you get up to the .357 mag. That round is a go getter!

True that I like my carry guns small and light, however a .357 mag could give a fellow an edge in a pistol fight.

I even bought myself a Ruger SP101 .357 to carry, but my wife confiscated it to keep at her shop! So I just carryeither a Walther .32 or a Colt Police Positive .38 Special(same as a Detective Special, except longer barrel).

I should go buy another SP101!

SN13
July 31, 2008, 11:02 AM
2.34mm Rimfire.
http://www.swissminigun.com/home.html

Smallest I could find.

Only $6000 for the gun shipped.

$10 for each round shipped to you.


Might want to choose the .22LR if you're looking for a minimum caliber though... more economical.

burningsquirrels
July 31, 2008, 11:09 AM
now let's see them make a rimfire autoloader. :)

The Bushmaster
July 31, 2008, 11:17 AM
Anything is better then a stick. Bullet placement is the most important part of self defense. .22 will kill.

Of course. If Oboma has his way. Even a rock will be illegal...

JohnnyGrey
July 31, 2008, 12:26 PM
I find compact wondernines to be the best choice for defense outside the home. Once the caliber is reasonably powerful (9mm, .40, .45), I don't look at shot for shot ballistics, but how much damage a gun can do before it's out of ammo and the fight ends. I shoot 9mm well and can put several rounds in the same place very quickly. Self defense is not hunting, you're not limited to one shot, so look at the potency of the round, how many rounds the gun you're considering can carry, and how fast you're capable of delivering them accurately.

I trust 17 rounds of 9mm to get me out of trouble more than I do 8 rounds of .45. Sure, if it's one attacker, 3 rounds might do the job, but if I'm being ganged up on, I take all but 2 of them down and they see me go into slidelock, I'm going to have problems.

skywarp_
July 31, 2008, 12:33 PM
9x19mm


I daily carry a Gov't model 1911. Its really not hard. I'm avg build, wear modern street clothes

I dont believe in the a 22 in your pocket is better thana 45 at home thing.

If you seriously care you will find a way to have something more than a 22.

highlander 5
July 31, 2008, 01:17 PM
22 LR bare minimum (cheap to shoot as well) 9mm Luger or 45 acp primarily because the 1 of the 2 can be found almost anywhere 2nd choices 38 spl/357 mag same reasons as above.

weisse52
July 31, 2008, 01:33 PM
Just piling on...

38 or 9mm in most cases for most people.

I am a firm believer that bullet placement is key, but to place that bullett you have to have a gun with you. IF you are willing to practice alot then maybe you can get by with less.

Like the 80 YO guy from Texas I carry a NAA mini revolver (in 22 mag) everywhere I go. Lots of times I have a full size 1911 to back it up.

First rule...have a gun.
Second rule...know how to use it.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
July 31, 2008, 01:48 PM
I like .380 acp as a minimum. Prefer .38 special or more powerful, however.

springmom
July 31, 2008, 03:03 PM
The minimum is a .22lr.

And before everybody starts whomping on me...there are any number of scenarios in which this is all you will be able to shoot. Yours truly, for instance, just got the news that I've got a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder. :banghead: It will be awhile before I have the surgery to fix it, because something else has come up health-wise that MUST be addressed first. However, at some point, I'll have my right hand in a sling for most of my day and will be forbidden to have recoil for at least 3 months.

That'll make a .22 look pretty good. And that's not an unusual injury for active people, so it's not entirely out of the question that, even while you're young, you might have a time when a .22 is all you are allowed to shoot.

However, for your normal, usual, everyday, no-unusual-circumstances concealed carry, a .380 is a good benchmark minimum. Also, check your state laws. I know that in order to TEST for your CHL here, you have to TEST with a minimum of a .32. You do NOT have a minimum to carry, though. But I'd double check that.

Springmom

sqlbullet
July 31, 2008, 07:41 PM
Accuracy first, then speed, then power.

So, the largest caliber you can shoot double or triple taps with combat accuracy.

As your accuracy and speed skill improve you will graduate to more powerful cartridges. And you will gain your own opinion about what your personal defense weapon is chambered for.

CHEVELLE427
August 1, 2008, 12:24 AM
when the SHTF :eek:

anything will be better then a stick with a sharp rock tied to the end,;)

Z-Michigan
August 1, 2008, 12:40 AM
Accuracy, reliability, and ability to carry the gun are top priorities. Misses or failures to fire do no good in self defense.

Beyond that, the largest caliber that you are truly comfortable shooting and are accurate with. If this caliber is more powerful than 10mm auto, I would stop at 10mm auto. Personally, I strongly recommed 9x19mm for anyone who can shoot it, which is probably 98% of people who have any business handling a handgun. But someone who can't handle 9mm for some reason but is otherwise OK (e.g., an arthritis sufferer) is much better off with a .380 or even a .22 than with nothing, or with a gun they can only shoot once while flinching.

Erik
August 1, 2008, 12:45 AM
Another ".38 Special (revolver) or 9mm Luger (auto)" advocate. They have a reasonably chance of accomplishing the goal under a wide variety of circumstances without the sub-caliber caveats.

Defensory
August 1, 2008, 01:27 AM
Posted by Z-Michigan:
But someone who can't handle 9mm for some reason but is otherwise OK (e.g., an arthritis sufferer) is much better off with a .380 or even a .22 than with nothing, or with a gun they can only shoot once while flinching.

Judging by your above statement, I'm going to have to assume you've never fired a 9mm or .380.

There's almost no difference in felt recoil between the two.

There's also little difference, if any, in the price of comparable quality handguns chambered for those cartridges. Not to mention that .380 ammo is considerably MORE expensive than 9mm ammo.

Also, the new breed of "micro 9" type pistols being sold by companies like Kahr etc., are almost as small as .380's.

The 9mm has proven clearly superior stopping power, which considering my previous facts, makes the .380 pretty much obsolete for personal defense.

Virtually anybody who is physically able to handle a .380, can handle one of the new breed of tiny 9mms.

JKimball
August 1, 2008, 01:54 AM
A .22 is a mouse-gun. It cannot be expected to sledge down a charging 200 pound attacker. Nevertheless, alone among small caliber defense cartridges, it has a valid place as a self protection weapon.
---Massad Ayoob, In the Gravest Extreme, pg. 109

He goes on to give two reasons:
1) People are less likely to be afraid to shoot a .22. (They won't flinch, etc.)
2) Ammunition is so much cheaper, that a person can get in lots of practice with it, which is crucial for effective shooting.

Generally speaking, I don't think .22 would be on the top of anybody's list for recommended self defense calibers. But if we're talking the minimum, it can be a good option in certain cases.

ragtopdog
August 1, 2008, 03:04 AM
I would have no problem feeling safe with a .22 auto by my side. 11 shots in 3 or 4 seconds. Some people need to go out and hunt with a .22 to see what they can do.

TAB
August 1, 2008, 03:38 AM
22 lr.

ugaarguy
August 1, 2008, 04:02 AM
Judging by your above statement, I'm going to have to assume you've never fired a 9mm or .380.

There's almost no difference in felt recoil between the two...

...Virtually anybody who is physically able to handle a .380, can handle one of the new breed of tiny 9mms.
Not all .380s are tiny straight blow back designs. Pistols like the Beretta Cheetah and CZ-83 are medium size lock breech designs which are very soft shooting. I'm going to assume you've never fired one of those either.

Defensory
August 1, 2008, 04:07 AM
When gun experts like Massad Ayoob talk about a "minimum" self-defense caliber, they mean the smallest round that will RELIABLY and EFFECTIVELY end a confrontation MOST of the time.

There is no "magical round" that will stop every attacker every time. But I do not know of ANY nationally prominent firearms trainers, training facilities and defensive firearms associations that would recommend the .22LR cartridge for self-defense.

People are fooling themselves if they think a .22LR is going to reliably stop determined and/or armed aggressors, especially if they're on drugs and/or alcohol.

TAB
August 1, 2008, 04:27 AM
People are fooling themselves if they think a .22LR is going to reliably stop determined and/or armed aggressors, especially if they're on drugs and/or alcohol

people are fooling themselfs if they think any hand gun round is going to reliably stop some one.


Shot placement is what counts, not how big the hole is.

ugaarguy
August 1, 2008, 04:34 AM
There is no "magical round" that will stop every attacker every time. But I do not know of ANY nationally prominent firearms trainers, training facilities and defensive firearms associations that would recommend the .22LR cartridge for self-defense.

People are fooling themselves if they think a .22LR is going to reliably stop determined and/or armed aggressors, especially if they're on drugs and/or alcohol.
Would you rather have a handgun in .22 LR or no gun at all? The folks in the previous posts who've advocated .22LR have done so with qualifications. If injury or other physical issue limits one to a .22 LR or nothing surely the .22 LR handgun beats nothing. I don't think anyone in this thread, or even anyone on THR, would ever recommend using .22 LR as a defensive round to someone capable of effectively using a larger caliber handgun.

Defensory
August 1, 2008, 04:38 AM
I say no thanks to .380's like the wimpy Beretta Cheetah. Even people who own it admit it isn't cut out to be a primary defensive pistol:

Posted by Shane:
The main reason I bought the Cheetah was that it was so darn cute and fits my hands perfectly--the balance was very good for such a small pistol. Its NOT a front line defensive pistol, IMO, but as a backup to a larger caliber gun I think its a fine pistol.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=234557&postcount=3

Also, even slide action .380's like the Cheetah don't have all that much less felt recoil than a 9mm, because the extra several ounces of weight in the 9's helps control it.

Even with the availability of the Cheetah and CZ-83, there's still no intelligent reason to pack a .380, when one can pack a "micro 9" that's superior in virtually every regard.

ugaarguy
August 1, 2008, 05:23 AM
Also, even slide action .380's like the Cheetah don't have all that much less felt recoil than a 9mm, because the extra several ounces of weight in the 9's helps control it.
Really? Per www.berettausa.com the 84 Cheetah weighs 23.3 oz unloaded, and is 6.8" long. According to www.glock.com the Glock 19 weighs 20.99 oz unloaded, and is 6.85" long. I thought the 9mm handguns were supposed to weigh more? Have you ever fired a Cheetah?

Even with the availability of the Cheetah and CZ-83, there's still no intelligent reason to pack a .380, when one can pack a "micro 9" that's superior in virtually every regard.
Lower felt recoil for a person who isn't very recoil tolerant isn't an intelligent reason?

Defensory
August 1, 2008, 05:23 AM
Posted by ugaarguy:
Would you rather have a handgun in .22 LR or no gun at all?

^Straw man alert!

That wasn't what the person who started this thread (OP) asked. He asked what the minimum caliber was that he should use for self-defense, and why.

The folks in the previous posts who've advocated .22LR have done so with qualifications.

Your above statement has been falsified by post #44 of this thread (not to mention that the OP didn't ask about "qualifications", exceptions etc.):

"I would have no problem feeling safe with a .22 auto by my side. 11 shots in 3 or 4 seconds. Some people need to go out and hunt with a .22 to see what they can do."---Posted by ragtopdog in post #44 of this thread.

If injury or other physical issue limits one to a .22 LR or nothing surely the .22 LR handgun beats nothing.

^Straw man alert! NOT what the OP asked. The OP has revealed NO physical limitations, thus your statement isn't relevant.

I don't think anyone in this thread, or even anyone on THR, would ever recommend using .22 LR as a defensive round to someone capable of effectively using a larger caliber handgun.

You've been refuted by post #44 AGAIN.

ugaarguy
August 1, 2008, 05:31 AM
That wasn't what the person who started this thread (OP) asked. He asked what the minimum caliber was that he should use for self-defense, and why.
Conversations evolve, even conversations on online forums. In post 37 Springmom stated a reason one might be limited to .22 LR. Taken in the context of her post and those which followed it, including you knocking the .22 LR in post 42, the comments in post 44 and 45 fit into the context of "with qualifications."
Straw man alert! NOT what the OP asked. The OP has revealed NO physical limitations, thus your statement isn't relevant.
See my comments above.
You've been refuted by post #44 AGAIN.
AGAIN See comments above.

Defensory
August 1, 2008, 05:36 AM
Lower felt recoil for a person who isn't very recoil tolerant isn't an intelligent reason?

Prove that the Cheetah has significantly less recoil than a comparably sized 9mm.

I reject your unproven assumption. Even IF your unproven assumption were true, it still does nothing to change the fact that the .380 Cheetah, and ANY .380 for that matter, is inadequate as a primary self-defense sidearm.

I've already posted the unbiased statement of an actual Cheetah owner who substantiates my claim that it isn't suitable as a primary self-defense sidearm.

And since the individual who started this thread never said anything about any physical limitations, your straw man argument is irrelevant and off topic.

ugaarguy
August 1, 2008, 05:57 AM
Prove that the Cheetah has significantly less recoil than a comparably sized 9mm.

I reject your unproven assumption. Even IF your unproven assumption were true, it still does nothing to change the fact that the .380 Cheetah, and ANY .380 for that matter, is inadequate as a primary self-defense sidearm.
Recoil is subjective, and unlike you I've fired a Cheetah. I've also fired my share of similar mid size pistols like the Glock 19 which is very close in size to the Cheetah. The 84 Cheetah was significantly softer shooting than the Glock 19.
I've already posted the unbiased statement of an actual Cheetah owner who substantiates my claim that it isn't suitable as a primary self-defense sidearm.
That's only one person's opinion. Others may have differing opinions. You can infer that I'm biased all you want. I don't even own a Cheetah. My handguns of choice are 1911s in .45 ACP, and S&W K Frames in .38 S&W Special or .357 S&W Magnum.
And since the individual who started this thread never said anything about any physical limitations, your straw man argument is irrelevant and off topic.
Call it a straw man argument all you want. My statement is still relevant in the context of the conversational flow of the thread. Also, I don't see Moderator under your user name.

Perhaps you'd like to answer some of my questions. Have you ever fired a Beretta Cheetah? How do you explain your assertion that 9mm handguns of similar size to the Cheetah are heavier, despite the fact that the Glock 19 (perhaps the most common similarly sized 9mm handgun to the Cheetah) weighs 3 oz less than the Cheetah?

Defensory
August 1, 2008, 07:02 AM
"Anything distinctly smaller—such as the .380 Auto pistol caliber, which is literally a "9mm Short"—too often fails to make the cut. I've run across shooting after shooting where the defender shot a violent aggressor with a .380 and did little to immediately stop his depredations. A good hollow point load in 9mm or .38 Special will, historically, end lethal assaults more quickly."

--Massad Ayoob

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob110.html....

Defensory
August 1, 2008, 07:16 AM
"9mm or .38 Special can be adequate, and their famously light recoil makes them easy for smaller folks to shoot, or folks who are new to the gun and just a little bit intimidated by the whole thing."

--Massad Ayoob

Bingo! The world's leading authority on handguns for law enforcement and civilian self-defense use, establishes the fact that 9mm recoil is "famously light", and are EASY for "smaller folks" and newbies to shoot.

Thus there's absolutely no reason to consider the markedly inferior .380, which Ayoob has established is inadequate for a primary self-defense sidearm.

Z-Michigan
August 1, 2008, 01:54 PM
Judging by your above statement, I'm going to have to assume you've never fired a 9mm or .380.

There's almost no difference in felt recoil between the two.

There's also little difference, if any, in the price of comparable quality handguns chambered for those cartridges. Not to mention that .380 ammo is considerably MORE expensive than 9mm ammo.

I've fired somewhere around 10,000 rounds of 9mm in the last couple years. Also thousands of rounds of .45 ACP and 38 Special, and hundreds of rounds of full-power .357 Magnum and .40 S&W. Only maybe 50 rds of .380, as I don't own one myself. I've fired some Kahrs, compact Glocks, and probably a dozen manufacturers' full size handguns.

In short, my experience is that there is a modest difference in felt recoil between .380 and 9mm. Not big, and some guns like the Kahrs moderate recoil enough to pretty much eliminate the difference.

But the point is lost. I was not advocating .380 in particular. I was saying that most people can handle 9mm, but if you can't, a smaller caliber is better than being unarmed.

Judging from your other posts later in the thread, you seem to be far too passionate about this question, which is especially amusing since it's the fodder of endless idle gun-store chatter and range talk. We're trying to give the OP some good advice. I don't think there is any meaningful argument to be "won."

burningsquirrels
August 1, 2008, 01:57 PM
recoil difference between 9mm and 380..... depends on which 380 you're using. pocket pistols are very snappy. my bersa has almost no recoil, but an LCP loves to try and jump out of my hands. if someone wants a 380 for the lower recoil, they need to look at the metal framed pistols.

i agree, if you can't handle 9mm, using a smaller caliber is better than a stick.

Drgong
August 1, 2008, 02:13 PM
I reject your unproven assumption. Even IF your unproven assumption were true, it still does nothing to change the fact that the .380 Cheetah, and ANY .380 for that matter, is inadequate as a primary self-defense sidearm.

How about we get a .380 and you stand over there, and see how well you do with getting hit with a few .380s....

ugaarguy
August 1, 2008, 02:52 PM
Bingo! The world's leading authority on handguns for law enforcement and civilian self-defense use, establishes the fact that 9mm recoil is "famously light", and are EASY for "smaller folks" and newbies to shoot.

Thus there's absolutely no reason to consider the markedly inferior .380, which Ayoob has established is inadequate for a primary self-defense sidearm.
Regardless of what Ayoob says if you compare 9mm and .380 ACP in equal size and weight locked breech pistols the .380 will have noticeably less felt recoil.

Now answer the question. Defensory, have you ever personally fired a Beretta Cheetah or a CZ-83?

Flopsy
August 1, 2008, 03:35 PM
"Even with the availability of the Cheetah and CZ-83, there's still no intelligent reason to pack a .380, when one can pack a "micro 9" that's superior in virtually every regard."

The Cheetah fits my hand like a custom job, is 100% reliable, has 1.5 inch groups at 21 feet, good intuitive 1911-style safety, does have lower recoil, has good size and curves for concealment, and holds 13+1. I'd call every single one of them an intelligent reason, and I would hesitate mightily before referring to that weapon as "wimpy."

"an actual Cheetah owner"

Wow, a real one?? In any case, I am an owner of one and I choose it often when I'm selecting a carry for the day. Yes, a 9mm is more powerful and will be a more devastating weapon. The Cheetah is still a fine weapon and, as mentioned, has many qualities which make it a good choice.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion of the .380, and your elimination of it as a viable option. I just don't accept "Massad said" as meaningful support, and don't accept run across shooting after shooting where .380 failed to make the cut as meaningful data, regardless of whether the statement came from an expert. If we had a random, equal sample of incidents - not anecdotes now, not stuff we've "run across" but real data - where .380 was used for defense, and 9mm was used for defense and there was a real statistically significant disparity between the two, that would be something to give pause.

James T Thomas
August 1, 2008, 04:20 PM
The 73 caliber ; twelve gage works well for self defense in shoulder fired weapons.

The 62 cal. ; twenty gage is another good round in that category.

The 40 calibers in handguns have good reputations and histories to them.
Some records indicate that they are only somewhat more effective than the next lower caliber, but you must decide if that extra margin would be good to have.

The 36 cal. i.e. 38 or 357 magnum has a wide variance of effectiveness, but in the magnum category, seems to do as good as it gets.

The last -36 caliber; the 380 is the minimum recommended by consensus.
The historical record for that round from WWII indicates it is the threshold for penetration of the human skull. Spies and assassins generally agreed that lesser rounds were dubious for those purposes.

There is a great record of deaths by the lowly 22 caliber. However that round is ubiquitous. Popular and available most places and there for that record of many deaths may only indicate that there have been many people shot with that one. Many have been wounded with this round who died much later too. And not stated on the records.

Mike Sr.
August 1, 2008, 05:24 PM
Handgun Ammo Stopping Power
All of us have been exposed to the varying theories regarding which type of handgun bullet is best for defensive purposes. Some proponents (Dr. Julian Hatcher) believe that "bigger is better" while the National Institute of Justice performed a "computer man" study a number of years ago which suggested that light and fast bullets achieved the most lethal results.

As more and more data becomes available, theories change. Evan Marshall wrote definitive studies in 1992, 1996 and 2000 after examining the results of thousands of actual shootings. His conclusions came as a result of actual shootings and not from firing bullets into wet newspaper, gelatin or some other artificial medium.

His data is based on "one shot stops". This is defined as: 1. a single hit to anywhere on the body not counting the head, neck or extremity shot: 2. when a subject stops shooting or striking blows if that was what he was doing and 3. runs no more than 10 feet before collapsing. In other words, Marshall’s studies examine what happens in the first few seconds after a shooting.

In the past decade, major advances have been made in bullet design which adds to the lethality of the projectile. Every major US bullet manufacturer has their own proprietary projective which they claim is best for the job at hand. New calibers such as the 357 SIG have appeared on the scene while more data has been accumulated on relatively new bullets such as the 40 Smith & Wesson. Marshall’s newest study takes these events into consideration.

32 ACP - Most of the smaller caliber firearms such as this caliber and the .380 ACP are carried as "back-up" guns by law enforcement thus the increase in data from actual police shootings. The CorBon 62 gr. JHP round was involved in 17 shootings with 11 one shot stops which achieved a 65% rating followed closely by the Winchester 60 grain Silvertip which was fired 162 times and caused 104 stops for a 64% rating. The Federal 65 grain Hydra-Shok and the CCI 60 grain Gold Dot achieved one shot stops 63% and 60% of the time.

380 ACP - The top rounds in this category were the Federal 90 grain Hydra-Shok and the CorBon 90 grain JHP+P which both rated a 70% one shot stop rating. While Federal 90 grain FMJ ammo was used in a whopping 245 shootings, it only achieved 55% one shot stops.

38 Special - With the introduction of semi-auto pistols, this caliber was relegated to secondary status. This data is from 2 and 3 inch revolvers which limit muzzle velocity & therefore results are less than other comparable calibers. Both the Winchester and Federal 158 grain LHP+P offerings were involved in 158 shootings with the Winchester round making 121 single shot stops for a 68% rating and the Federal loading making 120 one shot stops for a 67% rating. Most all of the 16 loadings examined fell in the 60 percent range with the Federal 125 grain Nyclad LHP+P round earning a 61% rating. It’s clear than the long-used 158 grain lead hollowpoint pushed to +P pressures is the best round for this caliber.

357 Magnum - Once the king of law enforcement handguns, this caliber has also been replaced by large capacity auto-pistols. The data collected for this caliber came from 2 and 3 inch revolvers, not the longer barreled type. The top round was the Remington 124 grain JHP followed by the same loading by Federal. Both loads achieved a 91% one hit stop rating. Most other loads ranked in the 80% area with the Federal 158 grain Hydra-Shok achieving a 78% rating.

357 SIG - This is the most current law enforcement cartridge and therefore, shooting data is limited. The top rated cartridges were the Remington and Federal 125 grain JHPs. Both were rated at 91% one shot stops. Of the 9 loads evaluated, the poorest was the Federal 158 grain Hydra-Shok which was involved in 41 shootings with 32 one shot stops for a 78% rating.

9mm - This was the first semiauto pistol to be used extensively by police agencies and replaced the 38 Special and 357 Magnum round. Early loadings of the 147 grain round caused major stopping problems however current 147 grain designs are vastly superior. Clearly the best 9mm loads are those driven to +P+ pressures. Of the 20 loadings evaluated, the top load was the Federal 115 grain JHP +P+ involved in 209 shootings with 190 one shot stops for a 91% rating. The Winchester 115 grain JHP +P+ and 127 grain Ranger SXT +P+ both had 90% one shot stops. All five loads driven to +P+ pressures ranked in the top 5 followed by all bullets loaded to +P pressures. Rounds manufactured to standard pressure ratings comprised the bottom 12 loadings in the study.

40 S&W - This caliber has become extremely popular with law enforcement agencies due to the perceived deficiencies of the 9mm round. All manufacturers have at least 2 loadings of this caliber and it has served very well. The Remington 165 grain Golden Saber was used in 311 shootings and made 292 one shot stops for a 94% rating followed closely by the CCI 165 and 155 grain loadings and the Federal 155 grain Hydra-Shok bullet. These 3 loads made 93% one shot stops. Other manufacturers loads in the 90% range were the Federal 155 grain JHP and the CorBon 135 and 150 grain JHP bullets. Thirteen other loadings were evaluated with the poorest being the Winchester 180 grain FMJ that was involved in 134 encounters and made 95 (71%) one shot stops.

45 ACP - This caliber has been around for almost 100 years and is still the top rated round. More police agencies are using this round due to its proven stopping ability. The large diameter, heavy bullet is the basis for the "momentum" theory of stopping power however actual results in shootings show a mix of "light and fast" and "slow and heavy" rounds. The Remington 185 grain Golden Saber was involved in 148 shootings and caused 142 one shot stops for a 96% rating followed closely by the Federal 230 grain Hydra-Shok which caused 200 one shot stops in 211 shootings for a 95% rating. Eight of the 16 loadings examined rated above 90% one shot stops while 5 others rated in the 80s. The poorest stoppers were the Remington, Federal and Winchester 230 grain FMJ rounds which achieved 62% one shot stops.

It’s difficult to say that one type of bullet is best for all calibers and, in fact, these study results show that the best results come from a mix of heavy to light bullets which defy most theories. It is clear however that some loadings are much better than others and the decision is ours with respect to which we choose.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.abaris.net/info/ballistics/handgun-stopping-power.htm

burningsquirrels
August 1, 2008, 05:39 PM
^^^ informative post.... thanks :)

mavracer
August 1, 2008, 07:19 PM
His data is based on "one shot stops". This is defined as: 1. a single hit to anywhere on the body not counting the head, neck or extremity shot: 2. when a subject stops shooting or striking blows if that was what he was doing and 3. runs no more than 10 feet before collapsing. In other words, Marshall’s studies examine what happens in the first few seconds after a shooting.the problem with marshall's stats is if a second shot is fired the data is not used.

JKimball
August 1, 2008, 09:12 PM
People are fooling themselves if they think a .22LR is going to reliably stop determined and/or armed aggressors, especially if they're on drugs and/or alcohol.


I agree.

I'd also say that people are fooling themselves if they think any handgun caliber is going to reliably stop determined and/or armed aggressors, especially if they're on drugs and/or alcohol.

CHEVELLE427
August 1, 2008, 09:18 PM
IF YOU DIDNT
have a choice in the matter, :uhoh:
a 22lr would still be better then a stick. :rolleyes:

ugaarguy
August 1, 2008, 09:20 PM
Evan Marshall wrote definitive studies in 1992, 1996 and 2000 after examining the results of thousands of actual shootings. His conclusions came as a result of actual shootings and not from firing bullets into wet newspaper, gelatin or some other artificial medium.
No he didn't. His data and methodology have been proven to be flawed, and even fabricated in many cases. Marshall & Sanow were debunked years ago.

Defensory
August 2, 2008, 04:35 AM
Perfect Pocket Protection

The abbreviated Kahr 9mm PM9 could render most .380 autos obsolete.

"Enter the PM9, a concealed-carry pistol for the millennium. It fires any kind of 9mm Luger ammo, remains simple to operate, fits in a 5 1/2 x 4-inch box and weighs 16.9 ounces empty. Kahr's new pistol is smaller than any contemporary pocket auto of serious power. Some of the popular .25s and .32s are smaller than the PM9, but they're not adequately powerful for defensive applications. There are also plenty of comparable-sized .380 autos that are easily miniaturized because of their blowback systems. But in my view, .380s are not even marginally powerful for personal defense, as some contend. By virtue of its power and small size, the PM9 virtually obsoletes the pocket .380s."

"Among reliable guns of adequate stopping power, this is the smallest and lightest."

http://www.gunsandammomag.com/ga_handguns/perfect_pocket_protection/index.html

Defensory
August 2, 2008, 05:38 AM
The Beretta Cheetah is a BRICK! :what:

I've always been told by .380 fanboys that the PRIMARY ADVANTAGE of owning a .380 is the "diminutive" size, that makes it "so much smaller and more concealable than those bulky 9mm's."

Boy, they were sure BSing me! That Cheetah is a TANK! :p

Beretta Cheetah:

Caliber----------.380 ACP (Proven "weak sister" round that was abandoned decades ago by European law enforcement agencies, when the "new age" of international terrorism and high crime rates made them realize they needed to upgrade to a cartridge of adequate power like the 9mm.)
Overall length---6.8"
Overall height---4.8"
Barrel length----3.8"
Overall width----1.4"
Unloaded weight---23.3 oz

Kahr PM9

Caliber----------9mm (World's most popular military, law enforcement & civilian pistol cartridge)
Overall length---5.3"
Overall height---4.0"
Barrel length----3.0"
Overall width----1.26"
Unloaded weight---15.9 oz

Hoffy
August 2, 2008, 08:59 AM
Thanks for the post MikeSr.

What I'm getting from this is that a .32 acp loaded with silvertips is almost as good as a 38 special and comparable to 9x17. I would assume that my 9x18 hornady's would be a little better...none of which are quite as good (one shot stop wise) as 9x19.

I have not seen much that puts .380 far ahead of .32...which is a ball to shoot. The first (and only) centerfire pistol that my wife shot was a 9x18 and she informed me that she never wanted to shoot (a centerfire) again. The .22 was OK but the 9mm Makarov was too much. I wish I had given her my .32 instead (didn't have it along that trip).

alistaire
August 2, 2008, 09:52 AM
His data is based on "one shot stops". This is defined as: 1. a single hit to anywhere on the body not counting the head, neck or extremity shot: 2. when a subject stops shooting or striking blows if that was what he was doing and 3. runs no more than 10 feet before collapsing. In other words, Marshall’s studies examine what happens in the first few seconds after a shooting.

the problem with marshall's stats is if a second shot is fired the data is not used.

If a second shot HITS the target, the shooting must be discarded because it is impossible to determine how much 'stoppage' was caused by each bullet.
This is the statistically correct way to do this.

Carl Levitian
August 2, 2008, 09:53 AM
When you boil down all the vehment argueing and quotes from the gun magazine writers, it all depends on the shooter in question. The person holding the gun is the most important variable. How good are they with what they are using?

You can argue the question till the cows come home, but people are too variable to make statements of what is best. Soon as you get away from a center fire .30 caliber rifle or 12 gauge shotgun, it's a crap shoot. Almost all handguns rounds do not produce enough power to make sure of the mythical one shop stop that the gun writers are so fond of quoting as biblical scripture. Especially the small sub size pocket guns like Kahr's and other short barrel guns. 38 special, 9mm, even .357 have failed to produce "one shot stops."

Use whatever you LIKE because if you shoot it alot because you like it, your going to be a better shot. Thats the end. The person who is better with what they have, than the punk gangbanger trying to rob them is going to come out on top. Think of it this way; who would walk away, Bill Jordan with a Ruger .22 target pistol, or some street punk with a borrowed 9mm?

Run what ya brung and be good with it.

These threads that break down into arguements of yes it is, no its not... are senseless.

Eric F
August 2, 2008, 09:58 AM
A basic question and a basic answer

a 36 cap and ball revolver. This has killed many a person before metalic cartridges were ever around.

alistaire
August 2, 2008, 10:13 AM
No he didn't. His data and methodology have been proven to be flawed, and even fabricated in many cases. Marshall & Sanow were debunked years ago.

Debunked by whom? I'd like to read this. I'm an engineer; Marshall's methodology appears correct - it's exactly how I would perform such a study. I can't comment on the data as I have not reviewed it.

It would probably be worth doing sub-studies, ie comparing shooter vs shootee. (One would expect a cartridge sold only to police marksmen to have a higher one shot stop rate than an identical cartridge sold only to pimps).

jad0110
August 2, 2008, 10:18 AM
Shot placement. Weapon reliability and convenience (does it work and will you carry it?). These are IMHO, the first and foremost factors in selecting a defensive sidearm. Once you have found a particular platform that meets your requirements, select a load that gives at least X amount of penetration. The FBI minimum is 12", so that can be used as a benchmark.

So in that regard, a 22 for some people can meet most of those requirements, though I'm not sure about penetration depth, that's probably kinda dicey with a 22. I would not be above using a 22. I certainly would not want to get shot with one. The biggest problem I have with the round is that it is a rimfire, and rimfires tend to misfire more than centerfires.

My mother is just now looking into a gun for protection. I've taken her to the range once, and from what I've gather thus far, she is extremely recoil sensitive. I even think my father's all-steel 9mm Baby Eagle will be far too much for her. So a 22LR is probably going to be the best option for her; it certainly beats nothing.

As for felt recoil between 380 and 9mm, it depends on the platform. I can barely hold onto a tiny Kel-Tec P3AT in 380, but that isn't a fair comparison to the somewhat larger/heftier 9mms. I personally find the recoil of a steel 380 and a steel single stack 9mm to be about the same, but I've met people that sware the 380 has less felt recoil and vice versa. Just goes to show that felt recoil is highly subjective, and what feels good to one may not feel good to another. How a particular gun fits in a particular set of hands has a big impact on how recoil feels.

With careful load selection, the 380 can be a very viable choice. So can the "lowly" 32 ACP.

My primary defensive handgun calibers are 38 Special and 45 ACP. I am comfortable with either, but both are handgun rounds. Power is sacrificed for portability. I carry one or two everywhere I can (even at home), but when at home I have a 12 gauge nearby that I can access fairly quickly. And when I prove my AR to be reliable enough, that will be an option too.

gretske
August 2, 2008, 02:05 PM
You make very good points. The primary considerations should be concealability and accuracy. ”Stopping power“ is important, but delivering multiple shots of any size trumps that.

I have a Beretta TomCat Inox that I am very accurate with at 5-7 yards. At that distance, I can empty the magazine (7+1) in under 2.5 seconds, within a 3” circle. I can't imagine a situation where that would not prove a deterrent.

I also have a Glock 27, .40, that is even more accurate, and obviously delivers a much more potent load. But, I can't stick it in a pants pocket as easily as the TomCat, so I end up carrying the TomCat more than the G27. I feel secure with either one, and let practicality make the final decision.

Finally, why worry about recoil? First, you should practice and shoot until you get over “recoil shyness.“ We are talking about self-defense, not recreational plinking. Should you have to use it, you will not notice the recoil nearly as much as the pain in your ears from the shots. Shoot enough so that the recoil does not interfere with your ability to be accurate. Your comfort is not an issue in matters of life and death.

Finally, if you just can't get over recoil anxiety, buy yourself a good knife, or a big dog, or both. Guns have recoil, and more powerful guns that are small enough to carry, have even more powerful recoil.

ice monkey
August 2, 2008, 09:40 PM
I get a big kick out of this question … not because I take it lightly, but rather because I wonder sometimes if people are asking, “what’s the minimum self defense caliber” vs. “what’s the minimum hero caliber?”

Most people here on THR are great, and I buy into the “Accuracy first, then speed, then power.” Posted by sqlbullet, but when I was looking to buy my CCW self defense weapon … man if it didn’t start with a 4, my friends and the guys at the range were all over me.

In my humblest of opinions

Handgun self defense – Shoot and get the heck out of there - find a cop or a long gun.

Handgun hero defense – Shoot, run after the assailant, and shoot them through the wall he/she is hiding behind, blasting the whole way. :what:

Seriously, statistically on average not many self defense shots are ever fired, and more often than not they are shot in a dark environment. Plus, most assailants aren’t going to run after you once you have shot at them. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, or that the person you’re going to have to shoot at isn’t driving a car at you that you can’t avoid … but the chances are low, very low. So you generally need only concern yourself with the penetration of flesh, your ability to handle recoil and being able to hit what you’re shooting at … and perhaps the flash of a handgun at night.

That leaves you with a great deal of calibers that work well for self defense.

Myself personally, I went with the .380acp. The recoil, loaded with Buffalo Bore’s, allows me to shoot accurately – more than once. The flash and report is low, and it’s destructive on flesh (even through leather coats.) Plus the weapons loaded for .380 are concealable, allowing one to carry two weapons of the same caliber easily. For example: a Sig or Browning on your side, and a Ruger or NAA in your pocket. :)

That’s how I see it anyway … Your mileage may vary. I certainly wouldn’t want to go less than a .380, but the .380 does all I need of it. Shoot – hit – hurt/kill – and get out of there, that’s what I need. If I understand right, below the .380 the only self defense weapon worth looking at is a .22WMR. I think it has a 42% one shot stop %. But I could be wrong… It’s been said, today’s bullets are awesome. After all is said and done … half the fun is finding out what works for you! And in case you were wondering … yes my buddies gave me a real going over when I pulled out my Sig 232 in .380 acp … Until they saw me hit everything I aimed at lol.

Oh and btw … I can feel a difference between a 9mm and a .380, but that may be me. And yes, the LCP kicks, but who cares, a LCP (for me) is last ditch anyway …

If I was fighting a war, .357.

dmazur
August 3, 2008, 12:34 AM
my answer: buy the biggest one you can comfortably shoot and control reasonably well for follow-up shots.


Agreed.

My wife used to carry a .380, and complained about that! Eventually, with reading articles about "stopping power" and the like, she came around to larger calibers and now is quite comfortable with a .45 Officer's Model.

Well, she still complains about the weight. :)

There is no best answer to this question. I saw a poster showing a large frame revolver with the caption ".44Mag - Ending the .45 vs 9mm caliber war"

However, this ignores the issue of controllability. Here's an interesting article about the collaberation between Clint Smith and S&W on the latest "Thunder Ranch Special", which happens to be a .44 Special revolver -

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is_172_28/ai_n6204168/pg_1?tag=artBody;col1

Anyway, I might recommend this gun (and caliber) as a minimum for self-defense. Why? Because it's simpler than the 1911, and doesn't require grip strength to run a slide. Personally, I like the 1911, but I believe you have to be careful in recommending it to newer shooters.

Rugerlvr
August 3, 2008, 12:50 AM
I know someone who regularly carries a .22 Magnum and a .32 Beretta. He got himself a Ruger LCP and seems to be switching over to that, thank goodness.

Personally, I don't think I'd go less than .380.

Plink
August 3, 2008, 01:24 AM
I used to consider the .380 as the bare minimum for self defense, but considering all the small 9mms, that's where I personally draw the line now. I prefer something bigger and generally carry a small .45, but the bigger the cartridge the harder it is to control. This is where practice comes in. Find your own limit as to what you can shoot quickly and accurately with, and practice, practice, practice.

R.W.Dale
August 3, 2008, 01:45 AM
32 ACP - Most of the smaller caliber firearms such as this caliber and the .380 ACP are carried as "back-up" guns by law enforcement thus the increase in data from actual police shootings. The CorBon 62 gr. JHP round was involved in 17 shootings with 11 one shot stops which achieved a 65% rating followed closely by the Winchester 60 grain Silvertip which was fired 162 times and caused 104 stops for a 64% rating. The Federal 65 grain Hydra-Shok and the CCI 60 grain Gold Dot achieved one shot stops 63% and 60% of the time.

What's the problem? Shoot the attacker twice even with a .32 and he'll be over 120% stopped. I don't know bout ya'll but I ain't planning on shooting just once

burningsquirrels
August 3, 2008, 01:59 AM
I ain't planning on shooting just once

someone finally said it, lol. hence, get the biggest you can rapidly shoot accurately. for me, that caliber is a 40sw.

ugaarguy
August 3, 2008, 02:09 AM
Debunked by whom? I'd like to read this. I'm an engineer; Marshall's methodology appears correct - it's exactly how I would perform such a study. I can't comment on the data as I have not reviewed it.
http://www.firearmstactical.com/undeniable-evidence.htm

R.W.Dale
August 3, 2008, 02:09 AM
someone finally said it, lol. hence, get the biggest you can rapidly shoot accurately. for me, that caliber is a 40sw.

I feel concealibility also factors in big, the law requires it. To that end I chose a 32 Kel Tec, the current crop of locked breach mouse guns are still a great deal smaller and lighter and easier to conceal than the current crop of small 9mm's.

I can shoot my 10mm as fast and as accurately as my .32 at self defense ranges. But I can't hide the 10 in a way that allows me to be as active as I would like. I can't hide a compact handgun in a big three chambering and still be able to go fishing or crawling around underneath cars in a junkyard without being "made". Anyone can hide a 1911 if all they wear are smoking jackets and the keep their arms at their sides standing upright all day long.

XD-40 Shooter
August 3, 2008, 03:05 AM
I would say 38 special +P would be the minimum, its low blast, low flash, moderate recoil, most people can shoot this caliber accurately. However, I would prefer the capacity of a 9mm, most are at least 15 rounds, compared to 5 in the revolver.

Howaido
August 3, 2008, 05:34 PM
loaded for defensive duty in handguns are as follows:

9mm +p 124 gr. gold dots
.38 special +p 135 gr. gold dots
.357 mag 125 gr. golden saber

So, I guess my minimum for sd would be the .38 special +p gold dots.

XDShooter07
August 3, 2008, 06:17 PM
I carry a .32 pretty frequently and it doesn't bother me a bit. Remember that criminals are in the business of self preservation. They pick easy targets and use the element of surprise. If you're lucky enough to get a chance to draw and it's even a warranted escalation of force then more than likely you have an upper hand. No criminal is going to stick around and get shot at for your wallet or your car; they're going to get out and choose an easier target. The criminal doesn't know whether the big flash & bang in their face is a .32 or a .45; all they know is it means they might not live. Things are different in a war or in a tactical situation when someone is going to be expecting gunfire at them but when their not expecting it their gonna scoot and fast.

Youngster
August 3, 2008, 06:25 PM
If I have a choice in the matter? 12 gauge or full power rifle with expanding ammo.

Master of Arms
August 3, 2008, 06:59 PM
Well I`ve not read all of the statenments here but the first thing to think of is placement,placement,placement.

For your own personal defense you should choose a caliber that you can handle. In other words, shoot quickly and accurately.

Another question is, do you have a Concealed Carry Permit?? If so, we can eliminate any question of size because if your state is like mine, you can open carry.

Next would be stopping power. Again placement is important but in my opinion, a .40 caliber is an awsome choice. It has great energy and velocity.

Master of Arms
August 3, 2008, 08:20 PM
Brandon, my state, as many others has some sort of old open carry law but as with mine, there are problems with it. I can carry openly as long as there is NO part of the firearm concealed. This means no holster etc. Get it? I couldn`t even tie a string around it and carry it. But since I have my CCP I can now carry it in my holster somewhat openly. That was my point to you. I don`t know where you live but most southern states have such laws. You can check a ballistics website such as Guns and Ammos website and you can find out about the power of most calibers. Hope this helped

Phydeaux642
August 3, 2008, 09:04 PM
Hasn't this been done already?

WVMountainBoy
August 4, 2008, 03:04 AM
You go with what you can shoot. You pick the gun that fits your hand. Knowing a 10mm is such an awesome performer doesn't do you a bit of good if the gun is too big to manipulate. I'm my friend's resident "go-to" about guns and whenever they come to me and ask about a defensive gun I don't recommend anything. I take them to the gun store and have them pick up and work the slides/controls on several models. Then once we find the size that they can deal with I take them out and let them touch off a few of my weapons to see how sensitive to recoil they are. If they like a full size glock but flich at a .45's recoil then I know to step it down a notch and have them go with a .40. The only exception to this process is with long guns. I usually tell them all that the first deer rifle is a marlin 30.30 and the first shotgun is a H&R 12 gauge. My lady friends with tiny hands often have to choose from the 9mm bracket because of hand size/recoil sensitivity and I tell them they're not under-gunned that all thats left is regular practice. My rule with them is they shouldn't carry it anyplace till they've run 200 rounds through it by themselves. That means that they've familiarized themselves with the gun, gotten confidence that it will go boom when it needs to, and found out if the weapon is reliable. I could go on and on with the dance I usually go through with new owners...but it would deserve its own thread.

Johnny Guest
August 4, 2008, 03:37 AM
Question asked. Question answered --and answered -- and answered . . . .

After a while, the same old answers become tiresome. And people start getting testy and personal, and ultimately, abusive. This won't do, friends.

If you've had an entry deleted from this thread, take it as a warning not to be argumentative, juvenile, and spiteful. You will get no other warning.

CLOSED

Johnny Guest
THR Staff

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