What really is "enough" gun?


October 6, 2003, 07:08 PM
There have been a lot of threads here recently about “under powered” calibres (.32 .22 etc) for self defence. Whilst the general consensus seems to have been that a larger calibre is advisable assuming you are accurate with said calibre, most would still carry a .22 if that’s all that was available.

These threads left me wondering what really is minimum power for a pistol used for CCW purposes that you would carry before leaving it at home in preference of other non gun weapons?




1ft/lb ?!?!?! Where is the cut off point?

This is certainly not intended as an inflammatory subject to views either side of the “what’s enough power” debate. I’m just curious to see what the average arrives at!


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Zak Smith
October 6, 2003, 07:19 PM
Energy as measured in ft*lbs means nothing with regard to "stopping power." To "stop" someone right now you need to either disrupt their central nervous system or cause enough blood pressure loss for them to lose consciousness.

The first requirement is penetration. At least 10-12" is preferred. From there on, the bigger the hole, the better.

I personally wouldn't carry anything under 380Auto. There are extremely compact 9x19 pistols today, so there's really no point in going smaller.


October 6, 2003, 07:26 PM

I probably should have explained myself better, whilst I realise that many compact 9mm /.380 etc are available. The point I was trying to make was that assuming they were not, how little power would you be willing to carry.



October 6, 2003, 07:29 PM
Enough gun is the one you have when you need it. If all you have is a .22

when you need it , that's enough gun. I never seen a gun that I wanted

pointed at me, be it .22 or .45

Zach S
October 6, 2003, 07:59 PM
The smallest I've carried was a .38 special, rare occurance. Most of the time its .45 ACP. At the moment, those are my only two choices, obviously the .45 is prefered, and the .38 is the smallest I'd carry.

October 6, 2003, 08:01 PM
Agreed on the .380 part...That's about the smallest cal. I would consider....

But the 9mm's are compact enough to carry and target ammo is way cheaper....

October 6, 2003, 08:02 PM
Honestly, I think anything under a 32acp and I would trust a nice pointy blade more.

October 6, 2003, 08:20 PM
I carry a .760 acp or a .90 acp depending on the time of year.

That's a .380 or a .45 with double-taps...


October 6, 2003, 08:32 PM
If I had to use a .22 lr pistol for SD, I would feel pretty comfortable with my my old Browning Challenger or my 5 1/2" bull barreled Ruger MkII, loaded with 40 gr high speed solids. These pistols are accurate, reliable and fast handling.

I wouldn't feel comfortable my little Beretta .22 lr, 21A. But, if that is all I had it would be better than nothing.


Double Naught Spy
October 6, 2003, 08:49 PM
When things go bad, you may have a gun and if so then that gun is the best gun, if only because it is the ONLY gun you have. That does not mean it is enough gun for what is needed. Just because you have a gun does not make it enough.

The concept of 'enough' gun or caliber is troubling. I fail to understand the fixation with what people think is enough. If you think about it, 'enough' implies a minimal standard. When it comes to needed force, nobody wants a minimal standard when it comes to self defense and yet this is what people continually look for with guns.

When it comes to defense, maybe what should be considered is what is too much gun? What is so powerful that its use will put others in jeopardy if use, such as with significant over penetration.

I seriously doubt there is such a thing as "enough gun" that we could use as individual defense weapons. 'Enough' would imply that whatever it touched with its power would be instantly incapacitated or dead. That amount of power would undoubtedly be too much power for many situations.

Jim K
October 6, 2003, 08:59 PM
I once carried an Astra Cub in .22 Short simply because it was smaller than my key case. One conversation went like this:

Friend: "What would you do if you were attacked? Where would you shoot the guy?"

Me: "The gun is pretty accurate, so I would put a bullet over each of his eyes."

Friend: "Why? Is that a thin part of the skull?"

Me: "No, but the blood would run down in his eyes and blind him, and I would throw the damn gun at him and run like hell."

Nuff sed.


mr. e
October 6, 2003, 09:21 PM
What great reasoning! I like the way you think, Jim. ;^)

Standing Wolf
October 6, 2003, 09:28 PM
I occasionally carry my Walther P.P.K. .380 A.C.P. I don't consider it enough gun, but when you're facing a couple hours almost flat on your back in a dental chair, it's nearly enough gun.

As far as I'm concerned, the key issues are bullet placement, bullet placement, and bullet placement. Since I'm only fairly accurate, I try to give myself an edge with the .357 magnum rather than the less powerful .38 special or nine millimeter.

Apple a Day
October 7, 2003, 08:25 PM
155mm. Prefer self-propelled. :evil:

October 7, 2003, 08:57 PM
Nahh, 203mm, self-propelled.:evil: :neener:

Technically, any gun that stops the thread is enough gun. Get a gun with rounds that will penetrate and expand. Remember, you arent shooting to kill. You are shooting to live, and stop the threat.

When in doubt, fire the whole mag!:D :scrutiny:

October 7, 2003, 11:52 PM
I'd carry any gun if that is all that was available. You just need to adjust your tactics (aim point and range) in order to accomodate the lower power.

I am not limited in my selection though so I choose a gun which can give me greater flexiblity. One never knows what the situation requires in advance.

October 8, 2003, 12:27 AM
I think 'enough' is a matter of comfort than an objective equation. Something RELIABLE of .38 caliber or higher (well .223 is good too) than I can hit well with on demand.

For most occasions, my P7M8 and a few spare mags is good, if I'm having pho or boba, I like to pack my Beretta, a few spare mags, a P7M8, two knives and a few friends.

October 8, 2003, 01:21 PM
Enough gun, although a bit difficult to conceal.

October 8, 2003, 04:52 PM
If I wouldn't carry a 9mm, I would carry a .45. They're not difficult to conceal.

From there I would have to consider 10mm followed by .357 magnum.

October 8, 2003, 05:12 PM
Suburbian "light" carry (in case you get attacked by some suburbian gangstaz in their tricycles) = .380 (Walther PPK, for ex.)

Woods carry (for bear, mountain lions, and other critters) = .44mag (329PD, for ex.)

Urban "heavy" carry (when your knee deep in da ghetto) = .45acp (S&W P99, for ex.)

October 8, 2003, 07:42 PM
In my mind the problem isn't so much the POWER as it is the shootability.

Any gun will do if you will do, but really, what can you do? Can you hit a guy in the eyesocket with your creditcard sized .22LR while dodging bullets yourself?

I need enough gun to get my hand on; for me the smallest stuff I'm happy with is a Jframe or P9 size. I prefer to carry a bigger gun and haven't ever had a problem concealing one.

With the microKahrs available, there doesn't seem to be a good excuse to carry .25ACP anymore.


October 8, 2003, 07:48 PM
Hmmm.. If I was stuck with something really small, like a .32 ACP or less, or even a .380, I'd probably have other items available as well. But that's me, and YMMV. Pencils, knives, pepper sprays (heck a can of nasty hair spray might work), yadda yadda, are all alternatives to think about. I've seen a lot of as**oles (calling them what they are) carrying baseball bats. Around the home, good dogs that bark would be mandatory.

And a trained person who is good with a knife is a true terror, a very serious threat.

October 9, 2003, 12:51 AM
I would take anything I could get.

The ability to do injury, however small, to an attacker before you have to go at it hand-to-hand is invaluable.

If I had nothing else, I'd throw something.

If he persists and you have to fight him tooth and nail, you're going to be very thankful for any damage you were able to inflict at a distance.

October 9, 2003, 10:43 AM
"Enough gun" is the gun that can stop your attacker immediately. Since there are so many variables, there isn't one clear cut answer. You might have a situation where a person is shot with a .22 in the chest and they go down right away. You may have another situation where the BG takes four .45ACP slugs before they stop. Just remember, it is a handgun. Therefore it sucks in the power department. The solution is to make your choices caliber and gun wise, then train like crazy for all possible situations.

October 9, 2003, 12:31 PM
I think anything .380 ACP or larger is just fine for carry.

The smaller calibers make OK back up guns, but I don't think I'd want to use one as my primary...

October 9, 2003, 01:57 PM
Isn't it curious that everyone knows how effective 12 ga 0000 buckshot is but the law doesn't allow us to a short enough shotgun to conceal?

October 9, 2003, 03:10 PM
The "smallest" i rely upon is a .38 or 9mm.
ANY GUN that you feel totally comfortable with is ENOUGH.

October 9, 2003, 03:26 PM
Enough gun is the biggest, baddest piece that you can comfortably shoot, and conceal (And if you need to carry a smaller piece for whatever reason, carry what you would like to have if SHTF.)
Just be sure that you train with your carry piece.

My 'carry' gun happens to be a SIG 228.
My 'minimum' gun is either a compact single stack nine, and at least one spare magazine, or 2 J-frame airweight .357 magnums.

October 9, 2003, 09:53 PM
dhoomonyou I have to disagree with you here:
"ANY GUN that you feel totally comfortable with is ENOUGH."

That sounds like a rude awakening waiting to happen. The question is not what YOU are comfortable with - the question is 100% how UNcomfortable the goblin will be because of it. If you've only used .22s and you get a new .32 you might think you're a walking howitzer, but you could get an unpleasant reality check when Disgruntled Ex-Employee disagrees.

October 10, 2003, 09:45 AM
CALIBURN, Its ok to disagree.
My point is that someone should be comfortable, confident, and capable with a sidearm. I would rather have someone be able to hit a BG with a .22 or 9 or 40 or 45 (whatever) than a miss with a BIG A$$, BAD A$$ Desert Eagle.

October 10, 2003, 07:48 PM
dhoomonyou - Very true. I certainly can't disagree with that! :)

Baba Louie
October 11, 2003, 01:09 AM
In the words of my dear old Dad, "I've never met anyone who wants to be shot with a .22, have you?"

Having said that, I still prefer the 9mm of the .38 spl as my bottom rung or "average" in that its not too big, not too small... just right... FOR ME!

I have been wondering about that new .17HMR in an 8-shot short barreled revolver tho'. If a .22lr bounces around inside a body upon hitting bone, I wonder if the new .17 would just penetrate through and through.

Leave us pause to wonder.


No Quarter
October 11, 2003, 09:25 AM
I am much more concerned with having enough "balls" as opposed to having enough gun...

I honestly think that too many people think of handguns for non-LEO applications as miracle weapons that will allow them to safely keep the bad guy at bay and then calmly wait for the police to arrive and laud their prowess.

I fully expect that any altercation that requires me to use a handgun is also going to involve fighting and wrestling around with someone unless I am lucky enough to be able to run away.

In my case, while I do not carry a full size gun at all times, I do at the very very least have a naa .22 mag on me at all times when awake that I fully intend to poke into someones eye, throat, groin, wherever and blast away. If that fails, I fully intend to bite their throat out and stab them repeatedly until they go away or the cops pull me off their corpse.

Enough gun is any gun you have on you, enough will to use it and get physical about your life is much more important. Flip the switch when you have to and hope for the best - it will all be some amount of luck involved anyway.

My .02


October 11, 2003, 08:46 PM
Once again we see two pages of evidence that while it's too much trouble for people to read the question in the intial post, it's not too much trouble for them to type a totally irrelevant treatise answering a question that was not asked...

Congrats folks.

PS. A very few did answer the question asked--this post does not apply to them.

October 12, 2003, 05:28 AM
I can't really answer how "little power" I'd be willing to carry in a handgun, as "power" is generally most easily connected to "muzzle energy" ...

Using simple muzzle energy calculations to predict handgun bullet weight or caliber effectiveness in immediately incapacitating a person, or an animal, is at best arguably problematic ...

You can browse among the archived threads for topics related to this subject over on the Tactical Forums, under the Terminal Effects Section, and find quite a bit of information ... much of it offered by medical professionals, and/or referenced from medical journals and articles dealing with the trauma caused by the effects of bullet wounds on human bodies. It's not a "chit chat" forum, but you can quietly search out and read quite a bit of information not commonly found in some other forums.

Link to main page of Tactical Forums:

The "least" caliber in a handgun I'd personally consider lawfully carrying for defensive use is a .38 J-frame S&W revolver. That wasn't always the case, though, and as a young cop I remember carrying various handguns chambered in .22LR, .25 ACP and .380 ACP. A few more years in L/E pretty much convinced me that the "convenience" gained by being able to pocket a "minor caliber" pocket pistol might not turn out to be so "convenient" if I really NEEDED a defensive handgun, after all ....

Nowadays, whenever I find myself attracted by some shiny new example of one of the ever-growing number of watch-fob sized handguns, I stop and ask myself if I'd feel confident trying to stop an enraged and attacking pit bull with it. I decided to draw the line at .38 Special, and prefer either all-lead, or jacketed/bonded, +P hollowpoints, even then.

Regarding some of the spin-off thoughts within this thread ...

I have no idea what "enough gun" might be ...

If I reasonably suspected I was about to be involved in a gunfight during the course of my job that I couldn't avoid, I don't think the terms "enough gun" and "handgun" would even come close to appearing within the same sentence. Under those conditions, "Enough handgun" might even be my very favorite oxymoron of the moment.

I'd reach for a shotgun or a rifle ... and still wish I could be anywhere else but there.

Where the hell is Air Wolf when you need it, anyway????

Actually, I seem to remember calling for cover one time, when things were getting a bit fuzzy ... and in a moment of frustration I said something under my breath to the effect that they should also send Air Wolf ... while my mike was still activated. Naturally, while some of the responding units only heard some of the details being broadcast, everyone appeared to hear my muttered request for Air Wolf's response. Talk about selective listening ....

October 12, 2003, 11:42 AM
I carry a Walther TPH in .22LR; loaded with CCI 36 grain Stingers. They Chronograph at 1150-1250fps at 2-3yrds from the muzzle. At these velocitys they do not reliable expand; but they do pass the 12" penetration requirments submitted by the DOJ+ "experts". I have administered cou-de-gra head shot's to several big game animals, including wild boar. Penetration and death has resulted with one shot every time. I practice every week with it, at 100-200 rds per session, and can print easy 2-6" groups at 25yrds offhand. I allso shoot about one rattlesnake a week, at work/home with it, most are a bit too close for comfort. It's 100% reliable and I dont have any doubts I could use it too great effect on Two legged Goblins if need be. But this is of small concern to me, and I try not to think on it much. I also have a 9mmBhp/gp-35, a 12guge pump, and a 5.56nato Ruger mini-14 Ranch in my truck. So I'm pretty well backed up.:D

Double Naught Spy
October 12, 2003, 12:41 PM
Y'all are funny. Of course nobody wants to be shot with a .22 or any other caliber gun, but just because people don't want to be shot with it does not mean it is enough firepower to handle a defensive situation where it might be needed.

It is also interesting that some of y'all pseudo define "enough" as what you have with you and not how it will perform on the threat. I don't quite follow that reasoning. Okay, I don't follow it at all.

El Tejon
October 12, 2003, 12:47 PM
"Enough gun"=the magic gun that will empower me to never get in a fight!:D

Stuck, there are a bazillion variables as to ascertaining "stopping power." No one knows what it will take. It is just a (non-Hollywood) pistol. This is why we train.

October 12, 2003, 12:51 PM
Ok, leme see if I can explain it; The one you have is the best one there is. Or How about a .22 you can put in his eye is way better than the .45 you never shoot, and cant hit the butt of a Packiederm with at 10 feet. Or how about what the #ell good does a desert Eagle .50 do you when it's 120 degrees outside and you just cant bring yourself to put it in you ultra-concealed, deap cover, ITWB holster. How about the first rule of a gun fight is too have a gun. Need more?:)

October 12, 2003, 01:56 PM
Firstly I’d like to thank you all for your responses, but I’d still like to clarify a couple of things if that’s possible

Fastbolt. “ Enough handgun might even be my favourite oxymoron of the moment”

I couldn’t agree more, that’s sort of why I posted this thread in the first place.

Dhoomonyou “ANY GUN you feel totally comfortable with is ENOUGH” and all others with very similar responses.

Whilst I’m not trying to be pedantic it’s exactly this kind of response that I was trying to avoid. I may be very accurate and comfortable with a single shot .177 air gun. Does that then mean it’s a suitable defensive handgun? If it’s not but it was the only gun you had would you carry it? Probably not as it doesn’t even have the power to penetrate thick cardboard and the time spent drawing/ firing it would probably have been better spent drawing a knife/ ASP baton/ Pepper spray/ running etc.

That’s really what I was trying to establish at the start of this thread.

Once again thank you all for your responses.


October 12, 2003, 07:03 PM

"I would take anything I could get.
The ability to do injury, however small, to an attacker before you have to go at it hand-to-hand is invaluable.
If I had nothing else, I'd throw something."

I couldnt agree more...
The whole magic caliber/magic bullet ordeal used to be a real sickness for me. I got rid of some nice guns because of some write-up on the latest goblin killer.

Now I wouldnt feel too cheated if I had to defend my home with the 22/45 and a couple 10 rd. mags of stingers. Or maybe the kids single shot 243. if push came to shove.

Sure it's nice having a 1911, a hi-cap Glock, and a hi-cap shotgun by the bed, but these days Im more focused on the readiness mindset of personal protection, instead of the commercial mall-commando aspect of it. I think we need to be ready to defend our homes and families with what we can afford to train with, what we are comfortable with, and whatever is at hand at the time. My camp axe is good back up to whatever happens to be on my hip, as is the ice chipper on the back porch, or a good cross collar choke if it comes to that.

I say buy something reasonable and realistic and dont get too wrapped up in the commercial aspect of personal defense...... train, train, train...plan, plan, plan.

October 12, 2003, 08:54 PM
I'll still stick with my little walther; it's more than enough for me. It's also very useful, I shoot snakes, rabbit's, two wild dogs so far, and ect. I carry it all the time and forget it's even there, and I dont ever remember drawing it when I need it. When I'm Big game hunting, I can carry 50 extra rounds of ammo for it and not even notice. It's practically part of me. I also have spent several years doing martial arts and kickboxing/boxing so if gunplay is'nt warrented, I'm reasonably prepaired to deal. I really do not think about shooting people often, I think this is an ugly obsesive thing to do. Prepare, but shoot for fun.:D

Kentucky Rifle
October 13, 2003, 10:12 AM
As I sit here in my recliner waiting for the UPS truck to show up, I have a .32 H&R Mag AirLite Ti on my hip with a reload in my watch pocket in one of those thin little Galco pouches. (I forgot what it's called, but it can be worn on the belt too. Very flat.) Plus, my Jetfire is in my pocket loaded with .25ACP Magsafes. However, when I had to go downtown (a not too good section of downtown) a few weeks ago to visit a gunsmith I know, I strapped on my Glock and took a bigger back-up too.


Baba Louie
October 14, 2003, 07:44 PM
A handgun is just a handgun and as such has a whole lot of limitations in regards to its "Firepower/energy level" let alone its quantity of said firepower.

Kentucky Rifle has the right idea in that here is one thing, "there" is another. Your day to day activities at or near home still preclude having something on you, but "going out" into the deep dark dangerous jungle might require you to leave this at home and carry something a bit more... reassuring.

The question is what is the average break point from this to that. I've made my decision on what has worked in the past for either a Police agency or the military (not necessarily ours) and as a general historical consensus, it appears to my way of thinking that the .38 special is considered the bottom line for a self defense weapon with a 9mm, a .40 or the .45 being the preferred choice of people "Who go in harms way" for a living.

I really try hard to avoid "Going in harms way" when I can help it.


In the interest of "Being Prepared" (former Boy Scout, didn't stick around for the Eagle), I like the concept of a lot of small fast pellets for that energy transfer we all hope to avoid, so I've selected a Glock 26 with CorBon 115+p, with one extra magazine. I avoid bad parts of town and don't go looking for trouble and if I see it approaching I want to be leaving whenever possible (call me a prudent non-aggressive burro).

My father, who is now 71, has downsized to a Bersa .380 as its lighter and easier for a gentleman his age (or so he says). He was always a 45 auto man in days of yore. He now keeps the 45 at home for homeland defence and carries the .380 when he ventures out and has been known to carry .22's and .25's but thats just him. He avoids trouble too. So far.


October 18, 2003, 04:39 AM
.45 ACP I guess.

October 18, 2003, 10:29 PM
Whilst the general consensus seems to have been that a larger calibre is advisable assuming you are accurate with said calibre, most would still carry a .22 if that’s all that was available. I would choose a .22LR over a pocket knife or pepper spray IF that was all that was available. I'd also be doing a lot of praying that the mere sight of a handgun would deter attack. However, I have no training in edged weapons. If I knew how to use a knife effectively, I probably choose the knife every time unless a .32 or better was available.

Personally, if I had the choice, and I do, I would prepare myself with something a lot larger. And I do. My dad owns a Jenning .22 and a Kel-Tec P-32. I do not find those weapons comforting at all. I also own a few .32ACP handguns. I would not feel comforted by them for CC.

What is the lowest caliber gun that you would feel comfortable to have in your hand if a big rabid dog came running at you in the street, foaming at the mouth? Maybe a .380 will stop him, maybe not even a 45. I know for sure, he won't be impressed by the fact that you drew a gun on him or by your gee wiz super velocity, ultra expansion ammo. The only thing that's going to stop him is a CNS hit, breaking enough bones that he can't support himself or dropping his blood preassure down enough where he can't run.

From the weapons I presently own, I feel comforted when carrying my CZ-40B (.40S&W) or my 1911 Govt. (45ACP). I feel comforted by these weapons because with the ammo I have chosen to load them with (165gr. and 230gr. Golden Sabers), they have a good track record of stopping power verifiable by multiple sources and perform satisfactory in my own non-scientific tests. I know the weapons are accurate and most importantly, reliable because I shoot them often for enjoyment, not just for practice.

Oh yea, I also carry the pocket knife and pepper spray.

October 20, 2003, 08:57 PM
the answer is................. whatever it would take to have you come out alive and on top in any situation. That will vary from time to time, but the bottom line is that you should always carry the best balance (for you) of power, accuracy, and reliability.

October 20, 2003, 11:03 PM
Enough gun is the gun you have with you. The gun I have with me at work is a 239 in 40. More often than not I've got a 38 snub with me when I'm off. I avoid trouble when I can which is pretty much always.

But I never worry about enough gun when I have my 2 inch. I know alot of people that leave bigger and better guns at home that were to hard or inconvienient to conceal.

Being alert, good tactics, practice and confidence in your ability with the gun you are carrying will go alot further in keeping you alive than any bigger gun that holds 15 rounds and eventually get left at home because it eventually becomes a pain in the ??? to carry around.

Double Naught Spy
October 21, 2003, 01:52 AM
Posted by Skunkabilly...
I think 'enough' is a matter of comfort than an objective equation. Something RELIABLE of .38 caliber or higher (well .223 is good too) than I can hit well with on demand.

This is classic where 'enough' is being defined by what makes the shooter comfortable. Um, for the idea of defense, there is nothing remotely viable about our comfort level when it comes to abilities to deal with problems such as bad guys. Personal comfort isn't the issue and it isn't about us and our guns and how the guns make us feel. It IS all about the ability of those guns to be able to neutralize whatever threat is encountered.

Skunk, I think you have been in PRK too long and your personal shrink has you believing that it isn't what your gun shoots, but how you feel about what your gun shoots. Time to get a new shrink because the current one has you all touchy feely and not in that good Las Vegas way either.

October 21, 2003, 04:38 PM
A highway patrl out here recently placed 3 .45 acp through the top of the head of a bad guy, and he lived. That is about a 350 fpe per round with a large diameter. Should have been enough to interrupt the CNS. I had to rethink the .45 auto equation. I decided to convert to more perforation power with a .357 mag. I would have gone .44 mag, but they are heavy and difficult to conceal. The .357 mag I now carry has a 1.5 inch width and rides high nicely. 7 rounds. I do not fear the transfer of energy loss by overpenetration. I fear the lack of penetration and failure to expand.

Defensively, enough is .357 mag. Offensively, enough is probably 45 acp.

Black Snowman
October 21, 2003, 05:28 PM
People's comfort levels vary. My Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructor called it "Acceptable level of risk"

Mine for most situations is unarmed and aware. I don't really have much legal choice as KS doesn't have CCW yet. I frequently carry a knife but not always.

I'm fortunate that I'm rarely if ever forced into risky situations, but I'd feel better for everyone if I were armed.

I personally wouldn't want anything less than a 9mm, and if I have 10 rounds or more I would be fine with FMJ with perferation making up for per hit damage and increased odds of hitting CNS or vitals. Ideally I'd like a long gun. Biggest one I can get. If I see it comming I'd go for my FAL.

October 21, 2003, 06:01 PM
I think the question is just phrased incorrectly - or we tend to think about it incorrectly...?

There is no such thing as "enough gun" when we are talking about carrying a handgun.
Really, we ought to ask how much we are willing to compromise power for weight/comfort/concealability, etc. And that will depend on the time of year (wardrobe), the size of the individual, etc.

If we are talking about "enough gun" for home defense, then handguns shouldn't even be brought up - we should be talking about which shotgun is best!.


November 18, 2003, 12:04 PM
Regardless of comfort levels, which has absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand, the .38 special meets the minimum criteria for what is deemed "enough gun."

The "fact" that a .32 in the pocket beats a .45 in the safe not withstanding.

November 18, 2003, 06:52 PM
Lots of interesting responses and opinions to this topic.

Many good arguments for several of them too.

But since this is one of those unanswerable questions that deals more in philosophy than absolutes, perhaps a parable is in order.

Once upon a time (before WWII) there were two competing guitar manufacturers. One was a long established company named Gibson that had been making instruments since 1902. The other was a young upstart, founded in 1923, named Epiphone. (Yes in 1957 Gibson bought and merged Epiphone but this was before all of that.)

Gibson felt they were the masters of their art and thought they had the better product.
Epiphone had studied the ways of the masters and felt they had devised a better product.

Gibson came up with the now famous slogan, “Only A Gibson is Good Enough.”

Epiphone countered with their slogan, “Epiphone, when ‘Good Enough’ isn’t Good Enough.”

Both companies soon dropped both slogans.

So you see my brothers and sisters, this I say unto thee, heed the words of Epimanondas Stathopoulos, “Sometimes, Good Enough’ ain’t Good Enough”.

November 18, 2003, 11:03 PM
For me:

Minimum Revolver= 38SPL +P+

Minimum semi-auto= 40S&W.

Probably overkill, but I read alot of Mel Tappen growing up. So, I've had it drilled into me that anything less than 45ACP is for wussies. Problem is that extensive shooting with 45's gives me a flinch(wussie here). 40's and hot 38's don't, so I shoot them better. I guess if someone gave me a pocket sized 9mm I might carry it, I've just never liked nines, just wierd I guess.

November 18, 2003, 11:53 PM
I used to have an old old magazine article from I think the late '50s that listed suggested bullet weights, MV, FPE...etc. , For various game. Selection was based on the game, taking into consideration skin thickness, muscle, bone, weight...etc. Handgun/Rifle/Shotgun loads.

Now this wasn't like what one sees on various ammo mfg listings, gun magazine articles that might be trying to sell something. Not one of the studies we see debated. Just a compliation of what hunters had used and the performance results. IIRC some of the notations were old timers and their ledgers/ diaries.

Interesting thing was it seemed the experiences shared were genuine and sincere. None of the bashing or hype...just folks being neighborly and sharing.

Folks also used and suggested loads for SD because of experiences in wartime and hunting. I wish I still had this. Seems like it was in Field& Stream...then again maybe not...

I kinda like what Ruark said...obviously huh?.
Kinda like Ruark's advice about taking a second shot too...

November 18, 2003, 11:55 PM
anything is better than nothing, but i wouldn't go smaller than .380

November 19, 2003, 12:35 AM
"a single shot .177 air gun"

"Armed and silly.", is how my Dad described that thought. Obviously, NOT enough. (8 to 10 grains @ 300 to 1000 FPS) 'Won't even stop an angry raccoon! 'Been there, done that!

Keederdag, "CCI 36 grain Stingers" Most Excellent! They are my favorite! They are also loud and, from pistol-length barrels, give off a huge, bluish ball of muzzleflash after dark! Aguila also makes a couple of high-energy .22LRs that I have not yet tried, like their 60 SSS and another that I remember seeing muzzle velocities in the 1700 fps range, if my memory serves me. (I really like my Browning Buckmark! I like it best for SD with ammo that's never failed to fire: CCI 36 grain STINGERS!)

May I invoke Colonel Jeff Cooper here?

(Forgive me; the precise quote has eluded me, thus I paraphrase...)

Colonel Cooper reckons that if you can't carry a .45 or larger, go right on down to the .22LR: It's easier to shoot and cheaper to practice with, so one is more likely to become proficient with it;
"A .22 in the eyeball beats a 9mm to the wishbone." (I think that's how I remember reading it...)

Shot placement: Only bullets that HIT count. If you can't CONNECT with huge footpounds...

I suppose that the shocking report from the behemoth calibers would do plenty to get the BG's attention, but is that really what I'd want?

If he can't see or is losing hydraulic pressure from his carotid or jugular, the end of the fight is a little closer at hand than if I push hard on a gun that kicks like a mule, with which I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn from the inside with the doors and windows shut!

.22 is enough, .45 is better, tactical avoidance is best. IMHBTAO.

November 19, 2003, 09:51 AM
Personally I think it has alot to do with the person ....I can't shoot a 45 to literally save my life......but I can and do shoot 38+P+ out of an SP101 very good.....5 shots in COM in about 5 seconds.at 15 yrds..that's hard to beat....I think you should shoot the biggest caliber you can handle and shoot well and conceal....for me a small revolver is easily concealed and has enough power.Maybe for you it's a 45,or a 9.....only hits count after all......practice is the key.....although if I were to be shot,I'd rather be shot with a 22 or 25 than a 380 or 9.......enough gun depends on the ability of the shooter and the situation...IMO....:cool:

November 19, 2003, 10:27 AM

Maybe some of this will help. .22lr or .25 i.e. about 70 ft.lbs. Many agents use the small Walther TPH. Silencers are available for it.

You have probably read enough to know that the normally recommended minimum pistols in the US are .380 auto or .38 Special revolvers. About 200 ft. lbs. For many years .38 Special was the normal police gun.
Many police go their entire careers w/o firing their gun though many are taken into custody with it. The police went to .357 magnum to penetrate cars.

In the US, there is the "bigger is better" thing as you probably have noticed.

Have been to England. Counld not stay long since I could not bring my hot rod Corvette.


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