Is bigger better ... have you PERSONALLY switched to a smaller caliber?


Alan Fud
October 13, 2003, 01:05 AM
I often hear / read in gun rags ... Bigger is better; and

Law Enforcement agencies & departments across the country are switching to LARGER caliber sidearms (mostly 9mm to .40S&W or 9mm to .45ACP) but nobody is switching to a smaller caliber. ... and that got me wondering if any of the members here have switched their CCW to a SMALLER caliber from a LARGER caliber? .45ACP ... to either a 9mm or .357SIG or .40S&W or 10mm ?

.40S&W ... to either a .357SIG or 9mm ?

etc. ? Or has everyone gone the other way from a smaller caliber to a bigger caliber?

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October 13, 2003, 01:12 AM
No real difference over the years.
Comfortable carryin whatever I am comfortable shootin.
Whether .32 Long or .44 Mag or whatever comes to whichever hand first.


Zak Smith
October 13, 2003, 01:18 AM
Went from a couple 40's to 9x19mm and .45ACP.


October 13, 2003, 01:29 AM
If only to satisfy my curiosity as to what all the fuss is all about, I got myself a 45acp 1911. It's heavier and bulkier all right. But it hasn't won me over, yet...

I still trust my nine. After all had been said and done, the difference in efficacy with the premeir loads of the major calibers is hardly noticeable.

Besides, if the SHTF, it's my shotgun I'm going to be wielding... :D

October 13, 2003, 01:31 AM
I haven't been carrying too long, but I have no plans to change my carry gun, so I voted "stayed the same". I carry a 9mm Makarov...

I would like to get a .25 or .32, but I plan to carry it in additon to the Mak, not in place of the Mak. 2 guns are better than 1, right?

October 13, 2003, 01:39 AM
I had a Glock 22. I sold it to one of my best friends. Later, I bought a Glock 17. I could have just as easily bought another G22, but I decided to try something different and I always liked the idea of having 18 or 20 rounds on tap. Now, having fired the two Glocks side by side, I'd have to say that I prefer the Glock 17. I can hit faster and with more accuracy than the G22. Emptying a pre-ban mag with speed is much more pleasant in the G17 as well.

This doesn't mean that I wouldn't try another .40, and it sure as heck doesn't mean I won't buy another .45 when I can. I wouldn't mind a 1911A1 in either caliber.

October 13, 2003, 01:53 AM
I've gone down mostly, then up a little: from 9mm to .32 ACP to .32 magnum (mostly) and 9mm (sometimes).


October 13, 2003, 02:14 AM
I have used and abused many 9mm handguns over the years and feel comfortable with it as a personal defense round and I see no reason to go up or down in caliber. I have a couple of .45's and they are a lot of fun at the range and I sometimes carry a .25 Beretta (yeah, I know!) as a second gun, but a 9mm is what I shoot the most, am the most proficient with and rely on more than any other pistol round.

October 13, 2003, 06:51 AM
Well I can't yet CCW, but I did buy a Colt .45 as my main handgun. It is replacing a .40s&w.

October 13, 2003, 07:41 AM
There are people who only carry one caliber? :confused:

Al Thompson
October 13, 2003, 08:49 AM
When good JHP ammo became available for the 9mm, I started adding more to my collection. I've avoided the .40 simply due to no desire for yet another caliber.

The 9mm (IMHO) is very dependent on good JHPs to make it viable. Current load of choice is 124 +P Gold Dots by Georgia Arms.

October 13, 2003, 09:20 AM
I carry what I carry, been that way for years.
Have my druthers, depending on semi or revo, based on platforms chosen a long time ago. If carrying a BUG cal may or not be different. Third gun cal don't count -right?

Yeah, another here that just never warmed to the .40.

October 13, 2003, 10:13 AM
I could use only the 9mm from now on and not really look at anything else.

But for me----more guns=more fun. :)

El Tejon
October 13, 2003, 10:20 AM
"Big" or "Small" it's just a handgun.

Sean Smith
October 13, 2003, 12:02 PM
I went from .45 to 10mm, so technically I guess it is smaller. But it is also about as heavy and ALOT faster.


Marko Kloos
October 13, 2003, 12:30 PM
I've done the roundabout. Started with a 9mm, went all the way to the .45ACP by way of the .357SIG, .40S&W, and 10mm Auto. Now I am back to the 9mm Luger. It's cheap, easy to shoot, lots of cool guns can be had in 9mm, and it'll do the job just as well as any of the others.

October 13, 2003, 12:34 PM
I carry several different pistols from .380 to .45acp it all depends. I feel comfortable shooting them all.


October 13, 2003, 12:35 PM
My first gun, my first carry. CZ75B. I now carry a 342PD .38 for my daily carry. I can't imagine ever needing even that let alone more than that. Lighter than my keys! Federal Hydroshocks in it though. They'll work.

October 13, 2003, 12:38 PM
I went from a 38special snubnose to a 32ACP P32. I felt I would be better served by sticking to a gun I can carry "all the time" (except for work)rather than a gun that I could carry "most of the time".


October 13, 2003, 01:27 PM
I went from a Beretta 9mm to a Sig .45 but it wasn't because of caliber.
I am more accurate with the Sig and I have more magazines for it. :p

Pappy John
October 13, 2003, 02:25 PM
My carry pieces have gotten larger and larger the longer I carry. I think that this is because the longer I carry the more comfortable I have become with the weight on my hip and more sure that nobody ever notices what I'm wearing and the better I've gotten at camoflaging the pieces. I've gone from a Beretta Tomcat in my pocket, to a PPK/S .380 on the belt, to a 642 carried IWB, and now its a .44 spec. 696 IWB. I think I'll stop there though. That .44 is both a thumper and accurate as heck to boot, buts its just on the line of becoming too thick in the cylinder for IWB carry.
Or maybe that's just me being too thick in the cylinder.

Ala Dan
October 13, 2003, 03:22 PM
Greeting's All-

Well, I've Stayed The Same--------

By living by the .45 ACP!:uhoh: :D

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

October 13, 2003, 03:28 PM
Done both. Bought several 45's before i had a 9.. shoot the nine a LOT better. Cheaper to practice with the 9. Bought 357. Heap funbig boom.:D

Need to make more bullets.

October 13, 2003, 05:12 PM
I dumped all my .45s and only shoot 9mm now. Very unamerican, but it works for me!

Jason Demond
October 13, 2003, 05:17 PM
I went from a full size pistol in 40S&W, to a compact 9mm.

October 13, 2003, 05:26 PM
Still partial to a 45ACP

October 13, 2003, 05:29 PM
I'm wishy-washy.

Back and forth I go. One day it's 9mm.. " All the Time!"

The next day it's .45acp.. "It's never been Finer!"

The day after that it's .40 S&W.. "Hey! How 'bout them 49ers!"

Round and round I go..

Where I'll stop no one knows!! :o :o


October 13, 2003, 05:37 PM
Stayed the same. I primarily carry a Colt 45acp, every now and then I do carry a Glock 19.

Gary A
October 13, 2003, 08:52 PM
In revolvers I've moved away from 45Colt, 45acp, .44, to the .357/.38/9mm. In semi-autos, I've moved away from .45 to the 9mm and even the .380. Never was interested in the .40. The 9mm and the .357 do just about everything I want a handgun round to do. I like the bigger bores but shoot the medium bores better and it simplifies my want/buy/wish list. Reality says I must draw the line somewhere.

October 13, 2003, 09:51 PM
I had to do a double take. For a while there I thought it was a Cosmoploitan Mag article;)

October 13, 2003, 10:30 PM
It's more of a size of gun/caliber issue with me. I like .45 acp and larger in heavier guns, while the 9mm is great in midsize guns. They're all fun, but some are better for specific tasks. I wouldn't sneeze at carrying a .22mag mousegun in my pocket either...if that were legal here.

October 13, 2003, 11:08 PM
Guns are like ties.
It isn't in good taste to wear the same one two days in a row.
As for switching calibers, what do you mean by switch?
You should have 'em all, and carry 'em all.
Rotate your carry guns, practice with them all.
That way, you know all their strengths and weaknesses.

October 13, 2003, 11:22 PM
Started off with thinking .40 was THE caliber, and was carrying a .32 as backup. Kept resisiting the idea that 9mm was a excellent caliber(The gun rags said .40 was the BEST!.)Then a friend pointed out if i trusted my life to .32, why not 9mm. I took his advice to heart, and now I like 9mm, its effective, its cheap, doesn't bother my arthritis, and it is great for starting a debate with people. Its amazing how many people seem to think 9mm will bounce off peoples skin and has no stopping power. If I want stopping power, Im grabbing my remington 870.

October 13, 2003, 11:30 PM
As a result of being far too close to (and sometimes involved in) many armed encounters in a civil war situation in another country, I decided early on that 9mm. was NOT a dependable round for self-defence. I saw far too many cases where 1980's-vintage hollowpoints (not the +P and +P+ rounds of today) simply failed to stop a determined attacker until he'd done major (sometimes terminal) damage to the shooter. I'm afraid that even with the advent of higher-power loads, I retain a visceral distrust of 9mm. Parabellum as a "fight-stopper". I'll use it if I have to (particularly in smaller guns such as the Kahr PM9), but I won't like it.

I've standardized on .40 S&W and .45 ACP as my "carry" calibers in semi-autos, and .357 Magnum in revolvers. In very light snubbies, I'll use the FBI load in .38 Special.

I will never, under any circumstances, trust a round of less power than 9mm. Parabellum or .38 Special as a primary fight-stopper (although they have their uses in backup guns). Again, I've seen what works "up close and personal" - and the small stuff just doesn't cut the mustard... Sure, these rounds will kill anyone: but they won't necessarily STOP them, and it's really, really hard to get a CNS shot or two in the heat of the moment, especially with movement, noise, turmoil and panic in the air! I want something that will deliver as authoritative a "smack" as possible to my opponent.

I know there are many who will disagree with me, and that's fine. However, on the basis of far too much experience (which I would rather not have had, thank you very much), I'll stay with the "bigger is better" school...

October 14, 2003, 12:39 AM
Nine is fine. Either 9x19 or 9x18. Have a few .357's too. Don't carry any of them, but a CZ-85 Combat is loaded in the safe. 16 rounds of JHP that go where I point them. The CZ fits my hand so well, it almost hits the target by itself. If I had to carry a gun, I wouldn't feel under-armed with my Mak either.

October 14, 2003, 04:28 AM
For hot weather pocket carry, went from j-frame .38's to Kahr P9covert.

For home defense, went from .38spl revolver to 16rd Sig P226 9mm.

For belt carry, has been a LW 1911 .45acp pistol since 1973.

Recently picked up a Garthwaite custom .40cal BHP that "might" become my belt carry after I shoot it more.


October 14, 2003, 06:03 AM
Stayed the same. 9mm since the late 70s.

Hot brass
October 14, 2003, 12:23 PM
357mag to 45acp, no looking back.

October 14, 2003, 12:51 PM
I went from .380 to 9mm then got a .45, which I kept and like, but eventually returned to 9mm as my primary. That's what I'm most comfortable with.

October 14, 2003, 01:50 PM
Started out with a Para P13 (.45) and traded it, then went to G27 (.40) and traded it, then ended up with P7M8 (9mm). While I will always love the .45 ACP, the platform was essentially the reason why I landed on 9mm.

I'd have more choice of calibers/platforms if I had more money and less interests in other fun things. As is, the handguns I own basically serve as tools having a specific role in self preservation... i.e. nothing specifically for plinking, gaming, hunting, loudenboomer, etc. Would be nice to have more but I'm not sure I have the time or $$ for all of em!


Abominable No-Man
October 14, 2003, 07:45 PM
I swore by the .45 for several years. Switched to my 9mm about a year ago.

I had the .45 and the 9mm for a long time (4506 and 5906 S&W), got them about the same time. Started mulling it over after a few years of letting the 5906 collect dust in my lockbox and figured that what I really wanted was a smooth, hi-cap pistol I could shoot quickly and accurately (that's the 5906), and a knockabout woods/trail/etc. pistol that had some real punch-
45 doesn't quite fit the bill for me.

Ultimately I would like a 9mm or two and a 10mm (looking for a S&W 1006-
YEAH! Firepower!:D ) as a counterpart to my .357.


October 14, 2003, 07:56 PM
I carry several different calibers,38spl +P,357mag,44spl and 9mm para.I feel each of these should work when loaded with decent ammo and the shots are properly placed.

Denny Hansen
October 14, 2003, 08:02 PM
.45 ACP.

It's big, slow and old. So old that it's proven itself for nigh onto a hundred years in places where it matters the most.

October 14, 2003, 11:06 PM
Carried .38 "Chiefs Special" for many years, then .40 for 7 years after getting Glock 23 for birthday in 1990. Eventually traded that Glock for a Kahr K-9 with "a nine considered fine" with Corbon +Ps for the next couple of years.

Then, working outside in the heat a lot, I got hooked by the airwight 5-holers and went back to .38's/.357s. And another Kahr (PM-9) joined the "carry family" last year.

But ... when fixing to hit the road or have to go somewhere I had rather not, the compact handguns generally become backup to my "brick" - another Glock - this time in .45ACP.

October 14, 2003, 11:45 PM
I alternate between 45 acp and 10mm. The 10mm has a lesser diameter but calling it 'smaller' may be misleading as it packs a punch. The firearms are both full sized all steel autos so no weight or size difference there.

October 15, 2003, 06:05 AM
After a while you get bored with just one caliber, and try another.

But how many of us go to the extremes, rather than the usual .45-to-.22 range calibers?

What proportions of handgun shooters actually fire- with some frequency- say, a .500? Or a .30-06 single-shot handgun?

How many fire a handgun in something smaller than .22?

October 15, 2003, 02:39 PM
I started with the 9 mainly because ammo was cheap and I felt that the guns could be smaller (good for ccw). This allowed me to practice - a lot. I have fairly quick follow up shots with them and I am accurate enough. The 9mm isn't THAT bad.

However.......... if I suddenly lost ALL my handguns and all my 9 mm ammo, I would seriously consider a .45 . (or perhaps a .40)


October 15, 2003, 04:02 PM
Started 9mm, bought a .40, bought a .45. Carry any of the 3 depending on dress, where I'm going and weather. All 3 get range time. No safe queens here.

W Turner
October 16, 2003, 10:22 AM
I kind of agree with Tamara on this one....I dont carry just one caliber.

That being said because my job does not allow for safe concealed carry and because I never know when I will be going away from the facility, I have a pocket .38 spl. about 90% of the time.

This may be changed if the Taurus 9mm revolvers prove to be reliable.


C. H. Luke
October 17, 2003, 12:45 PM
".45ACP ... to either a 9mm or .357SIG or .40S&W or 10mm ?"

Arthritis & DJD have forced a swith down to 9mm from .45.

Can shoot 1500 rnds. per month in training and Matches with 9mm
PF loads plus Ranger SXT 127 +P+ is no paroblem at all to train with.

Granted bullets do not reliably track or expand in a CCW situation but shot placement is what really counts!

Zeke Menuar
October 17, 2003, 03:11 PM
I went from 38 Special/357 Mag to 45ACP because I grew to dislike snubby revolvers as carry guns. The cylinder gouging my hip, recoil, and the lack of accuracy prompted me to make a change. The LW Commander I have is much more comfortable to carry and easier to shoot than the snubby I used to carry. I made my decision based on the type of gun not caliber. If there had been a 1911 style Commander length 9mm available at the time I made the changeover I might have gone with a 9mm 1911 instead.


October 17, 2003, 06:59 PM
There are people who only carry one caliber? :confused:

Yep :D

And I like to have my backup gun the same caliber as the main gun, but I also realize that the BUG platform is more important than the caliber.

Gotta admit though it is a little boring. I always got this thing about getting a 10mm Delta Elite (for "Bear Country" :) ) or .45ACP 1911 just to add some spice.

@Alan Fud

Yea, I used to be all about big bore revolvers into I got into 9's and they tend to dominate most of my interest nowadays in the world of pistolas.

October 20, 2003, 09:13 PM
mostly I carry something 'larger'. On ocassion, I will pack a .38, or a 9mm, but most of the time its a .45 Auto, or a .45 Colt, or a .44 . Little guns, while capable of being effective, are not my first choice.

Bob F.
October 20, 2003, 10:20 PM
Bunches of different ones. Always like a 1911 but didn't have one for years. Even relied on a .22 auto for a while. Figured at 10yds I could put 10 in the head before he hit the ground. .38 Speed Six-heavy!, 9mm Mak- a helleva gun for the $$! Rock Island Armory .45 compact that I had trouble with and never really trusted, looks good, though. Now mostly carry a Glock 19 with any GOOD factory HP, preferably 124gr. Comes to hand very quickly, fast and accurate!!!
I was hesitant to go 9mm simply because "if you're gonna carry something that big it might as well be a .45!!!" Most 9's are WIDE! Saw a little Star the other day-looked like a 1911 washed in hot water. Not much bigger than a Mak or PA63. The "black" P-35 feel real good in my hand, too.
I'd like to have a big-bore (.45LC, .44 Spec) for the woods with a 4-5" bbl.

October 22, 2003, 03:23 PM
It seems that LE agencies that are using the 9mm and utilizing the better ammunition available for it like the 124gr+P Gold Dot/124gr Gold Dot, 127gr+P+/147gr Ranger T, 135gr+P/124gr Federal Tactical, ect... are not complaining much about it's effectiveness.

All of the service calibers benefit when the best loads available are used, and those are widely considered to be the Ranger, Federal Tactical, and Gold Dot bullets.

Would it benefit an LE officer to go to a larger caliber he or she doesn't shoot well? Or would it benefit said officer to stick with a caliber (even if smaller), that he/she places shots well with, and load it with one of the top performing bullet designs available? I for one, would never sacrifice shootability, for any real or percieved ballistics performance advantage. However, if an individual can shoot a larger caliber with a high degree of proficiency, meaning they can potentially capitalize on any performance increase that may be offered via properly placed shots, then I would say pick pick the larger caliber all else being equal.

Actually yes, some LE agencies have adopted the 357 Sig, which is a necked down 9mm bullet propelled to higher velocities. However,.........

357 Sig 125gr Ranger: Vel= 1340fps/ Pen= 13.5"/ RD= .63"

9mm 127gr+P+ Ranger (RA9TA ): 1219fps/ 14.8"/ .63"

..........Where's the difference? IMO, it's in the 357 Sig's increased recoil, louder blast, reduced capacity, and increased weapons wear.

LE agencies and civilians will always follow trends, jump on bandwagons, and clamour to be apart of the latest fad, wether it's "small" or "large". A great many in LE have indeed switched to something larger or back to something smaller (357 Sig), while some have chosen to stay the same (9mm) and use the better ammunition offered today. Back and forth, round and round.......

Some of the LE agencies issuing or authorizing the 9mm:
NY Sher. dept.
Philadelhpia PD
San Bernadino PD
Santa Clara PD
Palm Bay Fl. PD
U.S. Customs
Atlanta Ga. PD
ect. ect.......

Best, jnb01

October 22, 2003, 06:43 PM
Got bigger....well not really that much but went from 380acp to 38 SA

October 23, 2003, 08:39 PM
With todays ammo I feel fine with just about any caliber 9mm and up. I don't trust pocket calibers like the 9mm mak. But if its at least a 9x19 with +p or +p+ ammo I feel fine.

October 23, 2003, 10:22 PM
ive gone and will always go from one to another depending on how i have to dress.

that being said, i have no trouble concealing a g36 iwb in the summer, i would like a little pocket auto like a seecamp or keltek too. right now its a 2" ti .38, not exactly flat enough for pocket carry in the summer but it beats my makarov.

October 23, 2003, 10:26 PM
All of the above.

1st -S&W 645 full sized .45 ACP

2nd Grendal .380 ACP was much easier to carry all year round

3rd AMT BackUP .45 ACP see above

4th Glock 27 .40 S&W see above plus night sights & more accurate

5th Kahr MK9 9mm see above plus thinner

6th Seecamp .32 ACP tiny tiny tiny tiny...

Primary carry is Glock 27, followed by the Kahr MK9 when I need something a tad thinner. Seecamp as second gun, or extreme deep carry.

October 24, 2003, 05:24 AM
Started with 9mm

Then mag ban forced me to switch to .45

Now carrying .40 for best compromise of caliber and size of gun.

October 25, 2003, 02:15 PM
From 9mm to .40 to .45, in that order. Sold off the 9mm stuff and kept the others.

October 25, 2003, 07:41 PM
I used to carry a SIG 220 in .45acp but now I carry a Beretta 92FS in 9mm when I carry a full sized gun. 7+1 in .45 is not as good as 15+1 in 9mm for me. I also just plain like the Beretta better. The SIG had a stiff DA trigger that was too far forward for me. The Beretta fits me better and packs much more ammo. I think the 9mm is a fantastic cartridge with the right loads.

October 27, 2003, 10:55 AM
I like'em all. Some days I like 230grs of ball other days 124+p is just fine :)

October 30, 2003, 10:45 PM
Its seasonal for me - here in Texas during the "summers" (ie March-Nov)
its my G19. In the "winter" its my 1911.

And year round its my 3" SP101 in .357 when I'm too lazy to carry either :D

October 31, 2003, 08:20 AM
I switched back to a "smaller" caliber for primary carry.

1978, 9mm
1979-1999, 9mm, 40, .357, .44, .45, .357SIG,
1999-present, 9mm

It does the job very well.

October 31, 2003, 12:33 PM
Started off with .22lr. Inherited a .38Sp. Got caught up in the wondernine craze. All the while my father and uncle, both veterans, were soldiering away with the .45ACP in 1911s I shot once in awhile. I fell in love with the 1911 in the Navy.

That's where I have been most of the last ten years. I have skipped the .40S&W and .357SIG crazes based on my experience getting sucked into the hi-cap 9mm marketing craze. Older and wiser I guess. I still remain intrigued by the .357Mag and the 10mm and may yet act on that constant attraction.

October 31, 2003, 04:20 PM
I haven't gone smaller to bigger yet but certainly planning to. For now, I own 9mm and a .357 that I shoot .38's through. When I get the funds, I want to get a Glock 30 (.45) because I'm just dying to own a .45 and can't get a Cougar in my state. I'd also like to get a Ruger single shot .357 and try some heavy ammo for a change....:uhoh: :D

October 31, 2003, 05:27 PM
It was weird....

I was filling out one of these polls one day and realized that I only had one 9MM left....and it was my primary arm (G19)

Asked myself...self....why have you bought all these cannons if you still prefer the G19...maybe you should spend less time shopping and more time shooting!!

Self was no help....started emptying the safe...selling the ones I never shot anymore.

Now I have mostly 9mm's and a couple .45's..ok...and 1-.357 sig...just to be open minded.

And a .22....gotta have a steps here

October 31, 2003, 06:24 PM
No changes really, .380 ACP BUG's, 9mm's, a 10mm and a couple of .45 ACP's all get carried as need or mood indicate.:D

November 1, 2003, 10:45 PM
NOPE! Although I own smaller calibers my carry is almost always .45 ACP, or .357 Mag.

George Hill
November 1, 2003, 11:57 PM
Lets see, full size .45 to a full sized 9... then to a compact 9... now up to a full sized/compact .44...

November 3, 2003, 12:49 PM
So, what you are saying, George, is that you go both ways. :what:

Erik Jensen
November 3, 2003, 09:43 PM
I'm looking to rid myself of my Kahr MK40 in .40 s&w, and procure a snubby in .38 special+p in it's stead. I'm not so concerned with the caliber as I am with ease of carry, within limits. even in .38sp+p, I have no interest in shooting one of those scandium wheelguns.... ouch.

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