Nice overall round for protection


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Pathtoyorsoul
July 25, 2009, 11:30 PM
I am going to be turning 21 on my next birthday and am currently researching and looking into the best overall caliber for personal protection. I wanna get my protection permit and a handgun to go with it, but can't decide on what caliber to go with or what manufacturer. I have a few months so I have some time, but does anyone have any suggestions?

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mljdeckard
July 25, 2009, 11:53 PM
You are about to be bombarded by a lot of opinion and a few facts. The truth is, ANY premium JHP round in 9mm or larger will likely do the job. (At least as well as a handgun can be expected to do the job. Handguns are emergency weapons we resort to because they are easily portable and concealable.)

In the last day or so, an expert, Massad F. Ayoob, posted the following in response to the never-ending debate about some of the standardized tests for stopping power.

"Anyone who has a "crisis of confidence" in their equipment due to the "IWBA versus M&S debate" can simply choose a "load of compromise," something both sides agree works well. That would include the 158 grain lead hollowpoint +P in .38 Special, and the better 180 grain .40 S&W and 230 grain .45 ACP JHP loads."

We love to argue over 9mm vs .45, JHP vs hardball (FMJ) ammo, and try to outsmart each other, but in the real world, you need to use the gun and cartridge that you shoot best. When you are fighting for your life, you need all the advantages you can get, and it doesn't matter how good the bullet is if you don't hit with it.

You need to go to a shop that rents handguns and try a LOT of different guns. You will find a surprising number of options and schools of thought. I'm going to recommend that you try a Glock, a .38/.357 revolver, a good 1911, and a variety of modern autos like the M&P, the XD, the H&Ks, etc. You may be surprised to see that larger calibers aren't impossible to control, and that heavier, longer guns are easier to shoot. You may have a completely different opinion when you leave than when you walked in.

I have carried Sig, Beretta, Glock, Taurus, S&W, Para-Ordnance, and a few others, but I came home to a 1911. It's what I shoot best. You also need to realize that you may settle on something, but over time, you change your mind. This is certainly allowed. Just because you pick something now doesn't mean you are married to it.

I usually steer rookies to Glocks. They are capable of doing any mission for any force in the world, and have been well-proven. They are less expensive, and they are one pistol I will confidently buy used. They aren't too complicated either. I carry a full-size 1911 in .45 and I use 230 grain HSTs which consistently expand to the size of a quarter. I think that there is no reason not to carry the biggest, nastiest round I can shoot well.

Bottom line, if you get bombarded with advice from us, your uncle the retired security guard, your friend from high school who knows a lot about guns, and gun shop owners, and we are all telling you one thing, but YOUR GUT TELLS YOU SOMETHING ELSE, GO WITH YOUR GUT. It's not our *ss that's on the line here, it's yours. Read and train. Treat this as an ongoing life experience that never ends. You are never done training and deciding.

Frank Ettin
July 26, 2009, 12:04 AM
...looking into the best overall caliber for personal protection....This is really a software rather than a hardware issue. Any gun of decent quality, that is reliable and reasonably accurate, in a caliber of consequence, paired with quality JHP ammunition from a reputable manufacturer will do if:

[1] You can manage the gun;

[2] You get proper training and practice.

Note also that there is no type of gun or type of ammunition that can make up for inadequate training and practice.

jfrey
July 26, 2009, 01:34 AM
"Best overall caliber for personal protection" - 12 ga. shotgun. As quoted many times - best defensive pistol caliber - anything that starts with a 4 and ends with a 5 or better. In reality, shot placement is a lot more important than caliber. A hit with a .22 is better than a miss with a .45. What ever you get, take it out and shoot it as much as you can afford. That is the only way you will get good enought with it to make any difference.

GodGuns&Guitars
July 26, 2009, 01:40 AM
Before buying anything get with friends that shoot and see if you can shoot theirs. I prefer heavier calibers like the 45 but for you to step into a 45 right off the bat could be a mistake. Like a previous poster said, get a 22 and start there. I've seen a lot of people shot with 22's over the years that didn't make it. Find something that YOU are CONFIDENT with. Not what we are confident with. You're young, you still have a lot of time to work up from there. The 22 will just be a part of your collection ten years from now.

GRIZ22
July 26, 2009, 01:52 AM
I'll take this opportunity to suggest the best all around handgun IMO. Manufacturer is your choice but the gun would be a 4" 357 magnum. Not too big to conceal, wide choice of power choices in ammo, big enoungh to shoot accurately. You can start with 38s and work your way up through the power levels.

I would take a GP100 or S&W L frame, a K frame or Ruger Speed/Security Six would also do nicely as would a K frame Taurus.

Remember there is no magic bullet. Shoot what you can handle well. A hit with a 38 target wadcutter is better than a miss a with custom loaded +P++++ 357 that will kill a rhino.

ScareyH22A
July 26, 2009, 01:57 AM
The highest capacity 9mm you can buy. .45's don't drop people like in the movies. Shot placement is key and if you run out of bullets, guaranteed the bad guy will execute you.

That being said, I love my USP 45. :p

earlthegoat2
July 26, 2009, 02:05 AM
I like the good ole 38 special standard pressure.

Noveldoc
July 26, 2009, 02:10 AM
I have had this come up several times, mostly from women with violent and/or stalking significant others. I refer them to a retired cop friend or the range master at my local range.

Usually they recommend people without a lot of firearms experience get a a snub nosed revolver in .38 Special. They are small and concealable yet can do the job at close range. And load with plain 158 grain ammo unless you really have the time and patience to fire a lot through the weapon so you can handle the increased recoil of +P loads.

Basically a defensive weapon needs to be something you can point, load and shoot with confidence. If you forget to wipe off the safety or have a round in the chamber of an auto, bad things can happen to you fast. With a double action revolver, you just squeeze the trigger until it goes bang.

If you pursue shooting as a hobby, you will mount the learning curve and have a lot of fun finding that perfect pistol for your next gun. Small or larger, auto or revolver, light or heavy caliber. All these different weapons and cartridges have their proponents and you will find what it best for you and your purposes. Then you'll have more fun finding your perfect ammo. ;-)

Our Fraternal Order of Police sponsored range has shooting classes for beginners along with personal defense classes that cover weapons, shooting, tactics and a lot af material on the legal issues inherent in using deadly force. If you can find a similar program near you, go for it.

Tom

armoredman
July 26, 2009, 02:20 AM
Whatever you can afford that works well and you can hit with, minimum of .380 or better, preferrably no lighter than 38 Spl.

Sunray
July 26, 2009, 02:28 AM
You new to handguns? Ever shoot one? You want a pistol or a revolver? Living at home or on your own? If you're living with your parents and they don't want handguns or any firearm in their house, you're toast. If you're at school and in residence, you're toast. Most schools don't allow firearms on campus. Certainly not in residence. If none of that applies, landlords don't get a say. Local government does. Depends on where you are though.
Start by going to your local gun shop and trying a few of both on for size. Any handgun has to fit your hand first, regardless of what it shoots. If you can, shoot 'em.
Join a shooting club as soon as you can too. Most shooters will let you try their firearms and will bend over backwards to help you. You'll meet some great people too.
You're going to need some shooting courses anyway. Takes a fair bit of training and practice to be able to defend yourself with any handgun. Getting to the point where you're both competent and safe isn't exactly inexpensive either.
The least expensive, but still useful, handgun is a used .357 revolver. Don't worry about buying used firearms. It's not like buying a used car. Takes a great deal of abuse to damage a modern handgun of any kind. However, it's absolutely essential that it fits your hand.
"...The highest capacity 9mm you can buy..." Doesn't help if you can hit what you shoot at.

ccsniper
July 26, 2009, 02:32 AM
I agree with most, whatever you can comfortably hit the target with should work fine. like my dad says "six rounds of .22 to the chest, is better than a .45 shot in the air". that basically means, that if the only thing you can shoot accurately is a .22, then by all means get it. because if you flinch when you shoot the much more recoil of a bigger round, and miss your target, then you just made noise at the bad guy. I am not saying that a .22 is the best round for defense, just saying that if you can hit the target with a smaller round and not a bigger round, go for the one you can hit stuff with.

mljdeckard
July 26, 2009, 02:43 AM
DO NOT carry a .22 for personal protection. Learn to shoot something bigger. Lack of training is not a good reason to carry a terrible PD round. (Yes, I said TERRIBLE. Remember when I said you were about to be hammered with a whole lot of opinion? Here goes.)

ScareyH22A
July 26, 2009, 02:47 AM
Doesn't help if you can hit what you shoot at.

I'd assume that he'd practice with the firearm that he's about to purchase.:banghead:

kanewpadle
July 26, 2009, 03:03 AM
You are about to be bombarded by a lot of opinion and a few facts. The truth is, ANY premium JHP round in 9mm or larger will likely do the job. (At least as well as a handgun can be expected to do the job. Handguns are emergency weapons we resort to because they are easily portable and concealable.)

In the last day or so, an expert, Massad F. Ayoob, posted the following in response to the never-ending debate about some of the standardized tests for stopping power.

"Anyone who has a "crisis of confidence" in their equipment due to the "IWBA versus M&S debate" can simply choose a "load of compromise," something both sides agree works well. That would include the 158 grain lead hollowpoint +P in .38 Special, and the better 180 grain .40 S&W and 230 grain .45 ACP JHP loads."

We love to argue over 9mm vs .45, JHP vs hardball (FMJ) ammo, and try to outsmart each other, but in the real world, you need to use the gun and cartridge that you shoot best. When you are fighting for your life, you need all the advantages you can get, and it doesn't matter how good the bullet is if you don't hit with it.

You need to go to a shop that rents handguns and try a LOT of different guns. You will find a surprising number of options and schools of thought. I'm going to recommend that you try a Glock, a .38/.357 revolver, a good 1911, and a variety of modern autos like the M&P, the XD, the H&Ks, etc. You may be surprised to see that larger calibers aren't impossible to control, and that heavier, longer guns are easier to shoot. You may have a completely different opinion when you leave than when you walked in.

I have carried Sig, Beretta, Glock, Taurus, S&W, Para-Ordnance, and a few others, but I came home to a 1911. It's what I shoot best. You also need to realize that you may settle on something, but over time, you change your mind. This is certainly allowed. Just because you pick something now doesn't mean you are married to it.

I usually steer rookies to Glocks. They are capable of doing any mission for any force in the world, and have been well-proven. They are less expensive, and they are one pistol I will confidently buy used. They aren't too complicated either. I carry a full-size 1911 in .45 and I use 230 grain HSTs which consistently expand to the size of a quarter. I think that there is no reason not to carry the biggest, nastiest round I can shoot well.

Bottom line, if you get bombarded with advice from us, your uncle the retired security guard, your friend from high school who knows a lot about guns, and gun shop owners, and we are all telling you one thing, but YOUR GUT TELLS YOU SOMETHING ELSE, GO WITH YOUR GUT. It's not our *ss that's on the line here, it's yours. Read and train. Treat this as an ongoing life experience that never ends. You are never done training and deciding.
This post should have answered all your questions because the man is correct in his advice.

Shoot then choose. Many of us has made the mistake of buying a gun based on someone else's recommendation and the gun ended up being a paper weight. If your a millionaire then don't worry about. But I suspect you will be like many of us and need to make a smart, well informed purchase. Good luck.

David E
July 26, 2009, 03:15 AM
Whatever you buy, buy quality !

wankerjake
July 26, 2009, 03:25 AM
I'd go with either 9mm or .357mag. Relatively cheap to shoot and very versatile, especially the 357.

Whatever you buy, buy quality !
Yep, this excludes Taurus and Rossi. If money is tight, BUY A RUGER! American made... Surely I'll get flamed for that one, but he asked for opinions... I recommend Ruger or S&W myself. Personally I think my Ruger SP101 is my favortie pistol right now. Concealable, accurate, reliable, fun to shoot. It is my go to gun. If I had to keep only one, it would likely be that one.
http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/oo33/wankerjake/100_2052-1.jpg

You know you want one... Have fun buying at any rate!

MovedWest
July 26, 2009, 07:44 AM
Two things you'll want to consider for any firearms purchase for a weapon you will rely on:

1. What can you shoot accurately
2. What can you readily find ammo for

You have to practice with it so you have to be able to find and afford ammo for practice. And you have to be able to hit things with it - that's a big plus! Personally I put my life's defense in the hands of Ruger, Desert Eagle, and Browning... and my skills with them.

Aside from that, pick what feels good in your hands.

-MW

Quiet
July 27, 2009, 03:27 AM
"Choose a cartridge that has as large a cross sectional bullet diameter and bullet weight as possible, loaded as hot as you can effectively control it."

LancerMW
July 27, 2009, 03:34 AM
get a good 9mm, g19 or something

TheProf
July 27, 2009, 09:40 AM
1. Get a snub-nose .38 revolver ...Smith and Wesson. (Model 642...... concealed hammer so it will not snag in your clothes... and its lightweight... and can be pocket carried.)

2. If you want an auto.... get a Kahr PM9 (9mm). Small, slim, simple, and rugged. No safeties to fool with in an emergency. Make sure to get spare 6-round mags (Yes...get the 6 round mags...they allow you to conceal the gun better. When you have four six round mags...then start buying 7-round mags. )

6.5x39
July 27, 2009, 10:26 AM
One of my favorite quotes about the 9mm and it's perceived lack of stopping power was uttered by some Navy SEAL in a Discovery Channel video. It goes something like this: "Some people think the 9mm isn't an effective round, but when I put two rounds through your heart and one between your eyes, will you know the difference?"

Just about anything from .380 and up will suffice as a self defense round if you do your part. Sure, copy carry heavier rounds and do studies about stopping power because their occupation put them in contact with people who are drugged out of their minds and will keep charging even after taking lethal amounts of lead because the pain doesn't register. For them, they need a round that will physically incapacitate a charging attacker regardless of what kind of pain receptor inhibitors are in their blood stream. For the rest of us, a (sub) compact 9mm is more than enough.

ArchAngelCD
July 28, 2009, 02:27 AM
I'm a revolver guy so I would choose a .38 Special or .357 Magnum. If I were buying a semi-auto it would be in 40 S&W or .357 Sig. (probably the .357 Sig)

1911Tuner
July 28, 2009, 09:36 AM
Before buying anything get with friends that shoot and see if you can shoot theirs.

Good advice from GG&G. Without practical, hands-on experience...you may choose one that isn't to your liking. Some people are recoil sensitive, while others aren't bothered at all by it...and it isn't a reflection on manliness or any other such drivel. One of the most recoil shy men I know is 6'4 and 250 pounds, with hands the size of hamhocks. Recoil just bothers him. He's not fearful, but he does tend to flinch or muscle the gun...pushing in anticipation of the recoil, throwing his shots low. When he tried a lighter kicking weapon, his shooting almost immediately improved.

Go to a range and meet some folks. Explain your situation. You'll find that 99% of'em are more than happy to let you try one of theirs on for size.

theotherwaldo
July 28, 2009, 05:04 PM
Get the largest firearm - that fires the largest cartridge - that you will actually be willing to carry with you at all times and that you can shoot quickly and accurately.

Just do the best compromise that you can.

GRIZ22
July 28, 2009, 06:41 PM
I have had this come up several times, mostly from women with violent and/or stalking significant others. I refer them to a retired cop friend or the range master at my local range.

Usually they recommend people without a lot of firearms experience get a a snub nosed revolver in .38 Special. They are small and concealable yet can do the job at close range.

Get a snub-nose .38 revolver ...Smith and Wesson. (Model 642...... concealed hammer so it will not snag in your clothes... and its lightweight... and can be pocket carried.)


I am a retired LEO. 31 years on the job. Almost all of it as a firearms instructor. A snub-nose would be the last gun I would advise a new shooter to buy. They are difficult to learn to shoot well due to their light weight (more recoil) and short sight radius.

1911Tuner
July 28, 2009, 07:01 PM
A snub-nose would be the last gun I would advise a new shooter to buy. They are difficult to learn to shoot well due to their light weight (more recoil) and short sight radius.

For the life of me, I can't understand why people insist on talking about sight radius and target accuracy in a belly gun. Snub-nosed revolvers were never meant for target shooting. Their intended role is for last-ditch emergencies at powder burning distances...often with the muzzle in contact with the shootee. They don't need tactical hi-viz sights or the ability to cut one-hole groups at unrealistic distances.

Remember Bernie Goetz...the "Subway Vigilante?" Not exctly a highly trained gunny, but the stoop-shouldered, 97-pound weakling managed to aquit himself pretty well in close quarters with a J-frame Smith .38 revolver...which he probably never fired until the night that he put it to use, and likely fired one-handed...and he probably never noticed either the recoil or the muzzle blast.

skoro
July 28, 2009, 10:19 PM
I'd recomend the 9mm. It's abundant, less expensive than others, there are lots of fine pistols chambered for it, it's easy to shot accurately, and it's been proven effective around the world for decades.

If you're more of a revolver guy, the 38+P is a good choice. And fine 38s can be found ranging from small pocket snubbies to full size service revolvers.

These two calibers perform very similarly, in my experience. I feel very comfortable with both.

Deus Machina
July 28, 2009, 11:10 PM
Maybe I'm a bit more laid back, but my advice is: don't sweat it.

I will suggest you stay at .380 for an auto, or .327 Federal for a revolver, and larger. From there, bigger can often be better, but just find a gun you're comfortable with and can shoot straight, and load it with your choice of hollowpoints.

Placement is more important than size, so make sure you can take care of that.

GRIZ22
July 28, 2009, 11:39 PM
Their intended role is for last-ditch emergencies at powder burning distances...often with the muzzle in contact with the shootee.

But it's better to engage the opposition at more of a distance rather than right on top of you.

orionengnr
July 29, 2009, 12:13 AM
Great second post.

Ever try the Search function? :rolleyes:

Oro
July 29, 2009, 03:06 AM
But it's better to engage the opposition at more of a distance rather than right on top of you.

1911Tuner was describing how the gun was designed to work; not the ideal defensive scenario. This is a non-sequitar comment.

For self defense, I like something between .38 target loads and .44 magnum full loads. Anything in between is fine for me as long as I like the gun it is in and I can control it in that gun. .38, .357, .44 special, .45 Auto, .44 mag. I own them all and use them.

However, I restrict my "platforms" of defense/carry guns to only two types - 1910 and later S&W DA revolves and 1911 style autos. That way I know the platform and don't have to think about the controls and manual-of-arms. You don't have to choose those platforms, but choose what you are comfortable with in platform and caliber and live happily with it.

1911Tuner
July 29, 2009, 09:21 PM
But it's better to engage the opposition at more of a distance rather than right on top of you.

It'd be nice if we always had that option...like a solid, two-handed grip on the gun when the flag flies. Unfortunately, we don't. Women in particular...women who aren't normally involved in shooting disciplines...are hesitant to "draw down" on a suspicious character until he's within grabbin' distance.

DasFriek
July 29, 2009, 10:09 PM
I find it hard not to recomend a 9mm for several reasons.
1. It gives less recoil especially in small ccw type pistols.
2. Its about the cheapest ammo for SD you can buy.
3. 9mm is generaly the least expensive handguns in most makers lines.
4. Most anyone feels a 9mm is the smallest they feel comfy about carrying and it still be powerfull enough to do the job right.
5. Most makers have more 9mm offerings than most other calibers.

.380 is out of the question imo as a person new to shooting needs practice,its bad enough even finding .380 ammo let alone its stupid high cost now.
.40 and .45 tend to have some higher recoil all the way to having to much recoil for some people.
A .40s&w is a choice after 9mm as ammo is higher but not as much as the others,i feel a .40 has a sharper recoil than a .45 but just takes a bit of time to get used too.

I only own .45acp's myself,but i need a small 9mm so i can shoot cheaper ammo and can afford more practice.BTW you second gun should be a .22 as its super cheap to practice with.

1911Tuner
July 29, 2009, 10:26 PM
The 9mm Parabellum has a lot to offer...except in one area. New shooters, especially women with limited hand strength or those who only want a gun for protection and don't plan on actually working with the gun aside from a trip to the range for familiarization...aren't generally comfortable with autopistols. I've found this to apply to about 7 out of 10 women...and 2 out of 10 men who don't plan on doing anything with the gun except loading it and leaving it in a nightstand. Those types prefer revolvers, after being given the opportunity to test-fire both. Simpler. No safeties to manipulate.

No manual of arms other than swing out the cylinder to load or unload...close to make the gun ready...point and pull the trigger. Nothing to remember to do or fumble in a terrified moment.

10-Ring
July 29, 2009, 10:31 PM
The few constants are "shot placement" and "get what fits your hand best" -- go w/ a caliber you can afford constantly and can put in the trigger time to get proficient and practice practice practice!

DasFriek
July 29, 2009, 11:47 PM
1911Tuner- You do have a valid point on the revolvers,im a semi auto only person so i never even think about them.Also with 0% experiance with revolvers its probley best i dont even try.But .38special id guess would be for a 9mm alternative?

I took my mom to the range about 2 months ago,shes 65 and on oxygen and uses a walker.But even she could shoot a 92f 9mm she owns without to many issues.It did pose an issue at first with her limp wristing it and that actually hurt her alot more.Once that was fixed she shot well.
She cant rack the slide of my 1911 or my PT745,but is fine with the 9mm.

I know some people will buy and shoot it once for familorizing themselves and then carry or put on the night stand,id say thats a big no-no and should practice at least 1x a year.
Btw i been digging a few revolvers latley as being able to carry some decent calibers in a small package.
Id take a small .38 special over a .380auto anyday.

pittspilot
July 30, 2009, 12:04 AM
The second post was one of the most cogent ever posted on this site.

Guns are tools. Pick the best one for the job. All tools have limitations. For me:

Pocket Carry: .380 DPX in an LCP. Certainly not what I would choose for to take on a team armed with assault rifles, but adequate for a pocketgun.

CCW: 9mm in an XD Subcompact. I think 9mm works very well for the CCW context providing a nice balance between capacity and capability. Some prefer the .38 snub. It will certainly work, but I prefer the capacity of the 9mm.

Nightstand gun: .45 in XD Tactical. Concealability is not an issue, so can go with .45 ACP and carry 14 rounds in a package which does not have severe recoil.

Different guns for different jobs.

earlthegoat2
July 30, 2009, 01:09 AM
Before anybody decides they know a lick about revolvers and defense try reading The Snubby Revolver by Ed Lovette, and visit this site and read the blog.

http://snubtraining.wordpress.com/2008/06/

You will realize the snub is a gun for the last ditch when there is not other option, when you have been taken by surprise, in a low visibility environment. In other words when you most likely will have to defend yourself. These readings will teach you that in times like these the snub may just be not only an option for defense but the ideal option.

skoro
July 30, 2009, 11:07 PM
Earl -

I've read Lovette's book, too. Lotta good info there. And I'd agree that in a point blank encounter, the snub is your best bet. And I have a S&W 642 in my carry rotation.

WalkAbout
July 30, 2009, 11:22 PM
I think its a personal descion only you can make. I decided to utilize the .40 as my personal self defense round of choice after witnessing the aftermath of a single shot to the chest of a 300+ pound very angry very aggressive man. Shot placement had a good deal to do with it, but still, he was dead before he hit the ground even if his brain didn't know it right away and the threat was stopped immediatly. I went out and bought one the next day. Just make sure whatever you get is a round you're comfortable and accurate with when utilized in the firearm you plan to carry.

b

Dr_2_B
July 31, 2009, 02:27 AM
your choice. find what you like best. but I'd make it a .38/9mm or better.

Oro
July 31, 2009, 06:34 AM
No manual of arms other than swing out the cylinder to load or unload...close to make the gun ready...point and pull the trigger. Nothing to remember to do or fumble in a terrified moment.

That should be poetry. Get into a rhyme and meter and we can make it gun lore legend.

I consider myself a "shooter." Many guns over three decades. Reloading for decades. Military academy inductee; also Ivy and graduate degrees. I point this out not to boast, that I think myself a shooter as well as smart guy. In that "terrified moment" I know it's routine and simplicity that will win. Most of the time (not always), I carry a magnum revolver and speed loader as I think that's the simplest way to deal with real terror.

I can detail strip a 1911 blindfolded with no tools. It's not that I'm uncomfortable with autos. But when I sleep alone at night in bear country, I want a magnum revolver at my side.

I trust Myself with any auto I own, don't get me wrong. But I also know sometime I might need to trust my partner with the gun. I want her to not have to pick up the auto and fumble with it. She has her own S&W 66 she likes and enjoys. Knowing she can pick up any like revolver and defend us or herself is important to me. I REALLY like revolvers as the ultimate defensive gun.

bigfatdave
July 31, 2009, 07:33 AM
Nothing less than a .464 Casull is acceptable for all-around defense.

Or you could make your own compromises.

cratti
July 31, 2009, 07:58 AM
The honest and short answer? Whatever you're most comfortable and proficient with, preferably above 9mm.

memphisjim
July 31, 2009, 08:03 AM
glock 10mm

Madcap_Magician
July 31, 2009, 10:21 AM
There's no real answer to this question. If there was a best caliber and load for self-defense, there would be way fewer rounds on the market right now.

GRIZ22
August 1, 2009, 07:10 PM
Quote:
A snub-nose would be the last gun I would advise a new shooter to buy. They are difficult to learn to shoot well due to their light weight (more recoil) and short sight radius.

For the life of me, I can't understand why people insist on talking about sight radius and target accuracy in a belly gun. Snub-nosed revolvers were never meant for target shooting.

I never said they were for target shooting but any handgun with a longer sight radius is easier to shoot whether you're using the sights or point shooting.

The Lone Haranguer
August 1, 2009, 07:29 PM
Nine millimeter Luger for autos, .38 Special for revolvers.

With a 9mm you get:
Lots of cool guns made for it
Light recoil in a very compact gun
You can fit lots of them in a bigger gun
Adequate "stopping power" for most human attack defense scenarios
Lower cost of ammo allows & encourages more shooting practice

1911Tuner
August 1, 2009, 07:40 PM
I never said they were for target shooting but any handgun with a longer sight radius is easier to shoot whether you're using the sights or point shooting.

Given that snub-nosed revolvers and others of that ilk are...by design and intent...defensive tools th be used as a last-ditch at extremely close ranges...and given that, in the greatest majority of situations like that, it will either be too dark to see the sights, or the shooter won't have time to use them...one could do about as well without any sights on the gun at all...so sight radius would mean nothing. Intrinsic accuracy would mean nothing. Even practical accuracy would mean very little.

As Cooper so eloquently put it:

"These little guns are designed for a singular purpose, and they're strictly business. They don't need to be very accurate. Across a kitchen table, one does not need to be a virtuoso."

GRIZ22
August 2, 2009, 03:21 AM
Across a kitchen table, one does not need to be a virtuoso."
__________________


But having the ability to shoot accurately farther is not a bad thing.

The OP said he was looking for a defensive handgun and to blow off any ability to shoot accurately is folly.

Longer sight radius means longer barrel. It is easier to point shoot a longer barrel as there is more to point. By your statement we shouldn't have or need sights on any defensive gun as:

it will either be too dark to see the sights, or the shooter won't have time to use them...one could do about as well without any sights on the gun at all...so sight radius would mean nothing.

I stand by my earlier suggestions as I wouldn't advise any shooter to buy a defensive gun and not worry if they can shoot it accurately.

REAPER4206969
August 2, 2009, 07:14 AM
There is so little difference in the terminal ballistics between the common service pistol calibers that it is not really worth thinking to hard about.
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t8/REAPER1911-A1/handgun_gel_comparison.jpg

1911Tuner
August 2, 2009, 08:03 AM
But having the ability to shoot accurately farther is not a bad thing.


Never said that i was, Grizz.

to blow off any ability to shoot accurately is folly.

Not blowin' it off. Just stating a few facts about how a defensive handgun will most likely be deployed by John Q. Citizen, and the reasons that a snub .38 and small autopistols are chosen BY John and his brethren...but apparently you have a one-track mind in this matter.

John Q. et al buy and sometimes even carry a gun because they have a perceived need to be armed...real or imagined. They don't intend to engage in gunfights. They don't intend to present the weapon unless they can't get away from the threat by any other means. By and large...if John Q's moment of truth comes...there's a very high probability that it will happen at arm's length or closer, and it will also likely be at night or in such low lighting that he won't be able to see the sights or have time to use them even if he could see them.

By and large...Most John Q type people that I know aren't really into guns, and don't shoot very often. Some of'em buy their gun and never shoot it...or only a few times just to get a feel for it. By and large...people like that tend to revert back to instinctual body motions when the adrenalin dump comes, and simply point the gun and pull the trigger. They don't think about sights or trigger control because the threat is within touching distance.

By and large...Most prickly scenarios are stopped by the mere presence of the gun.

By and large...John Q and his ilk couldn't shoot accurately at 10 paces from sandbags given 3 minutes per shot.

Do I believe that this means that they're well-armed and prepared? No. Of course not.
I'm not an idiot. Do I believe that they stand a better chance...chance...than they would unarmed? Yes. Of course I do. It's been proven too many times over the last 10 or 12 decades.

Men and women who have never fired a gun in their lives very often come out alive via the use of a snub-nosed .38 or even a .22 rimfire put to use at night at powder burn distances.

See, Grizz...not all deadly encounters involve a gunfight. Some of'em are classic cases of
a fool bringin' a knife or stick to a gunfight. Some involve serial rapists who grab women and stuff'em into the trunk of a car and headin' out into the boonies for a night of fun and games. Some involve home invasions and taking physical control of the occupants who...if they have a diminutive little handgun...can put a stop to such foolishness before it gets out of hand.

These things are what the snubs and mini autos are for...not showdowns at high noon.
In that role, they've very often proven themselves fully capable of saving innocent lives.
No guarantees, understand...but it's not about guarantees. It's about the odds.

Here's a cut/paste exerpt. Bernie Goetz...not a "shooter" by any stretch...managed to hit 4 at close quarters with a 5-shot M36 snub, therefore coming out unscathed by what could easily have been death or crippling injury.

>>Goetz fired an unlicensed revolver five times, seriously wounding three of the would-be muggers and rendering the fourth a paraplegic. The initially unknown shooter, dubbed the "Subway Vigilante" by the New York press, was both exalted and vilified in the media and in public opinion.<<

RatDrall
August 2, 2009, 09:04 AM
I am going to be turning 21 on my next birthday and am currently researching and looking into the best overall caliber for personal protection. I wanna get my protection permit and a handgun to go with it, but can't decide on what caliber to go with or what manufacturer. I have a few months so I have some time, but does anyone have any suggestions?

In my opinion there are two big mistakes that people make buying thier first defensive handgun:

1. They buy a gun that is too small - Small guns are great for carrying, not so much shooting. It's not very difficult to carry a compact or full sized handgun, and they're much easier to shoot well. Why carry a gun that you can't shoot well? With a little effort, even a service sized revolver or pistol can disappear. Many people who start with tiny guns end up developing flinches and other bad shooting habits that can take a while to unlearn. Start with a full sized or compact gun, don't mess with anything subcompact for a while.

2. They buy a gun that isn't chambered in 9mm or .38 special. Anything else will cost much more to practice with, and practice is what it takes to become proficient. Get a pistol in 9mm, or a revolver in .38 special (or .357 magnum, and load it with .38 special).

Bishop.357
August 2, 2009, 09:09 AM
I highly recomend the Springfield XD40,either the sub compact or the 4"service model. The .40S&W is a fine round,plenty of stopin' power yet you don't have to worry much about over-penitration. And as far as ammo goes it don't put too big of a dent in yer wallet.

1911Tuner
August 2, 2009, 10:49 AM
Yes. Back on track.

The 9mmP or the .40 are good choices as far as ballistics go. Even the antiquated .38 Special will serve you well. As one guy put it...paraphrased..."The debate rages on, and it's not for lack of dead bodies to show the evidence."

All the rounds mentioned above and before this post have filled a lotta graves and wheelchairs over the years. Whatever caliber and platform you choose...work with it and become proficient with it, and you'll stand a much better chance than those who buy a gun and never shoot it until the moment of truth. Remember too what a wise, experienced gunman once said: (Don't recall who)

"In a gun fight, you'll probably do about as well as your worst day on the range."

1911Tuner
August 2, 2009, 07:17 PM
Just so happens that another discussion turned up what is probably a little pertinent information.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=5802844&postcount=44

ceadermtnboy
August 2, 2009, 07:39 PM
I have 9mm & 45acp pistols. I like them, shoot them well and do not need any other calibers. However, If I were starting from scratch I would choose a 40 S&W pistol. My top three reasons are below:

40 is a great compromise between 9mm & 45acp.
40 ammunititon is now easier to find than 9mm & 45acp ( so much for going with the two most popular calibers ).
40 caliber does give confidence that you have enough power.

That being said, anything 9mm & up in pistol calibers and 38 sp +p and up in revolvers will do the job. Pick what you feel most comfortable with. Good luck, choose wisely!

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 2, 2009, 08:16 PM
The best "overall", meaning for both 2-legged and 4-legged predators, is .45 colt, IMO.

For 2-legged only, .45 acp, .44 special, 9x19mm.

Logos
August 2, 2009, 08:47 PM
For all-around....guess I'd go with the .40 in an auto or the .357 in a wheel-gun.

flrfh213
August 3, 2009, 12:08 AM
YA.... WHAT THEY SAID.....

for what its worth, i carry a Rossi 357 in SS and a Glock 23 .40 cal depending on mood (hard to hide a model 870 win) i have fired enough ammo to know i will hit COM at distance, (don't know for sure how far never had the Adrenalin rush at the range) but i do well with both at 15 yards and i am told most SD needs are in 10 ft or less most of the time.

Bishop.357
August 4, 2009, 09:05 AM
.40S&W is a fine round for self-defense,plenty of power, its abundent and fairly inexpensive and there are a wide variety of guns chambered for it to choose from. I myself carry a Springfield XD40 subcompact and load it with Speer Gold Dot .40+p ammo. It whould be a fine first gun for you,in any case no matter what you buy get as much training as you can;also practice and drill often...you'll be glad you did.

armchairQB
August 5, 2009, 09:52 AM
38 special,

not much recoil, can fit into a compact snub, ammo is plentiful.

tkopp
August 5, 2009, 02:33 PM
I'm a little older and had a little more cash, so my strategy was different.

I started on a .22 rifle, picked up a 12ga for home defense (and skeet shooting for fun), and once I was very comfortable with both graduated to a .22 cal Ruger MKII. You can skip the first two, but having a big, heavy, stainless steel .22 with a competition trigger and real sights was a valuable asset in teaching me the fundamentals of handgunning. It doesn't bark loud, it doesn't kick hard, and the light single-action trigger doesn't encourage jerking. Best to start *without* the bad habits, if you ever want to move beyond what the above posters have described as belly guns.

The only trouble is that, unlike rifles and shotguns, it's nearly impossible to get into a reasonable quality pistol for a hundred and fifty bucks. If you can buy only one, there's plenty of good advice above. If you can afford two, consider a Browning Buckmark or a Ruger MKIII Hunter as your first handgun. Will probably end up your favorite pistol.

1911Tuner
August 5, 2009, 10:29 PM
The best "overall", meaning for both 2-legged and 4-legged predators, is .45 colt, IMO.

I've heard several people state that the .45 Colt is an anemic, 19th century cartridge whose only utility in the 21st century is for cowboy games. Of course, these are people who don't understand that the .45 Colt was the most powerful handgun round in the world for over 60 years...until the introduction of the .357 Magnum.

For my money, the obsolete/antiquated .45 Colt was...and still is...superior to the .357 as a fight stopper at close range, and is a helluva lot less rambunctious. Its one drawback is that for years, it was only available in single-action and large-framed double-action revolvers.

The folks who maintain that the old cartridge is a powderpuff just haven't gotten cozy with it. 250-260 grains at 900+ fps is a serious thumper....and a Colt-sized single action revolver ain't all that bad for self defense if one takes the time to learn to use it effectively.

valnar
August 6, 2009, 10:00 AM
Three pages later and not a peep out of the OP.

Maybe we could narrow it down if we knew more about you? How big are you? Height, weight? Do you want to conceal carry?

bigfatdave
August 6, 2009, 08:48 PM
Three pages later and not a peep out of the OP.He is still looking for a concealable option in .464 Casull, probably.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 6, 2009, 08:59 PM
I've heard several people state that the .45 Colt is an anemic, 19th century cartridge whose only utility in the 21st century is for cowboy games. Of course, these are people who don't understand that the .45 Colt was the most powerful handgun round in the world for over 60 years...until the introduction of the .357 Magnum.

For my money, the obsolete/antiquated .45 Colt was...and still is...superior to the .357 as a fight stopper at close range, and is a helluva lot less rambunctious. Its one drawback is that for years, it was only available in single-action and large-framed double-action revolvers.

The folks who maintain that the old cartridge is a powderpuff just haven't gotten cozy with it. 250-260 grains at 900+ fps is a serious thumper....and a Colt-sized single action revolver ain't all that bad for self defense if one takes the time to learn to use it effectively.

Amen, brother. .44 special and .45 colt hit the sweet spot for defense. Low noise, fairly low recoil, big wide bullets with no need for a conical shape to feed them, massive penetration. The .45 colt, in stronger loads, has a lot going for it for meaner thicker tougher critters than people too, than .44 special or .45 acp.

Who said it - "bugs on the winshield is proof that the 'big & slow' theory works!" :p

makarovnik
August 10, 2009, 08:10 PM
9mm +p
.38 Special +p
Gets the job done, manageable recoil in the right handgun.

christcorp
August 11, 2009, 01:51 AM
You can have all the opinions in the world. But if you only owned 1 gun, and it was going to be for protection, then it should be considered for carry and for home. In this case, there really isn't any valid argument against the 357 magnum revolver. It can be loaded with rounds low enough to equal a 380. It can be loaded with hot enough rounds that will out shoot any self defense gun except a 44 magnum. The 357 magnum revolver is the most versatile handgun there is. Bar none. And yes, for self defense, a 6 shot revolver is enough rounds. You don't need an 18 round 9mm or 40sw with 2 more magazines in your pocket.

I am all for semi-autos. I love them. And I have more semi-autos than any gun there is. But when first starting out, and buying your first real carry or home defense gun, you should start off with a 357 magnum revolver. Then add a 12 gauge pump shotgun. Then move up to all the semi-autos you want. But a 357 revolver requires the least amount of training. The least amount of practice. And is the simplest for mental conditions when stress and fear kick in. Simply point and click. And you did ask for the best overall round. That would be the 357 magnum, and that can't be argued. You can hunt with it and you can protect yourself with it. There's no magazines, safeties, stove pipes, misfires requiring manual intervention, etc... In a revolver, just point and click. And if a round doesn't fire, simply keep pulling the trigger. The next round will go off. Of course, we're talking about quality weapons here. S&W and Ruger is where you should go. For my 1st and main gun for protection, I wouldn't buy a Rossi or similar. Anyway; that's the best overall round (as you put it).

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