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Largest practical caliber for SD?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Ninja42, Jul 29, 2007.

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  1. Ninja42

    Ninja42 Member

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    In my personal expirience, when people on various gun forums attempt to get recommendations on what gun or caliber they should use for self defence, the discussion usually starts out with someone suggesting the questioner to carry the largest gun he can carry in as large a caliber as he/she can handle, and the inevitably the Clint Eastwood quote: "Ive never met a man who had been in in a gunfight, and wished that he brought a smaller gun" pops up.

    Now, generally speaking I can see how this statement is true, but surely there is a point where a gun would be so powerful that further increasing the power would just increase the risk of damaging the defenders hearing and making the gun less controllable, while the attacker would be stopped just as effective by a smaller and more practical caliber, right? If we forget those of you shooters out there who need your gun to protect you against larger than human dangers for a second, where would you draw the line between enough power and excessive power?

    Just curious.
     
  2. MontanaBighorn

    MontanaBighorn Member

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    that question is relative to each individual shooter. personally i dont believe in anything less than 9mm +P.
     
  3. Pistol Toter

    Pistol Toter Member

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    This Thread Is Going To Turn Into A Calibre War

    When I think of self denfense calibres, my mind goes to the .357 maginum, the .45 acp and the .44 Special. Others will do just as good a job; after all it there is NO magic bullet or calibre. There are many factors to consider! South Carolina Highway Patrolman Coats was killed with a .22 in a shoot out where he shot his assailant 6 times with a .357 mag.. I carry a .357 or a .45 and can hit with either one accurately and consistantly. If I do my part, the gun and selected mmunitions will perform!
     
  4. Technosavant

    Technosavant Member

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    Largest that's practical? Depends on your definition of "practical." I'd have to say that with the most generous definition of a self defense handgun that I would use (with a touch of work it can be carried and reasonably concealed), I'd have to say the .44 Magnum. They do make those in platforms which can be carried reasonably well. You can also practice to the point where lead can be placed on target in an acceptable manner. Anything larger than that will have a platform that is far too heavy or large to be adequately concealed, no matter what people think about the Desert Eagle.
     
  5. Bezoar

    Bezoar member

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    well in the 1600s, those nice 68-75 caliber horse pistols were considered quite practical. Most of us would say a handgun of that size would be most impractical.
    Really have to ask yourself, what are you expecting to have to defend yourself from? Black bear or a stoned football player? crack junkie with a switchblade or a SUV?
    And what can you actually shoot well ALL the time? Doesnt mean crap if you can get a single clover leaf group at 20 feet with a 357 out of every 400 rounds fired at a single session. But if that little 380 you have puts them in the same size group ALL the time, well thats what you should be carrying.
     
  6. MontanaBighorn

    MontanaBighorn Member

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    in fall fairness, carry in those days was not only socially acceptable, it was as normal as wearing shoes. im actually dumbfounded that so few "good-guys" carry today.
     
  7. revjen45

    revjen45 Member

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  8. alucard0822

    alucard0822 Member

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    damn beat me to it, well ladies and gentlemen there is your answer.
     
  9. PotatoJudge

    PotatoJudge Member

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    Enough power: any bullet with about 12-14 inches of penetration and expansion over .65 inches.
    Too much: any bullet with 18+ inches of penetration or fragmentation of the bullet (due to velocity, not poor bullet construction).

    The 38, 357, 45 ACP, and 44 special all have "enough" power with the right loads.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2007
  10. tinygnat219

    tinygnat219 Member

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    Largest practical caliber?

    Anything .380 and above. NOTHING rimfire, or .32 related.
     
  11. BADUNAME13

    BADUNAME13 Member

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    The biggest thing you can doubletap with.

    Wether it's a 10mm or a .380.
     
  12. rj112275

    rj112275 Member

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    from rec.guns

    I love this quote from rec.guns FAQ

    "If you have a 12 gauge shotgun you own the most effective and
    devastating short-range firearm ever created. If you simply want to know
    the best defense load, go out and buy: 12 gauge 2 3/4" shell 00 buckshot.
    You shall live happily ever after, as this is the most effective
    man-stopping firearm cartridge yet devised by man. "
     
  13. Geno
    • Contributing Member

    Geno Member

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    For me, in autoloaders it's either a .45 ACP or a 10MM. In revolvers, a .357 Mag, .41 Mag are real easy to handle. A .44 Mag begins to push in terms of fast follow-up shots. But, when you start talking home defense, forget pistols/revolvers...take the 12 gauge. Even the 20 gauge is better than any of these handguns.
     
  14. zinj

    zinj Member

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    Slugs are far more impressive than buckshot.

    Back to handguns, I'd say the largest practical caliber is .50, as anything above that can be declared a destructive device by the BATFE.
     
  15. zeroskillz

    zeroskillz Member

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    Where are all the 10mm fans that have been floating around lately
    :D
     
  16. k-frame

    k-frame Member

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    Other factors...

    Would seem you'd want to consider some other factors in addition to caliber:
    - what's behind the target? Could the shot get through and into someone or something else?
    - where are you? What's the situation? (on a street, in your house, in a car?)

    My personal choice for home defense is a .38 S&W revolver. Mechanically simple, adequate stopping power, has a fair chance of staying inside the BG and not ending up in my neighbor's house or in my wife or dog. And, maybe most important, I find it easy to aim and shoot. That's going to be the most critical variable anyway; shots on target.
     
  17. Scorpiusdeus

    Scorpiusdeus member

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    Anything HP, reputable, between 9MM and .357 Magnum would work IMHO.
     
  18. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    I've spoken with one gentleman who used a modified Grizzly .45 Win Mag on occasion. Another carries a .45 Super.

    For me, 9mm or .45 does quite well.
     
  19. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    It's subjective; basically, the largest caliber that you personally can comfortably control.

    My personal little test is 2 headshots at 10 yards from low ready in 1 second; if I can't do this, it's too much gun for me.
     
  20. finalcut

    finalcut Member

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    You need to learn about different ammo and how the loads will perform.
    All .45, 9mm, .44, .40, 380, 10mm... come in different configs....

    Your environment is important for one. If you live in a big City you don't want a load that will go through the bad guy and then two people standing behind him. You don't want a load so powerful that it will go through multiple walls of an office building if you miss. Then you get to go to jail, and you do a lot of bad PR for the rest of America's people who want to carry.

    If you live in the cold where people are wearing a lot of thick layers you may want more than a 380, or a 9mm.

    You also need a round that you can control, so you can group your shots.

    Pick your load & weapon wisely and get some training, because with one wrong decision you can cost innocent people their lives and land your self in jail.


    Now... having said all of that I like .40 & .45 cal with various different loads. 10mm is great for the woods, but I think overkill for CCW for the above reasons - same with .44mag

    If it's for your home a 12 gag. Simple
     
  21. M1 Shooter

    M1 Shooter Member

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    [​IMG]
    :evil:
     
  22. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    The largest practical caliber is whatever you can shoot accurately and control in rapid fire.
     
  23. arctictom

    arctictom Member

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    357 for social work and 44mag for wildlife , their what I can shoot accurately and are not bad to carry.
    I have a 460 smith , but its is to heavy and clumsy to carry around , I prefer my 45-70 guide gun to the very large revolvers , 460 , 500 etc.
     
  24. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    .50GI comes to mind, as does 10mm auto. They're very powerful catridges, but still have viable platforms for daily carry consideration.
     
  25. doc2rn

    doc2rn Member

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    I would not use an alaskan or anything above a .460 saw a guy set a tree on fire at an outdoor range with the muzzle blast. Guess if you wanna burn down the house that would be okay.:what:
     
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