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Minimum Caliber for Self-Defense

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by GrandMoffBrandon, Jul 30, 2008.

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  1. GrandMoffBrandon

    GrandMoffBrandon Member

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    I live in the great state of Indiana
    What is the minimum caliber I should consider for self-defense and why?
     
  2. burningsquirrels

    burningsquirrels Member

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    the caliber war is pretty much a dead horse. a lot of people say 9mm, some say 380 is fine, some believe that nothing but a 40 or 45 is the only way to go.

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

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    A .32 or .380 in your pocket beats a big ol .45 at home in the gun-safe.

    Because it was too big & heavy to carry!

    rcmodel
     
  4. Conqueror

    Conqueror Member

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    .380 is the smallest I would ever willingly choose. I would use less in a pinch.
     
  5. jfh

    jfh Member

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    As important as the "stopping power" of the bullet-cartridge is, probably more important is the ability to shoot it well in a self-defense situation.

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

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

    Jim H.
     
  6. possum

    possum Member

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    here we go again. i say go with what you are comfortable with and what you can control. i personally wouldn't go any less than 9mm.
     
  7. MMCSRET

    MMCSRET Member

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    Whatever is at hand when the emergency takes you, be prepared and you won't be under gunned.
     
  8. OFT

    OFT Member

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    My opinion, for what it's worth, is 38 Special in a revolver and 9mm in an auto loader.
     
  9. Kayback

    Kayback Member

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    But it was from a small, crap gun.

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

    KBK
     
  10. burningsquirrels

    burningsquirrels Member

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

    CatsEye Member

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

    Drgong Member

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    I would say being able to hit the right spot is more important then the actual bullet, though for most situations, I would say that .380 and 38 Special are the nominal "smallist"

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

    burningsquirrels Member

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

    Halo Member

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

    marineman Member

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    .380. Accurate, controllable, and the pistols are small enough to tote around and conceal.
     
  16. burningsquirrels

    burningsquirrels Member

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

    burningsquirrels Member

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    there's also this man who defended himself successfully with a 5-shot 22LR revolver.

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

    Jeff F Member

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    I carry a .32 acp some times. Don't feel under-gunned when I carry it.
     
  19. JKimball

    JKimball Member

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    Massad Ayoob's book says .22LR with hollow points is a lethal option. Not the best, but he thinks it is even better than .25 ACP.
     
  20. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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

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

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

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

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

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

    659side.jpg
     
  21. Prepster

    Prepster Member

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    The correct answer is whatever you're good with. If you're surgical with a .25 acp, so be it.
     
  22. Macchina

    Macchina Member

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    The minimum I would choose would be a .380. This is my minimum because I can pack a Kel-tec or Ruger LCP as easily as I can a .22lr. I also always have a knife on me, which I consider to be under a .22 for effectiveness.
     
  23. wnycollector

    wnycollector Member

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

    Defensory Member

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  25. Jason M

    Jason M Member

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    .32 if I had to.

    .380 if I must.

    9mm will do the job.

    .40cal will do it better.

    .45 sets the bar.

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

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

    -Jason
     
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