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New to Pistols, considerations..

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by 00Five-seveN, Mar 12, 2004.

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  1. 00Five-seveN

    00Five-seveN Member

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    I'm new to fire-arms, been doing a ton of research, and I've decided that I want a HDW with CCW options.

    After reading up a lot on pistols and trying a few out at the local range, I've come to the conclusion that it's worth saving up some $$ to buy what I want instead of settling for something cheaper.

    I'm looking for an autoloader that's: (in no particular order)
    *Reliable/Durable
    *Accurate at 7 yards (+ or -)
    *Good for placing follow-up shots (don't wan't a TON of muzzle rise).
    *Small enough to be able to carry, but with a full-hand grip.
    *Aesthetics
    *Something I don't have to fuss with too much if/when I need to fire it quickly.
    *Something that won't shoot me in the leg by accident while I'm carrying it. (I like my leg)

    Here's been my experience so far: HK USP Compact, SIG P229, Baretta 92 compact, Glock something (Glocks all seem to be the same :p )

    I liked the HK, Sig, and Baretta. Great reputations and reviews, nice features on them all, fit very well in my hand, are aesthetically appealing, etc.

    The Glock was ugly, didn't fit my hand well, and I hated the trigger. Also, my friend's Glock's spring broke right when we got started (though I'm sure such a popular brand is pretty reliable in general, you can understand how I'm not impressed thus far)

    I've also taken a deep liking to the FN Five-Seven (if you hadn't noticed), but that's based merely on research as I can't find any way to test it out, or even hold it.

    Now, time for the questions.

    1) Based on my reqs for a pistol do I want a SA or DA pistol? Single action is easier to follow up (since each trigger pull is the same) but double action is simpler to pull out and just fire (just pull the trigger), correct? Would DAO be the best of both worlds? Is one particularly safer than the other for CCW? Will either one really affect performance, ease, or safety in a major way, or is it more of just a personal preferrence?

    2) Does anybody have any experience firing/carrying the FN Five-seveN? How light is the recoil? How simple is it to fire? How much would the 5.7mm JHP stop the BGs :evil:
     
  2. cajunboy2k

    cajunboy2k Member

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    My 2 cents

    I have a Glock 19. Compact, 9mm. Superb shooting gun. @15 yards I shot a 3 inch hole in the center of the target. This is my first auto pistol, and I am very impressed. It shoots way better than the M9 I carried in the Air Force. Sorry about your less than stellar first impression, but I am very happy with it.

    Good luck choosing. You listed some FINE handguns.
     
  3. mrapathy2000

    mrapathy2000 member

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    keep researching and go to a range and try them out.

    try 9mm,40S&W and 45acp. answer the question we all ask one time or another. capacity,size or recoil.

    the FN five seven uses funky caliber unless I am mistaken. not very cheap to shoot. 9mm is dirt cheap. if you reload anything can be cheaper than factory loads.

    find out what size you like. I like medium sized guns like glock 19,23/steyr m9,m40. I do own a kel-tec p11 sub-compact and find I dont like 3 inch barrels. the grip is little small for my paw so I got a magazine extension. its 9mm and seats 10+1 rounds of ammo and can use S&W hi-cap mags getting 12 and 15 round mags for backups is nicer than 10.

    build a big list and work your way down. low price does not always mean its crap. some guns will rust if not cared for or refinished with something less likely to rust.

    Dao triggers sucks. imagine every pull being double action. some newer pistols have whats called tripple action ie Daewoo and Walther p99/SW99 cz110(not availible in US:fire: ) with exception of the Steyr M & S series I would not want a DAO trigger.

    DA/SA is ok its nice to have both worlds sometimes. I like guns with manual safety unlike glock though I always use the safety in my head and keep the finger out of the trigger guard unless I am ready to shoot on the line.

    SA is nice.

    havent heard much on the FN Five Seven recoil or ballistics. think I would rather have 9mm or light 40S&W than the funky caliber it uses. JHP ammo does not always work the way you want it. it was originally designed to use steel core armor piercing ammo for military and LE use. why would I want something neutered from its original purpose. if I had interest in getting through vest without a rifle or pistol using 223 or 7.62x39 I would use the FN five seven. otherwise I will stick to whats widely availible.
     
  4. arinvolvo

    arinvolvo Member

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    check a steyr M9 or Sig 239...two very different pistols from two very different schools of thought...each one perfect and awesome in its own way...Both reasonably priced....the steyr, moreso.
     
  5. Black Majik

    Black Majik Member

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    I noticed that you didnt have the 1911 up as an option. I'd suggest you to GO TRY ONE OUT! :D

    Since you wanted to carry, I would recommend a Colt Commander. A little smaller than the full size government w. a 4.25" barrel and still full reliability.

    If its a DA/SA pistol you want to acquire, my favorite of the Sig, USP, Beretta would be the Sig P series. Absolutely the most fun and smooth shooting of the bunch. To me, the trigger on the Sigs is leagues ahead of the Berettas and definitely more than the USP's. Heh, glocks, no contest.

    SA - 1911 Colt Commander

    DA/SA - Sig P series
     
  6. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Most likely this candidate is a little larger than you
    are looking for; but it meets or exceeds your other
    criteria:

    .45 caliber SIG-SAUER P220A

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

    gvass Member

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    "I'm looking for an autoloader "

    If you are a beginner, buy a revolver first.

    A K-frame SW .38 Spec. with 3"-4" barrel is easy to shoot (learn to shoot), reliable, INEXPENSIVE as surplus

    No one learn to shoot with a centerfire polymer semiauto.
     
  8. Mr. Mysterious

    Mr. Mysterious Member

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    Find a range and rent a couple different makes in a couple different calibers. Or find a friend that has a couple and go throw some lead down range.

    The reality is that there are many good guns out now...almost anything that is from a reputible manufacturer will be accurate and reliable (there are some exceptions). If you are are new to shooting shoot lots! The more you shoot the more comfortable you become with your new weapon and the way it functions. Also, don't make the mistake that a lot of new guys make...clean your gun. It is time well spent to keep your gun functional and in great shape. I hate when friends show me their gun(s) and I look at it and see carbon and other crap. I guess that is the Army NCO coming out of me.

    Oh yeah, and to answer your "which gun question" you have my vote for the P99/SW99 series. I have an SW99 in .45 and it is great. The major complaint that you will see is that people have a hard transition to the DA/SA trigger. Since you are new to shooting that shouldn't be a problem since you have a limited basis for comparison. I also feel that you will have an easy time transitioning to another type of trigger if you learn on the DA/SA.

    One last thing...take a firearms course...that will be money well spent. I learned about guns growing up and then learned the fundementals of shooting (sight picture, breath control, trigger squeeze, etc) from Uncle Sam, and am a good shot (always qualify expert on everything)...but I am seriously considering taking a firearms course just to give me another edge. I'm a big believer that there is no such thing as too much training.
     
  9. Majic

    Majic Member

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    As they say you must learn to crawl before you can walk. With that in mind you must first learn to shoot. Not just point at a target and pull the trigger, but master the basic elements of shooting. Nothing is a better teacher than a .22lr. A great learning tool and you will find it will be extremely fun and used all thru out the years. Many new shooters quickly sell their .22lrs after deciding they know how to shoot, but that's a big mistake. Later if you find you have a shooting problem (and believe me you will a time or two), pick that .22lr back up and quickly solve it. Over the years you will find it will probably the most shot handgun of your entire collection.
    Consider getting some type of .22lr handgun first, then work up from there. You will then have a better understanding of what kind of centerfire handgun you really want and know how to choose one.
     
  10. Clean97GTI

    Clean97GTI Member

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    FN's Five-seveN is actually kinda large. I don't think it would make much of a CCW gun. Until recently, they were near impossible to find and the only ammo was the armor-piercing stuff. This made it illegal to sell in most (if not all states) FN finally released 10 round magazines and non-AP ammo, but the jury is still out on ballistics. Early tests showed that while the AP ammo did the job of getting through vests, it didn't do much once it entered the body. Hopefully the new ammo is better, but I'd wait for more testing. A few PD's around the country gave the P90 (submachine gun) a test and did have favorable results. Houston's SWAT team being the most notable. For a new pistol, I wouldn't advise the Five-seveN.

    I'd say start off with a .22 caliber pistol and learn how to shoot. This will help you learn and retain good shooting techniques. Starting off with too large of a caliber can lead to all sorts of bad habits. The first gun I ever fired was my grandfathers 4" .357mag revolver. Gave me a flinch that took several years to unlearn. Magnum rounds and 9yr olds don't mix.
    If you must start out with a full power cartridge, go with 9mm. Ballistics are still very good and the extra capacity gives you more bullets...which we all know are better than bigger bullets. 9mm is also the cheapest to shoot, so you get to practice more.

    Go hold as many guns as you can. Fire the ones you like the most, buy the one that you like the best. You can get cheap surplus ammo and go shooting quite often.
     
  11. Majic

    Majic Member

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    :confused: Guess I never learned that little tid bit. Please explain just how that works?
     
  12. Quick Draw McGraw

    Quick Draw McGraw Member

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    I am going to have to firmly disagree there, and I would expect that there will be others chiming in about that one.

    Anyway, the .22lr suggestion is very good, as is the revolver suggestion. If you feel that you really want to have a defensive caliber autopistol right away, though, consider a CZ-75. I'm a little surprised that no one has recommended this yet. While the prices seem to be climbing, and they may not (some will disagree with this, also) be quite as good as a Sig, Hk, or Beretta, they are excellent pistols for the money.

    There are several different models, but you can have one that is DA/SA (with the safety off) yet can be carried cocked and locked if you'd like. (note: To my knowledge it is considered safe to carry a CZ C&L, but I could be mistaken. CZ gurus, please correct me if I'm wrong.)

    The other upside is that you can get a .22lr conversion for them, so that you can have also have all of the advantages that .22 brings to the table.

    Plus, and I'm so excited because this is the first time I've been able to say this on THR, they're CZEXY! :neener:

    [edited to add: The one downside may be that a full-sized CZ might be a little large to carry for some, although people do carry them.]
     
  13. PALEFACE

    PALEFACE Member

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    TRY A KAHR K9093A THEIR PRETTY GOOD
     
  14. Clean97GTI

    Clean97GTI Member

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    more chances to hit the targt you're aiming at. What do you think one of the reasons people can't wait for September is?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2004
  15. arinvolvo

    arinvolvo Member

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    i may be on board with the # vs. size issue. Id rather tote 17 rounds of 9mm than 8 of 45 cal....but that is just me.

    however, id rather tote 8 9mm than 17 22cal.
     
  16. Quick Draw McGraw

    Quick Draw McGraw Member

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    Well, I guess I should clarfiy my "firm disagreement" by saying that certain situations do, in my mind, warrant more bullets instead of bigger bullets (if a trade-off has to be made). I guess I disagree more with the blanket statement of "more bullets...which we all know are better than bigger bullets". For instance, many choose .40S&W because it is an in between caliber. It may hold two, three, or four less rounds than a 9mm version of the same gun, but people have decided for themselves that they would rather have the .40. I guess the main point of my disagreement is the "we all know are better than bigger bullets" part.

    I will now have to add another point of disagreement, however.
    I respectfully disagree that this is not a good argument for having more bullets. I hope to be well trained enough to be able to hit my target on the first shot, and if not then, then certainly on the second. It is true that we don't know how steady our hand (or how clear our mind) will be when TF is H by the S, but I still think that hitting the target on the first or second shot is a very achievable goal.

    I think a better argument for the "more vs. bigger" discussion would be a situation in which you faced multiple attackers and you couldn't retreat.

    For instance, if you were attacked by multiple thugs and you were with your young children, it would likely be difficult to retreat quickly and effectively. In this situation, I think there is a pretty good case for having more bullets.

    Also, 17+1 in a Beretta or a Glock 17 is nice, but a downside of some of the hi-cap 9mm's is that they are fatter in the grip. Through the posts I've read here and at TFL, it seems that many feel that the grip is the hardest part to conceal, and the thickness of a weapon, especially the grip, is considered when looking for a carry weapon. Many prefer to carry Kahrs and other single stacks, some even carry full-sized 1911s, because these guns are thinner and a little easier to conceal in many cases.

    A lot of more everday-carry sized 9mm's are 13+1 (hi-power) or somewhere around that neighborhood. It is a personal decision as to whether 14 or 15 rounds of 9mm are more favorable for your situation than 8 or 9 rounds of .45. (or 12 rounds of .40)

    Anyway, enough of my hi-jacking. I would recommend a 9mm for a first gun, if you don't go for a .22.

    Above all, listen to the different views and opinions on this board. I've learned more hear than in any book or magazine.
     
  17. BHPshooter

    BHPshooter Member

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    You ought to look at FN's "other" famous pistol -- the Hi Power. (*also sold by Browning)

    I've got 2, and I love them. A great design, and 9mm is probably the cheapest centerfire pistol ammo out there (meaning more practice per dollar).

    You also might want to check out the CZ-75. I really like them, but don't have one yet.

    Oh, and welcome to The High Road! ;)

    Wes

    EDIT: Missed this on Quickdraw's post:
    Thirteen round magazines are what the HP is recognized with, but there are 14, 15, 17, 20, and other capacity magazines out there as well. I have a few of the 17-rounders, and they are great. So if you want more concealability, put a 13-rd mag in. If another situation warrants it, you can put a 17-rd in and still be on par with the G-17 and Beretta 92.
     
  18. Majic

    Majic Member

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    As a valid observation was just posted, does that always applies? Are 17 .22 CB shorts better than 8 or so 9mm JHPs? You surely get more chances at your target.
    And I got totaly lost on that one.
     
  19. jercamp45

    jercamp45 Member

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    You are one the right track!~

    Keep researching and shoot everything you can to find the one that fits you. And bear in mind you can later buy another one(or 20).
    I'd let go of the 5.7 FN concept...it is big, the bullet is small, expensive...it is a specialty tool.
    Rental ranges are great to try out alot of stuff. Stop by Wallyworld and buy some value packs before hand to shot more, cheaper!!
    Look at the 1911 .45, try it out.
    But fire the XD/HD from Springfield too, and the Kahr.
    It has to fit you and you have to shoot it well(alot of practise is allowed and prefered).
    The .22 auto pistol is a great beginning tool and the .22 conversion for your main center fire pistol is a great idea. If that appeals to you, then that narrows the field too CZ, Beretta(big), various 1911's, and Glock.
    The US Border Patrol did an experiement, decades gone by, of starting half a class with .22 service revolvers that duplicated the .38, and the other half the .38 straight through. At the end of the cass, those that started with the .38 shot better than those that started with the .22.
    So, I'd suggest a midsized Nine that can be for CCW(my choice would be the CZ probably), get a 22 conversion unit, holster, mags, ammo, training and alot of practise. Then move up to a more potent round when you have more of a base of experience and more of a taste for what feels right.
    After completing my researches some 30 years ago, I got a Colt Government model and a .22 conversion unit. I have tried alot of other stuff. BUT the 1911 stillis the one to beat, but that is me.
    My new Lady is a newbie to handguns. I had her fire various formats and powerlevels. She like the Nine as a starter, and chose a Kahr PM because it was mainly to be a CCW gun for her. Now she has access to my LW Officer's and .22 conversion unit and a ParaOrd LDA Companion, both of which she likes. But she wanted small for carry. Now that she is getting a feel for shooting, we are looking around for a .22 auto that fits her hand and eye for plinking and fun.
    Some ideas to ponder.
    Jercamp45
     
  20. Marshall

    Marshall Member

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    I want to talk too, I want to talk too. :D

    Actually, I believe a well placed shot(s) are more important the diameter or quantity of ammo you fire. They pretty much do away with the need for either. If you can't have well placed shots, well then, both large and more becomes adequate.


    ;)
     
  21. itgoesboom

    itgoesboom member

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    There really are a lot of options, between Sigs, Colts, Glocks, BHPs, Steyrs, XDs, Rugers and about a million other really good designs out there.

    First thing I would try to decide one would be what you prefer to shoot with. Best way to do this is to try out different handguns. While you might find the perfect firearm for you, honestly what will probably happen is you will find out certain functions and features that apeal to you.

    So you asked what would be better, DA/SA, SA or DAO?

    That depends on you.

    Go shoot some SA, some DA and some DAO pistols, and see what type of action you like.

    Try something SA with a safety (1911, BHP,) something SA without an external safety (XD, P99 ((essentially SA in one mode))), then something DA/SA (Beretta 92f) and then something DAO (Beretta 92D).

    Once you have decided on the action type that you want, then you can start to focus on girp styles, caliber, mag capacity, and all the other functions.

    So for example, I started to shoot pistols with a Ruger SA blackhawk revolver, so when I purchased my first defensive pistol, I felt uncomfortable with DA/SA, although that is what I ended up getting. After a little more than a year, I realized that I was making it harder on myself, so I got what is essentially a SA only with no external safety---- a Springfield XD9 Subcompact. I get a roughly 5lb trigger pull for all shots, and don't have to actively disengage any external safeties (other than grip safety, and trigger safety).

    So after you have figured out what type of action you prefer, do some more research online, and fine 5-7 GOOD pistols that have GREAT reputations here, then go to a gunshop, and start handling them.

    You will find certain pistols that fit your hand like a glove. The Glock 17/19, 1911, Beretta 92F, Walther P99, Steyr M9, and the XD series all fit my hand well. I have never picked up a Sig that fit my hand well, nor a CZ75 (although I was still tempted to buy).

    Now you can start to narrow it down a little.

    You will find that there really are many good guns out there, and its just really going to depend on what fits your hand the best, and what kind of action you want.

    Sights can also be an issue, but since those can be changed on most pistols, thats not really a biggie.

    Hope this helps.

    I.G.B.
     
  22. 00Five-seveN

    00Five-seveN Member

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    Thanks for all the replies, always great info here.

    *I didn't list the 1911 because I hadn't tried it yet. I definitely plan to check them out.

    I've thought about the CZ-75 and the Ruger P95 for cheaper pistols, but as I said, I'll save up and spend more if if ends up meaning I'll be happier. I'll try them out, but they haven't grabbed my attention for any specific reasons.

    So far my major considerations are: HK USP Compact 40S&W, Baretta 92 compact 9mm, SIG P229, 1911 .45acp, and I'm still very interested in the Five-seveN, but I realize that it might not be the best for a beginner.

    *About why I like the Five-seveN:

    Obviously the 20 rd clip and AP ammo are two of it's biggest +'s, and those aren't an option for me.

    BUT, From what I've read, it's ammo delivers a higher than standard % of it's energy to the target, meaning it has good stopping power AND it's less likely to over-penetrate (I hope this holds true for the JHP ammo as well). It also has less muzzle-rise than a 9mm, meaning better follow-up shots.

    Is firepower > 9mm, recoil < 9mm, and low % to over-penetrate REALLY how it works out? Cause that seems a lil too good to be true. Even without the 20rd clip ;) and the AP ammo, still seems like a nice gun to fire.

    I don't mind paying a bit more for the ammo, I'll definitely practice with it, but I won't be firing off 1,000 rds a month or anything.

    *Regarding DA/SA. I'd like one that can do either/or Like the USP. I'm somewhat over-loaded with info on how diff actions/safeties/triggers work.

    *Regarding Revolver. I know that they are simpler to use, and cheaper. But I know I'll want to be using an auto-load when I actually buy one to use for carry. Why would I learn something else first?

    You COULD say something like "Learning to walk before you run."
    But I think it's more like "learning to draw before you paint."

    It's not like it was HARD for me to fire an auto-loader. I fired pretty well my first time, even while trying semi rapid firing and double taps most of the time (just to get an idea of how much the recoil mattered etc). There's just more info to learn. I see no advantage with learning to use a revolver and then switching over, but maybe that's just me, I think a lot of people don't WANT to do the research that I am doing.

    *Regarding the caliber issue: I've tried 45acp and 9mm. Honestly, it wasn't a HUGE difference for me. I fired about 200 rounds total. Follow-up shots are important to me, so I might prefer 9mm (and I'll try 40S&W and 357 SIG) to the 45, but either are acceptable.
     
  23. YammyMonkey

    YammyMonkey Member

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    I'm a big 1911 fan, don't like Glocks, they just don't fit me well; actually sold mine to buy my 2nd 1911. I'd like to try a Springfield XD, the grip looks like it would be much more comfortable than the Glock.

    Without getting too in-depth regarding the ammo/stopping power thing, if the bullet stops inside the target, all of its energy has been transferred. The fear of overpenetration when you hit the bad guy, in my opinion, is greatly over-hyped. The human body is a very good combo of hard, elastic and spongy tissues that will rarely see the average handgun round penetrate all the way through, especially if you're using a hollow point and it expands (most all of them do). Don't rely on the Marshall and Sanow stopping power info, it's of questionable credibility (at best). As far as what bullet weight to shoot, I'm a fan of the heavier bullets available in a caliber because they penetrate more, and 2 holes in the heart, liver, lungs, etc... will cause more and faster bleedout and greater chance of catastrophic damage.

    Personally I'd go with either a 9mm or .45. If the .45 has too much recoil for you to shoot well then the .40 and .357 sig will likely be harder for you to shoot because of the snappier recoil. Nothing wrong with using a 9mm for defense either, with any caliber shot placement is key.
     
  24. Roger Williams

    Roger Williams Member

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    If I were you, I'd go with a 9mm.

    Since you want to start learning to shoot on a centerfire auto, if I were you, I'd check out a CZ75B, a SA XD-9, or a SIG in 9mm.

    9mm is big enough to put a hurt on anybody (especially when most of them hold 15 + rounds) and if you absolutely refuse to learn how to shoot with a .22, it will be the logical next step up. (more economical than a .32 or .38).

    Like others have said before, I'd start with a .22. Really, if I had it to do all over again, I'd start pistol shooting with a .22 auto and a .357 revolver - namely a mk-6 and a GP-100.

    If you have to start learning on a centerfire auto pistol, the 9mm is as good a start as any...
     
  25. Clean97GTI

    Clean97GTI Member

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    I would really stay away from the 5.7mm as a defensive round until more development takes place. First off, you don't get 20rd mags until Sept (*IF* the AWB sunsets) Next, the 5.7 didn't do to well in several early ballistics tests. Energy transfer is not as important in defense situations against humans. The most important thing is the size of the permanent wound cavity. Modern 9mm ammo is very good at making decent sized wound cavities. I'm still sticking by my more is better statement. I will however make a quick ammendment to it.

    More bullets of (an effective caliber) are better than bigger bullets.

    15rounds of 9mm are superior to 8 rounds of .45. I'm glad you can hit a target in one or two shots. Do you realize that you have just used a quarter of your .45 ammo? What happens if your target moves or charges you. It is a lot harder to hit a moving, intelligent target. More chances give you an edge, not praying your larger bullets will do enough damage because the clip is almost empty.
     
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