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Nice overall round for protection

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Pathtoyorsoul, Jul 25, 2009.

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  1. Pathtoyorsoul

    Pathtoyorsoul Member

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    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?
     
  2. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    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.
     
  3. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    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.
     
  4. jfrey

    jfrey Member

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    "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.
     
  5. GodGuns&Guitars

    GodGuns&Guitars Member

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    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.
     
  6. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    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.
     
  7. ScareyH22A

    ScareyH22A Member

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    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
     
  8. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I like the good ole 38 special standard pressure.
     
  9. Noveldoc

    Noveldoc Member

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    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
     
  10. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Whatever you can afford that works well and you can hit with, minimum of .380 or better, preferrably no lighter than 38 Spl.
     
  11. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    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.
     
  12. ccsniper

    ccsniper member

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    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.
     
  13. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    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.)
     
  14. ScareyH22A

    ScareyH22A Member

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

    kanewpadle Member

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    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.
     
  16. David E

    David E Member

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    Whatever you buy, buy quality !
     
  17. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    I'd go with either 9mm or .357mag. Relatively cheap to shoot and very versatile, especially the 357.

    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.
    [​IMG]

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

    MovedWest Member

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    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
     
  19. Quiet

    Quiet Member

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    "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."
     
  20. LancerMW

    LancerMW Member

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    get a good 9mm, g19 or something
     
  21. TheProf

    TheProf Member

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    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. )
     
  22. 6.5x39

    6.5x39 Member

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    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.
     
  23. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    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)
     
  24. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  25. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    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.
     
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