Why do you choose the gun and caliber you use for defense?

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The Drew

May 9, 2005
Central Pennsylvania
Just like the title says... Why do you choose the gun and caliber you use for defense? This is for carry or for home defense or even reasons for both. This is not a caliber bashing thread, rather it is a pro "what I carry" thread.

I'll start, I primarily use 2 different handguns for carry, both are CZ's, one is a P01 and the other is a 75b both in 9mm. The reason I choose these guns and the caliber is that they both give me a large capacity, (because I've noticed in IDPA competitions under stress I tend to let loose large amounts of lead) I am VERY accurate with the 75B out to 60 yards, and both conceal well enough for my uses....
Good points. Most of my guns are 9mm since the end of the magazine ban.
I think a lot of people carry guns that are too small to shoot well. I would recommend shooting an IDPA match with your carry gear to make sure it works for you.
Other considerations:
I sometimes carry a 357sig because it would give you the ability to shoot through a car windshield.
My housegun is sometimes a 45 because I feel it would do less damage to your ears if you have to shoot it indoors.
For daily carry it's a 12 oz 357 mag. For all other occations its a 45 colt.

Why? - 357 small, light, powerful - 180 SJHP @ 1000 fps, hides well,
45 Colt more powerful - 300 gr @ 1130 fps

Mike G.
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I use my Kimber for pretty much everything. When I hunt deer, I take it out of my carry holster, and put it in a leg holster. When I hunt jackrabbits and squirrels, I switch to the Ciener .22 kit. I use 230-grain hydra-shoks for all real applications, and Winchester 230 grain FMJ (sometimes American Eagle) for most practice, after verifying reliable feed of the hydra-shoks. (I didn't need much convincing.)

I am used to carrying a full-size auto. I don't like switching out and learning a lot of different guns for different applications. I carry a 1911 because it has saved more soldiers' lives than any other combat handgun. For a while, I carried a Glock 22, but over time, I found that the traditional model appealed to me more than the technological model.
I have specific requirements that needed to be addressed. Because carry in my place of work is prohibited by state law my gun would have to remain locked in my car during the day. I wanted something powerful enough to make me comfortable and it needed to be something I wouldn't cry over when it shows the effects of rough treatment.

I settled on a police surplus S&W M659. Being stainless it will resist rust and scratching. Also being stainless I find it ugly so I don't care if it gets beat up. A real tool rather than a collectable or work of art.

I wanted a semi-auto because I simply leave it in Condition III (chamber empty) and take the magazine with me when I lock it up in the car. I have a steel cable lock secured to the seat frame so it's pretty much out of sight under the seat and it would be tough to remove during a casual auto burglary. With the high-capacity gun I feel fine with just the one magazine and don't need to carry a reload. If I can't resolve the problem with 14 rounds of 115 grain +P+ then more ammo probably won't help.

If I didn't need to leave the piece locked in my car I might choose something different.
I carried an EAA Witness, (CZ clone) for 13 years for both the caliber and the ergonomics. The CZ style gripframe fits me incredibly well.
Then I tried an actual CZ, and was hooked. The 9mm was not the cartridge I really wanted, but after investigating all the data I could, it became obvious, (well, to me, many people want to debate it still:neener: ), that it was far more shot placement than caliber that determined the effectiveness of a caliber, and that with modern bullet design, the top calibers were quite close in both jello testing and morgue results.
So, my daily carry is a 9mm CZ PO1, which fits me like a custom made glove, and I know I can put that little high speed pill right where it needs to go.
I do carry two spare mags, but that is more a Dept ingrained habit. Anyone carrying an auto should, IMHO, carry at least one spare, for magazine related failures, the most common source of auto jams.
For everyday carry, my piece is a Taurus 605, loaded with .38 spl +P. I chose a revolver in this setting because of its simplicity, reliability, and the belief that 5 shots are going to be enough in any scenario where I am likely to use my everyday carry piece. At home, I keep a Taurus 24/7 in 9mm ready for action, with four extra magazines. I chose 9 mm because the ammo is cheap, making it possible for me to shoot a lot with it, stock up for SHTF/TEOTWAWKI, and share ammo with a HiPoint 995. In any setting where I thought I was ever likely to be engaged in gunfights, the 24/7 would be my primary piece, and the 605 a BUG.

Also for home defense, I have a 12 ga loaded with 00 buckshot. But that's a little big for everyday carry. ;)
At home, I have my Sig P220 and my Beretta Cougar. The only reason I keep them at home is because I do not have reloads available for them at the moment. If carrying, I only feel comfortable having at least one reload avaliable. I would love to, and more than likely will carry both once I find the time to purchase extra magazines, holsters, etc. I like them for home defense though, because in any likely HD situation, it'll be person to person, and I trust those rounds in those particular guns to do the job just fine.

I carry my Sig Pro usually, and rotate between .357Sig and .40S&W. More often I carry .357Sig for the same reasons as Gary G23 - incase I ever need to fire on a vehicle to stop an attacker. I more than trust the round in any application and find it to be very accurate. I also think the sound/flash alone from my personal SD load (Winchester Ranger, 125gr.) would make anyone else in the vicinity considering a fight (perps buddies, perhaps?) think twice about doing anything but running away and taking cover :D

I have carried my 1911, but Ohio in the summer is neither the time nor place. :p
I usualy have a 1911 or a mod. 67 Smith within reach. Like them both, but I feel the 1911 is more efficent......Essex
I chose a 642 S and w
Light enough to always carry it
38+p 's will get any bad guy's attention
I practice with it often(as we all should with our ccw's)and can shoot it well
Good Thread

My primary carry piece is a .45 ACP Kimber Stainless Ultra Carry II;
and is backed-up exclusively by one of Larry Seecamps fine little
LWS-32's in of course, .32 ACP. Why did I choose these weapons?
Simple, I carried a West German SIG-SAUER P220A as a duty piece
for years as a LEO; so I was familiar with the .45 ACP cartridge in
its various offerings. I changed platforms simply because of need
for a smaller CCW package. OTOH, the LWS-32 was chosen for
its extreme reliability, as a "in your face" or "up close and personal"
type firearm of a last resort.

Make note of the fact that for home D', my handgun assortment
still is in the .45 ACP line, with 14 rounds of 230 grain Hornady
T.A.P. JHP's being slung out of a 4" service model Springfield
XD-.45ACP; or the same round being fired from my original duty
weapon, the SIG-SAUER P220A~!:cool: :D
Glock 26, with 124gr federal hydra-shocks.

Years ago, in another state and an entirely different career, I was routinely in charge of a cash box, all alone and in a bad neighborhood. I tried carrying a 1911, but found it was just too heavy and bulky, and customers get freaked out if they make you, even in the 'hood. Also, I couldn't shoot it well at all, too much recoil. (Yeah, yeah. I'm a wimp. Blah, blah...) I switched to a Walther PP (PPK's bigger brother), in .32 auto, and I found I could conceal it well and hit anything I wanted to at speed.

In the last ten or fifteen years, I've noticed that the "criminal element" seems to be getting bigger and beefier. Thuggy teenagers now routinely stand a head taller than me, and they carry around a LOT of muscle and/or fat. These guys are huge! I began to worry that .32 auto might not be sufficient, so I moved up to 9mm.

The glock is almost as small as the PP, and it has a higher capacity. It is every bit as easy to shoot, and with it I can hit pretty much anything I want to at speed. The trigger is not quite as nice as the Walther's single action (double taps aren't nearly as fast, for example), but that is a minor quibble. It works for me.
Well, the gun I eventually purchased (two of) is one that I'm still learning and still learning how to appreciate--the Colt Detective Special. It's just large enough to shoot accurately (turns out the D-frame guns are perfect for my smallish hands), small enough to conceal very well, gives me six reliable shots of .38 +P lead hollow points, is light for a steel gun, has an outstanding finish, is built incredibly well and feels and shoots like a quality firearm should.
When I carry (not often enough, even when I'm not at work... once I get a better holster, I will), it's an Auto Ordnance 1911A1 in .45ACP.

Couple of reasons why (okay, more than a couple):
1. It's the pistol my dad gave me on my 16th birthday.
2. It's the only pistol I own :rolleyes: (so far, he says hopefully).
3. It feels like Mr. Browning used my hand as a mold.
4. I'm sort of anachronistic; the fact that the design is nearly a century old appeals to me.
5. It's single action, and made of steel; both excellent qualities for an automatic pistol, in my book.
6. It's comfortable to carry (even in a cheap holster that shifts), with it's slab sides.
7 I'm not bad with it (when I can settle myself into proper bloody trigger control), and getting better.

As far as caliber goes:
1. .45ACP has iced a lot of goblins. I'm not going to say it's better or worse than any other cartridge; I certainly don't have any combat experience. But I don't think a couple of percentage points above or below 9mm, 10mm, .40S&W, etc. really matter when the fact is that it does work, and well enough at that.
2. Mr. Browning built the 1911 around his .45ACP cartridge... and my folks taught me not to argue with my elders. :)
3. Again, my anachronistic tendencies. The sucker's a hundred years old and still works.

I'm sure I could come up with more reasons, but those're enough for me.
I carry a Glock 19 everyday. Compact enough for concealment, carries 15 rounds + one in the pipe. I also have a Hi Power, 2 K frame 38 specials and a CZ 52.

Reasons for the Glock:
  1. Reliability
  2. Accuracy
  3. Ease of maintainance
  4. Magazine Capacity (I carry G 17 spares)

Reasons for the Caliber:
  1. Adequacey (None of them are magic, Plenty of people have survived .45 ACP hits, and plenty have been stopped by 9mm.)
  2. Availability
  3. Cost (CCI Blazer ~ $100.00 / 1000, so I can afford to shoot it a lot)
  4. Capacity (15 or 17 vs. 8)

I was a hard convert to the Glock. "I ain't never gonna have one of them plastic guns!". But a couple of trips to the range with a couple of friends that are Glock fans convinced me. As I watched them put thousands of rounds through the things with virtually no maintainance, and absolutely no malfunctions, I was sold. The Hi Power now resides in my bedroom, the .38's are stashed in strategic locations about the house, and the Glock, unless I am sleeping is in a Glock holster on my side. The CZ 52 was bought cheap just for fun. It occasionally makes a trip to the range just so I can see that spectacular flame plume!
For me its normaly a Kahr either a pm9 or a p9 . I picked the Kahrs for the convienance of carry in a " duty cal " . They carry and shoot well ( the big one is about the size of my ppk/s lol ) and are full caliber. IMHO once you hit that 9mm threashold there isnt much differance in preformance , I would have been just as happy with the .40 cal versions, but they guy i traded for them from had 9s and i dont feel undergunned with them . I have reached the age that i dont go places i used to so i dont arm up to assualt fort knox . Oh and also there is normaly a p3at somewhere in a pocket , but that hardly counts as a gun does it ??

< flame resistant suit on >

Current line up:

Glock G32 .357 Sig...my favorite caliber. This is my geocaching, boating, sweating my ass off in the summer heat gun:

Sig P229 in .40 S&W. If things turn ugly the extra mass soaks up the recoil. 5K rounds...zero failures. I trust it.

Sig P225 in 9mm. Hard chromed by Virgil Tripp with a Sig Custom Shop action enhancement package. It's my dinner jacket gun for low risk evenings:
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I choose to carry a Kimber Tactical Ultra II 45ACP. Quite simply it's the best pistol that I've found for the job.
But actually, because I dress for comfort instead of carry I mostly have a laser equipped Kel Tec .380 in my pocket.
My vehicles contain a couple larger pistols and a rifle 24/7 though.

For HD I have loaded pistols, rifles and shotguns around but recently I've about chosen the laser/light, Red Dot sight equipped Kel Tec PLR-16 .223 pistol as the primary HD gun.
For my use it should be able to handle any situation around the place.
The chances are if I needed to shoot it will be outside at 25-40+ yards.
The PLR would be a good up close and distance tool.

I'm thinking about replacing the vehicle rifles with PLR pistols.
Right now I keep a Glock 20 stoked with Double Tap's 180 gr Gold Dot load.

I choose the platform for two reasons, initially:

1. The 10mm Auto intrigued me. I knew and trusted the .45 Auto, so I had something to fall back on and decided to give it a try. I am a huge fan of the 10mm Auto, now. It is my favorite handgun round, followed closely by the .45 and the .357 Mag. Versitile and effective, the 10mm Auto can meet or beat anything else out there in an auto pistol in just about anything that matters--penetration and expansion and the factors that contribute to this--momentum, sectional density, frontal diameter, mass, energy, and velocity.

2. I choose the Glock because I had just had a run in with a bad USP Tactical that cost me $1000 to buy and gave me nothing but fits afterwards. The USP struck me as overly complex. The Glock was rumored to be at the opposite end of the spectrum. And it is. A trained monkey could detail a Glock and probably fix anything that is wrong with it. Parts and accessories are readily available, usually pretty cheap, and can often be installed by the user. Not so with the HK.

Now I am a big fan of the Glock and the 10mm Auto. My next handgun will probably be a Glock 30, just because I don't feel truely American without a working .45 ACP, followed by a Glock 29.
I have a G23 because that's what was offered when I was trying to sell/trade away a mousegun.

And I have an SP-101 because I saw it in the local gun store's case, realized it was one of the extremely rare Target Grey ones, and jumped on it.

Not very good reasons, but they're solid guns and they've served me well. It's kind of hard to go wrong as long as you pick a decent brand, and don't start out with any insane prejudices against a certain model.

And I've also got an NAA black powder mini, because with the right modifications, the black powder gun is actually more powerful, more reliable, faster to reload, and just all-around better than a cartridge mini. I just need to try and use up all these darn percussion caps before I send it off. And it keeps raining whenever I have a day off! :cuss:

It'll be getting reamed chambers, new nipples that take small pistol primers, and a new firing pin that will set off the primers. With the appropriate charge of smokeless powder, the magnum version can shoot a 40 gr solid copper bullet at 1300 fps, compared to a maximum of 30 gr at 1150 fps for a .22 magnum cartridge mini. Centerfire primers are much more reliable than rimfire ignition. A loaded chamber would be sealed as tight as a standard centerfire round, so no more worries about hangfires and misfires after the gun has been carried awhile. And loaded cylinders would be safer to carry, especially if hard primers are used. A loaded spare cylinder would allow a much faster reload than is possible with a cartridge mini.
I carry a G23 now. I chose the .40 cal. because that is what the police carry and Im trying to become a cop. So when/if I get on the force, my carry piece can also be a BUG that will be able to use my duty mags.
For everyday carry, my piece is a Taurus 605, loaded with .38 spl +P. I chose a revolver in this setting because of its simplicity, reliability, and the belief that 5 shots are going to be enough in any scenario where I am likely to use my everyday carry piece.

+1 on the 605. Great carry piece!;)
This has probably been said in other responses, but one of the primary reasons i own the guns i do is because i can shoot them reasonably well, and the ammo for them is readily available and fairly inexpensive for practice.
I keep a 9mm Beretta 92 as my 'ready' gun, should i suddenly have to confront a BG with it @ 0300-ish. Should the apocalypse break out, there's another 9mm plus other hand guns from a .22 to a .357 mag., not to mention the shotguns & rifles for extreme social-work. The rifles and handguns are 'mated' to each other by calibers, meaning at least one from each group can share ammo with one from the other.
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