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Thread: What Caliber?

  1. #1
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    Just looking for some opinions on this, pro's and con's to different calibers.

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    9 mm.

    Reason being...

    The most important variable in stopping power is shot placement. For the most part, shot placement is more important than muzzle velocity, ballistic coefficient, and bullet diameter.

    Shot placement can only be improved via training. The more training you have with your weapon, the more accurate your shot placement will be, and the better the stopping power will be.

    For most people, the amount of time training with their weapon is inversely proportional to the price of the ammunition. The more expensive their ammo is, the less they tend to train with it, and hence the less effective they will be with it. This simple concept is lost in may discussions on caliber and stopping power.

    A 45 ACP, for example, might have an edge on inherent "stopping power" by virtue of its large diameter, but this edge is usually negated by insufficient training time due to the high cost of ammo. On the other end of the spectrum is the 22LR... it's cheap enough that a person can practice with it a lot, but it falls way short in the "inherent stopping power" category.

    So... very small caliber is bad (e.g. 22LR) because it can't incapacitate a bad guy in a short period of time. Large caliber (e.g. 45 ACP) is usually bad because you probably won't practice with it enough due to the high cost of ammo. For most people, then, a medium caliber is best. The 9 mm is such a caliber. It is cheap enough that I can practice with it on a regular basis, and powerful enough that it can incapacitate a bad guy in a relatively short period of time (assuming good shot placement, which is achieved via training).


    Now, having said ALL of that, it should be mentioned that bullet diameter is not the most important "inherent" variable when it comes to handgun rounds (when comparing commonly-available rounds). Depth of penetration is the most important variable. Bullet diameter is a close second.

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    I use a .40 cal for most of the reasons listed by Ohio Patriot. I wanted to fire affordable ammo with a large enough bullet to have a chance of stopping things quickly. I also wanted a pistol, instead of a revolver because they're usually easier to conceal when the situation calls for it.

    9mm's are very popular because of their high mag capacity, and that's important. Studies have shown, though, that a 9mm doesn't quiiiiiiite measure up in stopping power.

    That's why someone invented the 10mm. That gives us a high mag capacity AND stopping power. Good things, right? WELLLLLL, it seems the 10mm had TOO much power. It had a tendency to go all the way through bodies and walls and hit people in other rooms. Not good.

    SO someone good a bright idea. They cut down the cartridge, used less powder, and called it a .40 caliber. It's exactly the same diameter as a 10mm, but with slightly less terminal velocity, which gives it even MORE stopping power. It also allows us to keep our high capacity mags. Essentially, it's a good compromise between a 9mm and a .45.
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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    I say take your pick, and reload so as not to worry about cost.
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    The most intelligent way to practice is called dry fire. It is not necessary to fire a live cartridge to develop the skills necessary for good shot placement. An airsoft with a laser sight is an incredible trainer.

    It takes about 300 repetitions of a nearly PERFECT movement (or combination) to create a muscle memory habit. It takes nearly 10,000 repetitions to UNLEARN that habit.

    Learn the skills in dry fire, then confirm and cement it at the range with live fire. After that, alternate the two to keep sharp.

    Caliber and cartridge should be matched to the result desired... not just your budget.
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    EFMJ .40 & .45 9 mm ball

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    Campaign Veteran Nelson_Muntz's Avatar
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    Ohio Patriot wrote:
    On the other end of the spectrum is the 22LR... it's cheap enough that a person can practice with it a lot, but...
    How do you feel about using a conversion kit for 22 at the practice range with your carry gun?

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    The two guns I currently carry (not at once :P) is a .38spl and .45acp.

    Though in 3 weeks I'll add a .357mag to the mix.

  9. #9
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    i carry a 9mm and will stay in this caliber... it's affordable and hard hitting. best bang for the buck.

  10. #10
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    I carry .40 cal hunting and fishing and 9mm compact forpersonal protection That's how I roll


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    .45 most of the time, .357 on occasion.

  12. #12
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    The answer should be:

    Whatever you are comfortable shooting and carry 100% without fail.

    My personal? Either my .45 or my .40 depending on what I'm wearing for the day as the .40 is a bit easier to conceal.

  13. #13
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    The conventional wisdom for this question ... with which I agree ... is something along the lines of "the most effective self-defense cartridge that you can shoot accurately."

    Accuracy should not be sacrificed ... to any significant degree ... for more power.

    Of course, "effective" and "power" are debated endlessly. Go to the appropriate section of any forum with discussions about self-defense firearms and you'll find such a debate shortly.

    In my case, I chose .40 S&W. My reasoning was (and is):

    1. Many (a majority of?) US police departments have been using it for some years now. Police departments often choose things based on budget, politics, or factors not relevant to civilians, but if .40 just wasn't doing the job, I suspect it would have been noticed by now.

    2. A wide variety of high-quality self-defense/LE ammunition is available for it.

    3. I shoot it reasonably well (which is not to say that I don't need improvement).

    I've been shooting Speer Gold Dot, but I'm about to start trying Federal HST, based on tests I've seen. But that's another discussion.

    Other choices can be just as good for those who use them as .40 is for me. Let everyone be convinced in their own mind ... so long as you can shoot straight with <whatever> .

    regards,

    GR

  14. #14
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    9MM

    Going to be shooting up close and personal.

    A hole in the head no matter how big is going to stop the threat. :shock:

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    45ACP

    no matter what anyone says about 9mm, they have in a large number of cases failed to stop someone, they be hyped up on crack or not.

    hardly anyone survives a 45 to the chest for any measurable amount of time, no matter what drugs they are on.

    i've only heard of one case where someone who was stoned walked through two 45s to the chest, but they basically died standing up in about 30 seconds, but still were attacking for those 30 seconds.

    i'd still carry a 9mm because like others have said you can negate "stopping power" with shot placement, but in some situations you might not have the luxury of placing a shot to the dome.

    besides how many BG (in their right mind) want to continue an attacking looking down the barrel of a 45

    ps: i often carry a beretta bobcat 22LR just because its so small, and have owned and carried 9mm, and 40 s&w

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    9mm, because that's all I've got & all I can afford.

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    .45 ACP. Big bullet+good shot placement= End of troubles.
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    All the .45 guys know that that extra 1ft/lbs of muzzle energy makes all the difference. :quirky

    I carry 9mm now andplan to get a5.7x28 next summer. Reason being is that, as already mentioned, it's all about shot placement. The low recoiling 9mm will let me put 2-3 holes in your head while you're still trying to regain a sight picture from the excessive recoil of your .45, with which you missed your first shot because you couldn't afford enough ammo to practice regularly. Move on tothe 5.7 and it's game over because thanks to the near zero recoil, I'll be able to emptyan entire magazine of bullets with the same muzzle energy as a 9mm +pinto a 1" diameter spot before you even squeeze off a single shot.


    Bottle line, it's all about shot placement and follow-up shot placement. The difference between a .45 ACP at 400ft/lbs and a 9mm standard pressure at 380ft/lbs is a joke when you're looking at more like 1,000+ft/lbs for a true one shot stop.

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    AWDstylez wrote:
    All the .45 guys know that that extra 1ft/lbs of muzzle energy makes all the difference. :quirky

    I carry 9mm now andplan to get a5.7x28 next summer. Reason being is that, as already mentioned, it's all about shot placement. The low recoiling 9mm will let me put 2-3 holes in your head while you're still trying to regain a sight picture from the excessive recoil of your .45, with which you missed your first shot because you couldn't afford enough ammo to practice regularly. Move on tothe 5.7 and it's game over because thanks to the near zero recoil, I'll be able to emptyan entire magazine of bullets with the same muzzle energy as a 9mm +pinto a 1" diameter spot before you even squeeze off a single shot.


    Bottle line, it's all about shot placement and follow-up shot placement. The difference between a .45 ACP at 400ft/lbs and a 9mm standard pressure at 380ft/lbs is a joke when you're looking at more like 1,000+ft/lbs for a true one shot stop.
    wow.

    maybe little stick figures can't shoot a 45.

    45ACP does not recoil that much in the hands of a man maybe a woman or a little boy... cough cough....

    its been proven over and over again the 9mm can't do the job like a bigger round.

  20. #20
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    TipsyMcStagger wrote:
    AWDstylez wrote:
    All the .45 guys know that that extra 1ft/lbs of muzzle energy makes all the difference. :quirky

    I carry 9mm now andplan to get a5.7x28 next summer. Reason being is that, as already mentioned, it's all about shot placement. The low recoiling 9mm will let me put 2-3 holes in your head while you're still trying to regain a sight picture from the excessive recoil of your .45, with which you missed your first shot because you couldn't afford enough ammo to practice regularly. Move on tothe 5.7 and it's game over because thanks to the near zero recoil, I'll be able to emptyan entire magazine of bullets with the same muzzle energy as a 9mm +pinto a 1" diameter spot before you even squeeze off a single shot.


    Bottle line, it's all about shot placement and follow-up shot placement. The difference between a .45 ACP at 400ft/lbs and a 9mm standard pressure at 380ft/lbs is a joke when you're looking at more like 1,000+ft/lbs for a true one shot stop.
    wow.

    maybe little stick figures can't shoot a 45.

    45ACP does not recoil that much in the hands of a man maybe a woman or a little boy... cough cough....

    its been proven over and over again the 9mm can't do the job like a bigger round.
    I shoot A 9mm with A 12 rd. mag. and 1 in the pipe,I don't plan to stop shooting till the threat is ELIMINATED.Put enough holes in the BG and they can,t plug them all!

  21. #21
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    mdgary wrote:
    TipsyMcStagger wrote:
    AWDstylez wrote:
    All the .45 guys know that that extra 1ft/lbs of muzzle energy makes all the difference. :quirky

    I carry 9mm now andplan to get a5.7x28 next summer. Reason being is that, as already mentioned, it's all about shot placement. The low recoiling 9mm will let me put 2-3 holes in your head while you're still trying to regain a sight picture from the excessive recoil of your .45, with which you missed your first shot because you couldn't afford enough ammo to practice regularly. Move on tothe 5.7 and it's game over because thanks to the near zero recoil, I'll be able to emptyan entire magazine of bullets with the same muzzle energy as a 9mm +pinto a 1" diameter spot before you even squeeze off a single shot.


    Bottle line, it's all about shot placement and follow-up shot placement. The difference between a .45 ACP at 400ft/lbs and a 9mm standard pressure at 380ft/lbs is a joke when you're looking at more like 1,000+ft/lbs for a true one shot stop.
    wow.

    maybe little stick figures can't shoot a 45.

    45ACP does not recoil that much in the hands of a man maybe a woman or a little boy... cough cough....

    its been proven over and over again the 9mm can't do the job like a bigger round.
    I shoot A 9mm with A 12 rd. mag. and 1 in the pipe,I don't plan to stop shooting till the threat is ELIMINATED.Put enough holes in the BG and they can,t plug them all!
    thats true but you might not be able to get that many off. maybe you'll only get one into the chest

  22. #22
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    TipsyMcStagger wrote:
    mdgary wrote:
    TipsyMcStagger wrote:
    AWDstylez wrote:
    All the .45 guys know that that extra 1ft/lbs of muzzle energy makes all the difference. :quirky

    I carry 9mm now andplan to get a5.7x28 next summer. Reason being is that, as already mentioned, it's all about shot placement. The low recoiling 9mm will let me put 2-3 holes in your head while you're still trying to regain a sight picture from the excessive recoil of your .45, with which you missed your first shot because you couldn't afford enough ammo to practice regularly. Move on tothe 5.7 and it's game over because thanks to the near zero recoil, I'll be able to emptyan entire magazine of bullets with the same muzzle energy as a 9mm +pinto a 1" diameter spot before you even squeeze off a single shot.


    Bottle line, it's all about shot placement and follow-up shot placement. The difference between a .45 ACP at 400ft/lbs and a 9mm standard pressure at 380ft/lbs is a joke when you're looking at more like 1,000+ft/lbs for a true one shot stop.
    wow.

    maybe little stick figures can't shoot a 45.

    45ACP does not recoil that much in the hands of a man maybe a woman or a little boy... cough cough....

    its been proven over and over again the 9mm can't do the job like a bigger round.
    I shoot A 9mm with A 12 rd. mag. and 1 in the pipe,I don't plan to stop shooting till the threat is ELIMINATED.Put enough holes in the BG and they can,t plug them all!
    thats true but you might not be able to get that many off. maybe you'll only get one into the chest
    Well if that's the case I hope it's in the heart.

  23. #23
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    The gun I OC is in .357 magnum. I would also be happy if it had .38s. 9mm and .22lr serve the role but only on rare occasions. (I carried the 9mm when I visited California for example [and other rare occasions], and I carry the .22 on my way to shoot it [and other rare occasions])

    .357 Pro's : Flat shooting, Very Potent. .357 Con's: VeryLoud, expensive, lots of flash.

    .38 Pro's:mild recoil.Still Quite Effective.38 con's: Lower velocity than .357.


    9mm Pro's:mild Recoil, Quite Effective, Relatively Cheap.In semi-autos usually there is a lot of them. 9mm Con's: Hmm...

    .22lr Pro's: Very cheap to practice with, very low recoil. .22lr cons: Rimfire priming is less reliable, not very potent (relatively).



  24. #24
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    I used to favor the 9mm in both x18mm & x19mm flavors, but I've gone over to the .357 Magnum with revolvers. The reason being that no longer are wheelguns limited to 5 or 6-round capacities, while 4" & 5" barrelrevolvers aren't as bulky as they used to be and mass-wise can weigh as little as an older 2/3" snubby.

    I still like the 9mm for the sheer amount of choice in self-defense cartridges,andlarge cartridge capacities are nice too. Having only 5 or 6 rounds in reserve is just asking for a visit from Mr. Murphy.

    And besides the .357 Magnum being my main choice, I've picked up on the 9x23mm Winchester, which approaches the .357 Magnum's power. I can't have a .357 Mag autoloader (unless I win the lottery so I can buy a Mateba), so the 9x23 is the next best thing.

    TipsyMcStagger wrote:
    how many BG (in their right mind) want to continue an attacking looking down the barrel of a 45.
    That is a notion which has no bearing on whether a BG will attack or not, and is a fallacy ascribed to by many without any basis in proven fact. If someone can dig up a cite where a BG admits to retreating because a potential victim's handgun was of a specific caliber, then by all means, that's a big reason to buy a .45.

    But think for a second..... How many BG's in attack-mode will consider "Hey, that's just a .380 (or 9mm, or .38 Special, etc)!"and stillpress their attack when the muzzle of a handgun ispointed at their face; or instead think to themselves "Hey, that's a .45 and not a 9mm! I have alarger chance of dying!", and then run away.

    There's other reasons why the .45ACP is a decent self-defense round,but betting on an attacker being scared away or intimidated by the muzzle-size is ridiculous. The .45ACP vs. 9mm argumenthas been going on for decades and is not likely to go away anytime soon; but as with the 9mm not being perfect or ideal, there's also good reasons why the the .45ACP shouldn't be the 1st or even 2nd choiceas a SD cartridge. The biggest for me is the fact that JHP .45ACPs do not reliably expand, especially when fired from sub 4" barrels.
    This is due to the .45ACP already being a fairly low-velocity round, and when launched from a short barrel they lose even more speed. A 230-grain FMJ fired from a 5" full-sizepistolwill make around 850fps, while the same round fired from a 3"-barreled handgunwill struggle to make 650fps. That's well below the velocity needed to achieve significant & reliable expansion with JHP .45ACPs, which in effect turns them into FMJsthataren't travelling fast enough to upset & tumble.
    Most ammo manufacturers started making +P cartridges to alleviate that, but that raised another couple problems.

    The.45ACP was designed around the big-bullet/slow-velocity concept with fairly low pressure tolerances (around 20,000psi), and the Colt M1911's manstopper reputation was built on the plain-ol' FMJ which begins to tumble within 6-8" of penetration. The more potent +P cartridges are tough on barrels (especially 1911s), and a steady diet of +Ps will substantially erode the handgun's life-span.
    To attain more speed, many .45ACP +P cartridges were made by upping the amount of propellant and reducing bullet weight. The problem with that is penetration, or a lack thereof. A fat bullet lacking enough mass will have a tough time punching through muscle & bone, so even if it does expand, it won't make it far enough to hit vitals.
    In addition, the added power of +P cartridges makes any handgun more difficult to control, which is exacerbated by the handgun being smaller & lighter. That makes follow-up shots harder to place on target under extreme stress.

    Most quality performance 9mm JHPs will normally expand to .50", whichwill beundeniably more effective than a .45ACP JHP which has failed to fully expand or has only partially done so, and is moving so slowly that it won't tumble or have sufficient energy-transfer.

    There are a few modern .45ACP +P cartridges that do exhibit better expansion than most when fired from compact .45 handguns; those are made by Corbon and Hornady, and utilize the Barnes X projectile. But IMHO, compacts in .45ACP are somewhat mediocre carry handguns. To make them more effective, expensive +P ammunition is required if JHPs are to be used, and regular .45 ammo isn't cheap to begin with. And then there's capacity.... most compact .45scarry at most 7 rounds. Some people downplay round capacity, but there's always Murphy's Law to take into account. It's generally not good to be caught short with an empty gun, a wounded & very upset (or multiple) assailants, and no time to reload (or even no extra loaded magazines!). Sure, if a vital organ isn't hit,it may take two 9mm rounds to do the job that one .45ACP can accomplish, but why take the chance?

    Am I saying that 9mm is better than the .45ACP? Not at all. All I'm saying is that the .45 is more reliant on handgun choice than most other calibers. If when choosinga handgunit's ascertained that it needs to be small for concealment purposes; a 9mm, .357SIG, .40S&W, or even 10mm is ideal. If small size isn't critical and a 4/5" barrel won't cause issues, then by all means, go for the .45ACP.


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    AnaxImperator wrote:
    And besides the .357 Magnum being my main choice, I've picked up on the 9x23mm Winchester, which approaches the .357 Magnum's power. I can't have a .357 Mag autoloader (unless I win the lottery so I can buy a Mateba), so the 9x23 is the next best thing.
    Also, the Desert Eagle is made in .357 magnum.

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