What is the best caliber for self defense?

FBI issues the .40 to its agents but, also allows them to use the 9 mm. The .45 ACP, 1911, has been a long time favorite size of round. Also the FBI stated it is not the caliber of the gun but the action of the bullet. The standard distance of shootings is from four feet to 18 feet. The 9 MM bullets have been advancing substantially through the years while the 40 and 45 have less rounds and take more time to require the target after each shot. So, what is your thoughts on this?

2 Likes

Statistically, the .357 magnum puts the most energy into its target while providing outstanding terminal performance. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. With all that “power” comes recoil, muzzle flash, and a deafening report.
So, it depends on the firearm size. Pocket pistols in 9 mm, don’t have a real capacity advantage over a snub nosed revolver. Nor does a single stack 9, have a major capacity advantage over .45. For the capacity advantage to come in, it’s double stacked compacts, or duty sized guns. For me, it’ll be a compact, or single stack in .45. I shoot my .45 well, and, have carried it literally everyday for 5 years. The only exception to that is woods/wilderness hiking, where I may break out the 6 inch .357 revolver.

4 Likes

This old chestnut again?

:roll_eyes:

Simple answer: The one you are carrying…

11 Likes

Well, as I hoped I covered is the fact it is more about the rounds you shoot and how they effect the target when shooting. Being able to hit accurately and affectively to stop the threat is the key importance to the caliber used.

6 Likes

The best caliber for self defence is that which fits current scenario , budget, shooting abilities and comfort.

If I need to defence against human - 9MM works for me.
If one day I find needs to live in Alaska between bears - 10MM will be on my belt.

So far I’ve been training with 9MM and that is my best caliber for self defence.

7 Likes

The best caliber? The one you train with and can consistently put rounds on target.

My CCW friends all belittle me because I rely on 9mm, whereas they swear by the stopping power of a 40 or 45. I shoot 1,500+ rounds a year through my firearm, practicing regularly. They haven’t shot their 40’s in 2 or 3 years. It all comes down to practice and what you can put on target.

12 Likes

9mm all day.

3 Likes

A hollowpoint .45 opens to 1". Can’t beat that.

I think you need to look at the operator and weapon holistically. You need to consider two philosophies. A student who operates a powerful 1 shot 1 stop weapon; vs. a student who can be smooth and hit the bull’s eye every time. Let’s say you have a student who is 6’2, 250 lb male - what would you have him choose under each of these models? Same question for 5’ 90lb female.
There is also a question of psychological comfort - e.g., someone doesn’t trust finicky auto pistols. An operator needs to trust his tools.

4 Likes

The one you shoot the best. Of course, .38 Superb wins hands down for just coolness factor. :grin:

1 Like

A person on crack or heroine will be a lot harder to stop whether you use a 9 MM or .45.

4 Likes

With that in mind shot placement is going higher on the chain than caliber. Center mass, head, hip. Hip being a very

2 Likes

I used to think bigger was better but not anymore. The 9mm has come a long way. You have several gun manufacturers that make nice compact guns with high capacity magazines which are perfect for self defense. I love the 9mm cartridge, its what I carry and swear by. I have shot all different calibers of pistols but the 9mm is what I am comfortable with at this time.

8 Likes

Shoot’em in the :rooster:Even if they are wearing soft body armor, it’s gonna hurt. If they aren’t, getting shot in the pelvic region has all sorts of devastating effects. Immobilized, and bleeding from the carotid artery, is a pretty quick show stopper.

2 Likes

I’d say any caliber bigger than no caliber.

7 Likes

Pick your caliber then train, practice, train, practice and be safe!

6 Likes

Nailed it @Todd30

3 Likes

Put a BB in the eye and they should slow down.

3 Likes

I’ve shot my 17hmr at two 3/4 inch boards with a piece of 16ga cold roll behind it. The 16 ga had a dime size hole in it… tiny will kill.

3 Likes

Tiny has more velocity and will go through the las Angeles phonebook while a 44 magnum will be stopped by the phonebook. The impacts and wound channel will be vastly different.

3 Likes

I think shot placement and ability to acquire target fast are more important.
That said, I carry .45 with 230 JHP every day besides Sunday. Sunday is a 5.7 x 28 with 28 gr. polymer tips.

2 Likes