best bullet caliber sizes to use

Bullet Caliber Sizes: What Should I Use?

What's The Best Bullet Caliber Sizes To Stop An Attacker?

If you are carrying a handgun for self-defense then anything under .35 caliber is not going to do a good job. Ammo in the .22, .25 and .32 calibers, commonly called “mouse gun” calibers, will not stop most motivated attackers.

The only benefit is that the handguns are lighter to carry.

At the Middle of the scale, we have the .38 calibers which can be difficult to hold when firing and sometimes unreliable.

In my opinion, the best bullet caliber sizes are the .357 Magnum and the .38 Special. Because they are revolvers then the rate of fire can be reduced to some degree. I would avoid the .38 snub nose revolvers due to their small grips and poor sight's.

Next to consider is the 9mm, .40 and .45 which should stop most attackers with a single shot compared to two shots with the lower caliber handguns. These calibers are currently the most popular choices for concealed carry. Next lets look at some of the terminology used around bullet sizes.

Bullet Terminology Explained

Caliber

First of all lets talk about the diameter of a gun barrel which is measured in hundreds or thousandths of an inch.

As an example a .45 handgun has a barrel diameter of 0.45 inches and so will need a .45 bullet caliber  (in metrics 11 mm). The diameters of barrels can also be referred to in metrics such as a 9mm handgun.


Centerfire or Rimfire

Rimfire

Rimfire bullets have the primer built into the rim.The firing pin strikes the primer located in the rim and ignites the propellant powder. They were invented in 1845 by Louis-Nicolas Flobert from France. The most commonly used rimfire caliber is .22 with the main advantage being they require low pressure from the firing pin resulting in light and low cost firearms.

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Centerfire

The name says it all. Centerfire cartridges will have the primer located in the center of the cartridge. They have thicker cartridges than the rimfire and are preferred by the military as the thicker cartridge makes them safer to handle.

Centerfire cartridges are used for most calibers these days apart from the smaller sizes. They can withstand higher pressures due to the thicker cases which in turn gives the bullet a higher velocity.

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The centerfire was invented in 1829 by another frenchman, Clement Pottet. However, the design was not perfected until 1855.

Handgun Capacity

The capacity of a handgun can give you one of the easiest comparisons. The calibre of the handgun is going to determine how much ammo it will hold. With 9mm rounds being smaller than .45 you are going to fit more 9mm into a cartridge than the .45 rounds. Using the table below we can compare the carrying capacities of Glocks;
Model Calibre Holding Capacity Gun Weight
Glock 17 9mm 17 32.12 oz
Glock 22 .40 S&W 15 34.42 oz
Glock 21 .45 Auto 13 38.30 oz

Compromising

The laws of physics dictate that you cannot have a big bullet with high velocity. To achieve high velocity you would need a small bullet. So we are forced to make a compromise.

Most law enforcement have been using the .40 Smith and Wesson from 1990 when the FBI popularized the use of them. This model was chosen by the FBI as it was a compromise. It had more capacity and less recoil than a .45 Model but with more power than a 9mm.

Recently the FBI have changed to the 9mm as they say it is more accurate and faster and of course a better compromise. Other law enforcement agencies will probably follow the FBI's example and it gives you a good example of what to buy. This should not stop you from trying out other options though.

Why The 9mm Is So Popular;

  • Reliable
  • Widely available
  • Holds more ammunition
  • More accurate
  • Good range of ammunition options
  • Lasts longer
  • Affordable ammunition
bullet caliber sizes chart
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The Best Bullet Caliber
UPDATED JANUARY 9, 2020
After testing three new gun belts against our top picks, we’re still confident that the Bullbelt Steel Core is the best you can get.

Your Guide
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After 20 hours of research and actively testing 15 gun belts over 4 months we have decided that the Daltech Force Bullbelt Steel Core is the best gun belt to securely support your holster. It will carry all your tactical gear and holster without any sagging or stretching and looks like a real belt with a top quality finish.

The Best Gun Belt
UPDATED JANUARY 9, 2020
After testing three new gun belts against our top picks, we’re still confident that the Bullbelt Steel Core is the best you can get.

After 20 hours of research and actively testing 15 gun belts over 4 months we have decided that the Daltech Force Bullbelt Steel Core is the best gun belt to securely support your holster. It will carry all your tactical gear and holster without any sagging or stretching and looks like a real belt with a top quality finish.

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The best gun belt and at a great price
You can't go wrong with this belt. Top quality construction and a steel core will keep most CCW carriers very happy for many years.
$64 from Amazon

This is just a well crafted and beautifully finished leather belt that meets all our requirements for a top quality gun belt. It has a steel core, changeable buckle with Chicago screws, bull hide leather and at 15oz weighs less than the Hanks gun belt that we also like, plus it's got a better price. And to top that off the high quality finish means the belt can be worn as a dress belt if required. The only difference between the Bullbelt and the Hanks belt is price and weight and this gave the Daltech Bullbelt the advantage. This belt passed all our tests with flying colors although we did not run a SUV over it as with the Hanks belt below.


The strongest and heaviest belt on the market
This is the thickest, toughest gun belt on the market. You can load it up with everything you need and even run a SUV over it. This belt will not break!
$99 from Amazon

The fact you get a 100 year warranty with this belt should tell you it's not your average belt. The Hanks steel core belt is great if you have a heavy gun and tactical gear, the inner spring steel insert makes all the difference. Running a SUV over the belt will not even cause it to sag or bend, it's just about indestructible and will handle anything you want to mount onto the belt. At 20oz it is the heaviest belt and one of the thickest belts on the market. I found I could wear this belt a bit looser than regular belts which made it considerably more comfortable.


Double leather with double stitching equals one very strong gun belt
This is the best choice in gun belts for those that do not want a steel insert. Once again top quality craftsmanship from Hanks Belts.
$135 from Amazon

For those that want a belt without an insert then this is the one to get. Double leather with double stitching gives this belt a classy look that is wearable anywhere. Without the insert this belt will conform to your body shape once worn in. Handmade in the USA from top quality bridle leather in four different colors. The Hanks Premier gun belt has all the options we expect in a good gun belt, changeable buckle with Chicago screws and both layers of leather wrap around the buckle. At $135 it's more expensive than other belts we have looked at but you get what you pay for and this belt is worth every dollar.

Everything we recommend

Our Pick

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The Best Gun Belt
Top quality construction and a steel core will keep most CCW carriers very happy for many years.
Buying Options

Runner-Up

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The Strongest Belt
This is the thickest, toughest gun belt on the market. You can load this belt up with everything.
Buying Options

Also Great

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Double Leather with Double Stitching
This is the best choice in gun belts for those that do not want a steel insert.
Buying Options

Why you should trust me

I have been a firearms enthusiast and shooter most of my life. I am also a marine veteran and are currently teaching concealed carry courses. I enjoy helping people to learn how to use firearms safely and writing articles on that subject has now become part of my life. Reviews of any equipment are taken very seriously and are updated on a regular basis if any new information becomes available.

How we picked

selection of gun belts

For an earlier version of this guide, we conducted a survey of GunsToCarry readers asking what they wanted from a gun belt. The most-important attributes named were the comfort of the belt (46.9 percent of respondents), secureness of a holster or other items attached to the belt (26.9 percent), and stretching or sagging of the belt over time (12.7 percent).

Once we surveyed the types of gun belts, we combed through sites that post lists and reviews of various gun belts. We also read discussions on reddit and in the forums on other sites, along with Amazon and accessory vendors websites on the 15 contenders we had selected. That's a lot more than we usually do but given the lack of reliable information we decided to err on the side of thoroughness.

How we tested

We carefully inspected each gun belt for any obvious deficiencies, the quality of construction and materials and what type of buckle was used. We then wore each of the most promising ones for weeks at a time with different loads.

Each belt was subjected to light and heavy guns along with all the tactical gear. We tried inside the waistband and outside the waistband holsters on all belts. It quickly became apparent as to which belts were not up to the task and after eliminating those we ended up with six belts that made the final cut.

We then narrowed those six gun belts down to the final three based on price, comfort, warranties, weight, range of options such as color, replaceable buckles and appearance.

Our pick: Bullbelt Steel Core

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The best gun belt and at a great price
You can't go wrong with this belt. Top quality construction and a steel core will keep most CCW carriers very happy for many years.
$64 from Amazon

The Daltech Bullbelt Steel Core can be used with lighter guns and is more suited to general purpose use. But it is still up to handling tactical gear and the heavier guns if you want to throw those on. The steel core will outlast kydex and plastic stiffeners which can break. The thickness of the belt comes in at 1/4 inch.

The fact it weighs less and costs less than the Hanks Steel Core was what edged it to the top ranking.

The quality of the finish is so good it can be used as a dress belt and this is now my main CCW belt I use every day. This belt is a real bargain at the price. Normally a belt of this quality would sell for a much higher price and in fact only a few months ago this same belt was selling for around $85. We are not sure why the price has fallen but suggest you quickly snap one up before the price rises again.

Runner-Up: Hanks Steel Core

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The strongest and heaviest belt on the market
This is the thickest, toughest gun belt on the market. You can load it up with everything you need and even run a SUV over it. This belt will not break!
$99 from Amazon

The Hanks Steel Core is more suited to situations where you want to carry everything in tactical gear and a heavy gun.

Because of the spring steel in the belt it will not conform to your body shape like a regular belt and may take a bit of getting used to. There is also much less flex in the belt so I had to adjust my method for putting the belt on, but I cannot say it was harder to put on, I just had to change my technique. The buckle is attached with Chicago bolts that screw on, these are preferable to the snap on type which can sometimes come undone. Anyway, the buckle can be changed fairly easily if required.

Another thing to consider is that the thickness of the belt may require new clips on some but not all IWB holsters. I only had to change the clips on one of my holsters.

If you look after the belt by applying leather conditioner every now and then it will probably last you a lifetime so it's a good investment. If you want to see how tough this belt is watch the video below.

The belt is available in two colors, black and brown and has a 100 year warranty.

The ultimate test, placing a SUV on top of the Hanks Steel Core belt.
The steel core makes all the difference
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Also great: Hanks Premier CCW Belt

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Double leather with double stitching equals one very strong gun belt
This is the best choice in gun belts for those that do not want a steel insert. Once again top quality craftsmanship from Hanks Belts.
$135 from Amazon

We added in the Hanks Premier CCW belt to cover people who cannot get used to a steel insert belt. Although, personally I find the steel insert belts more comfortable as they don't need to be done up as tight as a regular belt. I have worn other similar belts but over time as they age they can start to stretch and twist. Not this belt though, I have worn it for six months now and it is still a solid support for my gun with no signs of stretching or twisting.  I have noticed that the higher quality leather can scratch a bit more but any scratches can be easily removed by rubbing on some leather conditioner.

From my experience the Hanks Premier will outlast nearly all other non insert belts on the market and is capable of carrying the full range of guns from light to heavy. These gun belts will never split like some cheaper belts will - Made from 100% Full-Grain leather, the Premier can take anything you throw its way and will continue to look great with age. If you have a thinner, cheaper belt, by the time it has worn a bit and started to stretch the Hanks belt will still be going strong. You may spend a bit more now but long term you will be saving money. Always buy quality over lower quality products.

Full Grain leather is the top layer of the hide which is the toughest part, making this belt indestructible. Made out of Double English Bridle Leather this belt is about as elite as they come.

The belt comes in four colors, black, brown, cherrywood and butter and don't forget the 100 year warranty.

Comparing the bullhide and Hanks gun belt.

Why you need a good gun belt

Look at the handgun, belt and holster as part of a system, the weakest link will break the chain. More importantly this system could be needed to save your life some day so failure is unacceptable.

You can have a good gun, good holster, good ammo, and good sights, but without a good foundation to hang all these on you are wasting your time.

To prevent that system from failing the holster needs to be matched to a correct gun belt. If that is not done then the belt will not be rigid enough to give you the best support for the weight of your handgun and will not be comfortable. Although it may sound like a rigid belt around your waist will be uncomfortable they are not and are actually very comfortable to wear.

What to look for in a quality belt

A good gun belt is reinforced with a metal insert and made from double thick leather. Avoid the plastic or kydex inserts as these can break leaving your belt totally useless, always go for a spring steel insert. You will find that with a poorly designed belt that even a good holster will hang outward from the body while constantly shifting its position. So it's important to purchase a good gun belt along with your holster.

This is what we look for in a quality gun belt;

  • Metal insert - plastic and other insert materials don't quite give the same rigidity of spring metal.
  • Chicago bolts - these are a screw on fitting that holds the buckle in place. You will find some belts with snap on fittings. I have found that sometimes these can come undone so I only use belts that have a Chicago bolt.
  • Replaceable buckle - A top quality belt should allow you to replace the buckle.
  • English Bridle leather - is rated as some of the best you can get.
  • Two layers of leather around buckle - If you have a belt made from two layers of leather then you want to make sure both layers go around the buckle. Some belts only have one layer of leather around the buckle which creates a weak spot.
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Getting the correct sized belt

To get the best support you will need to match the holster to the width of the gun belt. Gun belts mostly come in widths of 1¼ - 1¾ inch widths. You will find that holster slots vary in width with some even using belt loops that can be adjusted.

  1. Measuring a well-fitting belt you already own is the best way to determine your belt size.
  2. Lay the belt on a clean, flat surface.
  3. Start the tape measure at the hole you use and measure to the end of the belt, where it meets the buckle.
  4. Belts are measured in inches and you should round to the nearest inch.
  5. If you measure 36 inches, you will want to purchase a size 36 belt.

Conclusion

Most gun belts are fairly similar but there are a few that stand out. You will need to pay a bit more for a top quality gun belt but it is worth it.  I have had many belts over the years bought with the intent of conceal carry. They usually start off doing the job, but slowly over varying times they start to sag, pinch or stretch till I have to replace. So that's why I always go with a steel insert now.

The one exception to the steel insert I would make is the above Hanks Premier belt which with it's two layers of leather is certainly not going to sag or stretch for many years, if ever.

You can find tons of gun belt reviews online but in my opinion they are not giving you the full story

You can find tons of gun belt reviews online but in my opinion they are not giving you the full story. Yes, what they claim is probably true initially but what they do not tell you is that after the belt has worn in for 6 months (time varies) and become nice and supple, guess what is going to happen! This is important so I am going to repeat myself, it's going to start sagging or stretching.

Lets say you thought you got a good deal with a $40 belt, well now you will need to buy another one for a total of $80. So if you find yourself in this situation then the prices of the belts we have recommended suddenly seem like a good deal, and to top that off they will last a lot longer than 6 months, you are looking at 10 years plus with these belts.

There is not much point in having a quality holster if you try to use it on a inferior cheap gun belt. So do yourself a favor and get a top quality belt.

Sources

Pros & Cons

9MM

There are a large number of firearms available that accept the 9mm round. This has become the favorite among self-defense calibers.

Pros

  • It is a good compromise caliber.
  • Ammunition is readily available and most stores stock it.
  • It is sold in a number of options such as FMJ, frangible and hollow point.
  • The caliber has become one of the favorites due to its accuracy, easy control, low recoil and all this in a lightweight handgun

Cons

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40 S&W

Popular among law enforcement agencies and has a good record of stopping attacks.

Pros

  • There is a wide range of handguns made for this caliber.
  • One shot will stop a person in most cases.
  • Large bullet but still fast

Cons

  • Difficult to control for some persons due to its sharp recoil.

.45 ACP

The .45ACP has a good combination of stopping power and accuracy with moderate recoil and low muzzle blast from handguns. The low muzzle velocity gives the bullet a tendency to drop over long range but this is not a problem when used in handguns as they are typically used in close range self defense situations.

Pros

  • Available in most stores for a reasonable price
  • good selection of ammunition options.
  • Guaranteed to stop anyone attacking with one shot.

Cons

  • Requires a larger gun to handle the ammunition
  • Can be slightly harder to conceal.
  • Possibly to much recoil for some in smaller semi-automatics.

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Tyler Kavanaugh
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Tyler Kavanaugh

What about .50

J David
Guest
J David

By no means an expert, but consider a long forgotten cartridge not mentioned here. The 38 Super +p in some brands of ammo has more muzzle energy than the .45 acp. .40 s&w and beats the 9 mm. .38 special and does it with less recoil. The 357 sig. and 357 mag. both beat the 38 super +p but both have more muzzle blast and recoil.

CenterPointe
Guest
CenterPointe

Love my Colt 1911 .38 Super.

Mark Freburg
Guest
Mark Freburg

Check out Buffalo Bore, Double Tap, and other ammo companies. They offer SAAMI standard .38 Super +P that will equal or exceed the .357SIG, especially since the Super can be had in a 5″ barrel, something you’re not going to find available in the .357SIG. I shoot the .38 Super in three pistols, two of them are 5″ 1911s. Full power Super ammo has the velocity and energy of the vaunted .357 Magnum 125gr JHP without anything remotely like the Magnum’s recoil. The downside to the .38 Super is that guns are far less common than the 9mm and other… Read more »

David
Guest
David

Nothing finer than the 45 ACP. It is definitely a cartridge for those who want to stop an assaliant with one shot.

Mark Freburg
Guest
Mark Freburg

“One shot stops” happen, but so does the perfect storm. Counting on one shot stops is a good way to get hurt badly. PRACTICE AND EXPECT to have to keep shooting an assailant until he stops attacking you, and stop thinking in terms of “one shot stops,” folks. A bigger cartridge does not make you into Superman either. (It just makes it a harder gun to shoot for people with less experience or those who don’t practice enough.)

JimR
Guest
JimR

For home self defense keep a shot gun handy aka Hall Sweeper. 1. Handgun first and most importantly is the ability to hit at 15 to 21 feet accurately without using the sights. I practice with my ccw handgun and a laser cartridge. Can’t say how many door knobs, light switches, and other various objects at varying distances I have shot developing the feel. Practice drawing and firing from your carry holster. Don’t aim but develop a feel so the gun hits where you are focused. 2. Carry self defense rounds and do live fire practice with them to be… Read more »

Mark Freburg
Guest
Mark Freburg

“Don’t aim?” I disagree. Aim.

JimR
Guest
JimR

You miss the point! You may not be able to rely on your sights. You are in a low light situation and aren’t able to properly align your sights. Being able to hit a pocket sized area just by feel and focusing on it is indispensable.
It isn’t hard to learn and it helps develop competency with your weapon. I’ve been taught most self defense occurs at the 15 -20 foot range. This technique is for more real life close range situations and is just common sense.

Johnny
Guest
Johnny

Just as a FYI, I work in a large city trauma center. Recently, I very large male (around 320 lbs) was brought into our ER with a GSW. The round was a .380. It penetrated his chest, went through 1 rib, through the lung, through the scapula, and exited cleanly through his back. I was very impressed with the damage that the .380 did. I can’t say anything bad about that caliber anymore.

Duke 1860
Guest
Duke 1860

Well, there you go, after reading many acocount’s of differant peoples and differant cal. hand guns, target picture , and placment, I dont think that you can replace target accusation. End of story. period. Fire a handgun that you can handle, make your rounds go safley downrange, and hit your target many times, body mass, and head shots if you can. I dont know about you, but I dont want a bunch of 98 HP. hornet’s on my butt, much less my head or body!

CenterPointe
Guest
CenterPointe

My Bersa Thunder .380 CC is my favorite CW. Always with me.

Cynthia Arnold
Guest
Cynthia Arnold

I was very impressed with my 380 it was very accurate even when being rapidly fired,it was Russian made

Mark Freburg
Guest
Mark Freburg

Through and through penetration is a bullet that didn’t do what it should have done, which is penetrate then expand, and stop in the body.

Yerffej
Guest
Yerffej

There is a lot of information in these article paragraphs that is just not true!! The bestest and safest thing to do is to go to a training class, or classes. Live fire training classes. It was mentioned above that the “smaller calibers” are not good ammo / calibers, because they will not stop an attacker. A motivated attacker if memory serves me?. That is not necessarily the case. There are many variables in play in any & every attack situation. I’ve done a pretty fair amount of shooting up until the present day. I have seen some truly bizzare… Read more »

Mark Freburg
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Mark Freburg

You made some excellent comments. there are a few mistakes in the blogger’s comments.

Victor Persinger
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Victor Persinger

Any one have any thoughts where a .357sig fits in these categories?

William Parson
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William Parson

.357 sig is an auto loading round designed to replicate the ballistics of .357mag. it is typically fired from the same frame gun as a 40 S&W and usually only requires a barrel change on .40 to make it a .357 sig.

Barcroft
Guest
Barcroft

U.S. Air Marshall caliber of choice.

Mark Freburg
Guest
Mark Freburg

The .357SIG is not very popular, and mainly a niche round today. It is an expensive round to shoot, both practice and carry ammo. It was hyped to mimic the .357 Magnum but it falls at least 100fps short of achieving true equality with the .357 Magnum. It tends to have recoil that some feel is sharp and it has a loud blast. People don’t like shooting it in the main. Reloaders who attempt to save money don’t like it because it uses a bottlenecked case, which complicates the reloading process–every case must be lubricated. With its parent round, the… Read more »

John Tilo
Guest
John Tilo

Bullet caliber sizes are very important because every bullet have different nature when a person fires a bullet then due to its recoil and pressure he will also miss his target but if the will using its own caliber like i am using 9mm then they won’t miss. So its and ideal approach to select the caliber wisely but many people don’t focus on these aspects. I have found an interesting article for you https://www.virginiaccwonline.com/best-caliber-self-defense/

Cary Weather
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Cary Weather

A Deputy Sheriff told me early on in my quest to get my CCW, that a hole in a body is a hole in the body and that once you kill someone, you will always be a killer. I have zero patience for the machos who utter garbage about killing a bad guy dead. With my .22, I have 11 chances to hit my attacker and with segmented rounds, that makes the potential for 44 holes in the bad guy, that is if I’m not shaking like a leaf when it comes time to defend myself and blowing high velocity… Read more »

Rick T
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Rick T

You need to learn from history. Over 30+ years ago a farmer in Arkansas shot a home invader 17 times with a 22 rifle (mostly hits to the torso). The invader subsequently stabbed the farmer to death and his wife to death before running 1/4 of mile before the invader died from blood loss. Yes the farmer had “killed” the invader, but he certainly didn’t stop him. You want to stop someone or kill them. BIG DIFFERENCE

Agonis Payne
Guest
Agonis Payne

Some history lesson. 17 hits with none to the head… He literally would have done better swinging the rifle like a bat, ’cause shooting it wasn’t his thing. If he hit his attacker 17 times, then some of those initial shots slowed the guy down, enough to start placing/landing headshots, especially with a rifle he apparently had good recoil control over. This article implies the evaluation of the best weapons to use in a situation of minimal advantage. This is NOT the situation you describe above. He and his wife paid for his lack of adequate competency with his rifle.… Read more »

Gino Rodeghiero
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Gino Rodeghiero

Todays Ammo is better than the ammo 30 years ago.

Elijah Browning
Guest
Elijah Browning

Even if we were somehow using more powder per bullet, .22 is not going to stop a charging man unless you’re a very good shot under pressure. Most aren’t.

Cynthia Arnold
Guest
Cynthia Arnold

The difference in ammo does not improve a persons aim,lol

Cynthia Arnold
Guest
Cynthia Arnold

Lol,so very true,although not really a laughing matter that’s what I feel like doing when people tell me to use a 22

jason biggs
Guest
jason biggs

their has been a lot of deer taken with a well placed .22 shot in apalachia

Cynthia Arnold
Guest
Cynthia Arnold

Deer don’t shoot back or try to stab you to death

nick
Guest
nick

Bought my wife a Browing 1911 22 caliber. She wanted something to shoot that was not loud or have a kick. She loves it and will hit you center mass at 21 feet, which is the closest I told her to let anyone get to her in a situation. I know several people who say it will not stop the intruder. Well if she had something larger like my 9 or 45 she will not want to fire it because of the recoil and will probably not hit the bad person and no one has ever been killed by a… Read more »

michael
Guest
michael

This is a guy that thinks before he acts! Im glad you told this story. The most deadly weapon in the world is any weapon in the hands of someone who is afraid to use it properly, doesn’t know how to use it properly, or thinks they know how to use it properly. You were wise with your choice sir. And with some time spent getting to know the firearm, I would bet that will have all the confidence to upgrade to something more powerfull. But whats important is the person holding the firearm be comfortable enough to use it… Read more »

Cynthia Arnold
Guest
Cynthia Arnold

I agree Michael if a person is afraid of kick or noise they should not be shooting any weapon

Christopher Tyler
Guest
Christopher Tyler

Nobody does. I had a friend that I can recall laughing about another friend of ours for carrying a 22. Ruger. He was a hell of a man in size and strenghth. Buit that way naturally and just a big ol county boy by birth. Ironically he was shot with a 22 a couple of years later and died. He was a fine man but the point being it went in his abdomun and ricocheted. If I had to take my chances of being shot with a 22 and a 9mm or bigger sure I’d take my chances with the… Read more »

Jr c
Guest
Jr c

Sorry about your friend but my Dad spent most of my childhood in the army and was in Vietnam and he carried a high standard .22 as a civilian and he always told me the caliber is not as important as shot placement. He grew up a country boy and admitted he shot more deer with a .22 than anything else. I know that a .45 is a man stopper but there are acceptions with anything and the type of ammo is more important than the caliber. I use handloads and in my Glock 17 and I watched a off… Read more »

Michael
Guest
Michael

Actually you are much more likely to have 44 pieces of bullets ricochet off everything half ass solid in your home leaving everybody shot, including yourself and other innocent people that you may be attempting to protect. Home defense weapon of choice should be chosen VERY CAREFULLY. And there are a handful of factors that EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW AND ADHERE TO. Everybodys situation is unique, but certain factors are universal. Your ammunition must be dictated firstly by the environment which you are likely to use the firearm. Got a pistal for home defense that’s accurate at 40 yards huh? Whats… Read more »

Hogbreath55
Guest
Hogbreath55

Well put! Another consideration that coincides with intentional discharge of your chosen deterrent ..as stated previously, situational awareness is paramount, as you will now have lost one of your 5 senses–your hearing. Trying emptying a magazine in your hallway and then tell me you or anyone in your home you are trying to defend can hear you, or will you be able to hear invader movement. Take extreme care after you have drilled the intruder, is the next movement you see hostile of friendly?

Cynthia Arnold
Guest
Cynthia Arnold

Luckily I only have2 friendlies in my house and if the movement isn’t him then it isn’t friendly

JackA
Guest
JackA

Interesting point that deputy sheriff made. Of course, we can only pass judgment on those based on their actions, so from that person’s perspective you only become a killer upon actually having killed someone. Respectfully, I disagree in that it’s not the action that makes someone a killer; it’s the will. Some people don’t have it in them to take a human life willfully and in full knowledge of their actions. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Some would go so far to avoid taking a life as to allow their own lives to be endangered. If there were more… Read more »

Cynthia Arnold
Guest
Cynthia Arnold

Lol,I hope I never have to kill anyone and I hope I never find myself in the position of kill or be killed cause I sure don’t want to be killed by some maniac and I totally agree with you,the best weapon is the one you practice with the most and the most familiar with

Mark Freburg
Guest
Mark Freburg

You’re even more wordy than I usually am. 😉 …but good comments. I would say that choosing the caliber you’re most proficient with is fine, but don’t use that as an excuse to choose a puny cartridge. Choose something useful like a 9mm (minimum, and GET PROFICIENT with THAT.

P. Mills
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P. Mills

USAF SAMTU/CATM Weapons Instructor 13 years. High Standard .22 Supermatic Trophy is my home defense weapon. Practice makes perfect. Plus at my advanced age, I’m still an aggressive home defender if the situation presents . Range time while active shooting, dodging, hiding, reloading etc… makes ” You ” control any home invasion on your terms. Range Practicing, by placing multiple rapid fire head shots on paper at 15 yards using ” Natural Point of Aim ” places you into this control zone thus building confidence. Home invasion is more like 10 -25 feet, so : You Got This ! Our… Read more »

DAVID
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DAVID

Speaking of combat…..there’s a reason the M16 uses a 5.56mm round. It’s all about velocity and most important, shot placement.

Cynthia Arnold
Guest
Cynthia Arnold

And also if you don’t miss while you are shaking like a leaf,my husband always tries to pawn a .22 cal on me,I won’t here of it,although I do have a .22 rifle if I have to defend myself I believe I will reach for one of my 9mm or my AK47 I might can live with that

Geoff Miller
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Geoff Miller

Contrary to some blogs; I am considered to be somewhat of a firearms expert as I have taught rifle marksmanship to well over a thousand law enforcement personnel, have fired over 1,600,000 rounds myself, was considered by many to be the best Gun Builder in the world for about 20 years as owner of the JOHN RIGBY company. Having said all that, I can say with some degree of surety that reliability has absolutely nothing to do with caliber for one…….Revolvers are MORE reliable than semi automatics generally . Bullet placement is key PERIOD! Bigger is generally better. Automatics are… Read more »

Justin Dudenhefer
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Justin Dudenhefer

This is solid advice you should highly consider. There is a reason that the revolver has been around for 150+ years and the .38 Special has been stopping bad guys for 100+ years.

Rick T
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Rick T

Bow and arrows have been stopping bad guys for many more centuries than 38 specials. Maybe you’d prefer them 🙂

Cynthia Arnold
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Cynthia Arnold

LMAO,all I can say to this,cause it’s true

michael
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michael

Revolver equals less moving parts. Which definitely means less potential for something to malfunction. Easier to use too then semi. You would be amazed how easy it is to loose your bearings when shit gets real and you are suddenly without warning forced into a deadly situation. Anything you can do to lessen your chances of making a mistake will increase also help ease your mind. Because even a fraction of a second can be the difference between living, spending life in prison, hurting the people your trying to protect or making a clean shot and receiving a handshake from… Read more »

Mark Freburg
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Mark Freburg

When is the last time you opened up the inside of a revolver and counted the moving parts?

Elizabeth Hessler
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Elizabeth Hessler

I’d love to know your opinion of the incident where the police officer (just convicted of 2nd degree murder?) 4 years ago shot the teenager who was brandishing a 4″ blade knife, 16 times with his official weapon?

Cynthia Arnold
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Cynthia Arnold

A knife can kill you just as quick as a gun,ask the Indians

Cynthia Arnold
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Cynthia Arnold

Or even better ask General George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Calvary

Mark Freburg
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Mark Freburg

The Indians had Winchester repeating rifles, the 7th Cavalry only had single shot rifles. Thought you should know.

Mark Freburg
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Mark Freburg

I have seen and experienced revolvers fail, if you haven’t you haven’t been around long enough. Ejector rods bend, ejector rods come unscrewed (S&W reversed thread direction to prevent this, eventually), most often, crud gets under the extractor and jams the cylinder tightly in the frame and trigger binds. Sometimes the revolver binds due to out-of-spec ammo, or bullets which jump forward during recoil and will not clear the forcing cone as the cylinder attempts to turn. Clearly you have a revolver prejudice, and that’s fine if that is your preference, but it doesn’t follow that you should try to… Read more »

Dennis E Meola
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Dennis E Meola

What about using a .380 for easy concilment?

Dennis A Tate
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Dennis A Tate

I personally carry my .380 as a backup carry weapon, although I have no issue as a primary one, either. The ballistics are close to a 9mm Luger, just a less charge due to the 2mm shorter case length (9X19 vs 9X17). My particular .380 carries 7 in the magazine, plus 1 “in the pipe,” i.e., a round already in the chamber. Also, it is a DA (Double Action) only. If push came to shove and you have only that one weapon, by all means, carry it.

Mark Freburg
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Mark Freburg

“Close” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. The .380 doesn’t stack up well at all to the 9mm. Only .380 apologists are trying to get the world to believe that. Consider this, the vast majority of uniformed police in the USA are issued 9mms for duty. NONE are issued .380s for duty. If they were really that close, might you not expect a few would issue 380s? Maybe for the smaller male or female officers? They don’t. they know they are going out on patrol against thugs and criminals and they are thusly armed with weapons that have a… Read more »

Mark Freburg
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Mark Freburg

Which is more important, the ability to respond to a deadly attack with a gun that you can shoot easily, using sights you can see, a trigger that you can manipulate properly, a gun which fills your hand in order to contribute to repeat, accurate shots as long as you need to shoot, firing a cartridge that has the ability to stop an attacker with several shots–even a six and a half foot tall drug addict out of his mind on drugs who only sees you as an impediment to his next score, and who will not feel the same… Read more »

JSH
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JSH

First of all, .22 is NOT useless for self-defense. It’s not as effective as 9MM; but it WILL stop a person if you hit them right. Second, no caliber not even the .45 is guaranteed to stop an attacker with one shot.

Hugh Jorgen
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Hugh Jorgen

I would bet my entire nutsack (which is not much) that just one .50 AE will stop ANY (human) attacker…

Cole Engle
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Cole Engle

One 325 grain hollow point, 50AE, with half inch well’s can just about rip a criminal in half.
But, it can cause lateral damage to by standers, if you have to explode em, place the metallic slug in center mass, ribs, Sternum, where you get effective kill and hopefully your skill won’t frag stand bye’s.

Cole Engle
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Cole Engle

Raging Bull,. by Taurus, nice 360 grain, you drop a bad situation, .375 H&H Magnum can drop a Kodiak Grizzly, 1 shot through lungs, but he is 900 pounds of terror…..if it’s defensive, be objective about placement. Long Colt 255 grain, good mountain revolver, I was chased by pack of timber wolves in Wasatch,U T and WY mountains, I survived thankfully on the north rim trail, you never stop to fight 250 pounds of fangs and cunning, I free climbed cliffs, they they were, rock slides, still found me, lucky after a 9,800 ft., decent I got away from there… Read more »

Cynthia Arnold
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Cynthia Arnold

Glad you did not have to shoot at them,people are one thing but nature is an altogether different ballgame

Cynthia Arnold
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Cynthia Arnold

Lol

Dennis A Tate
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Dennis A Tate

That’s just overkill. I’ve also seen one smartass at the range fire just ONE round from a Smith @ Wesson with a 12 inch barrel. It’s as close to heavy artillery from a handgun as any, replacing the .44 Magnum for the intended purpose of killing big game up close.

Cynthia Arnold
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Cynthia Arnold

LMAO

Dennis A Tate
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Dennis A Tate

If you get that perfect shot placement, at the close enough range, it can still kill. And that round is a surgeon’s nightmare, considering it will tumble and worm it’s way thru the human body.

Christopher Tyler
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Christopher Tyler

Very true and I knew a good man that is longer here because of this very thing happening. One shot in the abdomen and it was over. He was much bigger than the average man too but it didnt make a difference. There was an altercation with another guy that was obviously intimidated and that was all she wrote.

Elijah Browning
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Elijah Browning

The operative term here is “if you hit them right”.
Are you willing to gamble on your being just as accurate in a tense situation as you would be plinking with a .22? Or maybe you should just get a caliber with an actually decent chance of stopping them.

Cynthia Arnold
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Cynthia Arnold

I agree with that100%

ctyler
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ctyler

True

Cynthia Arnold
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Cynthia Arnold

That’s true but I would rather have one of those than a .22

Mark D. Aul professional Gunsmith
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Mark D. Aul professional Gunsmith

I strongly disagree with the author’s negetive review on the 38spl it was the duty caliber for over a century but he highly praises the 9mm i am a professional Gunsmith if you put a pair of calipers to a 9MM it will measure inner bore to inner bore will be .355 where a 38spl is .357 ” a 9MM is basically a European 3 special! He says he does NOT recommend a 38 revolver or snub nose for defense what does he expects the snub nose is designed for close quarters and not long range soo the sights and… Read more »

Dennis A Tate
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Dennis A Tate

I totally agree with you. I am not a gunsmith, but being retired military and have carried anything from the old issue Browning M1911A1s, .38 Special S&W service revolvers and the M9 as my issued sidearms on my watches (BTW I own an M9 myself), 12 ga shotguns and fired that MaDeuce (MA2), I think I am qualified enough to say the author is one of those “macho” guys who thinsk bigger is better. Trust me, I fired my wife’s .357 Taurus snubnose AND her .38 SPL snubnose, belive me it will get the job done if needed, no problem.… Read more »

adam ghost
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adam ghost

good info , i will just stick to somewhere in the middle , my .40 caliber glock 23 suits me just fine

Dego Chaney
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Dego Chaney

Get another Gun!

Ben
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Ben

A great comparison would be of the size ammo that is around 9mm, or .38, there are a wide variety at this size.

Rick R.
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Rick R.

Ballistically, the larger caliber ammo does not expend all of its energy in flight like the faster ammo. Secondly, the larger frame on the M1911 model .45 keeps the muzzle jump down better than the lighter frames like the 9mm.

Jeremy B.
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Jeremy B.

Ummm… what? Are you saying that .45 ACP has more energy down range than 5.56mm?

Rick, what happens when you put a 9mm in a 1911 frame? Yes, those exist. But more to your point, Even the weight of the 1911 isn’t enough to make it a better option for quick follow up shots. Take a look at action pistol shooting competitions. 9mm is favored unless it is given a points penalty or forbidden from a category.

Rick T
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Rick T

In action shooting nobody is shooting back.

MrZ
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MrZ

got tired of all the noises and fast talking in the video and moved on…..

Luke
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Luke

“45 guaranteed to stop in one hit” The 45 has low velocity and only a little higher energy. Also requires bigger guns and results in less capacity. Shot placement is the end-all. With more rounds you are more likely to hit something important.

Rick R.
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Rick R.

If you hit your target, you don’t neen more bullets.

Jeremy B.
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Jeremy B.

Real life doesn’t agree with you. It often takes multiple hits (of any caliber) to incapacitate the aggressor. So says the FBI and many other LEOs.

michael
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michael

Maybe you should ask your FBI friends exactly how many times you can shoot someone and claim self defense. In my state of Arkansas, definatley a pro gun state, you can use deadly force if you are protecting yourself, your loved ones, and/or your property from harm. But you squeeze that trigger more than 3 times and guess what, you will be the one facing a jury. A friend of mine got manslaughter and served 8 years in prison because he fired a shotgun twice. The reason the charges stuck…the first shot immobilized the intruder and the second shot was… Read more »

jason biggs
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jason biggs

its all about the man behind the trigger my .45 is very accurate if I practice regularly I am too. and the new defense rounds are pushing close to 1659 f.p.s.

gary
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gary

What is a ‘380 special? Think you meant .38 special,and neglected to reference the .380 ACP at all.

Harry Rainey
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Harry Rainey

Military soldiers prefer the .45 ACP over the 9mm. When one shot usually stops a drugged up terrorist and multiple hits with a 9mm. Military not allowed to use JHP while the enemy does. The Geneva Convention needs to be updated, its old school.

Jeremy B.
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Jeremy B.

– It’s actually the Hague Convention that dealt with ammunition. And the US was not a signatory to that portion. And even if we were a signatory it would only be binding in conflicts with other signatories.

– As a military veteran, I do NOT prefer the .45 ACP over the 9mm.

Mitch Slot
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Mitch Slot

As a military veteran, I definitely prefer .45 ACP for close combat. I’m a good enough shot that I know if I hit the enemy in the vitals; I will destroy my opponent with that one well placed round. For stopping power there is no comparison. I was in the USMC in the early to mid 80’s, just as they were phasing in the Baretta 9’s. For me at least…..I would rather have 7 rounds in old slab sides (my issued M1911) than double that in the Baretta. Guess everybody is wired differently, eh.

Dennis A Tate
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Dennis A Tate

As a retired Navy member, I qualified on both and yes, the “Gunies” training and scoring me told me I should try to be a sniper. Like anyone who serves or served, you make do with what you got. I have no preference myself, but for comfort out in the “real world”, I like my personal .45 is lighter and is a CZ75 clone both for simplicity, weight and easier to conceal than my own personal M9 (which I love to shoot, but hard to carry concealed unless it’s in shoulder rig).

Bob
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Bob

45…. well….. you should check out the 357 Sig specs. Faster, more foot pounds of energy, smaller, lighter & car door & windshield tested & approved.
What’s not to like?

Doc (FF)
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Doc (FF)

In your opinion.

I have a .45 Expert Rating (USMC). I was happy when they gave me the M9 (Barretta 92). 15+1 and less recoil – more rounds in critical mass at a quicker rate.

Just my opinion.

Dennis A Tate
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Dennis A Tate

I love mine, but now back in the effed up real world, it’s hard to carry concealed comfortably, unless in a shoulder rig.

Dennis A Tate
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Dennis A Tate

Not to mention 115g FMJs for the 9mm is a light bullet compared to the 230g .45ACP. Twice the weight of the projectile with close to double the energy. What’s going to hit more powefully?