best bullet caliber sizes to use

Bullet Caliber Sizes: What Should I Use?

In CCW Training Basics by Wayne138 Comments

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


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 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.



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.


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;
ModelCalibreHolding CapacityGun Weight
Glock 179mm1732.12 oz
Glock 22.40 S&W1534.42 oz
Glock 21.45 Auto1338.30 oz


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


  1. Heck ya know I jess like to walk a round shootin’ stuff and talkin tuff heh! Urp. I wonder why mommy and daddy look like bro and sis?

  2. I was caught in bed with another woman and my wife shot me with a 45 and it got me in the ass, i had to have half my rectum removed, and it shattered all my ass bones, im filing for divorce this spring.

    1. I love my .40 cal Glock, it’s perfect for my big hands, and I know that what ever I hit. It’s gonna cause damage. I was looking at a .9mm, cause I like the Rueger but I went the the Glock .40.

  3. Ive shot em all and when my neighbors dog wouldnt stop barkin i grabbed my 9 and put one in his dome and his brains went flyin and he dropped, quiet neighborhood now so 9mm works for me and holds alot more than the 45 which i dont see as any better. The 10mm is the woods gun tho, and if you buy your wife a 25 or 380 then you are just wantin her dead so you wont have to keep sneakin around n thats that.

      1. Robert I believe your right, but poison is even worse. I think you may have not fully thought that comment out because the guy is a tool.

      2. I heard a noise one night and opened fire with my 500 magnum, turns out it was a racoon, well it blew him all to shit, but now me n the ol lady are deaf, but we learned sign language tho so all good, it sounded like a burgler, or a Mexican.

      3. Comments on here from people who have not tested size of bullet does not equally stop a attacker, need to do research,like to kill a pig best cal. For that .22 short I’ve tried all cal. and take that fact.

    1. I love my .40 cal Glock, it’s perfect for my big hands, and I know that what ever I hit. It’s gonna cause damage. I was looking at a .9mm, cause I like the Rueger but I went the the Glock .40.
      I would like to believe you’re story but, there’s no way you shot your neighbors dog for barking without any repercussions. Wouldn’t of been easier to poison it. Tucker Carlson.. By the way, how’s Bubba The Lovespunge?

    2. You have no sense of humor. He was kidding you clown. You can’t shoot a neighbors dog even if you were near it.

      1. Y canst you shoot one ur dern naybors dogs? Dat Derek Hollbochman up round the corner from the feed store got em a pack the nastyestest rottys anyones us ever seen! Ise walking wit my youngest two lil Bush and Jackyanne when dem doggun rottys cum at us like bats outta hell! I got no choyse but to draw down on the biggen up frunt n when I let one the 45 hydras loose on em his hole dern head axplosd just like fellar said! Inways it was me an mine or the doggunit rotty! Ole Derek called sherriff which ask a few questins and close the book on it in fact said hed done the same in that siytation.

    3. Really. Not cool. I’m pro gun. But not pro killing dogs because there owners are assholes. Could have been handled better. We can agree to disagree not interested in getting into a dialogue with you.

    4. Someone should show you a little respect and tell your neighbor first or call the police and complain to them instead of taken upon yourself to shoot a defenseless animal. Asshole!.

      1. pat looks like u r a hole u are gulleable u beleive everything u read they put shit out their for u a holes to get mad about best thing mind ur own buisness keep ur mouth shut.

    5. Did that to a cat that kept getting on my damn car.. except .357 sig … fur went flying everywhere lol

    6. So T(f)ucker, by your logic, you can blow a living beings head off because they won’t shut up. Hmm.. Can you stand about 20-25 ft in front of me?

    7. You shouldn’t do the neighbors that way Tuck.
      They deserve to holler At whatever they see as
      a threat in their night time fantasy. Be Cool from now on 🦜

  4. If you’re able to handle recoil, I suggest .357 magnum hollow points (158 gr JHP). Carrying a revolver (especially snub nose 5 shot) has its downsides. You don’t have a lot of ammo capacity but that can be managed if you carry 2 speed strips. I have 17 rounds of .357 magnum on me when I carry. Of course that involves reloading but im confident in my ability with fewer powerful rounds before I find cover and reload. I believe stopping power is a priority.

    1. If you were wishing to look at actual statistics rather than anecdotal information, you would see that a .22lr bullet has killed more attackers or bad guys or whatever you wish to refer to them as. The thought behind this is people actually AIM, with a .22lr rather than just pointing and pulling the trigger. I believe this is because of the lower recoil, and so does the author of the study. I am sure if you look for it you can find, it. It was posted in a magazine about four years ago, under something like most leather carry guns or something like that.
      The cal, doesn’t matter as much as where you hit the person or animal, for all that matters.

      1. Bull! The reason more people, good and bad, are killed with .22s is because the .22 caliber is the most common gun in the world. It is found in most homes where a single or multiple guns are owned and throughout America and the rest of the world it is a caliber of both conenience and availability when need or hot tempers flare and some looks for a gun to use, a.22 is usually most available. More Spouses are shot during marital disputes with.22
        Any person who can plant his feet and take the time, precise aim and steadyness to plant a perfect .22 caliber head shot while an aggresor is slinging 9mm, .40 cal and 357 slugs at his body mass from 10-15 feet is a real man indeed. Most people who survive these encounters is because they had the common sense and fear enough to run like hell and ducking while slinging .22 pot shots over his shoulder. I have seen trained state troopers on TV stop cars and get into gun fight at 10 feet apart, both empty their guns with no hits. I guess they needed a good .22 pistol to make that single head shot between the eyes, with a 17 shot Glock 22 firing back at them. My theory is get the most powerful caliber with the most lethal round that you can physically control for accuracy, and when possible….run like hell or take your best shot…center mass until he either goes down or you do. I’m no hero or smart as…just a 30 year marine vet.

  5. David at 12 years old killed a 480 lb. Man with a frigging sling shot. Practice practice practice.

  6. 1 shot, 1 kill. As a former Infantry squad leader, in the Corps. I did not favor the 9 over the .45. The .45 is cumbersome however, a shot at center mast will produce a fatality. As a civilian, I prefer to carry my .38 Taurus Ultra Light (with Critical Defense rounds). Most altercations with an aggressor, when deadly force is necessary, happen within 6 to 8 feet. No matter your preference, I cannot stress enough the importance of practice. During fight or flight, an average individual’s sensory perception, will be reduced to 18%. Muscle memory will reward your ability to utilize “violence of action,” without the need to utilize your hard sights. Time and distance are of essence, and muscle memory, and familiarity with your firearm will reduce your need to expend unnecessary ammo. As a civilian, I would never carry anything other than a wheel gun, and my five rounds are more than enough to stop any potential threat. Safety with any weapon is of utmost importance, a weapon is not a toy, nor a tool to be brandished. Never point at anything you don’t intend to kill. Stay safe.

    1. As a police officer I was shot in the face on duty during a traffic stop Luckily it was a 22 Short. I retured 15 9mm round at hid moving car
      I CCW a Colt Mustang 380 with Colt installed red dot. I saved myself with training at the Charlotte Police Academy and 730 days in Vietnam

      1. So T(f)ucker, by your logic, you can blow a living beings head off because they won’t shut up. Hmm.. Can you stand about 20-25 ft in front of me?

    2. I agree got the same gun touras TCP 380 with a lazer due to the sights are not that great. Crimson trace for the lazer sight..

    Police statistic that when an officer uses his weapon, he fire’s his first shot at 72% of his accuracy on the gun range. His second shot he fires at a rate of 28% of his accuracy on the gun range.
    As a civilian, you think that you can do better? ^The sound of the blast and the emotions of the situation means only one thing – Try to stop them with your first shot.
    What is the best caliber, bullet that you can control for that first shot to take down the threat? Practice, Practice, Practice. If you have ever been in a situation you wished you had the biggest, badass weapon that you could get your hands on short of a howitzer.

    1. It is true that accuracy falls, but that has to do with a few avoidable human factors, all of which relate to mental conditioning. The typical armed man thinks that, because he is armed and shot a qualifying score, he is ready. I assert that the armed man must constantly run scenarios, so he is ahead of the curve, and not as affected by surprise-induced fear. He must also already have weighed the possibility that his shots may kill. Without that acceptance, there will be a wavering of accuracy, driven by emotion and subconscious aversion. These rehearsals will keep the gunfight in the realm of science, nothing personal.
      It’s like driving: if you stay alert and always consider emergency procedures, you will dodge hazards and not panic with surprise and have an accident.
      The first part of reaction is reflex draw. There is no need to practice fast draw. Every night, I used to do a smooth, slow index draw. I would unload the weapon, and reload with a speed loader, then reholster. In emergency, muscle memory had the weapon drawn and ready before the assailant could aim. These are things that work.

  8. I bought a 9 mil.replacemeant barrel for my 40 smith and wesson m+p to down size for awhile can I use my magazines with 9 ammo?

  9. My contention is that any gun you have is better than the one you wish you had.

    With that being said, I carry a S&W Model 60. First and foremost because I am a huge fan of revolvers. They do what you want them to do, when you want them to do it, and how you want them to do it. Secondly, I am fat and round, so it is much easier to conceal a snub nose revolver than it is my wife’s .45.

    I disagree with your guarantee about stopping anyone with one shot with a .45. I have seen people strung out on drugs who have 2 or 3 .45 caliber slugs in them and the Adrenalin is pumping so fast that they don’t know they are supposed to fall down.

    I do, however, agree with the authors statement about the .357 and .38 being the best caliber size to carry.

  10. I prefer my S&W 9mm I carry it,it’s my baby although I have numerous guns and love them all,I am a believer in being allowed to own guns and defend yourself with them,no matter the circumstances of the attack,an attack is an attack

  11. As an instructor for over 18yrs. I don’t care what cal. you use, if you can’t hit your target your not going to stop the threat & it’s true that a lot of women are afraid of the recoil of big guns! I carry a Keltec PMR-30 & this is something that I haven’t seen discussed on here yet is the .22magnum. My PMR-30 hold 31 rounds of .22mag. ammo & it kicks so little that anyone can shoot it w/ease so shot placement is very easily obtained & if you use Hornady defensive rounds it will penetrate gel almost as far as any .380! Head shots will stop any living thing & will happen very often “If You Train” so anyone can be confident & not afraid that their going to miss b/c of a lot of recoil!!! I use CCI Hollowpoints & Winchester Super X & after abt. 1000 rounds it only stove-piped 4 times which any rimfire will do from time to time, it only weighs 19ounces fully loaded so you can wear it all day (and don’t have to have a heavy belt if you IWB) & just abt. forget it’s there! I’m very pleased w/this full size firearm that feels like it’s a toy when you 1st pick it up, but it’s flat shooting & pretty accurate too!!! Keltec PMR-30 Review

    1. Head shots with a .22? Yeah, if someone is standing there waiting. Most defensive shooting to me is aim for the center of the part you can see….and keep shooting til they’re down.

  12. I carry a Dan Wesson CCO 1911 in .45ACP and I have found that if you take enough time to practice the the heavier 1911 you can attain very good to great accuracy up to 25 yards and have the stopping power to take a 300 Pound assailant off his feet with one shot. I am disabled and need the assurance of the heavier round to ensure that no one get’s close enough to actually touch me. With the 1911 .45ACP I have exactly that. Although it can carry only 7-rounds it stops that 300 pound assailant in their tracks.
    Richard M Allen, B.A. Psychology, The University of Northern Colorado

  13. 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.

    1. 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 mainstream calibers, won’t be found in many gunshops, ammo is more expensive, and only aficiandos like you and I are willing to put up with those shortcomings. New and/or less “gunny” folks are not going to bother with a .38 Super, they can’t be bothered. And that’s okay! It’s not for everyone. Sometimes you just have to suffer quietly and know you’ve got something really cool while everyone else carries and shoots their Same-same 9mms.

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

    1. “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.)

  15. 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 comfortable with the extra recoil. Ideally you want a round that will not exit on a center of mass hit. This is for two reasons. One you don’t want it going down range and killing a neighbor. Two a round that stays releases all its potential energy into the target and thus has better stopping power.
    3. Carry a caliber that allows you to achieve the above.
    Odds are I will never have to use deadly force, but if I am going to carry then it is my duty to be as best prepared as possible.

      1. 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.

      2. The odds are, you won’t have time to aim. Practice while you are sitting. Practice standing. Practice right handed. Practice left handed. Again, you will not have time to take proper stance and control your breathing. Draw and start squeezing. Aim as you go. You probably won’t drop the assailant with one or two. Practice.

  16. 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.

    1. 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!

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

    3. 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.

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

    1. .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.

    2. 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 .40S&W, fading very rapidly on the American scene, I predict the .357SIG will fade as well. Not many (any?) companies are still making .357SIG pistols other than SIG-SAUER, of course. A few major LE departments adopted it, but will they stay for the long haul? The FBI ditched the .40 and went back to the 9mm, which is truly having a renaissance, and like I said, I think with the .40 being dumped by the police like yesterday’s news, and the .357SIG already a niche cartridge at best, can it be long for obsolescence?

    3. .357 sig is a powerful round, but a little outdated. I still have an old 16g shotgun, but in the small city that I live in, ammunition is not on the shelf. Same for. 357sig and 45-100.

  18. 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 rounds all around my target. Less recoil = quicker on-target in any situation I let myself get into.
    This is not combat. Situational awareness and avoidance is part and parcel to any defense.

    1. 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

        1. 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.

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

        3. Not so much better than 30 years ago that it wil have any noticable degree more of stopping power. .22 multiple hits will certainly kill the bad guy, but the problem is that if he’s armed with a 9mm +p or more , returning fire, you probably won’t live to see him die. The Israelly Mossad uses .22 for skulking work. One shot from behind…..behind the ear, then one through the heart, also at point blank. Their gun of choice is the Beretta model 21 w/silencer. However they have said that the .22 cal. is an excellent offensive weapon of choice, but never an acceptable defensive weapon. I read these posts and believe that some are a greater threat to themselves than to any aggressor and some are just plain fantasy or stupid about reality

      1. 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

        1. Here is a FACT for you.
          More people in the USA have died from .22 Lr than any other bullet.
          So laugh if you want to!
          It is real easy to look that up!

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

    2. 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 loud gun noise. So if she has something that she likes to shoot and comfortable with and can hit you center mass, then by all means I would want her to fire 6 times at the bad person. I do not think anyone who is hit 6 times center mass with a 22 hollow point will want to continue, if they still come at her she has 5 more rounds to stop the threat. How many of you want to be shot 6 or a total of 11 times with a 22 hollow point?

      1. 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 properly if forced to. Thanks. And good luck!

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

      2. 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 22 but the 22 is no joke. Its quiet but deadly and this I know. I personally carry a 45 but the 22 will end things and is not to be laughed at.

        1. 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 duty police officer shoot his Glock 17 at a burning barrel and only dent it and then I shot it and went through both sides. So really your ammo is the key

    3. 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 the length of your largest room or longest hallway. I doubt its nowhere near 120 feet long. Also the smaller the caliber bullet, the less penetration you will get out of it. So 1 side of that coin will leave you with 44 fragments of bullets bouncing off everything in the house until it hits something soft enough to lodge into. The other side of that coin is for example a .45 caliber. This bullet is going to punch through multible walls if not every wall in your home. Depending on your home of course. But if you live in a manufactured home. Expect evry round you fire to penetrate every wall in your home including the exterior wall and continue sailing with enough force to kill someone outside. Not to mention whoever else may be in those rooms inside your house. Apartments are the worst! if yo live in a building with small apartments and let a high caliber round fly, you should immediately start praying. because that bullet will be your neighbors worst nightmare. if you didn’t know your neighbors before you fired, you sure as hell will know most of them on your floor down range in the direction you were aiming. With this the case. And yes these are general examples of general scenarios so argue w someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about. I simply don’t have the care to go over the stopping power and mass of each item that might be in everyones home. Might point is factual. Not arguementable. So which caliber is best? That depends on your situation. And your situation will prob change each time you move to another residence. Soooo, and heres where the cry babies can argue with me if you want. I wont see it anyway. 12 ga pump shotgun. One of the most versatile weapons made. There are hundreds of different types of shotgun shells made from hundreds of manufactures. Versatility is the reason its my personal choice. the rounds I use are dictated by my environment. And each has the stopping power to stop anything with 1 shot. 6 months ago I lived in a rural neighborhood. My closest neighbors on each side were about 50 yards away. My round of choice there was number 1 buckshot. One squeeze and you let loose 18 thirty two caliber rouns. I live alone. So having the option to shoot through any 1 of my walls fit me perfectly. And I wouldn’t sail a stray trough my walls and over to my neighbors. Now I have not a single neighbor for a qrtr mile min. My choice is oo Buckshot. 9 thirty six caliber rounds that WILL PENETRATE EVERY WALL and almost everything in my house and continue to fly straight and true. Best of all, for a home invasion, the sound of the CLICKCLACK of a round being chambered is enough to send anyone hauling ass without the glamorized act of killing a mutherfucker. Also, I use a high powered GREEN light that’s turned on by a pressure switch I have attached to my forearm or slide. Green doesn’t completely wipe out your night vision. Anyone caught in the beam is gonna take a second to wonder what the hell is happening. The light paints your target but most of all it allows you to positively identify friend from foe. People, when shitgoes down, its not like the movies. Shit gets REAL. You will prob make a mistake. Just control that adrenaline, focus, identify your target. Take it out with as few rounds as possible (for legal reasons) and ALWAYS be aware of where everyone in your home is at before you even consisder deadly force. Also get to know your weapon. The first time you have to use it should not be the first time you EVER used it. PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOUR DOING! Shoot straight and watch your background. GOOD LUCK!

      1. Well put! Another consideration that coincides with intentional discharge of your chosen deterrent 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?

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

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

    5. 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

    1. 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.

    2. 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 pain you feel when you stub your toe hit your head on a door jamb…

      …or “easy concealment?”

      If you decide to carry a gun, do it because you feel it is worthwhile to keep deadly force on your person in order to respond to the worst moment of your life, should that rare occurrence ever come.
      Don’t do it on a whim, or because it seems like a good idea, or because you can legally do so now. Do it because you wish to take your own personal protection (and that of your loved ones, if applicable) as a personal responsibility. And as a personal responsibility, you have decided that if attacked with deadly force, you are willing and able to respond with deadly force.

      Otherwise, don’t carry.

      If you decide it is the right thing to do, don’t muck about with a pocket .380. If you ever have to use it for real you will wish very badly that you had something with more power, and frankly something that is a lot easier to shoot accurately under STRESS–HORRIBLE STRESS–to shoot accurately and fast.

      I cannot stress accurately enough. We underestimate how badly we will shoot under the stress of DYING or seeing our loved ones attacked. Your skills will deteriorate at least 50%.

      I’ll end with this, do you want to be trying to rip a tiny .380 pocket pistol out of your pants when the worst day of your life is about to start?

  19. 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.

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

      1. 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.

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

      2. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

    3. 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.

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

  20. 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 small sights should NOT be a issue I will NOT take this guys advise to heart.

    1. 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. BTW, as you well know, a 9mm Luger (9X19) is just a shorter .38SPL. When I carry my M9, I use the 125g XTDJ bullets for the slower velocity, reducing the chance of overpenetration.

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

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

  23. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  25. “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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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 considered an act of violence. NO BULLSHIT!

      2. One shot well aimed would be sniper work. Most of the time that ain’t self defense. Always be prepared to squeeze more than once, probably more than twice, whatever the round. If I had a 60cal pistol, which I don’t, I’d squeeze more than one

    1. 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.

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

    1. Author

      Thanks for pointing that out. You are correct and we have updated that reference.

  27. 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.

    1. – 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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).

          1. 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?

    2. 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.

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

    3. 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?

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