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Self Defense Calibers

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This kind of reminds me of tire and oil threads on BMW MC forums I used to troll :)

All things being equal and every tool having it's place - what calibers are you comfortable with for self defense?

Granted, what you carry up in Alaska, will be much different that what you carry in South Florida etc.

I guess my question is, and it came up from another thread about 380ACP, would you trust 380 with your self defense in a warmer climate?

Also the comparison of say 38SPECIAL, 380ACP, 9MMMAK, 9MMLUGER etc. would be an interesting topic to discuss for ballistics.

 

38Sp and 380ACP are very close from what I have seen.  But the weight of 148gr to say 95gr... vs speed 800+/-FPS to 1000+/- FPS etc.

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I would use pretty much any caliber I could lay my hands on. Firearms are ranged weapons and anything that dissuades the bad guy from getting close is better than going hands on. Are some more effective than others? Sure. There are very few that are less useful than nothing at all. 

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3 hours ago, Mr.Stu said:

I would use pretty much any caliber I could lay my hands on. Firearms are ranged weapons and anything that dissuades the bad guy from getting close is better than going hands on. Are some more effective than others? Sure. There are very few that are less useful than nothing at all. 

Same here, one one you have is better than the one you want if you don't have it. I carry LCP when the situation makes it hard to carry anything else, which is rare. There are many times I will have the LCP in my pocket when carry a larger gun. I really don't like 380 at all but it is better than nothing.

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For what I do day to day now I not only feel comfortable carrying not only a 380 but also a 32 ACP or 32 S&W Long.  All give "adequate" penetration.  If I'm going into a "more interesting" area I'll carry a 38 special or 9 mm.

This is got nothing to do with concealability.  Concealing a full size service pistol is really not much harder than concealing a smaller gun.  It got to do convenience.

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There is some really good YouTube videos from this guy who did a whole series on .380 testing using all the major brands ect.. it’s pretty in depth. Look up ammo quest .380 and you’ll find it.  At the time the Lehigh defense .380 penetrator ammo was considered the best out there.

 

I have a glock 42. It’s small, light and works OK.

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23 hours ago, USRifle30Cal said:

This kind of reminds me of tire and oil threads on BMW MC forums I used to troll :)

All things being equal and every tool having it's place - what calibers are you comfortable with for self defense?

Granted, what you carry up in Alaska, will be much different that what you carry in South Florida etc.

I guess my question is, and it came up from another thread about 380ACP, would you trust 380 with your self defense in a warmer climate?

Also the comparison of say 38SPECIAL, 380ACP, 9MMMAK, 9MMLUGER etc. would be an interesting topic to discuss for ballistics.

 

38Sp and 380ACP are very close from what I have seen.  But the weight of 148gr to say 95gr... vs speed 800+/-FPS to 1000+/- FPS etc.

In my opinion 38sp, 380, and 9mm are all reasonable calibers to use for home defense.  I think a lot of people have a single pistol in a drawer somewhere (maybe passed down from a relative) that they dust off and shoot at a range once every few years.  If someone can put any of those calibers into the center mass of a bad guy it would be effective.

I personally went with 9mm because I needed my first pistol to wear multiple hats (home defense, sport/competition, carry (potentially), etc) and I felt a full sized 9mm (Glock in my case) was the way to go.  I've since added a revolver in .38 Special/.357 Magnum because I think having a revolver is a good idea, and I have a pistol with .45 acp and 9mm slides that another family member uses for sport/competition.

I have nothing against .380 acp, but for me it doesn't make sense to get one.  There's nothing special the caliber offers that the others don't cover.  We can't carry in NJ, and if we could I'd just get a sub compact 9mm. 

I understand the 'bigger is better" concept that helped to boost the popularity of 10mm, but i think the majority of gun owners would have challenges managing recoil and keeping the "bigger" calibers on target.

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Interesting topic particular to me as a noob to Florida and by default, new to frequent ccw. Knowing for a long time I actually would be residing in FL I made some decisions up in NJ about ccw and what to carry. Over time it became apparent IWB wasn't for me, I suffer from chronic droopy drawers and just could not find a comfort level for it both physically and in my head. On the other hand pocket carry was easy and comfortable- for me. That narrowed down the field of guns and the associated calibers. And the 380 won, specifically The lcp2 loaded with Fiocchi Extremas,. So yes I feel ok with 380 for self defense. Of course I would like a bigger and badder firearm but keeping in mind the biggest self defense mechanism is situational awareness I don't plan on putting myself in a questionable environment but I also don't plan on getting Tboned at tha intersection or getting hit by lightning but shit happens an deal with it, 380 will give me that chance. BTW, there is always a 9mm and ammo stashed in my car/truck as backup should I (hopefully) need to make a hasty evacuation and wonder wtf just happened. And just to ramble on a bit more, there are unintended consequences to pocket ccw. Such as the gun now occupies the pocket my wallet and keys typicalled called home. So they went to my left pocket where my cell phone resided........there is a learning curve not the least of which is remembering or deciding to bring the gun.....or where to keep it when not carrying wether home or traveling to a place that doesn't allow.....these are first world lifestyle adjustments, remember, I spent 62 yrs in Jersey before finding greener pastures.

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I consider .38sp/.380 as the minimum reasonable calibers.

Can you effectively use .22 or .32?  Of course you can, but unless that's all you have why would you when there are better options? 

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so many factors to consider but a 22lr would work and anyone suggesting otherwise isn't fully versed.  'A well placed shot with a 22.r is far more effective than a close miss with anything bigger" is the old adage but again, lots of factors to consider so understand where you'd use that self defense round and the type of scenario.   Personally, I like 9mm but a 357 at home will stop a 230lb aggressor on drugs quite sufficiently.

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Carrying is one thing and at home is another.

As I said earlier smaller guns are more convenient to carry, as long as you can shoot them well.

There is no reason to use anything less than a 38/357 or 9mm for home defense unless a 22, 25, 32, or 380 is all you have.

No matter what caliber you're using you shoot until they stop.  That's the point of SD shooting.

 

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To expand upon the thread - and possibly drive a new direction !

 

Ballistics - do you pay attention to it?

Bullet weight and diameter? - do you pay attention to it?

FPS? - do you chase the dragons tail?

 

Again all this is from the price I saw someone paying for a 50 round box of 380 or around 100bucks....insane.

 

Personally, at home I keep a flashlight and a G19 with Vickers combat sights with 147GR HST rounds and amplified ear muffs by the bed - along with a 12G Mossberg 590

Ear muffs may be overkill - as I hear in a self defense shoot you tend to get auditory exclusion etc.

If we are asleep we hold the high ground - one way up the stairs and my bedroom door face the staircase and given how we keep the pooch upstairs we have a gate at the top landing so she cannot go down...slow folks down a bit...Let them have the house if it is empty down below - come up the stairs we have no where to go and they need to advance through 6 rounds of 00Buck then 7 rounds of slugs...then the handgun, but by then I am sure it is all over.

Downstairs a Remington 870 with the same load out and an M&P 45 with three mags of 230gr GDHP....

 

When I am able to carry, I usually carry either the G26 with the 147's, BHP with the 147's, S&W 4516 w/ 230GDHP's or Model 19 Snubby 9X18 MAK - Smith Snubby - depends on the season and where I am - usually VT.

 

 

 

 

 

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I carry Hornady Critical defense in .380   <-- Two legs in FL

Cor-bon DPX in my 9mm <-- 2 legs in home in NJ

Buffalo Bore hardcast in my .44 and .357. <-- 4 legs in NJ

So, yes, I believe ballistics matter.

That said, there's not a whole ton of difference between the top tier hollow points.  This is not to say there is no difference, there clearly is.

The FBI uses Winchester 9mm PDX1 defender I believe or at least that's what Google says.  They probably have a lot of data to back that up as a good round.

I'm willing to bet those that a CNS miss with that, is probably just about the same as a miss with a Hornday round.    Likewise, a CNS hit is probably about the same.   I don't need that thin razor edge difference  there may be in the best of the best round.

I do need a quality hollow point round though and range ammo just isn't anywhere near good enough that I'm comfortable chambering it as a defense round.

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, RUTGERS95 said:

so many factors to consider but a 22lr would work and anyone suggesting otherwise isn't fully versed.  'A well placed shot with a 22.r is far more effective than a close miss with anything bigger" is the old adage but again, lots of factors to consider so understand where you'd use that self defense round and the type of scenario.   Personally, I like 9mm but a 357 at home will stop a 230lb aggressor on drugs quite sufficiently.

Absolutely.

Bring whatever you have to the fight.  If all you have is a .22 (or if your .22 is all that's within arms reach when you need it!!!) then use it.

I personally wouldn't limit myself to .22 for home defense, but if a bad guy broke in I wouldn't bypass the the .22 and fight empty-handed because I thought my .22 wouldn't be effective.

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Nice thread topic!

I tend to carry a pocket pistol, which usually ends up being 380.  Simple, easy, and no printing!  Recoil handling can be remedied by lots of practice.  On a funny note, I have found that one way to increase comfortably with a 380 pocket pistol, is to first practice with a 9mm pocket pistol.  If you can handle the 9mm, the 380 is a walk in the park!

In addition to calibers and bullet weights, I find myself considering the size of the gun for better accuracy over a longer distance.  A pocket pistol gives me about a 10 yard range.  I do find more security in a larger pistol that can give me a 20 to 25 yard range.  Granted, it has been said many times that the shorter distance is the one that a person is more likely to experience.

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7 hours ago, 124gr9mm said:

I personally wouldn't limit myself to .22 for home defense, but if a bad guy broke in I wouldn't bypass the the .22 and fight empty-handed because I thought my .22 wouldn't be effective.

I agree while .22 is far from an ideal defensive round it far exceeds a pointy stick.

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These discussions of effective defensive calibers are at least as old as the internet, and probably a lot older.  While they are kind of fun to have, they are ultimately pointless.  They remind me of similar discussions on which is better, the Mossberg 500 or the Remington 870.  While my personal choice of ammo for a carry gun in places where I am permitted to do so is Hornady Critical Defense in 9 mm., any caliber is better than none, as others have stated.  I think one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who had been shot with a .22 round who laughed it off, and said, "Is that the best you've got?"

Home defense opens up another whole set of questions:  What's the best weapon platform?  What's the best ammo?  Where and how should they be stored/staged?  And on, and on. 

Then again, if we didn't ponder questions like these on this and similar forums, what would we have to discuss?

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12 hours ago, brucin said:

I agree while .22 is far from an ideal defensive round it far exceeds a pointy stick.

I dunno.   I'd think the pointy stick penetration in ballistic gelatin is only limited by the length of the stick.

:)

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Reagan almost died being shot with a 22.  The DC Metro officer and Brady were one shot stops with the same 22.

I'm not advocating carrying a 22 for a primary SD weapon.  However, I used to tell people during firearms training if they could put a 22 in the eye socket 100% of the time that's all they needed to carry.  But they couldn't, I couldn't so we need to carry something bigger.

Often said but hard to achieve in real life, shot placement is what stops.

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