Smaller Gun, Bigger Caliber

Smaller Gun, Bigger Caliber

This is a discussion on Smaller Gun, Bigger Caliber within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; With the popular migration of CCW owners to small single stack and micro sized pistols, there's an obvious sacrifice of fewer rounds per reload. I've ...

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  1. #1
    Ex Member Array DetChris's Avatar
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    Smaller Gun, Bigger Caliber

    With the popular migration of CCW owners to small single stack and micro sized pistols, there's an obvious sacrifice of fewer rounds per reload.

    I've got a school of thought that the smaller a person goes with their gun and the less rounds available (let's say less than double digits per mag/cylinder), that they should steer away from the lighter hitting .380, .38 special and even 9mm rounds, and start at Least with a .40S&W. Better yet, use .357 magnum or .45 ACP.

    This way you may have fewer rounds but the rounds you have will get the job done.

    This school of thought is one of the reasons I am very reluctant about using my LCP. It has its purposes but it's a last ditch gun. I would never carry it as a primary piece as long as I'm not running around naked!

    Thoughts on this?


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array 357and40's Avatar
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    Love my S&W360 in 357 mag. 5 rds in the weapon, 10 rds in quick strips on my belt-line.

    I never did like smaller calibers for defensive purposes.
    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
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    That's how I went. Walther PPS.40 with 7 rounds on board.
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  4. #4
    Ex Member Array DetChris's Avatar
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    9mm is great if you have a lot of it. That's my principal with carrying my G19 and 26 every day. I like the accuracy of the 9mm round and in a double stack mag it's very formidable but I get nervous when I have less than 10 per mag (like a LC9 would have 7+1 and 7 in a spare mag. That's only 15 total. Even my G26 has 10+1 and 17 on tap in a G17 mag for a more comforting total of 28 rounds. Carrying my G19 around ups me to 33 rounds of 9mm goodness)

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    Ex Member Array DetChris's Avatar
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    One of the reasons I think smaller calibers are not as good in small quantities is their inability to induce hydro static shock like the .40 and above can. At least that's what experts say. For smaller rounds you have to rely on sheer volume of hits or CNS hits to drop an aggressor. 1 or 2 rounds of .40S&W, .45 ACP or .357 mag/sig could hit somewhere on the torso and still shock the system and disable the guy.

    My opinion at least.

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array squid86's Avatar
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    alot of people feel this way, but they always say shoot what you feel most comfortable shooting. whether it be a .380 or a 357 mag, a well placed round will get the job done. if you cant shoot and handle a 357 well then its worthless. not saying you should choose a smaller one, just that you should choose the biggest caliber that fits your needs and that you can handle the best and still conceal.
    Last edited by squid86; May 12th, 2013 at 09:02 AM. Reason: meow
    DetChris, blitzburgh, mrm and 2 others like this.
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    I'm quite proficient with a five shot j-frame in .38.

    Sometimes I carry a CZ 75 Compact with 14 rounds, but most often it's the j-frame.

    The limited capacity in .38 doesn't concern me. It's unlikely I'll ever need to use it, and it's unlikely I'll need more than five rounds, and the .38 standard pressure has been doing the job for decades.

    Do whatever makes you comfortable. Whether I carry five in .38 or someone carries 17+1 should make no difference to you. And if you go micro and think you need a .40 or a .45 minimum, so be it. Just have confidence in what you have.
    Fingerman likes this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DetChris View Post
    One of the reasons I think smaller calibers are not as good in small quantities is their inability to induce hydro static shock like the .40 and above can. At least that's what experts say. For smaller rounds you have to rely on sheer volume of hits or CNS hits to drop an aggressor. 1 or 2 rounds of .40S&W, .45 ACP or .357 mag/sig could hit somewhere on the torso and still shock the system and disable the guy.

    My opinion at least.
    I would not rely on this as a strategy.

    I would instead rely on your own ability to place rounds on target.
    -PEF, a Framer with a Steelie...
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    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

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    While I agree, in general, there is the problem of controllability. Those heavier calibers are usually harder to shoot quickly or accurately without a great deal of practice.

    If you just can't manage to carry a larger framed gun and the smaller guns in higher calibers have too much recoil, then the lower caliber makes sense - even if you have fewer rounds onboard.
    miller_man likes this.
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    I have confidence in any gun I carry, regardless of caliber and round count.
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  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array 5lima30ret's Avatar
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    I agree completely! Thats why I carry a Glock 36 and my smallest CCW is a PF-9 for pocket carry. BTW, I carried my 36 on-duty when I was a Sgt. in the Detective Division. I had to qualify shooting the entire combat course (both day & night) with it. So now that I am retired I have no qualms about CCW with it. JMHO.

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    Member Array dean1818's Avatar
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    I think more and more people are wanting smaller and smaller pistols so that they can pocket carry......

    I went the other direction...... From CM9 to Shield 40

    I have stopped pocket carry completely and just feel IWB is the quickest answer

    The size that I am most concerned with is thickness....
    Tangochuck likes this.
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  13. #13
    Ex Member Array DetChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squid86 View Post
    alot of people feel this way, but they always say shoot what you feel most comfortable shooting. whether it be a .380 or a 357 mag, a well placed round will get the job done. if you cant shoot and handle a 357 well then its worthless. not saying you should choose a smaller one, just that you should choose the biggest caliber that fits your needs and that you can handle the best and still conceal.
    I agree to an extent. I guess I'm asking those thinking about getting a mini 9mm or .380 as a daily carry piece to consider sub compact version of a larger gun (M&P 9ac, XD9sc or G26 for example) instead of a micro pistol. They're less finicky, better with recoil and holds more rounds. The G26, even though on the thick side, hides like a champ. There are not many times when you can only carry a LCP sized weapon. It is a nice backup but not an ideal everyday carry piece.

  14. #14
    Ex Member Array DetChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5lima30ret View Post
    I agree completely! Thats why I carry a Glock 36 and my smallest CCW is a PF-9 for pocket carry. BTW, I carried my 36 on-duty when I was a Sgt. in the Detective Division. I had to qualify shooting the entire combat course (both day & night) with it. So now that I am retired I have no qualms about CCW with it. JMHO.
    I'm tempted to pick up a G36. How does the slimmer slide and handle compare to a G26's? Does it carry more comfortably or hide better?

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    Here we go, another caliber debate...
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