My take on the most beat up question in CCW

This is a discussion on My take on the most beat up question in CCW within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; From my blog . Please feel free to suggest changes. There is one argument that never ceases to poke it's head in the world of ...

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Thread: My take on the most beat up question in CCW

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    Member Array laguna0seca's Avatar
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    My take on the most beat up question in CCW

    From my blog. Please feel free to suggest changes.

    There is one argument that never ceases to poke it's head in the world of concealed carry: which caliber is best?

    While there are more opinions on this than almost any other aspect of firearms, I view the theory that there is an "ultimate caliber" or "best caliber" as largely irrelevant. I prefer to think in terms of most effective.

    My general rule is: Carry the most effective firearm possible.

    If I could walk around with an assault rifle slung across my back and a Ma Deuce in the trunk of my car "just in case" I probably would. However, that's not socially acceptable. (And frankly carrying a rifle everywhere gets old very quickly.) So for most of us that means carrying a handgun. We are then left to determine, which handgun is most effective.

    Many will try to make the argument that the largest caliber you can carry is the most effective, however this analysis is short sided. While the .45 ACP is a larger, more powerful round than a 9mm, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is more effective. When you choose a handgun you have to consider more than just the ballistics of the calibers in question. A .45 will have better stopping power than a 9mm, but you have fewer rounds at your disposal. In any kind of life or death engagement, you are going to go to slide lock a lot quicker than you think. So, which is more effective? Well... stopping power and capacity aren't the only elements to consider.

    What about accuracy?
    Accuracy of a round depends on a lot of factors. While a .40 will fly flatter and faster than a 9mm, and therefore have less bullet drop at longer distances, most self defense shootings occur at ranges inside 7yds. So the accuracy of the round doesn't matter as much. What matters with accuracy is how well you can shoot that caliber in a specific firearm. The simple truth is that placement will trump power every time. If you can't shoot a .45 accurately, you shouldn't be carrying a .45. The same logic goes for 9mm. Recoil recovery comes into play when you are making follow up shots, and logically it is going to take someone longer to make an accurate follow up shot with a larger caliber handgun. In addition, not all 9mm firearms shoot the same. Not everyone will be accurate with the same firearm. For example, the trigger pull on a Smith and Wesson 637 has a relatively long smooth trigger pull, which I find rather easy to shoot well. However, if you are a woman, or a girly-man, with dainty hands, you may find the double action trigger pull is too heavy for you to shoot accurately.

    You also need to consider what gun is most comfortable to carry on a daily basis. While John had a post a while ago about how none are really that comfortable, some are definitely easier to carry than others. And you, like me, might end up changing your carry gun to fit what you are wearing.

    In conclusion, most effective doesn't really mean caliber. It is more about the total package, not just of the firearm, but of you employing that firearm.
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    Distinguished Member Array old grunt's Avatar
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    I like your logic. I think the caliber "controversy" sells alot of gun magazines, but in the end the gun you carry must meet more requirements than caliber alone. I carry 9mm's (Glock 26 mostly)and 45 ACP's(Colt OM). What they have in common,other than being semiauto pistols, is they are more compact versions of their parent platforms. So I do make an allowance for comfort,clothing, time of year etc. with my choice of EDC. Excellent post.
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    Distinguished Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    Another point to consider is carrying in consideration of circumstances. My city has very safe, very upscale areas and parts of town where you'd almost need a police escort after dark. The downtown area at night can be dicey. The beaches area gets especially wild on weekend evenings. My district, according to the crime maps put out by the sheriff's dept, has about the lowest crime rate in the city.

    So. If I'm just doing business locally, especially during the daytime, a snubbie with .357 balances strong firepower with ease of carry. If I'm venturing out into a more dangerous area, I'll want the auto with 18 rounds of 9mm onboard as the chances of multiple assailants is greater. This is just a reflection of the variety of environments I deal with.
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    The 9mm toters are the folks most fond of saying that caliber or cartridge doesn't matter. Perhaps the 9mm crowd is the most intelligent and enlightened. I'm still in the dark ages and pack a .38 Special most of the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by laguna0seca View Post
    In conclusion, most effective doesn't really mean caliber. It is more about the total package, not just of the firearm, but of you employing that firearm.
    Yup, but that doesn't change the fact that you still have to pick a caliber when you buy a new gun.

    When you have multiple options of different calibers that all work well for a person, then comes the question of caliber. They clearly aren't equal. You might argue that the difference is marginal, but even so nobody wants the caliber that is "marginally worse."
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    I tend to agree. It is what each individual person is most effective with considering all factors of a given circumstance. It may not be the same caliber or platform for different people, or maybe not the same for the same person in different situations. I like my 1911, but I stink at shooting it. I shoot my snubnosed revolvers very well. I feel I'm more effective with 5 shots of .357 that I can consistently hit something with than 9 shots of .45 that I can't.
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    Member Array laguna0seca's Avatar
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    I'm not trying to say that caliber doesn't matter, it does, and if you can shoot a larger caliber as accurately as a smaller caliber and don't mind sacrificing the rounds, then you should go with the higher caliber round. But if you can't, then what good does a more powerful round do if all that energy is going into the car or wall behind a BG than your assailant.

    From some of the responses, it seems that I may have come off advocating a smaller round. That wasn't my intention.
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    Quote Originally Posted by laguna0seca View Post
    The same logic goes for 9mm. Recoil recovery comes into play when you are making follow up shots, and logically it is going to take someone longer to make an accurate follow up shot with a larger caliber handgun.
    This statement is true only if all other variables are the same for each caliber - which they are generally not. For instance, my 5" steel 1911 recoils less and is back on target quicker than when I shoot my friend's scandium .38. I suspect that the same will be true for some of the small 9mms that are coming out - time will tell. There is more than just caliber in the recoil recovery equation.
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    Senior Member Array Herknav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laguna0seca View Post
    However, if you are a woman, or a girly-man, with dainty hands, you may find the double action trigger pull is too heavy for you to shoot accurately.
    I would ditch the "girly-man" and the "dainty." If you are trying to win folks over with logic and reason, name-calling would seem to run counter to your purpose.
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    Ex Member Array Kerby's Avatar
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    My thoughts on carry, myself and my dad, and my 4 best friends all carry; none of us carry the same gun or caliber; after years of application including 20 years of military service My personal thinking on what to carry comes down to two factors;
    1. The best gun to carry is the one you have.
    2. If you have a choice ask if you knew for a fact you were going to be in a handgun fight this week what gun do you want in your hand (for any reason size capacity etc...) and carry that one.

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    I think you mailed it with the "total package" concept.

    In reality, few of us will ever have to pull a weapon in SD. Most guns will remain in the pocket or IWB, and with the effectiveness of today's SD rounds, the handgun that's too bulky, too heavy, too difficult to conceal effectively, is likely to be left at home--where its caliber is meaningless.
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    Member Array Pete14's Avatar
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    From the title I thought this would be another "Do you or don't you carry with one in the pipe?".

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    New Member Array REACT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laguna0seca View Post
    From my blog. Please feel free to suggest changes.

    While a .40 will fly flatter and faster than a 9mm, and therefore have less bullet drop at longer distances, most self defense shootings occur at ranges inside 7yds. So the trajectory of the round doesn't matter as much. What matters with accuracy is how well you can shoot that caliber in a specific firearm.
    Minor change.

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    I am not focused on killing my adversary. For defensive carry, I am concerned about stopping the fight scenario. I want to retreat from the confrontation and survive in the process. At work, I carry a Taser and spray with a drop-holstered Beretta 9mm, but to be honest, I am more comforted by my baton which I have actually used and it proved immediately effective in stopping a confrontation. Off duty, I usually will carry a Glock 26, but lately, I find myself, more often than not, pocketing my S&W 642 which is easily the quickest presented weaon I own.
    It all comes down to going down the dark holes after monsters. Thatís what itís all about; when everyone else is huddled around the campfire, somebody has to go out and fight.

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