What caliber

This is a discussion on What caliber within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm curious, and am somewhat new to CCW, what caliber handgun do you carry, and, is there a reason you chose that caliber. Also wonder ...

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Thread: What caliber

  1. #1
    Member Array golfer's Avatar
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    What caliber

    I'm curious, and am somewhat new to CCW, what caliber handgun do you carry, and, is there a reason you chose that caliber. Also wonder if you would share the bullet weight and configuration.
    I own two different handguns I could carry for now; a Kimber Ultra 4" 45 acp. For this pistol I will probably use 200 or 230 gr. premium bullet, but have not made a selection yet.
    My 9mm is a Sig 226 and I have been looking at the 115 to 127 gr. sizes, but could use some help here as well.
    Thanks for your replies as they will help me greatly.

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  3. #2
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    Without (I pray!) having a ''caliber war'' - because this is a real old cherry ......... I think much is down to what someone is comfortable with and shoots well. Perhaps in part the equation of more smaller vs fewer bigger!

    I carry a 226 ST in 9mm ... almost all the time but can easily change to the 220 and go .45acp. The 226 is stoked with 124 Gd's - I have plenty and they perform well.

    I stay with 9mm (+P in this) mainly because of capacity plus my liking for the shootability. In a gun this heavy control is excellent.
    Chris - P95
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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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    My prefered caliber is .40, carried with 155 gr Winchester silvertips. Secondary gun is 9mm with 124 gr Federal personal defense loads. 40 cal is just my preference.

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    9mm and .40 in my Glocks, and 45acp in my SIG. Hi-cap is nice, but not a necessity. My favorite is the G-27 in .40.

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    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    there is no good answer for this. everyone is different.
    i personally dont like .40s. but love 9mms and .45s.
    i carry the kimber aegis- 9mm 1911 3" barrel.
    the kimber ultra you speak of will be my next gun most likely.
    they are all effective rounds, if you dont believe me, go stand down range.
    most people will say bigger is better, but i personally can get off 3 shots of 9 before i can get of 2 shots of .45, if not 2:1.
    but honestly the main reason i chose my 9 was because i like to practice, and do so alot. and the 9 is much easier on the wallet.
    pick a gun that you can shoot and conceal well.

  7. #6
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    Since no one mentioned revolvers I will,

    I carry .357/.38spl for power (low capicity) and 9mm (auto) when I want hi-cap.

    That being said I carry .380 when I want low-power and low capicity
    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein,

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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    No one caliber is best...

    Quote Originally Posted by golfer View Post
    I own two different handguns I could carry for now; a Kimber Ultra 4" 45 acp.
    Kimber uses the "Ultra" designation for their guns with 3 inch barrel, and for the 4 inch guns they use the term "Pro". Either one is quite concealable for carry.

    I will carry different calibers, including .45, .40, 9mm and .357 magnum depending on the situation and the gun I want to use. I believe that all of these 4 calibers can be effective at stopping a threat if you can shoot well enough to put one or more shots in the center of mass.

    The most important things are to have a reliable gun that you trust, practice frequently, use quality hollowpoint ammo and know the laws in your state.

    The gun I use most frequently for carry is similar to your Kimber:

    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

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    You know, I don't think any one caliber is the "magic" bullet! I would rent or borrow as many different weapons as you can reasonably find and go with the caliber / gun YOU feel the most comfortable shooting and the one you actually shoot the best!

    I've had them all. I now have one gun in .40 and one "J" frame .357 but the rest are all .45's because that's the caliber I can consistently shoot the best.
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

    "A superior Operator is best defined as someone who uses his superior
    judgement to keep himself out of situations that would require a display of his
    superior skills."

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    Member Array golfer's Avatar
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    Aw, you guys are adding some interesting information.
    I may have made a mistake in the way I wrote my question, as my interests were more on the bullet type and weight than calaber.
    My goal is to be somewhere near teh old standby 357/125 gr bullet. this formula is a proven stopper, but, the next question is what bullet weight in each caliber gets me there and, what bullet type is going to transfer energy best to my target?
    Hope this is making sense.

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    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    For a while now, I'm back to carrying a Baer in 45. Prior to that a Sig in 9 or
    40. Bug is 357. Prior to that a Baer in 45.
    Les Baer 45
    Sig Man
    N.R.A. Patron Life Member
    M.C.R.G.O.

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    Supertac, thanks, but, can you shed some light on the bullet and weght and perhaps why you chose that combo?

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    OH! In that case... CorBon DPX in any caliber!
    http://www.dakotaammo.net/
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

    "A superior Operator is best defined as someone who uses his superior
    judgement to keep himself out of situations that would require a display of his
    superior skills."

  14. #13
    Senior Member Array Vaquero 45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by golfer View Post
    Aw, you guys are adding some interesting information.
    I may have made a mistake in the way I wrote my question, as my interests were more on the bullet type and weight than calaber.
    My goal is to be somewhere near teh old standby 357/125 gr bullet. this formula is a proven stopper, but, the next question is what bullet weight in eash calaber gets me there and, what bullet type is going to transfer energy best to my target?
    Hope this is making sense.
    Here is a bullet energy calculator. Plug in your bullet weight and velocity, and you get the energy in ft/lbs.

    http://www.firearmexpertwitness.com/...s/calcnrg.html

    The old standby 125 grain .357 magnum usually got about 1450 fps out of a 4' barrel, making 583 ft/lbs of energy. That's pretty smoking for a handgun. Some 9mm +p+ is pretty hot, but not quite up to .357 magnum power. You could step up to .357 Sig and almost get .357 magnum power in some factory loads. An exception is Buffalo Bore ammo, in which the .357 Sig DOES equal the ballistics of a .357 magnum, from their test velocities out of a Sig P226.

    .40 S&W bullets are all pretty hot, mostly over 400 ft/lbs of energy. While they might not get near the level of .357 magnum energy, you're launching a bigger bullet.

    Standard .45 ACP is pretty tame as far as energy goes (230 grain @ 850 fps = 368 ft/lbs). And you need a 5" barrel to get that. However, the .45 bullet is a lot heavier than a 9mm or .40, which aids in penetration. You can step up to .45 +P and get about 950 fps out of a 230 grain bullet, which will help with expansion. Some light 185 grain .45 ammo (Golden Sabre +P) is really smoking!

    Most companies' premium bullets will work fine. I wouldn't feel bad carrying Golden Sabres, XTP's, Rangers, Gold Dots or Hydrashocks. If you can find bonded bullets, they usually perform better through intermediate barrels, if that's a concern for you. Our police department uses Federal Tactical Bonded bullets (165 grain .40) in our Glock 22's, for what it's worth. We're happy with them.

    As far as energy transfer goes.....some people believe in it, and some people don't. I tend to take the middle ground and go with the .40 S&W. It has plenty of energy, but if it doesn't expand and "transfer energy", it's still a pretty good sized hole, just .05 inch shy of a .45 round. I get extra capacity in a smaller pistol as a bonus.

    I think a .40 is more likely to expand than most .45 ammo, because of the high velocity, and the hollowpoint is quite large on most 155-165 grain .40 bullets. Compare the size of the actual hollowpoint cavity in a .40 vs a .45, and you won't see much difference, because of the short, blunt profile of the .40 bullet. Now compare the .40 hollowpoint to the typical 9mm hollowpoint cavity, and you'll see why I don't often carry a 9mm, except in the hot summer months. 9mm often expands, but maybe not if going through a winter coat first. In that case, I'd rather have a .40 or .45.

    All of this is interesting, but the fact is, some people drop like a rock when hit in the right place by a .380, and some survive rifle wounds and return fire. When I talk about an advantage of .40 over 9mm or .45, I'm not talking a WORLD of difference. I'm talking about MAYBE a SLIGHT advantage, and even then, I'm not 100% sure. I think that any handgun, .38 special or up, will serve you well if you practice to the point of proficiency with it. The 9mm is no wimp, I wouldn't want some perp shooting at me with a 16 round Glock 19, even with ball ammo!

    I carry a Kahr CW9 9mm in the summer when it's hot out, a Glock 27 .40 most of the rest of the time, and sometimes pack my Ruger P97 .45 in the winter when I can conceal it. I carry a Glock 22 .40 on duty for our police department, but left it in the drawer today, even though it has a magical 16 round capacity, to tote my P97 to a court hearing, just because I like the feel of the P97. If I'm mowing the lawn, I probably have my Taurus 85CH .38 in my pocket. I don't feel underarmed with any of them.

    Even the vaunted .357 magnum had its failures in police shootings. Don't drive yourself nuts trying to find the magic bullet. It doesn't exist. Find something you can hit with, and practice, practice, practice!

    Slow is smooth.....smooth is fast.

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array Vaquero 45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by golfer View Post
    I'm curious, and am somewhat new to CCW, what calaber handgun do you carry, and, is there a reason you chose that calaber. Also wonder if you would share the bullet weight and configuration.
    I own two different handguns I could carry for now; a Kimber Ultra 4" 45 acp. For this pistol I will probably use 200 or 230 gr. premium bullet, but have not made a selection yet.
    My 9mm is a Sig 226 and I have been looking at the 115 to 127 gr. sizes, but could use some help here as well.
    Thanks for your replies as they will help me greatly.
    Just read your original post again.....

    If I was carrying the Kimber, I'd go with 230 grain JHP, probably Federal HST or Tactical Bonded. It's +P, which will give extra velocity out of your 4" barrel for more reliable expansion. If the recoil is too stout with a +P load, go with a standard 230 grain, maybe a Gold Dot or Golden Sabre. Heck, even if it doesn't expand, most organs in the human body don't take kindly to having .451 holes drilled through them. I think 230 grain will give you better penetration than the lighter bullets, and I'll take a little more penetration over a little more expansion any day of the week.

    For 9mm, I'd go with 124-127 grain, +P or +P+. (Gold Dot, Winchester Ranger, etc) In some police shootings, the 115 grain stuff expanded wonderfully, but didn't penetrate enough. For 9mm, our police department issues Federal Tactical Bonded 135 grain +P. The little bit of extra weight helps with defeating barriers, but this is not usually a major concern for civilian CCW.
    Slow is smooth.....smooth is fast.

  16. #15
    Member Array Gamisou's Avatar
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    I carry .40 cause its the best
    M&P .40c with 180 grain Federal HST's

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