Best answer I've found yet to "Which Caliber is the Best."

This is a discussion on Best answer I've found yet to "Which Caliber is the Best." within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; So we've all read about, maybe even participated in "Caliber wars" both online and in person. The day before yesterday, a salesman spewed the same ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Jemsaal's Avatar
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    Best answer I've found yet to "Which Caliber is the Best."

    So we've all read about, maybe even participated in "Caliber wars" both online and in person. The day before yesterday, a salesman spewed the same stuff to my wife, trying to talk her into moving from a 9mm to a .45 cal. When we got in the car, I told her that he was full of it. Today, after reading a few other things, I came upon a post in another forum that made me reassess "Best Caliber." I've had a few people talk to me about buying handguns, and I want to make sure I give them good information. So, as I'm thinking about it, here's my answer to "Best Caliber." I want to know what you all think, and what you would add to it.

    "Best Caliber" (BC) and "One-Shot Stopping Power" (OSSP) for caliber and round are really worthless ideas, because it is dependent on so many other factors. Here's what you need to think about.

    1. A Center of Mass (CoM) shot is always better than a grazing shot to the ribs. If you can't get a good comfortable grip on your weapon, or it's too heavy, bulky, etc., then the caliber doesn't matter, that gun in that caliber is a bad caliber for you, and it will have very low OSSP.

    2. If you can't control the recoil, then the likelihood that you're going to get a second shot off in time is vastly diminished. One-shot stops are as much a fiction of Hollywood as anything else. It's far more likely that you're going to pull the trigger multiple times. So the BC for any one person is a weapon that he or she can reestablish aim at CoM and pull the trigger again, fast. (They can figure out if their gun is "pushing" or "snapping," so I don't need to go into that, I think).

    3a. It is true that a bigger wound path will do more damage. So the highest caliber that you can handle is the BC for you. However, "handle" also means that you are able to deal with kick both physically (see #2), and also mentally. So if you can handle say, a .40 physically, but for some reason you continue to anticipate the kick and just can't train yourself out of it, then a .40 still isn't the BC for you.

    3b. If you find yourself in a situation like 3a, make sure you look around for other models in that caliber. For instance, the XD40SC has less kick than a Glock 27, even their both subcompact .40's. Try both, and see if you can control one better than the other. For some, the slight size difference between the two will make a difference, for others, the kick will make a difference.

    3c. Different rounds produce different amounts of kick. Experiment with some different JHP rounds, but remember, it's always better to use the same JHP rounds that the local or state police use.*

    4a. The gun has to be comfortable to shoot, but also comfortable to carry. If it's not the first, then you won't shoot it often and thus, not gain the familiarity you need with it. If it's not the second, there's a good chance you'll find reasons to leave it at home, or leave it in the car, or in your purse (if you're a woman). A Desert eagle is a bad caliber and has no OSSP if it's left at home, or if your purse is taken from you.

    4b. (EDITED IN) Another element of being familiar with your gun is putting bullets down range. If you can't afford to practice shooting a .50 cal because the rounds are too expensive, then don't buy a .50 cal. (of course, this is a generalization, since it's pretty dang near impossible to afford any target practice rounds right now!)

    5. So - the conclusion is, the "Best Caliber" for personal defense is the highest caliber that is fun to shoot, easy to carry, feels good in your hands, and easy to control. After all, it's far better to put twenty .22 bullets in a person's chest and head, than graze a person's rib cage with one .45 bullet in the same amount of time.

    *Use the same Hollow Points that the LEO of your area use. This way, when you're on the stand and the over-zealous prosecutor pounds his fist into the podium and points at you, then says, "You bought 'Golden Saber' hollow points! Golden Saber, like some kind of medieval killing sword that slices through it's victims! Why did you by these? Was it your intent to be a killer?" You get to calmly answer. "No sir, I just figured that the city police department knows what's the best round in case their officers get into trouble, so I bought the same thing. That's all." Unless the prosecutor wants to then accuse the entire city police department of being killers, that line of questioning is effectively over.
    ________________

    Thoughts? Did I miss anything? Part of what I want to do is disarm salesmen that see people like my wife or my friend's wives that haven't been around firearms, and then try and talk them into big, powerful weapons that they can't handle.
    Last edited by Jemsaal; February 27th, 2013 at 11:38 PM.
    tony1990, mprp, Sarge65 and 8 others like this.

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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Exacto's Avatar
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    A matter of personal choice. Everyone has a different idea.
    USM1976 likes this.
    Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunder bolt...... Sun Tzu.

    The supreme art of war is to defeat the enemy without fighting........ Sun Tzu.

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    I think your response is accurate and a thoughtful one. I agree with you a hundred percent. That is why all of my guns are in 9mm because I can handle it the best.
    mbguy29577 likes this.


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    Member Array Goat_Herder's Avatar
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    The best caliber, IMHO, is the one you are trained with and you can shoot accurately at the time of stress. Good shot placement has more impact on stopping the assailant than the caliber.

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    VIP Member Array blitzburgh's Avatar
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    I agree with everything you said, but Desert Eagle's comie in different calibers. For example, I have one in 9mm and in .40.

    Though they may be called "Baby Eagles", DE is still just a brand name, it doesn't automatically mean .50
    pittypat21 likes this.
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    VIP Member Array blitzburgh's Avatar
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    For me, my "BC" is .357sig. I can handle all pistol calibers well, but handle the .357sig best. It's the round I'm most accurate with, can get back on target the fastest with (for a follow up), etc. etc.
    PaulRevered likes this.
    "Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God." - Benjamin Franklin
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    Pretty good read and I agree . . .

    But still . . . .
    The stupidity of some people NEVER ceases to amaze me.

    G19 AIWB

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    Member Array bigbadsmiles's Avatar
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    Thanks for spelling it out! I think at one point or another everyone's been in a caliber war and most don't consider what other implications you might come across with each caliber.
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    VIP Member Array Brad426's Avatar
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    So .45 is still the best, right?
    I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it.
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  11. #10
    Distinguished Member Array hardluk1's Avatar
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    You missed , And buy the cartidge you can afford to practice with enought to be come and stay profeicient with. Difference in cost of 357 sig or 45 over 9mm may help make the choice. Assuming any ammo is avalible like now.
    Jemsaal likes this.

  12. #11
    Member Array Motodeficient's Avatar
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    The best caliber, and the best gun, is the one you have with you.

    And the firearm you are most likely to have with you is the one that you are most skilled shooting with, and is the most comfortable to carry every day.
    jblives2ride and miller_man like this.

  13. #12
    Member Array Maximpactguns's Avatar
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    Agreed. Only get what you can handle.

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    Distinguished Member Array Nmuskier's Avatar
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    You lay out a great premise, then totally blow the conclusion. I understand, it is a common fallacy sold by the .25 ACP crowd.

    We have enough data to understand concepts like "service caliber" and minimum penetration. We have engineering that puts .38 +P and 9mm in very small yet shootable, reliable, and accurate packages. This should be the baseline. Anything less should be back up, or reserved for those with serious physical disabilities. We shouldn't continue to misinform people with terms like "better than nothing" or other false choices.

    I'd go with 3a. and call it good.

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array Crowman's Avatar
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    The best is the one that either stops the threat and/or if necessary kills it.......
    Nmuskier likes this.
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    Distinguished Member Array bigmacque's Avatar
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    That's a well reasoned argument and one I can stand behind.

    I carry either 9mm or .45, depending on a number of factors, but it's really just three of my guns because those three are the ones I can be most accurate and effective with.
    I'm in favor of gun control -- I think every citizen should have control of a gun.
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