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Which caliber is best for concealed carry?

  • .380

    Votes: 20 5.6%
  • 9mm

    Votes: 170 48.0%
  • .40

    Votes: 65 18.4%
  • .45

    Votes: 99 28.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As a casual shooter all my adult life and as a more avid student of shooting for the last several years I sometimes see and/or hear a preference towards one caliber or another when it comes to handguns and concealed handguns in particular. Sometimes this is a very strong preference to the point of stubbornness.

This video illustrates it very well with those who prefer the .45 in a way that sometimes defies common sense. Not saying they are wrong; I absolutely like the .45 and currently have two of them. I also have some 9's and Makarov 9's.


Of course the 9mm folks are just as adamant. :D I can only link to it due to the limit on videos in a given post.

9mm Guns and the People who Carry Them (Full Video) - YouTube

And last but not least is the .40 cal. Why are some people so against this round that falls somewhere between the .9mm and .45? In this ballistics table; it looks to be a very good round by the numbers.
 
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Uh oh not another caliber thread. This is going to open the flood gates again.

The general rule is shoot whatever you can control or can hit most consistently with. Shots that hit are better than those that don't.

That being said challenge yourself to shoot the biggest baddest caliber you can handle and in a handgun that you can comfortable conceal any day of the week.

Purely from physics, .380 < 9mm < .40 < .45. If you can pack a .45 everyday and shoot like a pro, you're all set. If all you can handle nothing more than a .380, practice a lot so you get lots of hits.
 

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9mm is best for making small holes, .380 for slightly bigger holes. .40 for big holes and .45 for the biggest hole.


Got to disagree with DetChris a little, I shoot at paper 3 or 4 times a month and hope to never shoot a person, so I carry and shoot 9mm. Each trigger pull cost me around .22 cent rather then .46 cents. At 75 to 100 rounds per range trip.... I carry 9mm for the cost and believe it is also a fine self defense round too. The best, matter of opinion but good enough for me.
 

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Purely from physics, .380 < 9mm < .40 < .45.
I MIGHT argue that it's .380<9<.45<.40, in terms of physics (muzzle energy) and depending on the weapon. But, really, they're all effective rounds, and all but the .380 VERY effective with the best ammo. I'd vote for 9mm for concealed carry, because I believe it offers the best balance of stopping power, recoil, and capacity in a compact-to-sub-compact handgun.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Uh oh not another caliber thread. This is going to open the flood gates again.

The general rule is shoot whatever you can control or can hit most consistently with. Shots that hit are better than those that don't.

That being said challenge yourself to shoot the biggest baddest caliber you can handle and in a handgun that you can comfortable conceal any day of the week.

Purely from physics, .380 < 9mm < .40 < .45. If you can pack a .45 everyday and shoot like a pro, you're all set. If all you can handle nothing more than a .380, practice a lot so you get lots of hits.
Yes; I'm quite aware of everything you said. I think most people are by the time they get their CCW. I've had mine for around 12 years now.

We also know it's all about shot placement with handguns. What I don't know is why some folks simply do not like the .40 cal at all. Is it because it has a harsher recoil than a .45? Going by the ballistics table I linked to it seems as though the .40 has more velocity and energy but less weight than the .45. Does that weight difference really make that much difference?

I don't know that's why I'm asking. I want to be clear on this because my next purchase might depend on getting the most bang for the buck - so to speak. I can handle all the calibers. That isn't an issue for me personally. If bigger and faster is best; why aren't we all packing a Judge or Governor (at least those can handle them) if you see my point?

Sorry about posting another caliber thread. I did a search but didn't turn up any threads in my search. Maybe I needed to word it differently in my search. On bike and car forums it's the oil threads that keep popping up so I know what you mean.
 

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Ammo it's self is worthless. It is only when you have a gun to shoot it out of does it become important. The gun that shoots the ammo is a variable, the person shooting the gun is a variable, the weather conditions can be a variable, and the distance and movement of a target is a variable.

That is a lot of variables. Therefore, my answer is the best caliber is the one that you can most accurately and consistently shoot with your gun of choice, and afford to practice on a regular basis. For me, it is a 9mm.
 

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TROLL!!!:yup:

And to be honest, I was hesitant to watch another video by Mr. CN, but in the interest of full-knowledge, I watched the 9mm People video. I couldn't make it past his "9mm=Toyota Corolla" and his "when was the last time a dude got laid talking about the reliability of his Toyota Corolla." Well there you go: 9mm<.45 because the .45 will get you womens. It's not the first time MCN has made that comparison. In his comparison video of Glock vs. S&W M&P, he readily admits that the Glock is more reliable and shoots better but the S&W M&P is "sexier." In fact, the first 3 minutes of that video talks only about looks and sex appeal of the M&P. Ridiculous! If I'm cc'ing right, you should NEVER see my handgun, so "sex appeal" never enters the equation. IMHO, statements like this hurt/undermine his credibility. I can see where some might appreciate his advice, but he's not my cup o' tea, in the same way some people can't stand hickok45, which I totally don't get (I love that "old" dude).
 

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Going by the ballistics table I linked to it seems as though the .40 has more velocity and energy but less weight than the .45. Does that weight difference really make that much difference?
I don't know that's why I'm asking. I want to be clear on this because my next purchase might depend on getting the most bang for the buck - so to speak.
Stopping power is a science with no consensus - frankly there probably isn't a good way to answer. Some people say only penetration matters, some say permanent cavity, some say temporary cavity, some say hydrostatic shock. Some swear by the official FBI report of 1989 (which you should ignore, by the way, because UW Patrick doesn't understand physics), some by one-shot stop percentages, some by muzzle energy.

Personally, I go by two things - does the round have enough muzzle energy to cause serious injury (necessary to stop a the threat), and will the energy be transferred to the target in a way that causes serious injury. These can be met by all three calibers UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS. The reason .45 has such a good history, in my opinion, is because it meets the second criteria under more conditions. Even if it doesn't expand, the width of the bullet will result in a more effective transfer of energy than the smaller calibers, even if less energy is available out of the muzzle.
 
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.45, sir. I just go for a big, heavy round that doesn't over-penetrate (although in today's world, over-penetration or even sufficiency of penetration is slowly becoming less and less of an issue), and if I put a hole in someone, it may as well be half an inch.

Besides, I like what Colion Noir said in his video about the predictability of the recoil of the .45. That's actually why I carry a .45. The .45 recoil is about what I expect when firing a gun, so I actually shoot it much more accurately than the other calibers I've tried.
 

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I had to go with .40, but it is different for each person. For me, the balance between power and capacity makes it the best choice. I can handle the additional recoil on the same frame as the 9mm, and I feel like it is a good balance between 9 and .45 in the other categories.

But if you can't handle the recoil, or need deeper concealment, or also need protection from 4 legged creatures, or... Everyone is different.

And why no .357 or .38 special? Are you descriminating against the wheelgunners??? :)
 

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We also know it's all about shot placement with handguns. What I don't know is why some folks simply do not like the .40 cal at all. Is it because it has a harsher recoil than a .45? Going by the ballistics table I linked to it seems as though the .40 has more velocity and energy but less weight than the .45. Does that weight difference really make that much difference?
I think you need to find out for yourself what the .40 recoil is like, and make sure you shoot a range of bullet weights to get the full picture.
 
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