If your hackles went up and you assumed a war footing when you read the title of this article, you’re not alone. :)
The debate between projectile sizes has been raging since Cain was deciding on whether to use a small rock or a big rock to kill Able (if, in fact, he used a stone :)
Sometimes it matters, and sometimes it doesn’t, but in the instances where it matters, there aren’t any do-overs.
So, what’s the answer?
Former Force Recon Marine Chris Graham, shares a story in 30-10 from a US Navy SEAL friend of his, named “Monkey.”
Monkey was teaching a class of Federal Law Enforcement Agents who said that statistics prove out that the majority of people who are shot with a handgun (of ANY caliber) survive, but 100% of the people he had shot with a 9mm were dead.
This just illustrates the fact that the question of which caliber is best is usually the wrong question…even though the FBI is switching back to the 9mm, as well as SOCOM…Special Operations Command, which encompasses Delta Force, SEAL Team 6, (or the names they’re currently going by :) MARSOC, AFSOC, etc.
Your ability to quickly put high quality rounds on target has a much bigger impact on whether you are going to be able to stop a threat than the caliber of ammunition that you happen to be sending downrange.
And that’s exactly the conclusion that the FBI just came to. All pistol rounds suck, so go with the one that will allow you to practice the most and put the most accurate rounds on target in the shortest period of time.
There IS a place for the 9 vs. 45 stopping power debate, but for most people, it is an extremely low leverage part of the defensive shooting equation.
On the whole caliber thing, there ARE some calibers that are better than others. I would never suggest that someone carry a .25 or a .32, and there are very few people who I would suggest carry a .44 magnum unless you’re in bear country. 99 times out of 100, your ability to put fast, accurate shots on target is going to be more of a factor of whether or not you can stop a threat than whether it’s a 9, .38, .357, .40, .45, .22, .380 etc. coming out the end of your barrel.
And what IS the best caliber for defensive pistols? It’s the caliber that allows you to put fast, accurate, threat stopping shots on as many targets as are posing a violent threat to you before they are able to impose their will on you.
What about the picture?
That’s a Speer Gold Dot 9mm after punching through a car door like butter. So if you know one of those guys who are wrapped around the axle about a 11mm (.45) hole being better than a 9mm hole…to the point of carrying .45ACP ball ammo, this might give them something to think about. Keep in mind that a .45 hollowpoint will expand too, but the latest FBI stats show that it takes an average of 3 rounds of 9mm, .40 or .45 to stop a threat, so that extra expansion doesn’t seem to be increasing effectiveness very much.
And, in response to questions/comments, here is some comparative penetration tests of hollow point defensive ammunition:
It’s only when you’ve maxed out your ability as a shooter that
caliber becomes an issue.
Time and money spent developing, fine tuning, and sharpening your technique has a LOT more leverage than switching guns, triggers, springs, grips, or ammo.
And that’s why I want to encourage you to check out Chris’ 30-10 at-home pistol training course by going to 3010Pistol.com
Chris isn’t your average instructor. As a Force Recon Marine, he worked alone “in Indian country” with an Iraqi paramilitary force under constant threat of assassination and kidnapping, hours from US backup, and normally only armed with a concealed pistol. Few people in the world have the ability to speak about fighting with a pistol with as much authority as Chris.
Today, he provides advanced weapons and tactics training to personnel from USG (US Government) agencies prior to deployment to high-threat zones.
If you’re an instructor, Chris is one of the guys who you want to be picking stuff up from to use in your own classes.
If you’re a shooter, Chris is an instructor who is teaching based on first hand experience downrange against determined attackers as well as constant feedback from his students. His teaching isn’t stuff that worked 5, 10, or 15 years ago…it’s stuff that he or his students have more than likely used in the last few months, weeks, or even days.
I want to encourage you to learn more now by going to 3010Pistol.com
What are your thoughts? Share them by commenting below either through Facebook (preferred) or directly on the blog: