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Thread: Calibers?

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    Medic is offline Junior Member
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    Calibers?

    I generally understand the calibers of bullets that people use; however, i'm trying to see what would be the ideal pistol for myself. I'm not ready to buy yet so i wont give you details on myself (thats not what im asking for) I just want to know what the pro's, con's, and FAQ's for different caliber bullets. I thought there would be a sticky on this but I didn't see one, so i searched and still didn't find anything.

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    PhilR. is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medic View Post
    I just want to know what the pro's, con's, and FAQ's for different caliber bullets.
    Given that you could write a good-sized book on handgun calibers alone, perhaps you could narrow it down to what type of calibers you are interested in. Do you want defense-capable calibers, or perhaps hunting calibers, or small calibers, or calibers suitable for range or target use? Perhaps you want revolver calibers, or pistol calibers, or calibers used in single-shot handguns used for shooting at longer ranges than is typically done with handguns. Perhaps you want info on bullets that can be used in both hanguns and rifles. Maybe you can see where I'm going with this...

    PhilR.

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    Medic is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilR. View Post
    Given that you could write a good-sized book on handgun calibers alone, perhaps you could narrow it down to what type of calibers you are interested in. Do you want defense-capable calibers, or perhaps hunting calibers, or small calibers, or calibers suitable for range or target use? Perhaps you want revolver calibers, or pistol calibers, or calibers used in single-shot handguns used for shooting at longer ranges than is typically done with handguns. Perhaps you want info on bullets that can be used in both hanguns and rifles. Maybe you can see where I'm going with this...

    PhilR.

    well, im mostly interested in what people use in handguns.

    9mm
    38
    40
    45

    those are the main ones arent they? I'm not interested in a 22. I'm just trying to figure out why people would carry a 45 over a 9mm I guess. I know you can fit more bullets in a 9mm, they are cheaper, and dont have the stopping power of a 45...but why a 40 over a 45? or why a 9 over a 40?

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    tmodesto is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medic View Post
    well, im mostly interested in what people use in handguns.

    9mm
    38
    40
    45

    those are the main ones arent they? I'm not interested in a 22. I'm just trying to figure out why people would carry a 45 over a 9mm I guess. I know you can fit more bullets in a 9mm, they are cheaper, and dont have the stopping power of a 45...but why a 40 over a 45? or why a 9 over a 40?
    I would suggest go with 9MM - why? considering info you gave I assuming this would be your first handgun and 9MM is much cheaper to practice, and nothing more important in handgun handling than having practice and bullet placement. 2 good 9mm shot in center of mass is much better than spraying around and killing bystanders, pretty much all these calibre's have good stopping power at 7-10 yard distance, and you don't want to shoot any threat in further distance. Although many of Law Enforcement agencies still using 9mm there are some that prefer larger but because they may to end up to a gun fight in different situation and may want more efficient caliber in larger distance, but that's differnt than average citizen who wants to defend as last restort in shorter distance (otherwiese may end up couple of years in Jail!!)

    Practice with 115 gr FMJ and use 124 Hydra shock for self defense.

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    tmodesto is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medic View Post
    I'm just trying to figure out why people would carry a 45 over a 9mm I guess. I know you can fit more bullets in a 9mm, they are cheaper, and dont have the stopping power of a 45...but why a 40 over a 45? or why a 9 over a 40?
    To answer to this portion of your question :

    Each person has different preference based on their expereince with handgun, all these 3 caliber have good stopping power in short distance 7-10 yards but generally:

    Why 40 and 45 over 9MM?: because both 40 & 45 are more powerfull than 9MM

    Why 9MM over 40 or 45: lower recoil and delivering resoanably good stopping power in short distance, generally guns in 9mm is lighter, easier to handle and conceal and cheaper than 45

    Why 40 over 45: ballastic test of both shows they have very close performance, but 40 caliber guns are same size and capacity of 9MM so you will get good of both world, I personaly prefer 45 over 40 because I'm more accurate with 45 than 40, but it's me.

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    tony pasley's Avatar
    tony pasley is online now Senior Member
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    Your question is like asking which is a better car a ford or a chevy.
    The best all round cal. is the 38/357 in a 4" revolver. I trust the 45 acp as a carry round because I know it works.

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    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    I've often thought about doing a sticky on defense calibers and ammo, since we discuss it about every two weeks. This is an area where few people really agree, though, so a sticky would probably become the debate to end all debates!

    Maybe what we should do is a sticky with a proponent of each caliber advocating that round, and making the best argument he/she can for that caliber. Any takers?
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    john doe. is offline Banned
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    Medic is offline Junior Member
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    I'm not trying to start a heated debate on which to carry, or what is better. I just wanted to know some facts about each caliber. ex fastest, slowest ,shortest, longest, smallest, widest, most damage stuff like that.

    I've only shot a 22. and a 45 1911 and for my first gun i want a 9mm. But that wasn't the point of this thread

    Thanks for the input so far though

  10. #10
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medic View Post
    I'm not trying to start a heated debate on which to carry, or what is better. I just wanted to know some facts about each caliber. ex fastest, slowest ,shortest, longest, smallest, widest, most damage stuff like that.
    A quick check of the ballistics tables at the Winchester/Remington/Federal/etc. websites will provide most of that info.

    As far as "damage," well, there again you run into lots of opinion on what exactly constitutes damage, how damage is best accomplished, and what kind of damage is the best. Maybe start some reading here: www.firearmstactical.com.
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    sbc_pd10 is offline Junior Member
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    Just curious but is everyone here a .357 sig hater? What I mean is, every discussion I see about calibers there is no mention of the round. Personally, I used to own a Glock 32. I found that the .357 Sig was accurate and had plenty of power. Its simply a combination of a 9mm bullet and a .40S&W casing. Granted I don't have one now as I got frustrated a while back and sold most of my firearms, but I am soon to buy a Sig P226 SCT. The SCT only comes in 9mm or .40S&W at this time, but I have been assured by my state's Sig rep that any P226 .357 sig barrell could easily be used in the SCT in replace of the .40S&W. Well, my weapon will be for both target range and duty carry. I will probably stick with the .40 a while but I may eventually get the .357 barrell and swap them out later on down the road. I guess for me the .357 does not have such a "snappy" recoil as the .40, but it is still accurate and has enough knockdown power. Am I missing something or was my .357 Sig experience just a fluke?

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    neophyte is offline Member
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    guess

    sbc_pd10: Sir; NO. Its not a popular rd. Nothing wrong .357sig.
    Evaluate any rd. you'll find popularity for a bunch of different reasons. Some are just based loosely on unsubstantiated facts. 9mm gets a bunch of grief; .45 gets the other end. Who Knows. Guess that why manufacturers continue making models.

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    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    I don't hate .357SIG, I just don't see anything it can do that can't be done with a 9mm +P or a .40S&W.
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    TOF's Avatar
    TOF
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    I reviewed the .357 Sig along with all the other standard pistol rounds prior to purchasing my last few Auto's. The primary reason I will not buy one is availability of ammo. I have yet to find any on a store shelf within 60 miles of where I live. I load my own but can envision a time when I might want to purchase ammo rather than load. Also the bottle neck case is not quite as easy to load properly as straight case calibers.


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    nycpa is offline Junior Member
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    I do own 9mm, .40 and .45 semiautomatic pistols, but from my point of view the best one for self defense is .40. My magazine is ready with hi-vel triton ammo (135 gr. JHP, 1325fps, 526ft/lbs). Even if you purchase regular practice ammo it still is significantly better choice for self defense than JHP 9mm or bulky (limited in magazine) and slow .45. But that's for home self defense. Going to the woods? Get yourself 10mm!
    http://handgunns.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medic View Post
    I'm not trying to start a heated debate on which to carry, or what is better. I just wanted to know some facts about each caliber. ex fastest, slowest ,shortest, longest, smallest, widest, most damage stuff like that.

    I've only shot a 22. and a 45 1911 and for my first gun i want a 9mm. But that wasn't the point of this thread

    Thanks for the input so far though
    Fastest-9mm
    Slowest-.45acp
    Damage can be pretty subjective because you get into expansion, temporary vs. permanent cavity, etc.
    You said you want a 9mm for your first gun...there's nothing wrong with that. 115 or 127 grain +P is widely accepted as an appropriate defensive load. Now I'll stand back and let the resume!

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    Liko81 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medic View Post
    I'm just trying to figure out why people would carry a 45 over a 9mm I guess. I know you can fit more bullets in a 9mm, they are cheaper, and dont have the stopping power of a 45...but why a 40 over a 45? or why a 9 over a 40?
    The various calibers employ different theories in what causes the most damage, and are chosen over other calibers by people who subscribe to the theory. Of the 4 you listed, 9mm and .45ACP are the two most conflicting, and deal with penetration (deep wound) versus permanent cavity (big hole). Penetration and permanent cavity are the two most crucial elements of a handgun wound; when either of these is increased, so is the severity of the wound. There are however practical limits, and the two elements tend to be inversely related; increase the size of the bullet and it will damage more tissue, but require more energy to get up to speed and lose that enerrgy faster. A smaller bullet makes a smaller hole, but requires less impulse (meaning less recoil) to go faster. Neither is wholly wrong, and neither is wholly right; both sacrifice some factors in order to increase others; increase wound size with a bigger caliber and you must either decrease penetration or increase recoil. Increase penetration and you must either decrease diameter or increase recoil.

    9mms operate with a small bullet travelling very fast; the idea is to get sufficient penetration to reach vital organs and the central nervous system. The downside is that the hole made is smaller, so a slight off-hit may not contact a vital organ or blood vessel, which a bigger round shot in the same place would have damaged. Hollow-points, which are the mainstay of 9mm defense rounds, alleviate this shortcoming, as does the reduced recoil which allows a shooter to make more accurate holes more quickly; 2 holes are better than one.

    .45ACP rounds are 1/8" bigger out of the barrel and twice as heavy. The energy of the bullet is in its mass, not its speed. It makes a big hole, and does so even with ball ammo; no expansion required, making your "plinking" FMJ rounds highly effective defense loads if that's what's handy. The downside is that to achieve acceptable muzzle energy, a heavy bullet needs a big powder charge meaning increased recoil and reduced fire rate of aimed fire. It also penetrates less even with the larger charge, meaning it has less of a chance to penetrate to the spinal cord which is the only truly guaranteed one-shot stop.

    .40S&W is a hybrid; it combines the high penetration of 9mm with 50% more bullet mass and a wider hole like the .45. Recoil is somewhere between a 9mm and a .45, as is cartridge size and therefore capacity in a flush-mount magazine. It's a big bullet and therefore doesn't REQUIRE hollow-points to be highly effective like the 9mm, but it has a greater chance than the .45ACP to touch backbone.

    .38 Special is a very venerable round; Army pistols of the late 1800s and early 1900s were chambered in .38 variants like Long Colt that gave birth to the .38 Special, and the .38's big brother, the .357 Magnum, is right up there with the .45 in name recognition. .38 is a revolver round, limiting ammo capacity, but .38 "snubbys" are very popular "pocket pistols" for defense purposes when concealed carry of a larger weapon is undesireable or impossible, such as a woman in a dress with a small handbag. It has a bigger charge than a 9mm, but because of the gap between chamber and barrel some of that is wasted. The standard .38 round is unjacketed, meaning even a "ball" round will deform significantly on impact and produce a bigger hole than the barrel bore. The major disadvantages are ammo capacity and cost; .38 rounds are on par with .45ACP ammo, and .357 rounds are even more expensive, and even though the design is very simple, many .38 revolvers are as expensive or more so than autoloading counterparts.

    After all that, really it comes down to the biggest round you fire well, in the biggest package you can carry invisibly. I shoot a 9mm because I do not carry; it is a home defense and target pistol, and also my first gun, so cost of the weapon and the ammo was and is important. Others say you can't put a price on your safety and carry the "manstopper" 230-grain .45ACP in a compact 1911. For others, sub-compact "pocket pistols" are the only way to go, opening up .38 as a possibility and limiting the power of high-mass rounds like the .45 as the short barrel limits acceleration. And some want a bit of everything and choose a .40S&W compact. Speaking in terms of being on the other end, I would not want to take a hit from any of the above, making all of them effective against someone who notices and cares that they've been shot. Against a druggie, the object is rapid incapacitation, meaning you're aiming for major blood vessels and blood organs like heart/lungs/liver, and for the central nervous system (head/spine). Penetration is key for central nervous system, while big hole is key for blood-bearing organs. Either way, any of the above rounds will be effective; the key is shooting accurately, and so you want the most powerful round you can control.

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    sbc_pd10 is offline Junior Member
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    What I always like about my old .357 Sig Glock 32 was the recoil was not quite as much as a .40 S&W, slightly more then a 9mm imo, but it seemed to have more stopping power then a 9mm. I never had any problems finding ammunition in this area either. For the most part though I buy my target ammunition at the local gun show. There is a company called the Georgia Arms Company that makes Speer ammunition and they sell it for about half what a box would cost at any store. You can look them up on line if you are interested. I think you can buy 500 rounds for about $100 or so. I have not started reloading myself but I have been considering it for after the first of the year but until then for range ammo I will rely on Georgia Arms.

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    Wandering Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liko81 View Post
    The various calibers employ different theories in what causes the most damage, and are chosen over other calibers by people who subscribe to the theory. ...
    Nice response.

    WM
    Never argue with drunks or crazy people.

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    Medic is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liko81 View Post
    The various calibers employ different theories in what causes the most damage, and are chosen over other calibers by people who subscribe to the theory. Of the 4 you listed, 9mm and .45ACP are the two most conflicting, and deal with penetration (deep wound) versus permanent cavity (big hole). Penetration and permanent cavity are the two most crucial elements of a handgun wound; when either of these is increased, so is the severity of the wound. There are however practical limits, and the two elements tend to be inversely related; increase the size of the bullet and it will damage more tissue, but require more energy to get up to speed and lose that enerrgy faster. A smaller bullet makes a smaller hole, but requires less impulse (meaning less recoil) to go faster. Neither is wholly wrong, and neither is wholly right; both sacrifice some factors in order to increase others; increase wound size with a bigger caliber and you must either decrease penetration or increase recoil. Increase penetration and you must either decrease diameter or increase recoil.

    9mms operate with a small bullet travelling very fast; the idea is to get sufficient penetration to reach vital organs and the central nervous system. The downside is that the hole made is smaller, so a slight off-hit may not contact a vital organ or blood vessel, which a bigger round shot in the same place would have damaged. Hollow-points, which are the mainstay of 9mm defense rounds, alleviate this shortcoming, as does the reduced recoil which allows a shooter to make more accurate holes more quickly; 2 holes are better than one.

    .45ACP rounds are 1/8" bigger out of the barrel and twice as heavy. The energy of the bullet is in its mass, not its speed. It makes a big hole, and does so even with ball ammo; no expansion required, making your "plinking" FMJ rounds highly effective defense loads if that's what's handy. The downside is that to achieve acceptable muzzle energy, a heavy bullet needs a big powder charge meaning increased recoil and reduced fire rate of aimed fire. It also penetrates less even with the larger charge, meaning it has less of a chance to penetrate to the spinal cord which is the only truly guaranteed one-shot stop.

    .40S&W is a hybrid; it combines the high penetration of 9mm with 50% more bullet mass and a wider hole like the .45. Recoil is somewhere between a 9mm and a .45, as is cartridge size and therefore capacity in a flush-mount magazine. It's a big bullet and therefore doesn't REQUIRE hollow-points to be highly effective like the 9mm, but it has a greater chance than the .45ACP to touch backbone.

    .38 Special is a very venerable round; Army pistols of the late 1800s and early 1900s were chambered in .38 variants like Long Colt that gave birth to the .38 Special, and the .38's big brother, the .357 Magnum, is right up there with the .45 in name recognition. .38 is a revolver round, limiting ammo capacity, but .38 "snubbys" are very popular "pocket pistols" for defense purposes when concealed carry of a larger weapon is undesireable or impossible, such as a woman in a dress with a small handbag. It has a bigger charge than a 9mm, but because of the gap between chamber and barrel some of that is wasted. The standard .38 round is unjacketed, meaning even a "ball" round will deform significantly on impact and produce a bigger hole than the barrel bore. The major disadvantages are ammo capacity and cost; .38 rounds are on par with .45ACP ammo, and .357 rounds are even more expensive, and even though the design is very simple, many .38 revolvers are as expensive or more so than autoloading counterparts.

    After all that, really it comes down to the biggest round you fire well, in the biggest package you can carry invisibly. I shoot a 9mm because I do not carry; it is a home defense and target pistol, and also my first gun, so cost of the weapon and the ammo was and is important. Others say you can't put a price on your safety and carry the "manstopper" 230-grain .45ACP in a compact 1911. For others, sub-compact "pocket pistols" are the only way to go, opening up .38 as a possibility and limiting the power of high-mass rounds like the .45 as the short barrel limits acceleration. And some want a bit of everything and choose a .40S&W compact. Speaking in terms of being on the other end, I would not want to take a hit from any of the above, making all of them effective against someone who notices and cares that they've been shot. Against a druggie, the object is rapid incapacitation, meaning you're aiming for major blood vessels and blood organs like heart/lungs/liver, and for the central nervous system (head/spine). Penetration is key for central nervous system, while big hole is key for blood-bearing organs. Either way, any of the above rounds will be effective; the key is shooting accurately, and so you want the most powerful round you can control.
    exactly the post i was looking for, thank you!

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