I've always looked at gun size as a situational thing. You want to be carrying the largest gun possible, while still being reasonable to conceal for the area you're in. If that place is a gun show, and no one is going to care if they happen to "make" you, go all out. If you're going to carry at work, and going with "don't ask don't tell" or have permission on grounds you don't cause a fuss, go with a smaller weapon that you know you can conceal adequately.
In short, dress to the situation.
I prepare for the possible that is likely rather than the unlikely simply because it is possible. Reminds me of the time an elephant escaped from a traveling circus and trampled a townsman to death. It made the national news. However, no one ran out and bought elephant guns simply because it was proven that it could happen. We always have to keep in mind that we are a population of over 300 million and our odds of being victims of violent crime are small and even smaller depending on race and economic factors. Myself and others have proven that you can draw faster from the pocket than most can from an IWB holster as long as you wear pants with properly sized pockets. It takes very little time to grab my gun and pull it out. Heck, when I carry a revolver I can even shoot from my pocket if I need to. When sitting for long periods my 17 oz. gun is light in a belt holster.
I am a realist and recognize that the odds are overwhelmingly that I will die of natural causes like everyone else around me. Now do I really want to carry a 3 lb gun for the rest of my life or carry a comfortable gun that you forget you have. I have 87 holsters and 6 gun belts from top makers and while they do help, you still are carrying a heavy gun no matter what. For some reason I seem to be the one that always has a gun on him when others leave theirs home. Seems that they do not feel a need to carry their big guns all the time. Only when they think they need them. Heck, when I think I need one, I too carry my HK and a BUG. However, for day to day stuff, I always have a gun in my pocket and that is more than I can say for anyone else I personally know around where I live.
We all make our own choice. If you think you need a full sized gun to feel safe than by all means by one. However if you are like me, you will keep a fire extinguisher in your house rather than a fire truck in your garage. You go with the odds and prepare for what is most likely. Kudos to those that carry big guns. I have known a few that carried two full duty sized ones. However they seemed to think it was more dangerous outside their door steps than I do and it pisses them off that I am now 62 and they cannot prove me wrong in my gun choice.
All this talk about which gun is better for carry...
But there's been nothing mentioned about skill and technique.
Since the OP is a relatively new pistol shooter. That's an important consideration.
Small guns are hard to shoot effectively. The smaller the gun, the harder it is to hit something with it.
Effective shooting with a pocket-size gun takes lots of practice, and maintaining that very fungible skill requires continuing practice.
Before taking up a pocket-size pistol of any reasonable self-defense caliber, one first should have become a pretty good shot with a full-size gun.
Then you get a good mini-pistol, and your struggle begins.
I strongly suggest that the minimum qualification for carrying a pocket gun is that you be able to make quick, accurate hits out to at least 20 yards with it.
Since most self-defense shooting is done at closer range, if you can hit at 20 yards, you can easily hit at seven while running on "auto-pilot." That'll save your life.
Oh... And about the title of this thread...
Don't limit yourself to any one caliber. It's not really true that "9mm...[is] Best for Everyday Carry." If you're a competent enough shot, .380 ACP is quite acceptable, and much easier to learn to shoot well. I carried a .45 ACP pocket pistol for many years, and I was very good with it. (I've switched to .380 now, because of arthritis issues.)
Accurate bullet placement trumps ballistics, every time. A good, solid hit with a .22 rimfire will stop a fight better than will a peripheral hit with a .357 Magnum, or a miss with anything.
I carry a Smith and Wesson 3913 or a Glock 19 more than anything else. I figure 8 rds of 9mm 127 +p+ Rangers will save me in 99% of encounters. A Glock 19 is a great gun and the NYPD carry it without many problems of it being under powered with the 124 gr Gold Dot. I have carried it for about 20 years now and don't feel like the job can't get done with it. Now that being said I guess if I were in a handgun fight I would want my 1911 .45acp with 230 gr Hydroshocks but if I shoot well, and I do: the 9mm should have the same effect.
Just because your friend is/was in the Green Beret, doesn't mean he's an expert on firearms.
Now, if he had been in the Army Airborne, that would have been a whole different situation.
The .380 is limited to a 90 grain bullet, in most premium ammo, and may or may not reach the 12" of penetration which the FBI set as a minimum requirement (in their specific formula ballistic gel) for a self defense gun. You can increase that by using FMJ ammo, but you give up all the expansion properties.
A 9x19 (Luger) can be loaded with 147 grain ammo, and it will penetrate beyond the 12" mark easily, practically the same as a .40 S&W and .45 ACP, and it gives up none of its expansion properties.
It would be logical to believe that 11 -12" of penetration would be sufficient, except that it gives little margin for error, such as the possibilty that it may have to pass through an arm first, or a heavy coat, or that your attacker may be unusually large or densely muscled. With the extra 2-4 inches of penetration that you can expect from a 9x19, that is considerably less of a factor.
I avoid having to carry a .380, when possible, but when I do, I load it with FMJ's, which yield 16-20" of penetration, and hope that I'm able to hit a precise spot, if attacked.
EDIT: Never mind - others have explained it much better. I failed to read the entire thread, before commenting.
I generally alternate between a S&W Shield in .40 or a .45 XDs. When conditions permit, I carry a S&W M&P .45 full-size (10+1, no thumb safety).
Frankly, this is like someone telling me what brand and style of underpants I need to wear because it worked great for them. Good on them, but guns, like underpants, are a personal decision. You will eventually settle on what's most comfortable for you.
If mouse guns were so great, everyone would love them. Oddly enough, many people don't find them particularly enjoyable to shoot. Nor, let's be honest, do most people shoot them well.
I personally prefer a larger chunk of lead when given the option. I carry a Dan Wesson CCO. It's easy to conceal and I can shoot it very well.
Buy and carry what you like.
Very nice piece, Overkill0084,
I have the taurus pt740 its a .40 cal holds 6+1 and wieghs 18 ounces shoot good out to 30 yards
When I'm in my home state I carry a .40 Glock 23, at home you can't beat a 12ga. 00 buck for placement.
My winter months condo in the south I can't legally carry concealed because I don't own the property (I lease it).
I cannot express how much I agree with bold parts above (and the post in general). What I like and can shoot very well is my recently purchased Beretta Nano. That does not mean it is a good choice for anyone else; just that it is a great fit for me. Only by trying one yourself will you know if it is a good choice for you.
You are legally allowed to do anything permitted to a homeowner, unless your lease or rental agreement specifies otherwise.
Ask your lawyer.
^ Agree... by law that is your property and you have an expectation of privacy as well as a right to defend it under the Castle Doctrine. Apartment renters or hotel rooms work this way well.
I was going to take the class and get a state issued carry permit (SC) but the gun store owner that teaches the 8 hour class (1/2 spent on gun laws) says unless I am actually a property owner (not just leasing) the state won't issue me a permit. I wanted the class because I thought it would be informative and fun (the shooting range part) however you are quite probably correct about my PA permit rules applying. I'll have to ask him that specific question when I go back to buy another gun (thank you Diane!).
I was chatting with a sheriff's deputy that patrols the beach (moved down from PA many years ago) & he said while driving back & forth I must comply with each state's laws concerning loaded/unloaded, on-person vs. in glove box, etc. as I pass through those states. I may take the class just to learn those laws.
It's a bit of a nuisance but apparently SC law requires the guns I purchase to be shipped to PA (home state) rather than walking out the door after an immediate check (as in PA) or even a waiting period.
It's not that you are leasing the property upon which you reside, but that you seem to be a permanent citizen/resident of another state.
You can be a permanent resident of only one state at a time, and your state of permanent residence is usually determined by your driver's license.
If you hold a Pennsylvania driver's license, but you are living in South Carolina, you may possess any South-Carolina-legal weapon on your leased property, but your carry permit has to come from Pennsylvania. If South Carolina respects your Pennsylvania permit, or if South Carolina issues an out-of-state permit, you're OK to carry. But if it doesn't, you can't.
And, yes, absent your own FFL, you have to buy your guns in Pennsylvania.
The question I'll have to ask that you've raised is whether I could then also "buy" handguns in SC.
Years ago I did hold an FFL but it was too much paperwork for only selling ~100 guns a year.