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Old September 23, 2007, 06:27 PM   #1
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Most Common Handgun Ammo

I was explaining to a friend (non-shooter) a few days ago the things you consider when looking at purchasing a handgun. After discussing comfort, purpose, reliability, etc; I mentioned ammo commonality (is that a term?). He looked confused so I mentioned that some calibers have more accessible/cheaper ammo if the gun is a common caliber. He asked me what were the top 5 most common handgun calibers and I named a few, but then I started to think. At the time I told him (in no certain order):
.38 special
and maybe .380acp

but if I had no name the "most used" handgun calibers in order of use, I'm not sure I would know where to begin. How would you list it?
I'm probably wrong but I'll start:
1. either 9mm or .22lr
2. .45acp
3. .38spl or maybe 40S&W
4. .380acp
5. .357mag or 32.acp
Walther P99 AS (9mm), Bersa Thunder 380cc (.380acp), H&R Sportsman Model 999 (.22LR), Remington 1100 LT-20
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Old September 23, 2007, 09:17 PM   #2
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Price is your best guide to how common a caliber of ammo is, there's another thread around that discusses this in the context of .380.

I would leave out .22LR from discussion of defensive handgun calibers.

So my list:

1. 9mm
2. .38 Special
3. .45 ACP
4. .40 S &W

Not sure of a 5th. To start out with a pistol, I would go with 9mm. With a revolver, a .357 magnum which of course fires both .357 and .38 Special.
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Old September 23, 2007, 09:49 PM   #3
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Here's my test: go to Walmart. If they have whatever caliber, you shouldn't have trouble finding it anywhere else.
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Old September 23, 2007, 11:40 PM   #4
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I would say the most common ammo would be


in no particular order

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Old September 24, 2007, 09:52 AM   #5
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IIRCm the industry lists .22, .38, and 9mm as the most common based on sales. That has been a while back, though, and I wouldn't doubt if the .38 had fallen out in favor of either the .40 or the .45.
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Old September 24, 2007, 11:09 AM   #6
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.40 and .38 are the same price at Wall Wort, so I would say that .40 is now as/more popular than the .38.

About advising friends on firearm calibers. New shooters should take a NRA gun safety course first. I would say to try shooting the popular calibers next. After choosing the optimal caliber for the new shooter, finally narrowing it down to trying pistols within the selected caliber, to find which you will finally buy. Obviously, if a couple are thinking gun ownership, both should perform the testing, which may lead to a compromise caliber. I like to try different calibers/pistols in each hand because you can instantly compare them. Most ranges will rent a selected group of guns/calibers.
A .22 or a conversion unit is probably the best bet for practicing due to lower ammo costs.

Shot placement is everything, caliber is secondary, IMHO.

Shooting is fun and while you may think you are going to go with one pistol/caliber it rarely works out that way. You sorta slide into multiple gun/caliber ownership the longer you mess with the sport. But hey...whatever floats your boat...
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Old September 24, 2007, 11:54 AM   #7
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I stick with .40 with all my guns, except the 9mm conversion barrels I have for the XDs

I'm used now to paying $21 for 100 .40sw
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Old September 24, 2007, 12:24 PM   #8
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There is no way the 38 and 40 can be equal, no matter what Wally World says. There are way more 38/357 wheel guns out there than .40 pistols. Around my parts the top 5 most popular or "common" calibers are.
45 acp
40 S&W
When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away!!
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