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Old July 1, 2008, 07:20 PM   #1
threegun
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An honest debate on why our carry cartridge needs power

In several threads here on TFL we have debated the pro's and con's of primary carry gun caliber. We have seen both sides make great points to support or disagree with both large and small calibers. One issue was raised but never really got debated and that was odds of being attacked and what kind of attack. I took the time to look at the FBI's 2005 Uniformed Crime Report and was really shocked to see the stats.

Robbery's totaled 338,100 in 2005. 42 percent were armed with a firearm.

Aggravated Assault's totaled 720,115 in 05. 21 percent used firearms.

Both of the above groups had over 60 percent of attackers armed with some type of weapon.

That means we have a 1 in 280 chance of being a victim and a 1 in 933 chance of being a victim to someone armed with a firearm.


Now given the odds of having to face an firearm armed adversary does caliber still mean little to you guys?
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Old July 1, 2008, 09:47 PM   #2
Scattergun Bob
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Hi 3 gun

I think caliber is an important consideration, I'm just not sure it is the most important consideration. I feel real comfortable packing my 625-4 on my hip, it is one of a long line of .45 revolvers I have carried, and I have faith in gun. That said, I really can not say that .45ACP/Auto Rim is anymore successful than .40 or 9MM or 38+P.

I know that dressed up in my Sunday go to meeting clothes, my p-7M8 packs a lot better and does not print like my big N-frame's.

I still stick with my first rule of a gunfight, "have a gun, within reason most any gun will do!"

Good talking with ya, 3 gun, Good Luck & Be Safe
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Old July 1, 2008, 10:32 PM   #3
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Just from what I've read and seen in videos, it seems to me ANY shooting back will turn an attacker on their heels. Most aren't expecting that.

Of course there's the 2% that are hopped up on something sick and don't feel much.
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Old July 1, 2008, 10:42 PM   #4
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Enough with the caliber wars

In 1992, a Hillsborough County Deputy shot a bad guy twice with a .45 Sig. The bad guy made a full recovery. Two weeks later, a Tampa Firefighter shot a bad guy once in the chest with a .380 pistol. That bad guy was DRT. During the same year, a fellow deputy with my agency shot a bad guy once in the chest with a 12 gauge shotgun police load. Six weeks later, that bad guy recovered enough to walk into the county jail under arrest. Please, enough with the caliber wars. We need to stop trying to change someone's mind because that person happens to carry a different caliber than someone else. We just won a major victory over the anti-gunners. Let's start working together to get nation wide carry. Not nation wide concealed carry, nation wide carry, period.
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Old July 1, 2008, 10:57 PM   #5
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I fail to see why knowing your statistical chance of being attacked would encourage someone to carry a particular caliber. I don't believe most people on TFL choose to carry a .38 or a 9mm "because their chances of being a victim are slim" or "I carry 45 because my chances of being attacked are better". I think most people have stated that they carry their caliber of choice because they believe it is sufficient to do the job.

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Old July 1, 2008, 11:49 PM   #6
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Here's a quote by Chuck Taylor in his "Combat Corner" column from the August 2008 issue of Combat Handguns.
"Though too often overlooked these days, in the high-speed world of combat pistolcraft, control is a major factor and is as important as accuracy, stopping power and functional reliability. It doesn't matter much how accurate or powerful a given load might be if it recoils so much that the typical shooter cannot "deliver the goods" to his target quickly enough or accurately enough under stress."
He's speaking about the difference between standard pressure and +P in .45ACP loadings, but the comment applies in general as well. Based on what I see at the range, there are a lot of people who would be better armed with a .22 than the hand-cannon they've picked primarily on the basis of caliber reputation. At least they might be able to hit something with a rimfire pistol.

According to Mr. Taylor, one needs to pick the best balance from among the following characteristics because all are equally important.

Accuracy (The ability to hit one's target.)
Control (The ability to fire repeatedly at a reasonable pace without significantly degrading accuracy.)
Stopping Power (Caliber)
Reliability (Does the gun, in your hands, work consistently?)

People like to focus on caliber because it takes the onus off them. If they can convince themselves that handgun effectiveness is measured by numbers on an ammunition box then they don't have to feel guilty about not practicing to gain and maintain a reasonable level of proficiency.
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Old July 2, 2008, 02:26 AM   #7
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I have a variety of handguns. I tend to think a .38/.32mag snubbie is the most practical self-defense gun for me - but it too is an amalgam of compromises. If it's ever used to shoot someone in a self defense situation, it will likely be done so at a range of about 7ft.or less. Yet, at the range, I see all these suburban commandoes in states of hypervigilance shooting .40S&W's out to 25yds. In the back of my mind, I note that during WW2, Churchill's bodyguard used a .32 and that U.S.Generals were issued Colt .32's.


One of the joys of plinking - is the lack of recoil. The other joy in plinking - is to hit the target. If one has a lot of recoil to deal with - well, half the fun is gone. I think a lot of the folks - especially new shooters who shoot big calibers - would probably enjoy things a lot more with a smaller caliber. I also think folks need to study more about self-defense itself than 'caliber.' Better to master a .25acp than to bungle a .45.
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Old July 2, 2008, 03:12 AM   #8
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I shoot 22lrs. I love em, and, I like to hit what I aim at. That said, I started really shooting 45 Super, and 454, and never looked back.

I'll turn this one over and say I'd rather take my new M44 carbine, in 7.62 X 54R to the party. Figure if that doesn't do a one shot stop, the guy will be blind, deaf, and, his partner in line will have an even bigger hole in him.

NEVER BRING A PISTOL TO A GUNFIGHT. The purpose of a pistol is to fight back to the rifle you should never have left behind...
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Old July 2, 2008, 05:50 AM   #9
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This is not intended to be a traditional "caliber war" as much as a "whats the minimum" to reliably end a confrontation. More specifically the very weakest vs the 38's and up.

Considering our foes are going to be armed over 60 percent of the time with some type of weapon and a third of those will be armed with a gun.

I was lead to believe that the chances of facing an armed attacker was "rare" which 1 in 280 isn't IMO. Now considering my 1 in 933 chance of having to face down a gun toting assailant and understanding how valuable good hits are to my survival and further understanding the dynamics of a gunfight, how can I voluntarily choose the tiniest of calibers to carry primary?

I fully understand that most attackers will run at the sight of your gun or after a round buzzes their tower but that still leaves an awful lot of folks who will exchange gunfire while retreating or press the attack. This IMO disqualifies any of the tiny calibers from performing primary carry duty unless they are the ONLY option.
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Old July 2, 2008, 06:14 AM   #10
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Also many have stated that folks increase caliber to make up for lack of ability or tactics. I believe that puny primary caliber carriers push forth this notion to justify carrying puny and while it may be true for a sizable part of the gun carrying world, I believe it is not true for most of the folks here on TFL nor does it increase punys punch. Most of us have given much thought to our self preservation and I would speculate even more so those of us in this debate on both sides. Most of us train on both sides. Most of us have developed tactics that fit our needs.

So when you feel the need to tout training just remember the bigger is better crowd trains also. All the training in the world won't make puny penetrate better.
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Old July 2, 2008, 06:33 AM   #11
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I think people believe that a .45 ACP or .357 mag = one shot stop. Period.

Most think that if they go to the range a few times a year and can hit a pie plate at 7 yards consistently with one of those calibers they are good to go. I'm not talking shooting from holster, I'm talking about picking the gun up from the bench.

I prefer to carry my XD .45 because I've shot a few thousand rounds through it and am fast and accurate out to fifteen yards with it. I can slow down and get nice hits with it out to 25 yards also. I will not hesitate to walk outside with only my Bersa .380 because I've shot about 800 rounds through it and am also fast and accurate with it. I have also practiced malfunction clearing, speed reloads, one hand firing (dominant and non-dominant) and so forth with both weapons.

As soon as I get that kind of round count through my M&P 9mm it will probably see more holster time as it heats up.

The most important consideration of a carry weapon to me is how it fits my hand and how many rounds I have put through it to know I trust it to perform and that I am familiar enough with it that I can operate it (load, reload, clear a stove pipe, manipulate safeties et al.) and shoot it quickly and accurately without consciously thinking about it.

I personally would not carry a .22 but if someone has trained with it and can hit 3 shots to the chest with it quickly and accurately more power to them. Better to have a gun you can shoot than to trust the mythical one shot stop power of a handgun that you likely could not get a SOLID chest shot with at 10-15 feet. I know that I would probably be a better shooter today had I started with a .22 and moved up instead of having to break myself from the flinching I picked up from my .40 cal.
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Old July 2, 2008, 06:41 AM   #12
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An honest debate on why our carry cartridge needs power

.300 H&H wrote: I see all these suburban commandoes in states of hypervigilance shooting .40S&W's out to 25yds. In the back of my mind, I note that during WW2, Churchill's bodyguard used a .32 and that U.S.Generals were issued Colt .32's.

A slight comment. Winston Churchill was his, when it got down to the bottom line, own bodyguard. He carried a Webley revolver in the pre-war days, then an American officer gave him a .45 Colt automatic, which he carried from that point forward. If you look at the photos of him wearing his ulster, the shape of old slabsides can be clearly seen in his right pocket. ;-P

I came to bet my life on the 1911 in the Navy in Vietnam, carried one as an LEO back home, and now as a civilian I sleep with one on the headboard of my bed loaded with Cor-Bon 230 gn. HPs. If I had a CCW permit I would carry my Springfield Armory GI .45, with the alternative being a S&W Model 19 .357 Magnum with a 4" bbl. But, I live in LaLa land where our local police or sheriffs agency gets to decide if you get a CCW permit based on a sliding scale of need. There are 7 permits issued in a jurisdiction with a population of 300k, and they are all issued to people who are worth more than 50 Million. Maybe the Supreme Court will address the CCW laws on the next round.

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Old July 2, 2008, 07:45 AM   #13
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Sigma, I agree that many folks are under false illusions about their handguns power. Many believe, like you said, that .45 equals instant stop and we know this to be very very wrong.

My contention is that there are also many folks who believe that a 22/25 isn't putting them at greater risk if they every had to use it.
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Old July 2, 2008, 07:56 AM   #14
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As stated in a prior posting. Accuracy, control and follow up shooting.
Accuracy had better be dead nuts on.
Think you are going to be accurate under stress? You are more than likely going to be squeezing the hell out of that pistol grip when you have to shoot. Get a gun that fits you accordingly.
Make sure that if and when you have to shoot that the caliber you are shooting returns to Point of Aim quickly..
I/net caliber wars are for the birds.
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Old July 2, 2008, 09:19 AM   #15
cyprian
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Back when I was a yung'un...

...About 2 weeks ago... I mean 2 decades, all right... I was a hotshot hothead with a Glock. My girlfriend and I get attacked by 2 dudes and I try to evade, we walk fast, I yell for cops, we weave across the st, you know the usual.. LSS, I pop the guy.

Lesson 0: Don't get your legal advice from Guns and Ammo.

Lesson 1: don't think that evading and yelling for help will help, during or after in court.

Lesson 2: don't shoot to stop. Shoot to kill. The prosecutor is going to look at it as "If you truly felt you were in enough danger to draw (a crime in our supposedly free country), then why didn't you shoot the chest?" ("Because not everyone who carries has police-style training, but whatever") [Implying that the gun is too much force when one guy is kicking the **** out of your girlfriend while the you tangle with the other, but whatever].

Corollary: If someone's chasing you when you've fought them off once already, just kill the dudes. It's probably better in court. Better to be judged by 12...
Theorem: Always use more than just one shot. I know it's basic, but don't forget it!

Lesson 3: Don't aim at the legs. Too hard to hit.

Lesson 4: Carry something bigger than a 9mm.
Corollary: don't deviate from your carry load and start carrying FMJ for some dumb reason.

Lesson 5: Don't wear a cheap holster. Get a thumb strap.

Lesson 6: Don't carry your Glock chambered. Or maybe don't if you have to use a cheap holster. But again, don't get the cheap holster.

Lesson 7: Don't let them get close enough to make a grab.

Lesson 9: Don't try to arrest anybody. Don't try to give them 1st aid. Don't get next to them. They may be playing possum. See Lesson 2.

But maybe most importantly, SEEK OUT TRAINING AS SOON AS YOU'RE LEGAL AGE! I was in the navy but before that has been a complete non-gunner. Even though I got .45 training and was surrounded by guns ranging from .45s to 16", I didn't take guns to heart until I got out. Learn as much as you can as soon as you can! All the above were bonehead mistakes which added up to near-catastrophe. I had to plea bargain for 4 months in County and lost my CCW as a result of being young and dumb--when I was the victim.

Lesson 10: Don't accept victimhood. I just used the word in the legal sense. Accept responsibility instead.
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Old July 2, 2008, 09:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Now given the odds of having to face an firearm armed adversary does caliber still mean little to you guys?
Yep, caliber doesn't mean as much to me as my returning accurate fire. Just as long as I hear a bang every time I pull the trigger and get hits with every bang. I am not very concerned whether I am killing or just wounding my attacker. I just want to convince my attacker to abandon his intentions of harming me and mine. If my hits hurt my attacker like the dickens, I am not all that concerned whether my bullets are .22's or .45's.
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Old July 2, 2008, 09:35 AM   #17
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Gee - I wonder if there will be a new insights in this thread.

By the way for stats - according to Gary Kleck - award winning criminologist - 95% of DGUs have NO shots fired. Since I move in academic circles, I asked him and several other criminologists if gun caliber has been shown to affect gun based deterrence and the answer is no.

So, this is a big yawn.

Is having a gun better than none - yes. The crazed biker who doesn't stop is not a high probability event as compared to the lack of efiicacy of having no gun.

Is it better to have the max power that you can shoot well? Yes.

So what - I explained it - everyone go watch Oprah. Or let's continue the same old crap on a thread driven by folks who just want to argue with each other.
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Old July 2, 2008, 09:36 AM   #18
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There is no question that caliber is important. Equally, there is no question that there are things more important, such as situational awareness, the ability to function under stress, at least a rudimentary knowledge of tactics, skill with the firearm, and reliability and availability of the chosen weapon.
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Old July 2, 2008, 09:51 AM   #19
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Can we stop the silliness?

[off topic]

Shooting to stop - Shooting a target in the center of available mass until the threat stops.

Shooting to wound - taking aim at a perceived non vital area. (this is illegal in my state, because if you had time to take aim at a non vital area, the threat wasn't immediate)

Shooting to kill - Murder. The only intent is to kill.

The keyboard commando stuff needs to stop. If you want to kill a bad guy, please go tell the cops, hopefully they will reconsider your CCW.

We want to STOP the threat. That's it. if the threat is stopped, and we continue shooting, we have committed MURDER or ATTEMPTED MURDER.

And the ludicrous idea that "dead men don't testify" needs to be rooted out of our community. 1) dead men testify, its called forensics, its when the dead get to speak volumes. 2) Having the idea that you want to kill any attacker to avoid troubles in court is PREMEDITATED MURDER.

So PLEASE, PLEASE, stop the bravado and the chest thumping. If attacked, defend yourself with whatever means necessary to defend your life and the lives of others. But please, we need to be adults cognizant of the law.

[/off topic]

The best advice I was ever given was "shoot the biggest caliber that you shoot best / are comfortable with". Its a personal choice, let people make the determination on their own, but be willing to help if requested.
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Old July 2, 2008, 09:51 AM   #20
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Yeah what buzz and Glenn Meyer said. Personally I wouldn't have a 9mm, but I wouldn't want a .25 unloaded in my face either.
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Old July 2, 2008, 10:13 AM   #21
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"Lesson 6: Don't carry your Glock chambered. "

So it's not safe to carry a glock with a rond in the chamber?
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Old July 2, 2008, 10:18 AM   #22
Glenn E. Meyer
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Geez - the chambered Glock thread rivals the caliber thread as:

NOT THIS STUFF AGAIN!

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Last edited by pax; July 9, 2008 at 01:52 PM. Reason: http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=301438
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Old July 2, 2008, 10:44 AM   #23
threegun
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Is it better to have the max power that you can shoot well? Yes.
Some have suggested otherwise..........which is what continues the debate. The same guys who tout how they would bring a rifle to a gunfight and not a handgun refuse to admit that bigger is better. Thats hypocritical thinking in my book.
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Old July 2, 2008, 11:08 AM   #24
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Shooting to kill - Murder. The only intent is to kill.
It matters not if in the course of self defense (in regard to legal use of lethal force) whether one intends to shoot to stop or shoot to kill. Within the guise of the law, one can shoot to kill so long as the shootee remains a threat warranting lethal force.
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Old July 2, 2008, 11:14 AM   #25
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DNS, I think its just not good to say "shoot to kill" at minimum for our shooting community.
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