What is the smallest caliber you trust to protect yourself?
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What is the smallest caliber you trust to protect yourself?

This is a discussion on What is the smallest caliber you trust to protect yourself? within the Off-Topic forums, part of the Main Category category; I just received this after responding to a post on the .22 short as a defensive round. The timing was ...

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    Default What is the smallest caliber you trust to protect yourself?

    I just received this after responding to a post on the .22 short as a defensive round. The timing was too comical, so here goes.

    "I remember one time while hiking with a friend in northern Alberta, and out of nowhere came this huge brown bear charging us and was she mad! We must have been near one of her cubs. Anyway, if I had not had my little Beretta Jetfire, I would not be here today.

    Just one shot to my buddy's knee cap was all it took....thee bear got him, and I was able to escape by just walking at a brisk pace.

    It's one of the best pistols in my collection....."

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    Firefighterchen's Avatar
    Firefighterchen is offline OC for Tactical Advantage
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    I believe any caliber will do if I do what I need to do. I put the trust in myself, not the bullet.
    “One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive one.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    40 cal hands down.

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    tattedupboy is offline Thank God I'm alive!
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    The smallest semi auto caliber I'd trust is 9mm. The smallest revolver caliber is a .38.

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    Someone did a study (buckeye firearm forums iirc) that the ability to stop the threat is good starting at 38 & 9mm. After that its nominal difference. The .22 did stop threats but it was a very low chance. If a 22 is all you can carry, carry it, but be ready to know that the threat will not stop right away.

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    Default What is the smallest caliber you trust to protect yourself?

    I think a .380 would be alright anything under that wouldn't be very good . The .38 revolver would be a nice one or two shot takedown .anything above that might be over kill ....

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    Depends on the circumstances and what I'm defending from. What I'd consider minimum for walking a beach in Miami would be different from what I'd consider minimum for walking the woods of Alaska. I carry a 45 almost all the time and I generally like to never go below 40 cal if I can help it. But a 44 magnum or 12 gauge slug would be my minimum for those Alaska woods.
    Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.--- John Quincy Adams
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    A .460 Weatherby....

    9mm class, which would include 38 special and 38 super.
    If, before undertaking some action, you must obtain the permission of society—you are not free, whether such permission is granted to you or not. Only a slave acts on permission. A permission is not a right. Ayn Rand


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    Quote Originally Posted by justxboxin View Post
    I think a .380 would be alright anything under that wouldn't be very good . The .38 revolver would be a nice one or two shot takedown .anything above that might be over kill ....
    The object of shooting a person is to stop an immediate threat. If I shoot at someone, there is no such thing as over kill.

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    We tend to forget that our opponent has a lot to say on when the fight stops. I've seen people dead from small (.22, .32) rounds and I've seen people still aggressive after receiving multiple 7.62 hits. While projectile design has come a long way in recent years, CNS hits with bullets big enough to cause immediate disruption are going to be the determining factor. While I wouldn't feel undergunned with a 9MM or a .38, and do carry them on occasion, I personally wouldn't carry anything smaller.

    Penetration comes into play also. Your weapon needs to be able to drive the bullet into your aggressor far enough to reach the CNS (spine). No problem if you're shooting someone in the back, but from the front or side, which is the normal aspect presented by an aggressor, you may have to cut through several inches of clothing, muscle, organs, etc. Shots to the vital organs will eventually take your aggressor out of the fight (the old blood out - air in depressurize the body method) but that may take some time. Your opponent doesn't need much time to bring a weapon to bear and pull the trigger.

    My EDC is a Springfield doublestack 1911 in .45., primarily because I've carried a 1911 for 20+ years and it's what I'm used to. My recommendation for new shooters is to carry the biggest gun they can control for effective follow on shots, but small enough that they will actually carry it. And herein lies the trade-off we're forced to make. I'm 6'1", 190#, and with experience in picking the proper holster and clothing can conceal my full size 1911. There are occasions where my wardrobe isn't conducive to carrying the full size gun, so a Kahr PM9 fills the leather. I'm more comfortable with the 1911, as it fills my hand, has the benefit of a longer sighting radius, and is punching nearly half inch holes on target. But I'm equally confident in my abilities to defend myself with the Kahr. I understand my shot placement is going to be slightly more critical with the 9MM. But it will do the job. For a 5' tall female that weighs 100#, hiding a full size handgun will be problematic. An easily concealed .45 may be difficult for them to effectively handle. So they may have to make the trade-off to a lighter caliber weapon, giving up muzzle energy for control. There are many factors involved in what you can effectively carry, and a reasoned approach to a decision is necessary.

    If all you have is a .22, it's better than nothing. However, there currently exists a huge selection of easily concealable, controllable weapons in proper defensive calibers so that CWP holders can provide themselves with a much better chance of survival.

    President & Lead Instructor
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