Considering a Firearm?

If You’re Considering a Firearm, What Should You Carry?

WARNING! As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. There are a lot of cheap pistols on the market that may be tempting due to their price point. Reliability and quality should never be overlooked when purchasing a carry pistol!

The best caliber for self-defense is a hotly debated subject among concealed carry permit holders, but these are also the people you should really listen to. A retired policeman once told me that it didn’t really matter what firearm you carried, how big it was or how powerful. It was about what you would carry on a daily basis so that you were always armed and ready to defend yourself.

This retired law enforcement agent carries two firearms almost everywhere he goes—a .380 caliber Walther PPK and a mini .22 revolver. The Walther in the small of his back, and the little mini .22 revolver in his left-front pants pocket.

Any firearm is better than no firearm, but size does matter. You need to pick the smallest quality firearm in the largest caliber that you can carry. Nowadays there are some pretty powerful firearms in small packages.

You CAN carry a .45 auto caliber pistol with a double stack magazine and have some serious firepower, but we’re talking EDC, and a full-size handgun is NOT reasonable to carry on a daily basis. Keep in mind as the caliber increases so does the knock down power—and the recoil.

These are common compact handgun calibers and offerings below:

.22 caliber

These little pistols can be easily concealed. They don’t weigh much and can be just enough to save your ass in a life or death situation. Just make sure you have the muzzle against your intended target. It’s only effective for self-defense with point blank shots. I wouldn’t rely on it for my main defense, but instead as a back up just in case.

.25 caliber automatic

Originally developed in 1906 by John Browning, this caliber isn’t very common and is seen more as a novelty in the modern market.

.32 ACP

This caliber while only having a short effective range has been fairly popular among concealed carry and compact pistol buyers. In the past it has been one of the few automatic cartridges that could be used in a very small firearm. Modern ammunition makes it fairly effective, but the ability to manufacture comparably small sized firearms in more powerful cartridges has caused it to become less popular than it was just years ago.

.380 ACP

The .380 is one of the most popular concealed and compact handgun calibers to date. It packs a fair amount of punch and is often considered the smallest caliber to be effective for personal defense. Ammunition is fairly easy to find and available in many different self defense loads. This caliber was the most popular caliber in the famed Walther PPK because of its low recoil and decent stopping power.

9mm auto

The 9mm is probably the most popular handgun cartridge ever introduced for the pistol market. It’s a go-to caliber for many police departments and militaries around the world. Now with advanced manufacturing technology, gun makers have been able to chamber very small handguns in this caliber offering a compact package with substantial stopping power. The 9mm bullet is barely larger than the .380 but it has more weight and more gunpowder behind it. It will penetrate farther but this isn’t always good for self-defense when there may be bystanders.

.40 ACP

This is a very popular and powerful round for self-defense. Some manufacturers are now releasing a sub-compact pistol for concealed carry in this round. It packs a lot of punch, and like the .45 it would only be recommended for an experienced and strong shooter.

.45 ACP

Just recently a few firearm manufacturers have started offering a sub-compact pistol that shoots the massive .45 automatic round. Springfield has been able to design a pistol shooting this great round that weighs only 21.5 ounces. It is only 1 inch wide and it holds 6 rounds. I would only recommend this caliber in a sub-compact pistol for the seriously experienced and confident shooter!

Although it may sound great to have a sub-compact handgun in the most powerful caliber you can get—there is a downside. These little guns have one hell of a kick. It’s important to remember that there is a delicate balance between power and size with handguns. You need to be able to handle the gun well, manage the recoil and be ready for follow up shots.

This isn’t the time to be the toughest guy on the block.

The best way to find the right fit for you is to go try them out. Many ranges have a variety of self-defense pistols that you can test out. Ask your friends who have concealed carry pistols how their chosen caliber handles, and if you’re really good friends they might let you shoot theirs.

Most experts that I’ve consulted with say that the .380 is the best self-defense pistol for daily carry. Now that the 9mm is available in a pistol that is virtually the same size and weight, you may consider it over the .380 if you’re able to handle the extra recoil.

The Best Pistol is Useless Without the Right Ammunition

Not only do you have to pick out the right pistol for your needs, but you need to make sure you have it loaded with the correct ammunition. Purchasing a quality pistol is expensive, and so is the best ammunition for self-defense. There are a lot of great ammunition manufacturers who are producing superior products.

Hopefully your local gun store has a good selection of ammunition for you to pick through, and I’m sure that they can make a good recommendation for you. When it comes to self-defense ammo, the only choice is a quality round made for that purpose. Manufacturers such as Golden Sabre, Hornaday, Powerball and others are industry leaders in self-defense ammunition.