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Service caliber choice acedemic for most civilians

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by cole, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. cole

    cole Millennium Member

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    I'm a keyboard quarterback, like most of you. I've spent more time researching and analyzing service calibers and handguns than I like to admit, and I think the links in my signature show that. It's been an evolution in many ways. Through my own experience, research and reasoning, even a little maturity, here's what I've come to believe:

    1) My CCW caliber needs as a citizen are not the same as LE (e.g. I do not expect to shoot through much auto glass). Also, gun size very much matters as I must CCW not open carry, so won't/can't tote a full-size "duty" gun. Intended application matters.

    2) In optimal service loads, 9mm, .357sig, .40sw and .45acp are all adequate. 10mm trumps them all; 45 Super even more still. Load Data

    3) There is a performance difference in 9mm, .40sw and .45acp. They are not equal, but they are comparable in that they are all adequate and it's a scale from good-better-best. Comparing the average performance of optimal loads in each, I believe, based on optimal selections in each, 9mm to be at best 95% of .40sw and at best 90% of .45acp, and the .40sw to be at best 95% of .45acp. (Data: Load Data, Caliber Data % & Caliber Talk) Those are greatly simplified percentages, but what I've observed looking at aggregate data. The main point: To me, the difference, whatever it may be, matters less to me than it once did.

    4) Selecting a CCW
    ..... 1) Cost (my budget has limits) = Good: .45acp; Better: .40sw; Best: 9mm (lower ammo cost = more shooting; see #3)
    ..... 2) Reliability = Tie. One reason why I chose Glock: Why Glock | A Glock is a Glock | Your Glock Experience?
    ..... 3) How well I shoot the gun = Good: .40sw; Better: .45acp; Best: 9mm
    ..... 4) Ease of maintenance/use = Tie. One reason why I chose Glock: Why Glock
    ..... 5) Size of gun (I prefer mid-size guns to shoot, small size for CCW) = Good: .45acp; Best: .40sw/9mm
    ..... 6) Capacity = Good: .45acp; Better: .40sw; Best: 9mm
    ..... 7) Caliber = Good: 9mm; Better: .40sw; Best: .45acp (Load Data, Caliber Data %, Caliber Talk)

    5) The odds caliber will ever matter for me as a cautious citizen are incredibly slim. Do the math and citizen caliber selection (for almost all citizens) is for peace of mind through the idea of greater security. Example, for conceptual illustration only:
    ..... 1) Likelyhood as a cautious adult male citizen in rural or suburban America that I'll ever actual NEED my SD handgun in my lifetime: .0001% (note: this % is once in 20 years)
    ..... 2) Likelyhood I'll even have my SD handgun when/if I do actually ever need it: <25% (My time: work (no CCW) = >25%; home (w/ shotgun) = >50%; CCW = <25%)
    ..... 3) Likelyhood just presenting the gun will end the threat: 90+%
    ..... 4) Likelyhood I'll hit my target COM: <40% (police shootings <40% hits)
    ..... 5) Likelyhood I'll make a shot where a 5%-10% difference in performance will even matter: <5%
    ..... 6) Likelyhood my greater speed/proficiency with 9mm follow-up shots will even matter (average gun fight less than 3 shots, directly effects #4): >5%
    ..... 7) Likelyhood my service caliber selection will ever matter: Result of #1-#6.

    Happy shooting.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
  2. G26S239

    G26S239 NRA Patron

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    PRK
    I own 9mm, 357 Sig, 40 S&W, 45 ACP and various other calibers and I like all four listed calibers a lot. Your logic is sound, the 9 will work just fine. There is one area where I disagree with your post and that is to do with police. When I was in the military I was not a civilian, after leaving the military I was a civilian. Any cop who is not in the military and not subject to the UCMJ is a civilian. They are answerable to civil, not military, authorities.
     

  3. J.P.

    J.P. Intergalactic

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    I'm not sure I agree with this one at all....
    If there was a definitive study to prove this, maybe.
     
  4. novaDAK

    novaDAK

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    If you've gone the distance and decided to carry a gun for self defense, why skimp at this point? Carry the best and most effective caliber you can shoot well.
     
  5. MSgt Dotson

    MSgt Dotson

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    One does not usually see '.45 ACP' referred to as merely 'adequate', that is funny! :)
     
  6. cole

    cole Millennium Member

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    Sorry, it was 92%: http://www.gunowners.org/fs0404.htm
    * Of the 2.5 million times citizens use their guns to defend themselves every year, the overwhelming majority merely brandish their gun or fire a warning shot to scare off their attackers. Less than 8% of the time, a citizen will kill or wound his/her attacker.<SUP>22</SUP>

    Other reports use this number as well*. My bad on my 95% (+3%) exaggeration. Post updated.

    *p.s. range is arguably 90%-98%, but we'll use the low number none-the-less.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2008
  7. cole

    cole Millennium Member

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    Good point. I'm thinking non-LE. You as military of course define civilian as non-military. Point noted, post updated.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2008
  8. Overall I agree with what you wrote. I do have a few comments.


    I've followed a wandering path over the last 20 some years, carrying everything from .22's and .25's to .44 magnums. I've settled on the 9MM and am very comfortable with it.

    I think this is very true. A lot of folks get caught up in what the FBI recommends and you need 12" of penetration. Citizen CCW shootings are different than police shootings and I don't think we need the penetration and barrier performance that the police do.


    I don't know that I like the word "Trumps" the 10mm is slightly better than the others if you can shoot it well.

    I think they are closer to each other than your percentages, but I have no problem with the order you ranked them, I do think the .40 S+W is a little better than the 9MM and the .45 ACP is a little better than the .40 S+W. I personally think, that given proper ammo choice, the 9mm is 95%-98% of what the .40 S+W is and the .40 is 95%-98% of what the .45 ACP is and the 9MM is 92%-96% of what the .45 ACP is.

    Got no problem with that, pretty decent analysis.

    You really need to work on that. If your shotgun is at home then your handgun should be on you. The likely hood you have your handgun on you when you need it should be near 100%


    I've said it many times before and I'll say it again. If you pick a premium JHP in a service round like the 9mm, .357 Sig, .40 S+W, .45 GAP, .45 ACP, or even the 10 MM your performance, meaning your ability to place a shot and keep from getting shot, will matter much more than the difference in performance of those rounds.
     
  9. cole

    cole Millennium Member

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    Good thoughts. Reality for me, and most citizens, on CCW carry:
    Week = 168 hours
    Work = 25%-30% (I can't CCW at work)
    Home = 40%-50% (shotgun)
    Balance = 20%-35% (max possible to CCW)
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2008
  10. fredj338

    fredj338

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    I would pretty much agree. Handguns for SD/HD are really no diff. than using a rifle for dangerous game animals. You have a threat to stop. SHoot the largest caliber, w/ a good bullet, than you can hit effectively with & you'll have a better chance of stopping the fight sooner. I use them all & normally let platform dictate cartridge choice. I still like & trust in the 45acp, especially in a 1911 platform. You don;t need +p or overly complicted bulet designs. I'll also agree that CCW/HD doesn't require the bonded bullet tech. that LEO need for shooting though auto glass. I do think that you still need as much penetration as you can get. Like in hunting, I want a bullet that reaches vitals from any possible angle.
     
  11. ArmoryDoc

    ArmoryDoc

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    ..... 1) Likelyhood as a cautious adult male citizen in rural or suburban America that I'll ever actual NEED my SD handgun in my lifetime: .000001%

    Well Cole, I would just not worry about even carrying then. You ain't ever gonna need it anyway so why bother choosing a caliber ?

    There ya go.
     
  12. cole

    cole Millennium Member

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    Better to have a gun and not need one, than need a gun and not have one.
     
  13. ArmoryDoc

    ArmoryDoc

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    The odds caliber will ever matter for me as a citizen are incredibly slim. Do the math and citizen caliber selection (for almost all citizens) is for peace of mind through the idea of greater security.

    And then, based on this rationale...Better to have a gun and not need one, than need a gun and not have one.

    Better to have a bigger bullet than might do more damage than smaller, just in case. ;)
     
  14. cole

    cole Millennium Member

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    My "rationale" is a bit more detailed than just caliber as outlined in my original post:
    # 7 in CCW may simply be higher on your list than mine. Different strokes for different folks. :thumbsup:
     
  15. coverdog

    coverdog Platinum Member

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    I'm curious where gunowners gets their figures from and how close to accurate they could be.

    Hopefully it's not from some of the BS'ers that post on here about their "experiences":supergrin:
     
  16. ArmoryDoc

    ArmoryDoc

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    It is. That, and training.
     
  17. cole

    cole Millennium Member

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    We very much agree on the value to training: it's my #3 because how well I shoot is the result of training. My #1 (cost) means I can train more (i.e. I can shoot twice as much 9mm, and I now only train/shoot/CCW with one gun, G19), and nothing else comes before using a reliable weapon.
     
  18. cole

    cole Millennium Member

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    Check out Lotts' "The Bias Against Guns".
     
  19. Dr. Courtney

    Dr. Courtney

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    I've seen a different perspective. Lots of hangun owners practice little with guns they've owned for a while. However, when they buy a new gun (possibly in a new caliber), they suddenly are turned on to practice again for some period of time while they are "breaking it in" and getting used to it. If changing from one service caliber to another is the best way to get some people to put a few hundred rounds downrange, then by all means, the best service caliber is one they don't have yet. :^)

    Michael
     
  20. cole

    cole Millennium Member

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    I agree. I now own and train with only the Glock 19 in 9mm as a SD/CCW weapon. I've simply never shot another gun inherently as well from the start, with training I've only improved and I kept coming back around to that reality. How well matters more than with what service caliber IMHO.

    In the past it was 3-4+ diffent guns and/or gun platforms/calibers in the rotation. However, I'm not a diehard practitioner as shooting is one of my hobbies (to both fund and enjoy) and so I only shoot 2-4x monthly. I realized my proficiency is FAR greater utilizing one platform, one gun and one caliber.

    I've persoanlly gone "all in" on 9mm, not because it's best for everyone, but because it's best for me. I subscribe to the saying, "beware the (wo)man with one gun".