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  • Writer's pictureBrad Parker

Myth Busting: Best Defensive Gun Calibers

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

The .45ACP is the best defensive handgun round.

The .380 is too small to be considered for defensive purposes.

The 9mm is a .45 set for stun.

A .22 will kill you just as well as a larger caliber.

The .410 revolver is a joke.

Any caliber is fine as long as it starts with a '4'.

The 9mm is just like a real bullet, only smaller.

We've all heard a lot of variations of these discussions our entire careers. Many of us have various truths burned into our brains regarding the effectiveness of handgun calibers for defensive uses. There used to be frequent mentions of all sorts of studies, like the Marshall-Sanow studies, on terminal ballistics. All of them have supporters and detractors.

If you check out this video discussing the findings of a real world studies done by Greg Ellifritz over 10 years you can see why the FBI has concluded that the 9 mm is as practical as the .40 and the .45. The move by the FBI back to the 9mm is a direct rebuke to their earlier move away from the 9mm to the 40 caliber after deeming the former to be inferior to the latter. Now you can see why there is so much contention. The "experts" have been arguing about this for ever. I wonder how many millions were spent by various agencies moving back and forth between the two calibers. The good news is that you can get former P.D. .40 Glocks for a reasonable price. And, I'm told there is a reasonable availability of .40 ammo on some merchant's shelves.

After viewing this video, does it make you consider any changes in the way you considered defensive handguns?

His conclusion about the similarities of handgun calibers for defense of use squares away with a lot of our previous posts:

As you look to consider your first handgun or defensive handgun's for family members, keep in mind the findings of this video above. It might make it more comfortable to accept different options than you considered before. Some of these options might provide choices that different shooters can embrace.


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