What is the minimum caliber you need to feel safe?


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I carry .45 acp (Glock) every day. But when I can't carry a gun it's the kel tec .380 that I take. I have to admit that the .380 makes me feel a little under gunned. But a .380 in the pocket is better than a .45 in the safe.

So what is the minimum caliber you need to carry to feel safe?

I feel the same way..380 is minimum for me..since I have sold all of my 45's a few years ago, I am currently 45less so now I am packing two 380's. A 45 is in my future agn, but for now, the 380's will go with me. I do have a 9mm but feel it's too big and bulky to conceal effectively..have it in a leg holster and it works just fine there here on the farm.
I bought my .32 before I really got into concealed carry, actually the day I was getting my permit. After reading a lot, it seems that .380 was the lowest caliber to really use. But I still carry just my .32 sometimes, its better than nothing. When I get a revolver it will be a .38 or larger, I think.
Yaaaay! Caliber war!

(I'm kidding... <ducks for cover>)

Well, to be quite honest... if one looks at the problem of lethal self-defense from the two extreme positions, that is a difficult question to answer simply because all of the potential variables are impossible to consider, likely or not...

- A .22lr pistol would be adequate in most circumstances simply because one would be more likely to be able to precisely hit a vital area, and fire both rapidly and accurately.

on the other hand...

- One never knows just how much meth/crack/cocaine the BG(s) you are facing have just partaken, and it could literally require removing large amounts of tissue to stop them... in that case, most handgun calibers are insufficient.

Personally, I like the .357sig for SD. It hits as hard as a decent .357magnum load, with less felt recoil, and higher capacity.

I would have no qualms about carrying a 9mm or .38special. I have before. I've carried a .32acp... but I did so knowing that it was up to me to make them count.

All a bigger caliber does is provide the user with slightly more margin for error.
Asked my nephew (an undersheriff who has been through the FBI academy) what his thoughts were on this. He says, somewhat tongue in cheek, that the FBI's idea is that unless the caliber starts with .4, it is ineffective.

With modern ballistic technology, and the availability of decent ammunition specifically designed for self defense, just about any caliber can be used.

Unless it was all I had available, I certainly wouldn't want to depend on anything less than a 9mm. I have both 9mm and .45acp at present and carry either a G19 or 1911 as circumstances dictate.

This is a subject that will generate many differing opinions. Use what you have, and with what you have, practice, practice, practice and more practice. That way any disparity in caliber between you and the bg's becomes a minimal factor in any armed confrontation.
I feel confident with a 9mm. I prefer my 40 or 45 though. I also have a Kel Tec 380. as you said, I would much rather have that with me than have to through rocks at a bg :)
With modern ballistic technology, and the availability of decent ammunition specifically designed for self defense, just about any caliber can be used.

I think this is the key. If you look at most ballistics tests, penetration and expansion most anything between 9mm and .45 acp perform about the same (with the exeption of maybe .357 mag. which penetrates like mad).

As you said any quality sd ammo can be used well in just about any caliber.
i carry a 380 most of the time.a 45 the rest of the time.i prefer a swc in my revolvers.bought a lyman 4 cavity 451460 to try out in my 1911.a swc cuts a hole and will still penetrate.i am hoping for 950 fps from a 5" barrel.
I think it has less to do with the caliber of the gun and more with the comfort and training with it. I know I've used some 9mm's that I was absolutely terrible with and the recoil screwed me over for a follow-up shot and then used some particularly heavy 45s that a follow-up shot and much much easier. I mean if you can be dead-on with a 22 pistol but can't hit a broad side of a barn with a larger caliber, the choice is obvious. I mean I'd love to carry around an XD45 with 13 rounds of 45 ready to go, but with the comfort level I have with my 229, I wouldn't trade it for the bigger hole.
My first choice would be my .45, but I bought the M&P9 because ammo is going through the roof and I like to shoot. I feel very comfortable with the 9mm. If for some reason I can't hit the perp with the first two, I have 15 more tries.

The bare minimum would be a .38. I carry my 642 loaded with SGDHP 135gr+P. I also carry a speed strip. In no way do I feel out gunned with this setup. nice and light with plenty of power.
I feel ok going w/ out a gun but prefer to carry just in case. A .32 is fine for most any evening out but I normally have the .380. sometimes bigger
For me the .380 is usually a BUG. If I couldn't carry a .45ACP or 9MM, I wouldn't feel too bad carrying the .380. But .380 is the minimum cal. I would choose to defend myself.

a 380 keltec in the front pocket most of the year here in florida..naa mini, 9mm derringer backup...two days a year when i can wear a jacket, i strap on my 9mm MAC...i am looking forward to those days...gpr
I carry either a 45 or a 32, both ACP :).

The P3AT was new and impossible to get when I bought my P32. I would prefer the 380 but have to settle for the 32. I think the next carry only pistol I buy will be the Keltec PF-9, until then I have to either carry my Kimber or settle for the little 32.
9mm is my minimum. I'm thinking seriously about picking up a nice .38+p hammerless snubbie for a bug, though.
P3AT with Cor-bon or Speer Gold Dots is minimum. Have also carried Llama 1911's in .22,.32, and .380 cal. Prefer my Colt, Sig, or Kimber in .45 acp.
Any weapon available at the time I needed one would make me feel good! A well placed shot with a 22cal will do the job. Most so called professional hits use a silencer and the most popular is a 22cal with sub-sonic ammo. In order to silence a weapon you must use sub-sonic ammo. Anything that has a muzzle velocity of less than 1100 fps can be silenced, so placement is key. Personally I like to at least have a 9mm on me but if I need a smaller weapon for concealment I do use a .380. .25 auto is out of the question. Remember a face full of 25's will only piss off the assaulter!:D

(Disclaimer: Notice the smiley...I'm being sarcastic!;) )

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