By Eric J.
So, which carry handgun caliber is the “best”? After exhaustive research in the comment sections of various blogs and online forums, I have determined which cartridge is the best for self defense carry. Behold, the classic argument is settled for all time . . .
The .380 ACP is admittedly weak but it’s totally worth it if the only gun you can carry is a small one. But if you’re going to carry something that size, you might as well go for the reliability and versatility or a .38 special revolver.
Then again, .38 special itself is wholly inadequate as a service/defense cartridge when using traditional lead round nose bullets and is downright anemic compared to the .357 magnum.
The .357 magnum is fantastic, but has fairly stiff recoil and of course a revolver only holds 6 rounds, so you should go with the lesser recoil and higher capacity of 9mm Luger automatic.
The 9mm Luger is perfectly acceptable and has a good track record, except if you think it doesn’t or it isn’t manly or you use 147 gr ball, in which case the .40 Smith and Wesson is a good round, combining larger diameter than 9mm Luger and more energy than .45 ACP with less recoil than a hot .45 ACP load.
Of course if you’re going to step up to .40 S&W from 9mm you might as well go to .45 ACP because it is larger than .40 S&W and has less snappy recoil and is more manly/patriotic; besides which, contrary to what I just said the .40 S&W really combines the worst of .45 ACP and 9mm Luger, as it has higher recoil than 9mm Luger and smaller diameter than .45 ACP.
But .45 ACP bullets don’t go very fast and are overrated because what really matters is hydrostatic shock, which is where the .357 SIG comes in: less recoil than .40 S&W and .45 ACP and terminal ballistics like .357 Magnum.
Unfortunately, .357 SIG is kinda snappy and has intimidating flash and blast; it’s also super-expensive so maybe 9mm Luger is a good choice for gentle recoil, low expense, and lower muzzle blast.
And none of this matters if you won’t carry the gun, and that is where a small subcompact automatic in .380 ACP comes into its own and [RETURN TO BEGINNING]
(And if you, dear reader, happen to have an opinion on this matter, I’m sure you’ll be so kind as to educate us all in this post’s comment section.)