The Debate: .380 vs 9mm vs .40 vs .357 vs .50
Ah, the great concealed carry caliber debate. Everyone seems to have an opinion and an unwavering opinion.
What do you use: 380? 9mm? 10mm? I’m sure it’s obviously the best and only option. I’m also sure everyone else is an idiot for not using your personal favorite caliber.
The fight for the best caliber for self defense has existed on the internet since the internet was conceived. The only difference between then and now is that it’s even more polarized.
Take the GunDigest for example:
Trauma center studies report cranial shots to be the deadliest, with multiple close-range center mass shots —those striking vital organs or arteries — being second deadliest. In short, a .380 ACP is best served as your BUG (backup gun), the pistol you pocket or ankle carry as insurance.
This is not to disparage the .380 ACP, but it’s simply to state the facts medically, in terms of ballistics and based on the personal experiences of law enforcement officers and doctors. It’s enjoyed popularity for some time now based largely on affordability and concealability — which are undeniably fantastic — but where gun owners tend to go wrong is in utilizing it as their EDC (every day carry). There are situations where a pocket pistol is the only option due to legalities or other matters, but throughout our 50 states, those scenarios are the exception to the rule.
The late Col. Jeff Cooper once said, “The first rule of gunfighting is to have a gun.” It’s a good rule to follow, meaning any gun — even one of a smaller caliber — is better than no gun at all. A gun collecting dust in your safe does you no good, so get the gun you’ll actually train with and carry. Of course, Cooper also said, “Perhaps the first thing you should demand of your gun is that it be unfair.” Do you think a .380 ACP gives you an “unfair” (read: good) advantage over an attacker? Based on the aforementioned facts, I don’t think it does. Not at all.
And I, for one, want that unfair advantage.
Psh, the tiny .380 caliber? No thanks. Not nearly good enough. Thanks GunDigest.
What about the 9mm then?
Well, The American Riflemen would like a word with you…
We have had the .40 S&W cartridge since 1990, roughly a quarter century of active service. Much of that service was in law enforcement, but many civilian handgunners have also cheerfully climbed aboard the medium-bore bandwagon. When it’s evaluated on the basis of actual field performance, the .40 out-performs its closest competitor, the 9 mm Luger, but falls short of the .45 ACP. The amazing fact to be drawn from all of this is that the least-effective cartridge has become most popular. This is a situation in need of some serious examination.
… The development and deployment of the .40 S&W caliber is an understandable event. In many places, the cartridge will persist for decades and the need for its effectiveness is a very real phenomenon. In my view, the .40 is a better choice than the 9 mm; I was delighted when it was introduced.
Can’t stick with that puny 9mm when there is a perfectly good .40 lying around.
But hey, didn’t they say that the .40 falls short of the .45? Dang… but the .45 isn’t even as good as the .357. Which is a perfectly fine defensive round according to many such as SnubNose:
.357 Magnum as a Personal Defense Load
There is little dispute that the .357 Magnum works. After all, there aren’t many handgun cartridges that can claim to have brought down moose, elk, and grizzly bears. Most of the other handguns that can lay claim to felling large game are generally considered to be too large and have too much recoil for practical self-defense applications.
Listen, I agree with all of these authors above. Clearly these rounds just won’t do for self defense.
That’s why my personal favorite concealed carry is the Barrett M82A1 .50 BMG. Because it’s got just the right amount of stopping power that calibers like .380, 9, and even the .357 just can’t quite measure up too.
When faced with a life or death scenario you want to have the best advantage possible, right? Well, this is it.
It’s also reasonably priced at only the cost of a second mortgage.
Just look at the d*ck measuring contest:
Clearly the smaller calibers are just pathetic. They don’t have nearly enough stopping power or tactical advantage in a self defense scenario.
Even the 12 gauge just looks sad in comparison.
The Best Gun and Caliber For Concealed Carry: The Barrett M82A1 .50 BMG
I don’t think I need to argue in favor of this any more. Clearly, the .50 is better than the puny .357 round. Which is obviously better than the puny .40, which is obviously better than the…
Plus, if COVID turned into a zombie apocalypse this would be my go to carry. It’s simply the most efficient: 50 zombies with one bullet if you could line them up.
No objections? Great.
I’m glad we could finally settle this stupid debate over the best caliber for concealed carry.
I need your support to keep making awesome content. If you liked this article, please consider supporting your local neighborhood content creator.
You can sign up for my free newsletter here. Give us a bookmark and check back often.