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Old 10-08-2008, 20:32   #1
cole
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Service caliber choice acedemic for most citizens

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.
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Last edited by cole; 10-25-2009 at 11:17..
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Old 10-08-2008, 21:29   #2
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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.
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Old 10-08-2008, 22:17   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cole View Post
3) Likelyhood just presenting the gun will end the threat: 95+%
I'm not sure I agree with this one at all....
If there was a definitive study to prove this, maybe.
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Old 10-09-2008, 00:12   #4
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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.
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Old 10-09-2008, 05:42   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cole View Post
2) In optimal loads, 9mm, .357sig, .40sw and .45acp are all adequate. 10mm trumps them all.
.
One does not usually see '.45 ACP' referred to as merely 'adequate', that is funny!
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:13   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.P. View Post
I'm not sure I agree with this one at all....
If there was a definitive study to prove this, maybe.
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.
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Last edited by cole; 10-09-2008 at 10:21..
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:14   #7
cole
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G26S239 View Post
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.
Good point. I'm thinking non-LE. You as military of course define civilian as non-military. Point noted, post updated.
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- Evil prevails when the good do nothing - Burke
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Last edited by cole; 10-09-2008 at 10:17..
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:51   #8
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Overall I agree with what you wrote. I do have a few comments.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cole View Post
I'm a keyboard quarterback, like most of you. I've owned 9mm, .40sw and .45acp. In semi-autos I started with a 9mm, went .40sw, then to .45acp, back to .40sw, and now have come full-circle back to 9mm. I've reloaded target .357mag, .45acp and 9mm. 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:
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.

Quote:

1) My CCW caliber needs as a citizen are not the same as LE. Intended application matters.
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.


Quote:

2) In optimal loads, 9mm, .357sig, .40sw and .45acp are all adequate. 10mm trumps them all.
I don't know that I like the word "Trumps" the 10mm is slightly better than the others if you can shoot it well.

Quote:

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 9mm to be about 85%-90% of .40sw and 80%-85% of .45acp, and the .40sw to be about 85%-90% 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.
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.

Quote:

4) Selecting a CCW
..... 1) Cost. My budget is not limitless = Good: .45acp; Better: .40sw; Best: 9mm (due to ammo cost and more shooting aids #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) = Good: .45acp; Best: .40sw/9mm
..... 6) Capacity = Good: .45acp; Better: .40sw; Best: 9mm
..... 7) Caliber = Good: 9mm; Better: .40sw; Best: .45acp
Got no problem with that, pretty decent analysis.

Quote:

5) 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. Example, for conceptual illustration only:
..... 1) Likelyhood as a cautious citizen in rural or suburban America that I'll ever actual NEED my SD handgun in my lifetime: .000001%
..... 2) Likelyhood I'll even have my SD handgun when/if I do actually ever need it (note: shotgun is home gun): <25%
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%

Quote:
..... 3) Likelyhood just presenting the gun will end the threat: 90+%
..... 4) Likelyhood I'll hit my target COM: <50% (I think police shootings are 40% hits)
..... 5) Likelyhood I'll make a shoot where a 10%-20% difference in performance will even matter: <5%
..... 6) Likelyhood my service caliber selection will ever matter: Result of #1-#5.

Happy shooting.

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.
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Old 10-09-2008, 12:23   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cole View Post
..... 2) Likelyhood I'll even have my SD handgun when/if I do actually ever need it (note: shotgun is home gun): <25%
Quote:
Originally Posted by vafish View Post

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%
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)
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- Evil prevails when the good do nothing - Burke
- When seconds count the police are just minutes away.
- When I was strong they came for the weak but I did nothing. Now I am weak and they come for me.

Last edited by cole; 10-09-2008 at 12:26..
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Old 10-09-2008, 13:29   #10
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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.
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Old 10-26-2008, 22:34   #11
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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.
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:50   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarge45 View Post
..... 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.
Better to have a gun and not need one, than need a gun and not have one.
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- When seconds count the police are just minutes away.
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:00   #13
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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.
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Old 10-27-2008, 13:21   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarge45 View Post
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.
My "rationale" is a bit more detailed than just caliber as outlined in my original post:
Quote:
Originally Posted by cole View Post

4) Selecting a CCW
..... 1) Cost. My budget is not limitless = Good: .45acp; Better: .40sw; Best: 9mm (due to ammo cost and more shooting aids #3)
..... 3) How well I shoot the gun = Good: .40sw; Better: .45acp; Best: 9mm
..... 5) Size of gun (I prefer mid-size guns) = Good: .45acp; Best: .40sw/9mm
..... 6) Capacity = Good: .45acp; Better: .40sw; Best: 9mm
..... 7) Caliber = Good: 9mm; Better: .40sw; Best: .45acp

5)
..... 5) Likelyhood I'll make a shot where a 10%-20% 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 in CCW may simply be higher on your list than mine. Different strokes for different folks.
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- Evil prevails when the good do nothing - Burke
- When seconds count the police are just minutes away.
- When I was strong they came for the weak but I did nothing. Now I am weak and they come for me.
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Old 10-27-2008, 16:05   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cole View Post
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>
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"
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Old 10-27-2008, 16:19   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cole View Post
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.
It is. That, and training.
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Old 10-27-2008, 23:30   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarge45 View Post
It is. That, and training.
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.
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- Evil prevails when the good do nothing - Burke
- When seconds count the police are just minutes away.
- When I was strong they came for the weak but I did nothing. Now I am weak and they come for me.
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Old 10-27-2008, 23:31   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coverdog View Post
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"
Check out Lotts' "The Bias Against Guns".
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- When seconds count the police are just minutes away.
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Old 10-28-2008, 16:35   #19
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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. :^)

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Old 10-28-2008, 19:50   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Courtney View Post
... Lots of hangun owners practice little with guns they've owned for a while. ...

Michael
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".
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