If your hackles went up and you assumed a war footing when you read the title of this article, you’re not alone.  The debate between projectile sizes has been raging since Cain was deciding on whether to use a small rock or a big rock to kill Abel (if, in fact, he used a stone 🙂

Sometimes it matters, and sometimes it doesn’t, but in the instances where it matters, there aren’t any do-overs. So, what’s the answer?

Your ability to quickly put high quality rounds on target has a much bigger impact on whether you are going to be able to stop a threat than the caliber of ammunition that you happen to be sending downrange.

And that’s exactly the conclusion that the FBI came to. All pistol rounds suck, so go with the one that will allow you to practice the most and put the most accurate rounds on target in the shortest period of time.

There IS a place for the 9 vs. 45 stopping power debate, but for most people, it is an extremely low leverage part of the defensive shooting equation.

If you get into this discussion, there’s a time component that you have to be aware of.  9mm defensive rounds from 2018 are so different from 9mm defensive rounds from 2000, or even 2007, that they should almost have a different designation.

The arguments that you see, read, or remember from 5 years ago about which caliber or bullet is best probably don’t apply to the upgraded bullets we have today.

On the whole caliber thing, there ARE some calibers that are better than others. I would never suggest that someone carry a .25 or a .32, and there are very few people who I would suggest carry a .44 magnum unless you’re in bear country. 99 times out of 100, your ability to put fast, accurate shots on target is going to be more of a factor of whether or not you can stop a threat than whether it’s a 9, .38, .357, .40, .45, .22, .380 etc. coming out the end of your barrel.

And what IS the best caliber for defensive pistols? It’s the caliber that allows you to put fast, accurate, threat stopping shots on as many targets as are posing a violent threat to you before they are able to impose their will on you.

Let me share a picture with you…

That’s a Speer Gold Dot 9mm after punching through a car door like butter. So if you know one of those guys who are wrapped around the axle about a 11mm (.45) hole being better than a 9mm hole…to the point of carrying .45ACP ball ammo, this might give them something to think about.

Keep in mind that a .45 hollowpoint will expand too, but the latest FBI stats show that it takes an average of 3 rounds of 9mm, .40 or .45 to stop a threat, so that extra expansion doesn’t seem to be increasing effectiveness very much.

And, in response to questions/comments, here is some comparative penetration tests of hollow point defensive ammunition:

What difference does caliber make? What difference does caliber make?

It’s only when you’ve maxed out your ability as a shooter that
caliber becomes an issue.

Time and money spent developing, fine tuning, and sharpening your technique has a LOT more leverage than switching guns, triggers, springs, grips, or ammo.


Want to learn more?  Go to 3010Pistol.com

What are your thoughts? Share them by commenting below:

by Mike Ox

Mike Ox is an avid defensive and competitive shooter who has co-created several firearms training products, including Dry Fire Training Cards, https://se965.infusionsoft.com/go/dftcmedia/loadout

Dry Fire Fit, 21 Day Alpha Shooter, and See Faster, Shoot Faster.  His brain based training focuses on accelerated learning techniques for shooting as well as controlling brain state and brain chemistry for optimal performance in extreme stress situations.  Learn more about dynamic dry fire training for defense and competition at www.DryFireTrainingCards.com/blog