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Shopping for Pistols by Caliber; 9mm, .45ACP, .40S&W, .38 Special, .357 Magnum & More

For those who want to buy their first handgun for protection or concealed carry, there are a number of considerations to find the right hand gun for you. First, do your homework on the different makes and models, and what fits your hands to provide proper control. Another major consideration is caliber. The caliber of pistol you shoot greatly matters. For those who may not know too much about their calibers, Shooting Range Industries will share what you need to know about caliber to help you pick the right pistol and caliber.

Bullet Caliber Basics

There are some bullet basics that must be understood to help you understand calibers a little better. The first is that bullets, in order to be effective require a certain amount of penetration. In the 90’s a study indicated that a bullet needed to penetrate at least 14 to 16 inches. In order to stop an attacker, the round must hit a vital organ or the spine. Additionally, the round needs to damage the tissue. Clean wounds may not stop an attacker who is on drugs or is high. So most protection rounds are designed to expand once fired. The caliber matters. Lastly, each round produces a certain amount of recoil. The larger the bullet or caliber typically the stronger recoil which makes it harder to control and regain the shooters aim. For those who may have smaller or weaker hands, don’t buy too big of a caliber.

List of Handgun & Rifle Calibers

9mm – 9mm calibers are one of the most common caliber sizes for several reasons. 9mm is a smaller caliber that produces enough penetration for self defense. Additionally, being one of the smaller calibers means less recoil that improves the shooters control. 9mm caliber also has a high velocity which means the round can pass through targets and even attackers. This is why the right type of round for self defense is different than what you would use for regular range practice. Another major benefit of the 9mm is that it’s a cheaper round which allows more affordable practice time.
.45 ACP – .45 ACP is a much bigger and heavier round than the 9mm, but with a lower velocity. Lower velocity means the round won’t pass through the target or attacker. This makes them a little safer for home defense. Additionally, they are a larger round which means more effectiveness. Many will use a .45 ACP caliber for personal carry and home defense because they are effective. However, for those new to firearms and pistols, this caliber has a lot of kick which makes it harder to control. If you want to use a .45 ACP caliber, try shooting one first.
.40 S&W – The .40 S&W caliber is between the 9mm and the .45ACP and is becoming more popular for law enforcement. The .40 S&W is much easier to control than the .45 ACP. The velocity is lower than the 9mm. and is affective. Again, before committing to a .40 S&W it is recommended you try it out first to make sure you, as the handler, can control the fire arm .40 S&W has some kick to the recoil.
Revolver Calibers – Common revolver calibers are .38 Special, .357 Magnums, and the .44 Magnum. For those looking for an easier control caliber, it is recommended to use a .38 Special or the .357 Magnum. They are smaller rounds and are easier to handle. The .44 Magnum is a big round and takes a lot of control and is not recommended for a beginner shooter. Effectiveness – all of these calibers are effective against attackers.

Custom Shooting Range Design & Construction

Before settling on any caliber it is recommended to feel and fire each one first. Shooting Range Industries specializes in shooting range design and construction. For more information on your own custom range for practice and training, contact Shooting Range Industries today.

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