Anonymous asked in SportsOutdoor RecreationHunting · 1 decade ago

What types of handgun (and calibres) are best suited to self-defence?

Hello from the UK! Over here we do not have handguns, but the American approach to ownership has always fascinated me.

I know many Americans keep handguns in their homes to defend themselves and their property. What are the most common types that an average person (not a gun enthusiast) might keep for this purpose- pistol or revolver? Which manufacturers are common and which tend to be avoided? And what are the most common calibres for this purpose?

Also, the notion of concealed and open carry- what does this mean? Perhaps that with concealed carry you can keep a gun legally under your jacket, whereas with open carry you have to have a visible gunbelt? Does this mean you could walk down the street, or in to a supermarket, with a handgun on display and not cause alarm?

Any help welcome- thanks!

PS, this is not a pro- or anti- gun question, and so irrelevant answers will be reported.

21 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Revolvers and Pistols are both common.

    By ammo type, for self defense, the most common ones are

    For Pistols : 9mm luger, 40SW, 45 APC, 380 ACP (in europe, it is called 9mm short)

    For Revolvers : 32 long, 32 magnum, 38 special, 357 magnum, 44 special, 45 long colt, and for some folks, even the 44 magnum

    Common brands are

    For Pistols: Glock, Springfield XD, Beretta, Smith and Wesson, Ruger, SigSaur, H&K, CZ, Browning, Kahr, Walther, 1911 clones by many makers

    For Revolvers: Taurus, Ruger, Smith and Wesson, Dan Wesson, Colt

    Normally, concealed carry refers to having the gun carried in a way that a casual observer cannot see. This is often done with a holster on a belt, but the body of the holster and gun are inside the wasteband of your pants, and a shirt is overtop it. Another common way is to have a pistol on your belt, but back by your kidney, and wear a sportcoat or other long garment to cover it. Some people use an ankle hoster, a fanny pack with special compartment, simply put the gun in a pocket-holster and put it in the pocket, and there is even a product called Thunder-wear. Remove the TH and you get the idea.

    Open carry is carrying the firearm in a way where you aren't making a serious effort to hide it.

    In some states, you can open carry without any sort of special permit or licence, but to conceal it requires a licence.

    In some states, you must get a licence to conceal a handgun on your person, and are not allowed to wear it openly.

    In some states, you get a permit to have a gun on your person, but there is no restriction on concealed or open.

  • 1 decade ago

    There are many opinions about self-defense handguns usually it is recommended that the .380 ACP is the minimum pistol caliber and the .38 Special the minimum revolver caliber. The .45 ACP is the ultimate in self-defense handguns closely followed by the .357 revolver. Concealed carry means exactly that keep it hidden from normal sight otherwise someone will call the police on you. and you don't want to be a man with a gun police call. Most States don't have open carry laws I believe Texas does and yes you can carry openly without looking out of place. This is what I have as far as handguns are concerned; S&W 642 which is a snub nose .38 Special; Ruger SP101 which is a snub nose .357 Magnum; Sig-Sauer P232 (.380 ACP): Ruger P95 (a 16 shot 9mm Luger); Colt Government Model (.45ACP). I have carried all of these weapons concealed and some times two at a time.

  • 1 decade ago

    Handguns are not necessarily the best home defense weapons. There's a lot of argument for the 12 gauge pump shotgun, which is what our police have in their cars. I am considering getting one myself.

    If you still want a handgun, the the double action revolver is the best choice for people who have no or little experience with handguns. Under stressful, life threatening conditions, the semiautomatic may be too much to handle for inexperienced shooters. A lot of things can happen. The gun can go off accidently or even jam. A revolver will not jam and the heavier trigger pull will help prevent misfires. I would use calibers of .38 Special and higher. Of course, going to .357 or .44 magnum will increase recoil. It is imperative to familiarize yourself with you handgun and practice shooting. An NRA firearm/handgun safety class is a must.

    Most of the states allow people to apply for concealed carry permits, called CCWs. This involves passing a CCW training class and other legal criteria. For example, people convicted of felonies or have records of violence will not be issued a CCW permit. The application process takes time. It involves fingerprinting and an extensive background check by the FBI. Many states have a time frame of 120 days to process this application. If refused, most states will send you a letter indicating the reason why. If a CCW is granted, it doesn't mean that the person can carry a gun anywhere. National Parks, all schools, Courtrooms, State and Federal Buildings, and aiports (I might have left some out.) are all non-carry areas. There is legislation that is trying to allow CCW in National Parks and some states are looking at allowing CCW at Universities, in light of the the masscres that have happened recently.

    There are many states in the Union that allow citizens to carry handguns in open view, like the old cowboy days. However, police are going to question these people every time they see someone with a handgun. Also, it may give the impression to some that these people are looking for a fight. They might end up getting in a fight for having the handgun in open view. Concealed carry is the best way to go.

  • H
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The best manstopper to date we have is the .357 Magnum revolver with the 4" barrel loaded with 125 grain jacketed hollowpoints. The next in line is the old .45 acp (in any configuration but the old 1911 automatic is still quite popular here).

    On paper the .357 Sig (a cartridge developed for automatic pistols) duplicates the performance of the .357 Magnum revolver. The .45 GAP duplicates the performance of the .45 acp and the .40 S&W was designed to duplicate the .45 acp performance.

    My pesonal favorite auto-loader is a Glock Model 20 10mm (even more powerful than the .45 acp or the .357 Magnum). My favorite revolver, anything in .357 Magnum (have the Ruger Security Six snubby, a 4" Colt Python Satin stainless and a Royal Blue Python with 6" barrel as well an old S&W Model 28 Highway Patrol model revolver).

    The .38 Super with Cor Bon ammo approaches .357 Magnum performance in an auto-loader as do some of the hottest +P+ 9mms.

    So there you have it.


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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Great question Dan and I don't interpret yours as being either pro or anti in any sense.

    There will be a noticeable difference between guns kept in the home for defense and guns that are to be carried either concealed or openly while out in public. Example I personally keep a 12 Gage side by side shotgun in the house for uninvited guests. I also have handguns staged in various places throughout the house as well in case I can't get to the shotgun.

    For concealed and open carry the revolver or pistol will generally have a 4 inch or shorter barrel, this aids in concealment and reduces the weight on your belt. The most common calibers in pistols for self defense will be 9mm Luger, 40 Smith and Wesson and 45 ACP, other popular calibers will be 25 ACP, 32 ACP, 380 Auto, 357 Sig. Most popular revolver calibers will be 38 Special, 357 Magnum, 44 Special and 45 Colt, you will also see a few in 32 S&W, 32 Mag, .41 mag, 44 mag and 45 ACP.

    Brands I have recomended to people in pistols include Browning, Colt, Ruger, Glock, S&W, Sig, H&K, Walther and Springfield Armory. This is not an all inclusive list just ones I have had positive experiences with. In revolvers I recomend

    Smith and Wesson, Ruger, Tarus, Colt. I will not suggest any other revolvers to new gun buyers.

    Brands to avoid (I'll stick to the ones I know are still manufactured) Charter Arms, Rossi, Hi Point all come to mind.

    The differences between concealed carry and open carry are pretty much what it sounds like. In states like Arizona open carry is permissible and encouraged, your side arm is worn on the belt (normally) in clear view of the public. I think this is a great idea and quite likely reduces crime rates dramatically and by the way it doesn't encourage Old West syle shootouts which are pretty much a Hollywood myth anyway. In states with concealed carry laws your side arm is obviously consealed from view in ways such as a belt holster, inside the pant holster, in a pocket or purse or in a shoulder rig of some type.

    Even with a carry permit you are generally not allowed to bring your sidearm into schools, Courthouses, bars (in some cases) basically each state will determine where you are and are not allowed to carry. Private businesses are also allowed to forbid the carry of firearms in their establishments.

    Crime rates. at last count there were 34 states that allow for consealed carry in the United States. The violent crime rates in these states are dramatically lower in per capita statistics when compared to states that do not allow for consealed carry.

    I hope this answers some of your questions.

  • 1 decade ago

    skiguy7, go back to the ski forums, a .22 isn't a self defence round but thanks for naming off the only 2 calibers you know of and giving us a good laugh at how ill-informed wannabes are... The most common calibers for self defense are 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 acp & 357 magnum, there are other calibers well suited for self defense but those are the most common, no bullet under the .380 caliber is considered big enough for self defense purposes. As far as what's the more popular type of handgun preferred, it's really personal preference, revolvers will never jam or have feeding problems but are limited to holding fewer rounds. They are a great self defense weapon but semi-auto's are great to as they have high magazine capacities and less recoil than a revolver in the same caliber. As far as brands, there's a lot of good ones and bad ones, usually buying big name American brands like Colt, Ruger, Smith & Wesson and Springfield Armory are good choices as well as Beretta, Heckler & Koch, Sig, Glock and other foreign manufacturers. You basically what get what you pay for, if you want a gun for self-defense, I'm not going to put my life in the hands of a cheap gun like hi-point, jennings, raven arms or any of the other cheap guns. Yea I know I'll get flamed by hi-point owners saying how great there gun is but it sells for $200 for a reason, my life is more valuable then a $200 handgun. As far as open carry and concealed carry you are correct but not all states allow that. With concealed carry you must have a permit, here in Ohio we can open carry and it just has to be in full view but we can't open carry in a car without a concealed carry license, you have to unload the gun and store it properly to be legal. The majority of states now do allow concealed carry once you get your permit but I'm not sure about the states with open carry, I know Ohio, CO and Arizona allow it without any special permit but many cops are ignorant to this fact. As far as just walking around with a gun on your hip, yes in some states you can but there's always those sheep, anti's, liberals or scared women that will make the old "guy with a gun" call to the PD and they come and stop you. In my opinion, I'd prefer concealed carry b/c it doesn't say "hey I have a gun, call the cops on me!!!" and doesn't open you up to ridicule from people that think they know the law, anti's that wanna preach or ignorant people who see a gun on your hip and call the cops...

    Source(s): Proud owner or a H&K USP compact 45 and Ohio open carrier...
  • 1 decade ago

    The most popular calubers in automatic handguns seem to be 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 acp, and 357 sig. others include 45 GAP and 10mm.

    For revolvers most prefer the .357 and 38 special

    for smaller concealed handguns, some like the .380 ACP

    many of the preferred hangun manufacturers are Smith and wesson, Springfield, Colt, Glock, though there are many others.

    Concealed carry is what it means, carrying a gun concealed so that noone knows that you have it. Open carry means it must be plainly visible with no attempt to conceal it. If your in an area that allows open carry, it is ok to walk around that area with a handgun plainly visible, stores and buisness areas included, unless there are signs posted that state that firearms are not allowed

  • 1 decade ago

    Although I was reluctant at first, I am content with the .40 S&W caliber. Before I was a .357 Magnum / .45 ACP fan, but my wife and young son had difficulties shooting them from my full sized guns comfortably.

    I also have a state issued concealed handgun permit. I can and do carry a handgun in a IWB holster. It is getting fustrating (and worse over the years) about where I can't carry i.e., the post office, Applebees, schools and even a motorcycle shop.

  • 1 decade ago

    First of all, I would like to say that Chris O is an idiot by making a remark like he did. He probably doesn't know the statistic that states/areas with more concealed carry license holders, the crime rate/crime percentage is lower than those of places there are less license holders.

    Think about it, to obtain a CCW in most states, you have to be a citizen of the US who has passed a basic pistol class, had a complete background check, you get your fingerprints recorded, and you cannot be a felon or convicted of ANY violent crime EVER. If I had a child and needed a baby sitter, someone who said they were a CCW holder would be enough for me to say ok on the spot. (maybe not literally but the point is made)

    To answer your question, you have to find a gun that suits YOU. You have to be accurate with it, it needs to be easy for you to operate (****, fix jams, reload). It also needs to be able to effectively accomplish what you are trying to do. If you are a beginner, it is best to take a basic pistol training class to learn safety as well as proper shooting techniques. Most beginners that I know of carry a 9mm or .40. If you or a family member's life is in immediate danger and you must kill the person, you want something that is going to let a lot of light in and a lot of blood out of the hole you shoot into the perpetrators body.

    Edit: Also, I forgot to mention but a few of the other great posts reminded me that particular ammo is extremely important. Make sure it is the proper, but high enough grain to do the trick. Hollow points are also very important because they expand and dump their energy at the entry point upon contact.

  • 1 decade ago

    The best choice for that purpose is the 357 Magnum revolver made by Smith & Wesson, with a 4" barrel.* It is a no nonsense man stopper.* Use 125 grain jacketed hollow points for defensive ammo.* You can also shoot 38 caliber ammo in the 357 Magnum.* You get two (2)* handguns for the price of one (1)*.*

    Source(s): Run like a Deer.* ...............Fly like an Eagle.*
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