Can someone please define "High Caliber" as it relates to firearms?

In the recent news reports concerning gun control I've noticed many firearms referred to as "High Caliber", but I don't understand the term as the reporters are using it. Since I have seen low-priced firearms given as examples, I assume they don't mean " Of Excellent Quality". I understand "Large Caliber" as being over .35", "High Power" as having a velocity of 2000 feet per second, "High Intensity as having a muzzle velocity over 2700 feet per second and "High Capacity" as a magazine capacity over 10 rounds, but I don't understand what a "High Caliber" firearm is. Could someone, perhaps one who advocates removing such firearms from our society, please tell me precisely what it is so I can make an intelligent, informed decision on the danger of such a firearm?


Starlord: the reference wasn't "36 inches", it was .35 caliber. All these definitions come from" The American Rifle: A Treatise, a Text Book,and a book of practical instruction in the use of the rifle" by Townsend Whelen , written in 1918. Mr.Whelen"s book gave standard, quantifiable terms that allowed us to categorize firearms. It's been augmented by "he Glossary of the Association of Firearms and Tool Mark Examiners". You are slightly off mark in your statement that "Generally, a high caliber handgun is any caliber higher than 9mm/.38 spl" because the term "High Caliber" has no definition except the one the media is creating. I'm sure that you, as a LEO know the difference between a Ruger 10-22 with a 20 rd magazine, and an assault rifle: but the media lumps them together. Those who know firearms, and their proper use need to avoid giving this new media buzz term any credibility. It's another tool those with an

Update 2:

anti-gun agenda to use against us.

xpatinasia: I did as a cop, several, including myself, I also asked a few friends in the industry.

5 Answers

  • Dan B
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    High caliber is a relative term that people and reporters use because they have no idea about gun caliber or they have no idea as to what gun caliber was used. One site says a large caliber round is 7mm or larger (.25 caliber = .25 inches in diameter).

    So, as in any story, it depends upon the source. High, small, etc are relative terms vs definite numbers like .223 caliber.

    When they want to have more impact in a story, the will use the term "High Caliber" to possible make people think that a Rambo Style .50 caliber machine gun was used in the crime. Gives more impact to the story.

  • 8 years ago

    Generally, a high caliber handgun is any caliber higher than 9mm/.38 spl, so that would be .40, .45 and .50 caliber. I don't get the 36-inch reference in your question. I guess that would go along with the city of Seattle ordinance banning all concealed weapons over six feet in length.

    Source(s): Former deputy sheriff/corporal
  • ?
    Lv 4
    8 years ago

    The media makes up its own terms to sell news. They will say what they need to as long as it sounds correct, and they get good rating. The media is really the worst place to get info lately.

  • 8 years ago

    Ask a cop.

    "please tell me precisely what it is so I can make an intelligent, informed decision on the danger of such a firearm?"

    You're in no danger of making an intelligent decision.

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  • 8 years ago

    Its that shoulder thing that goes up.

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