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  #1  
Old 09-06-2018, 08:34 AM
me1911 me1911 is offline
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Why so many different calibers?

I ask this question out of ignorance. And I'm asking this with SD in mind. With many of the latest "studies" showing little to no difference in wound channels and "stopping power" with calibers ranging from .380 ACP to .45 ACP, why so many calibers? Considering that hand gun muzzle velocities are very low to begin with and virtually none of the hand gun calibers will have "knock down" or "shocking power" power like a rifle, why not just have 9 mm? All the other calibers, especially the ones mentioned above, seem redundant. I'm speaking primarily of non-magnum calibers. Is my thinking on this incorrect? I used to think .45 ACP was the ideal SD caliber...you know, good "stopping power," large wound channel, not too much penetration, not too much recoil, cheap, readily available. There now seems to be a general consensus on the forums that 9 mm possesses all these same traits. Is my thinking wrong on this? Is 9 mm the only round needed for SD? Is there a truly more effective round?
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Old 09-06-2018, 08:40 AM
bdavis385 bdavis385 is offline
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I'm going out on a limb here -- to get us to buy more guns? To sell more magazines? To have more fun?
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  #3  
Old 09-06-2018, 08:42 AM
tc300mag1 tc300mag1 is offline
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Variety is the spice of life so they say
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  #4  
Old 09-06-2018, 08:45 AM
jokester945 jokester945 is offline
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Personally I only buy own 9 mm and 45ACP cuz I like those rounds. But lately been on a 22 kick...now that’s a SD round

To each there own.



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  #5  
Old 09-06-2018, 08:54 AM
retrieverman retrieverman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdavis385 View Post
I'm going out on a limb here -- to get us to buy more guns? To sell more magazines? To have more fun?
I think you’re very safe out on that limb. Not that I know anything factually, but like you, I think it’s all about selling more stuff. Let’s face it. Many/most of us are suckers for a “new/better/latest/greatest whiz bang” caliber.
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Old 09-06-2018, 09:02 AM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is online now
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We have beaten this to death already, go look in the ammo can since I am not typing everything up again.
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  #7  
Old 09-06-2018, 09:26 AM
havanajim havanajim is offline
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Let's face it, your 'average' shooter has very little knowledge of history or ballistics. If they did, they would realize that with few exceptions, there's very little new under the sun. For all practical purposes, any of the 'usual suspect' calibers will suffice for SD - and the majority of them have been around for a very, very long time.

Therefore, I agree with my forum colleagues when they opine that it's all primarily marketing fluff. By the way, the same principle applies to the vast majority of rifle calibers as well. Companies know their audience... and they know how to bait us.

However, look at it this way: what a boring world it would be if all we had to look forward to were 9mm and .45ACP!!!
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Old 09-06-2018, 09:26 AM
Colt191145 Colt191145 is offline
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  #9  
Old 09-06-2018, 09:29 AM
Gary Wells Gary Wells is offline
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  #10  
Old 09-06-2018, 10:35 AM
LimaCharlie LimaCharlie is offline
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Internet consensus is caliber does not matter for self defense. Internet consensus is caliber is critical for bear defense.
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  #11  
Old 09-06-2018, 11:16 AM
combat auto combat auto is offline
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OP, Your initial premise is faulty about wound channels vs caliber. Like others have said, we beat this to death ad infinitum, and I will not do it all over again either. You can use the search tool to come up with scores of threads with various opinions.

I'll just leave you with two thoughts:

We have an entire industry working to get more expansion out of bullets regardless of caliber. In other-words, they are all trying to maximize size (bullet face area) for a given caliber (without impacting penetration too much of course). Why do they do this, "because size matters" when it comes to wound channel creation.

That said, size isn't the only thing that matters (of course), and almost any caliber can be used for SD, but all other things equal, I'll take a round with more power and more surface area (= caliber + additional expansion of specific HP load in that caliber) any day of the week.

The other reason to own many calibers is the old saying "variety is the spice of....". :-) This is just the joy of shooting. (It is a heck of a lot of fun!).
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Last edited by combat auto; 09-06-2018 at 11:21 AM.
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  #12  
Old 09-06-2018, 11:35 AM
Goldstar225 Goldstar225 is offline
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If you think there are too many handgun cartridges, have a look at the list of rifle cartridges. There's so much redundancy and overlap there that it's ridiculous, yet each year or two a new cartridge comes out that is heralded with great fanfare. Now that's an industry segment that's creating a "need" and driving sales.

As far as handgun cartridges, who cares, to each their own. All are readily available for the person who has a favorite.
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  #13  
Old 09-06-2018, 11:45 AM
hub1home hub1home is offline
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I'm also going to take a stab: Because we have so many different people?
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  #14  
Old 09-06-2018, 11:57 AM
Snapping Twig Snapping Twig is offline
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There's an analogy in the fishing world whereby the various lures are meant to catch the fisherman.

Different calibers are meant for different tasks, but at the end of the day a handgun is not a rifle. Get good with what you have.

Placement is #1, penetration #2, all else is angels dancing on the head of a pin.
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:13 PM
AZPREDATOR AZPREDATOR is offline
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New technology and bullet design has gone into the 9mm that has brought the round a long way since the Winchester Silver Tip of the early 80’s. But some people fail to realize that same technology and bullet design has gone into the 45acp. I’m with Massad Ayood in stating a 9mm Federal HST round having the same stopping power as a 45acp Federal HST doesn’t make any sense. Why, because it doesn’t. It’s all about marketing and getting more guns in people’s hands. Many people can’t shoot the 45acp well. Through marketing, let’s “get the word out”, through various platforms, that the 9mm is just as good. Hell they’re all the same! When in reality their not. 45acp>9mm....sorry.

Last edited by AZPREDATOR; 09-06-2018 at 12:52 PM.
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  #16  
Old 09-06-2018, 12:17 PM
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Why so many different calibers?
Same reason why there are so many different makes and models of cars when any one of them will get you from Point A to B. A free market encourages competition, resulting in multiple choices for the end user.
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:28 PM
CastleBravo CastleBravo is offline
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All handguns are a compromise. .45 makes a bigger hole, but you get fewer of them in the same size magazine than a 9mm, the grip has to be longer to take the longer OAL cartridge, there's more recoil which reduces your accurate rate of fire, and so on.

It's all about what platform you, personally, shoot better and what compromises you can live with. Anybody talking about "no compromises" in a handgun is either lying or carrying a phaser from Star Trek.
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:49 PM
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Star Trek phaser, Hell. Give me a DL-44 Blaster any day.
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:58 PM
AZ Desertrat AZ Desertrat is offline
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Its all whipping a dead horse, over and over....but it is about MONEY, the whole marketing scheme, corporations etc. I like variety, but I draw the line at owning and reloading for 50 different cartridges, when 3 or 4 will suffice my needs.
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Old 09-06-2018, 01:06 PM
jtq jtq is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by me1911 View Post
Is 9 mm the only round needed for SD?
Probably.

Quote:
With many of the latest "studies" showing little to no difference in wound channels and "stopping power" with calibers ranging from .380 ACP to .45 ACP, why so many calibers?
However, my guess is most of those that believe there is little to no difference between 9mm and .45 ACP, don't believe there is little to no difference between .380 ACP and 9mm. (ironic sarcasm intended)
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Old 09-06-2018, 01:52 PM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CastleBravo View Post
All handguns are a compromise. .45 makes a bigger hole, but you get fewer of them in the same size magazine than a 9mm, the grip has to be longer to take the longer OAL cartridge, there's more recoil which reduces your accurate rate of fire, and so on.

It's all about what platform you, personally, shoot better and what compromises you can live with. Anybody talking about "no compromises" in a handgun is either lying or carrying a phaser from Star Trek.
Or spending a lot of money to eliminate any disadvantages. When viewed without a concern to price some guns simply perform better.
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  #22  
Old 09-06-2018, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jtq View Post
However, my guess is most of those that believe there is little to no difference between 9mm and .45 ACP, don't believe there is little to no difference between .380 ACP and 9mm. (ironic sarcasm intended)
All bullets, regardless of whether they're .22LR or .44 Magnum, work off of the same principle. A small piece of lead is propelled at speeds high enough to damage living tissue when it strikes. The larger and/or faster the projectile the more damage it can potentially do. That's it... there's really no magic formula beyond that. Depending on a multitude of factors a .22LR could prove instantly lethal and a .44 Magnum could merely wound. Things such as bullet shape/design can improve effectiveness beyond the simple numbers, but in the end you're still just throwing lead at somebody and hoping it lands someplace that really hurts. The difference between calibers at the opposite ends of the spectrum can be dramatic (such as .22LR versus .44 Magnum), but between calibers that are close in size, weight and velocity the differences are not huge.
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Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.
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Old 09-06-2018, 02:24 PM
brickeyee brickeyee is offline
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Originally Posted by me1911 View Post
With many of the latest "studies" showing little to no difference in wound channels and "stopping power" with calibers ranging from .380 ACP to .45 ACP, why so many calibers?
That is actually a rather large range.
I do not think a lot of people would agree that damage from a .380 ACP is anywhere close to the damage from a .45 ACP.

Even with an FMJ a .380 ACP is not all that likely to penetrate a torso.
With an FMJ a .45 ACP has a decent chance of penetrating a torso.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the favorite caliber of poachers for just about any non-dangerous game is often a .22 RF rifle.

And .22 RF kills plenty of people every year also.
It is pretty far from an adequate 'defensive caliber' when someone needs to be stopped quickly.

A .25 ACP is even slower and is not uncommon.
Small and cheap wins.
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Old 09-06-2018, 02:39 PM
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Another thing to keep in mind is that the favorite caliber of poachers for just about any non-dangerous game is often a .22 RF rifle.
Well... remember that with poachers being quiet is more important than stopping power. Plenty of deer shot by spotlight with a .22 end up running off wounded into the darkness.
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Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.
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Old 09-06-2018, 03:13 PM
parallax parallax is offline
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With many of the latest "studies" showing little to no difference in wound channels and "stopping power" with calibers ranging from .380 ACP to .45 ACP, why so many calibers?
Yeah... If that were actually true, the US Army wouldn't have switched from the .38 Colt to .45 ACP after the Moro Rebellion.

Next you're going to tell me that there is little to no difference in the wound channels and "stopping power" between a .380 and a 44 Magnum.

You may think that they're "not that different", but I think this shows that the wound channel of a .357 Sig, .40 S&W or a .45 ACP are about 25% or more larger than a 9mm. That's NOT an insignificant difference!

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