A self defense handgun's main purpose is to be able to fire when needed. Unless you live in Arizona,Vermont, or somewhere where Open Carry is allowed you will probably be more concerned with the size and concealment of a pistol. Depending on the type of clothing or amount of clothing you wear concealment will be closely related to the type and size of a concealed carry handgun you choose.
Something most people do not know is it is harder to shoot a smaller handgun versus a bigger one. The reason why is because of weight, size and length of the barrel. When a bullet is fired every firearm experiences something called "recoil". Recoil is the kick back force generated from the bullet being fired out the barrel of any gun. The reason smaller guns are harder to shoot is because there is less weight to dampen the recoil force, less barrel length to reduce accuracy / muzzle flip, and less grip surface to have overall control of the weapon. When choosing a pistol for self defense these factors need to be taken into consideration. In almost all self defense scenarios 1 shot will not be enough to stop a threat. In these cases multiple shots also called "follow up shots" may be needed to insure that the threat is neutralized or stopped. After a bullet is fired you will get recoil from the firearm which will take your pistol off target. You will need to get your gun back on target quickly to be able to fire another accurate shot on target. This is where the type and size of your defensive handgun will either aid or hamper your ability to fire accurate follow up shots. Regardless it will take practice and training with whatever gun you choose for self defense.
Bullet size / caliber
Along with handgun length and size you will also have to choose the size / caliber off bullet that the gun will fire. The caliber of the bullet refers to the width and weight of the bullet that will be fired. Some examples of popular bullet calibers are: .32, .380, 9mm, .40, .45, .357, 10mm, 44 magnum. Usually the smaller numbers mean that the bullet will be smaller and less powerful. The way to tell the true facts of the different bullet and handgun combination is to look at a ballistic chart. A ballistic chart will show the speed that the bullet will travel at and the weight of the projectile being fired. Bullet weights are measured in grams. Examples would be 70gr. , 115gr. , 147gr. etc. One handgun such as a 9mm pistol can fire different weight bullets which will slightly affect the way the gun shoots. Which caliber is most effective for self defense use is a very hotly debatable topic amongst self defense professionals and handgun enthusiast. What we recommend is to go your local gun range and rent different size, make, and caliber guns then go with what is most comfortable to your shooting. You will get more than enough opinions from people and professionals on which gun and caliber is right for you so just take in all recommendations and then go with what you feel most confident with.
Concealment vs. size vs. caliber
Most people want to choose a gun that is comfortable for them to carry on their body. What is most important to understand about carrying a self defense handgun is that comfort should be the least of your concerns. Being able to defend yourself and your family against a threat without relying on your physical strength and abilities is the comfort you should be concerned about. Carrying a firearm should be the same as carrying a cell phone which is normal practice. The handgun that you choose for self defense must be a practical for the type of lifestyle you live. If you live in Florida it will be hard to carry and conceal a big Dirty Harry gun. There are so many options to choose from for a concealed carry weapon and we always recommend that you carry the biggest gun that you can effectively conceal. The caliber you choose is debatable as mentioned before but having good shot placement is better than having no gun at all.
Posted on Mon, October 25, 2010
by Scott C. filed under