The Fountain of Youth, Atlantis, City of Gold, the one caliber that is perfect for everything you need it to do. While the first three are myths and may not be able to ever be proven, with all of modern science, FBI statistics, and 1,000s of “professionals” explaining their position on YouTube … we should be able to finally crown the perfect round, right?
So, which one is it? Half of you are salivating, hovering over your keyboard just waiting to support your choice and to feverishly deny any other choice (looking at you 45 ACP crowd).
So, what is the best caliber?
It could be easily suggested that, for training, a 22LR would be the absolute best because it is good to teach fundamentals, has limited recoil, and is very cost-effective to shoot.
Most of the pistols that are on the market have 10 rounds or less in a magazine (making it close to 50 state legal), you can use it for hunting (small game) and they do make defensive rounds so it could be used for concealed carry.
What about what the US military and most police forces use? Wouldn’t that be a better round? The most commonly available caliber is the 9mm Luger, which has seen drastic improvements in both round types and velocities from its inception.
It is still relatively cheap to shoot (note I said relatively) and it has a lot of variability from competition rounds to defensive rounds. Most of the frames for this round are semi-auto, which is ok minus those who live in less free states. It can be used for hunting and the argument can be held it is one of the best for self-defense.
Now what if you are trying to work around magazine restrictions or issues getting semi-automatic handguns? Well, then you could look at the 357 Magnum. Revolvers chambered in 357 Mag can shoot both the hotter .357 Mag rounds and .38 Special rounds for training or those more recoil sensitive.
According to FBI tests back in the 90s and early 2000’s the .357 was the best for 1-shot stop when compared to other rounds. This caliber is a common one for handgun hunters and will stop most animal threats in the lower 48 states with relative ease.
But what if you want something with more firepower but a more concealable package, a honking revolver may not do the trick. So, what about the 40S&W or its parent cartridge the 10mm?
Both are widely available, and the FBI went to the .40 after realizing they needed a heavier bullet moving faster, but the 10mm was too much for a large portion of their people.
Some people don’t like the 40 because it is “snappy”, but 10mm is widely touted as great “bear medicine” by folks who must deal with grizzlies.
However, maybe you want a classic, or are shooting your “grandpappy’s pistol from the war”. In that case you are likely shooting the 45ACP which is a great stopping round, but many will argue that this round is slow and drops like a stone.
However, like a brick, it doesn’t have to be moving fast to have effects on target. That said most of the rounds are designed to work in the feed ramps of the 1911 which can make it less than optimal than other rounds.
So what is the perfect round?
If I had to choose one round to fulfill everything from Concealed Carry to target practice, can hunt with it or use it for recoil-sensitive wife and kiddos, I would go with a 10mm because I can get hot stuff like Buffalo Bore, or low recoil rounds.
Also, during the ammo shortages in C-19 Pandemic, I could find it on the shelf, but none of the others listed.
That’s my perfect caliber. What is yours?
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Author: Ian Bolser