Re: which caliber for all around use?
Uh guys. We need to not forget Sir Issac on this topic. Force equals "mass" x acceleration. So when you have that big chunk of lead from a 12 ga slug (some are incredibly big) there is certainly a difference in the effect it will have on a target in comparison to a .410 slug. In fact there will be a massive amount of difference. The size of the hole and the penetration into a given target will be hugely different. You are assuming wrongly that s 9mm will penentrate with as much force as a 12 ga. slug and that just isn't true. Yes you can get deeper penetration but the amount of energy delivered by a 12 ga. is colossal compared to the energy delivered by a 9mm. It's exactly like the difference between hitting a board with a hammer and hitting a board with a nail being struck by a hammer. The nail will certainly penetrate more. But if you get enough force going to make the hammer penetrate you will see a phenomenal difference in the amount of destruction. You really can't compare two projectiles without taking this into consideration. There's a reason no one uses a 9mm to stop a charging bear. First the projectile (the bullet) is liable to not penetrate at all because it takes less force to deflect it's path and that force is the potential energy of the mass of a bear's skull. It takes a LOT bigger object to turn a 12 ga. slug.
Then there's the fact that a 12 ga. slug will do great damage to a bear's skull while a 9mm just won't. It could be that the 9mm will kill the bear. But the odds of the 12 ga. killing the bear are MUCH higher because the slug will do far more damage over a wider area and once it breaks the surface tension of the bone then the bone will shatter allowing all that energy to be implanted in the bear's brain.
The bottom line is that a 12 ga. slug will kill a bear where a 9mm bullet won't and the bigger the slug the more that's true as long as the speed of the projectile remains high enough to penetrate.
Obviously a man doing a dive will penetrate the water deeper if he hits the water with his hands first followed by his body doing in a straight line behind his hands as compared to a man who hits the water doing a belly flop. But look at the man's stomach after that belly flop. He will be red as a beet if he jumped from a high enough position. It's the same with guns. As long as the speed is there a flat impact will impart a huge amount of energy and that can mean a much more effective weapon against certain animals or whatever.
I've avoided saying this since the beginning of this thread but here goes. I think the time is right. The best all around caliber by far is actually a 12 ga.. Technically that is a caliber. A shotgun can do just about anything you want to do with a firearm and it can do it nearly as well as the most specialized firearm around. You can fire a slug a great distance with a rifled barrel and the right kind of slug. You can use light bird shot to kill the smallest animal without destroying too much of the meat. You can use buckshot for self defense very effectively. If you have the right shotgun (one that shoots 2 3/4" to 3.5" shells like the Benelli Super Black Eagle for example) you have a tremendous range of operation as far as how much power you can apply to a target. This stuff all adds up to being super versatile. That, IMO, is an "all around" firearm in the most important sense of all. You can kill everything from a squirrel to a polar bear or even an elephant just by changing shells. And BTW you can load shells as the gun fires them pretty much. That's not true of many rifles. There's no doubt about it. The most versatile firearm there exists is a 12 ga. shotgun. It's nowhere near being close even with other shotguns because the range of shells isn't there for other gauges of shotguns.
If I'm bugging out and living off the land I'll be taking a shotgun for sure. It's the do it all gun of the firearm world and it has been for a very long time. And before anyone asks, yes it comes in a pistol format too if you can still find a street sweeper.