Re: .38 or .380
I still find it amusing if not dangerous for so many to worry about the gun and the size of the bullets before doing the most important part of your defensive training, "tactics".
While running the range and teaching classes as well as attending as many as possible over the past 35 years, I have yet to find a single professional who places caliber over plan, not a single one.
I also see what passes for ability with firearms on a daily basis and that too is disturbing. Because IMHO, your ability with whatever you choose is second only to your plan or tactics and the gun or size of the gun is dead last in the staying alive and safe equation. And based upon the results I see by seemingly knowledgeable and talented gun handlers, there is much to be learned and practiced to become as good as one must be to deploy ANY firearm big or small in a self defense situation.
So pardon me if I seem a little puzzled and certainly not knowing the abilities of a single person who has responded to this great thread, but (please be truthful with yourself if not on the forum), how many of you have a plan and have practiced your tactical response to a plethora of possible attack scenarios at all, let alone on a daily and ever occurring basis? (that means every fu@#$Kng day for those of you from Evanston Wy) If you have not and are not doing all of the above, then I suggest that you are not even close to being ready to worry about gun size or caliber.
For what it is worth, a person with a good plan and super abilities with his tools will "place" a stopping, stunning, debilitating or killing shot with whatever weapon is at hand and this is where all of us should be working to achieve.
And of course everyone knows all of the old cliches, "hits with little guns are better than misses with big guns or you can't miss fast enough to catch up etc".
I will say this even at my advanced age, if I have to shoot you, it will be inside of 25 feet and it will not matter which gun I have to use, I will stop you, period but I will not be staying around to see or to take note, that has nothing to do with my plan. In fact unless I really screw up, I am simply NOT going to have to shoot you or anyone else as my plan has almost everything to do with staying aware of my surroundings and avoiding at all cost any involvement with anyone that may even remotely lead to a shooting situation. If for any reason I believe or feel you are a threat I am going to cross the street or get back into my car or go back home or in whatever capacity is necessary, run, not walk away from you. It is only if I fail in all of this that I may have to involve my firearm and then I am going to be moving to cover, screaming at you to get away or leave me alone and getting out of the area while placing my shots into you to make you so uncomfortable you will find some other place to play.
I appreciate the wound charts that were depicted herein and they are most interesting. But I have been shot, and had to shoot and I do not need a chart to tell me how bad it hurts. Why anyone worries about "stopping power" unless you are a policeman is beyond me. Are you planning to stay in one place to wait and see what your bullet is doing to the BG? If so, WHY?
I realize this is the ravings of an old man, but I have shared more time in a training session with Clint Smith, Maas Ayoob, Louie Awerback, and Dennis Tueller and even one session with the late and great Jeff Cooper back in the other century and they to a man will tell you much the same as I have briefly written. A whole book can be written about these topics and many have been by some of those I mentioned.
I honestly do not believe any of them will be standing still nor worrying about the caliber of gun they have or will use as opposed to considering, cover, concealment, egress, communicating and if necessary, placing their shots on target with either hand or both.
Just thought I would drop by and leave a thought or two. Thank you for the time.
This seems to be a very good bunch of folks and certainly well meaning at that.
So please at least consider some of what I have said before you begin to froth and worry over caliber and what the bullets will do if for no other reason than to remember that when they begin to fly, they go BOTH ways and their indiscriminate. And in the first place, if the BG has done something so heinous you can justifiably take him or them under fire, are you even still standing in order to return fire? Can you even get to your gun regardless of caliber? Which hand or arm is shot, stabbed, cut, broken etc so badly in the initial confrontation that you have only one with which to return fire and then can you get to your gun with your remaining hand, operate the safeties or slide or trigger?