Best cartridge for home defense?

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by New Guy, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. New Guy

    New Guy New Member

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    I'm positive this has been covered here before so this will probably just end up with someone posting a link to the relevant thread but I'm in the process of trying to decide what my next purchase would be.

    I already own a .40 and a .22lr, both semi-auto pistols.

    On my last trip to the gun shop I was talking with one of the guys behind the counter about the benefits of a 9mm over a .40 S&W for home/self defense.

    His point was basically that the 9mm is a better cartridge because of the lower recoil, so you're faster back to target than with a .40.

    He also claimed that a .45 would even have lower recoil than a .40 because most of the energy is directed backward, as opposed the .40 which he claims directs the energy differently.

    Is this correct?

    Also I was looking at some of the (to me at least) more exotic cartridges like a 5.7 or a .357 sig. Where do you think these fit in to the debate?

    Thanks.
  2. hogger129

    hogger129 Active Member

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    I'd almost say get a shotgun for home defense rather than a handgun. Because you have a lot more power with a spread shot as opposed to a pistol round which is not a spread shot.

    I would also go with what works best for you. If it was me, I'd go to the store, buy some targets. Hit the range and try out a few different rounds at 10 ft and see what you group the best with.

    I prefer the 1911 to most guns. I also like Glock, but I shoot a little high with Glocks. Mostly because I'm not used to the different trigger.
  3. freediver

    freediver New Member

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    I agree with hogger a shotgun is always best a hand gun is just good to get to a real gun. I am in the Coast Guard and we have the Sig 229 .40 s&w I like it and own one as well. If someone or something was in your home you will not be shooting it more than 10 yards away or you will have some explaining to do to the judge. If you feel more comfortable with a handgun than a shotgun than a 40 s&w, 45acp, 357 sig are going to have more knockdown power and allow you to aquire your next target a 9mm will have less hence the creation of the 1911 in world war 1 inresponse to soilders empting a full mag into their enimy and still getting bayoneted. If you already have a .40 s&w I would go buy some good home defense rounds and feel safe that it is hard to not hit 2x3' target at 10 yds. Best home defense round 12 gague 00 buckshot.
  4. hogger129

    hogger129 Active Member

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    9mm will do its part if you do yours. I would consider it a reasonable defensive round. .40S&W may give you some added power over the 9mm, but I find it a bit snappy. .45ACP provides a good amount of power. Slower, heavier projectile and so it will tend to empty most of its energy on the first thing it hits.

    .357 SIG is a good round too. I heard that some .357 SIG rounds will expand up to .75 inches. It's supposed to be a .40S&W round, necked down to accept a .357" bullet. And it's supposed to mimic the ballistics of .357 Magnum in a semi-automatic pistol. I think it's a good round, I haven't shot it very many times though. Only tried it in a Glock before.

    I'd even go so far as to say don't leave out .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum in your search. If it's a gun for home defense, get yourself a nice big Desert Eagle in .44 Magnum. Or like a big Dirty Harry Model 29 with the 8 3/8" barrel on it, lol.

    Or a S&W 500 with the heavy hunting loads. I don't think there will be much left of a home invader if you get em with that.
  5. American Leader

    American Leader Well-Known Member

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    My pillow gun is a Taurus Judge now. Use the 3" mag. shell with #000 Buck. I know some say it isn't accurate, but I have found just the opposite. Plus, in close quarters the #000 Buck spreads a little and might just cut some SOB in half. If you choose you can load the 45LC or a scatter round like #7's as well, maybe everyother round?
  6. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    The best cartridge for home defense is the one that you happen to have in the gun in your hand at the moment you need it.
  7. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

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    The way recoil is felt is built into the design of the firearm, not the cartridge.

    Think of it like this: The lower you hold on the grip of a gun, the more it's going to feel like the recoil is pushing the gun upwards. This is a simple understanding of leverage.

    On some guns, the grip is designed so that you are able to hold directly behind the barrel. On these, the energy is going to feel like it is directed backwards. On other guns, you have to hold somewhat below the barrel, and this leads to muzzle "flip."

    The cartridge doesn't matter. If you're talking 9mm, .40, and .45 in the same design (a 1911, for instance), the recoil is going to be a very similar feel with only slightly different intensities. :)
  8. bamashooter

    bamashooter New Member

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    I have a .45 and a 12ga. beside my bed. Either one would get the job done.
  9. Zane71464

    Zane71464 Well-Known Member

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    Well said!;)
    I have a few "guns" of choice and the main one is a 12ga coach gun with #00 Buck and 5 on the side stock. Three being #00 and two slugs, just in case I miss with all the #00!:eek::D
  10. Regular Joe

    Regular Joe New Member

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    A little bit of misinformation here. the M1911 replaced .38 Special revolvers. There were no magazines to empty in US service pistols until the M1911 came along.
    The caliber debate for defense will exist for as long as there are people who do not understand the miniscule differences between pistol bullet performance in the power range from 9mm to .44 Mag. Read as much as you can find about autopsy findings and stuff like that. I choose 9mm because good JHP rounds average expansion to about .680" and penetration to about 12~14". That's all you can expect from ANY defense pistol round. My Glocks hold really alot of bullets.
    If I remember correctly, the general finding in ER rooms everywhere is that about 40% of victims succumb to pistol wounds, regardless of caliber. Move up to a rifle in 5.56 or 7.62x39, and the number goes up to about 60%. Move up to a 12 ga. shotgun with buckshot or slugs, and they all die.
    If you're looking for "the right" pistol caliber, use 9mm as the minimum, and choose what makes you feel safe from there. Shot placement matters more than any other single factor.
  11. al45lc

    al45lc New Member

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    12 gauge, 0 buck.
  12. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

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    Hi, and welcome to TFF.
    For home defense:
    You have a .40 and a .22 and ammo is readily available.
    Your next purchase-for home defense-
    should be a pump shotgun, 12ga preferably.
    Pistol grip makes it easy to maneuver.
    They are also inexpensive, like a Mossberg 500A

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  13. Jay

    Jay New Member

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    Caliber makes absolutely NO difference unless you first put the bullet on target. At in-home distances, your shotgun pattern will rarely be much bigger than a baseball.... you still have to put the shot on target... and do you have room to deploy a long gun?

    Use the caliber that you're proficient with. Period.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  14. al45lc

    al45lc New Member

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    In pattern testing, my cylinder bore 18 inch 12 ga with 0 buck spreads about 8-10 inches at 15 feet. Thats 12, .32 caliber rounds in one shot.
    A hell of a lot bigger than a baseball, and far more lethal than any handgun in a scared , very alarmed persons hands.
    Needless to say, grandpa's goose gun isn't the right choice, the defensive shotgun has to be set up for that one purpose to work to maximum potential.
  15. TheGunClinger

    TheGunClinger Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Hi New Guy! Welcome to TFF. Hogger beat me to it with the shotgun thing. Cant beat a 12 ga. for home defense. I use this little thing loaded with first two rounds being birdshot and the rest with 00 buckshot. Dont want to mess up my drywall if I can avoid it.;) If you are using pistol or a rifle you need to be aware of rounds going through walls (yours and neighbors). You are responsible for your downrange bullets. Thats why I use the #7-8 birdshot for the first shots. In my house I have at max 15 feet per room so I wont miss. If you are thinking pistol, forget about the .22. Most pistol rounds will penetrate walls so if thats the road you want to go down I would get a 1911 .45. JMHO.

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