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THE GREAT CALIBER DEBATE Small/Light and Fast vs. Big/Heavy and Slow If I had to make a guess, I would guess that this is the most often and most hotly debated issue among the 'experts'. Everybody has an opinion on most subjects and this subject is certainly no exception. Personally, I'm not a fan of small bullets. I'd rather carry a .40 or .45 any day over a 9mm. Does that mean I would not carry a 9mm? Certainly not, but I don't prefer it. I agree completely, as most do, tactics and mindset are infinitely more important than what size/type/caliber gun you carry. Give me a .25 and all day long I'll outmatch a guy with a .45 with no training or bad mental conditioning. That doesn't mean I want to carry a .25. It simply means that the gun is not necessarily the most important thing in a fight. The main requirements for a sidearm are that it is dependable and reliable. If you pull your gun and have to shoot, your gun must work. That is not negotiable. If you go out and buy a $250.00 brand new .45, and never get a shot off in a fight because it jams, then you're no better off than if you didn't have a gun in the first place. A gun that doesn't work is less effective than a good club or a knife. On the flip side of that, an $800 .22 that fires every time, but doesn't stop the attacker is not any more effective. I hear people all the time say "Well, I wouldn't want to get shot by it." A couple of days ago, I was in a gun store, and the salesman was trying sell a .22 to a lady. One of the things he said was that he knew people that didn't want to carry .22's because they are too small. He said his response to that is to ask "Ok then, where do you want me to shoot you with it?", to which people always respond "I don't want to get shot with it." Therefore, in his mind, the .22 makes a great personal defense weapon. Just because you "don't want to get shot" with a weapon doesn't necessarily make it a good defense weapon. I wouldn't want to get shot with a pellet gun, but that doesn't mean that I would carry one for personal defense. Another argument for small caliber weapons is that a lot of assassins use them, and a lot of people have been killed by .22's. When you shoot an attacker, the object is not to specifically kill him. The object is to stop him from doing whatever it is he is doing. Even with a good center hit, or several good center hits (no matter what the caliber), the person may not die, or he may die after he completes doing whatever he was doing. If an attacker is trying to kill you and you shoot him, if he stops trying to kill you, does it really matter whether the bullet kills him? There are plenty of instances where someone was shot and continued on doing whatever they were doing. One instance that comes to mind is a man in Georgia that was fighting with a police officer. At one point the police officer shot the man IN THE CHEST once with a .45. The man continued to fight for about 8 minutes before a passerby stopped to help. Yes, the mighty .45. Oh yeah, the man did not die. Another instance happened here in Memphis. A man broke into a house. There was a woman home at the time. She shot him 5 or 6 times in the chest with a .22. The man grabbed the gun from her, tried to shoot her, realized the gun was empty, and ran from the house. He was found several blocks away passed out in the street and eventually died at the hospital. One other instance I can think of, a man tried to rob a jewelry store. The store owner shot him once in the chest with a .45 (the mighty .45 again). The man turned and ran out of the store, then collapsed outside, where the police arrested him. This man died later after being taken to the hospital. Shooting the suspect had the desired effect in only one of the above incidents, and even then only by accident. Instead of running out of the jewelry store, the man could have just as easily started shooting. The mighty .45 took about 30 seconds or so to 'stop' the man. Thirty seconds is an eternity in a gunfight. All this being said, especially in light of the three incidents quoted, I am not advocating that you must carry a large caliber weapon. There are many incidents where a large caliber weapon fails to stop an attacker. There are also many similar incidents where a small caliber weapon does stop an attacker. I am simply advocating that you not choose a caliber based "I don't want to be shot by it." Choose your caliber and/or gun based on reasonable research, not on how somebody feels about it or other hearsay. I prefer to carry as large a caliber as reasonable, but I am not in any way implying that you have to. That is simply my choice. We must all live or die by our own choices. Robert V. Robinson "Robbie" My Experience and Training