I have carried everything, almost. 380 at first, and then went to the 9mm in the G26. From there I carried a G30 but not too long. I'm not a huge guy. Then I settled on the .40 in a G27...for quite a while. Today you will find me with a 357sig in a G33. I guess what I am getting at is' "what can you hit most accurate with, stop a threat effectively and carry comfortable?"
Moreover, that answer is probably the gun you carry and practice with the most.
This debate will go on til the end of time about calibers. The fact is I like them all; they all have a place at the table. So if you carry a G26 or a G20, it matters only in one respect.
The biggest, the baddest, the fastest, the most energy means not one thing compared to accuracy. I mean nothing. Well almost. Point is I would rather take a 45 in the arm than a 380 in center mass. Personally, I am most accurate with my G22, complete trigger job 2.75lbs pull, 5" Lone Wolf barrel with compensator. It is not my carry gun but is what I would use in a competition given a choice, with my G17 coming in second. I practice the most with my G33 because that is what I carry, and even though it is not quite as accurate given the other two mentioned, I hit very well with it, and it is very concealable. If I did not have a great amount of confidence in it, I would carry something I did.
Any caliber has the potential to kill you, but many of those same calibers do not have the power to stop you in your tracks when seconds count. Case in point, a video on YouTube shows a trooper shooting an attacker; center mass with a G22, the attacker continued his shooting assault on the officer, striking him in his side once and shooting for 15 more seconds before retreating to his car, driving half a mile, and dying.
Now I love the 40, some do not. The history of the 40S&W stems from the 1986 FBI shootout in Miami. Two agents died, five were injured all by one guy, with a Ruger mini-14, that had sustained a non-survivable wound early in the exchange from an agent with a 9mm. He was hit five more times but just did not die fast enough. I have stood on the very spot all this took place and the sidewalk still had the blood impressions, stained in the pavement. Research and read the story, they even made a movie and YouTube has a few videos. One of the best examples of bravery you will ever read about. The agents were out gunned but fearless and one very wounded agent put an end to it all with his 357mag.
That story can be read here and a good reenactment of the scene:
So, the FBI wanted a more powerful round, they went to the 10mm, agents complained, and the 40S&W came to be.
Side note: Now I almost bought a 10mm one time, shot it, loved it and did some research, as you should do. I found or should say I understood that unless I bought the high end 10mm rounds, the specs were virtually the same as the 40. Moreover, even the lower powered range 10mm ammo was much higher in cost. Therefore, I passed.
Back to it, as some of you have heard, certain people have called the 40 S&W (short and weak). There is nothing weak about that round. The 40 has the speed of the 9 and more energy than the 45, at a cost. The cost is recoil and snap. Like anything though, you make adjustments and just get use to it. Here we find ourselves back to placement and placement means practice. I practice a lot.
Can you practice too much?
Well I suppose so, considering cost of bullets, wear on gun, wear on your body.
It has taken two days before my finger stopped aching more than once. When I first got the 357, my forearm felt like I had been to the gym for a day. This weekend I went through 50 380s, 50 40s, 100 9mm and 100 357s. When I shoot 45s, it is usually a 45 day, G21, G30 and 1911 every third range trip. I go every week when possible, and every other when not. I like shooting, who doesn't? Well I am not going there, we all know who doesn't.
Now I will admit I do not practice like I should all the time, you are not allowed to draw from the holster at the range I go. Work around, pick it up from the table in front of you, and fire twice, quickly. Man, do I need to practice more at that scenario. It is not that I can not hit center mass, but hitting the X is nearly impossible. That is why I really like rule number 2 in 25 rules to know in a gun fight. Number 2 is "anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice."
Of course, number one is to bring a gun. I also practice one handed shooting because you may need your other hand free pushing a loved one out of harm's way, who knows?
One more item to note: the type of ammo to carry. Hollow points for sure, but what kind?
PS, care to name the brand of ammo in the picture, most are easy enough, the last two 45s on the right are not.
Whatever kind, you need to make sure they function reliably in your weapon. So sure I practice 99.5% of the time with range ammo but also run a mag or two of my self-defense ammo just to make sure it run without issue.
Personally, I have Remington Golden Saber and Hornady Critical Duty in all my carry guns. The Remington GS is an older style but devastating and to quote my favorite saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." YouTube some of the Golden Saber shooting videos.
In closing, I copied one version of the 25 rules to a gunfight. Some are humorous, others are dead serious. Credits for this go to that author, whoever it may be, it did not say:
1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.
2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap life is expensive.
3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.
4. If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough or using cover correctly.
5. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)
6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.
7. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
8. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.
Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting standards will be more
dependent on "pucker factor" than the inherent accuracy of the gun. Use a
gun that works everytime. "All skill is in vain when an Angel blows
the powder from the flintlock of your musket."
10. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.
11. Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
12. Have a plan.
13. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won't work.
14. Use cover or concealment as much as possible.
15. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.
16. Don't drop your guard.
17. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.
18. Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them.)
19. Decide to be aggressive enough, quickly enough.
20. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.
21. Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
22. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
23. Your number one option for personal security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.
24. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with anything smaller than "4″.
25. You cannot miss fast enough to win.
To sum it all up and put it in the right place, no matter the caliber, shot placement is KING. If you are king with a 9mm over a 357, 40, or 45, you need to carry and have a nine on you. The same goes with any caliber, whatever gives you the best on target shot, that is your go to weapon.
As always, that is just my opinion. Be safe and practice hard.
Robert G. aka cudaviper