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Size of Ammo

GTX68

Alpha
This is my first time in this forum, and I have yet to ever buy a handgun. I have fired a few different ones, but I am a novice and my question may not come out correctly, but here goes. There are different calibers, but I do not know how many there are, and what they mean in terms of velocity. There are 9mm, 22's, and 45's but I do not know really what most calibers do or the diffetence in firepower. Is there a chart or article(s) that someone could direct me to? I would like to educate myself before I invest in a home self-defense handgun.

Thank you
 
Not sure of any chart, but something to check on before you buy is ammunition availability. Once apon a time 9 mm would be a great choice because it's efficient and cheap. I was looking today and not one online dealer I checked had any 9. Right now, 40 S&W and 10mm seem to be the most available, but they're both pretty powerful/snappy rounds. Even the lowly 22 lr is getting extremely hard to find! Good luck, and welcome to the forum.
 

papadan

Elite
Welcome GTX, not an easy question by any means. To start with, the sizes you mention 22, 9mm, and 45, those are bullet diameters not power or velocity. Here is a basic chart of common pistol cartridges.
handgun-bullet-caliber-chart.jpg


Every size cartridge has multiple weights and charges available, that is what will determine velocity. If you have no experience with handguns at all, go to a local range and talk with the proprietor. They can help with explanations and gun types. They also rent firearms for newbies to try out. You may want to start with a 22lr just to get used to handling and firing a handgun. For someone less experienced looking for home or personal defense, you will find a 9mm quite powerful yet controllable. When you get to 45acp, 10mm, 357 magnum, you will find them quite a handful without plenty of practice. Good luck, and don't cut corners, seek help to do it right.
 

BET7

Professional
Founding Member
Doing a search for "Caliber Comparison Chart", I found several article with charts (I've linked just 2 below, and be aware, that they may not contain all calibers out there). Also, please know that there are some calibers that are specified using the same number (i.e. 9mm could be 9x18, 9X25, 9x19 Parabellum (luger), similarly 45 could be, 45 ACP, 45LC, etc), but these CANNOT all be fired interchangeably which whatever gun you may buy. Most common 9mm handguns on the market fire the Luger also know as 9x19 Parabellum, round. Similarly, most common 45 pistols (not necessarily revolvers, which may be able to fire multiple different calibers) on the market fire the 45 ACP round. So from this standpoint, it's very important to know what caliber round can be safely fired from whatever firearm you may purchase.
I also wish to welcome you to the forum GTX68, and please feel free to continue to ask questions. There are very knowledgeable people on here that can answer your questions. The 2 articles below may be useful in answering some of your questions. Good Luck GTX.


 

10mmLife

Professional
Founding Member
Doing a search for "Caliber Comparison Chart", I found several article with charts (I've linked just 2 below, and be aware, that they may not contain all calibers out there). Also, please know that there are some calibers that are specified using the same number (i.e. 9mm could be 9x18, 9X25, 9x19 Parabellum (luger), similarly 45 could be, 45 ACP, 45LC, etc), but these CANNOT all be fired interchangeably which whatever gun you may buy. Most common 9mm handguns on the market fire the Luger also know as 9x19 Parabellum, round. Similarly, most common 45 pistols (not necessarily revolvers, which may be able to fire multiple different calibers) on the market fire the 45 ACP round. So from this standpoint, it's very important to know what caliber round can be safely fired from whatever firearm you may purchase.
I also wish to welcome you to the forum GTX68, and please feel free to continue to ask questions. There are very knowledgeable people on here that can answer your questions. The 2 articles below may be useful in answering some of your questions. Good Luck GTX.


Nice break down @BET7 .
 

BangBang

Professional
Glad to have you “getting on board” unfortunately it’s a bad time for firearms and ammo. Regardless you should find something. You should find out first what are you wanting out this pistol/firearm? Where you live check your local laws for conceal carrying. Will it serve double duty as a range and home defense gun? I’m not here to tell you to get “X” caliber You will father lots of good information from these good guys here. You will want to come up with a price your willing to spend. You will want to figure out what purpose this pistol will serve. If you can go to a local range handle the revolvers and the semiautomatics. Both are great platforms and will serve you well.
As far as caliber, another choice you will have to make. We have a tried and true .40 fan here, not naming names ;) and I really like the .40. It was used by my local law enforcement for a long time. You may know, and disclaimer, but the F.B.I just switched and a lot of the LE agencys have switched to 9mm. I am very pleased with the performance of the 9mm offerings available to me. I am a huge fan of the .45ACP. 10mm. Don’t be afraid to get behind one of those. They make a wide array of bullets for the 10mm from mild to wild. A man looking for one gun with capacity that would be one to consider. The .40 S&W another great round. I used to have three pistols chambered in that round. Very pleased with the ballistics and performance of that round.
Get into a DA/SA revolver and you have an excellent, yet fewer capacity firearm. Comes in several offerings as well. They make 9mm, up to, ha, well you name it.
 

BangBang

Professional

OkiePewPew

Moderator
Staff member
The only thing that matters is that the gun fits your hands and you feel like you can shoot it well. The more you can rent the better off you’ll be. Even better is to ask for recommendations for a personal trainer from multiple ranges. Talk to them all and choose one that is able to bring multiple guns for you to try out. The hourly rate for a personal trainer will end up costing you less than doing it on your own and you’ll get a huge benefit of learning the basics of handgun control before teaching yourself bad habits.

.22 and 10mm are not the best for self defense but otherwise 380, 9mm, 40, and 45 are all acceptable rounds. 380 has some drawbacks if you live in colder climates (doesn’t penetrate multiple thick layers of clothing as well). But really velocity doesn’t matter. A pistol round isn’t going to do velocity based damage unless it’s going rifle speeds. What’s important is that a hollow point round expands a lot consistently and penetrates to an appropriate depth all the calibers listed above have specific rounds that do so. That’s why the gun is more important than the caliber. Luckygunner Labs has done extensive hollow point testing and provides a quality description of why and how their testing matters and the data columns are sortable by the expansion and penetration. Find the gun/caliber you can shoot the best then use Luckygunner’s
data to choose the specific round to carry.
 

adam sr

Professional
Founding Member
My suggestion would be to fine a gun that fit you and your hands. See what you prefer a compact, mid-size, or full size. Then decide what caliber. I think a 9mm would be good to start with. It will get the job done. After you get some shooting in and learn gun control and most importantly gun safety then you might want to go to a bigger caliber.
 

Keystone19250

Professional
Welcome to the forum GTX68, as mentioned many times above the right gun for you will be the gun that feels comfortable in your hand and you feel competent shooting. Gun safety and training is paramount so talk to professionals and try multiple guns before you buy one.
 

Keystone19250

Professional
The only thing that matters is that the gun fits your hands and you feel like you can shoot it well. The more you can rent the better off you’ll be. Even better is to ask for recommendations for a personal trainer from multiple ranges. Talk to them all and choose one that is able to bring multiple guns for you to try out. The hourly rate for a personal trainer will end up costing you less than doing it on your own and you’ll get a huge benefit of learning the basics of handgun control before teaching yourself bad habits.

.22 and 10mm are not the best for self defense but otherwise 380, 9mm, 40, and 45 are all acceptable rounds. 380 has some drawbacks if you live in colder climates (doesn’t penetrate multiple thick layers of clothing as well). But really velocity doesn’t matter. A pistol round isn’t going to do velocity based damage unless it’s going rifle speeds. What’s important is that a hollow point round expands a lot consistently and penetrates to an appropriate depth all the calibers listed above have specific rounds that do so. That’s why the gun is more important than the caliber. Luckygunner Labs has done extensive hollow point testing and provides a quality description of why and how their testing matters and the data columns are sortable by the expansion and penetration. Find the gun/caliber you can shoot the best then use Luckygunner’s
data to choose the specific round to carry.
Very well said Okie!!
 

jumpinjoe

Master Class
Try, try, try out as many different guns as possible before you put down your money. No 2 shooters are alike, and no 2 guns will feel the same to any shooter. When you find the right gun, you will likely know it immediately if you have tried enough differences before hand.

Worry about caliber, muzzle energy/velocity, bullet type, etc, etc, etc, once you've found the right gun for you. Today's choices are almost unlimited in all those areas for almost any/every type and design of gun. Then you can and should experiment with as many different types/weights of ammo as possible once you decide on your gun. Some are better suited for target shooting, some are better suited for self defense, some others better for hunting. There will be different types of ammo for almost every primary use for every type/design gun.

Over the years I've been asked probably a million times .... "What kind of gun should I get?" mostly from new shooters before, during, and after many various classes. I've made it a policy to never recommend any particular gun to anyone for any reason. I'll sometimes make very general statements such as if it's a smaller framed/hand shooter, maybe a woman/widow etc, I'll recommend starting off with some of the smaller/lighter calibers. I'll most often ask what is their first thought when thinking about getting a gun, especially from the new users and those far less experienced users. Typically they'll answer they want something simple to learn with.

Obviously there is nothing simpler than a revolver. No other parts needed such as magazines, clips, etc, no mechanical safety, very simple to load/unload, and then 'Aim, squeeze the trigger'. So, revolver general description is as close as I'll come to recommending any particular gun to anyone. I'll explain to that person why I said what I said, and then I'll repeat the first sentence I wrote here in this post.

A gun is as personal a piece of equipment as most anything. We all prefer certain things, even though most any type of that particular thing will suffice. For example we all have a favorite brand of shoes, a favorite brand/style of jeans, a favorite brand/type of underwear, maybe even a favorite brand/type of toothbrush. That doesn't mean we can't use, maybe even get used to another brand/type, but we will always have those favorites. The same holds true with a gun. We may like many different ones, but only one will be that particular favorite one for us that 'just feels right'.

The one recommendation I will often make is to start out with the smaller calibers if possible and as much as possible, then work your way up until what you're shooting becomes uncomfortable. We all have a limit to what we can shoot comfortably and capably. Keep that in mind, then refer back to the very first sentence of my post.

Welcome to the forum. Come often and stay late. There are many very experienced gun owners here, all who are more than happy to answer any questions and/or concerns you might have. And I'll extend the same advice/warning here to you that I've extended to others. Ask away, and if at anytime you don't feel quite right about some info you've gotten, or maybe you simply don't quite understand, ask again of someone else. Ask until you fully understand and feel comfortable with the info you've gotten. No one here will intentionally give you bad or incorrect info, and no one here will take offense to you asking another or for more clarity. Some are a little better at describing their thoughts than others, but all are willing to help. Give them a try.

regards,
jumpinjoe
 
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