At first, they tried lightning the power of each load but the guns were still bulky and not enough officers could shoot them well. You can’t go wrong with any of the calibers on this list. There are more pistols being sold now than ever before. Therefore, in this section, we are going to provide you with a guide on making your decision. As you can see, these might not be the most reliable metrics, due to the many variables involved. Both 14-in and 16-in navy guns were common in World War II. But if you’re shooting varmint from a hundred yards away, maybe you’ll need to check the velocity graph below: The .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire at $0.20 a pop is the fastest of the four semi-auto handgun varmint calibers. The ammunition isn’t very expensive, and every .357 Magnum revolver will also shoot .38 special. Maybe while doing some research, you’ll find other handgun calibers more suitable for your needs — who knows? While this round promised to duplicate the performance of the .357 Magnum it doesn’t quite make it. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Scopes are real accurate for long range shots but rendered useless for bullets with poor ballistic coefficient. Nope. Historically, pistol rounds have been watered down because at full power they’re difficult to control. A service size all metal gun is best to handle the snappy recoil of this round. Felt recoil can be even harder to quantify, because we all have different hand and wrist sizes and varying levels of arm and upper body strength, not to mention we have different pain thresholds. Cons: Hard on guns. This round is also hard to control and the lightweight polymer guns that are common nowadays. Not that this is a high-performance cartridge anyway! Cons: Anemic. You can purchase a range of weapons to use on the 9mm handgun caliber chart, including small concealed carry and larger firearms. It is better now than it ever has been enjoying the same advancement in technology as other rounds. Jan 7, 2013 - Ammo Size Chart Photo - Ammunition Chart. And are there things about it I might not be aware of? So again, The Cambridge Dictionary is inaccurate. As you can see, many things will effect an accuracy besides just common calibers of guns. Furthermore, this is an excellent option for a backup gun or as a target pistol for competition. The .440 Cor-Bon dwarfs all the other big-bore semi-auto handgun calibers on this list when it comes to sheer power and speed. This is as good as handguns get! To flesh out all the details, I created a table that lists all of the most common (and not-so-common) handgun calibers and all pertinent info about them: It’s by no means a complete list, as I’m only including available info online for a total of 52 different handgun calibers, 23 of which are cartridges for semi-autos, 25 are for revolvers and the remaining two wildcards (not wildcats), namely the .22 LR and .22 WMR, are kind of all over the place because they can be chambered in rifles, revolvers and semi-autos. Rifle Cartridge or Bullet. Your email address will not be published. Pistol cartridges 177 4.5mm Air gun 22 5.8mm Air gun 22 Hornet: 5.6x35mmR Rifle cartridges 22 Improved 5.6x52mmR Rifle cartridges 22 Long Rifle: 5.6x15mmR Pistol cartridges 22 … They don’t tend to break up inside wallboards or houses. That doesn’t mean this is an excellent round. Cons: Not as good at barrier penetration. A bullet’s nose is called its “ogive”, and it is measured a different way (but we’ll not get into that). We need to continually reassess what is necessary for each and every task at hand. Only the 10 mm comes close to the performance of a full-sized .357 Magnum cartridge in a semi-automatic pistol. All the handgun data cones first, followed by all the rifle entries. Those large guns that were custom-built for 10mm. And a little bit of terminology…”bullet” is just the metal projectile while the whole thing is called a “cartridge.” 9mm (115gr vs 124gr vs 147gr) This means that the speed and energy will vary from cartridge manufacturer to manufacturer. The revolver calibers below are the only three that I think will be great for hunting deer up to a hundred yards away. You need to first examine how you will be using this gun, and your plans for it in the future. Sounds pretty straightforward, but accuracy also depends on a lot of other variables outside of the shooter’s marksmanship skills. It has low recoil, more muzzle energy than a .45 or a 9mm, and the guns are priced real cheap (ammo isn’t as cheap but they’re priced okay). In my opinion, the best bullet caliber sizes are the .357 Magnum and the .38 Special. In the barrel length is common for handguns there just isn’t enough time for the powder to burn to get enough performance out of the cartridge. If the occasional snake is the only vermin you want to handily dispatch with a handgun, look no further than CCI’s shotshell loads. 40 S&W . Plan on having, parts like recoil springs and extractors need to be replaced more often than with other cartridges because of the higher pressure this round operates at. Most manufacturers will offer a companion gun to their guns 9mm chambered in .40 S&W. To me it was just another never-ending debate, but it was the number of times both of them said “caliber” that I found amusing — and mildly irritating as well. With a suppressor, it is hearing safe. Here’s a list of where the old favorites and handgun rounds currently lie. The most relevant factor to you is whether the caliber will suit your uses, and by looking at categories, we can tell which of the guns will be suitable for different users of firearms. The graph above shows that the .45 Long Colt +P will be leagues above other self defense revolver calibers on our list, while the standard pressure load should be on par with a .45 ACP. Our list is extensive, with many different options, so reading it over without knowing what you are looking for might leave some confusion. The overall best home defense round is buckshot. Stick to bonded hollow point bullets and cartridges designed for self-defense and you won’t have any problems. • Varmints (CXP1) – like rats, prairie dogs, jack rabbits, marmots and ground squirrels. Buck Shot. When selecting a caliber for a self-defense handgun the following variables are the ones that should be considered: Accuracy: The caliber must be one that you can shoot comfortably and accurately. For just $1.60 a pop, .44 Magnum rounds will be your minimum bet if you want a powerful handgun for grizzly bear. As a cartridge, it is potent enough to take down large game, but controllable in even tiny five-shot snobby revolvers. While there are quite a number of people who have taken down up to elk- and bear-size game with .357 Magnum rounds hot-loaded to Elmer Keith specs, the consensus among handgun hunting enthusiasts is it’s only going to be barely adequate. Cons: Expensive, hard to find, few choices in guns, very few loadings available. I know what you’re thinking. Rifles and rifle cartridges can be fired at ranges that handguns were not … Round per round, the .38 Special +P isn’t that much more expensive compared to the .357 magnum, it’s only a $0.07 difference at most. 40 … Because this round is so prolific, every firearms manufacturer that makes pistols makes a pistol and 9mm. If you\ve been around awhile this will still shed some light on a few things we are sure. The difference is that small game is eaten while the varmints are not. So simply think of how you want to be using your gun, and let us do the hard work for you. Good for small game hunting. This is why I decided not to include the .357 Magnum in our list of large game revolver calibers. Birdshot consists of the top row and is pretty small pellets numbering in the dozens in each shell. Being the eternal cheapskate that I am, even if the .50 AE costs only $1.50 per round, I wouldn’t buy a Desert Eagle to hunt large game. As a standard to aid in comparing calibers, all trajectory charts have the same axes. We understand that there are many ways to categorize handguns, but we found that this was the most relevant because it allows you to make your decision based on what the gun is used for. Powerful ammunition with slightly lighter kick, remember the .41 Magnum. .22 caliber, 9mm & .40 caliber / Photo by Silvester. Making it essentially a magnum 9mm cartridge. 12ga 00 Buckshot, Opened. And looking at the ballistic performance graph below, the hottest .357 Magnum hunting loads are almost in the same energy category as the .41 Magnum, another magnum round that fills the gap between the .357 and the .44 magnums. Guns chambered in this round are exceptionally common. The FBI found themselves grossly outgunned and needed to upgrade their pistols. But the thicker revolver frame can withstand more punishment from the most powerful cartridges. Without getting into too much detail, depending on a particular gun’s design, the bore’s measurement alone doesn’t represent the “caliber”. This website is devoted to hunting, with all rifle trajectories sighted … 380. Compared to revolvers, semi-autos as a launching platform are almost always going to be the better picks when considering getting concealable firearms for self defense. But there’s a catch — these new fluted bullet designs can be really expensive. At one point the most powerful handgun cartridge in the world. This round is more expensive the 9mm and has more recoil and fewer rounds in the magazine. All the ballistics from all manufacturers, finally... in one place. This is the most versatile handgun cartridge in existence. Handgun shooting is one of the most addictive types of shooting! After every handgun caliber has been placed in its respective category, we’ll compare all of them based on their relative strengths and weaknesses in these three key areas: I was initially going to include other metrics like stopping power (for self defense rounds), one-hit-kill potential (for hunting rounds), accuracy, terminal performance and recoil to compare all listed handgun calibers against each other but decided against it because of the following reasons:eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'gunnewsdaily_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_4',130,'0','0'])); Stopping power and one-hit-kill potential in my opinion (and lot of other sensible gun nuts’) cannot be quantified for a lot of reasons. A Lehigh Defense Xtreme Penetrator .380 ACP bullet will penetrate ballistic gel with a minimum depth of ~13 inches and a maximum depth of ~17 inches. All the handgun calibers listed on the graph above will be adequate for self defense, we’re only comparing them on their muzzle energies to try and differentiate them from each other.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'gunnewsdaily_com-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_9',114,'0','0'])); At $0.15 per round and with good ballistic performance, the 9mm simply stands out. More expensive than other guns & ammunition. semi-auto handguns and revolvers; and on their intended purpose: whether they’re only for plinking, self defense, hunting or combinations thereof. Instead, the bare minimum I would recommend for big game is the .357 Maximum, a more powerful version of the .357 Magnum. It is already quiet, due to its low velocity. Handgun Ballistics . Handgun Calibers Comparison: From Smallest to Largest  Harder to shoot than auto pistols. A semi-auto handgun is great for self defense because it has a thinner profile which makes it easier to be carried concealed. Ballistic coefficient has little to do with just a bullet’s diameter, it’s a function of a bullet’s overall dimensions. Stay away from the small "mouse gun" calibers like .22 Long Rifle, .25 ACP, and .32 ACP. Combined with the fact that there are many antique guns on the market that people want to shoot, and you can see why many manufacturers do not push the envelope in regard to performance. Focusing exclusively on stopping power will yield too many variables to have a reliable metric. Being the self-critical person that I am, it made me ask myself: Were there ever times I might have also misused that word? Since 2001, we have provided the latest in gun rights news, tech reviews and product information. GND is community supported. This is because the .357 Magnum is a lengthened .38 special case. This allowed for heavier bullets pushed at the same velocity as in a 9mm. There is an exhaustive list of handguns in this caliber by Sig Sauer, Glock, Beretta, Heckler & Koch, Smith & Wesson and just about any manufacturer over the course of the past hundred years that produced a semi-automatic pistol. That is a handful. Stick to centerfire proven self-defense cartridges. Where it says “the width of a bullet”, I think we can all pretty much agree again that it’s a bullet’s cylindrical portion the dictionary was referring to — but it didn’t make a clear distinction as to which portion of the bullet the “caliber” is a measure of. Click Here To See The Comments Get familiar with as many handgun calibers as you can. So now that we know what the numbers and letters mean, it should help us interpret the bullet size chart/bullet caliber chart a bit better! With the above information in mind, we recommend you consider one key thing before you make your decision – what do you want out of your gun? In its time, it was the most reliable man stop are available. Best Aimpoint for AR15 On The Market 2020 Reviews, Top 8 Best Thermal Scopes On The Market 2020 Reviews & Buying Guide, 8 Best Tactical Shotguns for Home Defense in 2020 – Ultimate Reviews & Buyer’s Guide, Best Handgun for Beginners & Home Defense in 2020 Reviews, Top 5 Best .380 Pistols For Concealed Carry in 2020 – The Real Manstoppers, Top 10 Best Long-Range Hunting Cartridges in 2020 Reviews, 6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor – Which New 6.5 Cartridge Is The Best Choice, Top 5 Best 9mm Self-Defense Ammo for Concealed Carry, 7mm Rem Mag vs 300 Win Mag – Cartridge Comparison. It takes into consideration the length, diameter, and all other specifications of the round. The LR in .22LR refers to Long Rifle, while ACP refers to Automatic Colt Pistol. Cons: Hard to shoot. Become a Load Data member, access over 300,751 load recipies. Pros: Cheap! It is really best to focus on the individual power of each gun, as that is more of a constant thing. Bullet Ballistics & Charts. It’s easy to appreciate how this applies to the way handguns are designed. The 10mm is the most affordable semi-auto handgun cartridge for medium game. More cartridges of 9 mm ammunition are produced, sold, and fired than almost every other caliber in existence. The graph below has seven of what we think are the only semi-auto handgun calibers good for hunting up to deer-size game. At the Middle of the scale, we have the .38 calibers which can be difficult to hold when firing and sometimes unreliable. While there is often much wiggle room in the performance of handgun rounds, most any performance gained by these special loadings are often negated by short barrels and a loss and control. Unlike how we compared semi-auto handgun calibers for self defense, for hunting, we are including velocity and muzzle energy as two very important key metrics. The "cartridge" is the overall name of the ammunition. The graph above shows the two .22 rimfire cartridges edging out their other two competitors when it comes to affordability. The .17 HMR bullet flying out of a revolver barrel at 2,350 feet per second is the fastest of all varmint calibers. It is trailed closely by the 9mm at $0.35, while its bigger rimmed brother the .22 WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire — or .22 Magnum) comes in third at double the .22 LR’s price.eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'gunnewsdaily_com-leader-1','ezslot_17',124,'0','0'])); Now we get into the meat of our semi-auto handgun caliber discussion. Expensive. If you don’t already have a .40 Super handgun, don’t bother buying one. this is the most prolific handgun caliber in the world. If you don’t already happen to own one of these .357 Maximum revolvers, then you’ll have to move up in the caliber spectrum. Americans love their handguns. The key is to look at your own needs, and to match them with a choice in our guide. This is an excellent caliber! As a special mention, Ruger’s SP101 revolvers in .327 Federal Magnum holds six rounds while those chambered for .357 Magnum only holds five. How a particular caliber performs after the shooter pulls a gun’s trigger, how fast a bullet travels, what kind of trajectory it has, what kind of wound cavities it’s able to create upon impacting tissue, etc., these are the things that come to mind when I hear that word. This article was first published in Unapologetically American. And there’s that obscure revolver design called the Medusa M47, a multi-caliber revolver that allows around 25 different handgun calibers measuring .35 inches in diameter to be chambered in it. This is a smoking round that offers a 50% ballistic advantage over a .45 ACP. Since the chamber is most of the time a few hundredths of an inch wider than the bore and the chamber is part of that “long cylinder-shaped part of a gun”, that definition is inaccurate. We really can’t end this article without talking about what Smith and Wesson is touting as the most powerful production revolver on the market, the S&W 500 Magnum X-frame revolver. It doesn’t penetrate as well because of its moderate velocity. Again, not surprising considering how and why the round was developed. To make the comparisons simpler, we decided not to include any revolver cartridges in this list. Great for hunting birds and blasting clay pigeons, but not the best for home defense. I send this out (for free) to about 15 people every few months. But let’s not belabor that point. I personally wouldn’t want a revolver in .45 Long Colt though. If you’re looking to purchase a handgun in the caliber you’re interested in, go to the range and rent the gun, put it through its paces, see if you like how it handles. • Medium Sized Game (CXP2) – Non-dangerous. Plus the simple fact, the heavy steel frame guns that are common for this caliber are very difficult to conceal. Neither is the rimfire ignition. As far as terminal performance is concerned, when comparing handgun calibers within the same category, bullet design trumps muzzle energy. Just as we didn’t include revolver rounds in the semi-auto handgun calibers list, we did the same here. If you are new to shooting and self defense this will become one of the most important articles you ever read. The .38 Special standard pressure round will be cheaper but except for a very few misfits who carry old alloy revolvers, the majority of handgunners consider it pointless. After all, we make pistols to shoot them, and there’s a ton of them out there! At $1.12 per round, it is the cheapest of all large game revolver cartridges as shown on the chart above. Make sure you know exactly whether it is suitable for your gun by consulting the people who made it. The combination of a heavyweight, a nominal 230 grains, combined with its moderate velocity meant excellent penetration and a large permanent wound cavity. A good compromise between diameter and magazine capacity. Eventually being replaced by the .40 S&W because less and less gunpowder was being added. Gun News Daily is the longest running gun news website in the US. Mainly because it approaches lever action rifles in lethality. The XVR stands for “extreme velocity revolver” and uses the .460 S&W Magnum cartridge, its claim to fame being the fastest .45 caliber bullet on the market. Up to 50 pounds. However, it is overkill for CCW. The 460 Rowland, another similar powerhouse of a wildcat, is just a hair short of muzzle energy but it’s the most expensive medium game cartridge. It will also create a consistent permanent wound cavity measuring a minimum of an inch in diameter. Pistol rounds are best used as backup guns and home defense. Not to say this is a useless cartridge, quite the contrary. One of the reasons 10mm is making a comeback is the fallout series, not a massive contributor though. Plus, a rough overview of the best handgun rounds on the market. Essentially, they wanted the old .41 Magnum cartridge and a semi-automatic design. Over penetration is not as much is a concern as many make it out to be. If the newer Automag pistols turn out to be cheaper than Deagles I’d gladly get one for bear. Bullet shapes and designs, firearm sights and barrel rifling are really broad topics and we are not talking about those in this article. Remember, this is by no means an exhaustive list. Guns are hard to find in this caliber, and so is ammunition. And there are simply a lot of popular bullet designs out there which is a topic for another day.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'gunnewsdaily_com-banner-1','ezslot_6',122,'0','0'])); Since this article is about handgun calibers, we will not be talking about bullet designs, which is why we are not using terminal performance as a metric. This centerfire pistol caliber is semi-rimmed and straight walled. Ergo accuracy as a metric will not be used. Well, it’s because of its popularity, due to the fact that it’s a proven manstopper and there are a huge lot of revolvers manufactured to chamber it. Some revolver enthusiasts have their revolver’s cylinder reamed by competent gunsmiths to allow for moon clips. You’ll also find this round is harder on guns than other rounds. The .380 ACP is one of the smaller pistol bullet sizes, with .335 inch bullets that weigh anywhere from 90 to 100 grains and … Yes, the +P loads are powerful, but they’re also the most expensive revolver cartridge on our list. This is an excellent comprehensive summary of the 20+ most common handgun calibers, and it will help you choose the best load for use in self defense situations. Ruger has some Blackhawks and there are a few Dan Wesson revolvers floating around for sale on the interwebz. The graph above shows that the .22 LR is THE MOST affordable plinking round for any semi-auto handgun at $0.09 per round. That extra velocity causes the bullet to break up and wall boards much quicker. Looking at the chart above, the XVR can propel a 300-grain projectile out of its 8-3/8-inch barrel at 2,080 feet per second, which makes the .460 S&W Magnum the fastest and theoretically most accurate long-range hunting round on this list. Even with the most experience to shooters. The graph below shows, again, that the venerable .357 Magnum being one of the cheapest revolver calibers on the market today is the go-to round for when you want to hunt deer and you don’t have a lot of buck to spend (pun not intended). Caliber is a method of categorizing guns, but there are many other important factors that go into a gun’s performance, so this will not usually be the ultimate factor in what makes a gun perfect for you. As a general rule, stay away from these loadings. When talking terminal performance for self defense, the perfect bullet should meet the FBI’s standard for penetration: 12 inches minimum and 18 inches maximum in a block of 10% ballistics gel. Gas-operated semi-automatic actions reduce apparent recoil by spreading it over a longer period of time. A good recoil pad can help soften the blow to the shooter's shoulder. Such a joy to shoot; controlable power. The favorite of Dirty Harry, we have long since replaced it the most powerful handgun cartridge in the world. And lastly, barrel rifling stabilizes a bullet by making it spin as it exits the barrel.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'gunnewsdaily_com-box-4','ezslot_5',113,'0','0'])); Not to complicate this topic, but there are two types of barrel rifling — lands-and-grooves and polygonal, and the number of rifling grooves (in the case of the former) or rifling surfaces (in the case of the latter) affects how fast a bullet would spin, thereby also affecting accuracy. Weights of about 240 grains are most common, with the 185gr being the most effective for CCW. Terminal performance is largely determined by two things: muzzle energy (which is a function of bullet weight, powder charge and barrel length) and bullet design (a function of price). This is an All-American handgun round. Why is that? Yes, I’ve heard people sanding solid copper bullets to give them “spoon tips”. Ammo in the .22, .25 and .32 calibers, commonly called “mouse gun” calibers, will not stop most motivated attackers. Plus, anyone looking for a true “magnum” semi-automatic cartridge. This will make it their primary handgun caliber. Game animals on the other hand, well there are just too many species to compare. A little bird told me that the patents to the original Automag pistols have been bought by a newly formed firearms manufacturer who named their company after the pistols they’re looking to re-introduce to the enthusiast market. Suffice it to say not every target hit by a specific bullet center of mass will react the same way: humans have different stature and varying levels of willpower, and bad guys high on meth, regardless of physiological and psychological limitations, will be even harder to take down. If you want the latest and quite possibly the greatest for CCW, consider the .22 TCM. You might notice that while indeed, the majority of the handgun calibers listed are for semi-autos, there are two outliers — specifically, the .22 LR and the .22 WMR.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'gunnewsdaily_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_8',123,'0','0'])); As mentioned earlier, both those rounds are actually rifle calibers. This means a pistol bullet fired in your house has a very real chance of traveling completely through your home, and into your neighbors. A bullet with a higher velocity will be more accurate and more powerful at longer ranges. But for revolvers, the majority (14) are cartridges that can take down the biggest game animals in the world. One, handgun options availability (the more competitive a round commercially, the more handguns are built for it, and the more handguns on the market, the better aftermarket support); Two, how often you’ll get to spend time in the range for practice. Extremely popular because of how cheap the cartridges, it is normally considered to be the bare minimum for self-defense. If you’ve never shot a long barrel magnum revolver before, you’re missing out on a lot. Especially, at pistol distances. Speed and Energy are figured out using an average of all the known cartridges. “Caliber” is a word people often use and misuse when talking about guns. That extra length allows for more gunpowder and a larger bullet. Both the manufacturer of the firearm and the ammunition. "Caliber" is generally the measure of a bullet's diameter; the higher the caliber, the bigger the bullet, and generally the larger the game it can be used for. What’s great for plinking is most of the time also great for hunting varmint. Keep in mind, fast follow-up shots are nearly impossible with this gun. Great barrier penetration. But I digress. So again, for the purpose of comparing handgun calibers, we will not be using recoil as a metric. The excellent thing about this cartridge is its ability to penetrate hard barriers that would stop other handgun rounds. It also happens to be the fastest bullet in our list bar none. I myself, being a revolver enthusiast, would feel kind of undergunned if I were to carry a .38 revolver loaded only with standard pressure rounds, which is why I decided to only include its +P variant in the list. Rimless, Semi-Rimmed and Rimmed Bullets Few cartridges perform as well as .40 S&W when it comes to stopping threats behind a barrier. If you’re revolver lover, this is the Holy Grail. Shotguns and rifles are much more effective than any handgun for self-defense. But what of the bullet’s nose? I personally don’t much prefer single action revolvers because their cylinders require extra care to unload before they can be reloaded with fresh cartridges, so if I were to pick a revolver in this category I would go for either a double action revolver in .44 Magnum (as I stated earlier) or a Smith and Wesson .460 XVR — if I really want the most power in a controllable package. Again, cheaper ammo means more practice, and more practice means more venison on the table for less. On the launching platform and intended use of this on the table for less this analysis of –. Charts have the same category, bullet weight and energy will be using this gun, as is! The round little you know about this cartridge was carried by most modern militaries law-enforcement! Smallest all-steel Magnum revolvers on the gray bars on the table for less so simply think how... Using an average of all the rifle stock more venison on the interwebz in limited numbers by enforcement... 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