Great Article about Caliber Selection

Hobie Dog

Feb 24, 2008
San Marcos, Texas
I don't want ya'll to jump ship over to the Ruger forum but there is a great article over there. This is a constant question that I have had like most. It sounds like the guy that wrote it knows his stuff. The guy that posted it just copied it from somewhere but it's getting some interesting feedback. I'd love to hear the feedback back on this forum.
Feb 23, 2008
I completely agree with the article. I've found too many people who say .22 is just a BB gun and nobody willing to take a shot from one. Guns are deadly, no matter what caliber. My wife prefers to carry a .22, which several people gave me flak over, but even 10 rds of .22 would not make for a nice day.


Feb 23, 2008
San Antonio
I completely agree with the article. I've found too many people who say .22 is just a BB gun and nobody willing to take a shot from one. Guns are deadly, no matter what caliber. My wife prefers to carry a .22, which several people gave me flak over, but even 10 rds of .22 would not make for a nice day.
As kids, we would roam the prarie with .22's looking for jack rabbits. My cousin shot at one and the round hit a rock. It ricocheted and hit my belt buckle. Talk about lucky!


TGT Supporter
Feb 21, 2008
Austin, TX
That wasn't a bad article and I feel he made some pretty good points, though IMO he made it seem a bit too much as if ballistics and caliber differences do not matter at all. I'm of the frame of mind that I feel shot placement is ultimately the number one thing to be concerned with in a self defense situation. However there are a great many factors involved in stopping/incapacitating an attacker. Here is an excellent read I highly recommend for anyone interested in the subject:

It is a ballistic study done by the FBI in '89. Bullet technology has improved substantially since that time. Basically the jist of the article is this, there are a handful of factors that determine incapacitation from a gunshot. These are:

-Permanent Cavity
-Temporary Cavity (temporary stretching basically)
-Emotional Trauma/shock (FBI didn't list this but I feel it is a valid factor)

There is no such thing as an instant stop with bullets. The only thing that can provide an instantaneous stop is a shot to the CNS (central nervous system, the brain basically), and even then it is not always 100% guaranteed, but close to it. In most cases it is not advised, unethical, or not plausible to immediately go for a headshot when being attacked. With the legal ramifications, an action like that very well could get you convicted of murder, and in an random instantaneous attack it could be a risky shot anyways so a COM (center of mass) shot would usually be much more advisable. As always, take everything you hear with a grain of salt and make up your own mind how you feel. These are just my personal feelings on the matter. Anyways, the CNS shot is the ONLY thing that can relatively guarantee an instantaneous stop of the attacker. Anything else would be subject to the 5 factors I've listed above.

The issue with incapacitation is the fact that the human body is incredibly resilient and able to withstand ridiculous amounts of physical and emotional trauma/shock. If an attacker is determined or on mind altering drugs that make them unaware of the pain, they very well could keep attacking after multiple solid hits. In fact, there was one case I was reading from the FBI, I believe to do with the well known Miami Shootout in 1986. The attacker sustained what would be a 100% fatal shot to the heart, meaning there was no possible way he could live even had there been paramedics by his side instantly. However, the attacker still managed to put up a fight for somewhere between 10-15 seconds before blood pressure and other vitals dropped to a point that it was physically impossible for him to keep going. Because the body is so resilient, you simply cannot know what someone attacking you is capable of withstanding. As for the factors the FBI touched on in that article, the basic jist of that is that penetration, permanent cavity, as well as blood loss and/or vital organ damage were the most important factors.

This is where ballistics come into play. The truth of the matter is, when considering a COM shot, a very small caliber like .22lr does not have the sheer mass to penetrate as deeply as a larger round like 9mm or 45acp. There are some pretty high velocity loadings in .22lr out there, and I'm sure if you found one high enough velocity you could still get some decent penetration out of it though it is definitely at a disadvantage. For the most part, blood loss is going to occur much too slow for that to be as effective at quickly disabling an attacker. Sure, they are still bullets and any "normal" person would probably fall on the ground crying or run off in shock at being shot by a .22lr. Though, because there is the possibility you might be attacked by a pcp'd up crackhead that can't feel a thing, honestly I say the bigger the better but, being comfortable with your firearm is a bit more important IMO. Larger calibers generally have more powder behind them, larger bullet mass, which ultimately leads to increased lb/ft force, increased velocity, and increased penetration capability. I like .45acp for many reasons, however I am not one of those people that thinks it is the be all and end all or that it could knock a man off his feet. IMO one of the best compromise calibers is 9mm. With most double stack 9mm's you get excellent capacity, and the really nice thing is with something full sized like a Beretta 92f, Sig P226, etc you have extremely minimal recoil which is conducive to quick follow up shots and minimal stress on you in an already high stress situation. Ultimately choosing what you are comfortable with is a better route to go IMO, though try to at least buy some good quality ammo.

The rest of that website has TONS of info on it for those that are interested. What I've posted, much of it is just my opinion with a common sense understanding of the situation and my rudimentary knowledge of human physiology, so don't take my word for anything. :)


TGT Addict
May 29, 2017
Austin, TX
People always seem to get caught up in the caliber game when it comes to guns. It's like arguing engine size in cars, sure a big, loud V8 is fast, but you can't drive very far with it on one tank of gas.

In the spectrum of things, most people can't handle being punched. Now imagine the group of people that can handle being shot by anything repeatedly. A .22 LR pistol might not produce horrific wounds, or drop you instantly, but it's going to deter all but the most determined attackers.

Any firearm with proper shot placement is going to get the job done, but using a larger (9mm+) round just helps if you are off the mark. Let's face it, when the time comes you have to shoot someone you are going to be jacked up, tense, and your shooting is going to suffer.

Just my perspective.

Hobie Dog

Feb 24, 2008
San Marcos, Texas
Went shootin this weekend. The 4 of us had .380, 38, 357, 40, 45, 45 Colt, 9mm, 22, 22 mag, 7.62X39, 30-06, and 270. Passed them all around of course. All assortment of makes and models.

Know which one I liked the best? The one that was loaded and in my hand.

We had fun!


New Member
Mar 7, 2008
Irving, TX
Someone one another forum posted a poll asking which you'd rater have in a gunfight, a high capacity 9mm or a lower capacity 45. Hands down, most people chose the higher capacity 9. What was interesting is that most people chose the 9, but carry a 45.

I don't have the answer, but I personally have chosen to carry a subcompact 9 with 10+1(with the option of 16+1). I figure If I can't get it done with 11 then it's probably not going to get done.


Mar 5, 2008
I think that was one of his better articles.

I am always aware that John Hinckley dropped four people (Brady, McCarthy, Delahanty, Reagan) with single shots from a snub-nose 22LR.



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