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Don't Be A Caliber Snob...

You've met them. You might be one of them. The "caliber snobs" are not only unproductive, but they can unknowingly promote dangerous behavior.

When it comes to choosing the caliber for a carry firearm, there is a sect of the gun culture that casts an awkward glance at anyone who isn't packing the biggest caliber they can tuck in, or hang off their waistband, comfortably or otherwise (usually, the “if it doesn’t start with a 4” crowd).

Should you ever want to start a war of words at your local range, proclaim to anyone you meet that you find the 9mm to be a perfectly suitable personal defense round. If you want to see grown men go into an apoplectic fit, mention the .380. If it is pure anarchy you seek, mention a .22 as a defensive caliber.

Frankly, I've never understood it. Another gun owner's preferred choice of carrying caliber has no effect on me, and it has no effect on what I choose to carry. I equate it to their preferred salad dressing. I might agree with their choice, but should our opinions differ, I'm not forced to start using their particular flavor. And I can safely say, with a certain level of confidence that any and all of them will garner the undivided attention of anyone on the loud end.

That doesn't stop the caliber snob, though.

As a grown man, not the least bit slight of build, the 9mm is my caliber of choice most of the time (although I have no problem with any caliber, since any gun is better than no gun). Upon hearing this, I've had numerous friends and acquaintances ask why I don't choose a real gun, or remark that I'm big enough to handle a better round. They're not wrong. I own larger calibers, shoot larger calibers, and do so proficiently, I might add. So why is the 9mm my choice for concealed carry?

Because the choice of caliber for a defensive handgun is far less important than the decision to carry in the first place, and your ability to place good hits on target is far more important than the size of the holes you’re creating.

Criminals prey on the weak and defenseless. It's about power. Criminals seek to impose their will, with as little investment or sacrifice on their part as possible. This is why the very sight of a gun, ANY gun, is often enough to end a confrontation — without a shot being fired. Defensive firearms are fired far less often than they are used in self defense. The act of introducing the firearm to the criminal is often enough for them to realize they have chosen poorly.

I read a lot of news. Defensive firearm ownership news is always of interest. I have yet to see an account of a crime, or attempted crime with anything that resembles the following:

" … upon drawing her handgun, the attacker paused to inspect the firearm. ‘What's that a .40S&W?' he asked. ‘I had planned to rape you, and would have gladly taken a few rounds from a .380 in my attempt, but that handgun happens to be large enough to prevent this attack."

I often ask caliber snobs if they have seen stories like this they can point me to. I have yet to see one.

I've often made a habit of interrupting their belittlement of my 9mm, or my wife’s .380, or one of my many, many .22’s for that matter to ask if they would be willing to let me put a couple rounds in their thigh. To a man — and the caliber snobs do always seem to be men — they adamantly decline. Odd, considering any of these calibers aren’t even a "real gun" to them.

In the end the absolute best handgun caliber you can carry is one that you are comfortable carrying. Can you draw and fire while stressed? Can you get multiple, well placed hits, rapidly and accurately? Is it a gun you can and will practice firing often? If you can answer yes to these questions, whether it is a .44 magnum revolver, or a .22LR derringer, then that is a perfectly adequate defensive firearm for you to carry, every single day. Dare I say it again? Any gun will always, always, always beat no gun, and big boolits will never compensate for poor marksmanship and a lack of skill.