Choosing the Best Handgun Ammo for Home Defense

One of the most commonly asked firearm related question is, ‘which is the best handgun ammo for home defense?’ There is no clear or right answer to that question. The truth is different calibers behave differently. Each caliber has unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Preference of a particular ammo also depends on the shooters experience. A new shooter may prefer a gun which is comfortable, accurate, and has less recoil while some shooters like the high caliber hand-cannon rounds. Now, a gun enthusiast can spend a lot of money buying different guns with different calibers in the pursuit of finding the right ammo.

However, for a family that can afford to buy only one handgun, this choice becomes much more crucial. To help you to take the right decision, here’s our list of the most popular types of ammo available in the market along with their advantages and shortcomings.

.22LR

This is one of the lightest and smallest rounds you can fire from a handgun. Thanks to its light weight it tends to tumble after hitting a target which can be lethal at close quarters. Being the smallest round it also has no recoil which in turn enables you to hit the target accurately and swiftly fire multiple rounds without straining your hands. However, this round has very little stopping power making it unfit for personal protection.

.32 ACP

The .32 ACP does have significantly more stopping power than the .22 and are often fired from super-compact concealable pistols. Several gun manufacturers have introduced series of compact pistols which are easily concealable and can be carried around without drawing any attention.

Therefore, if you want a very small pistol for concealed carrying, the .32 ACP rounded pistols might serve the purpose. Now, most people think that .32s are not good for home defense as it lack the power of a high caliber bullet. However, keep in mind that policemen used the .32 round extensively not that far back.

In fact, it continues to be popular among law enforcement officers in Europe.

.38 Special

Most gun experts and enthusiasts consider this round to be the minimum when it comes to serving as a personal protection weapon. The Special round manufactured specifically for revolvers and is undoubtedly one of the most popular rounds in the world. The round is good for most home defense situations and has decent stopping power. This is a well balanced round which delivers a perfect mix of stopping power and accuracy.

.357 Magnum

Consider the .357 Magnum round as the turbocharged .38. The rounds are more or less the same size but the .357 magnum has a lot more powder enabling it to reach higher velocities. However, more power comes at a price as .357 Magnum handguns are known have quite a kick. The significantly higher recoil may not be a trouble for experienced shooter but can be uncomfortable for new gun owners.

.380 ACP

This semi automatic pistol round was pretty popular in Europe before it came to America. John Browning designed and introduced it in 1912 in Belgium. Since then it’s considered to be a practical round for compact pistols. If you are looking to buy a pistol for the first time, the .380ACP is surely a strong contender.

9mm

Slightly more powerful than the .380s, the 9mm is easily the most inexpensive defensive rounds available in the US market. There are literally endless varieties of pistols that fire this round ranging from super compact pistols to full sized handguns giving you enough options if you are comfortable with the round. Overall the 9mm is hugely popular, has relatively less recoil, and adequately powerful for most defensive situations.

.40 S&W

Developed jointly by Smith & Wesson and Winchester, this round was aimed deliver a similar stopping power that of a 10mm rounds used briefly by FBI officers. However the .40 S&W does have shorter case which in turns means more tamed recoil. Law enforcement often uses this round in the US and has more than enough power to be part of any home.

.45 ACP

American soldiers have used his round every single war we’ve participated in in the past 70 years. Fired by historic M1911 pistol, this is a sturdy and reliable round that has proven itself in the battlegrounds of World War 2. .45ACP rounds are significantly heavier than the 9mm and deliver a more lethal punch. However, it also has higher recoil which means new users have to get used to it at first. The round is also cheaply available as most stores have a healthy stock of discount 45 auto ammo brands. Most experts believe that going anything above the .45 for defensive purposes is overkill and impractical.

The higher caliber rounds like the monstrous. 500 S&W significantly impacts the accuracy of a weapon and should only bought for recreational purposes.

.38 Special: The Most Accurate Handgun Cartridge

Cartridge .38 Special may speak wonders. It’s praised as one of the most accurate handgun calibers in the world. The first appearance of the caliber.38 Special in the international scene goes back to the year 1902. This new ammo came into the world in the hands of Smith & Wesson. They embarked on the adventure of developing a new gauge for the weapons of the American troops.

.45 ACP

While the .45 ACP in the end won the game,  .38 Special  earned the blessing of many members of the armed forces. The .38 Special has always offered its best results since the drum of a revolver. Given its popularity, large arms manufacturers opted for designing revolvers prepared to fire this ammunition. The Springfield Company took almost all the limelight, with models as emblematic as the series J (small-frame revolvers).

.38 Special

.38 Special ammunition became the gauge most widely used by the revolvers of police. Until the end of the second world war until the arrival of the semiautomatic pistols and the 9mm Parabellum, this was the round of choice. This fact marked the end of the reign of the .38 Special as ammunition for defense. Although in recent years it seems to be living a second youth thanks to the variant + P (increased load). In this sense, the latest venture of Smith & Wesson in the sector of weapons of Defense, its new S & W Bodyguard revolver, arrives precisely with this letter under the arm: supports cartridges caliber .38 Special + P, which considerably improves the power and the power to stop this century-old ammunition.

Disadvantages

As we can see, one of the major disadvantages that always has been blamed for the .38 Special is its low power to be used as ammunition for defense. Although now more fans to “spicy” cartridges have the variant + P, about 70 years ago the House Smith & Wesson decided to put an end to these criticisms, designing a new caliber: .357 Magnum. This cartridge, born in 1934, is an obvious derivative of .38 Special. In fact, externally barely differ in the sheath of the .357 Mag is a little longer. A .357 Magnum cartridge is usually much faster than one .38 SPL.

Given that it is two cartridges with a nearly identical exterior design, the ammunition of the caliber .38 Special can be fired from a revolver with the .357 Magnum Chamber. However, for safety reasons, from a revolver with the .38 S & W Magazine, the caliber cartridges can’t shoot .357 Mag. This compatibility on many occasions to the caliber .38 Special, especially among the marksmen, who find in this ammunition best price (cheaper than the .357 Magnum s) purchase, less recoil after each shot, and usually more accurately. The .38 Special is a low pressure cartridge, whose best accurate results are obtained with speeds of less than 250 meters/second and projectile type “wadcutter” (flat tip).

Today the .38 Special remains one of the most manufactured and disseminated munitions around the globe. The big brands such as Winchester, Remington, Federal, Magtech or ITC, among many others, produce multiple varieties of this caliber. The .38 Special fame goes far beyond having been the caliber of the legendary Colt Detective Special revolver. Its popularity is due more to excellent conditions as ammunition for defense and for precision shooting.

Maintaining Your Handgun the Proper Way

The act of possessing a handgun comes with a lot of responsibility and using it carefully is a fundamental aspect of the same. Cleaning and maintaining the gun is yet another aspect. It increases the life span of the weapon, ensures smooth operability and keeps the weapon healthy. Read on for a closer look at the ways of maintaining these prized possessions

Cleaning Your Handgun

Regardless of whether you are a regular user of your gun or play the role of a collector, cleaning it should become a regular ritual. Gun cleaning supplies are easily available at gun and/or firearm stores and can be bought at affordable rates. The first and the most important step is to unload the gun. Check and cross check if the gun is empty. Empty all the chambers and dismantle the firearm safety. If there are incidents of the gun slipping off or accidental pulling of the trigger, nothing drastic will happen as the gun would be empty. If this step is ignored, then the consequences can be fatal.

Once this is done, identify all the parts of the handgun that you need to clean. Every handgun has four major components–the frame, slide, barrel and guide rod and recoil spring. Take out the detachable parts of the handgun and keep them next to each other. Take a soft, lint-free cloth and wipe away the carbon build-up that accumulates due to friction and burning powder. The unburnt powder and oil should be wiped too. This is just a preliminary step in which precision isn’t the major criteria.

Once this is done, apply a solvent that’s suitable for your handgun. Use it on all the dirty components and keep it on for some time. The solvent loosens up the dirt or residue. After a few minutes, use a brush for cleaning off the accumulated dirt. Make sure that the brush doesn’t have any metal bristles. Clean the barrel and look for any signs of residue that might be left behind. Use a solvent soaked cloth to wipe the inside and outsides of the handgun. Use picks or thinner bristled brush to get to the tiny, intricate areas.

Maintaining Your Handgun

Once the cleaning is done, lubricate the necessary parts of the gun. This prevents rusting, corrosion and damage due to internal friction. After that, re-assemble the gun and wipe off the excess solvent. Right before shooting, swab the barrel with a dry cloth right to remove any oil residue. All ammunition like 5.56×45 ammo should be kept in a dry and cool place so that they don’t get damaged.

This cleaning and maintenance procedure should be done every few weeks. No compromise should be done on the same. Let your gun shine and let it live longer.