I have a lot of practical experience with these calibers, but have never had to shoot anyone. As my knowledge base grew, I finally settled on the 9mm as the best all around defense cartridge against two legged vermin.
I used to be a "45" only kind of a guy. That is what my father carried in the military, and then as a civilian, and it is what I carried in the military and as a civilian. It is a good cartridge. However, the ammo is heavy and bulky and with modern ammunition it does not perform statistically better than the better quality 9mm loads (sorry to upset anyone). I knew some folks years ago that were involved in fighting in the Philippines. They started me thinking differently as their knowledge was hard won. They had 45ACP and 9mm handguns available, but overwhelmingly preferred the 9mm. It was easy to shoot well, and penetrated better.
Now, I have shot a few critters with handguns ranging from 22 LR to 44 magnum, such as deer, dogs, coyotes, and other animals large and small. Apart from the extremes of 22 and 44, the standard handgun defense cartridges seem to perform a lot alike. The only time I have fired a shot in defense of my life (aside from snakes) was using a .380 ACP to stop a pack of large dogs intent on mauling me to death. It did the job just fine.
I have to admit that I have seen some men who sheer size gave me pause. However, I know that people have killed even large black bears with a 9mm in defense of their lives, so I see no reason why a few well placed shots would not do the trick, if needed.
Is there anyone else, here, that has actually used a 9mm, 40 SW, or 45 ACP, etc. to shoot deer, dogs, or other animals that would care to chime in?
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