Firearms Food for Thought: Caliber versus Shot Placement

    It’s a frequent argument, one prone to sparking tempers in person and on social media – pretty much any time it comes up. Is shot placement truly everything and if it is, does that mean it doesn’t really matter what caliber of handgun you conceal carry? Is carrying a pocket pistol chambered in .380 ACP or even .22LR justifiable if you’re confident in your ability to make the perfect shot when your life is on the line? Or should your EDC be something bigger, such as a .45 ACP or 10mm? With a larger-caliber handgun there’s a sizeable permanent wound cavity, which means maybe – just maybe – you’d have a bit more leeway when it comes to placement. Or does a bigger caliber mean you’d actually have a harder time making that shot thanks to recoil, and maybe even be less likely to carry it since it’s harder to conceal? There are endless questions and countless angles. This is one of those questions that draws a line in the sand, one those on both sides are unlikely to ever agree to crossing.


    Remington’s RM380 which is, as the name suggests, chambered in .380 ACP

    In recent years the .380 ACP has enjoyed a significant increase in popularity due in part to its small size and lighter weight. It is absolutely accurate to say women are part of what is driving up sales of pocket pistols. Smaller guns may be less intimidating and they are certainly marketed towards women from their candy-themed colors to the salesmen pushing them. There is even women’s clothing specifically made forĀ pocket pistols including tank tops and corsets.


    The new SIG P220 is chambered in 10mm

    Of course, guns chambered in .45 ACP are often classics – think 1911. Fans of the cartridge speak highly of its size and ability to create a large wound cavity. It may be hard to conceal but it isn’t impossible. One thing it has in common with the .380 ACP is a fresh surge in sales. It seems there have been more 1911s making the rounds lately from re-releases to custom models. Then there’s the 10mm which is another larger caliber favored by growing numbers of shooters for both self-defense and hunting.

    There are other options out there, andĀ one in particular which tends to cause heated debates on a regular basis: 9mm. But that’s a discussion for another day.

    What do you think? Is shot placement so important it truly negates the need for a larger-caliber handgun?


    This may seem to be a rifle picture, but it’s more than that: there’s a 10mm holstered at my right hip, and it’s always there when I hunt.

    TFB Staffer

    TFB Staff, bringing you the latest gun news from around the world for a decade.