The term ‘Best Pistol Caliber’ is a very open ended one. The answer to that will greatly depend on what the handgun is being used for. Self defense against a human, home defense, concealed carry? We will try to balance out all of the different aspects of the round to determine the best, all around, general purpose caliber for handguns. We used four categories for the judging; history, availability, stopping power, round size and capacity.
With those categories in mind, we have choosen the .45 ACP as the Best Pistol Caliber.
The .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) round was designed back in 1904 by John Browning for use in semi auto handguns, which were also being designed at that time. The round was incorporated into the design of the famous M1911 pistol, which has been a sidearm icon in the U.S. Military since 1911. The round has been tried and tested in every U.S. conflict since then and has developed a reputation for being the best combat handgun round. It’s been a staple of American gun making since it was made, and even today, continues to be one of the most popular handgun rounds available. It’s still used in many special operations, S.W.A.T. and hostage operations today.
You can find .45 rounds anywhere handgun ammo is sold. It is very popular all over the country for almost any handgun application. These rounds will be more expensive than some other similar rounds, such as the .40 S&W and the 9mm because of their size and raw materials. But with the price of all ammo up so high recently, no handgun round is going to be extremely cost effective (it’s hard to consider the .22 long rifle a handgun round). Bottom line is that if you want to find .45 ammo, you will be able to purchase some. That fact is an important part of determining the Best Pistol Caliber.
The .45 is one of the best compromises for capacity, round size, and stopping power available. It’s relatively low-velocity, but the diameter and the weight of the bullet have made it very popular as an effective combat pistol. It has very good accuracy and ballistics, all while keeping a decently low recoil and chamber pressure. It will have a little bit bigger recoil and kick than the smaller rounds, but that’s just the laws of physics. Its recoil is usually a more predictable, and solid recoil, compared to the .40 S&W’s more snappy recoil.
Capacity and Round Size
The .45 again does fairly well in this category. The round is pretty short, so the guns can be semi auto and still be a manageable size. The bullets are pretty thick, so capacities are slightly less than their .40 S&W or 9mm counterparts, but guns chambering the .45 still do pretty well in this category.
Our Final Choice as the Best Pistol Caliber
The bottom line is that the .45 ACP round is the best compromise of size, capacity, power, cost, and availability out there today. It has been found tried and true in combat situations, and remains an American classic, even to this day. It truly is the best pistol caliber available today.