FBI Decides to Carry 9mm - Should You?

It seems like gun owners have been having the "caliber debate" forever.

Which caliber is best for concealed carry depends on who you ask. Some say you should have a big, slow bullet, like a .45 caliber, for maximum stopping power. Others say smaller, faster rounds work just fine. There are even proponents of tiny calibers, including .32 and .22, arguing that minimal recoil aids in shot placement.

In the past, this debate was dominated by personal experience and, let's face it, personal preferences and habit. Today, it's all about the science.

The FBI has been studying this issue and came to the conclusion that 9mm is the best caliber after previously advocating 40S&W.

You can read an in-depth write-up about the FBI's scientific caliber studies on GunBroker.com. Here are a few highlights for those who carry concealed:

Most of what is "common knowledge" with ammunition and its effects on the human target are rooted in myth and folklore

Handgun stopping power is simply a myth

The single most important factor in effectively wounding a human target is to have penetration to a scientifically valid depth (FBI uses 12" – 18")

Contemporary projectiles (since 2007) have dramatically increased the terminal effectiveness of many premium line law enforcement projectiles (emphasis on the 9mm Luger offerings)

9mm Luger now offers select projectiles which are, under identical testing conditions, I outperforming most of the premium line .40 S&W and .45 Auto projectiles tested by the FBI

9mm Luger offers higher magazine capacities, less recoil, lower cost (both in ammunition and wear on the weapons) and higher functional reliability rates (in FBI weapons)

The majority of FBI shooters are both FASTER in shot strings fired and more ACCURATE with shooting a 9mm Luger vs shooting a .40 S&W (similar sized weapons)

There is little to no noticeable difference in the wound tracks between premium line law Auto enforcement projectiles from 9mm Luger through the .45 Auto

Given contemporary bullet construction, LEO’s can field (with proper bullet selection) 9mm Lugers with all of the terminal performance potential of any other law enforcement pistol caliber with none of the disadvantages present with the "larger" calibers

Second Call Defense doesn't have a particular stand on "best caliber." We're sharing this purely for educational purposes. And we'd like to point out that scientific study and advanced manufacturing technology has improved pretty much every self defense round.

Every expert will (or should) tell you that shot placement is ultimately what matters most. This is important both for your safety as well as any innocent bystanders. You should get as much training as your wallet and schedule will allow.