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Over time I noticed that many pocket pistols are available in different calibers. Beretta's Cheetah series (M84, M85, etc.) is available in .22LR, .32 ACP, and .380 ACP. SIG's P230/232 series is made in .22LR, .32 ACP, .380 ACP, and 9x18mm Ultra. The Walther PP/PPK was produced in .22LR, .25 ACP, .32 ACP, .380 ACP, and 9x18mm Ultra. PP/PPK copies have been made in 9x18mm Makarov caliber. Pocket-sized, locked-breech auto's have largely replaced the blowbacks. You can get a baby Glock, Kahr, or Taurus auto of PPK size in 9x19mm, .357 SIG, or .40 S&W.

So, which caliber is best for a pocket pistol?

Once upon a time, I would have said, "The largest caliber that you can stuff into the gun!"...but that was before I learned about recoil.

The .22LR chambering was intended for training, and it's still a great choice for outdoorsy activities. A downside to the .22LR is the reduced reliability compared to centerfire cartridges. The .25 ACP was a pre-WWII chambering, probably for the seriously recoil sensitive. ;)

What's left is the .32 ACP, .380 ACP, 9x18mm Ultra, and 9x19mm Makarov. The kick of a 9x18mm Mak round in a light weight pistol like the PA-63 is truely something to remember, but not fondly. The James Bond of fiction may have carried the .32 ACP PPK, but the real-life person that Bond was based on often carried a PPK rechambered for 9x18mm Ultra.

An interesting, to me at least, experiment was carried out by the Luftwaffe in WWII. They compared .32 and .380 chamberings in identical pocket pistols. They judged the .32 better because the test subjects could get two hits instead of the .380's one hit, within the brief alotted time.

Regardless of caliber, the short barrels of most pocket pistols reduce the velocity and energy...figure that pocket pistols are good for 3/4 of the energy of the same cartridge in full size pistols. Consider the engineering problems that face the designer of a large-calibered, pocketable pistol. Spring selection becomes more problematic, barrel tilt angle may increase in Browning type pistols, and slide travel may have to be 1/4" to 1/2" more than for a full-sized pistol.

In my own testing of pocket pistols, I have found that expanding bullets often don't! The only sure way to make a big hole with a pocket pistol is to use a .40 S&W or .45 ACP chambering.

Forget the bullets with vicious sounding names and calibers that magazines claim will vaporize rogue elephants. You might as well pick a caliber that you just like and can often use for practice. All things considered, caliber doesn't matter nearly as much as shot placement. But then, we already knew this deep down.
 

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GBullet said:
All things considered, caliber doesn't matter nearly as much as shot placement. But then, we already knew this deep down.
:beer:

RIKA
 

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I really like my KelTec P32, especially since having it re-chambered to .475 Wildey.
 

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John in AR said:
I really like my KelTec P32, especially since having it re-chambered to .475 Wildey.

Stop being such a sissy! The .600 nitro express is the only way to go in a pocket piece.
 

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The fact that you can't figure out how to get real velocities out of a pocket 9 doesn't keep better men from doing so. Hell, over 20 years ago, THV-Arcane got a 45 gr 9mm to 2400 fps in a 5" barrel. You lose at MOST 100 fps per inch of barrel-shortening, even with such wild velocities. So you clowns are about 40 yrs behind the times. By going with a fully supported barrel, modern powders, and the much longer and stronger case of the 356 TSW, you gain back at LEAST as much velocity as you give up by shortening the barrel by 2".

You STILL don't know anything about recoil, and you never WILL, until you buy a shooting timer and at least WATCH some top hands demonstrating real speed. Dont KID yourself that they can't take a pocket gun and demo at 10 ft what they demo at 10 yds with a full size and wt 1911, either.

Yes, 55 grs at 2200 fps recoils like 115 grs at 1100 fps. That's pretty stout, recoil, but with a ducktail tang, stippling, undercut trigger guard, and the Star's auto action, you can certainly control it better than you can a steel framed Chief's special, using 800 fps 158 gr Plus P loads. Which is to say, .20 second splits, one hand firing, at 6 ft, into a 10" circle. The chief can't crack .30 second, and you'll wear out at least one trying to crack .35 second with that sort of accuracy and load. :)
 
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