Skip to comments.The Tuesday List (Top 10 Greatest Handgun Cartridges of All Time)
Posted on 04/15/2014 7:51:49 AM PDT by Scoutmaster
10mm makes the list, but only just barely because it is an interesting historical curiosity in the development of modern handgun ammo. Its history is a complex one full of misinformation, bad science, and government incompetence. To this day, it has a small, but dedicated and often insanely loyal following who still cling to the dying fire of the 10mm.
#9 .38 S&W
Why is .38 S&W on this list? Not because of its popularity in America, but because under the name .38/200 it served for over 30 years in the holsters of the British and Commonwealth military forces, and soldiered on for years after that as the police revolver of those same nations. It was eventually phased out in Commonwealth use for the 9mm cartridge fired from the BHP. The .38/200 was chambered in a number of revolvers during WW2, with the most notable being the Webley Mk IV and the Enfield No. 2.
#8 .380 ACP
The .380 makes the list for one simple reason. It is arguably responsible for more indirect fatalities than any other round; as a .380 was used to assassinate Franz Ferdinand and kick off World War 1. Its an interesting design, and one of the family of ACP cartridges invented by the great John Moses Browning, but if it werent for that little historical note, wouldnt have made our list.
#7 .45 Colt
There are few more evocative phrases in the firearms community than Colt 45″. Depending on the era, you could be referring either to a 1911, or to the original .45 caliber service pistol, the Colt Single Action Army. The .45 Colt cartridge fired out of the SAA was adopted in 1873 and served for almost 20 years. 140 years later, its still a viable choice for handgun hunting, self-defense, and competition shooting. One of the worlds all-time great cartridges, and one of the most versatile.
#6 .38 Special
I dont really have to justify the .38 Special making this list, but perhaps Id have to justify why its not in the top 5. While its dropped down to number six in favor of other cartridges, one could easily make the argument over brown liquor that it, and not the cartridge selected is the greatest handgun cartridge of all time. Certainly, there is no more ubiquitous revolver cartridge than the .38 Special, and over the 115 years of its existence it has certainly put a lot of food on tables and bodies in the dirt. Like others on the list, despite its age, it is still a viable choice for self-defense even to this day.
#5 .455 Webley
The cartridge of an Empire. Served from 1891 until World War II, and was used in the legendary and iconic Webley revolvers. Its been around forever, and at least for me is mentally linked to some of the most interesting periods in history, which are frequently glossed over by American firearms enthusiasts. When I think of the .455 Webley, I think of box formations of British infantrymen fighting off hordes of spear-chucking tribals, with officers standing in the midst of the formations calmly firing their Webleys at targets of opportunity.
#4 .44 Magnum
Do you feel lucky? Go ahead, make my day. The .44 Magnum is quite simply, legendary. Its use by Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry movies catapulted it from obscure hunting cartridge to American icon, and its remained such ever since. Sure, there are handgun cartridges that are better for hunting, and cartridges better for self-defense, but the .44 Magnum is simply one of the greatest cartridges ever.
#3 .45 ACP
The .45 ACP coming in at #3 will either make people nod their heads in agreement, or howl in indignation that its only #3. The .45 ACP was a return to our large caliber roots in the military, replacing a slew of less effective .38 cartridges that the military deemed insufficiently powerful. From its adoption in 1911 until being phased out in favor of the 9mm, the .45 ACP traveled the world and killed interesting people. Its as American as apple pie and punching hippies.
#2 .357 Magnum
These days, most guns chambered in .357 Magnum will likely see only a handful of true magnum loads. Most will be shot with .38 Special +P their entire lives, and never see the wear and tear of true magnum force. But the .357 Magnum is perhaps the most versatile cartridge in existence today. Loaded up with 200 grain hardcast bullets and it will kill most things that walk in North America, and yet loaded with 158 grain JHP its an effective and controllable self-defense round. Only its relatively short service life keeps it out of the number one spot.
#1 9mm Parabellum
You know it had to be the 9mm. Its 111 years old, and its still the caliber of choice for the armies of the first world and discerning law enforcement agencies. Quite simply, for self-defense and law enforcement, the 9mm Luger is the only cartridge youll ever need. With modern hollowpoint bullets its terminal performance is the same as other calibers. Despite the complaints, 9mm ball ammo has put a lot of bodies in the dirt over the last 110 years as well. The 9mm Luger is the greatest handgun cartridge of all time.
Source: Gun Nuts Media
.455 above the 45 Colt in historical significance? In
England maybe, but not in ‘Merica!
9mm is also cheaper than all the other ones listed (I think)...in some cases MUCH cheaper. It would be a shame if cartridge prices deterred gun owners from more range time.
Well there’s a rose in the fisted glove
And eagle flies with the dove
And if you can’t be with the one you love, honey
Love the one you’re with...
#2 .357 Magnum
I love my GP100 revolver. It is my favorite.
The shelves are empty most of the time. I haven't tried online yet.
Hey, not paying attention I accidentally bought some 9mm NATO.
The 10mm is a very accurate round, with lots of power. The second point is why target shooters got to dislike it which led to the development of the .40cal.
On another note, I have an irrational hatred of the 9mm. I just can not stand that round.
Gunbot dot net
I still find 9mm sometimes, but what I haven’t seen in a LONG while is .22LR.
I used to feel that way, but CC endeared me to the small round.
My choice is 357 SIG.. Fast and Furious
2, 3, 4, and 7. are my pick...the rest? meh.
#10, the 10mm was superseded by the less powerful, but more versatile .40 S&W. it should be on the list with the .357sig
the 9mm is the most overrated....the elite teams like the Seals and Special forces have replaced the 9 with the tried and true .45ACP (they have miniatureized lots of pocket pistols like the original LCP in .380 and made them into the new LC9....I might consider it then...a little more power in my pocket)
I own and carry a .380....it is not a top ten in my book but is pretty versatile.(minimum caliber I would stake my life on...but still worry about it is not enough)
the .38 S&W is way too weak for just about anything.(I own 2 breaktop S&Ws in this caliber...cool but not something I would stake my life...when shooting at 10 yard targets I can follow the bullet by eye to the targets...SLOW)
the .38 Special is moderately low power but with enough power to be considered something to stake my life on....Dad carried one for 22 years in the NYPD...model 10 S&W
the 41 magnum should be on the list...problem is it never made it in popularity. that was a shame and the blame must be put on the ammo makers not making proper ammo for self defense back in the day...there is better ammo out there now...plus you can reload..
for revolvers.... .357 magnum is the best all around...power and carryability...my Model 19 K Frame is carryable and enough for a 1 shot stopper.
.44 magnum is fun....I took down two large does with this caliber(fell right down...never got up)....I would not want to carry it though. (except Ruger is coming out with the GP 100 in this caliber...it will be a 5 shot revolver and I cant wait to try one...must be a byotch of a recoiler though)
.455 Webley....I guess if your British?? Of all those braketop webley guns that made it back to the good old USA most were rechambered for .45ACP
ancient calibers that were GREAT, but except for CAS, defunct.....44-40 AKA .44WCF, 38-40 AKA .38WCF and .32-20 AKA .32 WCF. these will take down man or deer....the .32WCF being the least of these...
The fact that .22 LR ammo once existed and was cheap and plentiful is fast becoming not only history, but legend.
ALL READERS are reminded that “open discussion” gun and ammo threads like this one are also merely another way to get gun-enthusiasts broadcasting into the open their preferences and specific gun loads.
Thereby giving the fed’s yet another list of who-owns-what-weapons and where-they-live-under-what-on-line-ID they regularly use.
The 10mm Magnum has a bit more power. Starline used to make the brass and JD Jones will chamber a Thompson Contender barrel for it.
Amen on the dislike of 9mm.
Walmart had 1000 rd boxes on the shelf this morning.
Goes well with the SP 101 and LCR .357.
Cabela’s had 500 rd boxes on line this morning.
For hiking in the wilderness and stopping bad guys, the 10mm has been my favorite for decades now, right there with the 45LC and a 44 magnum, but age and arthritis have given me an appreciation for 9mm +P loads and high capacity mags. My wilderness time is confined to elk hunting, and my 325 WSM can do the stopping that needs to be done.