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There are many reasons to be armed when a disaster strikes. Hunting food could be the difference between survival and starvation. A defensive weapon could prevent death by predators, both four-legged and two-legged.
On the other hand, not all guns are created equal. Each caliber has its own advantages and drawbacks, and you need to have the right weapons on hand to get through a disaster in one piece.
9mm ammo is the most popular pistol caliber in the world. It isn’t the most powerful caliber, but a study by the FBI found that it is normally the optimal choice for defensive carry. The difference in power between 9mm ammo and the larger pistol calibers is not big enough to have a significant impact on stopping power. Shot placement is usually the factor that matters with all calibers in that general range of sizes. Since 9mm ammo has less recoil than heavier rounds, it tends to be the most effective.
It is also light, so it’s easy to carry more of it for occasions when reloading is necessary. Most 9mm guns also have more room to hold ammo, so shooters don’t have to reload as often. At a practical level, it’s also cheap and easy to find, so it’s possible to store enough to stay supplied in an emergency.
Those factors make it the best choice for a defensive pistol. It can be used for hunting small game in an emergency, but it is better to have a more powerful round for that. If it is necessary, loading it into a pistol caliber carbine can help, and doing so allows you to share an ammo supply between multiple guns for easier logistics. Even if that isn’t your first choice, the versatility can make it useful to have such a carbine and ammo for a backup weapon.
While 9mm ammo is versatile and potent, there are times when heavier ammo is necessary. In that case, .45 caliber ammo is usually the best bet. It offers much more stopping power than 9mm, and it can also go in both pistols and rifles.
The big advantage to using this ammo is that it offers much more stopping power. It will not make a big difference against humans or anything smaller, but it will be meaningful against deer, bears, and other large targets. That significantly widens the range of viable hunting targets and boosts your odds of a successful hunt.
The ammo is also less prone to jamming than most others. Even more reliability is possible when using a simple revolver, and most of the viable hunting revolvers on the market are chambered in this caliber.
The downside to using .45 ammo is the size. It’s heavy, and most guns can’t hold very many rounds, so you need to shoot accurately to use it. The price of the ammo can also be a little too high, so it can be hard to stockpile. Use it if you’re confident in your aim and you need the power, but be sure to either stock up or have secondary weapons in case you can’t get enough.
Most people learn to shoot with a .22 caliber weapon. It is not a very powerful option, but it still packs enough of a punch to take down small game animals. It is also cheap and easy to acquire in massive quantities, so it’s the best way to ensure that you have an adequate supply of ammo. The recoil is minimal, so smaller shooters can also take advantage of it without losing any accuracy. The rounds are also light, so it’s easy to take a lot of it out on hunting trips when necessary, even if the trips involve a lot of traveling.
The downside is that the ammo is weak and not always reliable. Premium rounds are available that prevent most jams and dud rounds, but that defeats the purpose of buying cheap ammo. It probably isn’t wise to rely exclusively on .22 ammo in an emergency, but the ease of equipping yourself with it and its usefulness in hunting small game means that it is also unwise to go without it.
In the event of a dire situation or when you run out of ammo, it is always best to have a caliber that you can easily reload. Just remember, when shit really hits the fan, bullets will not be in production anymore. You might be your only supplier of bullets, so save them up and brush up on your reload skills, it could mean your life.
About the Author: Joe Humphries is a contributing writer and media specialist for Diamond K Brass. He regularly produces content for a variety of firearm and survivalist blogs, with an emphasis on DIY ammunition reload projects.