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Old 11-07-2010, 01:07 AM
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Default How Common Is Each Handgun Cartridge?



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I searched the forums and Googled this, but couldn't find any real answers.

Nationally and generally speaking, how easy is it to find ammunition for each of the most common handgun calibers?

What would you estimate is the percentage of each of the major (most popular) handgun calibers in America? I would think it would be mostly .45 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 Magnum, and .44 Magnum that make up almost all the total handgun cartridges in production--but about what percent for each? And which is the easiest to find? Surely .45 ACP and 9mm make up at least 50% of the total handgun cartridges in production (at least in America), right? I'm still fairly new to handguns, so I may be way off on this, but it seems to me that around 80% of all handgun talk I hear is about .45 ACP or 9mm.

I'm interested in this information mostly because I want to buy my first handgun, and it will probably be within the next 6 months. Don't worry; I still plan on visiting several gun shops and holding and handling many different models before any purchase is made, and utilizing this amazing resource we have in these forums to expand my knowledge of each. But I am narrowing it down.

A large part of my decision will be based upon the ease of locating available ammunition, whether now in our day-to-day life, or in less friendly times should the SHTF. Cost of ammunition is another concern, but accessability is much more important to me, because even during and after TEOTWAWKI (should it come), my choice ammo can be obtained by simply finding it (in abandoned Wally Worlds, or wherever).

Of course, availability of my specific ammunition needs isn't my most dire need in choice of a handgun, but it is very important--to me, anyway.

Any insight would be helpful and greatly appreciated.
Old 11-07-2010, 01:50 AM
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40 S&W is by far the most common cartridge amongst LEO's and with civilians carrying concealed. The Glock 22 in 40 S&W has an enormous share of the market.

Most stores will have 9, 40, 45 in good quanitity. 38 Special/357 Magnum to a lesser extent. Depending on your area, they may have 44 Special, 44 Magnum, 45 Colt, 10mm and 357 Sig but those are less common and more expensive.
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Old 11-07-2010, 02:50 AM
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Even at the peak of the ammo famine Wally World had .40 cal. Often it was all they had. I'm considering picking something up in this cal for this very reason. The other extremely popular round, at least in my area is 38 Special.
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Old 11-07-2010, 08:51 AM
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the Wall Marts in my neck of the woods during the famine never had any 40cal or 45
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:56 AM
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40 is a good round and almost always easy to find although 9mm seems to be the most prevalent in stores here. I chose 40 because it's common leo round easy to resupply.
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Old 11-07-2010, 03:07 PM
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.380 is also extremely common. Far more so than .44 magnum. Due to all the tiny guns that have come out in recent years that use it. It's hard to find still because of the high demand for it.

9mm is the most common of all still. But is losing ground to the .40.
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Old 11-07-2010, 03:37 PM
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Does anyone have any quantitative info, like from the NRA or anything? Telling how many rounds in each caliber are produced by each company per year, or altogether worldwide?
Old 11-07-2010, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyDaleShackleford View Post
I searched the forums and Googled this, but couldn't find any real answers.

Nationally and generally speaking, how easy is it to find ammunition for each of the most common handgun calibers?

What would you estimate is the percentage of each of the major (most popular) handgun calibers in America? I would think it would be mostly .45 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 Magnum, and .44 Magnum that make up almost all the total handgun cartridges in production--but about what percent for each? And which is the easiest to find? Surely .45 ACP and 9mm make up at least 50% of the total handgun cartridges in production (at least in America), right? I'm still fairly new to handguns, so I may be way off on this, but it seems to me that around 80% of all handgun talk I hear is about .45 ACP or 9mm.

I'm interested in this information mostly because I want to buy my first handgun, and it will probably be within the next 6 months. Don't worry; I still plan on visiting several gun shops and holding and handling many different models before any purchase is made, and utilizing this amazing resource we have in these forums to expand my knowledge of each. But I am narrowing it down.

A large part of my decision will be based upon the ease of locating available ammunition, whether now in our day-to-day life, or in less friendly times should the SHTF. Cost of ammunition is another concern, but accessability is much more important to me, because even during and after TEOTWAWKI (should it come), my choice ammo can be obtained by simply finding it (in abandoned Wally Worlds, or wherever).

Of course, availability of my specific ammunition needs isn't my most dire need in choice of a handgun, but it is very important--to me, anyway.

Any insight would be helpful and greatly appreciated.
Back around the time of the last presidential elections, about every kind of ammunition dried up around here (to include 22LR), with the exception of 40snW, and shotgun shells. If I were to guess, I would have to say that the most common handgun calibers are 9mm, and 38spl.....at least in my neck of the woods.

11B
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Old 11-07-2010, 04:10 PM
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I'm ignoring .22LR here, that round is just everywere.

In Europe, 9mm is by far the most common caliber. It's used by every military (it's the NATO round) and also the police force of almost every country.

Pistol cartridge is almost synonymous with 9mm parabellum.

The United States has a long tradition with the .45ACP round. However the US military these days also uses the 9mm (NATO). Also the .40S&W is used a lot, being also designed in the US (I believe). So those 3 are the most common.

More exotic pistol calibers are 10mm, .357 SIG, 9mm Makarov, .380.

For revolver .38 special and .357 magnum are the most common. Slightly less common are the .44Magnum, .45Colt. There are also quite a few exotics out there, like the .327 Federal Magnum (a relatively new revolver cartridge), .454 Casull and the .41 Rem. Magnum.

There are literally hunderds of other calibers out there, but most of them are pretty rare. The golden rule is: Don't rely on your gunstore, have a small amount stocked.
Old 11-07-2010, 11:23 PM
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Anecdotal at best, but I've read several articles about classes taught at Gun Sight and the other big trainers which often includes a breakdown of the weapons that the students bring.

Pretty much every time, the order is:
.45 acp
9mm
.40 S&W

I'm a bit surprised that som many "serious shooters" (i.e. those that would spend the bucks to go to Gun Sight) carry 9mms.

The only thing that I can think of is that they're bringing their carry guns and, although the .40 S&W is common in LE, its recoil and muzzle rise in smaller, polymer guns keeps it from being as widely accepted by the general public.

Pure speculation on my part. Also, no agenda as I have guns in both 9mm and .40 and like them equally.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:44 AM
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My suggestion would be to not worry so much about the availability of the ammo and rather focus on the caliber and type of weapon that you feel comfortable with and shoot well. Go to a range that rents guns and try different calibers. You will probably end up preferring 9mm as most do since the recoil is more tolerable than the larger calibers and ammo is less expensive (you need lots of practice). If you're looking for a home defense pistol that you will keep in the bedside table and pull out in the middle of the night when you hear glass breaking in your sleep, I would suggest a .357 magnum revolver as they are foolproof even when you're half asleep. You can also fire .38s for practice as they are cheaper. I prefer a shotgun for home defense, however. If you like the semi-autos as many do, look at the Sigs, Berettas and, particularly, the CZ7. It is a magnificent weapon and has been the European police standard for years. Once you have chosen the weapon you like best, start accumulating ammo. Don't worry about availability, just pick up a little every week or so. Ammo lasts almost forever if it is kept dry and is easily resellable if you need the money. I began to worry about ammo availability after the 2008 election because I'm in California and they have funny ideas out here. Even in the severe ammo drought, I was able to pick up about 26,000 rds of various calibers by making Wally World a regular stop. It sounds like a lot, but if you just shoot a few hundred practice rounds every week or two, it really adds up. Enjoy the process of finding the weapon that you really like, it's a lot of fun. When you're ready for your second (which will be sooner than later), I'll add that firing a .45 caliber 1911 pistol is a wonderful thing.

Mike
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:21 AM
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most ppl dont think about it but when you look back at the ammo shortage that went on last year. it might make you think that if/when the SHTF there may not be any ammo available period. if that is the case you need to stock pile enough to take care of your needs,so ammo affordablity needs to be considered.so keep in mind that NO ammo may be available and what you have stocked up on, is what you got and there is no more to get period.

they have proven that shot placement is much more important than the caliber,when the calibers are from 9mm and up. but truthfully with shot placement even a .22lr will kill with 1 shot.

with that being said pending on what you can afford in ammo is the question for what caliber you should go for.you will need to beable to afford to practice

side note: even in the worst of the ammo shortage last year i still could get shotgun ammo anytime i wanted at walmart.
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:36 AM
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In time of trouble you will only be able to depend on what you put away. So put it away.
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:13 PM
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I will answer this question by telling you the caliburs that are still hard to find now in small or any quantity for that matter.
Do not purchase a .380auto, .32auto, .38 special, .357 magnum, .357 sig, .44MAG, .45Long Colt. These all are hard to find. The 44mag if you find them are 45-50$ per box of 50. .357mag are 32-37$ per box of 50.
The best calibur right now is .40 S&W as they have been on the shelf for a very long time in large quantities.
The 9mm luger is just as available as the .45ACP but half the cost of the .45APC.
9mm .45APC and .40 cal are the best options. A lot of the public safety and police dept's are slowly converting over to .40 S&W. I hope this is helpful for you.

Last edited by 1fixitman; 11-09-2010 at 12:14 PM.. Reason: add
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1fixitman View Post
I will answer this question by telling you the caliburs that are still hard to find now in small or any quantity for that matter.
Do not purchase a .380auto, .32auto, .38 special, .357 magnum, .357 sig, .44MAG, .45Long Colt. These all are hard to find. The 44mag if you find them are 45-50$ per box of 50. .357mag are 32-37$ per box of 50.
The best calibur right now is .40 S&W as they have been on the shelf for a very long time in large quantities.
The 9mm luger is just as available as the .45ACP but half the cost of the .45APC.
9mm .45APC and .40 cal are the best options. A lot of the public safety and police dept's are slowly converting over to .40 S&W. I hope this is helpful for you.
Yup, I know that .32 Auto is hard to find.

I was in Wal-Mart the other day, and .32 Auto was $0.40 per round.
Old 11-09-2010, 06:33 PM
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the end of speculation;

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...3/ai_56221596/

Note that 9mm is top on each mfg ratings with a mish mash for the next 4 with .357 as #6 for both companies.

Federal is #2 with the .40 due to their police/FBI contracts

.38 spl is #4 with one and #5 with the other, swaping places with the .380.

In general you have 9mm, (.40/.45), (.380/38spl), .357 as the top 6.
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Old 11-10-2010, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcliffhanger View Post
the end of speculation;

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...3/ai_56221596/

Note that 9mm is top on each mfg ratings with a mish mash for the next 4 with .357 as #6 for both companies.

Federal is #2 with the .40 due to their police/FBI contracts

.38 spl is #4 with one and #5 with the other, swaping places with the .380.

In general you have 9mm, (.40/.45), (.380/38spl), .357 as the top 6.
Thanks for the info but the article is dated 1999. I think that by now, the .40 S&W is used by a much larger percentage of shooters than it was 11 years ago.
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Old 11-10-2010, 02:23 PM
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I shoot and carry .40 more than anything. if it's good enough to knock a lock out of a ford taurus at 50 ft, i'll take lol.
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:16 PM
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I did a research project a while ago just ti find out what ammo would be most likely to be found in the average home.

Pistol 9mm and 40S&W by a mile which was pretty much what I expected... but what surprised me was that most commonly sold rifle ammo is 30/30 and 30-06. I would have thought 223, 7.62x39 or 308 long before 30/30... but what it came down to is that the majority of people who buy rifle ammo are hunters... not survivalist... and they go to their sporting good shop and buy their favorite deer cartridge.

This got me to buy a 30/30 rifle. I have rifles in 223 and 308... but if I'm most likely to find a box of 30/30 in an abandon house after TEOTWAWKI... I thought it'd be smart to at least have one.

Stock piles where guys own a few thousand rounds are usually 7.62x39 and 223... but for single boxes of 50... 30/30 and 30-06... there are more of them in the average home than any other rifle round.

I'm buying a 45 and a 357 just so that I have two of the most common hanguns for caliber. I already have 9mm, 40s&W, and 380... so it lets me cover the gamut of most common ammo if TSHTF for a long time and ammo dries up.

I also just joined the CMP so that I can order a M1 Garand. If I'm going to get a 30-06... I might as well get one that is a jewel.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
This got me to buy a 30/30 rifle. I have rifles in 223 and 308... but if I'm most likely to find a box of 30/30 in an abandon house after TEOTWAWKI... I thought it'd be smart to at least have one.
Have 2 30/30's and only 1 each .223 and .308

Tells you something about my respect (well, actually I just they're cool) for the weapon especially with the Hornady FTX ammo
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