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Friday, November 20, 2009

.357 Magnum Handgun - Ammo Choices for Personal Defense

Re-post courtesy Riverwalker's Stealth Survival

The .357 Magnum has been in use as a personal defense handgun for quite some time and has been shown to be very effective for this purpose. For many years it was the only handgun carried by many law enforcement personnel for their own defense. When choosing ammunition for personal defense there are two main factors that need to be considered. Those factors are the difference between a rural and an urban setting.

Almost everyone will agree that the .357 Magnum works for personal defense while being in a size that is manageable. It has several distinct disadvantages when being used in a personal defense situation in an urban setting.

The first disadvantage is that a .357 Magnum round going off in an indoor setting is extremely loud. Loud enough that it could cause damage to your hearing. Secondly, the muzzle flash is extremely bright and the flash could cause reduced vision capabilities in a nighttime environment which would require additional time for vision to be restored to its full extent. A third issue with the .357 Magnum handgun is its rate of penetration. A normal .357 hollowpoint round can penetrate through large animals and emerge on the other side with enough velocity and force to hurt someone other than the intended target.

And last, but not least, is the ability to maintain control of your weapon. The .357 Magnum was originally designed for large-frame handguns and has a significant amount of recoil. This can significantly affect your ability to get off subsequent shots accurately in a personal defense situation. These factors should be seriously considered before deciding on the type of ammunition you will be using when carrying a .357 Magnum handgun for personal defense.

In the majority of cases, including an urban environment, a good .38 Special +p round would be the better choice for a personal defense load. You will have more control for follow up shots due to lighter recoil, have fewer problems due to over penetration of the round and will have somewhat less noise and muzzle flash than in a .357 Magnum round. My personal choice is .38 Special +P 125 gr. JHP round for a home defense load.

In a rural setting, where many of these factors are not as significant, my personal choice is .357 Magnum 110 gr. JHP for a defensive load. In a rural environment you would be able to take full advantage of the range and power of a .357 Magnum round. The main thing I consider is that the meanest thing I would probably come across is a feral hog and the distances involved in a rural setting would compensate for the fact that a .357 Magnum round has a very flat shooting trajectory.

The versatility of the .357 magnum which allows you to shoot these two different cartridge types allows you to adjust your defensive rounds to either a rural or an urban or city environment.

Remember, "It's not what you hit them with, but where you hit them."

Here is a link with a little more detail of Magnum ammunition: Magnum Ammo

You can read about my own S&W .357 Magnum here: Model 65 Revolver

Staying above the water line!


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