2. What’s in Your CCW?
There’s quite a few options available for
concealed carry, everything from .22 to 10mm.
Back in the day, ammo was made with higher
pressures which are now designated +P or +P+.
With today’s firearms, if it’s not rated for the
(now) overpressure rounds, it can degrade your
firearm at an accelerated rate.
A few options available in higher pressure are
JHP+P and HP+P. These are more likely to inflict
a critical wound, though they’re more
Then there’s the standard grain FMJ (Full Metal
Jacket). They’re affordable, but they tend to
over-penetrate. They’re also not necessarily
fatal unless they strike a vital artery or organ.
3. The Top 5 Calibers for
There’s quite the selection of available calibers for concealed carry,
Alien Gear Holsters presents the Top 5 for your carry.
The first is .380, dating back to 1908 it has seen a resurgence in
recent years due to firearms available for it being highly compact.
One way to look at it is the firearm you carry is often better than
the one you leave at home because it’s too dang big
4. The next on our lineup of best concealed carry ammo is
9mm. This caliber has seen use all over the world since
World War I, and has been a police & military favorite
globe-wide since then as well. Being one of the most
common calibers available, firearm selection is nearly
endless for your carry.
Third, we’ve got .40 S&W. Developed in 1990 by Smith &
Wesson and Winchester, it gained renown in the 1986
Miami Shootout where the FBI were outgunned and
needed more firepower. It’s a healthy middle ground
between the 9mm and .45 calibers in terms of stopping
power and recoil, and has been adopted by a few law
enforcement agencies since its inception
5. The longest standing, and fourth, on our list is .38
Special. Developed in 1898 by Smith & Wesson, it was
the standard service round for a large portion of police
agents for over 60 years and still stands as the most
common revolver round today. Selecting this caliber
severely lowers your potential carry weapons, though
the pro is .38 specials are the same diameter as a .357,
just shorter. Usually a .357 will chamber a .38 Special.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the .45 ACP.
Arguably the strongest caliber in our Top 5, this
cartridge was created in 1904 by John Browning.
Normally the first firearm that pops to mind when .45 is
mentioned is the 1911, and was used from 1911 until
1985. With the highest stopping power on our list, it
also has the most recoil and firearms usually hold less
rounds. The upside, you don’t need as many to put an
offender down and out.
6. A question most concealed
carriers have asked – are
small calibers reliable?
One common myth is the stopping power of
larger calibers than small calibers. One, well-
placed shot with a .32 Auto is just as effective as
a .45 ACP, and both are worthless if they’re
With a larger caliber pistol comes larger size –
and more recoil that’ll affect your follow-up
shots. So far as reliability, one should look at
their firearm than ammo. If it constantly jams,
fails to feed or eject, that’s a larger no-go than
caliber. The next step in the decision making
process is how the gun feels. If it just doesn’t fit,
don’t force yourself to carry it.
7. Myths of Stopping
1. Claiber: Bigger = Better – As covered briefly a little
earlier, this has been a common misconception. At
a range of 30 yards with a .22 or .25 caliber
cartridge, it was immediately lethal according to
2. Magazine Capacity – Peppering your target with
rounds might work, but one well placed shot is
worth more than 10 poorly or missed shots any day
3. Hollow Points – In close quarters, odds are the
bullet will still penetrate through the target. Unless
you hit a vital area, odds are it’ll just make it more
difficult for the determined attacker to do any
damage with missing flesh and possibly bone. As
previously stated, one well-placed shot is all you
need regardless of whether your ammo is hollow
point or FMJ
The one caliber we haven’t
mentioned yet is 10mm. Normally
these pistols are larger, starting
with a wider frame and usually at
least ¼” longer barrel, than .45
ACP. This high-powered round
found its place after the 1986
Miami Shootout when the FBI
realized it needed more firepower.
Testing showed the 10mm was
more suited to their needs than
.45, testing at 97.5% on
penetration tests and deemed
more accurate. This led to the
10mm being selected as the
standard issue caliber.
9. How much extra ammunition
should you carry?
Most concealed carriers will (hopefully)
never need to discharge a round. If you
don’t make a plan to be prepared, you plan
to be unprepared. With just one mag, that’s
all you’ve got if a violent situation rolls your
Ideally, you’ll have one loaded, one backup,
and one in your vehicle. These days, there’s
quite a few mag carriers available that can
be carried IWB or OWB
10. The Caliber Wars
Due to the firearm and ammo
drought around 2012, many
folks were pushed outside of
their preferred round and
forced to purchase more
readily available cartridges and
the firearms to chamber them.
Each caliber has its strong and
weak points, now it’s purely up
to the shooter to decide what
best fits their needs.