Ultimate Guide to Firearm Calibers

Guns have been a part of American culture since the revolutionary wars. Owning a firearm or gun has become a trend in the USA, where most people buy them for hunting, target-practicing, or self-defense in general. While buying a firearm, it’s important to do an in-depth research about their caliber, as it determines the overall functionality of the gun. 

Choosing a good firearm caliber is difficult, and gets confusing at times. So that’s why, in this article, we’ll provide you an in-depth guide about the most common firearm calibers that exist. Hopefully, it’ll clear up all the doubts you are having about them.

So without any further ado, let’s get started!

What are the firearm calibers?

Firearm calibers, commonly spoken as the caliber of the firearms, are basically the diameter of the projectiles fired or firearm bores. A Bore is the interior of the barrel of a firearm. It is the internal diameter of the barrel. 

We emphasized “internal” because every barrel has two diameters, one internal and one external. If a barrel is made of very thin material, the external diameter and internal diameter will be almost the same but if made of thick material; both types of diameters will be different.

  • The term “caliber” can also be referred to the diameter of bullets as well as barrels. There are two ways by which the diameter of the bullets can be measured, one is millimeter and another is caliber which is one-hundredth of an inch. 
  • For example, a 200 caliber bullet will be approximately 2 inches and a 9-millimeter bullet will be approximately 9 millimeters in diameter.
  • Take another example of a “.45 caliber” firearm, the diameter of the barrel and bullet will be roughly 0.45 inches or 11mm.

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Now, let’s get back to our main topic and talk about firearm arm calibers. So there are various firearm calibers popular among the firearm enthusiasts and we'll tell you about some of them in the following section.

Guide to Firearm Calibers

  • .22 long rifle:

    • These are the most popular ammunition worldwide and in terms of the units sold, they hold the highest position.
    • Among the firearm calibers that we are going to list down,.22 long rifles are the only rimfires ( primer is found in the back rim, and not in the central primer cap).
    • Bullets weigh 40 grains or 0.00571 pound ( 1 pound = 7000 grains) and are very effective. Their muzzle velocity is 1200 ft/s. Muzzle energy offered is approximately 156 joules. 
    • The most common application of these is hunting..22 long rifles are mainly used to kill small animals but with proper aiming, these can even kill a larger animal like deer.
    • Other than hunting, they are also used in precision rifle and pistol shooting events like Olympics.
    • These are very economical as compared to other calibers. Due to their affordable price and ease of use,. 22 long rifles are highly recommended for newbies for target practicing.

  • 9mm Parabellum:

    • These are most commonly used by police officials in the US as 60% of them carry these around. These are of German origin and designed in 1901 by George Luger. 9mm Parabellum also participated in World War 1 and is still being used by NATO in its several operations.
    • They weigh 115 grains and come with a muzzle velocity of 1500-2000 ft/s. The energy released is approximately 482 joules.
    • These are solely and widely used for target shooting and self-defense.

  • .380ACP

    • These were introduced in 1908 in the United States and designed by John Moses Browning.
    • They weigh 90 grains and come with a muzzle velocity of 1,025 ft/s. The energy released is approximately 280 joules.
    • These have been proven best for concealed carry purposes. This is due to their small and compact size. You can even hide them in your purse, waist, or pocket, which makes them the most suitable firearm calibers for self-defense. 
    • Though these are light in weight and have efficient wounding potential, their range of fire is relatively shorter. Using these pistol cartridges primarily in head-on combat and long-distance shooting is not preferred. These can be used as a backup gun due to their stealth property.

  • .40 S&W:

    • Developed in 1990 by American firearms manufacturers Smith and Wesson, in conjunction with Winchester. .40 S&W are rimless pistol cartridges, which fire 10 mm bullets.
    • They weigh almost 11 grains and come with a muzzle velocity of 1,200 ft/s. The energy offered is approximately 635 joules. 
    • They serve many purposes like target-practicing, self-defense, home protection, and concealed carry. These are carried by many law enforcement agencies of different nations like the USA, Canada, Brazil, and Australia.
    • When it comes to accuracy, .40 S&W stands at the same position as 9mm Parabellum, but when energy advantage is taken into consideration, the former succeeds the latter.

Parting Notes

With the use of perfect firearm caliber, the thrill of shooting reaches another level. We hope you found the guide helpful. We’ve listed some firearm calibers that are extremely popular among pro-shooters. You can buy a wide range of firearms of different calibers on our website. You can order the caliber of your interest and we will deliver it to you promptly. 

For more information kindly visit our website or contact our supportive service executive, we’d be happy to assist you.

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