My Second Most Favorite Caliber – And Why

Gold Dot 327I became a .45 believer some years ago. It was a combination of things:  talking with some people who had been shot with various caliber handguns and studying the charts mostly. I figure I need all the help I can get. But my wife isn’t going to shoot a .45 and frankly she’d rather carry a revolver than a semi-automatic. She has a good 9mm semi-automatic and that’s her bedside gun, but when she’s out and about she wants a revolver.

The .38 Special is kind of anemic and the .357 Magnum is way too much for her to handle. So what does the job? When you get a chance, go back and look the comparison charts I did here in this blog in August 2015, you’ll see that an often misunderstood or overlooked revolver caliber ranks right up there with .357 Sig, .40 S&W and .45 ACP in what I look for in stopping power. That caliber is the .327 Federal Magnum. It’s a small cartridge, but because of the velocity with which it is flung from the .327 Magnum case, it packs a wallop! Especially if you choose Speer Gold Dot with 500 ft./lbs. of energy on target.

Taurus .327 MagnumOne of the reason’s I turned to the .327 Magnum when looking for a good self-defense revolver is that most of the guns built for that particular round hold six rounds of ammo, where the smaller .357s hold only five. Another cool thing about it is you can shoot .32 S&W Short, .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R Magnum, or .327 Federal Magnum cartridges. Some of these are pretty soft shooting for practice, whereas the H&R Magnum or the Federal Magnum cartridges are pretty serious self-defense rounds.

This is a comeback round and I’m really glad to see manufacturer’s taking it seriously. My wife’s gun is a Taurus .327 Magnum. It fits in her purse or in her center console quite handily. Speaking of center consoles, I just happen to have a Ruger SP101 in .327 Magnum in my Jeep console today, and pretty much every daySP101 327 Magnum It’s a great shooting little revolver with sights I can see well and in perfect size for a console gun.

I recently added another .327 to the family collection, a Ruger Single Seven, which compliments the Single Nine .22 Magnum and Single Ten .22 already in the family. So if you’re looking for a self-defense revolver fSingleSevenor either back up or as your primary handgun and don’t want the heavy recoil of a .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum, you might consider the .327 Federal Magnum.

Affordable Carry Guns We Can Recommend

These are firearms which, although not expensive, are ones we would not hesitate to use for our own self-defense, or to recommend to others. And, they’re all typically priced on the $299 – $339 price range. Most either have a lifetime warranty, or are produced by one of the manufacturers that can always be counted on to stand behind their products.

There are a number of single-stack 9’s that are popular and which we have no reservations about, but which are not included on my list for this article, guns such as the Beretta Nano, Bersa BP9CC, Glock 43, Kel-Tec PF9, Ruger LC9, S&W M&P Shield, Springfield XDS,  and Taurus 709. These are all excellent guns. Most of these are priced a little higher than the guns I’m writing about today and they don’t hold as many rounds. My personal preference is the smaller the caliber, the more rounds I want in the gun.

These are presented in alphabetical order because I don’t really have a favorite. They’re all good, dependable firearms that will perform if you do your part as far as mindset and proficiency go.

Ruger 9EUp first is the Ruger 9E. Ruger firearms have long been noted for their dependability and shootability. The  Ruger 9E is a striker-fired 9mm handgun that weighs in at just over 27 ounces and carries 18 rounds of ammunition. It has a visual port so you can check to see if a round is chambered, comes with exchangeable backstraps (flat or arched). It’s got that great Ruger feel, good sights, and both the manual safety and mag release are ambidextrous. Typical price on it is around $349.

SAR B6Next up is the SAR B6. We’ve sold these in lots of pretty colors, but guys they come in black, too. Also, you can get a stainless steel slide. This gun is a Turkish made clone of the CZ-75. It weighs 25 oz. and carries 13 rounds. It’s a great shooter. Current prices on this gun are around $329.  Hard to beat at that price.

SCCY CPX2; 9mmThe SCCY CPX2 is next on the list. I have to admit when this gun hit the market I had my doubts. I’ve seen some other low-cost Florida manufactured firearms that weren’t much more than “Saturday Night Specials.” But after almost three years of seeing them shot in our CHL classes and selling a bunch to very satisfied customers I’ve become a believer.  We’ve never seen a problem with the gun. We did see a split seam in one of the early magazines, but that was the magazine, not the gun, and we’ve never seen that again. Not only is the SCCY priced affordably, but it has a lifetime warranty. Another plus is that shooters with weak hands can rack the slides on these handguns with very little effort. It holds 11 rounds and weighs in at 15 ounces.

SDVE 9mmSmith & Wesson is one of America’s oldest gun manufacturers and they have always made great guns. Except for one. A few years ago, the came out with a $299 semi-automatic called the Sigma. It was a pretty gun. It had a great feel to it, but it had problems. The guns just didn’t cycle well with a lot of common brands of ammo. I hated seeing them in our classes. But, S&W, being the great company they are, fixed the problem. They also changed the name of the upgraded gun so as not to confuse it with the earlier versions. The guns on the market now in this class are the SD9 VE and SD40 VE. The SD stands for “Self Defense” and I’m not sure what the “VE” stands for, but I’ll tell you these are GOOD guns. They’re priced at around $339 and worth every bit of it. Weighing in at 22.7 ounces, this gun is the largest of the bunch I’m touting here, but it is by no means a large gun. It holds 16+1, which is plenty of ammo for a 9mm. We bought a couple of these to put in our loaner rotation a year or two ago and after a lot of heavy shooting, they’re still as good as new. We’ve sold a lot, too, with no complaints. I’m an M&P fan, but I bet if I closed my eyes and you put one of these in my hands and told me it was an M&P I may not be able to tell the difference. The M&Ps start at around $500. The SD9 VE or SD40 VE, either one is a lot of gun for the money.

Taurus PT111Taurus PT-111. My first semi-automatic handgun was a Taurus 24/7. The PT-111 is it’s little brother. Little as in it’s as small as a lot of the single stacks, maybe just a little bit wider, but it holds 13 rounds and weighs only 22 ounces. It’s overall length is only 6.2 inches, yet it is substantial enough to hold onto for some really accurate shooting. It’s actually the gun I recommend to a lot of my female friends just getting into shooting, but not because it’s a lady’s gun. I recommend it because it’s what I call “enough gun” yet most ladies can carry it easily. Guys, too. I’ve never talked to anyone who owned one of these that didn’t like it. Taurus is another of those companies with a lifetime warranty on their products. This one usually sells for around $299.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to be reliable and I would not be recommending these if I didn’t have a lot of experience with them to indicate their reliability. I’d let my wife, sister or daughter-in-laws carry any one of them.