Who among us has not engaged in the great caliber debate? I can tell from my desk almost no one raised a hand to that question. I’m thinking 99 percent of the gun-owning public has, at one time, asked someone to suggest a proper caliber for self-defense. Sometimes I just do it to see what kind of dust the discussion will kick up.

So, tell me, which caliber do you suggest for self-defense?

I can almost hear knuckles cracking across the whole internet as people warm up for this fight. Blood pressures are rising. Foreheads are beginning to wrinkle. Synapses are firing as people search for just the right words. But look what I have done. I’ve only piled the kindling and set some fuel aside. I’ve not struck the match. I mean that I have not yet made a declarative statement that would allow respondents to choose a side and tell me why I know nothing about ballistics, gun fighting, ergonomics or the physiology of force dynamics when applied to tactical movement under the stress of a violent encounter. I imagine people are just poised at their keyboards, waiting, waiting until they see something with which they disagree. At any moment, people all over the country are just waiting for the opportunity to explain why someone else is wrong.

That’s the allure of the internet. You get to chime in from anywhere about anything. I truly think such opportunity is a double-edged sword. With all these opinions flying around, some people will be exposed to different ideas and different research, but, at the same time, there are some absolute lunatics out there. I’m convinced those folks say crazy things just to get a response and see where the conversation goes. And, yes, I’m doing a little bit of that right now. But I’ve drifted off topic.

Let’s get back to the great caliber debate. Each caliber has its pros and cons. There are points to argue in just about every single element of comparison. You can talk about recoil, terminal ballistic performance, magazine capacity, overall weight of the rounds you carry and any number of other details without finding a consensus.

Do you know what we can agree on? Most criminals don’t stop to ask what caliber is being fired at them. Remember those armed robbers in the Florida internet café? When an old man started shooting at them with a .380 ACP, they looked like the Three Stooges as they tried to get out of that place. The robber with the pistol did not stand up and say, “Hey, that sounds like a .380, and I have a 9mm.” On the contrary, he chose to give the incoming rounds the right of way and made every effort to exit the impact area.

So, I guess caliber didn’t matter in that case. The only thing that mattered was the fact that the good guy was armed. Having a gun you can shoot accurately is more important than choosing a gun of a specific caliber.

But if you want a specific caliber, make mine .357 SIG! Talk among yourselves about that.