As a full-time firearms instructor, I get daily questions from beginning shooters about the “best” caliber for concealed carry. People new to carrying a gun on a daily basis have lots of questions about how bullets work and want to choose the most effective firearm they can carry.
I went through the same learning phase. As a rookie cop who decided to carry a gun off-duty (which isn’t as common as you might think), I obsessed over my personal firearms selection. I started off with a .38 snub because I could carry it as a backup gun on my ankle while working, as well as a primary gun for off-duty carry. I quickly realized, while easy to carry, I couldn’t shoot it very well. Money was tight and I couldn’t afford another gun for a while, so I defaulted to carrying a gun I had owned since a teenager, a S&W Model 19 .357 Magnum with a 4″ barrel. I carried it in an inside-the-waistband holster for more than a year before I got a raise and could buy another gun.
That new gun was a Smith & Wesson Model 3913 9mm. I loved the gun, but I was worried about the stopping power “failures” I heard were prevalent with the 9mm cartridge, so I upgraded to a .40. Shortly thereafter I moved to a higher-capacity .40. Then I upgraded to a .45. I’ve carried just about every caliber available over the years as I stayed on the quest to find the “perfect” concealed carry caliber.