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3 Alternative Handgun Calibers For When Ammo Is Scarce

April 20, 2020 7:00:00 AM PDT








3 Handgun Calibers That Are Easier To Find During Lean Times

The ammo shortage isn’t as bad as you might think, but rest assured that another one will happen at some point and most handgun calibers and many rifle calibers will be depleted for some time. What is a person to do?

Even reloading isn’t a sure-fire solution; there’s been runs on reloading supplies and equipment as well.

Answer? Have a backup gun in an alternate caliber that’s a little less susceptible to demand. This way, you’ll have a moderately easier time of getting supplied with range ammo or self-defense ammo.

What are some good ones, that you still might reasonably find on store shelves or online? Here are 3 solid picks.

38 special

The former default handgun cartridge .38 Special is one of the few that hasn’t as completely depleted as 9mm or .45 ACP has. Granted, it is far from untouched, but it’s more available than others are, to be sure.

Unfortunately, this means that your black plastic mega-capacity tactical blaster is going to have to languish in the safe while you switch to a revolver. We know, we know. But this is about how to keep enough freedom seeds on hand, and the stuff everyone likes is going to be less available than the stuff people don’t.

Also, don’t be fooled. A .38 Special in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing is wickedly effective. Don’t be afraid of sizing up from a snubbie to a medium-frame, either. They’re more easily concealed than you’d think, and you need a longer barrel to get the best of revolver calibers.

Scoff if you must, but remember that the most proven pistol in police service history is the Smith and Wesson Model 10. A lot of bad people met their end getting on the wrong end of one.

38 super

For those unaware, .38 Super is an old cartridge that originally came out during Prohibition. In the broad strokes, it’s a 9mm+P with a slightly longer case. However, there aren’t too many guns made for the chambering anymore, since it’s a niche round. It languished in obscurity for decades, until competition shooters found it.

There’s a decent amount of support for it in the ammunition industry, but not too many people buy the pistols that shoot it. You’d better be okay with a 1911. It’s bascially the only gun that’s made to chamber the .38 Super. Well, there’s also the EAA Witness, but that’s about it.

Ballistics-wise, .38 Super is about halfway between 9mm and .357 Magnum, so it’s plenty potent, with an energy level on par with or better than .45 ACP but with less recoil due to the lighter projectile. In fact, the cartridge was preferred by a number of police officers when it was originally released, as it was one of the few handgun calibers capable of penetrating car bodies and the body armor of the era.

40 S&W

Think the .40 S&W is dead, do you? Ha ha ha ha! Look, it’s true that the industry has moved on. Police agencies have all but dropped it entirely. A lot of civilians have all but dropped it entirely. However, that means .40 S&W pistols and .40 S&W ammunition is more available than 9mm.

Sure, it’s snappier than 9mm. Sure, there’s no real benefit in the real world to this caliber. Sure, it’s slightly more expensive than 9mm is. All that hasn’t changed, but since there’s less demand, there’s more supply.

Don’t expect it to flood gun store shelves, but you’re going to find a bit more of it available than 9mm or .45 ACP. And during a crisis, that can be a good thing.

Just make sure you don’t get a subcompact in .40, or else you’ll wind up with carpal tunnel syndrome.

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Writer sam hoober



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