...the House That Jack Built? Not exactly. Little bitta caliber-preenage to which Tam pointed.
I'm something of an iconoclast about such matters, believing having a gun at all is far more central to the real issue than just what caliber it is. But you know just as soon as somebody invented the atl-atl,* somebody else tried scaling it up and chuckin' heavier spears therewith, then turned to J. Random Shaggy Ancestor and pointed out the ineffectiveness of his smaller weaponry. It's how our species is wired up.
My take? I thought you'd never ask!
Sure, a .380’s not much — now, go downrange and catch one in your teeth.
What, no? Okay; I want to be fair. How about a .25? The caliber Col. Cooper said was mostly good for being able to tell baddies, “I have a gun!”
Won’t catch that, either?
Darn skippy. It could hurt.
Like everything else, choice of caliber is not so much about what will put a zombie down 100% of the time (answer, “nothing.” I’ve seen those movies) as it is about acceptable risk.
Like toothpaste brands, that’s a matter of personal choice. Mr. Lott (et al) tells us the general odds are that some 9 defensive handgun uses in 10, no shots are fired. For those, 4.25 Lilliput would be adequate; a pellet gun would be adequate, or a toy (but I repeat myself), as long as it looked real.
So, long odds of actually needing a gun at all (kind of like seat belts and fire extinguishers, which I would not do without, either), one-in-ten of having to shoot if you do, and what, maybe 50-50 the sound and fury will send the baddie running?
Any gun is better than no gun. It’s not just nice words.
I’ll carry my toy-Colt .380 (Pony Pocketlite) and hardly notice; I’ll usually carry one of my little Stars (BKM or PD, in 9mm and .45) happily enough. But the Witness compact? The Ballester-Molina, size and heft of a real 1911? Naw. Too Dadratted Big. Too Heavy. I make excuses and leave the house socially nekkid.
So I am better off with a .380. Other people? Other neighborhoods? Your mileage will vary. No sidearm is a sure-thing manstopper. You pays your money and you makes your bet.
* Can you believe spellchecker dunno this one? Me neither. Man, their ancestors musta just starved. Per Tam, I checked "atlatl" instead, the way These Modern Kids spell it, and nope! Still ungood unword. Wrongthink.
4 months ago