C2 instructor holding pistol and explaining components to new gun ownerC2 instructor holding pistol and explaining components to new gun owner

Choosing the Right Caliber: A Guide for New Shooters

At C2 Tactical, we hear this question a lot, “what is the best caliber to shoot?”  Well, it depends.  For those new to the world of firearms, choosing the right caliber can be a daunting task.  It comes down to ability, platform, performance, and application.

With a plethora of options available, each boasting its own advantages and drawbacks, making an informed decision is crucial for an enjoyable and safe shooting experience. This article aims to guide new shooters through the process of selecting the ideal caliber, considering factors such as recoil, ammunition availability, and intended use.

Understanding Caliber:

There is really nothing magic about caliber. Caliber refers to the diameter of the projective of the round and the corresponding diameter of the barrel out of which it is shot. This is often measured in inches or millimeters, for example – a .22 caliber has a projectile that is .22 of an inch wide, a 9mm is 9mm wide, and a .50 is half an inch wide at its widest point.

And though there are main calibers to choose from it is typical for larger calibers to generally result in more recoil, which can impact accuracy and comfort, especially for beginners. Here at C2 Tactical we recommend that everyone begins with a .22. It is inexpensive, has very little recoil, and is easy (read: fun) to shoot. It can also be shot out of a plethora of guns including, revolvers, semiautomatic pistols, and multiple types of long guns, i.e., rifles.

Some factors to consider when choosing a caliber are:

  • Recoil: For novice shooters, managing recoil is essential for accurate and enjoyable shooting. Smaller calibers, such as .22 LR (Long Rifle), typically have minimal recoil, making them an excellent choice for beginners. Mastering proper shooting techniques with a low-recoil caliber can build confidence and pave the way for transitioning to larger calibers in the future.
  • Ammunition Availability and Cost: It is best to opt for calibers that are readily available and affordable. Common calibers like 9mm Luger, .223 Remington, and .22 LR are widely produced and often more budget-friendly. Ammunition availability ensures that new shooters can practice regularly without struggling to find suitable rounds for their firearms.
  • Intended Use: Consider the purpose of the firearm. If the primary goal is recreational shooting, target practice, or small game hunting, a .22 LR caliber might be an ideal choice due to its low recoil and versatility. For self-defense purposes, popular calibers like 9mm Luger offer a balance between stopping power and manageable recoil, making them suitable for most beginners.
  • Firearm Size and Weight: Smaller caliber firearms are generally easier to handle for beginners. Compact and subcompact handguns, often chambered in 9mm or .380 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), are lightweight, but can sometimes be less comfortable to shoot. Our advice at C2 Tactical is to shoot the largest gun that fits comfortably in your hand and uses the lowest caliber that you are comfortable firing to start.

Selecting the right caliber is a crucial step for new shooters embarking on their firearms journey. By considering factors such as recoil, ammunition availability, intended use, firearm size, and seeking proper training, beginners can make an informed decision that aligns with their needs and preferences. Remember, safety and comfort are paramount, so take the time to explore various options and seek guidance to ensure a positive and fulfilling shooting experience.

Ask a C2 Tactical sales professional on our sales floor or contact our call center. You can schedule a consultation for new shooters at either of our locations. www.c2tactical.com, (480) 588-8802. Be safe, and we will see you on the range.

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