Pistol World Forums banner
1 - 20 of 48 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
You see a number of smaller autos chambered in .25 cal. The Beretta Bobcat or Taurus Mod. 25, for example. And there is a certain appeal to being able to slip a so-called "mouse-gun" in your pocket. What role, if any, does this diminutive caliber play in self-defense? Opinions, stats, ballistics, and horror/success stories would all be appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Better than nothing at all, but inadequate.

Everybody has their own opinion, but I'd say a 9x19 or .38 Spl is the minimum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
122 Posts
Ballistics point to even the .22LR being more potent for self-defense use.

A 45 grain expanding hollowpoint .25 ACP will generate 66 ft. lbs. of energy upon contact with the target.

However a 36 grain lead hollowpoint .22LR will generate 119 ft. lbs. of energy upon contact with the target.

A 45 grain jacketed hollow point .22 Magnum will generate 324 ft. lbs. of energy upon contact with the taget.

I'm not reccomending the use of rimfire cartridges for actual self-defense use, I'm just saying that they're better than the .25 ACP, both in ballistics and price. They're too small for their ballistics to properly affect a large individual, but they can hurt like hell.

I agree with WWB though, don't go below a .380 ACP if you can help it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
I have heard that the .380 is the minimum for self defense. That is what I use for my carry pistol, using corbon HP bullets that boost the speed up to 1100fps. I also have a .25 auto. I have a very informal ballistics test that I have used. I get shipping drums from work to use as burn barrels for trash. Here are the results. A .22lr will penetrate the barrel, and sometimes exit the back side, always leaving a big dent if it doesn't pass thru. A .22 mag in a Davis derringer will penetrate both sides of the barrel, and also penetrate the barrel behind it. A .25 auto will only dent the entrance hole, and not pass thru. A .38 special in a Davis Derringer will put a large dent in the barrel, usually leaving a crack, but, no complete penetration. The .380 hp Corbon ammo will penetrate both sides of the barrel and put a large dent in the barrel behind it. The .45 auto will penetrate three drums. The .44 mag.........I don't have enough drums.

I realize that this data doesn't have any scientific background, but for an ol' country boy, it tells me how much power those rounds have, relative to each other.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
122 Posts
Well don't know the .38 Special, it's a good round. Test one of those from a 4" or longer barrel and results will be different.

Also let it be shown that barrels like those are made of strong steel, not flesh and bone. So unless the bad guy is dressed in armor, it's not that big of a worry.

BTW, why no test on a .357 Magnum?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
585 Posts
It is always interesting to me that the first thing posters get into is ballistics and foot pounds of energy. In my never-so-humble opinion, what is more important that that discussion is the use of the weapon and expectation. For John Wayne, getting into a gunfight with a bunch of drug dealers, at 20 yards, the .25 is inadequate. When used as a Doctor's gun, as intended, it is more than adequate. What's a doctor's gun for, you ask? It's for eyes, ears, nose and throat at the point that the perp puts his hands on you.

If you are training yourself to defend against a mugging, it's useable. If, on the other hand, you intend to defend yourself or the whole world at a distance, get a .357. :wink:

My primary is a .32 Colt as in this:



My secondary is this .22WMR NAA:



Fact is, I never intend to get into a gunfight and that's not what I train for... :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
For its intended purpose the .25 is fine especially when mated to a Beretta model 21.

The purpose of this weapon is for a backup and for deep concealment where almost anything else is too big.

Will 5 or 6 rounds from a Beretta 21 fired into a muggers face at point blank range change the outcome of events? You're damn right it will unless he's wearing a bullet proof face mask. Would I chose a .25 as my primary weapon in a combat situation? Of course not, I'd grab my Glock model 22.

Some people like to quote specs and ballistics and point out that a .22 is much more powerful. First of all most ballistic charts are comparing a .25 fired thru a 2" barrel compared to a .22 fired from a 6" barrel. Fire a .22 from a 2" snubby and they are closer. The biggest advantage the .25 has over a .22 is that it is a centerfire rather than a rimfire. In an auto pistol I'll take a centerfire over a rimfire any day. In a revolver a .22 might be acceptable.

Speaking of specs there are rounds that make the .25 rather respectable. Frangible magsafe ammo fire from a Bereta .25 has a muzzle velocity of 1,750 fps.

I gotta laugh when I hear gun salesmen tell prospective buyers that 22s and 25s are will only get your attacker mad. I wouldn't hesitate to get into a gunfight with someone armed with a 45 if I only had a .25 as long as long as we were only 3 feet apart and I got to shoot first!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
640 Posts
As stated by someone else, "a .25ACP is a nice thing to have when you don't have a gun." They are small enough to carry with out hardly realizing it which is their main claim to fame. I know of several officers who carry these as a third gun as they ae so unobtrusive. To them it is not any different than carrying spare ammo for the back up gun and they feel better with a third loaded gun than ammo. The main problem with mouse guns is that they are so small and often have such heavy, gritty triggers that they are difficult to shoot in any chambering and a small caliber needs all the accuracy it can get to make up for poor energy levels. The ballistic difference between the .25 ACP and .22 LR is not much when compared in similar guns (the above example pitted a 2" barreled .25 ACP against 20" barreled rimfires). Many of the .22 hollow points do not open up at handgun velocities and are actually somewhat worse than solids. In fact, this is a problem with many of the small cartridges up to .380 ACP. It has been suggested that it is better to carry FMJ in these calibers than hollow points as the light weight bullets combined with low velocities do not give very much penetration with even ball ammo let alone with something that might expand. The exception would be with the hyper velocity "Stinger" and similar others in the .22 LR. These do have the speed necessary to expand when fired from a handgun but are even lighter than a standard HP so penetration may be too limited in some situations. The .22 WMR has an advantage over the .25 ACP and .22 LR in velocity so some standard hollow points will open and the penetration is potentially greater. The best of the lot seems to be the 50 gr Federal HP but there are still too few examples for a good comparison. Between these three cartridges, I would probably go with the .25 ACP as it is more reliable to fire. It is not uncommon to have a rimfire not ignite as there was insufficient primer in that particular part of the rim to fire. If one was not a serious shooter, I might suggest the .22 LR as it is inexpensive enough to shoot regularly which is what is needed to gain the proficiency needed to use one of these guns in a serious situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
158 Posts
It's hard to accurately fire a pistol with two or three fingers and even harder to stop an assailant with a high speed fmj pinto bean :twisted:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
431 Posts
Re: re: .25 Cal for Self-Defense

mike .308 said:
Will 5 or 6 rounds from a Beretta 21 fired into a muggers face at point blank range change the outcome of events? You're damn right it will unless he's wearing a bullet proof face mask.
Maybe, maybe not. I once worked with a man that was shot 5 times in the head with a S&W, model 36, .38 special, inside a bar from less than 2 feet.

His most significant injury was a broken mandible. He would have beaten his shooter to death, but others pulled him off before he could kill him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
640 Posts
I'll have to agree with Pistolero that a shot or shots to the face with a small caliber handgun is not going to be the definitive fight stopper. There are too many cases where the bullet from a mouse gun only followed the contour of the skull around doing no more damage than a headache and some stitches. The victims in many of these cases continued on with thier original task, sometimes it was the Good Guy and he survived the fray but all too often it was the bad guy who succeeded to the victim's chagrin.
When one uses a mouse gun, they assume even more of the negatives of a handgun ammunition than normal. The low velocities and especially the light weight of the bullets are great negatives. With the 60 gr FMJ bullet of the .25 ACP, one does not get much penetration as it quickly loses momentum and often stops after only 6"-7" in ballistic gelatin. A hollow point that opens slows down even faster due to increased surface area and likely bullet fragmentation in which tests have shown a loss of up to 2" over FMJ with the greatest loss of penetration being with the bullet that mushrooms the most. Since a bullet has to reach deep enough to disrupt bodily functions enough to stop an assault, some recommend FMJ as they are even marginal to do so. Contact a rib or the sternum and it may not even make into the body cavity. Shock is not much of an issue since most people can hit harder than the 60 foot pounds of energy of these rounds, penetration is needed to disrupt the vital functioning of the body. In any event, a person who needs to rely on a mouse gun for their defense is really putting themselves behind the curve.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
I have to agree with most of uglydog's comments. As I said a .25 would almost never be my first choice. When I need a mouse gun I usually carry my Colt mustang .380.

On those occasions when I did carry a model 21 .25 cal I had it loaded with magsafe ammo. In a .25 magsafe is rated at 1,750 fps. The round has decent penetration thru clothing and hard surfaces once it hits gelatin type material it opens up and releases bird shot which is why it is considered a fragible round. The wound channel generated is comparable to much more potent rounds. Magsafe claims their .25 round is equal to 45 acp hardball as far as stopping power. I doubt that's true but even if it elevates the round to .32 acp or .380 status that is one heck of an improvement over a standard load.

Always carry the most effective gun and load you can properly conceal and shoot well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
122 Posts
It's always interesting and informative to read through discussions about this subject. This one in particular is both informative and sensible. I much appreciate the comments that the data usually quoted about the .25ACP vs. the 22LR are usually skewed toward the .22 as fired from a longer barrel. I also appreciate the informal penetration test. It says a lot.
When I carry, I usually carry at least a .32, though mostly a Glock mini gun in .45 (md. 36). That being said, I have a little Bernardelli .25 that takes up so little room in my pocket and is so light that I often drop it in my pocket when going for a walk.
What the .25 has going for it - in addition to concealability/carryability - is as a deterrent. Most people don't want to get shot at all, not even with a .25. Most people.
Also, as was said, a .25 auto is way more reliable than a similar .22 auto. I used to have a Beretta .22 auto - I never knew whether or when it was going to jam...and it did frequently. The Bernardelli, which I practice with often, has never jammed.
Nowadays I own one of S&W's 317 Airlites. I've been meaning to chrono it against the Bernardelli, just to see how each measures (though that informal penetration test is convincing.).
Pete
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
944 Posts
I shoot a .25 in the basement all the time. It lacks the velocity to make me confident in it as a defensive weapon. It has its uses as stated above but if you have the option for a larger caliber go for that instead.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
122 Posts
The ballistic difference between the .25 ACP and .22 LR is not much when compared in similar guns (the above example pitted a 2" barreled .25 ACP against 20" barreled rimfires).
Actually the data complied on the .25 ACP vs. the .22 LR had data on the .22 LR fired from a 6" barrel.

But if ballistics of both calibers really are similar in guns of similar size with similar barrel lengths, why not just buy the .22 rimfire since it's more cost effective, available in greater quantities and easier to practice with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
640 Posts
I would be curious where you got the energy numbers for the 22 LR. I found the same numbers in a Remington catalog from a couple years back which was for a 20" rifle so assumed that you were using Remington info. In I don't know how many comparison tests I've read, the energy levels for the 22 LR and 25 ACP were always compared as being similar. 140 some ft/lbs of energy is approaching many 380 ACP and even some 38 Spl rounds which I don't think is really possible from a .22 LR handgun. I could easily enough be wrong but I do have to question it.
As for choosing a .25 ACP over a .22 LR, the issue of dependability has been covered. It is not uncommon for one to have a dud rimfire round which is caused by insufficient primer compound being spun into the rim. A failure to fire is not something you want to have happen with a defensive weapon. A centerfire cartridge is much more dependable in this regard. Also, a .22 LR mouse gun is much more finicky on being properly clean and oiled than the same gun in centerfire. This is likely due to the .22 LR using a dirtier powder along with the lower pressures generated by a rimfire.
The advantage of the rimfires has been pointed out; mainly the lesser cost of ammo allowing for one to shoot more, a very important practice with such a small gun and cartridge. That is the only benefit with the .22 LR and one must balance the cost of shooting with the reliability factor to make a decision on what is best for them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
122 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
640 Posts
Thanks Justin,
I was unable to access any ballistic information in the Remington site regarding rimfires but I did find that on the Winchester site the barrel length used was 6" and the energy ratings were below what you originally posted. The highest rates were 100 and 105 ft/lbs of energy for the 40 gr Super-X loadings 22 LR and ranged on down to 68 ft/lbs for the 36 gr HP X-Pert load. The pistol ballistics are the second chart down, not the first. The page is a bit misleading as the chart discription says a 6" barrel was used but the first chart's heading reads rifle ballistics. It is the second chart contains the handgun info. Now, chop another 4" off the barrel and ballistics will drop even more. Considering the drop in performance that can happen as the barrel length is shortened, one might wonder if the X-Pert load will even exit?!
Looking at a current Remington catalog, they don't seem to even list handgun ballistics for rimfires anymore. Energy levels for the rifle are pretty consistant with the Winchester and Federal website/catalog so would extrapolate Remington to being similar to the Winchester data. I wish I knew where I had the ballistics chart with the .22 rimfires and .25 ACP data, it would make things a bit easier.
 
1 - 20 of 48 Posts
Top