1. Self defense (don't laugh)
3. Target Shooting
Restricting myself to only .22 LR
1. The moment we talk about Target shooting , then the length of the barrel assumes greater significance. Obviously 6 inches barrel is better than a 4 inch barrel.
2. When we talk about self defense, do not under estimate the .22 LR, though it does not have STOPPING POWER, it does have penentration power.
2. a The wounds of .22 are extremely small and the fragments of the same being smaller are extremely difficult to treat, from the point of view of stopping internal bleeding.
3. Most people rave about the stopping power of calibers .44 mag, .357 mag , .45, while theese calibers do have tremendous stopping power, their recoil is not easy to handle unless the user is in fairly regular training. Therefore, when faced with multiple assailants, firing at one and bringing to bear the gun on the next assailant (after the recoil) definitely requires training of the military type.
4. Generally a .22 LR recoil is that much easier to handle and if you are using a weaver , cup & saucer or double fist grip, you can PLACE your shots in the vital areas - heart and or head.
5. Having said that, you still may not be able to STOP a guy, high on drugs or high on the intent of killing you.
6. Finally a revolver, is excellent simply because it will not jam (though revolvers are known to jam but not as frequently as a pistol hence more reliable).
7. Finally Double Action or Single action - Double action is supposedly good for self defense while the single action is good for target shooting. This is quite obvious, but I will still explain- The energy reguired for double action is roughly double than that of single action, because, roughly half the energy is reguired for cocking and the balance half is required to release the hammer. This makes a single action good for target shooting.( You can also use a DA revolver for Target shooting f you cock the hammer before taking the shot)
8. But I would still prefer the single action for defense also, simply because In a single action, the trigger pull force is less, ALSO, in the case of a self defense shoot, it adds one step extra, that of cocking, which has two connotations;
(a) While cocking the trigger, you are still thinking whether you really want to shoot the bug*3r. So cocking is a step which is taken with a very cold reasoning behind it, reserving the final squeeze of the trigger, ONLY when all else fails (visual intimidation, shouted warning).
(b) The trigger is so smooth (half the energy) that the chances of deflecting the gun barrel from the point of aim is minimised. For example, in the case of a double action revolver, you are aiming at the throat of the assailant, but due to yanking the trigger (stress related) you may end up missing the bug*3r entirely!
My personal choice: .22 LR Single Action min. six inches barrel revolver. This is because , I know, that even under the maximum stress, I will STOP the assailant by PLACING my shot where I want.