Is A 25 Caliber Good For Self Defense?

Pistol Concealed in a Man's Waistband | Is a 25 Caliber Good for Self Defense?| Featured

There is a lot of debate around the 25 caliber – whether it qualifies as a functional self-defense gun or not. To put this to rest, here is everything you need to know about the .25 Auto.

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Everything You Need to Know About the 25 Caliber

What Is a .25 Caliber?

A .25 ACP or caliber is a straight-walled and semi-rimmed centerfire pistol cartridge. It was introduced in 1905 by John Browning, together with the Fabrique Nationale M1905 pistol.

Caliber 025 automatic ammu 25 Caliber SS

Firearms chambered for .25 caliber ammunition are typically small and compact, commonly known as “pocket pistols” or “concealed carry handguns.” These firearms are often designed for personal defense and are known for their portability and ease of concealment.

Which Is the Best 25ACP Pistol?

The best options for the .25 are guns that have not been in production for a long time. However, the Beretta 950 and Baby Browning are the two that are often highly regarded.

1906 Browning pistol FN Model 1906 25 Caliber SS

Photo by Roman Belogorodov /

however, there are a few popular and well-regarded .25 ACP pistols that are worth considering. Here are some notable options:

  1. Beretta 950 Jetfire: The Beretta 950 Jetfire is a compact and reliable semi-automatic pistol. It has a sleek design, a tip-up barrel for easy loading, and a reputation for being accurate and easy to shoot.
  2. Browning Baby: The Browning Baby, also known as the FN Baby Browning, is a small and lightweight handgun. It features a simple blowback operation, a compact design, and a reputation for reliability.
  3. Colt Vest Pocket: The Colt Vest Pocket, officially known as the Colt Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless, is a classic and iconic .25 ACP pistol. It has a slim profile, a grip safety, and a reputation for quality craftsmanship.
  4. Walther TPH: The Walther TPH (Taschenpistole, which means “pocket pistol” in German) is a compact and reliable handgun. It has a double-action trigger, a stainless steel construction, and a reputation for being accurate and well-built.
  5. Bauer .25 Automatic: The Bauer .25 Automatic is a modern variation of the Baby Browning. It retains the small size and lightweight characteristics of the original design while incorporating modern improvements such as a stainless steel construction.

Remember to thoroughly research and consider factors such as reliability, ergonomics, availability, and personal preferences before choosing a handgun. It is also recommended to try out different models and seek expert advice to ensure the pistol fits your specific requirements.

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Which Is the Best 25 Caliber Rifle?

That has to be 25 caliber cartridges. Take a closer look at the .257 Weatherby Magnum if you are considering purchasing an ultra-long-range rifle. It is one of Roy Weatherby's best creations and undoubtedly the best in the ultra-long-range cartridges category.

Automatic rifle ammo 25 Caliber SS

One notable .25 caliber rifle is the Ruger No. 1 Varminter. It is a single-shot rifle designed specifically for varmint hunting and precision shooting. The Ruger No. 1 Varminter is chambered in .25-06 Remington, which is a popular wildcat cartridge based on the .30-06 Springfield case necked down to .25 caliber. This rifle is known for its accuracy, reliability, and versatility for varmint control.

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What Is the Difference between a 25ACP and a 22 Long Rifle?

Besides the noticeable differences in caliber and diameters, the 22-long rifle is rimmed while the 25 caliber is semi-rimmed. Secondly, the 25 ACP is a centerfire, while the 22 long rifle is rimfire.

22 ammunition in pile on a board 25 Caliber SS

While they share some similarities, there are notable differences between the two:

  1. Caliber: The .25 ACP has a larger bullet diameter than the .22 LR. The .25 ACP typically has a bullet diameter of .251 inches (6.35mm), while the .22 LR has a bullet diameter of .222 inches (5.6mm).
  2. Cartridge Design: The .25 ACP is a centerfire cartridge, meaning that the primer is located in the center of the cartridge case base. On the other hand, the .22 LR is a rimfire cartridge, where the primer is contained within the rim of the case.
  3. Bullet Velocity and Energy: Generally, the .22 LR tends to have higher muzzle velocities and energy compared to the .25 ACP. This is due to the .22 LR being capable of generating higher pressures, allowing for faster bullet speeds and more energy upon impact.
  4. Bullet Weight and Performance: The .25 ACP typically has heavier bullets compared to the .22 LR. While bullet weights can vary, typical .25 ACP bullets range from around 35 to 50 grains, while .22 LR bullets are commonly available in weights ranging from 30 to 40 grains.
  5. Purpose and Use: The .22 LR is a versatile cartridge used for various purposes, including target shooting, plinking, small game hunting, and even self-defense in some cases. The .25 ACP is primarily used in small, compact handguns for personal defense or concealed carry due to its small size and relatively low recoil.

It's important to note that both calibers have limitations in terms of stopping power, and shot placement and bullet selection are critical factors in their effectiveness.

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Why Is a 25 Caliber More Reliable Than a 22 Long Rifle?

22 mm bullets and target shooting 25 Caliber SS 1

Being a centerfire, the 25 ACP is, therefore, a more reliable caliber than the 22-long-rifle. This is especially so because semi-rimmed calibers are better used with autoloaders, especially those from around 1905 when the caliber was invented.

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What Is the Power Difference between the 25ACP and the 22 Caliber?

When fired from a long rifle barrel, the 22 LR is slightly more powerful, the .25 caliber. However, when fired from a smaller gun and with similar hollow-point ammo, there is a minimal difference margin as far as power is concerned.

Shooting and Weapons Training 25 Caliber SS

However, due to its centerfire-case design, the 25 ACP is seen as a better option for personal defense handguns. Nonetheless, .25 bullets have higher velocities than the standard full metal jacket loads.

Why Is the 25ACP Not as Popular Today?

This is because there are only a few companies today still manufacture 25 caliber handguns. However, there is still a relatively large variety of this ammunition. It is, however, not as readily available as the 22-long-rifle or any other.

Small black gun compact handgun 25 Caliber SS

Note: It has limited options for defense rounds.

Which One Is More Deadly between a .25ACP and a 22 Long Rifle?

Modern gun and old revolver | 25 caliber handgun

Photo by vitalikaladdin /

Well, both calibers are lethal and will neutralize any human or animal threat. The 25 caliber is, however, derided as unreliable compared to other small caliber alternatives. But as long as you are keen on which part you shoot, it is as reliable as the 22 calibers.

Note: Not aiming for vital organs when using the .25ACP for defense might take longer to incapacitate the threat.

Where Can One Get .25acp Ammunition?

Placerville, Half empty shelves of reloading die boxes at a gun shop | Is a 25 Caliber Good for Self Defense?

Since the caliber is not as common these days, it only makes sense that you need to look far and wide for the ammo. Even worse, the option for defensive rounds is quite limited.
However, looking for the ammo in stores with guns from the early 90s is your best chance at finding the ammo.

What if One Used 22 Long Rifle Ammo in a .25 Caliber?

Small self loading pistol PSM 5.45 25 Caliber SS

The 25 Auto is all centerfire ammo. Therefore, any gun designed for it cannot fire a 22-long rifle. This because the firing pin cannot touch the rimfire primer on the .22 long rifle.

Note: You can, however, fire smaller diameter ammo if you first load it in a . 25 ACP case.

Why Choose the .25ACP for Personal Defense?

Person is hiding a handgun 25 Caliber SS

Even with all the debate going around, there are still reasons to choose the .25 caliber:

Firstly, it is best suited for use in autoloaders. No one has the time to keep reloading their gun when with a threat.

Secondly, it is the best option for people who are not as good with guns. Being an autoloader, it will keep firing until the trigger is released, something a novice can pull off.

Thirdly, since the primer is set above the cartridge base, the 25 caliber casings are not rendered useless after firing. As a result, the cartridge carries heavier projectiles allowing for more accurate shots, especially over long distances. The makes the .25ACP more reliable than the 22.

Lastly, the .25 caliber is made for small pistols, which everyone needs for a defense gun due to the ease of concealing.

Watch this video by Paul Harrell on which is better in a pocket gun, a .25 ACP or a .22 Long Rifle?

Do you think a 25 caliber is viable for self defense?

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The 25 caliber is still short of meeting the 12-inch penetration requirement of the FBI to qualify for personal defense. However, most people are okay with neutralizing the threat, which the .25ACP is capable of doing. 

.25 Caliber Good For Self Defense

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7 Responses to :
Is A 25 Caliber Good For Self Defense?

  1. The knowledgeable gun owner says:

    This article is FULL of inaccuracies. If you are using a .25 for defense, then you better be able to do one of two things great: 1) ALWAYS hit someone in the head with EVERY shot or 2) Be able to outrun EVERY thug that you encounter. These are the only two things that will keep you even possibly alive if you carry a .25 gun!! Personally, I think the author is RECKLESS in his advice, and I would recommend that you disregard his every word! Best gun for self defense: .45 or .357. Superior stopping power to a 9MM, with equal or LESS recoil and greater concealability in subcompact models. But a .25?? You’re almost better off with a baseball bat and a knife!

    1. Pat Stafford says:

      Please feel free to come stand in front of me about 10 or 15 feet away and let me discharge a clip from one of my 25’s. I hit a 5 inch circle at that distance consistently. Then tell me if it stopped you. I have never found anyone that wants to prove this in person, wonder why? 22’s and 25’s account for around half of all fatalities, outnumbering by far any other individual caliber.

      1. Anonymous says:


      2. Captain O says:

        Yes, Col. Jeff Cooper was full of the old Crapola when he stated that shooting someone with a .25 ACP would only make them angry.

        If you shoot someone in the base of the throat, eyes, or larynx, the individual will likely expire.

        Buffalo Bore makes a great 50-grain FMJ that will launch its pill at 810 fps and 72 fpe from either a Baby Browning or Bauer’s 2.1″ barrel.

        Properly placed, these will get the job done.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Being an autoloader, it will keep firing until the trigger is released, something a novice can pull off.

    This is a false statement

  3. Rex T. Dog says:

    We sometimes carry a Jetfire, simply because it is so easily done…we don’t need to blow up the bad guy, just dissuade him from being bad…no one likes being shot by anything, which does include .25acp…our area is not the mean streets, and we feel comfortable with light calibers…

  4. silentbob says:

    I have carried a Raven arms. 25 cal. for many years and in that time ive became somewhat good at hitting anything within 15 to 20 feet however i continuously hear pros and cons so wanted to share a true life recent experience, as a mechanic and restorer in always searching for old wrecks and last week was invited to a property to bid on several abandoned cars, upon arrival i found no one there so i called and the owner advised he was on his way, so looking at a couple of the cars i had stepped away from my truck a bit and suddenly heard very loud barking suddenly finding myself being charged by approx. 4 huge dogs 2 of them being pitbulls, and being a dog lover i had pulled my 25 and shot up in the air to no avail. sadly me or the dogs 2nd shot fired made the pitbull shake is head and yup luckily he retreated as did the 2 remaining all ecept for the 2nd pitbull which took 2 shots to stop his attack with the 2nd shot to the nose easily dispatched and resolved this situation, so maybe the 25 isnt the prefered concealed carry but against a 100+lbs of crazed muscle in kill mode the 25 Raven arms. was definately a life saver, turns out the dogs were a pack that had killed livestock and 2 horses in the area so yes theyd had a taste for blood, but what if all had attacked? i’ll continue carrying my 25 but im backing it up with a 9MM stupid im not!

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