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WOW, this is a zombie thread, but going with the OP's question, the answer would depend on a lot of things. Number one being the person doing the shooting. Two matching the ammo to the gun, seeing what the pistol likes best. Three, training in stressful situations, just to name a few.

As an example, Dad and I shooting his contender using the load he worked up for it. He can shoot 1/8 inch groups at 25 yards, and the best I can do is 1/2 inch groups with it.
 

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Unfortunately the 9mm is just not an inherently accurate round. It's primary advantage is being compact, yet powerful enough to be a man stopper. As such it was picked up by the police force to replace the 38 special (the 9mm is considered to be ballistically superior to the .38 as well).
Almost any necked cartridge will be more accurate then a strait-walled, so the 9mm is still going to be beat out by better designed cartridges.
I picked up a Colt Officers in 9mm a few years back and it's extremely accurate. It might be my most accurate pistol right now. So...maybe I should walk my statement back some.

Or maybe I'll make an incredibly bold claim and just say my .50 AE MKXIX is the most accurate pistol I own, and therefore the most accurate pistol cartridge available. Period. Hands down. Unquestionably. Granted, it groups like crap on paper, but it rings steel like a boss...:unsure:
 

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Most accurate? I'd think 7.63 Mauser, 7.62 Tok, or 5.7 x28 would be the most accurate. I don't have personal experience with the 5.7, but the other two are accurate enough to score consistently on a rifle clanger at 100 yards out of semi-auto pistols.

Most effective is a little subjective, and would really depend on the gun and the circumstance. An SAA in 45 Colt was government-tested to take a man off a horse at 50 yards, or a horse from under a man at 100. At the other end, various mouse guns were common for government assassinations in the Cold War. Dead is dead, and, circumstantially, neither is more effective than the other. Neither is a great idea for most normal circumstances.
As of right now, I think the CZ75 and its derivatives is the most effective combat pistol in operation today. Even if we were to all agree on that point (and I doubt we would), there's still the argument of caliber. A CZ97 or 75B in 45 ACP for "knockdown" or one of the 9x19 ones for capacity - argue among yourselves. You could also split the difference and go with the 9x21 IMI version, but good luck finding ammo.


Best performing? That's a combination of the two , so there's no real one answer...but now that I think about it, a CZ platform firing the 9 IMI sounds pretty cool.
The platform is pretty accurate, the 9 IMI is a good compromise between the submachine gun-esque cartridges at the "blazing speed and accuracy" end of the spectrum, and the knockdown end of the spectrum.

Practicality is the biggest negative.

NOTABLE MENTIONS:
SIG P210 in 30 Luger Carbine: That typically ranks among the world's most accurate semi-auto pistols. And it is basically a scaled-up MAS 1935 which is typically ranked among the elite of historical combat arms. It is unweildy, that spec ammo is practically unobtainable, and even in 9mm it is not practical.

Tokarev TT-33 or CZ-52 - Plenty of power, good accuracy, but all sorts of limitations
 

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I was thinking about this while at the range. You see a ton of diff't calibers out here: 9mm, 40 s&w, 357 sig, 9 X18, 38 special, 44 special, 357 mag, 44 mag, 38 super. Depending on gun & shooting each one will perform pretty well, but which one is considered the most accurate, best performing and most effective as a defensive round?
I'm not looking to start a caliber war, I've just been toying w/ the idea of building a target gun and was wondering what caliber to base this project on.
After reading most of the replies I would agree for sheer 'accuracy' the 38 sp and 45 acp would take the cake. BUT that is because for the guns that shoot them. The most accurate handguns I have ever shot were my K-38 and a 1911 I built. That said I recently shoot a 'high dollar' target 9 that was very accurate too. I thing it has more to do with the gun than the ammo/caliber!!! Just my 2 cents worth!!! :)
 
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It's the person and the little things that one can do to make a firearm more accurate. Had a nice firearm that just didn't shoot the way I wanted and felt ok when I held it but when I added a low cost grip sleeve with a slight palm swell, things improved drastically. Another firearm liked a slightly heavier grain bullet. A different firearm took just over 150 rounds and everything must have settled into place, smooth, reliable, and tight groups. My S&W 22A became a super fun shooter when I added a Red Dot. So for the analysis, making the firearm fit me better (grip sleeve and Red Dot) worked, and the others it came down to changing ammo bullet weight or getting enough rounds through it to "break it in" did the trick. As for out of the box best, smoothest, and most accurate firearm, it is my Taurus 689 .357 Mag with a 6 inch barrel shooting 125gr JHP. Although, my Springfield XDs comes in a close second. So there you go, my two best shooters in a revolver and a pistol. Still getting familiar with my recently (Mar 22) purchased SAR9T but it's shooting really good right out of the box. Best wishes to all on your quest to shooting nirvana (the state of perfect happiness).
Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Gun accessory Wood

Air gun Trigger Wood Gun barrel Gun accessory
 

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It's the person and the little things that one can do to make a firearm more accurate. Had a nice firearm that just didn't shoot the way I wanted and felt ok when I held it but when I added a low cost grip sleeve with a slight palm swell, things improved drastically. Another firearm liked a slightly heavier grain bullet. A different firearm took just over 150 rounds and everything must have settled into place, smooth, reliable, and tight groups. My S&W 22A became a super fun shooter when I added a Red Dot. So for the analysis, making the firearm fit me better (grip sleeve and Red Dot) worked, and the others it came down to changing ammo bullet weight or getting enough rounds through it to "break it in" did the trick. As for out of the box best, smoothest, and most accurate firearm, it is my Taurus 689 .357 Mag with a 6 inch barrel shooting 125gr JHP. Although, my Springfield XDs comes in a close second. So there you go, my two best shooters in a revolver and a pistol. Still getting familiar with my recently (Mar 22) purchased SAR9T but it's shooting really good right out of the box. Best wishes to all on your quest to shooting nirvana (the state of perfect happiness).
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I was really surprised the first time I got to shoot a full-size XD. I can barely hit anything with the XD compact, but I couldn't miss with the XD
 

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I was really surprised the first time I got to shoot a full-size XD. I can barely hit anything with the XD compact, but I couldn't miss with the XD
I have the extended capacity magazines and that made a huge difference in comfor and accuracy for me as well. I am also considering the XD Mod 2 with 4" bbl as a future purchase, but prices did jump with everything going on. It's on the list and I'm willing to wait for a good sale.
 

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I have the extended capacity magazines and that made a huge difference in comfor and accuracy for me as well. I am also considering the XD Mod 2 with 4" bbl as a future purchase, but prices did jump with everything going on. It's on the list and I'm willing to wait for a good sale.
I really don't know why so many "pros" and "experts" make fun of the XD. It actually has a lot going for it.
 

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I really don't know why so many "pros" and "experts" make fun of the XD. It actually has a lot going for it.
Agree. I want a firearm that goes Bang when the trigger is pulled, no FTF issues, no ejection issues, can handle some dirt or water without causing problems, and ammo is readily available and doesn't break the bank.
The other issue you pointed out was some make fun of the XD...might have something to do with the Gun Coolness Factor or some other The-In-Crowd - be part of the gang. Don't get me wrong, we've all done it "The Gucci Syndrome" but sooner or later that phase of life shifts from highly important to I'd rather spend the money on ammo and some cheese burgers and a soda after going to the range.

Besides, I don't think any person or critter has ever said: I got shot by the prettiest gun I ever laid eyes on in my life.

I'm ready, I've got my flak vest on. Just so you all know, I take and extra pair of socks when I go golfing...just in case I get a Hole-In-One.
 

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I shot a 9mm XDM for about half a steel match one time. Just picked it up and and the first time I ever shot one was the next series of targets and it was bad ass. Made me want one ever since. Their 10mm is something I'd definately buy given a fair chance.
 

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Speaking strictly for myself - My most accurate guns have been a S&W 629 44 magnum, a Ruger Blackhawk 357 magnum, and a Taurus 24/7 LS in 45ACP. Those were all iron sighted guns. And I don't have either one anymore. The 629 would cut clover leafs at 50 yards with 240 gr LSWC and Unique powder, I traded that one off but don't recall why. Foolhardy on my part.
The Taurus would cut one ragged hole at 25 yards. Trouble was the rounds that would do that would not feed very well. Plus the gun just plain wore out with less that 10K rounds through it. I didn't mind trading that one off.
I also had a 357 magnum Blackhawk that was accurate for me. I used to shoot wood blocks out of the brook. There was a bluff overlooking the brook so the shooting was nearly straight downward. There was also a bend in it so I could throw a 2x4 block in and it would come back around and go past me, dancing in the rapids. 6 rounds and 6 hits from every cylinderful. The ex-wife took that one in the divorce to spite me.
But the definition of accurate, for me, is when a gun is easy to shoot and hit with at various distances. I regularly shoot at 25 to 100 yards. But I've never tried any 200 meter silhouette shoots or anything like that.

And now that I reminisce, I recall a High Standard Sentinel that I fired 22 shorts in at 125 yards on little Deviled Ham cans, As well as a 9mm S&W Shield that I rang 8 inch steel with at 240 yards - with boring consistency.
A S&W 617 10 shot 22LR has been "waking up" for me lately. Still some inconsistent hits but it's getting tighter. And lately 22LR has been back on the shelves, For now,
 
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