Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Crime Statistics by Handgun Caliber ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Crime Statistics by Handgun Caliber
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: applecore-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 30 Jul 2003 09:47 PDT
Expires: 29 Aug 2003 09:47 PDT
Question ID: 236976
What calibers of handgun are responsible for the highest percentages
of murder and other crimes?
The only answers I could find in my internet searches ignored the
caliber of the weapon used.
An acceptable answer will be two or three references to statistics on
murders AND other crimes that includes the caliber of handgun. I would
specifically like to know whether the .22 caliber handgun is used to
commit crimes more often than most other guns.
Subject: Re: Crime Statistics by Handgun Caliber
Answered By: tar_heel_v-ga on 30 Jul 2003 14:26 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

Thanks for an interesting question.  There have been several studies
done regarding the specific caliber of weapon used in various crimes.

A study done in by the University of Pennsylvania showed that, in

In 1985, of 91 homicides

44% .38 caliber revolver 
19% .25 caliber pistol 
14% .22 caliber revolver 
14% .32 caliber revolver 
3% 9 mm pistol 
2% .357 caliber revolver 

In 1990, of 204 homicides 

23% 9 mm pistol 
18% .38 caliber revolver 
16% .357 caliber revolver 
16% .22 caliber revolver 
10% .32 caliber revolver

"The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services studied 844
homicides that occurred in 18 jurisdictions from 1989 through 1991.
Firearms were identified as the murder weapon in 600 cases.  Over 70%
of the firearms used were handguns. Of those handguns where the
caliber and firing action could be identified, 19% were a .38 caliber
revolver, 10% were .22 caliber revolvers, and 9% were 9 millimeter
semiautomatic pistols."

"The Hawaii Department of the Attorney General, Crime Prevention
Division, studied 59 firearms-related homicides in Honolulu from 1988
to 1992. Handguns were used in 48 homicides (over 80%) including 11
handguns of 9 millimeter caliber, 10 of .357 caliber, 10 of .38
caliber, and 5 of .25 caliber."

Guns Used in Crime

Handguns Taken in Evidence in California, 1993

5,222 - .22
4,693 - .25
1,477 - .32
4,842 - .380
4,671 - .38
5,295 - 9mm
2,395 - .357
1,787 - .45

Does California Have Crime Guns?
An Analysis of Justice Department Data

The top 10 guns used in crimes in the United States, according to an
unpublished Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms report:

1. Smith and Wesson .38 revolver
2. Ruger 9 mm semiautomatic
3. Lorcin Engineering .380 semiautomatic
4. Raven Arms .25 semiautomatic
5. Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun
6. Smith and Wesson 9mm semiautomatic
7. Smith and Wesson .357 revolver
8. Bryco Arms 9mm semiautomatic
9. Bryco Arms .380 semiautomatic
10. Davis Industries .380 semiautomatic

America's Most Wanted Guns,8599,320383,00.html

"The number one gun used in crimes during 1999 was the Smith & Wesson
.38 caliber revolver. 4.6% of all handgun crimes involved this type of

An Analytical Discussion of Gun Violence in the United States

"Q: So is it fair to say that that's the gun that is most frequently
used in crime?

Wachtel: Well, I don't know that there's a direct correlation between
that. We have reason to believe that [of] the guns most frequently
used in crime now, it has actually climbed to the 9mm pistols. But
certainly the Lorcin-380 and other relatively inexpensive .380 caliber
and 9mm pistols are very frequently used in crimes...The Lorcin's
happen to be one of them."

Interview with Julius Wachtel, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm's Long Beach office

Thanks again for your question.  If you need any additional
clarification, please let me know prior to rating my answer.



Search Strategy:
most popular crime guns
crime statistics caliber used
crime statistics caliber
guns used in crimes
applecore-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00
You searched more intelligently than I did, so enjoy the good rating
and the tip (albeit a small one.) I appreciate your answer; you gave
me quite a bit of information. I may have been more impressed if you
didn't respond so quickly, and spent a sentence or two fabricating how
you struggled with search terms to get the perfect combination of

Your response is akin to skimming the top of a pool for leaves using
one of those blue skimmers, which is fair for what I paid. I was
hoping to get a response akin to climbing in the pool and picking up
twigs and branches, and finally scrubbing the edges, letting the pool
dust settle, then vacuuming in the morning. That sort of depth
searching would take longer, delve more deeply than the Google-probed
portions of the internet, and should cost about five times as much.

I am highly satisfied with your answer. Thank you.

Subject: Re: Crime Statistics by Handgun Caliber
From: tar_heel_v-ga on 30 Jul 2003 13:29 PDT
The most common caliber used in crimes where police officers were killed was 9mm.
Subject: Re: Crime Statistics by Handgun Caliber
From: pinkfreud-ga on 30 Jul 2003 14:44 PDT
"The .22 caliber is the most popular round identified in crime scenes.
 The firearms, as well as the ammunition are relatively cheap. 
Quieter than most rounds, almost non-existent recoil, and cheap price
are the most cherished qualities of this particular caliber."

RPG Worlds
Subject: Re: Crime Statistics by Handgun Caliber
From: craigengineer-ga on 31 Jul 2003 13:38 PDT
I agree with Pinkfreud... the .22 may be USED in more crimes, without
resulting in a large number of HOMICIDES.  A small caliber gun like a
.22 is much more unlikely to result in a fatality compared to a .357
or .45.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy