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If we're talking strictly semi-automatic pistols, despite my affinity for .45 ACP, I'm going with 9x19 Luger.

There are hundreds of pistols chambered for it all over the world. 115 grain FMJ is probably the world's standard for centerfire ammunition, 124 grain NATO is available in almost every country. And 124-147 grain hollow points are extremely effective despite being smaller than the .45.

The only exception I'd make is in countries where it is illegal to arm oneself with the same or larger caliber than police carry(usually 9x19mm). In this case, I would actually opt for the .22 Long Rifle. Not because it's a great defense cartridge, but because it like the 9x19 is available almost everywhere in the world. I have a small .22 automatic pistol(Erma copy of Walther PPK) that I can put in my pocket...I'd probably opt for something like that to carry. Simple, effective, extremely cheap ammunition, and available virtually everywhere.

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