If you’re looking for “most powerful” then you’d always choose a rifle caliber over a pistol carbine and a carbine over a pistol thanks to the higher velocity of any given load through a carbine. On the other hand, a decision regarding the “right” firearm choice usually involves a variety of categorical pros and cons. Here are some factors beyond raw power that may influence your decision.
Ease of Aim
It seems intuitive that it’s easier to shoot accurately with a carbine or rifle than a pistol and the science supports this assumption.
Longer sight radius allows more precision in sight picture while being far more forgiving of slight sight misalignments. If the front and rear sights are three inches apart, a slight movement of one sight results in a big miss downrange. If the front and rear sights are 12 inches apart, as they are on the Ruger PC Carbine shown here, that same amount of movement results in a much smaller variance downrange. Stated differently, you can make a more dramatic mistake and still hit when using a firearm with a longer sight radius.
by Tom McHale