Originally Posted by JW357
Some people use .22s for small game to conserve as much meat as possible. Larger calibers tend to damage more meat.
I'm not a hunter. Just my .02.
I just try to pick a shot where I know there's not much meat to damage. Not much meat in the belly area. Or the head. The .40 just about guts a rabbit for me if I use my self defense ammo and get a profile shot in the ribs. LOL!
In any case, IMO it isn't a good idea to pick a handgun out specifically to go hunting small game with anyway. A handgun should be picked out because its fun to shoot, has good ergonomics and good terminal ballistics.
$600 will buy you an EXCELLENT handgun. For .45 I love the Para Ordinance P13. For 9mm I love the Glock 19. But most people like the ergonomics better on Glock clones like the M&C9 or Walther PPQ. Go to a range that let's you rent pistols and have some fun. Shoot it before you buy it.