What I tell people?
Ok, look... I only work at the gunshop ~three hours a day, four days a week, and sundays which I despise doing. But, I still have plenty of opportunities to talk to new shooters and steer them, right or wrong, down some path to carrydom.
Reading over ColtCCO's post, I had to think about what I was doing. No, I wasn't the co-worker in question, but I do recall the guy and his tenacity to a flawed model.
What do I tell people?
1. Try them out. See what you can shoot. Practice makes better (nobody's perfect).
2. A carry gun is a compromise amongst a slew of variables. Nobody's the same as anybody else, you'll just have to find what works.
3. Within reason, shoot the largest caliber that's comfortable to you. If you can put 50 rounds through a Clickenbanger .50 bulldog derringer and keep hitting the target, even though it leaves you bruised, consider yourself comfortable with it. That doesn't mean carrying a .22 short is acceptable, you need to train to get up to something larger*.
4. Stopping power is a myth. There, I said it. If the situation arises, you shoot, make it count, keep shooting till they stop doing whatever it was that got them shot. Running away can also be the difference between going home later or someone's bud clocking you in the back of the head and making you a statistic.
I try to keep it simple and common sense. I don't dive into the caliber comparison BS until someone's had some experience and can follow along with memories of what they *feel* like. Some people "get it" once they've been told the basics of how and why projectiles work. Some never get it. Doesn't matter. Have gun, will travel.
*Personally, I consider .32acp to be an utter minimum, and only with hot loads. .380 is eminently preferable and comes in a large enough variety of weapons that there's little need to go below unless there's recoil mitigation or package size to consider, and Keltec nullified the latter argument. That little number is also almost meaningless... I carry a .32 Magnum every day and to use a tired phrase, I trust it with my life. 100gr at 1000fps should be just fine.
Should be, meaning NEVER TRUST A PISTOL TO BE THE FINAL WORD. There are steps to take after shots are fired, if you trap yourself into thinking that "Ok, he's down, it's over" you may be sorry.
And that's about that. Warning: thoughts may have been muddied since it's monday and I'm operating below minimum levels of sleep and caffeine.