I used a Smith & Wesson Model 19 snubbie w/ 38+p as opposed to full-power 357`s. Scored 100% on the shooting aspect and the friend I went with had a "bottom feeder" and pulled one or two. I still rag him about that from time to time.
In NC caliber is not dictated to qualify. You buy your own ammo. I didn’t own a gun so I used the instructor’s Beretta Neos. .22lr was cheap and plentiful in 2008 so my Federal 325 box left me plenty left over for when I bought my Neos 2 years later. By 6 months after qualifying I had settled on .45 ACP for carry and haven’t regretted that decision.
I still remember that day with a grin, I used a S&W 657 with a 4" barrel. First round I touched off had everyone stop and look to see what blew up. The person teaching the class and that ran the session I had known for years, he said it was funny to watch everyone as I shot my strings. That was 30+ years ago, but still get a kick out of it when I remember it. I carried that gun for years until I found a 2" 5 shot .41mag, and that is what I carry most of the time now.