Skip to comments.An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power
Posted on 07/12/2011 10:29:23 AM PDT by ThinkingBuddha
Over a 10-year period, I kept track of stopping power results from every shooting I could find. I talked to the participants of gunfights, read police reports, attended autopsies, and scoured the newspapers, magazines, and Internet for any reliable accounts of what happened to the human body when it was shot.
I documented all of the data I could; tracking caliber, type of bullet (if known), where the bullet hit and whether or not the person was incapacitated. I also tracked fatalities, noting which bullets were more likely to kill and which were not. It was an exhaustive project, but I'm glad I did it and I'm happy to report the results of my study here.....
(Excerpt) Read more at buckeyefirearms.org ...
We had an alternate look at it three days ago.
Any time a firearms-related thread is created on FreeRepublic, please be sure to add the "banglist" keyword to it so that interested FReepers don't miss it. Just a suggestion.
Let Freedom Ring,
Shooting Holes in Wounding Theories:
The Mechanics of Terminal Ballistics
All pretty much goes back to common sense. If you want to stop someone, hit them in the head or torso. If you want to stop them with one shot, a larger caliber is preferred. Shotguns and rifles have the best ‘one shot’ stopping power.
VERY serious gun enthusiasts. I skimmed this and all I can say is, I don't want to go back to college. /grin
Actually, it looks interesting, but beyond my scope.
Ya gotta hit what you're shooting at in the real world. Do Appleseeds over and over. If you can't make or come close to Marksman, that would be your first and real concern.
That's my 2 cents as an average gun person.
Does it come down to: “If it don’t start with 4, don’t go to war”?
However, I don't think the suggestion that “carry anything you want” is a very accurate statement.
There are infinite variables involved in a bullets performance, a hit to the center chest with a 44 may not kill but a hit with a 17HM2 to the same area may very well be fatal....
This is why ballistic gelatin is used to uniformly compare bullets to an approximate medium and obtain repeatable outcomes.
That said, of course I do not simply seek out how a round performs in gelatin and go from there. Anecdotal evidence from actual shootings is a good place to see generalities on caliber, bullet type and performance, as this study use rather well.
In the realm of physics, a big fast expanding bullet that penetrates 99.9 % of the target is the best combination. In reality, of course, there must be compromises. Shootability, accuracy, penetration and caliber meet somewhere in between both extremes.
In the realm of the human organism, nothing except an RPG center mass hit can be counted on to be 100% effective.
Most importantly, a handgun/bullet combination must penetrate adequately (meaning about 12-15 inches minimum penetration in gelatin-as that compares roughly to what it takes to penetrate a human torso-note I said “roughly compares”).
Next should be caliber. A caliber that is large enough to destroy tissue adequately to cause hemorrhage and outright organ destruction. In this area, a 45 will always be at least .451”, while a 9mm will at worst, never be larger than .355”.
Note that velocity is absent from my equation, however, it indeed has a consideration.
Long ago, I chose .40 caliber (40 SW fits the bill nicely in my equation) as a reasonable compromise between caliber, mass and capacity over both the 45 and 9mm or smaller.
Although it indeed does matter, you should chose the round and platform that you will always take with you, that you can shoot well and that you are confident of in terms of an overall systems approach to problems solving.
While I am not recommending any specific caliber/platform, I have been settled on a compact 40 cal, 10 or 12 rounds (depending on which mag is in the weapon) of quality ammo in a ~26 oz package that is concealable and accurate, plus not less than one spare mag aboard. Of course, I carry a back up as well, just as my vehicle has a spare tire.
There some variables that the author didn’t take into account. Either he didn’t have the time or he didn’t think the layman needed to know about them.
The biggest missing variable is a persons reaction in a combat situation. It’s one thing to practice by firing thousands of rounds at a paper target that doesn’t return fire. (Don’t get me wrong, you need to practice, you must be proficient with your weapon of choice.) Combat causes crazy things to happen to your body and mind. Your heart rate and breathing increase,and your sweat glands go into overdrive.
This is where training comes in. The old muscle memory thing, and that is where the majority of firearms owners are lacking. They don’t have the training and it’s expensive and time consuming. The author’s data is great, but it still doesn’t answer the question for the marginaly trained.
I prefere a 9mm beccause I can carry a decent amount of ammunition, but I also have the training and combat experience to use the 9mm effecively.
Stopping power needed is an individual decision in the end.
There is an enormous number of variables involved, too much for real assumptions, only rough guesses. But it is psychologically known that while people are not particularly good at accurate judgments, they *are* rather good with “ballpark” estimates.
Were I to do this, oddly enough, I would not limit it to guns, but bladed weapons as well. While they would likely be somewhat less for immediate kills, they are actually *deadlier* than guns for “total kills”. That is, the injury bladed weapons inflict is often a lot worse than a gunshot wound.
And this is important, because with assumptions, and tactics, and different situations, a bladed weapon can often be far superior to a gun in a fight. And this goes to the very heart of a discussion about lethality, with the statement that, “You may put a hole in me, and I may die, but if I reach you, you *will* die.”
Bullet placement is King.
Adequate penetration is Queen.
Everything else is "Angels dancing on the head of a pin".
Incomplete - they left 10mm out of the mix :)
Lots of people stay in the fight after center mass hits, and some even win it... One, two or even several well placed center mass shots may not do what you think it will...
The author,Jim Higginbotham, who has had decades of LEO experience makes the case that even in the case of lethal hits, the perp has enough time to fire back, and in many cases kill people who were waiting to see the effect of their initial hits on target.
As a civilian, I found this article to be a real eye opener, and while it may be old news to those of you in law enforcement or the military (thank you all for your service), I hope you will take the time to read this article. God forbid any of us should get into a gunfight, but this article could be a lifesaver someday.
Also, the original Freep thread...
Most of “The old muscle memory thing” can be done while dry firing. Night firing is when I do most of my training because that is the one time of day when you are most likely to be attacked. Criminals are cowards, expect them to behave as such. Criminals run from the sound of gunfire the same way Marines run towards it.
My experience is that combat causes crazy things to happen such as tunnel vision. Remember to do a 360 visual search every so often.
Don’t fire unless you are confident that you will hit the guy you are aiming for.
Incomplete - they left 10mm out of the mix :)
Because if they included the Centimeter, there would be nothing left to talk about.
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