Is there any real evidence that one caliber is a better fight stopper than another?

This is a discussion on Is there any real evidence that one caliber is a better fight stopper than another? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by Tangle It doesn't address any caliber having and advantage, but it sure is interesting and worthwhile! Thanks for posting it! Could you ...

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Thread: Is there any real evidence that one caliber is a better fight stopper than another?

  1. #31
    Member Array bsms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    It doesn't address any caliber having and advantage, but it sure is interesting and worthwhile! Thanks for posting it! Could you post a link to that?
    It is from here: http://www.firearmstactical.com/wound.htm

    About half way down the page. I haven't been able to find the full article on the web. Also, I just realized that their stuff is copyrighted, so I'm not sure if it is kosher to cut & paste so much here. I tend to figure it is OK if you include a link, but I don't know the legalities of it all.

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  3. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sig35seven View Post
    Are you saying that all calibers are equal? A 22 long rifle is the same as a 45 ACP? There is certainly factual historical evidence and studies that verify that all calibers are NOT equal. What is your point?
    A .22 LR was not included in the list.

    My point is many choose a weapon caliber for some reason. What is the reason and where'd we get the info we based our decision on?

    Generally, I have to believe we choose say a .40 over say a 9mm in the same size gun, e.g. G22 vs G17, because we believe there is some advantage to the .40. I'm asking for the resources that make us think the .40 has some advantage over the 9mm, or the .45 over the .40, or the .357 sig over the .45, etc.
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  4. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsms View Post
    It is from here: http://www.firearmstactical.com/wound.htm

    About half way down the page. I haven't been able to find the full article on the web. Also, I just realized that their stuff is copyrighted, so I'm not sure if it is kosher to cut & paste so much here. I tend to figure it is OK if you include a link, but I don't know the legalities of it all.
    Thanks again. Notice I replaced your quote in your post with the link just to be on the safe side.
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  5. #34
    cmb
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    After reading the many, many, many, many, many, posts on the caliber wars the conclusion I have personally come to is to carry within the major calibers for SD the gun(s) which I can shoot the best, fastest, and conceal on my frame in an accessible manner and in my lifestyle the best. For me it is a 1911 IWB, P32 in pocket, Jframe snubbie on the ankle... that me... as soon as I can rustle up the dollars I may go to an XDM 9mm IWB, I'll have to see how it fits when it comes to me shooting, me concealing... The caliber war isn't a war for me it is a diverse group of selections to fit the many people who need them... I am as comfortable with my P89, my 357 snubbie, my 380, my Colt 32, I don't carry them as often not becaue of the ammunition's performance but mine...
    Last edited by cmb; August 10th, 2010 at 05:02 PM. Reason: addition

  6. #35
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    How about this guy shot by police in New York 21 times?

    Most likely, all rounds were 9mm and up. Placement trumps caliber. I prefer .357 and 12 ga. for HD, but 9mm or .38 sp. works for my CCW options. The way I see it, if I can put the rounds on target, they'll meet the "12-inch penetration" standard. If your ammunition can do that, it should be sufficient.
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  7. #36
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    Again, this isn't about gun comfort, concealability, gun fit, nor about what we shoot better. It's about is there any evidence that one caliber has an advantage in stopping a fight.
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  8. #37
    Distinguished Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    is there any evidence that one caliber
    No. There is no evidence. I just cited a case of a guy surviving 21 shots. Why are you talking about caliber? A .44 round that takes off my earlobe will be less damaging than the .380 punching through my sternum.

    So what you're asking for is an apples-to-apples comparison. We don't have that because the statistics don't exist. We do have logic; it is safe to surmise that a bigger bullet will cause a larger wound. There are diminishing returns, however, because a larger caliber will give greater recoil and be harder to put back on target.

    Concealability and comfort are critical to any discussion of this type because if they were not factors, we'd all carry 12 gauge shotguns. Nobody carries a .380 or less because they believe it is the ultimate fight-stopper. They believe it is enough of a fight stopper.

    And so you see why these kinds of threads are generally non-productive. The adage that you should carry as much as you can use accurately is the conventional wisdom and there isn't any evidence to contradict it.
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  9. #38
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    I found this kind of interesting. http://www.abaris.net/info/ballistic...ping-power.htm

    Although I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for.
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  10. #39
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    Don't forget the goat shooters!
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  11. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by varob View Post
    I found this kind of interesting. http://www.abaris.net/info/ballistic...ping-power.htm...
    You might want to read:

    Closing the Book on Marshall & Sanow:
    Book Review - Street Stoppers: The Latest Handgun Stopping Power Street Results -- by Martin L. Fackler, MD
    Sanow Strikes (Out) Again -- by Duncan MacPherson
    Discrepancies in the Marshall & Sanow "Data Base": An Evaluation Over Time -- by Maarten van Maanen
    Undeniable Evidence -- by Martin L. Fackler, MD
    The Marshall & Sanow "Data" - Statistical Analysis Tells the Ugly Story -- by Duncan MacPherson
    Sanow, Ayoob Shooting Incident Falsehoods Reveal Credibility Problems with Gunwriter "Street Results" Research and Data
    - by Shawn Dodson

    It would be very hard to come up with a meaningful comparison of 'street shooting' because of all the variables - point of impact, bullet travel, etc. For SD, if I can shoot the gun with good control, then I prefer greater cross section and greater sectional density because I understand how both relate to a bigger impact on the BG. I think the answer to the OP question is that there is no hard data proving one caliber better than another IF it has been shown to have good penetration (FBI used 12", I figure more is better than less) and reliable bullet construction.

    So I prefer 44/45s over 38s, but not by much. I prefer the heavier bullet in any caliber provided it accelerates to the speed the manufacturer designed it to do. That is why I don't carry 357s in my 2 inch Model 60 - the manufacturer may have designed it to perform with the greater velocity that requires a 4" or greater barrel for the 357. I would be willing to use the 357 ammo designed for 2 inch barrels, because I figure the manufacturer is likely to use softer lead/etc to provide good function with slower speed.

    If someone feels more confident using street results, then that is their choice and I don't want to argue. There are plenty of folks on this forum who think a Model 60 isn't worth squat. We all make our choices. If anyone thinks the Firearms Tactical folks are full of hooey, so be it. I personally like to hear from hunters because they actually SHOOT living animals and know how the bullets work or not in live game - deer, pigs, etc.

  12. #41
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    A few have mentioned hydrostatic shock. I vaguely recall that when the military was considering going to the .223 one of the pluses claimed for that, and used as a counter to the nay sayers who wanted nothing less than 30 caliber bullets, was that hydrostatic shock is generated by high velocity --which was a strong point on the .223. At the time, and in whatever it is I was reading (sorry too many years back to recall) it was claimed that the stopping power of the .223 was due to hydrostatic shock.

    SO, by that reasoning, what you really want is a high velocity round-- something not all that easily obtained from a compact self-defense handgun.

    What I do not know at all is what strike velocity is necessary to produce knock down through the action of hydrostatic shock.

    There is some interesting stuff on the subject her at Wiki-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_shock

  13. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by shockwave View Post
    ...We do have logic; it is safe to surmise that a bigger bullet will cause a larger wound.
    Actually, I've been debating that very same point for two days on another forum. And, I'm taking the stance that a bigger hole is significant. But, how do you know a bigger bullet makes a bigger hole? Yes, logically it seems that it would. But what if in reality, it just stretches the flesh a bit more and then the flesh simply contracts back to some minimal size comparable to smaller caliber load?

    But let's go on and assume the logical thought is correct. A bigger bullet makes a larger hole and a much more voluminous wound channel. Now that's what I stated in the other debate and two guys that have been in this business for some twenty years both say that the wound cavity from a bigger bullet is not significant enough to make much of a difference. So I said, the bigger wound channel would give more opportunity for blood to flow at a faster rate at a lower pressure. They both said it doesn't work that way and listed all the medical/physiological reasons why it doesn't work that way. They said that you cannot tell what caliber bullet made the wound - in the major calibers.

    Then I recalled a conversation I had with Arthur Viani, owner of Ghost inc. (Glock trigger connectors and other components). He's the guy I was referring to in a previous post. He's been in the emergency response busines for probably over 20 years and he told me in a conversation, that he's seen literally hundreds of gunshot wounds (GSW) and talked to the surgeons and such that patch them up (the ones that survive that is) and he says he nor they can tell what bullet (again major caliber handguns) made the wound without finding the bullet.

    So I jump on the internet and start searching, after all it does seem logical that a bigger bullet would be of some benefit. Guess what? Absolutely nothing! So guess what next? I post this thread to get some help. And guess what, nobody can come up with anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by shockwave View Post
    ...Concealability and comfort are critical to any discussion of this type because if they were not factors, we'd all carry 12 gauge shotguns. Nobody carries a .380 or less because they believe it is the ultimate fight-stopper. They believe it is enough of a fight stopper.
    .380 wasn't on the list of major calibers. This isn't about shotguns; it's about the calibers, not guns, that are used in SD. Concealibility, comfort, and cost of ammo has absolutely nothing to do with the advantage of one caliber having an advantage of stopping a fight over another. There will be an advantage because of caliber or there will not be. It doesn't matter in how much comfort we enjoyed getting it to the fight.

    Quote Originally Posted by shockwave View Post
    ...And so you see why these kinds of threads are generally non-productive.
    It is only non-productive if it is of no benefit to anyone. It is of great benefit to me, and I expect others as well. It will make many of us think about how and why we select calibers for self-defense and if we're relying on someone's claim, isolated shootings, internet stuff whatever.

    Quote Originally Posted by shockwave View Post
    ... The adage that you should carry as much as you can use accurately is the conventional wisdom and there isn't any evidence to contradict it.
    Yes but there's a caveat to that old adage, that conventional wisdom needs to be based on truth and fact. Unfortunately conventional wisdom is no more than what we've experienced or someone else has experienced and shared with us.
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  14. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    A few have mentioned hydrostatic shock. I vaguely recall that when the military was considering going to the .223 one of the pluses claimed for that, and used as a counter to the nay sayers who wanted nothing less than 30 caliber bullets, was that hydrostatic shock is generated by high velocity --which was a strong point on the .223. At the time, and in whatever it is I was reading (sorry too many years back to recall) it was claimed that the stopping power of the .223 was due to hydrostatic shock.

    SO, by that reasoning, what you really want is a high velocity round-- something not all that easily obtained from a compact self-defense handgun.

    What I do not know at all is what strike velocity is necessary to produce knock down through the action of hydrostatic shock.

    There is some interesting stuff on the subject her at Wiki-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_shock
    There has been much inaccurate hype about the effectiveness of the 5.56 round as a military round. Many feel it is inadequate.

    Actually, handguns, common defensive calibers, do not have knock down power. I was told this at Gunsite during a class: A guy whose name escapes me, put on a rifle grade bullet proof vest, stood on one foot and was shot with a .308 rifle round. It didn't knock him down.

    The 'knock down' of hydrastatic shock is the person's reaction to being shot, not because the bullet actually knocked him off his feet.
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  15. #44
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    I think I've read all of those and then some. The M&S books are the only ones I'm aware of that attempt to quantify caliber effectiveness, and that's very contraversial, and I have to concede I have my doubts about it too.

    Quote Originally Posted by bsms View Post
    It would be very hard to come up with a meaningful comparison of 'street shooting' because of all the variables...
    Bingo! I couldn't agree more!

    So now I have to ask myself how do I make a decision on what caliber to carry? Gun size is not an issue at all for me. I can conceal a G21SG just as easily as a G19, I don't even switch apparrel.

    Actually there is no evidence that proves one caliber is better than another. All these things we talk about mass, velocity, etc. are present both within a caliber and between calibers. Just two examples, 9mm ammo can be anything from 90gn to 147 gn, .45 anything from 165 to 230.

    But when it really comes down to it, we have nothing really to support the caliber of our choice with regards to stopping a fight. Nothing.

    In the absence of any available evidence, what can we prove? Nothing.

    So has this been helpful? It has to me. I've had to do some 'soul searching', re-think why I carry what I carry, etc. I think I'm better off for it.

    So see, instead of getting that P250 kit in a .357 sig like I had planned to, I can find no evidence that supports the .357 sig as any more of a fight stopper than a 9mm.
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  16. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    There has been much inaccurate hype about the effectiveness of the 5.56 round as a military round. Many feel it is inadequate.

    Actually, handguns, common defensive calibers, do not have knock down power. I was told this at Gunsite during a class: A guy whose name escapes me, put on a rifle grade bullet proof vest, stood on one foot and was shot with a .308 rifle round. It didn't knock him down.

    The 'knock down' of hydrastatic shock is the person's reaction to being shot, not because the bullet actually knocked him off his feet.
    Hydrostatic shock is not the momentum of the bullet knocking someone off their feet. It is an internal shockwave that courses through the liquids of the body. Liquid is not compressible. Therefore, as a high velocity object (bullet) speeds through the tissues the non-compressible liquid is pushed away at very high pressure and the pressure is transmitted sometimes to considerable distant portions of the body which may be sensitive to it. Examples given in the citation I provided are gun shot chest wounds which do (some claim) brain and neurologic damage due to the hydrostatic shock.

    You are of course absolutely right that there isn't enough "energy" in the form of momentum to take another human being off their feet directly; if there were, the shooter would break his wrist and go down to: equal and opposite force.

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