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; Why even start this thread......you know there is no evidence or proof or statistics...

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

  1. #46
    Senior Member Array DIABLO9489's Avatar
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    Why even start this thread......you know there is no evidence or proof or statistics
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  3. #47
    Member Array Powhs's Avatar
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    Maybe the reason 357 mag works so well is the noise and flash they make. That being said I saw a man get shot center mass with a 357 158gr hp and did not know he was hit. He was high on drugs and busy trying to beat a cop to death with his own night stick. He died minutes later after being knocked off the officer and handcuffed.

  4. #48
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    I didn't say it was the momentum. All that hydrastatic shock has to be generated by the bullet - that's the only energy source available. The hydrastatic shock is the rapid acceleration of the flesh away from the bullet. If there's enough velocity, the rapid accleration may have enough force to rip tissue to form a larger permanent cavity.

    How about a source for the hydrashok effect other than wikipedia?

    But in any event, hydrastatic shock does not occur and handgun bullet velocities.
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  5. #49
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    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?
    Good question. To be fair, I wasn't thinking of wound-channel and bleed-out, but rather the odds of hitting something vital. Here's a pic I've posted before showing the expansion pattern of Corbon DPX in .38 spl:



    You can see why I like the Corbon. That ragged petal shape is going to cut things as it moves through the target. If Corbon makes a .22 round, it will be of smaller diameter than the .45. Given two shots to the exact same spot, the larger caliber will have a larger diameter when the hollowpoint opens fully. The chances of the larger round hitting something vital in the CNS and effecting a stop are potentially greater.

    If you do math the way I do, you'll draw the conclusion that these differences are extant, but not exponential in scope. Larger is better, but we have two curves to plot and where they intersect is where penetration and damage overlap with accuracy and speed of follow-up.

    In some range sessions I've been at, we've set up the "charging dog" target, which requires the shooter to put the entire magazine on target at about 15 feet. Maybe it's just me, but somewhere in the .38 - 9mm range I can empty the mag and keep the rounds in a fairly good pattern. With .40 and .45, I'm either slower or less accurate. So we enter a calculus where maybe you can get 2 rounds of a smaller caliber on target where you could only get a single .44 mag. I'd take double the odds of hitting something vital with two shots.

    Further complicating the problem is the behavior of a .22LR, which has been reported to often bounce around inside the target, causing considerable trauma, upping the odds of a stop and explaining why so many people have perished to that small round. Given all these variables, it's hard to draw a definitive conclusion. For HD, size is no object, so I go large as I can. But for CCW, there are many additional factors to weigh in and you can't dismiss them from this problem.
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  6. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    ...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...

    ...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...
    I wouldn't say nothing. I think it is pretty reasonable to say that ballistic gel is close enough to human tissue to assume a bullet that penetrates 15" will penetrate considerably deeper than one that penetrates 6"...and also pretty reasonable to say we don't need 30" of penetration. So I think it is reasonable to pick a caliber and bullet that will get me 15" rather than much less or much more - which tends to mean 9mm+P/38+P or bigger in the heavier bullet weights.

    But after that, I don't think caliber counts for much.

    I had been looking at getting a 3" SP101 as a better defensive weapon than my 2" M60...but will the BG notice a difference between the same bullet (158 grain) moving at 950 vs 1300? Or would I just be getting more blast and recoil without any more effect? What does a 357 give me, other than additional recoil, in stopping someone?

    And the more I read and think, the more I conclude "Not much"! Not enough to justify getting one. I might consider instead a 4" Model 10/64, where the longer sight radius and greater weight might make it a fun plinker - but that is for fun.

    If I really want something more effective for SD, then a high capacity semi-auto would give me a bigger jump in capability...and I don't like them!

    But if I want to be rational, a Glock with more rounds would be a better upgrade than a bigger cartridge. And Satan will be wearing his long johns before that happens!

  7. #51
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    There is a difference. A huge one.

    Here is how it breaks down.

    1) .25ACP... anything bigger than a .25ACP will stop better than a .25ACP.
    2) .25ACP... anything smaller than a .25ACP will stop better than a .25ACP.

    Any questions?

    In all seriousness, there are many, and varied, effective defense rounds, all are capable, but all depend on what you hit. Hit your target RIGHT first time, it will stop. Hit it WELL twice, it will stop. Regardless of what you are shooting with, and what you are shooting at, if you dont hit it, it will not stop. You can have a 12 gauge with a .500 S&W underslung on the fore grip, and a flame thrower tied to the butstock, but if you can't shoot, someone else will have a nice toy. Find what is comfortable for you, and what you are able to shoot with, well, and accurately, and you have found your most effective round.

    Now, I have to ask, Tangle, were you trolling here to cause some heavy traffic and stress test Bumbers new layout? Seems like maybe this was a bit of a setup.
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  8. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    Why do we think what we think about caliber effectiveness? More to the point, let's see the documentation that convinced us.
    To the crux of the question, then: what do you consider "real" or "valid" evidence?
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  9. #53
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    Maybe this might shed some light into this topic:

    http://www.handloads.com/misc/stoppingpower.asp

    It provides info of actual shootings that took place and percentage of one stop shot comparisons of various calibers.

    All data taken from Evan Marshall and Ed Sanow's book: Stopping Power: A Practical Analysis of the Latest Handgun Ammunition.

  10. #54
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    I think all this talk has proven one thing. Nothing!

    Somewhere between Hollywood and labratories is a place known as the real world.

  11. #55
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    I'll weigh in here and invite the present day warriors to give their input. Look this was a huge discussion in war zones. Specifically the 9mm hardball load versus the 45acp hardball (230gr) load. When the round is mandated by the Hague Accords to be non-expanding, then cross sectional density coupled with velocity becomes a deciding factor. Bigger bullets offer bigger effects. Those who have fired a nine in combat often complain that it takes multiple hits on the torso (most agree that head shots with nearly any military caliber are instantly fatal) to render an opponent incapable of further aggression. This sort of negates the seemingly obvious advantages of higher capacity magazines and reduced recoil allowing faster follow up shots. Don't often need a follow up to one or two 45s. So now I'd like to throw this out to the warriors back from the sand boxes (Iraq and/or Afghanistan) what have been your observations? Either from a personal standpoint or from discussion with those of your brethren who have used a sidearm.
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  12. #56
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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.
    First off, it would take an idiot of the highest order to actually DO that with live ammo. But more to the point, I don't think it's so much the 5.56mm round that is objectionable but rather the green tip load chosen by the military powers that be. I read an excellent book this summer (~sigh~ my summer vacation ends next Tuesday as I have to go in to start the next school year) called TRIGGER MEN about snipers in the two main combat zones. One army sniper said he made more kills with his M16 than with his M24 and he found that when they loaded a heavier round than the standard 55gr or 62 gr load something like (IIRC) 77gr the results were devastating and immediate. Here is an interesting site that addresses this: http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/i...56mm_ammo.html
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  13. #57
    Member Array tbone1964's Avatar
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    Federal 230 JHP HydroShock 45ACP 96% one shot stop... nough said! :)

  14. #58
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    There can never be an answer to this question.

    The only way to answer it would be to make a bunch of clones, shoot them in the exact same spot with different calibers, and see which ones "stopped" the soonest.

    Even then, the results would not be valid, because while the clones might be the same physically, they will have different psychological reactions to being shot - some will have a greater tolerance for pain, a greater will to live, etc.

    Shot placement is king, penetration is queen.

    The .45 has a 4-7% chance of just nicking something vital that a 9mm will barely miss. Is that significant? Maybe...maybe not. A nick may - or may not - actually cause any damage to the vital area. That advantage comes at the expense of reduced mag capacity, greater recoil, and more expensive ammo.

    Do bigger holes bleed more than smaller ones? Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on too many factors to even list here. In any case, it does not really matter, because waiting for bleed-out takes too long - you best bet is to keep firing until the threat is stopped.

    The different calibers exist because gun makers are trying to cater to their customers - some want big/heavy bullets, some want lots of small/fast bullets, some want in between.

    I've also read that medical professionals who deal with GSWs cannot tell the difference between calibers - nor can they tell the difference between JHPs and FMJ. Flesh is not gel - flesh is more elastic and the effects of "hydrostatic shock" seem to be exaggerated in gel.

    After reading a lot about all this for the last few years, I came to the conclusion that the only reliable way for a handgun bullet to physically stop someone is via good shot placement to a vital area (CNS) with a bullet that will penetrate far enough to reach that vital area. All else is too variable to be counted on.

    Put the bullets where they count, and be prepared to shoot lots of them. Caliber really does not matter all that much.
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  15. #59
    Senior Member Array CCWFlaRuger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    There can never be an answer to this question.

    The only way to answer it would be to make a bunch of clones, shoot them in the exact same spot with different calibers, and see which ones "stopped" the soonest.

    Even then, the results would not be valid, because while the clones might be the same physically, they will have different psychological reactions to being shot - some will have a greater tolerance for pain, a greater will to live, etc.

    Shot placement is king, penetration is queen.

    The .45 has a 4-7% chance of just nicking something vital that a 9mm will barely miss. Is that significant? Maybe...maybe not. A nick may - or may not - actually cause any damage to the vital area. That advantage comes at the expense of reduced mag capacity, greater recoil, and more expensive ammo.

    Do bigger holes bleed more than smaller ones? Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on too many factors to even list here. In any case, it does not really matter, because waiting for bleed-out takes too long - you best bet is to keep firing until the threat is stopped.

    The different calibers exist because gun makers are trying to cater to their customers - some want big/heavy bullets, some want lots of small/fast bullets, some want in between.

    I've also read that medical professionals who deal with GSWs cannot tell the difference between calibers - nor can they tell the difference between JHPs and FMJ. Flesh is not gel - flesh is more elastic and the effects of "hydrostatic shock" seem to be exaggerated in gel.

    After reading a lot about all this for the last few years, I came to the conclusion that the only reliable way for a handgun bullet to physically stop someone is via good shot placement to a vital area (CNS) with a bullet that will penetrate far enough to reach that vital area. All else is too variable to be counted on.

    Put the bullets where they count, and be prepared to shoot lots of them. Caliber really does not matter all that much.
    +1.... (except with .25acp)
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  16. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle
    I'm asking, is there any studies/evidence that shows that there is any significant advantage to a particular caliber to stop a determined attacker.
    Define "significant advantage", please. 44mag ammo manufacturers rate a fairly common sample of their product - 180gr - at over a thousand foot pounds of energy (1122 for Cor-Bon JHP). 357mag makers rate a 125gr SJHP at 755 ftlbs. (Fiocchi) about 2/3 as "energetic". Is that "significant"? These are representative loads of the caliber. Anyway, do you see where I'm going with my reply?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    How about a source for the hydrashok effect other than wikipedia?

    But in any event, hydrastatic shock does not occur and handgun bullet velocities.
    How about the sources that wikipedia cites?:
    ^ Courtney M, Courtney A: Review of criticisms of ballistic pressure wave experiments, the Strasbourg goat tests, and the Marshall and Sanow data. http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0701268 accessed 5/29/2007.
    ^ Courtney M, Courtney A: Ballistic pressure wave contributions to rapid incapacitation in the Strasbourg goat tests. http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0701267 accessed 5/29/2007.
    ^ Courtney M, Courtney A: Relative incapacitation contributions of pressure wave and wound channel in the Marshall and Sanow data set. http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0701266 accessed 5/29/2007.
    ^ Courtney M, Courtney A: A method for testing handgun bullets in deer. http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0702107 accessed 5/29/2007.
    ^ Suneson A, Hansson HA, Seeman T: Pressure Wave Injuries to the Nervous System Caused by High Energy Missile Extremity Impact: Part I. Local and Distant Effects on the Peripheral Nervous System. A Light and Electron Microscopic Study on Pigs. The Journal of Trauma. 30(3):281-294; 1990.
    ^ Suneson A, Hansson HA, Seeman T: Pressure Wave Injuries to the Nervous System Caused by High Energy Missile extremity Impact: Part II. Distant Effects on the Central Nervous System. A Light and Electron Microscopic Study on Pigs. The Journal of Trauma. 30(3):295-306; 1990.
    ^ Wang Q, Wang Z, Zhu P, Jiang J: Alterations of the Myelin Basic Protein and Ultrastructure in the Limbic System and the Early Stage of Trauma-Related Stress Disorder in Dogs. The Journal of Trauma. 56(3):604-610; 2004.
    Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handgun_effectiveness"

    Handguns are capable of the hydrostatic shock effect despite your refusal to apply the definition of the term to them.

    The problem that you raise in your OP is a comparison of rapid incapacitation by each caliber in your list. It's a problem because it's rare for someone to time such an event as a one-shot stop - scarcity of reliable data - and to report the time and caliber - again, reliably. The animal tests prove that incapacitation comes from hydrostatic shock. And higher energy ((mass*velocity^2)/450400) correlates to a higher stretch cavity which correlates to greater hydrostatic shock.
    The problem becomes whether, on the street versus humans, rapid incapacitation comes from hydrostatic shock. The various factors keep the debate raging. The careful studies convince me to carry the loads with proven expansion in the highest energy and in the largest calibers that I can get back on target in less time than I can access another weapon and that fit my carry criteria: access, concealment, retention, and comfort.
    As you said, this is about CCW handguns only as referring to a comparison of caliber and, I am assuming for civilian SD. As specific as you try to make the thread, there is still a lot of variance even among those of us who try to reply within your parameters, aka YMMV.
    Last edited by Pistology; August 11th, 2010 at 12:06 AM.
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