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

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; I'm not really looking to start a caliber war here, or to collect opinion, or favorite loads, or what works well on bears, etc. This ...

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

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

    I'm not really looking to start a caliber war here, or to collect opinion, or favorite loads, or what works well on bears, etc. This is about CCW handguns only.

    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. Let's consider these rounds:

    .45 ACP/GAP
    .44 mag
    .41 mag
    .44 spcl
    .40 cal
    .357 mag.
    .357 sig
    .38 spcl - all variations
    9mm - all variations

    All variations include bullet type, standard +P, +P+

    The major issue is incapacitation time. I.e. how long, how many shots until the guy stops doing what he was doing to make you shoot him.
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    By ALL standards/studies the .357 mag. is top dog.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1 old 0311 View Post
    By ALL standards/studies the .357 mag. is top dog.
    Cite your sources.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuda66 View Post
    Cite your sources.
    Right. What I'm asking for is the studies that support any claim of caliber advantage.
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    "Real evidence?" Yes and no. Anecdotally we know that .45s and .357s are better fight stoppers than .25s and .32s. Likewise, we know that expanding ammunition works better than non-expanding rounds. Attempts to quantify the differences and distinctions among defensive calibers have been going on for over 100 years, and as of today there is no definitive, "game over" answer.

    At best you will get relative indications from lab tests using controlled target media (e.g., ballistic gelatin and IBWA studies) and from compilations of observations from the field and autopsy tables (Marshall and Sanow work).

    I don't know where this source gets its "one shot stop %" - probably Marshall & Sanow - but it's worth a look, for reference. Just don't take it as an absolute.
    http://www.internetarmory.com/handgunammo.htm
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    All things being equal and that the shot takes place in exactly the same location.

    I believe that hydrostatic shock has an important effect on incapacitation. The shock wave created by a high velocity bullet can knock down an animal well before he bleeds to death.

    A look at the gelatin tests show this effect. Interesting that the standard 9mm 147 gr. @1032 fps. penetrates more than the .357Sig 125 gr bullet. Yet the wound shock is far greater with the 357Sig.

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    Is there any real evidence that one caliber is a better fight stopper than another? I'm not really looking to start a caliber war ...
    Well, providing "evidence" (pro or con) is what a "caliber war" is, whether or not what one person considers "real" matches the viewpoints of others. That's a "caliber war" in every sense of the phrase. So, I would suggest checking any of the prior hundreds of "caliber war" discussion threads, both here and on other firearms-related discussion boards. Whatever could be said even remotely connected to the topic has long since been said.

    I'll say this: many formal and informal studies have sought to explain the differences in wound channel sizes and the degree to which surrounding tissue is disrupted. That sort of damage only goes so far, in the sense that if it's in a non-vital area it'll have only non-vital immediate effects. The rest of it is shot placement. And we all know that plenty of people in the past century (+) have died from single, well-placed .22-sized injuries.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Well, providing "evidence" (pro or con) is what a "caliber war" is, whether or not what one person considers "real" matches the viewpoints of others. So, check any prior "caliber war" type discussion thread. Whatever could be said even remotely connected to the topic has long since been said.
    I beg to differ. A caliber war is a bunch of opinions without evidence or support and stories, possibly true, but statistically inadequate. - exactly what I don't want this to be. What I am looking for is the evidence that supports any caliber over another based on some reasonable study.

    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    ...I'll say this: many formal and informal studies have sought to explain the differences in wound channel sizes and the degree to which surrounding tissue is disrupted. That sort of damage only goes so far, in the sense that if it's in a non-vital area it'll have only non-vital immediate effects. The rest of it is shot placement. And we all know that plenty of people in the past century (+) have died from single, well-placed .22-sized injuries.
    So you're saying you know of no studies that indicate one caliber has an advantage over another?
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    "Real evidence?" Yes and no. Anecdotally we know that .45s and .357s are better fight stoppers than .25s and .32s. Likewise, we know that expanding ammunition works better than non-expanding rounds. Attempts to quantify the differences and distinctions among defensive calibers have been going on for over 100 years, and as of today there is no definitive, "game over" answer.
    .25's and .32's were not on the list. So you're saying there is no study(s) that indicates one caliber is advantageous in any way in stopping a fight?

    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    "At best you will get relative indications from lab tests using controlled target media (e.g., ballistic gelatin and IBWA studies) and from compilations of observations from the field and autopsy tables (Marshall and Sanow work).
    Gel tests are penetration and expansion tests, not incapacitation tests, and has little to do with which caliber actually works better. I understand the field thing, but how does autopsy determine incapacitation time?

    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    "I don't know where this source gets its "one shot stop %" - probably Marshall & Sanow - but it's worth a look, for reference. Just don't take it as an absolute.
    http://www.internetarmory.com/handgunammo.htm
    I've seen it before - I agree it does have that M&S look to it. But it is just a post on the internet with no creditials whatsoever. We don't even know if its real.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sig35seven View Post
    ...I believe that hydrostatic shock has an important effect on incapacitation. The shock wave created by a high velocity bullet can knock down an animal well before he bleeds to death.
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong here, but I believe hydrostatic shock has been proven not to occur in major caliber handgun rounds. Also I believe the shock wave theory has been disproven and it only applies to rifle rounds anyway. We want to look at the calibers listed in the OP.

    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    "A look at the gelatin tests show this effect. Interesting that the standard 9mm 147 gr. @1032 fps. penetrates more than the .357Sig 125 gr bullet. Yet the wound shock is far greater with the 357Sig.
    Again these are gel tests. Unless we can produce a study that definitely links gel test penetration and expansion performance to incapacitation time among the listed calibers, we still got nothing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    Let's consider these rounds:

    .44 mag
    .41 mag
    .44 spcl
    .40 cal
    .357 mag.
    .357 sig
    .38 spcl - all variations
    9mm - all variations
    Why didn't you include .45 ACP in your list?
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    RPG carbine. That'll stop 'em. The little pieces don't pack much fight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    I beg to differ. A caliber war is a bunch of opinions without evidence or support and stories, possibly true, but statistically inadequate.
    Many different "studies," "comparisons" and other evaluations done by many different sources, some of which are taken to be valid or invalid by others, have been presented by folks as "evidence" in many other discussions. I don't happen to have such a list of studies at hand, myself. Hence, the suggestion to simply refer to many of the prior discussions.

    So you're saying you know of no studies that indicate one caliber has an advantage over another?
    I personally don't have any in hand, at the moment, yes. I've read many "caliber war" type discussions previously, in which many well-reasoned justifications for a given caliber's preeminence over others was presented along with many such "studies." As I suggested, it's all out there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong here, but I believe hydrostatic shock has been proven not to occur in major caliber handgun rounds. Also I believe the shock wave theory has been disproven and it only applies to rifle rounds anyway. We want to look at the calibers listed in the OP.
    Leroy Thompson discusses the importance of hydrostatic shock in choosing a specific design of .357 Magnum and 9x19mm Parabellum bullets. In Armed and Female, Paxton Quigley explains that hydrostatic shock is the real source of “stopping power.” Jim Carmichael, who served as shooting editor for Outdoor life magazine for 25 years, also believes that hydrostatic shock is important to “a more immediate disabling effect” and is a key difference in the performance of .38 Special and .357 Magnum hollow point bullets. In “The search for an effective police handgun,” Allen Bristow describes that police departments recognize the importance of hydrostatic shock when choosing ammunition. A research group at West Point suggests handgun loads with at least 500 ft-lbs of energy and 12 inches of penetration.

    A number of law enforcement and military agencies have adopted the 5.7x28mm cartridge, which is reputed to cause considerable hydrostatic shock.These agencies include the Navy SEALs and the Federal Protective Service branch of the ICE. (Source: The FNH Five-seveN Pistol, Chris Boyd, Law Officer, Volume 3, Issue 9, 2007 Sept 1)


    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    Again these are gel tests. Unless we can produce a study that definitely links gel test penetration and expansion performance to incapacitation time among the listed calibers, we still got nothing.
    We've got plenty if you look at the evidence. These are gel tests that certainly show more than 'just a hole'. We also have many real life situations to evaluate the effectiveness of a certain bullet on human and animal targets.
    "Confidence is food for the wise man but liquor for the fool"

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    Quote Originally Posted by JT View Post
    Why didn't you include .45 ACP in your list?
    Didn't you see it? It's at the top of the list!

    Thanks, I certainly meant to - it's there now. Thanks again for noticing the omisson.
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