Ballistics Comparison - Pistol Rounds
I thought I would share a comparison I put together for myself based on internet research. I found it pretty interesting. These are all averages of different manufacturers' loads, including +P, JHP, FMJ, etc.
Comments, thoughts, quesitons are welcome, but please read the message carefully before criticizing. I don't claim that this is a complete guide to picking a round, just a starting point.
.357 Magnum -555
.45 ACP -414
.40 S&W -459
9 mm -395
380 Auto -200
.357 Magnum -14.8
.45 ACP -14.9
.40 S&W -14.4
9 mm -13.2
380 Auto -12.0
.357 Magnum -85%
.45 ACP -84%
.40 S&W -86%
9 mm -82%
380 Auto -60%
.357 Magnum -7.9
.45 ACP -9.5
.40 S&W -8.8
9 mm -9.3
380 Auto -12.2
Penetration – penetration depth (ballistic gelatin).
OSS – Marshall and Sanow “one-shot stop” rating.
AIT – Average incapacitation time, time from unobstructed hit in the center of the chest until involuntary incapacitation for 170 lb male as determined from ballistic pressure wave model
For a more detailed comparison of different manufacturers' loads, and the source of this data, go to:
I could not paste these tables in here.
I find it interesting that there is not a huge difference in OSS between something like a 9mm and a .357 for example. And these are averages across manufacturers and load types. An interesting example of "small differences" for those who prefer to carry LCP's and PPK's: Car Bon's .380 JHP +P is virtually as effective as an average 9mm load. How about that?
Interesting , but very general
To compare ballistics, you need to state the gun, barrel length, and round characteristics, weight, load, manuf stated velocity.
Most defense loads for the .40 S&W and .45 ACP are very similar in ballistics, between 450 and 500 fp/E. Only very hot 9mm even get close. Hitting the target IS the most critical issue, if you can't hit what you shoot at, makes no difference what the ballistics are. Someone deciding on a carry should see what gun feels best and how well they can shoot it. Something to remember, a heavy gun seems a pain to carry, but will be most accurate over 10-15 feet away, under 15 feet, if you can't hit a point no more then 3" in diameter, you shouldn't be carrying a gun. High capacity .40 S&W guns are great defense, if you can hit something with it. 1911's are my favorite, in steel not poly body, heavy but you can hit a target the size of a man at 75ft, if you can shoot at all. All shooters should test themselves with different guns at different distances with different loads before carrying anything.