Ballistics Comparison - Pistol Rounds
This is a discussion on Ballistics Comparison - Pistol Rounds within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; 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 ...
Post By glockman10mm
Post By bmcgilvray
Post By scs987
January 24th, 2011 03:13 PM
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?
Last edited by m287452; January 25th, 2011 at 10:26 AM.
January 24th, 2011 03:13 PM
January 24th, 2011 06:43 PM
I would venture to say that the .357 energy ratings are at the bottom of the scale.
Upper end ratings for .357 energy are 700 to 750 ft lbs. on full bore loads.
Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
Texas CHL Instructor
Texas Hunter Education Instructor
January 24th, 2011 07:33 PM
"There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you." William Hazlitt (1778 - 1830)
Best Choices for Self Defense Ammunition
January 24th, 2011 08:11 PM
Only one of your measurements has any real bearing on how well a round performs.
January 24th, 2011 09:09 PM
I have looked over these "stats" several times now and I dont see any real comparison. There is no meaning here at all. There are many other factors to take into consideration, and the Marshal-Sanow study of the 80's has been revealed to be flawed in various ways. Also, energy is only a part of the equation.
January 24th, 2011 11:55 PM
Besides, I like to think that I don't choose ammo that gives average performance for my concealed carry handguns.
Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society
“No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”
Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893
January 25th, 2011 10:01 AM
That is why I mentioned that if you want to see the manufacturers and loads comparisons, you have to go to the source of the data: Wikipedia.
Originally Posted by bmcgilvray
February 7th, 2011 07:21 PM
The study in Wiki said it used a 3.5" barrel for rating the ammo. Most of the new "pocket 380s" have about a 2" barrel. I would like to see a comparison or data for the pocket 380s, pocket 9s and the J-frames with 2".
Yoi may be suprized as to the 380 vs 38 debate with shorter barrels.
Yes, I also want to have the best ammo possible, but lets test apples and apples.
February 8th, 2011 10:32 AM
Unfortunately the Wikipedia pages seem to suffer from supporting some ... questionable science, shall we say. AIT in particular rests on shaky scientific ground. Someone certainly has done a great job placing "hydrostatic shock" advertising in every defensive handgun cartridge page and making the hydrostatic shock page itself look more credible by including many, many references (a lot of them appearing to pointing at sources of anecdotal evidence). I would take Dr's Fackler and Roberts research over Dr Courtney's at this point. As SGB posted, people should use the list instead of relying on pseudo-scientific statistical analysis presented by OP when it comes to potential life-or-death decisions.
Originally Posted by m287452
Comparing a specific 380 auto to the average of all 9mm loads? Really?
February 8th, 2011 10:41 AM
Shot placement and rounds on target. No use having a hicap 9mm or a 1911 shooting flying ashtrays if you can't hit anything.
January 10th, 2012 06:45 PM
and that would be.........?
Originally Posted by Texag
January 10th, 2012 07:09 PM
Originally Posted by tommygun1031
These stats get thrown around all the time, too many variables, it's a near impossible thing to quantify. Basic thing to remember is that guns shoot hunks of metal at high rates of speed. All hunks of metal are not created equal, some are bigger and thus give you a better opportunity of hitting something vital, while others are faster, giving a more violent expansion, and some are just plain anemic, but all will cause serious medical trauma when shot into the chest or head.
"Brilliant. So now we got a huge guy theory, and a serial crusher theory. Top notch. What's your name?" - Paul Smecker
January 27th, 2013 12:49 PM
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.
January 27th, 2013 01:25 PM
I think folks get too caught up in "ammo performance". I think if you select ammo with the bullet weight that the round was devloped for and run it at the velocity the bullet is designed to perform (expand and penatrate) you will be fine. Sure ammo companies have to convince buyers that they need the latest and greatest if they want to get a buck per bullet.
Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around laws. Plato
January 27th, 2013 01:50 PM
Exactly... 2 hits to the chest cavity at 15 yards with a .380 is usually more effective than three practical misses in the arms or legs at point blank range with a big caliber gun.
Originally Posted by azchevy
To the OP's credit, the numbers show that the larger bores with more energy will typically have more stopping power when everything else (distance, bullet style, where hit on body, angle of hit, etc) is equal. I don't think this is surprising news to many, though.
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