This is a discussion on An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; That reaffirms my choice for home defense. A 12 gauge. # of people shot- 146 # of hits- 178 % of hits that were fatal- ...
That reaffirms my choice for home defense. A 12 gauge.
If only they made a IWB holster...# of people shot- 146
# of hits- 178
% of hits that were fatal- 65%
Average number of rounds until incapacitation- 1.22
% of people who were not incapacitated- 12%
One-shot-stop %- 58%
Accuracy (head and torso hits)- 84%
% actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit)- 86%
"Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands." - Col. Jeff Cooper
[EDC: HK P2000 SK .40 S&W]
Here, I put it in a spreadsheet.. this makes it a lot easier to compare the different calibers. (may need to click on image to get proper size)
Very reassuring. Just like I've always thought when looking at the other data that has been published. Hitting with one bullet is not statistically significant to stop the attack; two maybe, 3 very likely...and that's assuming the shots fired hit the target. So I always practice 2 to 3 shots, quick draws, quick firing, and accurate.
I'd like to get the source data, as I'd like to do my own stats on the data and do my own interpretations.
Also find it interest that most of the 9MM data is ball.
Thanks for the post.
I think the real moral of the story is: use a 12 gauge.
The writer added this to the source article as an update:
Some people will look at this data and say "He's telling us all to carry .22s". That's not true. Although this study showed that the percentage of people stopped with one shot are similar between almost all handgun cartridges, there's more to the story. Take a look at two numbers: the percentage of people who did not stop (no matter how many rounds were fired into them) and the one-shot-stop percentage. The lower caliber rounds (.22, .25, .32) had a failure rate that was roughly double that of the higher caliber rounds. The one-shot-stop percentage(where I considered all hits, anywhere on the body) trended generally higher as the round gets more powerful. This tells us a couple of things...
In a certain (fairly high) percentage of shootings, people stop their aggressive actions after being hit with one round regardless of caliber or shot placement. These people are likely NOT physically incapacitated by the bullet. They just don't want to be shot anymore and give up! Call it a psychological stop if you will. Any bullet or caliber combination will likely yield similar results in those cases. And fortunately for us, there are a lot of these "psychological stops" occurring. The problem we have is when we don't get a psychological stop. If our attacker fights through the pain and continues to victimize us, we might want a round that causes the most damage possible. In essence, we are relying on a "physical stop" rather than a "psychological" one. In order to physically force someone to stop their violent actions we need to either hit him in the Central Nervous System (brain or upper spine) or cause enough bleeding that he becomes unconscious. The more powerful rounds look to be better at doing this.
One other factor to consider is that the majority of these shootings did NOT involve shooting through intermediate barriers, cover or heavy clothing. If you anticipate having to do this in your life (i.e. you are a police officer and may have to shoot someone in a car), again, I would lean towards the larger or more powerful rounds.
What I believe that my numbers show is that in the majority of shootings, the person shot merely gives up without being truly incapacitated by the bullet. In such an event, almost any bullet will perform admirably. If you want to be prepared to deal with someone who won't give up so easily, or you want to be able to have good performance even after shooting through an intermediate barrier, I would skip carrying the "mouse gun" .22s, .25s and .32s.
I think the sample sizes are too small for a subject with such wildly varying details as gunshot wounds and fatalities. For instance, age, gender, general health, body type, response time... I could go on and on. To look at 200 cases for one caliber and attempt to compare other calibers is ridiculous. .380 is more fatal than .44 magnum? Really?
It just doesn't make sense to compare that situation to a GSW of a 48 year old drug addict with serious health problems, who is shot a point blank range with a 9mm and left for dead at the bus station. Trying to group those two situations because they are both 9mm GSWs is the fundamental problem. It would be like studying 200 car accidents and grouping 4 cylinders vs 6 cylinders. What conclusion could you draw if you ignore the things that matter, like speed of the vehicles, type of collusion, airbags, seatbelts, EMS. et cetera?
This is probably the reason that most of the common pistol rounds look fairly similar in this study. If you look at the wrong details, your results will be randomized. Several groups of randomized data are all going to look very similar to each other.
I would rather die with good men than hide with cowards
If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.
"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy."
M&Pc .357SIG, 2340Sigpro .357SIG
These data are very interesting. I can't thank the author enough for his effort and stewardship. It's coherent and helpful.
The biggest problem with statistics is people tend to concretize what they are looking at. The warnings of poor sample size are spot on, but I am still glad to see these data included.
Did anyone notice the 85% on the 45ACP? This caliber had over two hundred samples; three samples of seven reps by a factor of 10. This is solid. We could be looking at the cultural quality of the 45ACP shooter. We could be looking at the smoothness of the system, particularly in 1911s. There was no statistical difference on this measure between the this round and the shotgun, though the 45ACP was highest and the sample is unimpeachably solid.
Several posters here have made the point in a different way, but it's there in these remarkable historical data. You have to impute it. What does it mean when everything takes >2.XX rounds?
Three rounds on target = end of story. There's a slight argument the 45 is a better system for doing so. And the same argument can made differently: g_d can't help you if you're attacking a disciplined 45acp shooter.
But, as this is more a thread about personal defense. I will return to my thoughts after this post with much more to think about thanks to the many excellent comments here.
My personal questions in contemplating these data will turn to the following question: 'What if there is more than one assailant?'
I think the decisive measure is 3onT. Then the question becomes frequency of error in cycling targets, moving and placing 3onT as one cycles between targets. The rest may flee. They may shoot back. Should it be me in the middle of that, I'd certainly be shootin' to GTFOD.
There is one caliber not seen in these data that has been recently made available in a novel KELTEC semiauto pistol form factor; the 22mag. I'm mighty partial to my 1911s and the new XDMs in 45acp. That said, a 30 round clip in 22mag might come in useful during one of those increasingly modern urban moments that can't be described without the use of the word "cluster".
Those "flash mob" retail robberies viewable on youtube are becoming all the rage. If illegal weapons aren't already present, they're no doubt close by. If you haven't viewed these, you should. As many as 100 have flooded retail stores and brazenly looted them during normal business hours. It's only a matter of time before bullets fly and innocents start to fall.
The age of "the lone assailant" may be getting more complicated than the bad guy tradition of an occasional pair or threesome coming to call.
Thanks again for an extremely thoughtful data set. That was yeoman's work.
Last edited by willem; June 5th, 2011 at 08:55 PM. Reason: spelling
Don Montalvo, Southern California
Regardless, this is data that makes sense, insomuch as that is correlates with other previously published data. Handguns stink, compared to long guns. There isn't all that much difference between service calibers. The .380/.38 Spl is the floor of effective calibers. Nothing really new, but good to see the data anyway.
The number of people killed because they didn't have "enough gun" is dwarfed by those who had none at all. Get a gun you will always carry, and add more capability as you grow.