An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power

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; I thought it was interesting that even the mighty shotgun requires 2+ shots for sure incapacitation. How many shots with your 9/.40/.45 can you get ...

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  1. #61
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    I thought it was interesting that even the mighty shotgun requires 2+ shots for sure incapacitation. How many shots with your 9/.40/.45 can you get off in the time it takes you to get off 2 shotgun blasts? WRT multiple assailants, how many shots does your shotgun hold vs. handgun? What do you have on you right now?

    Just stirring the pot

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  3. #62
    Member Array snakyjake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedrgr21 View Post
    I thought it was interesting that even the mighty shotgun requires 2+ shots for sure incapacitation.
    Another good argument that it is shot placement that counts, not the number of shots, or the size.

    Quote Originally Posted by willem
    What if there is more than one assailant?
    Good point. That's why I think high capacity or tactical reloads are important.


    I know the sample size is not large, but I have never seen other research conclude 45 vs. 40 vs. 9 makes a difference. Not from law enforcement, not even from NATO, not from Israel or another country with real SHTF experience. But I do believe Israel philosophy is it isn't size, it's numbers...hence the reason for the Uzi.

    The report suggests to me it's all about shot placement, and then capacity.

    Jake
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  4. #63
    Member Array HK Jake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post
    I know the sample size is not large, but I have never seen other research conclude 45 vs. 40 vs. 9 makes a difference. Not from law enforcement, not even from NATO, not from Israel or another country with real SHTF experience. But I do believe Israel philosophy is it isn't size, it's numbers...hence the reason for the Uzi.

    Jake
    Well, I wouldn't go that far. We know for a fact that the .40 S&W in 180gr does better than any 9mm through intermediate barriers.

    But yes, the difference between them all is incredibly small, and shot placement will always be king.
    "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]

  5. #64
    Member Array McDougal's Avatar
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    Thanks.
    I would very much like to know the median, rather than just the average, for the # of shots to incapacitate. Were the distributions normal, or skewed?

  6. #65
    Senior Member Array adric22's Avatar
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    I've read through these statistics 100 times the last few days. And one thing has occurred to me as far as interpreting it. Really, you need to break each caliber down into two groups. One groups is "failed to incapacitate" and the other group is "succeeded to incapacitate." Because, many of the numbers are useless without putting them into the correct context. All of the remaining statistics need to fall under one of those two umbrellas. For example, the number of shots needed to incapacitate only fit under the "succeeded to incapacitate" section. Obviously, if the person was not incapacitated, then the number is irrelevant.

    So when comparing the calibers, the most significant number of the bunch is the one "% of people not incapacitated" Because you can do the inverse on that, which is "% of people incapacitated" Lets look at some examples:

    Percent of people incapacitated:
    0.22 - 69%
    9mm - 87%
    .357 - 91%

    So what that tells us is that if you are carrying a .22 then you can expect a 69% chance that you'll be able to incapacitate your assailant. If you carry a .357 then you have a 91% chance.

    Since I have often been one to advocate and stand up for the smaller calibers, I can say that I feel fairly comfortable with a .22LR carry weapon. The way I look at it is that there is less than a 1% chance I'll have an encounter. If I do have an encounter, there is a 90% chance that simply brandishing the weapon will put a stop to the situation. If not, then there is a 69% chance that I'll be able to incapacitate the bad guy using my .22LR. So that works out to something like a 96.9% chance that the .22LR will be a successful self defense weapon, vs. a .357 which would have a 99.1% success rate. Sure, the .357 is better, but it isn't that much better.

    Just ask yourself this. If 100% of law abiding citizens were carrying around .22LR pistols, and everybody knew it, how much violent crime do you think would be around even if the bad guys had .357's? Bad guys are just as afraid of smaller calibers as the larger ones.
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  7. #66
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    adric, you are looking for justification, not information. And that's fine, we all do it, just be aware of it.

    There is not hard statistic that I'm aware of that tells us our percentage chance of having to use a firearm in self defense; there are simply so many variables that a "one size fits all" number isn't possible. Ditto the percentage chance that mere brandishing will be sufficient. You have chosen numbers that you believe are accurate for your situation - again, fine - but these are not actual predictive statistics by any stretch of the imagination.

    Additionally, you are basing your conclusions on the fact that the shootee was incapacitated, but the numbers don't tell us WHEN he/she was incapacitated. Incapacitating someone after they have killed your loved one, mortally wounded you, etc doesn't really do us much good, now does it?

    If you want to carry a caliber that is demonstrably and undeniably inferior to the "major" self defense calibers, that is fine. If you want to cherry pick numbers from each and every study that might in some way support that choice, that is also fine. Just, please, admit that this is what's happening, lest anyone else mistakenly believe that these (or any) real studies or data points support your choice.
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  8. #67
    Member Array HK Jake's Avatar
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    I agree with the above.
    "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]

  9. #68
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Read this somewhere not to long ago...

    There's a violent crime every 22 seconds, 24 hours a day in the United States. Studies indicate that firearms are used over two million times a year and that the presence of a firearm without a shot being fired prevents crime. Don't remember the source, or the validly of the study, but being of sound mind and clear thought, the presentation of a gun, any gun would cause me to pause. Problem with that is, most thugs are clearly not of sound mind and of intelligent thought, or they wouldn't be thugs to begin with. Get yourself a good .38 +p and call it a day, and remember; it's two COM and a security round to the head.
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  10. #69
    Member Array Taurus851's Avatar
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    seems to me that the .357 is a very effective round...

  11. #70
    Senior Member Array adric22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    adric, you are looking for justification, not information. And that's fine, we all do it, just be aware of it.
    Well, I will not deny that my reasoning is partially based on the fact that for me, firearms are not just a tool but also a hobby. I happen to LOVE my little Walther P22. I have seen several other .22LR pistols I've considered buying too. Now, logically, I realize that my 9mm is the best defense weapon I have. And as I've mentioned before, I generally carry that one. But at times I have to wear a smaller gun. So that usually means my little .380 or my .22LR. I like to give each a little "carry time."

    Now. If I honestly believed that my .380 or my .22LR would be incapable of defending me, then I would not carry it. Period. But I have come to the conclusion that it can defend me. And as such, I will carry it from time to time.

    Truth be told, if I didn't switch guns around every now and then I'd probably get bored of carrying the same thing all of the time and might find myself not bothering to carry anything at all. So I like to switch them around to keep things interesting.

  12. #71
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    I will go with what has brought me to the dance so far. If I had to choose an SD round, it would be a .45 or .357 mag. You can stat the piss out of me, but it won't change my mind, as those two rounds bring it.
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  13. #72
    Member Array snakyjake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HK Jake View Post
    We know for a fact that the .40 S&W in 180gr does better than any 9mm through intermediate barriers.
    Do you have a research study of caliber and intermediate barriers that answer these questions:

    What percentage of shooting incidents resulted in fatalities?
    What percentage of people were not incapacitated no matter how many rounds hit them?
    Accuracy?
    One shot stop percentage?
    Percentage of people who were immediately stopped with one hit to the head or torso?

  14. #73
    Member Array HK Jake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post
    Do you have a research study of caliber and intermediate barriers that answer these questions:

    What percentage of shooting incidents resulted in fatalities?
    What percentage of people were not incapacitated no matter how many rounds hit them?
    Accuracy?
    One shot stop percentage?
    Percentage of people who were immediately stopped with one hit to the head or torso?
    No, but I have ballistics testing (and so do you) from all major ammunition manufacturers which consistently shows .40 S&W outperforming 9mm through intermediate barriers; it's straight from the horse's mouth, and that's good enough for me.
    "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]

  15. #74
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    Thanks a lot JD and Semper Fi. The article was a great read and anyone choosing a CCW should read this. I notice though that a lot of people are forgetting to realize that true stopping power comes from proper training and proper mindset. First round hits and the correct follow on action is where the true stopping power lies. Don't get me wrong, a pellet shot followed up by another pellet shot is not going to stop a threat. However even if you send a cannonball down range, it wont do anything if it dose not hit its intended target. Not to mention that cannonball could hit an innocent bystander. You also have to worry about happens when that cannonball hits the threat and carries through his body. So i would say that you have to do your research and find the caliber of weapon that you can handle and handle well.

  16. #75
    Member Array snakyjake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HK Jake View Post
    No, but I have ballistics testing (and so do you) from all major ammunition manufacturers which consistently shows .40 S&W outperforming 9mm through intermediate barriers; it's straight from the horse's mouth, and that's good enough for me.
    The problem with looking at ballistic data is that it simply shows penetration and expansion, but nothing on real world human incapacitation. This report suggests to me ballistic data is all that those are...ballistics, and not a caliber incapacitation report. There's a lot of assumption extrapolated out of ballistic data. But when I see incapacitation studies, it is showing some of those ballistic assumptions to be inaccurate. I have not seen an incapacitation barrier study/conclusion, therefore anything said about it is guessing, and a lot of non-barrier ballistic guesses (perspectives) have been suggested inaccurate or unsupported by this report.

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