Over the last couple of weeks I’ve read every argument from the Theory of Relativity to the Laws of Physics on which weight bullet is best suited for Self Defense. I’ve got saddle sores from riding this dead horse!
So I did a little research and since I shoot Winchester Range and the PD I consult at also uses the same ammunition I focused on only that brand. Below is attached a spreadsheet print out which lists their offering from 45 ACP to 9mm +P+. Note I did not include their 9mm +P as they have not posted any terminal ballistic test data on that round. I’ve included both the terminal ballistics and the handgun ballistics in the chart. Winchester tested their ammunition using five test medias for the terminal ballistics test, i.e., Bare Ballistic Gelatin, Heavy cloth/Ballistic Gelatin, Wallboard/Ballistic Gelatin, Plywood/Ballistic Gelatin, Steel (Car Door)/Ballistic Gelatin, Auto glass/Ballistic Gelatin.
Looking at the chart three of the rounds have the same Velocity. These are the 45 ACP +P 230 gr., 40 SW 180 gr., and the 9mm 147 gr. with a velocity of 990 fps. If we look at the results of Winchester’s testing and assuming that penetration is the criteria for the best bullet, the 9mm out performs both the 45 ACP and the 40 SW in all tests but the steel & auto glass.
Is the 9mm truly better? Do I need to carry a 45 ACP +P for when Bare Butt Ballistic Gelatin does a drive-by and the 9mm for when I confront dangerous Bare Butt Ballistic Gelatin face to face? Do these tests really answer the testosterone question of who is bigger and better?
Looking at a chart like this doesn’t answer any questions of how a round will perform in “Real Life” situations! I think we’re back to the age old premise of: “How well you are able to put the round on target!” If you shoot a 22LR or a 50AE if you don’t put the bullet on the BG’s stop button it really does not matter how big your bullet is!