Stopping Power Of Ammunition

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Thread: Stopping Power Of Ammunition

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    Member Array Auta's Avatar
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    Stopping Power Of Ammunition

    How does the various caliber of ammunitions compare as far as stopping someone with one shot??

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    This is a very old cherry - and ''contentious'' could be one word to describe opinions! We also sometimes label this ''caliber wars"

    The key word has to be ''placement'' - a macabre fact is that damage matters more than what causes it! Then we have the problems of folks doped up who feel less pain, compared with those that might freak out at sensing one hit.

    There is IMO NO definitive answer and we in the shooting fraternity can argue this one until eternity
    Chris - P95
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    Member Array Auta's Avatar
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    Thanks P95CARRY. I am new and inexperienced with regard to handguns and ammo,and appreciate your response.

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    I should add - I am in no way wanting to squash what is a very fair question, as naturally everyone has to start somewhere

    Could well be, a search on ''stopping power'', ''caliber choice'' etc - might get you to past threads where there has been much debate!

    Bottom line - it is just darned hard to be real definitive over this subject. Many too might say - get the gun and cal that YOU personally shoot best - which we might equate even to - a .45acp miss is less effective than 2x9mm hits - if you get my drift
    Chris - P95
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    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auta View Post
    How does the various caliber of ammunitions compare as far as stopping someone with one shot??
    The "ranking" of various pistol rounds in terms of their stopping power isn't really all that controversial, particularly for "normal" rounds designed for semi-automatic pistols.

    .45 ACP
    .40 S&W
    9mm Parabellum
    .380 ACP

    When you add some of the more unusual high velocity autopistol rounds there may be a little controversy. How you rate them really depends on how much you value velocity versus bullet size. Personally I'd rate them something like this:

    10mm (full power load)
    .45 ACP
    10mm (reduced power load)/.40 S&W/.357 SIG
    9mm Parabellum
    .380 ACP

    Other's opinions almost certainly differ, particularly in terms of how the .357 SIG compares to .40 S&W.

    As far as revolver calibers go, .38 special probably goes somewhere near the bottom (below the .380 for standard pressure rounds, above it for +P), while .44 magnum goes at the top. .357 mag probably goes one or two notches above .357 SIG (who's own position is debatable).

    However, the real controversy isn't how the various rounds rank, its how far up the list you have to go to get a "good" self defense round. All things being equal, almost everyone would prefer a more powerful round. Of course, all things are never equal. More powerful rounds mean a larger (less concealable) gun, lower ammo capacity, greater recoil, more expensive ammunition, etc.

    Choosing a caliber is always a compromise, and what round a person chooses is going to depend on which of these attributes they find most important.

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    Member Array Auta's Avatar
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    I really appreciate the info that Blackeagle posted in response to my initial posting,as well as the response of P95CARRY. I have experimented alittle and seem able to shoot my S&W 640 well with .357 ammo accurately.But considering how many calibers are available for handguns I wanted advice from some of the more experienced folks,and was not disappointed.Thanks

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    If you manage that 640 pretty OK with .357 loads - I'd say that you are well set up. Better than some.

    Main thing is how well you find faster shooting in DA mode - which from a defensive POV is going to be important. If placement can still be good in that mode then that's good.
    Chris - P95
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    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auta View Post
    How does the various caliber of ammunitions compare as far as stopping someone with one shot??
    For a one shot stop a shotgun works best but I assume you are looking for handgun calibers. The highest likelyhood for a one shot stop would probably be a .45 ACP or .357 mag., after that .40 cal. IMO

    If you have a .357 loaded with good ammo, like a hot 125gr JHP, and place the shot well. I would consider one shot stop likely, but not expect it and be prepared to keep firing if needed.

    As has already been stated, shot placement is very important.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

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    Like sgtD said, shot placement has a lot to do with stopping power. Ya gotta do some damage to the vital stuff!
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

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    As SgtD said the bullet does what it is suppose too, if you do what you are suppose too. You have to have a solid hit to stop someone. Practice drawing and dry firing until that feels natural. Dont worry about speed worry about where your sights are when you drop the hammer. Speed will come with familarity.

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    Distinguished Member Array dimmak's Avatar
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    I've heard it said that the 357 mag is the ultimate in handgun stopping rounds....
    After watching Bud Dwyer (sp?), I do not wish to be on the receiving end of one.....

    I have handguns in all the above calibers except 10mm and carry them all on occasion but most of the time it's 45 for me....

    Having experienced a .22lr personally, I dont hesitate to say that I do not wish to gain first hand knowledge regarding any of them...
    "Ray Nagin is a colossal disappointment" - NRA/ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.


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    Quote Originally Posted by dimmak View Post
    I've heard it said that the 357 mag is the ultimate in handgun stopping rounds....
    After watching Bud Dwyer (sp?), I do not wish to be on the receiving end of one.....

    I have handguns in all the above calibers except 10mm and carry them all on occasion but most of the time it's 45 for me....

    Having experienced a .22lr personally, I dont hesitate to say that I do not wish to gain first hand knowledge regarding any of them...
    I believe also that this type of ranking depends on the firearm (i.e. barrel length) shooting the ammo too, doesn't it? All else being equal, shorter barrel with the same round means less force and acceleration of the bullet = slower muzzle velocity and less bullet energy.

    I've gone through a progression from 9mm to 380acp then to 357mag thinking I was getting a lot more power. However the 357 I bought only had a 2" barrel, so short that I'm told that "short barrel" or fast burning rounds are needed to shoot 357 in it and have all of the powder finish burning by the time the bullet is out of the barrel. Makes a really big boom and violent cool flash when I shoot it, but it may not be all that much more than my 380 with a 3" barrel.

    Since this fool (moi) wasn't yet completey parted from my $, I went and bought a 3.5" barrel 9mm and usually carry that now - should be comfortably more ft-lbs at the muzzle than my 380, and still easier to carry than my 4.5" barreled 9mm service pistols. When I can dress casually enough to carry one of these two beasts I do though, figuring those are my two most powerful carry pieces. (The 357's being repaired at the factory anyway, I'll worry about ranking it in there when it comes back) Had I been more prudent, I would have sought out a 357 with at least a 3" barrel I think. For home defense I still rely on Mr 12-gauge.

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    bb gun or howitzer can kill you the same if hit right, caliber means nothing if you can't control it (shot placement).
    Shot placement rules supreme no matter what caliber you shoot.
    I believe that the will to live of the person shot has as much to do with stopping them as shot placement.
    Handgun are not designed to be the be all end all solution for one shot stops, they are designed to be a light weight, portable, handheld device capable of delivering small, relatively slow projectiles to a desired target, which is why the millitary and LE have rifles, shotguns.

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    The one shot stop is a myth. Nothing is a guarentee one shot stop. Not a handgun, not a rifle, not a shotgun, certainly not a caliber. Nothing is guarenteed in a gunfight.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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    Nukem from Orbit, Its the only way to be sure, ta get em!!
    LOL, thats the only ONE shot I know of that will work.
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