Which is better energy or weight?

Which is better energy or weight?

This is a discussion on Which is better energy or weight? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Please answer and give me the reasons you answered the way you did. Thanks...

View Poll Results: Which is more important bullet weight or energy?

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  • bullet weight is more important

    30 26.79%
  • energy transfer is more important

    82 73.21%
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Thread: Which is better energy or weight?

  1. #1
    Member Array tndiesel's Avatar
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    Which is better energy or weight?

    Please answer and give me the reasons you answered the way you did. Thanks


  2. #2
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    Oh my ......... this is along lines of ''fast and light vs slow and heavy''!!

    Velocity and mass are inextricably linked and apart from trajectory variations due to bullet weight the end result is in theory the result of both combined. The moving bullet has by virtue of its velocity a momentum - and the energy within that will be dissipated on impact.

    The ''better'' question is full of various opinions and even hype .. and it is doubtful IMO if anyone will ever provide the definitive answer!! It has been thrashed out more times than I can remember.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Well, would you rather me throw a 230grain bullet at you or shoot you with one? The bullet weights would be equal but the one moving 800 fps is going to transfer a heck of a lot more energy than the one I throw.
    Infowars- Proving David Hannum right on a daily basis

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Heavy bullets penetrate better. Velocity isn't always good. Take the Nosler 135gr JHP from DT ammo in 40S&W and 10mm. The 40S&W loading outpenetrates the 10mm load? Why? The bullet from the 10mm (1600fps nominal) is moving so fast the bullet disintegrates whereas the lower velocity of the 40S&W (for which the bullet was designed) doesn't and the bullet holds together.

    Energy transfer is a mechanism of penetration. You need x amount of fpe. You can get that by taking a 45/70 with a 350gr bullet to 2150fps (3593fpe)or you can take a 300 Win Mag with a 180gr bullet to 3000fps (3598fpe). The bullet from the 45/70 will outpenetrate the bullet from the 300 Win Mag even though they carry the same amount of energy and that energy is transfered to the target.

    Ask dangerous game hunters and PHs from Africa what bullet weight to use. A whole lot of them will tell you to pick a heavy bullet at a moderate velocity and skip the Ultra Mags and Weatherby Mags as they get their high energy from light bullets moving fast and they fail to penetrate adequately.

    Take those same principles to handguns for defense. In all my defensive handguns I pick the heavier bullets. Its fun to shoot some light bullets clipping along but in combat, that don't work well. Look at the military and the evolution of the 5.56x45 round. Started out at 55gr, then 62gr, now moving to 77gr. Do you think they are just bored or are heavier bullets more effective? Seems the latter.

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array AutoFan's Avatar
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    Handgun rounds don't have enough energy to transfer to cause the type of wounds a rifle round causes (stretch cavities, shock wave damage, etc.). Therefore, you want as much penetration as possible to get to something the handgun round bullet can damage directly, like major blood vessels, the central nervous system or bones. Heavier rounds penetrate deeper because more of their momentum is due to the weight of the round, as opposed to velocity, which is lost quickly in materials denser than air.

  6. #6
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    Thats a hard question and one that could be an endless debate.

    Without debate, lets look as some facts.
    Many police Dept's have migrated back to the larger calibers with the heavier bullets.This is the result of many studied gunfights where people were killed or shot with various guns and ammo.

    When you consider the fact that most of the time when cops shoot someone, the bad guys are on drugs,drunk, a state of rage, sometimes all of the above, their mental state is different than ours and adrenaline can be a factor.

    Now you must consider that any handgun round is a compromise when it comes to "stopping power" most of them being inferior to a rifle but we carry them because they are convenient and they work...most of the time.

    Many Dept's. have migrated back to the heavier rounds with increased penetration. The thing is, if shoot holes through somebody and do it enough times eventually they will bleed out. Heavier rounds will penetrate more cover...such as a car door that someone is behind and shooting at you.All of these things factor into why a round is used and the trick is to get a happy medium of penetration and expansion. My own dept uses .45's for dept issue. Most others around here use the .40, if not the .45.

    It all comes up to the round with the best compromise...and one needs to remember that it IS a compromise. Enough so that we are told that if we expect to get in a gun fight...bring a rifle.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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  7. #7
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    In a handgun hitting rather precicely is more important than either energy or weight . If you strike vital structures in the body your round will work ( eventualy ), and if you dont then it wont . Find a load that shoots well in your pistol , regulate your sights to it ( or adjust if adjustable ) and then just hope that if you have an issue it happens far enough away to use said sights .

    Edited to add : I started carrying a gun for the .gov back in the .357 days ( .38 for the fbi, women , and other wimps ) . The " gunfighters" liked the 1911 or charter bulldog , ect . I saw the " wondernine " revolution , the move to the .40 after the fbi realised the average shooter is not well served with a self shucking 41 mag ( the original 10mm ) in a gunfight . ect .. For me and my experiance its shoot a gun you can place rounds with and even a proper hit with ball ammo is better than an improper hit with the hottest round going . Spend money on practice ammo and shoot it all . You will have few problems if you do that .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
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  8. #8
    Member Array CCWINNC's Avatar
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    Reliability...Weight and Velocity don't matter if the round never leaves the gun
    CCWINNC

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  9. #9
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    After thinking about it...the poll is a bit vague.

    You are talking about energy and bullet weight.

    A 230 .45 moving at 840 FPS wont have as much energy as the same bullet moving out at 950. FPS ..a +P loading.

    energy transfer = speed of bullet
    bullet weight = energy

    as P95 noted...its really about fast and light vs. slow and heavy.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


    AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Array briansmech's Avatar
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    assuming precision, as RR mentioned, isnt the issue, i want all of the energy i have at hand deposited into the target my trigger finger specifies. i dont care to have anything left over beyond said target, as that can ONLY get me in trouble - i dont go for the "watch me kill two birds with one stone" crap anymore....

    thats a product of not only weight and size, but also ballistic design, so this poll is really kinda unable to answer any questions in its present form, imho.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Hot with all due respect to both you and Chris i agree, however my point is that it does not matter in the long run . No pistol has enough " energy " for it to be a factor , and lacking the energy the weight matters little also . While i dont advocate carrying ball ammo and in fact carry quality hp ammo my premise is that placement will trump any choice in ammo or caliber . Folks who think look for an " edge " and sadly most do it thro a " magic bullet , or magic gun " rather than taking a run of the mill choice and learning to use it well . I like gear , and discussion of same as well as anyone on the board , however i have confidince i can defend my life and my loved ones as well with a beat up old mod 10 S&W and a couple of speedloaders as i can with anything , all i need is a pistol that " shoots where it looks " and will do that every time . The world would be boreing if we selected on what we need and not what we want , or want to brag about having tho lol .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

  12. #12
    Senior Moderator
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    Redneck...
    Technically you are correct.The only thing that will matter if you are killed with ether a .22 or a .500 S&W is if you are on good terms with the Creator.

    By then, bullet weight or speed wont matter...
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


    AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
    Like custom guns and stuff? Check this out...
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Array briansmech's Avatar
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    if you're worried about having enough kinetic energy in your first shot......






































    shoot them again.

  14. #14
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    Personally I think that if you have to shoot somebody, are doing them and the Public a disservice by shooting them less than 3 times. If mean, if they need to be shot, at least you could do it right...
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


    AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
    Like custom guns and stuff? Check this out...
    http://bobbailey1959.wordpress.com/

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Penetration first, then bullet diameter. Both come after shot placement.
    Spend few minutes learning about my journey from Zero to Athlete in this
    Then check out my blog! www.BodyByMcDonalds.com

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