Self defense calibers

Self defense calibers

This is a discussion on Self defense calibers within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Ok, I know, and so does everyone that knows me, that I am very opinionated on any subject. Caliber and gun platform is no different. ...

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Thread: Self defense calibers

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array oldman45's Avatar
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    Self defense calibers

    Ok, I know, and so does everyone that knows me, that I am very opinionated on any subject. Caliber and gun platform is no different. I feel that .45acp cannot be beat for self defense. I know that a 1911 is as good as it gets from any gun and I was well oriented to that by the US government.

    But this is about other calibers and guns. I am an expert in accident and crime scene investigation and reconstruction. I have seen hundreds of gun shot victims, both alive and deceased, over the last 40+ years. I have seen what stops and what does not. I have seen what guns did not do well and what did fine. Today I saw what did not work at all.

    A man with a 9mm handgun shot at distances ranging from 7 feet to 13 feet. The person was attempting to and did rob this merchant. There were a total of 5 shots fired in rapid succession. They all hit the upper torso. The man still managed to beat the merchant to a pulp before taking the gun from the man along with the money from the register. He then walked some three blocks before passing out. Yes, he is in the hospital and he will survive. Yes, he is facing some seious charges.

    The question is why did the multiple gunshot wounds not even slow the man down. Yes, he was able to kill the merchant but did not even attempt to do so. He only gave him a beat down.

    I know 9mm has killed before but seldom. I know NATO calls the 9mm a less than lethal caliber. I also know that I have seen people with as many as 13 rounds over the entire body and still survive.

    However the object in a self defense round should be to stop and if it does not stop, then why use it. Most police agencies have left the 9mm.

    Since the mid 1930's, the civilian population has bought the gun used by law enforcement at the time. So why is the 9mm so favored by many?

    Sure, there will be a lot here that will praise the 9mm and that is fine if they feel it does the job for which it is intended. Talking with trauma physicians say the .40 or .45 acp round works better.

    Again, just my observations and opinions.
    A 9mm might expand but a .45acp never shrinks.

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    There's an article in the current American Handgunner on this subject, the research based on actual criminal and military shootings.. Basically, the 9mm, .40, and .45 ACP are so close in comparison as to be identical. It's an interesting read and worth picking up a copy if you don't subscribe. Surprisingly, the .32 ACP had the highest number of 1-shot stops. go figure.
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    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldman45 View Post
    Ok, I know, and so does everyone that knows me, that I am very opinionated on any subject. Caliber and gun platform is no different. I feel that .45acp cannot be beat for self defense. I know that a 1911 is as good as it gets from any gun and I was well oriented to that by the US government.

    But this is about other calibers and guns. I am an expert in accident and crime scene investigation and reconstruction. I have seen hundreds of gun shot victims, both alive and deceased, over the last 40+ years. I have seen what stops and what does not. I have seen what guns did not do well and what did fine. Today I saw what did not work at all.

    A man with a 9mm handgun shot at distances ranging from 7 feet to 13 feet. The person was attempting to and did rob this merchant. There were a total of 5 shots fired in rapid succession. They all hit the upper torso. The man still managed to beat the merchant to a pulp before taking the gun from the man along with the money from the register. He then walked some three blocks before passing out. Yes, he is in the hospital and he will survive. Yes, he is facing some seious charges.

    The question is why did the multiple gunshot wounds not even slow the man down. Yes, he was able to kill the merchant but did not even attempt to do so. He only gave him a beat down.

    I know 9mm has killed before but seldom. I know NATO calls the 9mm a less than lethal caliber. I also know that I have seen people with as many as 13 rounds over the entire body and still survive.

    However the object in a self defense round should be to stop and if it does not stop, then why use it. Most police agencies have left the 9mm.

    Since the mid 1930's, the civilian population has bought the gun used by law enforcement at the time. So why is the 9mm so favored by many?

    Sure, there will be a lot here that will praise the 9mm and that is fine if they feel it does the job for which it is intended. Talking with trauma physicians say the .40 or .45 acp round works better.

    Again, just my observations and opinions.
    There are stories out there about the .45 doing the same thing that the 9 did in your story. There are exceptions to every rule. IMO a pistol is a poor man stopper....Was the perp on anything???
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldman45 View Post
    I am an expert in accident and crime scene investigation and reconstruction. I have seen hundreds of gun shot victims, both alive and deceased, over the last 40+ years. I have seen what stops and what does not. I have seen what guns did not do well and what did fine. Today I saw what did not work at all.
    A man with a 9mm handgun shot at distances ranging from 7 feet to 13 feet. The person was attempting to and did rob this merchant. There were a total of 5 shots fired in rapid succession. They all hit the upper torso. The man still managed to beat the merchant to a pulp before taking the gun from the man along with the money from the register. He then walked some three blocks before passing out. Yes, he is in the hospital and he will survive. Yes, he is facing some seious charges.

    The question is why did the multiple gunshot wounds not even slow the man down.
    Because where the man was hit was not in locations sufficiently disabling. Unspecified (here) is what gun, which particular load. (There are crappy caliber/gun combinations in every caliber, comparatively speaking.) And, unspecified is where exactly those five shots landed, which organs each round hit.


    Since the mid 1930's, the civilian population has bought the gun used by law enforcement at the time. So why is the 9mm so favored by many?
    I'm guessing, but I would bet the "value" combination appeals to many. A sufficiently capable stopper (in the right round, gun); more rounds than some other calibers, in a similarly-sized gun; availability and cost of ammo.


    Sure, there will be a lot here that will praise the 9mm and that is fine if they feel it does the job for which it is intended. Talking with trauma physicians say the .40 or .45 acp round works better.
    There's a lot of "spray and pray" out there, in the non-military and non-LE population. Without knowing details about the individual incidents in question, it's hard to label a given instance a caliber problem, or an aiming program, or an XYZ problem of some other kind. Likely, it's a combination.

    Of course, if there were a decent number of incidents involving something with gross overkill for a fight-stopper, say a .30-06 rifle round, I'd bet the numbers would be seriously skewed toward appearing to be a huge stopper. But then, again, without knowing the specifics of each incident, it's hard to claim it's due to caliber, or aim, or skill level of the shooters, a combination, or something else.

    And that's the basic issue with statistics. They only tell part of the story, and imply the rest.


    IMO, I would think that a far better measure would be to do something like this:

    • Take ~50 similarly-sized felonious males of similar background (string of felony convictions, crimes, apparent "crime school" training), in which a given organ was cleanly punctured by a bullet of a give caliber, shot out of a gun with a given barrel length, with basic fps/ft-lbs numbers roughly equivalent to the others.
    • Then, take ~50 similar others but where the caliber is different, also where the same body organ was punctured.
    • Then, compare. In this way, it gets much simpler to make a caliber inference. Similar bullet profile (JHP, bbl length, performance params); similar wound; major difference being that the caliber used differs from the "control group" comparison.
    • Better still, do such a study in a double-blind type fashion, in which the specific caliber/performance factors are unknown by the researcher doing the stats comparisons.


    In your 40yrs+ of crime scene investigatory experience, has any study like this been done on the hundreds of situations you've seen/experienced, or in the thousands (or tens of thousands) you've heard of from colleagues? If no such isolation of the factors has been done, how can it be such strong inferences over caliber can be said to hold water much better than other inferences equally unisolated from other factors?
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    When you boil it all down it comes to "Shot Placement". You can shoot arms and legs off a person and not stop them. However if you interrupt the heart from pumping blood or the brain from sending signals, or the spine from carrying signals, things tend to stop rather quickly and the OODA loop goes out of control. Bullets do have to get into their intended target area to be effective so there are some minimum requirements to get that done. Many are out there that can do the job if you do yours. Forget "Caliber Wars" this is a "Shot Placement Issue".
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    Shot Placement... Even with perfect placement, an aggressor can still be a threat for 20 or more seconds.
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    Distinguished Member Array oldman45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    There's an article in the current American Handgunner on this subject, the research based on actual criminal and military shootings.. Basically, the 9mm, .40, and .45 ACP are so close in comparison as to be identical. It's an interesting read and worth picking up a copy if you don't subscribe. Surprisingly, the .32 ACP had the highest number of 1-shot stops. go figure.
    I have a copy but like many articles, I have not found to be accurate. We all know more people have been killed by a .22 round than any other caliber but there are reasons for it. In my library of medical findings and shooting scene descriptions, none even mention a .32 (I also own a couple .32 caliber handguns). If you feel that a 9mm round is close to that of a .40 or .45, you need to work in atrauma center. A 9mm round makes a hole in the avg person in the entry wound that is about the size of a ball point pen. A .45acp makes a hole the size of a large man's finger. Neither a 9mm or .45 will shrink. Measure the difference in diameter and then tell me how they are close in size and wound damage. I have seen many shot by 9mm (the choice of street gangs) drive themselves to seek medical care. I have yet to see a .40 or .45 victim make it more than a few feet before falling

    Your reference to an article ought to be compared to the articles on some firearms. I can show you articles written by gun writers praising guns we all knowto be cheap, ineffective and troublesome. You or I could write articles and make claims. Magazines pay very good money for such articles. I am not a magazine writer but one that sees people likely dying or dead all the time. If one is not dying or dead, I am not called out on it, be it from traffic accidents or criminal actions of others.
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    A 9mm might expand but a .45acp never shrinks.

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    Distinguished Member Array oldman45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryball View Post
    There are stories out there about the .45 doing the same thing that the 9 did in your story. There are exceptions to every rule. IMO a pistol is a poor man stopper....Was the perp on anything???
    Yes, the subject had traces of both pot and crack in his system

    FWIW: This will also answer another poster, the subject had an entry and exit wound to his left lung, a rupture of an artery and an entry wound to the liver. Without his being deceased and having an in-depth autopsy, it is almost impossible to determine which rounds may have done multiple damage. At least one round went through the torso without hitting any organs or bone.
    A 9mm might expand but a .45acp never shrinks.

    "The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are now outnumbered by those who vote for a living."

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    VIP Member Array LimaCharlie's Avatar
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    Distinguished Member Array oldman45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Thunder View Post
    When you boil it all down it comes to "Shot Placement". You can shoot arms and legs off a person and not stop them. However if you interrupt the heart from pumping blood or the brain from sending signals, or the spine from carrying signals, things tend to stop rather quickly and the OODA loop goes out of control. Bullets do have to get into their intended target area to be effective so there are some minimum requirements to get that done. Many are out there that can do the job if you do yours. Forget "Caliber Wars" this is a "Shot Placement Issue".
    Actually one well placed shot to the pelvic area will stop someone. A damaged pelvic will stop all upright movement.
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    A 9mm might expand but a .45acp never shrinks.

    "The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are now outnumbered by those who vote for a living."

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    Distinguished Member Array oldman45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    In your 40yrs+ of crime scene investigatory experience, has any study like this been done on the hundreds of situations you've seen/experienced, or in the thousands (or tens of thousands) you've heard of from colleagues? If no such isolation of the factors has been done, how can it be such strong inferences over caliber can be said to hold water much better than other inferences equally unisolated from other factors?
    The military did hundreds of studies of both wounded and fatalities during three wars. If you read how the Germans were asking during WWI for the same sidearms the Yanks were using. There is a lot of evidence now available that the Germans complained " our guns do not stop the Americans but their guns kill us." They were using the 9mm and the US were using .45acp.

    Also, NATO has demanded the US use 9mm weapons because the round is less fatal. They did their own studies to arrive at that decision.
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    A 9mm might expand but a .45acp never shrinks.

    "The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are now outnumbered by those who vote for a living."

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldman45 View Post
    The military did hundreds of studies of both wounded and fatalities during three wars. If you read how the Germans were asking during WWI for the same sidearms the Yanks were using. There is a lot of evidence now available that the Germans complained " our guns do not stop the Americans but their guns kill us." They were using the 9mm and the US were using .45acp.

    Also, NATO has demanded the US use 9mm weapons because the round is less fatal. They did their own studies to arrive at that decision.
    And did those studies make plenty of assumptions, or did they isolate factors to drive conclusions?
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    Without being able to ascertain what TYPE(hardball or hollowpoint) of 9mm round the storekeeper had in the pistol, we are just re-arranging chairs on a ship going down discussing things of this nature.

    Funny how, if I walked down the street, in the rough part of town, and asked a few gangbangers would they mind standing in front of my 9mm while I fill them with 3-5 rounds they would all say no.
    And yet they think nothing of strolling into a store or dark alley, and trying to jack someone without batting an eyelash, all the while running the risk of getting shot at..
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