Stopping Power

Stopping Power

This is a discussion on Stopping Power within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Which test mediums of stopping power do you ascribe to; ballistic gelatin, wood, goats, pigs, cows, cabbages or wet phone books or newsprint or one ...

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Thread: Stopping Power

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array crzy4guns's Avatar
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    Stopping Power

    Which test mediums of stopping power do you ascribe to; ballistic gelatin, wood, goats, pigs, cows, cabbages or wet phone books or newsprint or one of the books by Marshall and Sanow? By the way you are invited to dinner tomorrow night. Yes, thats right. On the menu is your choice of beef tips with bullet fragments in a soggy newspaper gravy or shattered leg of lamb. Blown to pieces cabbage (sauerkraut),splattered spuds (mashed potatoes) and for dessert, of course, j e l l o. Don't forget to get a toothpick after dinner to get out those pesky copper jacket pieces from between your teeth. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, we will all gather around a bonfire after dinner where Evan Marshall will read to us a story from one of his favorite books. Hope to hear from ya soon.


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    What is your question exactly?
    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein,

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    VIP Member Array crzy4guns's Avatar
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    On a more serious note, how many believe in Marshall and Sanow's books on stopping power where actual shootings took place, or do you have another opinion on stopping power based on data gathered from shooting bullets into a test material such as ballistic gellatin or slaughterhouse meat. The subject is of course no joke, but I feel sometimes this is what gets us into these caliber wars, 9mm vs. .45, .380 versus .38 special, etc., etc., etc.. I feel that no one has the definitive answer as there are too many variables in a defensive shooting. Factors such as chemical substance abuse, rage, and the human will to live all play into this equation. I am a student of firearms and of course stopping power. I realize mine is not the only opinion out there, so your opinions are just as valid as mine. I simply want to know what data does everyone base their opinions on. By the way I am a proponent of Marshall and Sanow as I feel this body of work comes the closest to explaining actual stopping power.
    Last edited by crzy4guns; March 28th, 2008 at 02:58 PM.

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    Gelatin man here

    Personally I like gelatin tests as an indicator of how effective a bullet can be, with measurement of penetration depth and bullet expanded diameter. I figure the point of shooting an attacker is to make a hole in them, as deep and wide as possible. I reason that deeper and wider holes do more damage and hasten stopping, given the same point of impact and direction of travel.

    I am less impressed with muzzle velocity, energy or momentum, as they don't always predict penetration and expansion accurately. So I consider them secondary measurements that only give a rough idea of stopping power.

    I am a little cautious about Marshall and Sanow "one shot stop" percentages, and also consider them to be very rough indicators. The M&S approach seems to be very controversial - perhaps for good reason.
    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

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    VIP Member Array crzy4guns's Avatar
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    I see your point pogo, I think sometimes we all get a little carried away with the whole my caliber is better than your caliber thing. I have seen and heard this stressed enough times that the number one rule in a gunfight is to have a gun - yet sometimes rule #1 is broken and with dire consequences. I will use my own self as an example. When I first started carrying a gun I started out with a full size 1911 .45 auto, (Kimber Eclipse), as is the general belief that this is the best fighting handgun bar none. I agree with this by the way wholeheartedly. My problem was that after awhile I began to leave it in the car or at home and was going about unarmed. This of course put me in a perilous situation if I needed my gun in a hurry. Since then I carry a Walther PPK/s .380. Is it the best self defense firearm out there? No, of course not. But it is with me always. I know everyone has a favorite caliber that he or she likes, and no one would ever argue that the .45 acp is inadequate for self defense. No handgun will protect you if it is sitting pretty in a sock drawer at home. To me, rule #1- have gun. Rule#2 - .380, .38 special on up for a self defense caliber. Rule #3 - practice, practice, practice. Rule #4 - Have life insurance and funeral arrangements in case you break rule#1.
    Last edited by crzy4guns; March 28th, 2008 at 07:56 PM.

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array crzy4guns's Avatar
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    I am probably really confusing the heck out of folks reading this thread. My point is that I hope to never scold anyone for carrying the proverbial mouse gun. Even if it is only a .22 or .25 auto. They probably have rule #1 covered. Covering rule #2 is pointless if that means that they will go unarmed because a gun is just too uncomfortable to carry - regardless that is chambered in a meaningful caliber. Caliber wars are sometimes fun to debate and sometimes it becomes a heated argument where friendships have been lost. My main point is to try and show we all have valid opinions and no one should be offended by anyones comments. As more and more scientific data comes in we may yet have the definitive answer on stopping power one day.

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    I get your question, and I thought the invite to dinner was clever.

    I also put the most faith in gelatin testing, simply because it is the only repeatable, scientifically valid measurement that we can get. This isn't to say that it's THE ANSWER to the question of stopping power, the universe, and everything, but it's a good start.

    Energy and velocity are great, but they don't show what happens on the receiving end, which is much more important than what is happening at the muzzle, IMO. M&S's research is good for what it is, but the range of variables is simply too high for me to ascribe any real scientific credibility to it. Also, I'm not interested in shooting the BG one time in the chest; I'm interested in shooting him wherever he needs to be shot, as many times as he needs to be shot, in order to stop the threat - so M&S's "one shot stop" percentages mean less to me than they may to some.

    In the end, though, any gun is better than no gun. There is almost no reason, with the plethora of tiny, relatively powerful guns out there, to go below a .380 ACP for the vast majority of folks, IMO. The .380 is not ideal (but neither is being in a gun fight in the first place), but it certainly beats harsh language and dirty looks...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    To paraphrase James Yeager of Tactical Response LLC & Getoffthex.com...

    "People shot in the heart or the brain generally die. People shot elsewhere generally don't."

    That is stopping power in a nutshell.

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    I agree that gelatin testing is the only method avaliable that gives repeatable results.

    I do like the stopping power %'s the M&S list only to show that there is not a real difference between 63 and 67%. Especially when none of their "tests" are repeatable.

    For the record I carry either a .380 or a .38spl
    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein,

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    Senior Member Array lance22's Avatar
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    OPFOR said it all.

    I think these days conventional wisdom says that there is no such thing as 'stopping power' so the whole discussion is moot.

    Because ...

    (1) A person hit in the heart takes 14 seconds to 'bleed out' to the point of death.
    (2) A person hit in the brain or upper spine will drop immediately and not related to caliber / kinetic energy / velocity.
    (3) Wimp Factor: The mindset of the perp (or whether he is on drugs) will affect how he reacts. Some will "drop" or "seek medical attention" as soon as they know they are hit with anything, regardless of what. Others will be hard core or unresponsive to hits except to bleeding out / nerve damage.

    Therefore ...

    A person high on meth can take one in the heart from a .44 mag and go on for 14 seconds. A temprimental thug can take one in the chest from a .22 and instantly go down screaming. So - how can anyone equate caliber or kinetic energy to this? If we were talking about machinery we'd be able to quantify data and make conclusions but because we are talking about people - then all of a sudden caliber and kinetic energy applies only in part and not completely.

    In summary:

    We believe in "stopping the attack", not "stopping power". We believe in shooting until the threat is over / the attack is stopped, we do not believe in a myth called the "one shot stop".

    A round must be sufficient to penetrate to the vitals through multiple layers of clothing and if it can do that, you keep firing until the attack is stopped. Simple as that. No magic, no math, and no numbers; just the pragmatism of raw survival.

    The reaction of the perp alone will determine the number of shots fired, the velocity or grains of your load will not.
    Last edited by lance22; March 28th, 2008 at 04:29 PM.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array tns0038's Avatar
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    Selecting the Duty Weapon--Is Caliber the Key?

    I subscribe to Marshall’s real life or in this case real death experiences.

    If that day should ever arise, where I have to defend my family, or myself, I want a pistol that can deliver multi rounds on target.

    So, I carry a pocket 380 or 9 mm Glock at all times.

  12. #12
    BAC
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    I recommend reading "Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness". It is truly a worthwhile read.


    -B

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    What exactly is stopping power? Anyone who has ever hunted has experienced a lack of stopping power if the round, even from a high powered rifle, isn’t placed precisely.

    We’ve all read the accounts (and some here have first hand knowledge) of individuals who have been shot multiple times with a rifle and still gone on fighting very effectively. (check out the book, “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell)

    My point is this, without precision in placement is there any guarantee of a “stop” with most hand held weapons?
    One of the fundamental truths of the universe is that there isn't anything that cannot be improved with the addition of pirates, ninjas, strippers, midgets or monkeys.

    "A car door is not cover. In fact a car is not cover. Cement is." - military contractor in Iraq 2004

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    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    Statistics from M&S; but, in the real world, why would you stop shooting after 1 shot? Unless you want to find out what it feels like to be shot.
    Les Baer 45
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  15. #15
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAC View Post
    I recommend reading "Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness". It is truly a worthwhile read.


    -B
    +1

    I don't believe or at least, place faith in, stopping power. I want maximum bleeding, and for that I punch .45 caliber holes in the front and hopefully between .60 and .80 caliber holes out the back if they make it that far.

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