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Spotted a thread on THR where the question was basically about FMJ's and whether 9mm was much different from other cal FMJ's.

Not wishing for this to be any ''caliber wars'' starter - but instead want to just post a reply to the thread given by member "thatguy'' - who I am assuming is commenting with maybe more authority than many of us could - so it is presented because I thought it interesting.
My research (which is extensive) indicates that there is very little difference in effectiveness between .38 Special, 9MM, .357 Magnum and 45 ACP rounds in defensive shootings. Some people swear by one caliber or another but after 20+ years of looking into the matter, including interviewing surgical personnel for their observations on wounded people, my finding is that it doesn't make a whole lot of difference what caliber is used the results wind up being very similar. I have had surgeons tell me that they cannot tell the difference in wound size between a .38 Special and a .45 ACP. I know this sounds wrong but that's what they say.

As I said, many people reject this notion, but this is what I have learned.

As for bullet type, I would always use JHPs for defensive ammo, but again, I'm not sure if there's really all that much difference. I am told the problem is that no handgun generates enough muzzle velocity to really deliver a powerful blow. Even the .30-30 Winchester, not considered a real powerhouse by rifle standards, makes the .44 Magnum from a handgun look pale in comparison.

There's just "something" about getting that projectile up over 2,000 FPS that makes a world of difference in the damage inflicted.

I know many replies will now follow calling me an idiot and insisting that the .45 ACP (or whatever big-bore handgun the writer favors) is the be-all and end-all for defensive performance. I used to think that, too, until I saw a guy weighing no more than 140 pounds absorb four solid hits to the chest from a .45 ACP and still run nearly 100 yards before collapsing.

I now realize that there is no defensive handgun capable of true "man-stopping" performance. That takes a rifle or shotgun.

Everyone is free to carry what makes them comfortable. If you prefer a .45 then by all means you should carry one. My usual carry piece is a 9MM (115 JHP +P+) and I am fine with that.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Fair enough Bud - choice is always a personal thing.

I was tho interested most in the apparent lack of difference between handgun cal wounds as he mentions.

I expect most folks will always tend to think large is good :smile:
 

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My understanding was that a lot of our troops are unhappy with the terminal ballistics of the 9mm; that's why there is a move to bring the .45ACP back. Of course, as always shot placement & penetration is the key.
 

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A guy I know did some testing with FMJ and JHP ammo. Firing at some sort of medium wraped in clothes. I forget what he used for the ballistic medium, but his results were that the JHP hardly ever opened up. Mostly the cavity was filled with debris from the clothes.

I don't know myself. I use mostly JHP from habit. But I'm not totally convinced that it's the best, or that it even works that well. After reading an FBI report, I'm of the opinion that placement is THE key to stopping power.
 

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Considering the M9 is restricted to ball ammo, I somehow think basing an opinion on the Iraq war on the effectiveness of an entire caliber is in error.
 

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1951 - 2011
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Hello. In my opinion and based on a statistically insignificant number of cases in which I was part of the shooting investigation, I've seen calibers from .22 lr, .25 ACP through the more usual .380, 9mm, .38 Special, .357, and .45 ACP both "work" splendidly and also "fail" miserably. In one instance a dude with a knife dropped dead on the spot when shot through the heart with a .25 FMJ. Not too long after that, I had a brief interview with a fellow shot through the heart with a .38 special wadcutter from a snub. He died 4 minutes later in the ambulance. A fellow shot his "live in" twice through the chest with a .45 ACP using FMJ (don't recall the brand) and she ran nearly 3 blocks to escape him. I happened to be in the area she ran to and when I saw the blood and found that she'd been shot twice with a forty-five, I remarked something like, "You got shot twice with a 45 and ran all this way?" She misunderstood my meaning and said, "Hell yes. That mother****** was gonna shot me again!"
An officer under my command shot a dealer through the heart with a 124-gr. 9mm HydraShok +P and the guy dropped out of the picture right then...and is still dead.

I could go on, but what really made me begin to work on my placement was when a couple of officers on my shift were forced to shoot a violent burglar. He was hit at 18" with a load of No. 4 buck from an 18.5" pump shotgun. It hit right on his sternum. He remarked, "I didn't think you would shoot me." He then looked over his shoulder, leaned against a utility room wall, slowly slid down the wall so that he could sit. He hung his head and died a few seconds later. I could literally see chunks of heart through the "rathole" wound and he managed to do that. He was stone cold sober; no drugs or alcohol.

After that, I worked on accuracy and speed with my pistols. I am happy with 9mm up. I personally think that .45 ACP is probably better but am not convinced that the difference is as great as is sometimes perceived. In my humble opinion, pick something 9mm up that can be both accurately shot at speed and that is reliable and get good with it.

Best and here's hoping none of us have to use deadly force, but IF we do, I hope we prevail.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Steve - many thx for your added info - most valuable.
 

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Stephen,
Your post of the woman being struck with two .45s reminded me of a police video they showed us at Blackwater Training Center where a guy shot a woman three times in the torso and she ran around a car yelling he's shooting me.

It goes to show how tough women are!
 

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Shotty full of #4 buck COM at 18", and managed to make a statement and take a seat?

He was dead, he just hadn't noticed yet! Just goes to show, there's no magic bullet... keep shooting 'till the bad guy's down.

Oh, and I carry a 9 myself :) Cheap ammo allows me to shoot more. Hopefully, that will allow me to more reliably hit what I'm aiming at. Seems more important than slightly better bullet performance, but that's just my opinion. I guess if I could afford to shoot a couple hundred rounds of .45 per week, I probably would.
 

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I doubt the fella that wrote this was a hunter, "more air in, more blood out." :wink:
 

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I can shoot .45's for about 3 cents per round. Of course, I'm not counting time over a hot lead pot and on the reloading bench. :)
 

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1951 - 2011
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Hello, Joe. Your mention of the "hot pot" put me in mind of when a friend and I used to cast H&G 200-gr. #68 bullets by the tub for shooting. On our first attempt and our first 4 bullets, my buddy just picked one up to examine it. It was so shiney and pretty that he didn't realize it was still hotter than 9 yards of you know what! As the old joke's punchline goes, "It didn't take him long to look at it."

Best.
 
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