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The real issue is not what pistol to carry to be sure to have a one shot stopping with a hit between the headlights, but more, how much practice it is going to take before you can make that shot 100% of the time with the pistol you’re carrying.

Some citizens change out their carry sidearm, from week to week or day to day depending on what they are wearing. For them it is difficult, to get the training and practice they need to be proficient.
That's a good point, but I am not sure it covers the whole issue. I am thinking of the Skokie shootout where the the cop was a master firearms instructor who said in an interview that he practiced a lot. He hit the perp 16 times with a .45, including two in the head and the guy kept returning fire until he got a third hit in the head. BTW, the perp was found to NOT be under the influence of any drugs.

So the proposition is that you have to get a pure, absolute center of head hit with a caliber that has high penetration, on a moving perp. Anything less might not get it. If someone with that cop's training couldn't do that, what chance do most of the rest of us have no matter how much we train? There has to be another solution.
 

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The 4" pie plate at 15 yards isn't moving and shooting back.
Can I hit the pie plate at the shooting range with a pistol? Yep.
Do I think that I could make a single pistol head shot at 15+ yards in a moving combat situation? Nope. That's what semi-auto rifles and machine guns are for. I'll most likely be under cover somewhere waiting for the threat to get closer.
(Being realistic/honest here and still have nightmares.)
 

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Augustus84 If your a good enough shooter and fast on the draw at the same time and handle stress extremely well a 22lr could be enough . So practice , practice , practice !! Maybe a Taurus tx22 filled with 16 cci mini mags !! .
 

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I know I'm not the only one who upon learning of the gentleman's successful takedown of the active shooter in the church in Fort Worth....asked myself...which of my handguns I would want if I had to take that shot. So I've been to the range several times in the last couple of weeks. I've shot my HK P2000, my M&P 2.0 compact...and a couple of my 1911 commanders. But surprisingly to me, the one that I could most regularly hit a 4 inch plate at 15 yards..cold...was my glock 34. Not impossible to carry...but not easy. I'm curious, what others think of the same question.
I moved to the G34.5 for daily carry, in the appendix position.
 

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One shoot is not alway a thing pleny of people have take what should have been fatal shots and kept right on going ( think to the 86 Miami shootout where poor HP stoped right before vital mass in one of the robbers ) or the times people have taken 10-20 rounds and still keep going

It is more about what you can accuartly bring into action and keep in action till the threats is down ..Plenty of gun fights have been stopped by 22,32 even 25acp guns ..It its about the person shooting it and also the ammo in it



Sure a 50ae might be enough from sure bloody shock to stop a target one hit but wont mean squt if is so over power that you cant get a hit in
 

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That's a good point, but I am not sure it covers the whole issue. I am thinking of the Skokie shootout where the the cop was a master firearms instructor who said in an interview that he practiced a lot. He hit the perp 16 times with a .45, including two in the head and the guy kept returning fire until he got a third hit in the head. BTW, the perp was found to NOT be under the influence of any drugs.

So the proposition is that you have to get a pure, absolute center of head hit with a caliber that has high penetration, on a moving perp. Anything less might not get it. If someone with that cop's training couldn't do that, what chance do most of the rest of us have no matter how much we train? There has to be another solution.
This is why I answered the way I did.
I've done force-on-force and both failed and succeeded doing it. I learned the most from the failures.
I have no illusions of being a knight in shining armor coming to the rescue. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm going to take rounds incoming if I'm ever in a real life encounter. BTDT wasn't fond of the experience and have no desire to repeat it.
With that in mind? I'm not wired to stand by and watch if there is any chance of mitigating the damage through my actions.
 

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Well since one shot stops are as much about luck (where did your round strike the perp?), power (is your chosen round capable of doing the job quickly), and the perp's resistance to being hit (is he high on something or is he able to drive through the hit?), your sidearm choice is wide open. Of the guns in my primary carry stable, I think the one that would be my best bet in a situation such as what took place in that church, I would l pick my gen3 Glock 23. Very accurate in my hands, powerful, reliable, and just an overall winner. In one well know gun writer's opinion, it is the best combat handgun one can carry.

Oh and it would be loaded with either Federal 165 grain HST or Speer Gold Dot 165 grain JHP "hot load #53970.
 

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I know I'm not the only one who upon learning of the gentleman's successful takedown of the active shooter in the church in Fort Worth....asked myself...which of my handguns I would want if I had to take that shot. So I've been to the range several times in the last couple of weeks. I've shot my HK P2000, my M&P 2.0 compact...and a couple of my 1911 commanders. But surprisingly to me, the one that I could most regularly hit a 4 inch plate at 15 yards..cold...was my glock 34. Not impossible to carry...but not easy. I'm curious, what others think of the same question.
Setting aside which gun is most easily accurate, as you will get countless opinions (heck my integrally silenced Ruger 22/45 is easily best for me answering the specific question of the head shot in that church, and is the gun Seals have used for covert headshots, specifically for sentry guards and dogs. Their gun was called the Amphibian as I recall), if you look at some of the big studies, .357 magnum is the most frequent one shot stop caliber that they found, and I do carry an LCR in .357 magnum partly based on that (going for longest sentence of the year). But such studies are flawed in that if you are shooting a revolver, you are inclined to conserve ammo simply because you don't have too many rounds to start in the gun. Could a .40 have done the same? We'll never know because folks often don't stop at one shot if they know they have another 12 or 13 remaining in the magazine. So several are fired off, meant as insurance that the guy is down for the count .... or several have been fired off early as suppressive fire just to get off the x and seek cover. You can afford that with a semi auto large capacity gun, but less so with a revolver (hence the large number of one shot stops found retrospectively.) Good round though, the .357 mag if you can withstand the recoil and bang. I carry the LCR in a jacket pocket and would use it as a first line defense, and then carry another semi-auto IWB or ankle carry as backup. I can have the LCR ready to shoot even before the need absolutely confirms itself as events unfold (finger on/near the trigger, in the pocket, as I determine if and when events warrant moving to deadly force). The semi-auto backup then becomes the salvation should an unusually massive amount of ammo be required, which is unlikely but comforting with only 5 in the LCR.

That all said, I have moved to loading my G27 and G23 (after barrel swap) with Underwood .357 sig in 65gr Lehigh Defense ED after seeing Youtube videos where they verify the 9mm use of that bullet penetrating Level IIIa soft body armor. The 9mm version gets up to around 1750 ft/min out of a 4.5 inch barrel, whereas the 357 sig pushes the bullet upwards of 2100 ft/min, profoundly surpassing the 9mm penetrating ability. So if you have an active shooter, and the active shooter has planned well enough ahead to get soft body armor, this, or an FN FiveSeven, would be the round of choice for a center mass shot (the FiveSeven being too big to easily conceal IMHO, but would be deadly and easily accurate if you did happen to carry it). Our good guy responder in the church was actively surveilling the perpetrator before the perp revealed his evil intensions, and was prepared to draw and take him down at a moment's notice, which I think aided him in being able to take a successful head shot (that and being a firearms instructor of course). If our hero had been surprised by the shooter, I'm guessing he'd more likely revert to his training and take a shot at center mass, due to it being a high percentage takedown shot. I see that as the more likely future situation for me or anyone. So had the perp. worn body armor, then hopefully my 65gr ED bullet would be able to penetrate that (some hybrid IIIa armor is more resilient, and I'm not sure the 357 Sig would penetrate simply because I haven't seen tests done yet on the hybrid body armor).

The round itself is light for caliber of course, and though .357 Sig is generally snappy, the muzzle flip/recoil with the lower grain bullet is relatively light, which of course translates to faster followup shots. I use .40 cal for practice (more recoil and cheaper) along with some .357 Sig, and then load the Underwood/Lehigh round for defensive ammo.

To evaluate any single factor, we must assume all else is equal. So this includes your ability, training, shot placement, etc. are equal round for round were you able to test out your hypothesis regarding the variable, caliber. Right now I think this Lehigh 65gr ED is the best overall caliber out there, all potential scenarios considered. And to answer the original question posted, I guess I'm using my G27/33 with a threaded 357 Sig barrel (longer barrel, more bullet speed) as my best one shot stop gun that can easily be concealed IWB or ankle carry and that is ultra reliable and that has the capacity to shoot much more if necessary (especially considering that you can use much larger mags made for the G31 as a second mag, hidden in your pocket). G23/32 too...and longer barrels OWB even better for bullet speed.

BTW, this spring, Underwood and Lehigh will be coming out with a cheaper bullet in 65gr ED that does not require CNC machining (=lower cost). I believe it will cost around $20/20 rounds, about a third cheaper. They have it for 90gr already, but that bullet doesn't move fast enough to penetrate body armor in 9mm (but might in 357 Sig, not sure).

Here's Buffman's video testing the same 65gr ED bullet but in 9mm (so going significantly slower than .357 Sig would). I'm not sure if there is a 357 Sig video on this bullet passing through armor, but it undoubtedly will surpass the performance of the 9mm load obviously (same bullet but significantly more powder in the case). On a side note, watch how much better the hybrid IIIa body armor is than the old fashioned IIIa armor.

 

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Not surprised that the G34 was the best. Mine is very accurate.
 

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I'm 30 years older then when I did most of my shooting. I'm more than 50 years older then when I was in VN. I don't shoot nearly as often as I used to and I don't shoot nearly as well as I used to. Also, I've noticed that some of my old full size guns seem heavier then they used to. Yet, the first time I tried 15 yard head shots with my then new to me Sig P250sc 9, I was surprised that I was able to with relative ease. But that's not the condition the man found himself in for that stopping shot in the church. Two people had already been shot and the shooter was or may have been moving. I can't remember the scene exactly. Personally, like David and Goliath, I think the Lord may have been with him for that shot.
 

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OP - I like the answers related to using the gun you train with. For me, given a limited budget and limited support from my spousal unit, my training is shooting IDPA and BUG matches with my primary EDC (Sig Sauer P365) and my primary holster (kydex IWB at 3:30). Although the gun is relatively new to me, I've shot it in several matches against the clock with all the tricks our match director can cook up.

All of these matches involve shooting around cover, moving from cover to cover, changing magazines, and hitting moving targets while missing 'no-shoots' (hostages), that might also be moving in front of or behind the target you need to engage.

No doubt the combat veterans and LEOs on this forum have the experience to speak about the element of incoming rounds. I've only had incoming rounds in basic training, 50 years ago, at Fort Lewis, Washington. One of our last assault courses involved low crawling under M60 machine gun fire and I swear when I heard that vicious SNAP of those rounds going overhead, I just knew if I ever got hit by one of them (in any body part), that I might die or at least lose a limb. I was never happier than a few days later when I learned I was heading to MP school instead of infantry training over at the old fort nearby.

Of course, once at MP school (Fort Gordon, Georgia), they showed us some documentary film footage of MPs getting killed when their convoy was ambushed near the DMZ in Vietnam. Rats! I still wasn't safe. But, when I got selected for sentry dog school at Lackland Air Force base in Texas, us Army troops were told at the beginning of another 8-week course that we wouldn't be going to Vietnam. But, the sailors and marine in the squad would be heading over for a combat tour. Not much later I read about them as KIAs … along with several men I trained with in basic and MP school.

My hope is that I would get at least one unobstructed shot before an assailant turned his/her gun toward me. Depending on the background (people or not) I'd have to aim at center mass and shoot often, not once. Not very scientific, but I truly believe the combat vets and LEOs who have survived gun fights.
 

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One of my 1911s....my Springfield TGO-1 would be my first choice but I don't carry it that often.

So either my Ed Brown Kobra carry or Les Bear comanchee.
 

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For me it would be my Dan Wesson Valor or my USP full sized 9mm var.1...I can hit with either at normal engagement distances...in either a Mozambique or modified Mozambique..which ever seems appropriate for the situation. However since I've been here in South Korea...all my firearms are in the USA..
 
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