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Thread: A Study of Handgun Stopping Power

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    Regular Member Rollbar's Avatar
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    A Study of Handgun Stopping Power


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    Founder's Club Member The Big Guy's Avatar
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    Interesting and infomative. Reconfirms 2 things for me.

    1. A small calliber (.22) that you can hit what you're aiming at is better than a big one you can't.
    2. All around there in nothing better than a .357, assuming you can shoot it properly.

    I would like to see results of small and fast verses big and slow. Close range I go for big and slow.

    TBG
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    Very interesting read!!

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    I teach that stopping power is often overrated. But I'm not going to get much more into that now.

    I think this study is good, but has significant flaws. That's not his fault, as he has to use the samples provided. (I also just had a completely independent thought about a good use for rapists and murderers, but I digress.)

    The "average number of rounds until incapacitation" number is surely misleading. Many of the shootings would have employed a double-tap before BDA (battle-damage assessment) to determine if more were needed. Indeed, look how many of those numbers are around 2.0. So the real numbers are going to lie between this guy's numbers and the numbers from Marshall and Sanow.
    Last edited by MAC702; 07-13-2012 at 11:10 PM.
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    Julian Hatcher figured it out most of a century ago. Every new idea that comes along just proves out what he wrote in "Textbook of Pistols and Revolvers."

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    Augh. Calibers.

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    What all that tells me is.... Or rather confirms is.... That a handgun is a piss-poor choice to take to a gunfight. Take a rifle or a shotgun.

    But a handgun is a great gun to carry when you can't carry a real gun, or better than no gun at all.


    "A handgun is for fighting your way back to the rifle you should have never put down in the first place" -Clint Smith

    (I'm paraphrasing his quote, but you get the idea.)

    T.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Yep. A handgun is a sidearm. It's a defensive weapon at our side for those times we expected to not need a weapon.

    If you think you might need one, it had better not be just a handgun, and you had better be trying to be somewhere else.

    I'd be preaching to the choir if I urged you guys to carry sidearms.

    But how many of you have a long gun in your car? Hmmm?
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    But how many of you have a long gun in your car? Hmmm?
    You know, that is a really good question. I hadn't even considered the idea of keeping a rifle or shotgun in my vehicle because of security concerns. But that is worth reevaluating. I think I need to find a way to reasonably secure a long gun in my truck. Off to do some Binging.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin View Post
    You know, that is a really good question. I hadn't even considered the idea of keeping a rifle or shotgun in my vehicle because of security concerns. But that is worth reevaluating. I think I need to find a way to reasonably secure a long gun in my truck. Off to do some Binging.
    I should clarify my statement about "security concerns". What I mean to say is, I do my best to not allow illegal guns to end up on the street (because they get stolen from me). I consider it my responsibility to not allow that to happen. But if I can find a reasonably effective way of securing said long gun in my vehicle, then I would consider it. Something kinda like what the cops use, but not so "on display".

    If anyone has any suggestions to aid in my search, feel free to speak up.

    Are turrets legal in Nevada?

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Even if not accessible from your seated position, or even if not accessible from the driver's compartment, it really opens up the options of a much more effective weapon available in relatively short order.

    Cheap pump action shotguns are less than $300 brand new. No need to care if they get banged up a bit in the trunk or under the seat. Just remember in NV, you can have the magazine loaded, but not the chamber, when it comes to rifles and shotguns.

    And yes, you can put it in a vertical rack in front of the dash if you really want to. We get to be armed the same as the police in this state. They carry sidearms, and have empty-chamber shotguns in the car.
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    Last edited by OC-moto450r; 08-02-2012 at 06:06 PM.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    "How" really depends on your vehicle. I have an extended-cab full-size truck. My two constant truck guns are in a roof rack in the back half of the cab.

    http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/p...rhead+Gun+Rack

    It's not a natural place to look and I have plans to have a cover that keeps them completely hidden from view.

    My truck is also in secured parking at night, in my yard with three dogs.
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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC-moto450r View Post
    If you have time to load your rifle the jury will most likely believe that you had time to retreat....
    Most self-defense situations are still going to be the realm of the sidearm.
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    Pretty sure 'If you have time to load your rifle the jury will most likely believe that you had time to retreat' means nothing because we don't have a duty to retreat...also - my ar 15, 30 round mag in...really how long does that take to 'load'. pull back the charging handle...safey to fire...squeeze.

    I don't get that. Just like how some people carry a sidearm unchambered...racking the slide takes no time...FAR less time than to retreat - if that was even an argument.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OC-moto450r View Post
    If you have time to load your rifle the jury will most likely believe that you had time to retreat. Pulling a loaded handgun on the bad guy is going to much quicker than trying to load your rifle while being threaten with great bodily harm. (carrying a loaded, (chambered) long gun in your car is illegal in NV)
    Chambered is different than loaded IMO and from my understanding also the opinion of the law. Or at least in so much as you are allowed to have the magazine in - which is what I refer to as loaded.

    It doesn't take long to pull a bolt back...
    Last edited by jdholmes; 07-14-2012 at 01:52 AM.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdholmes View Post
    Chambered is different than loaded IMO and from my understanding also the opinion of the law. Or at least in so much as you are allowed to have the magazine in - which is what I refer to as loaded. ...
    The State of NV defines loaded as an unexpended cartridge in the chamber. An empty chamber and a full magazine are not loaded. I have ten rounds in the magazine of my SKS and keep the bolt back; just a flick will drop the bolt and put a round in the chamber. The State considers that to be unloaded.
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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lostlittlerobot View Post
    Pretty sure 'If you have time to load your rifle the jury will most likely believe that you had time to retreat' means nothing because we don't have a duty to retreat...
    But if we choose to extricate ourselves from a situation (if an available option), there may be liability for retrieving the long gun and then going BACK to the fight. I think that may be what he was arguing, which is a valid point. But there may be perfectly legitimate reasons for going back to the fight. If I was in an IHOP parking lot in Reno...
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    Last edited by OC-moto450r; 08-02-2012 at 05:57 PM.

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    Last edited by OC-moto450r; 08-02-2012 at 05:57 PM.

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    Last edited by OC-moto450r; 08-02-2012 at 05:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OC-moto450r View Post
    If you have time to load your rifle the jury will most likely believe that you had time to retreat. Pulling a loaded handgun on the bad guy is going to much quicker than trying to load your rifle while being threaten with great bodily harm. (carrying a loaded, (chambered) long gun in your car is illegal in NV)
    Yep, point taken. For me, I wasn't so much thinking of the shotgun as a quick response thing. More of a "I like the idea of the extra firepower, should the situation ever call for it, it won't do me any good locked up at home."

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    Regular Member Nevada carrier's Avatar
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    I say, carry the largest caliber you can safely and accurately handle. Many times people believe that the larger the caliber the more difficult they can be to manage. this is not the case at all. There are many more factors at play. people say .40 S&W has a lot of "snap" and they do not enjoy shooting it. Well from a very compact, low capacity pistol like a Kahr, this might be true, but a much heavier, larger, high capacity firearm, like a Taurus 24/7 OSS, you will find the recoil to be very easy to manage.

    .380 Auto is a pretty tiny round, but most of the pistols that fire it are very small, and very light and have a lot of muzzle flip. I personally hate shooting this round and only shoot it often enough to be confident I can hit my target consistently. Nevertheless, there are times that the limitations of what I can Conceal dictate that I can only carry this weapon, so I have it if I need it.

    Ammunition, like make and model is a very personal choice. Never let someone else choose your defensive carry weapon based on their personal bias. Carry what feels good in your hand and will allow you to put a round where you intend it to go. If your friend hates revolvers, don't him limit you to semi autos. You might love revolvers. For that matter, some people have issues operating semi autos for one reason or another. If you're 75 years old and have arthritis, a semi auto might not be for you.
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    Frankly, the entire idea of "knock down power" or "stopping power", is just such an over-used cliche that has been so misrepresented and perverted over the years, that it's almost laughable when somebody brings it up. And it seems like some "new and improved" article comes out about once a year that, if you read between the lines, supports the notion that it isn't, nor will it ever be, an exact science.

    Handgun cartridges simply aren't very powerful, regardless of what caliber you choose. Clearly you need a cartridge that has enough power to reliably penetrate deep enough into an attacker so it can disrupt vital organs and/or the CNS, and we generally get consistent and reliable penetration in handgun calibers from 9X19mm on up. On the other hand, when you go smaller than the 9X19, power drops off DRAMATICALLY as the smaller cartridges develop much less pressure and adequate penetration becomes much less consistent.

    With the above as a known, if we stick with more powerful loadings such as 9X19mm, .38spl +P, .357 SIG, .357 Mag., .40S&W, and .45ACP, the concept of "best" as it relates to "knock down power" is barely (if at all) quantifiable. Shot placement is King, penetration is Queen, and everything else is just icing on the cake.

    Shot placement is 90% of the equation, and sufficient penetration is 9.5%. The other 0.5% is made up of the 0.10" difference in diameter between the 9mm and .45ACP bullets and the minor differences between one type of premium defense hollow point over the other, in addition to the debatable relevance either of them would have on the outcome of a given defensive shooting encounter anyway. On top of that, we can wrap the whole package up in a heavy layer of luck and take into consideration the possible psychological/physiological state of our adversary, and we can see that the marginal differences from one higher-powered cartridge to the next is of very little significance in the overall scheme of things.

    I think a MUCH more relevant discussion to have is shootability of the various more-powerful cartridges, ie: recoil management - how quickly are you able to deliver combat-accurate hits with a given handgun using a specific cartridge. If, for example, you are 1.5 times more efficient with a 9X19mm as you are with the .45ACP from the same handgun platform, then the 9X19mm is the better choice. The same consideration can be made when comparing revolvers to semi-autos, low-capacity semi-autos to high-capacity semi autos, and so on and so forth. Placing a higher number of more accurate hits on the target will nearly always end the hostilities quicker than placing a lower number of less accurate hits on the target, once we get into 9X19mm caliber (or larger) handguns.
    Last edited by cshoff; 07-14-2012 at 09:14 AM.

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    Regular Member jdholmes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nevada carrier View Post
    I say, carry the largest caliber you can safely and accurately handle.
    People do say this often, but I don't think it is necessarily a true statement...

    As others have said and this study points out, bigger doesn't really mean much with hand guns. In fact the 9mm, according to this study, it the worst even falling below the .22 in regards to incapacitating from one shot to the torso or head.

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