Thread: Stopping Power of Handguns
Many of you have bought handguns because you may feel that it has that stopping power of ONE shot at X feet or so. Now I have been told that a 22 will knock someone down if one plants multiple rounds in a critical area. I have come across a formula developed by Julian hatcher in 1900 on stopping power of Handguns.
General Julian Hatcher, a noted forensic pathologist, in the early 1900’s developed a good formula to determine the theoretical stopping power of a firearm cartridge. His formula has withstood the test of time and validation from other studies and data related to stopping power.
You want a handgun cartridge that has a Hatcher value of over 50 for the most effective stopping power. Values over 55 have diminishing returns in that you don’t gain any significant increase in stopping power for the extra recoil and control you must cope with. Handgun cartridges that don’t make a value of at least 50, should not considered for self-defense. If the rating of your handgun cartridge is under 30, it only has about a 30% chance of producing a one shot stop. Hatcher Ratings of 30 to 49 raise a one shot stop to approximately a 50% chance. Ratings of 50 or higher produce a one shot stop about 90% of the time.
Handgun Cartridge Type ..................... Hatcher Rating
.45 ACP full metal jacket 230 grain .......... 49.1
.45 ACP jacketed hollow point 230 grain ...... 60.7
.44 Magnum full metal jacket 240 grain ....... 92.3
*.44 Magnum lead wad cutter 240 grain ......... 136.8
.44 Special full metal jacket 240 grain ...... 51.6
*.44 Special lead wad cutter 240 grain ............. 76.5
.41 Magnum full metal jacket 230 grain ............. 54
*.41 Magnum lead wad cutter 230 grain .............. 80
10 millimeter full metal jacket 180 grain .......... 50.3
10 millimeter jacketed hollow point 180 grain ..62.1
.40 S&W full metal jacket flat nose 180 grain ...... 53.4
.40 S&W jacketed hollow point 180 grain ....... 59.4
.38 Special full metal jacket 158 grain ...... 26.7
*.38 Special lead wad cutter 158 grain ............. 39.7
**.357 Magnum full metal jacket 158 grain ..... 32.7
**.357 Magnum lead wad cutter 158 grain ............ 48.5
.357 SIG full metal jacket 147 grain ................ 36.6
.357 SIG jacketed hollow point 147 grain ..... 45.2
9 millimeter full metal jacket 147 grain ............ 32.3
9 millimeter jacketed hollow point 147 grain ... 39.9
.380 Auto jacketed hollow point 95 grain ..... 18.3
.32 Auto jacketed hollow point 71 grain ...... 11.1
.25 Auto jacketed hollow point 50 grain ...... 3.7
.22 Long Rifle jacketed hollow point 40 grain ... 4.2
* Jacketed hollow points will have the same rating as wad cutter bullets if the bullet hollow tip is greater than 1/2 of the caliber of the bullet.
* .357 Magnum ratings are taken from a firearm with a 3 inch barrel. Longer barrels will raise the rating of the round.
Now I bought a 357 Mag to start with. I for the first time used 38 sp to practice on a 6"by 6" target mounted on a 1 1/2 inch particle board leaning on a small tree on the ground. Fired 18 shots, got 7 on the target at 30 Ft. I thought this gun had stopping power.... according to the above scale it fairs poorly with 357 mag shells. Do I need to depend on the above scale??? Or do I need to buy a 40 caliber etc...
Last edited by Law abider; 08-11-2012 at 12:57 AM.
And what does "one stop shot" mean? a kill? I don't strive for "one shot stops" I strive to "remove the threat as soon as practical under circumstances with the minimum amount of force nessecary". If I fire one or two .38 slugs and the assailant ducks for cover or runs off giving me the chance to retreat, that's a victory in my book and that can't be measured on the hatcher scale. But frankly, I don't see a BG simply absorbing .38 +p JHPs to his chest where one .40 S&W would just stop him. if the BG is taking repeated shots in vital areas and not being stopped he's either wearing body armor or is hopped up on PCP or Meth and then even a "50+" handgun won't put him down easy either unless you hit him in the head.
Carry the gun that fits your needs for concealability (or lack there of if you OC), budget, comfort, etc. Don't be focused on the hatcher score, chose a gun you find easy and comfortable to shoot, because the gun you are best with will give you the best performance in a DGU (defensive gun use)
just my $00.02
they love our milk and honey, but they preach about some other way of living, when they're running down my country man they're walkin' on the fightin side of me
I have full faith in a .357 Mag.
But I guess it depends on shot placement.
Spend time at the range, and it will pay off. Makes the numbers jump way up.
Last edited by Law abider; 08-11-2012 at 01:53 AM.
I have stuidied this for 40 years there is lots of research on handgun stopping power. A lot of things have changed from the early 1900s mainly bullet designs.
I have carried a handgun for self defense for 35 plus years of those. Large small and in between I have decided there are a few things that are important.
1. Have a gun with you.
2. The proper mindset.
3. Being able to hit your target. In a good spot. Missing doesn't do you much good. But a lot of bad guys do go running when the victim starts shooting.
4. Type of hand gun has to go bang when you pull the trigger.
5. Should be fairly accurate.?
6. Caliber/bullet type. I perfer a good expanding bullet.
Given those six items and I have no problems useing about any handgun or cailber.
There are many factors in any selfdefense situation that could make the use of type, caliber,bullet the best or the worse to use.
Overall just having a working handgun with you and the proper mind set is the most important.
For those who want more information ... its just a mathematical formula .. not based on any testing. How accuracy the formula is? I have not idea.
My opinion: A .454 casul is useless as a self defense weapon if you fire it with your eye's closed (recoil effect) and miss the bad guy. I forget the exact cite but I recall reading years ago that one reason the .44 magnum never became a popular bullet amoung law enforcement is that slow motion video taken at one test facility showed many shooter's eyes were closed at the moment of firing, especially among female participants. Buy the best firearm you can afford, use it until you are proficient and confident with it, pick the bullet you are most confident with and feel safe. #2 says it all, mind set.
I would like to add one comment to FI's #6. I,too, am a proponent of expansion but recent studies by the FBI and findings of shootings, determined that a drug crazed bad guy can absorb a phenominal amount of muscle destruction and still function long enough to kill. The finding's result was that the most effective bullet is a large caliber solid nosed bullet that can penetrate layers of skin, fat and superflous tissue and destroy the central nervous system causing instant immobilization.
LOL David! You funny guy!
Be safe, be prepared, and carry on!
Alle Ihre Basisstation jetzt zu uns gehören
A 38spl 158gr lead RN,the 9mm 115FMJ,The 45 230FMJ all give great penetration right around 20 inchs.
But RN none expanding bullets have been proven to not be the best stoppers unless they hit the spine or brain.
One has to destroy tissue to stop and kill. The bullets that destroys the most vital organs are the best. To fast or too slow expanding they well not do the proper job. One because it never makes it to the organs the other because it doesn't do enough damage.
All I can say is pick and buy the best bullets out there for you defensive firearm and place your shots well.
"one shot stop"?
I don't know anyone who (intentionally) fires one shot, then stops to see if the threat is willing to give up.
[Yes, Zimmerman did, but given the type of gun he had, it likely jammed.]
Hit the attacker until he clearly gives up the fight or starts to fall down.
For most people I know, he's going to have at least 2 or 3 holes by then, no matter how fast he falls.
This site will give you data by caliber, bullet weight & type, & even brand, about the % of one shot stops, penetration depth, and 'diameter' (which I'm guessing is the final diameter of the bullet).
This is all based on actual shootings.
So if you use ammo that's 80% effective as a OSS, then hit the attacker with several rounds, you're highly likely to stop the attack.
Looking at various calibers & their OSS effectiveness:
.22 ranges from 21 to 40% [I'm surprised it's that high]
38 special - 47 to 65%
.380 - 55 to 71%
9mm - 58 to 83%
.40 - 61 to 94%
45ACP - 57 to 96%
357 magnum - 78 to 96%
Originally Posted by MLK, JrOriginally Posted by MSG LaigaieOriginally Posted by Proverbs 27:12Originally Posted by Proverbs 31:17
Did'j'ever play Rock, Paper, Scissors? Which one is the most powerful of the three?
Here's a new game; substitute Energy transfer, Penetration, and Accuracy (Central Nervous System).
Now, try to guess which one has priority. Good luck.
Last edited by Fallschirmjäger; 08-12-2012 at 12:13 AM.
The best round for you to carry will be the most powerful round/pistol that you can shoot well, and can afford to practice with (note that reloading your own makes pretty much any load affordable).
If that means .22LR, so be it. Practice and keep shooting it well. If you can handle .45 Super, .357, or 10mm, go for it. Modern 9mm is quite effective, especially with the advances in expanding bullet technology that have been made in the last decade.
The vast majority of criminals (21/24, according to FBI statistics) run away when a gun is presented. 2 out of 24 will turn and run as soon as it is discharged towards them. The remaining 1 of 24 will not stop until they are dead or disabled, and that is where caliber and shot placement really matters.
(If you want an objective way to compare loads, look at 2 things: Mass and Velocity of the projectile. Also note that mass of the gun will make it more comfortable to shoot)
No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)
If you go into a store, with a gun, and rob it, you have forfeited your right to not get shot - Joe Deters, Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Prosecutor
I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians. - George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)
As for the preceding discussion, in the majority of instances hollow point ammo has plenty of penetration to reach the CNS (central nervous system.) The greater issue is that the CNS is a comparatively small target and getting a hit on it with anything other than a slow and deliberately-aimed shot is going to be more of a matter of luck than anything else for 99.99% of shooters. Complicating things further is the great likelihood that either you or the threat, and quite possibly both, will be moving at the time. Further still, if the threat has partial cover you may not have any part of the CNS available as a target. If I'm going to have little more than a leg, foot or arm to shoot at I want to make sure the bullet isn't just punching a clean hole, but is tearing up as much bone, muscle and circulatory system as possible. A number of years ago, after my nephew was shot in both calves of his legs as he ran from a guy-- and he was able to keep running without slowing down. He told me that it only felt like a brief cramp or expanding sensation as the bullets passed clean through his legs. I'm fairly certain those were not HP rounds going through him and lucky for him they were not or I think we would have lost large chunks of flesh and required much more than the band aids and antibiotics.
Statistically, around 80% of people shot with a handgun survive. There's nothing magical about their stopping power and the adage that "the handgun is what you use to fight your way to your long gun" has good deal of wisdom in it. Of course the point isn't to kill the threat, the point is to stop the threat, which can even be accomplished with no shots fired at all, or even by a miss-- although I'm sure a hit on target is, all thing considered, more persuasive than a miss. Which leads me to another tidbit of information: when a threat stops due to a shots from a handgun it is more likely due to the fact that his will to threaten has been changed more than his ability to remain a threat. Yes, you've made him change his mind more than you've removed his ability to harm you.
Discussions of calibers have gone round-and-round for years. They might have a little bit that's interesting about them, but on the whole it's a discussion of a fairly insubstantial aspect of the overall topic. By far, having a completely reliable gun is much more important than what's shooting out of it. The other factor that is more important is, as mentioned already, mindset-- combined with some tactical knowledge. Superior mindset and tactics have defeated superior firepower plenty of times and will continue to do so. Yes, having better accuracy and more powerful rounds are not bad things on the whole, but if you listed the things that you want to have going for you in a gunfight from the most important to the least important, you'll find power and accuracy usually a few spots down from the top, and rightfully so.
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The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"
As a serious (is there any other kind?) practitioner of Gunkata, level ten thank you, size is irrelevant.
I can kill with my mind. One thought and my adversary's brain implodes.
Once I get to level 15 I can travel back in time and space to kill all my enemy's relatives and ancestors too.
That's pretty sweet.
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