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Thread: Stopping power

  1. #1
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    I think everyone knows there is a significant difference in the stopping power of a .45 over a 9mm. My question is this.....is there a difference in stopping power of a .40 over a 9mm, and if so, how great is that difference?

    Edit-
    After reading other entries, I decided to divulge a little more information. My carry sidearm is a Beretta 96 .40 S&W. I am quite comfortable with it. I have had a lot of time spent with the Beretta 92 9mm while in the Army, but did not want a 9mm of my own. Yes, I know the size does not matter, it's the placement of the rounds, reliability of the firearm, and knowing what you are doing.
    I also have a US Revolver Co .38 5 shot for HD (in addition to the Beretta and strategically placed spare mags, speedloaders and combat knives), and a Ruger New Model Single-Six with both cylinders (.22 Mag and .22 LR). I absolutely love the ruger, but do not carry it. It usually is unloaded unless I am firing it for practice. I am contemplating keeping it loaded in one of my fire safes with my important papers. The only rifle I have that is functional is a Mosin Nagant 91/30. It's long, but I like it.

    Back to the main question I asked, it is soley due to curiosity.

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    I don't think everyone knows that. In fact, I think several people would disagree. All of the popular auto loader cals are basically the same. Get quality ammo and learn how to shoot it, you'll be better off than worrying about a milimeter or a couple feet per second.

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    Hey ff,

    You're new here. maybe you don't know it but you're just gonna get flamed by suggesting the powerful huge .45 is better than the meek little 9mm. Best to just to keep your mouth shut and act like you don't know there's a difference.
    The bad guy will know the difference, tho.


    .45 ruger
    .45 Sig
    .380 Makarov
    9mm Sig

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    Thanks Anthony. In my own defense, I am in NO WAY admitting that the .45 is better than, or worse than, the 9mm. I am a firm believer in placement of rounds and proficiency with the weapon system. I personally prefer my old 155mm howitzer sending an HE (High Explosive) down range. STEEL RAIN! Man I miss my gun.

    Heck, a few .22's in the right spots will do the same as my 155 HE...nuetralize the threat.

    They just go about it in a different way.

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    The .40S&W is a very good round and just like other calibers, it comes down to ammunition selection and shot placement.. mostly shot placement. I also carry a .40 and hope it does its job should I ever need to call on it. I also carry 9mm when the need arises. Still my preference is the .40S&W.


    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

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    Hey there,

    So you're FA, that's ok no one is perfect. Tankers say "never trust someone who shoots at something that they can't see" Just kiddin ya, I'm a DAT and I miss myAbrams. You know most of us old school guys will tell you that you gotta have a .45 I have two and love them but that doesn't mean that I don't like the numbers on the .40 My wife will be carrying a Glock 23 soon. I also have my share of range time with the "92" but no love. I agree mostly that well placed shots are the real key but considering using something other than 230 gr. FMJ. I think you have the right idea with the .40 and emphasis on marksmanship. I would stick with it and carry on.

    your friend Defensor

    "BRAVE RIFLES"

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    Brave Rifles, the 3rd ACR. Nice to Meet ya.



    Yes, I was Arty for 7 Years. Got my rocker and became a gun chief. Then the Army decided to re-vamp everything. So, no more Arty for me. I ended up reclassing as an Ammunition Specialist - the Ammo Inspector for the new modularized Brigade Support Battalion/Manuever Enhancment Brigade. Did that for two years before being medically discharged honorably (4 years after returning from Baghdad). Had my fair share of time as an RSO/NCOIC during my 9 years 4 months and 29 days. Still miss the life sometimes, but man its nice to be a civie sometimes too.

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    Anthony_I_Am wrote:
    The bad guy will know the difference, tho.
    I'm convinced that anyone who thinks the BG will be able to tell the difference has never been shot or seen someone shot with a handgun. No offense, but I don't think anyone is going to know if it was 375 ft lbs or 435 ft lbs that hit them in the chest.

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    What IS important: Where you place the round.

    A 9 will stop the bad guy the same as the 40 when you put the round in his forehead and let it blow out the other side leaving a hole the size of a baseball. That's most likely what will happen when you're 9 feet from the bad guy and he's racing towards you with a knife.

    So it boils down to which caliber can you reliably shoot with the most accuracy? Will also depend on the firearm at this point (and many many other variables).

    Practice your aim and accuracy.

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    Don't buy into the "Caliber Myth."

    Ultimately, the diameter of the bullet fired from a handgun doesn't matter much. Modern powders, barrel manufacturing processes, and other technologies have pretty much moved all the major handgun calibers (9mm, .40 S&W, .45ACP, .38special, .357 Magnum, 10mm) so closely-grouped with regards to statistics that any argument from caliber to caliber is really just gun-geekery and nit-picking.

    'Stopping power" of handgun ammo is the biggest myth perpetrated in the shooting community. It doesn't matter what size the bullet is, if you have bad shot placement.

    You can shoot a crack-addled assailent with a whole magazine of .45acp Hydra-Shoks, and he will still be coming at you if you're hitting him in the shoulder, leg, and arm.

    Or you can hit that same drug-crazed attacker with a single, high-velocity .22LR round shot from a short barrel handgun like a Walther P22, and if it is a headshot, stop him in his tracks. The fact of the matter is, .22LR is the most deadly handgun caliber in the USA today--more people are killed with that round than any other. Go ask your local coroner what bullets they most frequently pull out of DOA homicide victims. It will be .22lr, followed closely by .25 and .32 (about equal most places), with 9mm and .40 trailing a FAR distant 3rd and 4th. Of course, most of those homicides are gang-related (NOT justifiable defensive shootings), most are done at EXTREMELY close range (many are even execution-style) and most include at least one head shot and multiple body shots.

    Then again, a well-placed #2 Dixon Ticonderoga pencil can literally drop an assailant in his tracks if wielded by a properly trained defender...

    Don't get me wrong, I carry a full-size 1911 in .45acp, and I carry state-of-the-art defensive loads (Hydra Shoks or Winchester PDX1 Bonded). But I know that I can't expect a single round (or even three or four) to definitively stop an attacker unless i hit a vital organ, the CNS, or a major artery. And the attacker won't stop IMMEDIATELY unless I get a direct hit to the CNS...

    I carry a .45acp because I know that even though I'm well-trained, accurate and competent, and my firearm is well-tuned and very accurate, in the adreneline-rush moments of defending myself (or my family) that first or second shot may not be as true as it is on the range. A large-caliber handgun will buy me more time to get a good clean shot if I need to pull the trigger more than twice, or even retreat to a more safe position, (or if in my house, to retrieve my 12ga shotgun). Big Caliber handguns are not a "guarantee", they are a "safety net" in case things don't go exactly as they should. The DO tend to inflict more damage when non-critical shots are scored, which whill buy you time to get a more "persuasive" shot if you need to. And the flash and loud report of a largeer handgun also brings with it a much more "persuasive" message than that of a smaller caliber...

    Smaller caliber handguns can just piss off an attacker if you "miss the mark". They require much better shot placement to stop or deter an attacker.

    In the heat of the moment of a defensive deployment of a firearm, you want to have as many aces up your sleeve as possible. Bigger guns have all four aces:
    1) They are visually larger and look like you "mean business" before you even pull the trigger,
    2) They tend to do more damage--even with non-critical hits,
    3) When a critical hit is scored, they tend to be much more "decisive", and
    4) they throw a big flash and a HUGE report from the muzzle, which looks scary as hell from the "business end", even if you miss...

    You need to remember the history of the .45acp round and the 9mm round to really understand how they will work (and their appropriateness) in defensive use.

    The .45acp was developed by John Browning as an answer to the ineffectiveness of the .45 Long Colt (and the .38 Special catridges used by officers) used against the Moro's of the Phillipines in the Moro Rebellion phase of the American-Phillipine War from 1899-1913. To prepare for battle, the Moro used a combination of body binding with leather, narcotics, and religious ritual to put themselves into an altered state of consciousness which left them insensible to injury. There are reports of Moro warriors being shot multiple times at close range with .45 LC and even .30 Krag rifles and still charging forward in their attacks on US Infantry troops. The .45ACP was DESIGNED, from the ground up, to stop drugged-up, heavily-clothed attackers.

    The 9mm Parabellum (9mm Luger, 9x19mm, 9mm/08, 9mm P-08) was designed by Georg Luger in 1902 for use in a pistol he also designed for the German Military. As it was the general strategic policy for most European military organizations to adopt battle firearms that did a LOT of damage but didn't necessarily kill with one shot (a wounded enemy soldier takes a LOT more resources, and therefore causes more damage to the enemy than a dead one...), the original design for the 9MM Luger round was DESIGNED, fromt he ground up, to wound and injure, but not necessarily to be an effective "stopper"...

    Modern 9mm rounds have ballistics that fall somewhere between .38 Special and .357 Magnum. The 9mm won't have the massive expansion factors that the .45acp will display, but it does penetrate well, and offers impressive terminal ballistic stats none-the-less.

    The main advantages to 9mm over .45acp are increased capacity and decreased recoil.

    The main advantages of .45acp over 9mm are larger wound channels/higher terminal ballistic specs, and (generally) less likelihood of over-penetration.

    [Rant]
    I'm sure someone is going to get on here and start quoting the FBI's annual Ballistics Reports. I have the whole set from the 1990's, and was there for some of the range time (I was a NIJ contractor at the time, and involved in Body Armor testing), and I can tell you that the FBI criteria are pretty much meaningless for civilian defense purposes. They involve things like shooting through windshield glass, or a car door, or plywood, or wallboard, and STILL getting the sort of expansion and terminal ballistics that the FBI demands. That is an ENTIRELY different set of criteria than what most citizens will ever need in a defensive situation, and therefore, the FBI reports are, for all intents and purposes, nothing more than gun-geek wanking material for normal "civilian" citizens with regards to their information and it's applicability to our uses...
    [/Rant]

    Which should you carry?

    My answer is "which you like to shoot, because the gun/round you like to shoot is the one you will practice with more often, and therefore you'll be more proficient with it. If you buy a firearm you don't like to shoot, it doesn't matter how good it's ballistic ratings are--if you can't shoot it effectively, it's just a VERY expensive piece of belt-jewelry. Modern manufacturing methods and materials, modern bullet design, and modern powder formulations have all made the tiny differences between the "major" handgun calibers pretty much a moot point. It all comes down to what YOU like to shoot, and what you are more likely to practice with, and what suits you the best (capacity, hand size, wrist strength, etc).

    Again, I reiterate:

    Don't buy into the "Caliber Myth."

    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    The very simple question to decide for yourself the truth.

    If caliper doesn't matter, then why does the imperial federal government
    ban owning / possessing anything over 50 cal?
    If size doesn't matter then a 1 inch round would be fine if you have the
    'guns' to hold and use it.

    If the threat is mr biden's motorcade bearing down on you, you better
    have something big to stop an armored suv. If it's a juvie gang banger
    wanna be, a 22 will do the trick. So are you going through a windshield
    or a hoodie?

    Every gun has a use for a specific situation, If one could do everything
    there would only be one size/design.

    A well placed shot of any size will be more use than a hail of hot lead
    in the dirt and trees around the target. So practice with whatever you like,
    the number of brain dead attackers who charge a gun are few, and if you
    shoot straight even fewer in the future.

    Besides who only uses one round when stopping a threat.
    Swiss cheese moves very slow.

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    Caliber is less important than reliability. An 8 shot 357 magnum revolver probably represents the ultimate in stopping power/reliability. It carries a equal number of shots to the 1911, weighs the same, speed loaders allow reloads in about the same time as an auto, can use any ammo no matter what the bullet profile is or power level and there is no need to practise those idiotic malfunction drills (tap-rack-bang? No, too slow. How about Rack, Reload and Bang, No? Eject, Rack, Reload and bang?). With a revolver, it is Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang. Always.

    For experts, a larger magnum adds more power and the ability to punch through car doors, walls and interior doors, at the cost of 2 shots and bullet overpenetration becomes a problem unless bullets are specially selected to transfer energy into your opponent.

    It should be noted that revolver users miss less and tend to center punch their opponents more.

    Also the technique of "Double tap" was invented to compensate for the lower energy and poor stopping effect of 45 ACP hardball, the most reliable Ammo available for Autos. Tragically, the era of autos is nearly over, as MetalStorm weapons will completely replace mechanical actions in weapons in a fairly short time.






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    The .45 long Colt is a clearly more powerful cartridge than the .45 ACP both in velocity and bullet weight.

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    I don't know if it's fair to compare current 45LC loadings to those of 100 years ago.

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    My how time flies! We're rolling over on 100 years for the .45ACP too (1905). It was thestill anemic .38 long Colt they were having problems with. The .45 long Colt revolver's problem was reload time and a mag fed auto was needed. The .45 LC would definetely knock their pegs out from under them! FWIW, the Moros were (are) Moslem.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.38_Long_Colt
    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/.45_ACP

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    I think everyone knows there is a significant difference in the stopping power of a .45 over a 9mm. My question is this.....is there a difference in stopping power of a .40 over a 9mm, and if so, how great is that difference?

    If you believe Marshall and Sanow (not everyone does) .40 S&W is as effective a stopper as .45 ACP and the difference between it and 9mm is as great as the difference between .45 ACP and 9MM.

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    Dreamer wrote:
    [Rant]
    I'm sure someone is going to get on here and start quoting the FBI's annual Ballistics Reports. I have the whole set from the 1990's, and was there for some of the range time (I was a NIJ contractor at the time, and involved in Body Armor testing), and I can tell you that the FBI criteria are pretty much meaningless for civilian defense purposes. They involve things like shooting through windshield glass, or a car door, or plywood, or wallboard, and STILL getting the sort of expansion and terminal ballistics that the FBI demands. That is an ENTIRELY different set of criteria than what most citizens will ever need in a defensive situation, and therefore, the FBI reports are, for all intents and purposes, nothing more than gun-geek wanking material for normal "civilian" citizens with regards to their information and it's applicability to our uses...
    [/Rant]
    I'm going to avoid this argument, but I'm going to comment on this rant. To all civilians who read the above who care about their self defense, don't ever listen to someone who says "Oh you won't need that because it more than likely won't happen." It's the same argument the antis make about carrying guns. Gun fights don't have standards, they do not discriminate between soldier, cop, or civilian, and they're unpredictable by nature. Do not allow someone to give you a false sense of "Oh I don't need this because I'll never be in that situation." You don't know that, and that's why you carry in the first place. You might have to shoot through your windshield, or your car door, or through your front door, or a house door, or a wall, or through your old lady's Thanksgiving turkey. You don't know and you won't know until it happens, that's why you train for and use the tools necessary for situations you hopefully will never be in.

    If you're going to ignore the "calibre myth" (foolish) make your defensive choice on what you can control better under stress, what calibre is more readily available to you, and the reliability of the weapon and calibre in less than favorable conditions.

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    I chose .40 after doing my own research. I found that it had better energy transfer than the 9mm and a lot of .40 guns can be converted to .357Sig with a barrel swap.

    When most people say "stopping power" they are actually referring to the concept of energy transfer. Read the Wikipedia articles on .45ACP, .40S&W, 9mm, and "stopping power". They're well referenced and informative.

    I'd also recommend a good quality round with; a.) good penetration characteristics, b.) good bullet weight retention. I highly recommend Winchester Ranger SXTs in any caliber.

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    http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/1...parisonhi0.jpg


    Made the option easy for me. And in that regard, the caliber of a mans guns is of a personal nature.

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    "I'd also recommend a good quality round with; a.) good penetration characteristics"

    Be careful to choose a hollow point which will expand in the body and not Over Penetrate. You may shoot the bad guy- but you don't need that bullet landing in your daughter's face.

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    BreakingTheMold wrote:
    http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/1...parisonhi0.jpg


    Made the option easy for me. And in that regard, the caliber of a mans guns is of a personal nature.
    True, the 9mm is among the least in terms of expansion. However, I can also put four rounds on a 10-yard man-sized target in less than a second, so perhaps expansion isn't everything.
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

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    Live Free or Die!

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    Give me a choice between a .22 short or a knife, and I'm going to pick the .22 short.

    Sometimes I can't carry my full size 1911 because in shorts and a t-shirt, it drags my pants off cause it's so heavy.

    My CW9 is light enough and small enough to work in that situation.

    However, when I go to the gym, or go running, the CW9 will drag my gym shorts to the ground. So I carry my little NAA .22MAG.

    I have no illusions that the .22MAG will do the same thing as either of those guns, but I can do a hell of a lot more damage with a .22MAG stuck to someones neck than I can with my meat cleavers!!!

    My other pet peave about this topic has to do with accuracy. If you can't shoot your .45, .40, 9mm, .380 or whatever, and hit anything, then it doesn't really matter what you carry.........you might as well carry a cap gun.

    If you don't shoot AT LEAST once every 60 days, then you are only putting yourself at risk by carrying a gun. Again, if you can't shoot, it doesn't matter what you carry, because you are not going to hit anything anyway.

    We've heard the rants about how the 5.56 round is "innacurate" and doesn't have the "lethal results" that the military needs. HOGWASH!! You know who LOVES the 5.56? Special Operations units. Why? Because they know that combining the accuracy, small package, minimul recoil, and decreased cost equals a bad ass round. In the big Army, how often do you think units, other than Infantry units, shoot their weapons? If varies, but I can tell you that it is definitly not every 60 days. That's why you hear that the 5.56 and the M4 are "not accurate" and don't have the "lethal results" needed. Because when you shoot someone in the arms, miss them 8 times, hit them in the leg three times, and miss another 9 times, then they will most likely be alive, and probably be able to get behind cover and stay in the fight. It's easy to blame the equipment........when more times than not, it's the "screw" behind the gun that's jacked up.

    Carry what you can shoot, and shoot what you carry.

    ALABAMA SHOOTERS ASSOCIATION

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    I tend to like the 9x19 better than the .40 S&W round, simply because there are +P and +P+ offerings in the 9x19 if I am really overly concerned about blazing massive FPS down-range.

    The real reason I prefer the 9x19 to the .40 S&W would be because I can place followup shots more accurately with a quality 9mm than I can with the "snappier" .40 S&W in the same model of pistol. In other words, shooting a Springfield XD chambered in 9mm vs .40 S&W I'm much better and faster with the 9. The same goes when I compare equivalently sized Glocks or H&Ks of those calibers.

    I think trying to compare the terminal ballistics of the two would be like splitting hairs. I've seen some of the 9mm HSTs from Federal that opened up to the same size as .40 S&W of the same brand.

    That being said, I personally prefer to carry my .45 ACP or my .357 Magnum instead, simply because I have more first-shot-stop confidence with them than I do the 9x19 or the .40 Smith.

    But if you made me choose between only a 9mm or a .40, I'd go for the 9 because I'm better with it.

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    I'm going to avoid this argument, but I'm going to comment on this rant. To all civilians who read the above who care about their self defense, don't ever listen to someone who says "Oh you won't need that because it more than likely won't happen." It's the same argument the antis make about carrying guns. Gun fights don't have standards, they do not discriminate between soldier, cop, or civilian, and they're unpredictable by nature. Do not allow someone to give you a false sense of "Oh I don't need this because I'll never be in that situation." You don't know that, and that's why you carry in the first place. You might have to shoot through your windshield, or your car door, or through your front door, or a house door, or a wall, or through your old lady's Thanksgiving turkey. You don't know and you won't know until it happens, that's why you train for and use the tools necessary for situations you hopefully will never be in.

    If you're going to ignore the "caliber myth" (foolish) make your defensive choice on what you can control better under stress, what calibre is more readily available to you, and the reliability of the weapon and calibre in less than favorable conditions.

    This may be one of the best posts I have seen this year. Nicely said.

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