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Best caliber for stopping power


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Old 09-16-2011, 03:52 AM   #21
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If you're throwing surface area into the calculation, now we're talking "pressure".

Pressure = Force/Area

The same force on a smaller area will be greater pressure.

Throw that fastball against the ballistic gel in the picture and maybe it'll go in an inch. Same force as a 45, but much less penetration, but much wider "cavity".

The reason those gel reults look so similar is because they were all expanding bullets out to close to the same surface area.

Back in the 1960s, there was some kind of publicized test of shooting through a stack of boards and declared 357 the "best" caliber because it went through the most boards. But you can't just look at it from one perspective like that.

If we're talking "stopping power", it's 45.
If we're talking "accuracy", maybe it's something else.
9mm only has 72% of the force of the 45 and that's a fact.
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Old 09-16-2011, 03:54 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonM View Post
approximate:
frontal area of an average baseball is 63.5 square inches = 3169 foot grains per second

45 acp is .161 square inches = 1,250,000 foot grains per second

using your figures.

thats an enourmous amplification of force. if a baseball thrown is the same as a 45 acp its easy to see why a bullet does so much more damage than a thrown ball. to get the ball to do the same effect damage wise the baseball would have to travel about 394 times faster for the force per square inch to equal a bullet.

in terms of ballistic damage the ball would have to be going a helluva lot faster to equal the damage a 45acp can do.

while the overall force generated is the same the force per square inch is no where near the same. a bullet applies the force generated more efficiently than a baseball even tho they have the exact same energy potential.

but i failed math so im prolly dead wrong
You are correct...the surface area that transfers the energy is as important as the energy transferred. What would you rather step on, a nail, plate or a basketball? The answer describes the function of Kevlar, by distributing the force of a projectile over a greater suface area the penetration is reduced or eliminated. You may still suffer contusions and broken bones from the raw force but your internal organs will remain intact.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:31 AM   #23
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I didn't say they do the same amount of tissue damage. I'm saying there is absolutely no way any handgun caliber is going to "knock a man down."


If you shoot a pig 10 times with a quality 9mm and 10 times with a quality .45, I'd bet money you wouldn't be able to tell the difference in wound cavities.


Anyways, read the stuff I posted. Making good hits is 98% of the battle. The extra 2% is the difference between a .44mag and a .22.


My two primary concealed carry guns are a 9mm and a .44mag Raging Bull, so don't anyone think that I'm biased toward small calibers. I just know that all the "as long as it starts with a '4'" or "a .45 will knock a man off his feet" stuff is entirely gunshop (and now internet) lore.

The calculations of relative area and impact force and such are interesting, but relative to the human body they are little more than meaningless. say we take a person who is 8" thick, and weighs 150lbs. A 9mm that expands to .65" and through-penetrates the body will have damaged a tube of flesh weighing about 1.5oz. That's about .063% of the body's mass damaged. If a .45 expands to .75" and through-penetrates the body, the amount of damaged tissues goes from the previous 1.5oz to about 2oz. Oh hey, now it's a whopping .084% of the body's tissue that's damaged. Either way, it's insignificant if you think a .45 anywhere to the chest is going to just destroy massive amounts of tissue. Yeah, it will be more than a 9mm, but not so much more that potential for wound effectiveness should be the deciding factor in caliber choice.


All that really matters is that you hit important parts of the body. Yeah, most people shot anywhere, and regardless of with what caliber fall down instantly, but that is purely psychological.

But, if we want to use math, a .45 in the same weight gun has about 80-100%more recoil than 9mm. That means, logically, that it would take about 80-100% longer to get back on target. Thus, if we say it takes .5 seconds between 9mm shots, then it would take the same shooter about .9 seconds between .45 shots. So, in two seconds, the shooter could have been four 9mms on target or two .45s on target. 9mm definitely gets the nod there as far as tissue damage and relative likelihood of having damaged vital organs.

In any case, I'm perfectly happy with my 18rd Wonder Nine, but then again I'm quite good . When I want more, I pack the .44 :P .


But, people will believe whatever they want to believe.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:50 AM   #24
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As an actual physicist I feel it's necessary I point a few things out.

First and foremost, force is not mass times velocity. As a new shooter I've done some reading on this to help me pick a carry caliber as well. From what I've read, the physics of ballistics is very cut and dry; you can do the math with some of the equations to follow. The true dispute and uncertainty is in the biological effects of the ballistics. Muscle is superbly engineered, it can snap back into shape after a terrifying deformation. There are also theories about shockwaves propagating through your arteries which they propose can knock you unconscious by elevating the blood pressure in your brain. The end result of all this is what many have already said, buy what you are comfortable with and will always carry.


The relevant equations are:

Force is mass times acceleration (F=ma): the shorter the time for the bullet to stop and the larger its mass, the more force it will apply.

Momentum is mass times velocity (p=mv): this probably applies most to recoil since you will directly feel all the momentum of the bullet (and the expelled gasses) not used to cycle the action.

Energy (kinetic) is 1/2 mass times velocity squared (K=0.5mv^2): the actual damage a bullet does is probably most related to this and how quickly the energy is transferred (see power). This can easily mean a lighter faster round can have more damaging energy since doubling the velocity quadruples the energy ([2v]^2=4v^2).

Power is energy times the time to deliver it (P=Et in general or P=Kt for us): the faster you can deliver energy to something the worse it will be for it. For example, gunpowder converts its chemical energy very quickly while a log in a fire may have as much or more energy but takes hours to deliver it all.
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Old 09-16-2011, 06:05 AM   #25
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Stopping power is about energy transfer to the intended target. If the goes through the target and puts it energy in a victim behind your target it didn't do it's job. IMO the 45 ACP is the best, because it moves slow enough and heavy enough to put it's energy in what ever it hits first. Stopping does no good if you end up in court explaining why you killed an innocent victim and severely injured injured your intended target.

This one of the reasons why the 45 ACP was created, because it had effective energy transfer. It didn't blow a hole threw a victim and leave them standing, it put them on their a$$.
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Old 09-16-2011, 09:26 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irpotential View Post
As an actual physicist I feel it's necessary I point a few things out.

First and foremost, force is not mass times velocity. As a new shooter I've done some reading on this to help me pick a carry caliber as well. From what I've read, the physics of ballistics is very cut and dry; you can do the math with some of the equations to follow. The true dispute and uncertainty is in the biological effects of the ballistics. Muscle is superbly engineered, it can snap back into shape after a terrifying deformation. There are also theories about shockwaves propagating through your arteries which they propose can knock you unconscious by elevating the blood pressure in your brain. The end result of all this is what many have already said, buy what you are comfortable with and will always carry.


The relevant equations are:

Force is mass times acceleration (F=ma): the shorter the time for the bullet to stop and the larger its mass, the more force it will apply.

Momentum is mass times velocity (p=mv): this probably applies most to recoil since you will directly feel all the momentum of the bullet (and the expelled gasses) not used to cycle the action.

Energy (kinetic) is 1/2 mass times velocity squared (K=0.5mv^2): the actual damage a bullet does is probably most related to this and how quickly the energy is transferred (see power). This can easily mean a lighter faster round can have more damaging energy since doubling the velocity quadruples the energy ([2v]^2=4v^2).

Power is energy times the time to deliver it (P=Et in general or P=Kt for us): the faster you can deliver energy to something the worse it will be for it. For example, gunpowder converts its chemical energy very quickly while a log in a fire may have as much or more energy but takes hours to deliver it all.
Fantastic post! Its nice to see something that doesn't simply rely on someones impressions or thoughts or deductions, but rather raw fact.

To be even more honest, I found not only my new carry gun, but a caliber that delivers real "stopping power!"


Remember ladies and gentlemen, "for every action, there is an equal, and opposite, reaction." If it don't "knock" you down, its not going to "knock" down the other guy either!
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Old 09-16-2011, 10:14 AM   #27
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I like 9mm because it's what I shoot best but if I was only concerned with stopping power I would probably carry a 4'' 357 revolver. I've seen pigs shot with both .45acp and .357 mag. all I can say is that the .45 will kill them but the 357 puts them down. Speed kills............literally
the 10mm looks beefy but I can say I've ever owned or ever shot a living target with one.

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Old 09-16-2011, 12:08 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonM View Post
I like 45acp because its a good mix of penetration diameter controllability for follow up shots and accuracy.

My opinion is the bigger the bullet the more liekly you are to hit something important. A bigger hole means faster blood loss stopping the threat sooner saving your life or the lives of your loved ones.

I echo robocop there carry the biggest round you can shoot comfortably and accurately.

I am comfy using a fmj 380 or a 45acp because i know my shot placement is going to be center mass. I practice a lot.
My sentiments exactly. Especially the latter (380 & 45ACP).
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:19 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irpotential View Post
As an actual physicist I feel it's necessary I point a few things out... First and foremost, force is not mass times velocity.
F = d(massXvelocity)/dt or Ft = mv

If we're talking force for 1 second, then it works out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by irpotential View Post
Energy (kinetic) is 1/2 mass times velocity squared (K=0.5mv^2): the actual damage a bullet does is probably most related to this and how quickly the energy is transferred (see power). This can easily mean a lighter faster round can have more damaging energy since doubling the velocity quadruples the energy ([2v]^2=4v^2).
I agree that energy is the most appropriate formula. Most ballistic tables give you this value so you can just look it up. Like several people mentioned though, the energy is wasted if it passes through the back. So, a smaller faster bullet might have more energy, but less stopping power if it's just penetrating through and putting its energy into the wall.
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:54 PM   #30
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Looking at Jay's Gelatin Test photos and Marthor's calculations it makes it very evident regarding the wound channels of the cartridges which would be the best compared to the 9mm. Of course with the new ammunition the 9s have came a long way. As was stated, I believe in carrying the largest caliber you can handle and also the one that meets your needs. To explain I carry a Kahr P-380 in the heat of the summer when wearing light clothing so I can conceal the weapon. Do I feel real comfortable doing that the answer is NO! However I also feel during that time it is best to carry the 380 than to leave my larger pistols in the car or at home. I just mentally plan on shooting several rounds at a time from the 380 if I unfortunately ever have to use. And I am presently carrying Federal Hydra-Shocks in it. 40 S&W and 45 ACP is my choice of carry the rest of the year. And not only considering the penetration in Jay's test, one must notice the wound channel displacement of the 357 Mag. and larger calibers.

Last edited by Sniper03; 09-16-2011 at 01:00 PM. Reason: mis stated area
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