Best caliber for stopping power

Discussion in 'Semi-Auto Handguns' started by 97cobra, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. 97cobra

    97cobra New Member

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    What is the best caliber for stopping power. I'm looking for my first handgun and I've shot 9, 40, 45, and 10 and I've become comfortable with all of them but was curious as to which one has the most stopping power. I plan on using it as a ccw and hd weapon.
     
  2. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Stopping power is relative to shot placement. Any of the calibers listed will cause the same (relative) damage and stop equally well. My recommendation is always to carry the largest caliber you can shoot WELL. I would not feel "undergunned" with a 9mm as long as I had good ammo (Gold Dot, SXT +P+, Hydrashok).
     

  3. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    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.
     
  4. 97cobra

    97cobra New Member

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    I shoot weekly with my father, uncle, and my friends and I've shot 1911s (various manufacturers) glocks, smith and wessons, rugers, and several others which I cannot remember who made them in various calibers from 9, 40, 45, 10 and after about 1000 rounds of each caliber I feel comfortable with all of them. Up to about 20 yards all my shots with all the calibers hit center mass on a "burglar with a knife" full torso targets. Many more rounds with go through all of them because everyone let's me shoot there guns to see what I like and with me going to be a cop they want me to be "ahead of the game" with my pistol shooting ability.
     
  5. Jay

    Jay New Member

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    As posted..... caliber doesn't count until the round hits the intended target...... and then there isn't all that much difference....
     

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  6. TekGreg

    TekGreg Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    97cobra, I agree. As long as you can handle it, then size should be as large as is comfortable. However, also ask yourself, is worth the size increase and weight increase in the gun to fire the larger round? If you have a large frame and are physically strong, it probably doesn't matter. Also, does your state law allow large capacity magazines? If you are only allowed ten rounds, then it might be a good idea to carry very large rounds and aim carefully.

    Secondly, you should always carry premium defense rounds like Hornady Critical Defense regardless of caliber, but in the event that the round fails to preform, larger rounds have a higher chance to hit critical organs for the plain fact that they are larger and have a higher chance to strike a critical organ as it passes through a body; not by a huge amount, but still every advantage is an advantage!

    Finally, carry the largest caliber firearm that you can carry COMFORTABLY and will carry EVERYDAY. The only guns that qualified in that category when I lived in 110 degree weather were .380 acp and small frame 9mm, but I WAS armed every single day. Had I only owned a Colt 1911 A1, I would've found an excuse to not carry, and I know at least twice I would've seriously regretted it. Don't let your friends decide, don't let your family decide and especially don't let your ego decide. Make a decision based on what you intelligently know you will carry ALL the time under every condition and then love your decision! Don't let anyone make you feel like a "wuss" or a "sissy" because you decided on a comfortable gun over a "macho" gun if you choose to go that way. So many men wind up unable to protect themselves because of a bad decision that has a supergun sitting on a nightstand and their "friends" are nowhere in sight when they wind up mugged, beaten or dead.
     
  7. Jay

    Jay New Member

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    That's the difference that personal preference makes. I've carried a 1911 of one make or another for over 35 years..... virtually every day. I'm 6' 1" and just over 200 pounds. I have a friend that's larger than I am, and he prefers a Sig 238. There's no right or wrong guns... just lots of personal preferences.
     
  8. 97cobra

    97cobra New Member

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    I understand that totally. I've already put money aside to buy myself a pistol and my parents are buying me one also for my 21st since I can use it as an academy gun. If I were to choose a bigger caliber like the 10 I'd probably go with the glock 29 since I could conceal it comfortably everyday and I do feel comfortable shooting it. The large frame guns don't bother me as far as weight because I am 6'1-6'2ish according to my last physical depending on how straight I stand lol and I weigh 245 and go to the gym everyday after work. But I don't like large frames because you wouldn't be able to conceal them all that well. I'm in a t-shirt and shorts most of the year even in snow. I'm not the type to choose based on wanting to have the biggest or baddest gun because I don't see the point.
     
  9. 97cobra

    97cobra New Member

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    As far as mag capacity I can have an extended mag but the 29 holds 10 and that's not too bad compared to my buddies 40 in midsize that holds 13.
     
  10. 97cobra

    97cobra New Member

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    image-2845865616.jpg

    10mm looks pretty decent.
     
  11. Marthor

    Marthor New Member

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    Although all those shots in the picture would be equally effective through the heart or brain, from a physics standpoint on stopping power...

    Force = Mass X Velocity

    9mm
    124 grain X 1181 f/2 = 146,320 foot-grains/second

    45 ACP
    230 grain X 875 f/s = 201,250 foot-grains/second

    10mm
    180 grain X 1319 f/s = 237,420 foot-grains/second

    FORCE isn't evident in the picture though.
    The 9mm is only 72% the force of that 45 ACP load
    The 9mm is only 61% the force of that 10mm load

    Another thing to realize is how many parts of your body are 12" deep. My chest is about 10" deep front to back. Then, there's bone too. The smaller & faster round like the 357 will be more likely to penetrate out the back and a lot of force would be wasted in the wall behind the bad guy. The bigger and slower round will hit harder and be best for man stopping. Since these were all JHP expanding it turned them all into bigger rounds and made the results look more similar. FMJ ball ammo would show more pictoral difference in depth travelled.

    My vote is 45 ACP as "best" man-stopper. That 10mm is overkill beyond the optimal which makes it not best.
     
  12. eborden1122

    eborden1122 Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    I commend your decision to join a law enforcement agency. If you know what police dept you are going to join they usually issue you a firearm. Maybe save up for a backup pistol and see what that dept allows. They usually have rules on what you can carry.
     
  13. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    No common has "stopping power." Getting hit with a .45 is literally like getting hit with a highschooler's "fast ball." We've all seen batters get hit by balls, and they don't fall down or fly back or have instant organ failure. I start my teaching job in January--subject: Physics.

    Here are some good reads supporting those who say it doesn't really make a difference as long as you put the bullets where they need to go.
    An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power

    9mm Versus .45 Caliber: Does Size Really Matter? « Joe Barrett's Blog

    http://www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/fbi-hwfe.pdf



    Here is why the 12" penetration standard exists:

    The Gun Zone -- FBI Miami Firefight aftermath
     
  14. Dizzll

    Dizzll New Member

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    In on page 2, before it gets to page 15 lol... Whatever you can put on the bad guy the fastest and most accurate. If you're LE narrow it to .40 or .45
     
  15. TekGreg

    TekGreg Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Sounds like you've already overcome the worst part of it, the peer pressure! Your family sounds like they're very supportive of your decisions as well. Your well informed, your reading the forums, so now it's just a matter of picking a gun you like to carry all the time in a caliber you are comfortable firing and stoke it with a premium defense ammunition - done! Well, except for that pesky practice, practice, practice... :rolleyes: ;) :cool:
     
  16. 97cobra

    97cobra New Member

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    Everyone always taught me if it ain't broke don't fix it. And obviously the .45 is not broke. Still seems to be one of the most respected rounds.

    I thank you. And I'm shooting for state police and they issue the pistols but I want to have something similar or as close to the issued gun as possible so I can be proficient with it before I even go.

    Thank you for the excellent information. That helps to understand the ballistics a lot more and makes you see the special effects in movies and how that works lol.

    Probably end up with a .45 and a 10mm. With me getting to I can always buy the barrel for .40 which I would end up doing.

    The peer pressure wasn't so bad. They wanted me to get the glock 20 to buy that 50 gi barrel to shoot those but I don't see any point in spending that much on ammo and the slide to not see any ballistic improvements compared to a 10 or 45. Might be a bigger hole but I don't totally understand how the energy works. But practice is my favorite part haha
     
  17. TekGreg

    TekGreg Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Jay, I personally love the .45 round, but I also favor a double-stack magazine and the only .45 I ever carried was uncomfortable for me (to be fair, did not have a "melt" treatment) and was so large it was the only gun that another person ever spotted under my clothes and caught me carrying. This was many years ago and I now have a Glock 21, but because of that incident, I still wonder if it might be "spotted" so tend to favor smaller guns for CC. However, I do not prejudice anyone else's decision for or against .45 based on my one experience as it is a fantastic round and many love it as a CC or OC choice.
     
  18. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    weapon proficiency is the least of what being a good police officer involves. if you want to get proficient get yourself a reliable 22lr semi-auto and about 10k rounds and get after it... shooting 22lr has done far more for me in getting the mechanics down than the centerfire shooting i do.

    the basic mechanics of firing a handgun accurately is the same regardless of the platform your using.

    if you want to be an officer i would concentrate more on physical fitnessthan anything else. getting your energy levels up thru fitness will help your ability to absorb the info presented to you in the le classes.

    just my opinion from having gone thru MP school.
     
  19. Marthor

    Marthor New Member

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    Me love physics! =)

    True that the force of a highschooler fastball is the same force as a 230 grain 45 ACP. I did the calculation myself!

    Baseball = 145 grams
    70 mph fastball = 102 feet/second
    230 grain bullet = 15 grams
    45 ACP = 875 feet/second

    Do the math and it's approximately the same force. HOWEVER, it's a deceiving analogy. You've all seen a person get hit by a fastball, and duck and prepare for the blow ahead of time, reacting enough to put the blow in a less damaging area of the body and then usually have to walk off the stinger for a while.

    It's a deceiving analogy though because the baseball's energy is distributed laterally by the ribcage and/or the greater surface area of a cotton cloth uniform padding. If the 45 hits your rib, it'll break your bone everytime and go right through, not distibuting the energy laterally through your ribcage.

    I say a much closer analogy would be a fastball to the gnads is the same force as a 45 auto. That's without a cup of course and will knock any man down. You can complain that the gnads have more nerves, but hardly anything is as painfull as a broken bone. Like we already covered, the 45 will break any bones it hits.

    Now, what about a 9mm using the same analogy with a baseball to the gnads. Do all the same calculations. The force of a 9mm comes out closer to a 45 mph underhand pitch softball toss using the same 145 gram baseball. That might not be enough to knock a man down.

    Force is a big difference. Like the already previous calculation, the 9mm only has 72% of the force of the 45 auto.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  20. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    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