Stopping power matters

Incidents of shooting in defense of self or others.
User avatar
Ohio9
Posts: 1065
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:23 pm

Stopping power matters

Postby Ohio9 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:41 pm

A wild shootout in Pharmacy between a 24-year old robber and a 72-year old former mayor resulted in the robbery being foiled. Yet the results were less then satisfying. Despite being shot multiple times, the robber was still able to take the Pharmacy owner's gun and briefly flee the scene before collapsing outside. This easily could have ended a lot worse.

https://fox43.com/2018/10/30/court-docs ... last-week/

As an interesting side note, it turns out the 72-year old victim in this case is an avid antique gun collector who loaned Steven Spielberg several civil war cannons for the 2012 movie "Lincoln"

https://lancasteronline.com/features/en ... 0c4c6.html

User avatar
hkguy
Posts: 668
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:51 pm

Re: Stopping power matters

Postby hkguy » Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:03 pm

stopping power is a fallacy. shot placement is paramount. disrupting vital body systems (skeletal, muscular, pulmonary, cardiovascular, nervous, or psychological) is key.
NRA Member and Certified NRA RSO
IDPA & USPSA Member
Michigan Gun Owner Member

User avatar
Nathan
Site Admin
Posts: 2224
Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:51 pm
Location: Billings, MT
Contact:

Re: Stopping power matters

Postby Nathan » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:44 am

hkguy wrote:stopping power is a fallacy. shot placement is paramount. disrupting vital body systems (skeletal, muscular, pulmonary, cardiovascular, nervous, or psychological) is key.

I both agree, and disagree. I do not believe in the concept of "stopping power" as a guarantee of outcome. I do however, believe in the concept of stopping power potential. Outcome probabilities are only calculated by factoring in three specifics:

  • Bullet performance (stopping power potential)
  • Shooter performance (shot placement)
  • Threat specifics (size, rage, drugs, etc.)
All three are equally important. A bullet must possess the physical properties (size, weight and energy) to turn a well placed shot into an incapacitating wound. From CarryGuide.com:

CarryGuide.com wrote:This has to be the most heavily debated topic of any given gun related forum. Starting as "9mm vs. .45" during WW2, with many new caliber choices the caliber wars continue to rage. Some believe in big bullets, some believe in lighter, faster bullets with higher simple energy numbers, some believe in shot placement; all are equally mistaken. The potential effectiveness of any bullet in a defensive shooting is always an issue of probabilities that factor in caliber, weight, velocity (resulting in penetration and expansion), shot placement, and even the physical condition (drugs, rage, size, etc.) of the threat you are attempting to neutralize. You will hear of threats dropping immediately from a .25 ACP and you will hear of threats that continued to fight despite a solid .44 Magnum hit but these are rare exceptions and should never be considered representative in any way of overall stopping power potential. They are nothing beyond extremely rare incidents that have minimal impact on the overall averages used to calculate overall stopping power potential. While I dismiss the theory of "stopping power", I fully embrace the concept of stopping power potential.

Before proceeding further I must differentiate between two completely separate issues, shooter performance and bullet performance. The recommendations I make throughout this guide assume that you are capable of proper shot placement (shooter performance) and other defensive tactics. If you remove the human element (your ability to shoot) and limit your comparison to bullet performance its hard to argue with "bigger is better". Despite lower simple energy numbers, bigger and particularly heavier bullets carry more stopping power potential and this is clearly substantiated in history.

Around the turn of the century (1900) the US Army replaced the M1873 peacemaker .45 Long Colt revolver with a much lighter and faster .38 Long Colt (in a double action revolver). In 1902 during the American-Philippine war the US Army was sent into battle in the Philippines against the Moros Tribesmen where for the first time they faced enemy soldiers on heavy opiate based drugs of that era. US soldiers emptied their .38 Long Colts into the advancing tribesmen who continued to advance most often spearing and even beheading the US soldier before falling dead from their gunshot wounds. It quickly became obvious that the lighter .38 Long Colt was not up to the job of stopping the Moros Tribesmen. The Army replaced the newly issued .38 Long Colts with the recently retired M1873 Peacemaker .45 Long Colt and put them back in service.


Image

Just as it had in the previous century, the .45 Long Colt proved itself by dropping the Moros Tribesmen most often with a single shot (yes, a single torso hit from the .45 Long Colt proved superior to 5 and 6 shots from the .38 Long Colt!). This is documented US history and there is no disputing it. The .45 Long Colt played a crucial role in winning the war, and this directly lead to the development of the .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (.45 ACP) which served our troops equally well through two world and many smaller wars.

In and of itself with all else being equal (shot placement, etc.) hitting a threat with a 230 grain .45 caliber slug is not the same thing as hitting that same threat in the same place with a 115 grain .355" slug despite its considerably higher velocity. With typical handgun velocities at typical defensive handgun ranges bigger simply is better, but how much better is the question, and at what cost? 20 years ago there was a significant difference in ballistic performance of the 9mm compared to the .45 but modern ballistic science has brought the 9mm closer to the .45 than ever before. While I still believe bigger is better (you don't shoot elephants with small and fast bullets, you shoot elephants with big, heavy bullets), it's hard to argue with a 147 grain 9mm bullet that penetrates nearly 14" and has been shown to expand to .72" (147 grain federal HST).

Although true and accurate, does the example of the Moros Tribesmen mean that everyone should carry the .45? Absolutely not. Although the .45 would serve anyone very well just as it has throughout history, this does not make it the superior choice for everyone. .45 caliber weapons are either relatively large or they have very limited capacity and this limiting factor rules out the .45 for many. To confuse the issue even more, although I firmly believe that when all things are equal bigger is better, all things are rarely equal when you factor in the human element. Although the 180 grain .40 offers slightly more stopping power potential than a 147 grain 9mm, that does not necessarily make it a better choice for carry due to many reasons. If you find the .40 recoil uncomfortable you probably won't be able to hit with it with as much confidence as you would with the 9mm. Capacity is another issue, especially when you factor in cover fire. Is it better to have 8 rounds of .45 in your weapon or 16 rounds of 9mm? The answer to this question will be as unique as the individual in question.


In addition to historical data, experience and common knowledge will answer this question. I'm surgical with my AR15, but when I head into the woods where the grizzly live I grab my .45-70. Despite perfect shot placement and significant improvements in bullet technology, there simply is no replacement for bullet performance (or any other aspect of the three aspects of defensive shooting). While I couldn't find it anywhere in this story, I'm betting this pharmacist used a mouse-gun caliber and that's why his assailant was able to continue fighting until he bled out.
Nathan in Image

NRA Certified Instructor in Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Personal Protection Inside the Home and Personal Protection Outside the Home.
Image

User avatar
hkguy
Posts: 668
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:51 pm

Re: Stopping power matters

Postby hkguy » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:36 am

Nathan wrote:
hkguy wrote:stopping power is a fallacy. shot placement is paramount. disrupting vital body systems (skeletal, muscular, pulmonary, cardiovascular, nervous, or psychological) is key.

I both agree, and disagree. I do not believe in the concept of "stopping power" as a guarantee of outcome. I do however, believe in the concept of stopping power potential. Outcome probabilities are only calculated by factoring in three specifics:

  • Bullet performance (stopping power potential)
  • Shooter performance (shot placement)
  • Threat specifics (size, rage, drugs, etc.)
All three are equally important. A bullet must possess the physical properties (size, weight and energy) to turn a well placed shot into an incapacitating wound.


while all three factors are important when choosing a proper self defense caliber and bullet, it still does not detract from its purpose. sure there are bullet designs that are better than others but "stopping power" as commonly defined as a one shot to end a lethal threat/conflict does not reliably exist in modern small arms. as you alluded to, there are numerous factors that determine how quickly stops or how fiercely one continues the fight.

147gr HST from a 9mm has the same "stopping power" (god i hate that term) as the same heavy for calliber bullet in .357 sig, .40 S&W, 10mm, .45ACP or even 50AE. disrupting vital systems is paramount, and even that can take 30-45 seconds or more to stop the will of assailant.

there are just as many cases of people taking 5-10+ hits from service caliber weapons and continuing to fight as there are people taking one hit from a mouse gun caliber and ceasing to fight.

Nathan wrote:In addition to historical data, experience and common knowledge will answer this question. I'm surgical with my AR15, but when I head into the woods where the grizzly live I grab my .45-70. Despite perfect shot placement and significant improvements in bullet technology, there simply is no replacement for bullet performance (or any other aspect of the three aspects of defensive shooting). While I couldn't find it anywhere in this story, I'm betting this pharmacist used a mouse-gun caliber and that's why his assailant was able to continue fighting until he bled out.


now your getting into a different realm of dangerous game. To your point, as a rule, one should chose the caliber and gun combination that allows them to survive a dangerous encounter. As you have said many times, its all a compromise of caliber, ammo selection, gun size, and capacity. The same principals still hold true in a DG encounter. disrupting vital systems is paramount for survival/harvesting game or ending lethal threats.
NRA Member and Certified NRA RSO
IDPA & USPSA Member
Michigan Gun Owner Member

User avatar
Nathan
Site Admin
Posts: 2224
Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:51 pm
Location: Billings, MT
Contact:

Re: Stopping power matters

Postby Nathan » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:01 am

hkguy wrote:but "stopping power" as commonly defined as a one shot to end a lethal threat/conflict does not reliably exist

Agreed; yet me must acknowledge that there is in fact a difference. The same principles that make the .45-70 a better choice than 5.56 for grizzly bear apply in making a .45 ACP a better choice than .380 for human threats. Physics is physics is physics. Statistical anomalies (people fighting despite solid hits from service calibers) are exceptions to the rule and (combined with other contributing factors) is the reason why I created the term "stopping power potential". I don't believe that anybody seriously thinks a 90 grain .380 bullet to the chest will statistically have the same effect as a 230 grain .45 ACP. 147 grain 9mm is an effective load, but it is not truly equal to 230 grain .45 ACP in stopping power potential and I say this as someone who carries 147 grain 9mm almost every day. Ballistics evolution has brought it close enough to the .45 ACP to make it worth the trade off, but it is not truly equal. The above cited example of the Moros Tribesmen should have put this to rest. Despite perfect shot placement, the .38 Long Colt couldn't stop the advancing drugged tribesmen where the .45 Long Colt did. So while it is in fact an issue of many factors that I listed above in previous responses, the differences in stopping power potential are also important and worthy of consideration when making any carry choice. If it didn't matter, I would carry a mouse-gun because they're so much easier to conceal.
Anyone arguing that stopping power potential makes no difference, ask yourself this question. There is a gunman shooting up a school with an AK47. You have a Glock 20 10mm and a Ruger LCP .380 to choose from; which do you grab, and why?
Nathan in Image

NRA Certified Instructor in Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Personal Protection Inside the Home and Personal Protection Outside the Home.
Image

User avatar
hkguy
Posts: 668
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:51 pm

Re: Stopping power matters

Postby hkguy » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:55 pm

Nathan wrote: There is a gunman shooting up a school with an AK47. You have a Glock 20 10mm and a Ruger LCP .380 to choose from; which do you grab, and why?


I'd take an AR pistol over both options, but I guess the answer "depends" on what you have on you that day
NRA Member and Certified NRA RSO
IDPA & USPSA Member
Michigan Gun Owner Member

User avatar
Nathan
Site Admin
Posts: 2224
Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:51 pm
Location: Billings, MT
Contact:

Re: Stopping power matters

Postby Nathan » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:58 pm

hkguy wrote:
Nathan wrote: There is a gunman shooting up a school with an AK47. You have a Glock 20 10mm and a Ruger LCP .380 to choose from; which do you grab, and why?


I'd take an AR pistol over both options, but I guess the answer "depends" on what you have on you that day

Well sure but c'mon, that's not a serious response. If you could only choose between a G20 and an LCP to engage a shooter with an AK47, you'd grab the G20 just as most anybody else would and the reason is clearly because of the stopping power potential of the two loads. I don't teach anyone to always choose the most stopping power potential load because it's not the best option for everyone (my daughter for example shoots 9mm much better than 10mm) but you draw a baseline and choose whatever caliber at or above that baseline that you shoot best. I find the most reasonable baseline to be .38+P and up. Anything below that line does not meet the equally important aspect of bullet performance. Anymore the talking heads in the industry, trying to dispel the myth of stopping power, tend to over-shoot and become dismissive of bullet performance which is equally as critical as any other aspect.
Nathan in Image

NRA Certified Instructor in Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Personal Protection Inside the Home and Personal Protection Outside the Home.
Image


Return to “Defensive Incidents”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests