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hunters_life 01-27-2020 08:05 PM

While I don't have the "gun fights" under my belt the old man had, I have unfortunately been in a few in both receiving, vested thankfully, and delivering projectiles. While statistically what nomercy is stating may be true, having "been there done that" kind of gives me a slightly differing opinion than those statistics say. Now yes, a vast percentage of conflicts involving firearms in the civilian world are up close and personal. I believe the average is within 20 feet? Correct me if I am wrong there. Now, at 20 feet, pretty much any center fire will penetrate deeply enough to cause enough internal damage to stop an assailant. But the problem that is encountered is the exact same one that hunters encounter. Unless you cause an immediate dump in blood pressure, enough to disrupt brain function, then you have to keep shooting. Or you cause CNS disruption. Either one requires marksmanship as well as penetration and bullet opening performance. Now todays bullet technology has been greatly improved, especially in the last 10 years, since a lot of those statistics were gathered. But to say a .380 is going to penetrate and perform even as well as a 9mm is pushing the limits of ballistic sciences. Will a .380 do the job at arms length where you are most likely going to need it? Yes it should do well. But will that same gun/cartridge combination perform as well as a 9mm at 20 feet? Not likely. I doubt someones accuracy while under fire is going to be what it is at the range. Yes well practiced individuals should have the muscle memory to perform the basics. But speaking from unfortunate experience, it isn't going to happen like you think it's going to. I'm in no way saying a .380 can't do the job but I'm just not going to put my life on the line with such an anemic round. The 9mm is pushing it for me but I am extremely accurate with it and confident which is almost as important as the cartridge itself. If you aren't confident in the firearm you are carrying, you will damn sure break under the pressure of a gunfight.

All this is just my opinion and we all know what opinions are compared to.

CalHunter 01-27-2020 11:46 PM

This is a very interesting topic. Kudos to hardcast for starting it. I think his points about practice, being familiar with your weapon and maintaining situational awareness are all valid. I think NoMercy448's points got lost a little bit in that he said "No handgun is a good stopper, but above 380acp, they’re all statistically equivalent." While he gave a few examples comparing a .380 to a .45, his main point was that all calibers above a .380 are statistically equivalent and that no handgun caliber is a good stopper. The author he quoted looked at a few thousand gunfights to determine his data. I would have more questions but that author explained his limitations and he seems headed in the right direction. Hunters life, I wouldn't snub my nose at carrying a 9mm. I recently switched back to a 9mm from a .45 based on tactical training performance at active shooter training. Memtb, a 40 S&W isn't a guaranteed 1-shot stop based on personal experience. ;)

On duty, I have carried .45, .40S&W and 9mm. Off duty, I have carried all of those as well as .380's when I needed extra concealment. I carry based on situational requirements and limits. I'm not trying to put words into NoMercy's mouth but as I understand his posts and the author he linked, 9, 40 and 45 (all above a 380) have very similar results in shootouts and that a person's familiarity and competence with any one of these calibers (and the pistol used) are more important than just the size of the caliber. I also liked NM's linked article as it statistically confirms that if I'm stuck carrying a .380 because of the event requirements, I'm not hopelessly under-gunned. As always, YMMV but that is the freedom we all have to make these kinds of choices.

hunters_life 01-28-2020 07:47 AM

I don't snub it, it's just borderline for me. And my apologies, after re-reading Nomercy's posts I see he meant calibers starting above .380. I absolutely love my 1911's in .45 but in seasons other than winter it isn't practical unless I'm wearing a suit, which all mine are tailored to my 4 o'clock carry position and a couple for shoulder holster but all in all I carry a few different 9mm's more often than anything. One of my new favorites is the px4 storm compact. Great little carry piece. Points naturally and has very little felt recoil for it's small size.

CalHunter 01-29-2020 06:04 AM

I probably should have rephrased the "snub" comment. My apologies. I should have used something similar to under-gunned. I can see where if a person is looking at 1-shot stop scenarios, they might assign more weight or consideration for a larger caliber. With ball ammo, that would be a wise consideration. With older less effective hollow point ammo, it would still be worth considering. With the newer HP ammo and its' much improved performance levels, the differences aren't as great between the major calibers (9, 40 and 45). Shot placement is huge of course but so is the ability to make quick follow-up shots if needed. That aspect was obvious in NM's linked article. Shotguns and rifles both had a 1-shot stop effectiveness in the mid 80's percentile and most pistols had around 50% or sometimes less.

The type of shooting engagement can also make a difference in what caliber/pistol is going to work better. If a person is in some kind of standoff engagement where they have good cover, a fast follow-up shot isn't as important. If a person is making a dynamic entry and follow through sweep as in an active shooter situation, then fast follow-up shots and shooting accurately on the move become more important. That type of situation was what convinced me to switch back to a 9 from a 45. In fairness, I also switched from a compact to a full size pistol as well. I can shoot proficiently with 9, 40 or 45 in compact and full size pistols. What I found was that I was just a little quicker and slightly more accurate with a full size 9 in dynamic entries and hostage situations with a full size 9mm. As always, YMMV as each of us is likely going to experience a little bit different shooting situations depending on our jobs, etc.

salukipv1 02-04-2020 12:30 PM

Originally Posted by Nomercy448 (Post 4369422)
Threads like this are all over the Internet, and unfortunately, the common popular opinion in these discussions will inevitably ignore decades of real-world data. Results from thousands upon thousands of real-world cases, including medical examiner reports and police/agency reports, have proven there is no statistical difference in stopping power for handgun cartridges larger than 380acp. Equally, accuracy at extended ranges like 25-50yards has proven to hold no value in these real-world cases.

These “bigger is better” colloquialisms like, “I don’t need a big magazine when the first shot does the job,” or “make mine start with a 4” just don’t hold up to scrutiny. The data is there, the 45acp and .357mag are not better stoppers than the 9mm or 40 S&W, it has been proven. No handgun is a good stopper, but above 380acp, they’re all statistically equivalent. Equally, the “fast is fine, but accuracy is final,” or “a 22 in the eye beats a 45 in the leg,” just don’t pan out in the real world either. Self defense shooting data reflects center mass hits are equally difficult (shots fired vs. hits on assailants) regardless of cartridge or platform.

So the question a would-be defensive handgun buyer should really be asking themself - why would I carry less rounds in a larger firearm with more recoil if it won’t bring any advantage in stopping efficacy?

Can't begin to tell you how many people I've told this exact info to!
I remember 1 guy....I just get done telling him this info, and he's like,so yea a .45 is the way to go....?? whaaaaat??? lol.

I honestly think many people in our society don't understand "statistics" at all, and can't process the info.

My general consensus is get a 9mm, for 2 legged threats, unless you have a specific reason to get a .380, .40, or .45

Nomercy448 02-04-2020 07:07 PM

There’s a myriad of issues which will forever carry this “discussion” forward.

Naturally, the most prevalent is the American culture of “bigger must be better.” Regardless of whether “bigger” actually can or ever is proven “better,” or despite the fact it is proven that bigger is NOT actually better. As is the case here - it’s been proven, bigger is not actually better.

Equally, the global predisposition to not understand technical or statistical analysis at any level, and a general popular refusal to put forth effort to do so. If data is difficult to understand AND the conclusion violates my personal belief, then I can plausibly dismiss all of it as long as I don’t try to understand any of it...

And of course, there simply is no mechanism to independently prove or disprove any given hypothesis in this discussion. Is a 9mm better than a 45? Or vice versa? Well, design an experiment. Have a thousand people attack you, and dispatch half of them with 9mm’s and half of them with 45’s - then maybe we’ll know. Pretty ridiculous. So instead, the only real world data we can cite are threefold: 1) ballistic data, 2) empirical results in controlled experiments using simulated media, and 3) extremely varied data from inconsistent and uncontrolled real-world defensive shooting events. Of these, the first two data sets appear to have the greatest integrity, but obviously have the least validity and applicability, whereas the 3rd data type is highly valid and applicable, but the integrity is challenged by the nature of the incredibly varied sample set. No two real-word defensive scenarios are alike, so the analytics rely upon a massive dataset which must be normalized for comparison.

Which means collection of the data is exceptionally burdensome, which in turn means collection of such a dataset with any quality is exceptionally rare. But there are a few, and the results tend to point the same direction:

A vast majority of folks believe in an advantage of heavier bullets and more power in a defensive handgun, but unfortunately, this popular opinion simply isn’t justified or supported by the real-world results.

But even knowing this, being so “woke,” I carry a G19 whenever I feel my risk profile is heightened, instead of an LCP, and have resorted to carrying a P224 in 357Sig in certain risk scenarios as well... all the while recognizing the hypocrisy and silliness in “up arming” in these different risk exposures.

Bocajnala 02-05-2020 06:28 PM

That's too long of a post to read nomercy.

I'm just going to assume it said that .45acp is the only way to go.


CalHunter 02-05-2020 07:14 PM

We know the real reason. Your SIG was starting to pout. :D

hardcastonly 02-05-2020 09:23 PM

anyone notice that there are very few military pistols with less than a 9mm para in power?
anyone who has ever tried to hunt with a pistol less powerful than a 9 mm para will be very likely to tell you,
why they now don,t do that.
I know from decades of experience hunting hogs and deer with a handgun that a 357 mag is about the minimum,
thats proven successful and a 10mm, 41 mag and 44 mag all have proven to be more effective at anchoring game close to where they were shot.
anyone notice that several states require a minimum cartridge power level or caliber to hunt with a handgun?
theres a reason, and its based on experience.

hunters_life 02-06-2020 05:19 AM

Hardcast, you started this discussion with defense caliber/cartridges in mind not hunting. Hunting distances are often much further than defense and to put it simply, humans are much easier to drop than hogs or deer for the most part. Now and again you have someone hopped up on pcp or some other extreme stimulant but for the most part we are so much easier to kill quickly. Or at least to put out of a fight. Granted I like the secure feeling I get with carrying a .45 but I know there really isn't that much difference between damage from it or a 9mm with todays bullet technology. It's a mind thing. I still carry 9mm pistols much more often than my beloved .45's but I practice constantly and am highly confident in both my ability to hit what I am aiming at and the function of my guns.

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