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hardcastonly 01-26-2020 04:06 PM

striking a ballance between accuracy,power and shot capacity in a defensive handgun
I was at an indoor range recently, just maintaining my familiarity with several handguns I own,
remember that texas church where a member of the congregation dropped a homicidal nut case in under 6 seconds
with a head shot?
that impressed me!

I was comparing my skills in speed, dexterity, target acquisition and accuracy in fairly rapid target acquisition and fire drills,
I'm a firm believer in only hits count!
I started out at the range at 25 yards,
where I placed a 3" orange dot at 25 yards, due to range regulations rapid repeat fire was not allowed.
Id start with the handgun held pointing at the range floor yards short of the target and a buddy would tap me on the shoulder ,while he held a stopwatch
and timed the tap, he gave me, until I shot, time delay , we tried to keep in under 2-3 seconds , for a single aimed shot,
but obviously that took repetition to get decent results,
after about 15 minutes of practice results improved noticeably.
and he recorded the hits or distance the bullet hit from the dot center. (yes I shoot revolvers double-action)
what came as a mild surprise to me at least was that the EAA 45 was consistently both very competitive in accuracy and one of the fastest in getting on target,
its comparatively shorter than the others in sight radias and barrel length,but it was very fast and accurate.
now the difference was minimal, but thats because I practice regularly with all those handguns.
the revolver proved to be marginally more accurate, the 10mm glock was close, and the EAA45 whitness was the least accurate but marginally faster
the differences in speed and accuracy were all averages under 1 second average for 10 shots and under 1" in the difference of the groups.
what really opened my eyes was how inconsistent and frankly embarrassingly ineffective I was starting out, as Ive done this repeatedly for decades,
I was cutting the outer edge of the orange dot far more often than the center when I started,
several of my knowledgeable and experienced friends were trying to duplicate what I was doing,
but they had not practiced and did about as expected.
, now I'm certainly NOT a great shot. ,
when I started, most of my rapidly taken shots barely hit the 3" orange dot at 25 yards or were within an inch or so of it...
this improved with practice.
but guys I shoot with that have a little problem consistently hitting a 3" orange dot at 25 yards,they thought they could do better,
if they take their time at shooting, some could, but all of them proved to be far less capable if rushing and were trying to get off a shot in under 3-4 seconds.\
several friends carry glock 9mm pistols with the idea larger magazine capacity is a major advantage,
personally I think only hits count and if you have a high magazine capacity, you can,t miss fast enough to make up for a couple fast well placed shots
If I could do better with a 6 shot 357 mag revolver than a 18 shot 9mm, Id carry the revolver every time.

(Yeah I grabbed the pictures of the pistols off the internet rather than taking pictures of my personal handguns)
but they are very representative of mine

yeah I know some of you guys will be screaming all those guns are to large to carry concealed....
well, ive carried all three at different time over the past 3 decades and I'm fairly large at 6'3" and 255 so I have no issues doing so in inside the waist band or shoulder holsters in the revolvers case, you would be amazed at what a quality holster and a loose shirt will easily conceal

a glock 10mm,

a EAA 45 whitness

,a S&W 357 8" revolver

Nomercy448 01-26-2020 07:03 PM

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?

Memtb2149 01-27-2020 04:58 AM

I guess I disagree with the well published data showing no difference in “stopping” capabilities from the .380’s up to the 45 ACP. In seeking a balance between number of rounds for practical carry and cartridge size....I still believe that the 40 S&W, fills that niche pretty well.

I also do not fall into the light weight, high velocity bullet following. No typical, defense (human defense) handgun can produce enough velocity where .....ft/lbs energy, shock, large temporary wound channel, ect. play a significant role in stopping ability/ stopping effectiveness. Obviously, the ability to properly place the projectile “trumps” all else....but, give me me a large diameter, moderately heavy, defense handgun bullet. My preferred weighs by caliber.....9 mm/147, 10mm or 40 S&W/ 180, 45 AC/230. I’ve never had to use a handgun for defense against a human, and, unless the human is “hopped-up” on drugs, humans are much more responsive to trauma from a gunshot wound than is an animal. I believe that much of this response is simply from the fact that a human has the mental capability of knowing they have been shot, whereas an animal does not mentally process this. An animal responds much more noticeably to a large diameter, heavy bullet offering deeper penetration, offering greater damage to structure and tissue at handgun velocities than to a smaller diameter, lighter bullet.

And, most of these comparisons do not take into consideration, seasonal clothing types, size of the assailant, mental status of the assailant, ect. “If” all of the above scenarios play out want/need more than whatever you likely have. Summary: IMO, there’s no substitution for “cubic inches”.....I’ll take the larger caliber - Thank You! 😊 memtb

hardcastonly 01-27-2020 05:09 AM

yeah I started the thread to get people thinking about their options and potential responsibilities.
yeah you may not agree with me, thats fine,
but ask yourself if you would rather have a handgun you know has a well documented history of effectively stopping an attack,
or something you selected based mostly on ease of concealment,
and I'd also submit that regular practice,
and good familiarity with what you carry ,
and maintaining constant situational awareness,
goes a long way toward increasing your odds of winning or ideally avoiding a deadly confrontation.


btw Ive tried a 9mm pistol on feral/wild hogs and a 357 mag and a 10 mm and a 45 acp,
if you do that a few times you'll see there does tend to be a difference in effective results
in relation to the cartridge used.

Nomercy448 01-27-2020 11:06 AM

Take a few days to read through Ellifritz’s dataset. It’s not some anecdotal game of “I spoke with a handful of folks who had been involved in gunfights, his work is a thorough overview of thousands of defensive shooting cases.

One example of a synopsis article can be found here:

You’ll note - the .380 acp, in over a hundred cases for each cartridge, offered less shots before incapacitation, higher one shot stop percentage, and higher one shot incapacitations than the 45 acp - and almost identical “percentage of failure to incapacitate.”

Personal preferences don’t play into statistics.

Memtb2149 01-27-2020 11:34 AM

Quote: Personal preferences don’t play into statistics.

They do, when it’s my butt on the line! Maybe, I should consider a .380ACP the next time I go hand-gunning for elk, bear, or moose. Well.....maybe not! 😉

While I do appreciate you supplying us with easy access to these documents....I guess I prefer to be ignorant and will take my chances with a somewhat larger bore, more powerful handgun cartridge! memtb

bronko22000 01-27-2020 01:03 PM

Memtb2149 I believe you'd be wise to listen to Nomercy's comments. He's been aound a while as have some other folks that have yet to respond to this thread. I own handguns from .22 up to .44 mag but my daily carry is a M&P Shield in 9mm which I have on me over 75% of the time. Other times its either my M&P40 or my Taurus G2C 9mm. Although I have a 1911 in .45ACP and a pair of .44 mags with different length barrels and a 357 with a 4" barrel I see no real need for them when I can unholster aim and shoot with relative good speed and accuracy with the 3 mentioned and b e able to get s 2nd or even 3rd shot off faster than with one of the bigger bores.

Oldtimr 01-27-2020 01:11 PM

While my preference for a carry gun is at least .40 caliber, and I practice and must qualify annually, I believe more important than the caliber is how well you can shoot the gun and hit what and where you are aiming at. As Bill Hickock was known to say, " you cannot shoot fast enough to make up for poor marksmanship". I will add, a 50 caliber is no better than a .357. .38 or .45 or .40 caliber if you are incapable of hitting your target under stress.

Memtb2149 01-27-2020 02:31 PM

bronco22000, I’m not taking this lightly. Although, I’ve not the thousands of examples of research as do the aforementioned coroners, doctors, police, ect. I’ve been shooting handguns for almost 60 years, handloading for 52 years, and handgun hunting for 50 limited experiences suggest larger works better!

Oldtimr, In my comments, I assumed equal bullet placement.

My carry guns are of significantly less recoil than other handguns I use, while I ain’t no Jerry Miculek.....I feel pretty comfortable with the minimal recoil produced by my carry guns. When I can be convinced that in a worst case assailant issue, such as previously mentioned, a .380 ACP can perform equally to that of a 40 S&W or 45ACP....I guess that I’ve a bunch of guns/reloading equipment to dump! there a .380 ACP with will fit my hands, offer the ease of magazine manipulation, or even trigger control that a somewhat heavier, larger framed handgun can offer?

I know that I appear to be argumentative here, but, I can’t “wrap my head around” these findings and recommendations! memtb


Nomercy448 01-27-2020 05:46 PM

It’s in our culture to think bigger is better, and we even try to convince each other it is. But the data out there shows defensive shooting is largely like shooting rabbits, and not really like hunting big game - pretty much ANY centerfire pistol is more than big enough to do the task as well as it can be done. So more is just more - and usually just means more weight, more recoil, and more wasted space in the magazine.

For the record, I refused the Ellifritz dataset the first time I saw it. It’s counter-intuitive to see these pipsqueak cartridges with equal or superior performance in real world data. Surely more bullet weight is better? Surely more power is better? Surely a larger framed pistol is better? But the data holds water when you start poking at it. So in the real world, we’re not really asking very much of our handguns... so having a .357mag, capable of dropping a deer at 100 yards, really isn’t pertinent for stopping a bad guy at arms’ reach. I really feel like I’m better armed carrying a G22 than carrying a G19, but statistically, I’m not - I’ve just been mislead by the common popular opinion for decades of my life.

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