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Thread: Stopping Power

  1. #1
    nailer is offline Member
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    Stopping Power

    Will someone please tell me what stopping power is. Won't a 22 stop someone? A 38 surely will. My 357 will. That 45 should. A paint ball will. David used a slingshot. Will someone please clear it up for me. If I am in need of self defense, won't any gun do if I land multiple hits?

  2. #2
    truman565 is offline Member
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    Hey Nailer,

    I don't have enough time to go into detail about your questions so I will give you a quick opinion. However I recommend you used the Search bar for this site. All of the questions you asked have been answered before and you should have no problem finding them in the archives.

    Basically it comes down to shot placement. Can a .22 stop someone if you shoot them in the head? Sure. Will a .22 stop someone if you shoot them in the foot? Doubt it. Will a .45 stop someone if you shoot them in the head? Sure. Will a .45 stop someone if you shoot them in the foot? Might slow them down but won't kill them. I think you get the point. A 500 S&W Magnum is not going to kill someone if you miss them. Carry as big of a gun as you are accurate and quick with. A .22 would offer a lot quicker follow up shots but not nearly as much energy and lead as a .45.

    I choose the 9mm round. I am most accurate with it for a few reasons. I am able to handle the recoil better and therefor hit the target more often, I am able to make a follow up shot faster because of the manageable(to me) recoil, and most importantly I am able to do these things because I can afford to practice often with this round and become competent. Plus I feel that a good quality 9mm hollow point offers enough "stopping power".

  3. #3
    zhurdan's Avatar
    zhurdan is offline Senior Member
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    Basically, "Stopping power" is a marketing term. It is also used by people who carry way to big a gun that they can't shoot well, but really like to compensate for their small peepee.

    Zhur

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    Quote Originally Posted by zhurdan View Post
    Basically, "Stopping power" is a marketing term. It is also used by people who carry way to big a gun that they can't shoot well, but really like to compensate for their small peepee.

    Zhur
    hahahahahaha

    yea ill agree with truman, you should find more than enough discussion by searching through the forum

  5. #5
    Todd is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhurdan View Post
    It is also used by people who carry way to big a gun that they can't shoot well, but really like to compensate for their small peepee.
    Are you picking on my Desert Eagle again? I'm going to get into my H2 now, go to the store, and get my Enzyte now. When I get back, I want an apology.


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    PhilR. is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd View Post
    Are you picking on my Desert Eagle again? I'm going to get into my H2 now, go to the store, and get my Enzyte now. When I get back, I want an apology.

    That made my day.

    Thanks,
    PhilR.

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    PhilR. is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by nailer View Post
    Will someone please tell me what stopping power is. Won't a 22 stop someone?
    "Stopping power" is the power needed to stop someone.

    The term is merely descriptive and subjective in nature, therefore cannot be described in a quantitative manner. IOW, stopping power cannot be determined before an event has happened. Stopping power can be as little as 10 to 12ft/lbs. if a .177 pellet hits you in the carotid artery. It might also take a great many hundreds of ft/lbs. if you are putting your .45's in the wrong place.

    Yes, a .22 can indeed stop someone, and has a great many times. Any bullet can stop someone. However, the smaller the energy, the less likely you will stop someone. That is why the smaller calibers are not looked upon favorably by most people. Yes, you can carry a .22, and some do, but it would be silly to do so when there are so many more reliable and energetic cartridges out there.

  8. #8
    zhurdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd View Post
    Are you picking on my Desert Eagle again? I'm going to get into my H2 now, go to the store, and get my Enzyte now. When I get back, I want an apology.

    You are absolutely right Todd...


    I'm sorry you have a small peepee!


    (juuuuuuuust kidding)


    Zhur

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    Back "On Topic" and directed to the OP's question.

    "Stopping" or "Knockdown" power is a misapplication of terms by marketing and media. as it relates to firearms. It basically ONLY really applies to long guns and associated calibers as the impact force, even at range, is considerably higher due to the fact that pressure builds up more the longer the barrel is during the discharge of a round - regardless of rifle or shotgun.

    In hunting applications it is generally more acceptable and "humane" to drop an animal immediately, or at least very quickly, with a properly placed shot. Somehow the terms "stopping" and "knockdown" emerged from such high powered applications as penetrating brush (branches and such) and still having enough velocity and energy to penetrate a potentially significant amount of muscle tissue (of varying density) and possibly bone as well on it's way to a "vital" organ or other quickly incapacitating location.

    In transferring these terms to a handgun application things got wildly misused. Generally hangun barrels are not much bigger than 5 inches and most times shorter than that. The misuse got roiled up into the "Great Caliber Debate" as well. Simply put, the amount of energy able to be delivered by a round discharged by a long gun is vastly more than can be achieved by a handgun, safely.

    Yes a .22 can be just as lethal as a .45 just as it can for any caliber in between. However, the caveat is placement more than caliber. A handgun being nothing more than a mechanical tool, many other factors come in to play than generally get any attention when breaking down a specific application. The MANY facets of marksmanship for instance. Keep in mind that MANY other factors are involved when having to engage a human target (in a justifiable circumstances). Intoxication of said target as that may overcome the factors a "normal" mortal might exhibit when confronted with a loaded firearm. If you want any proof in this matter, YOU just decide how big the caliber has to be (or not) that you would stand in front of without and fear of your mortality - sober.

    Will a handgun drop a potential target? possibly. Will it more than likely "stop" or otherwise take the "fight" out of a potential attacker or at the very least alter the attackers motivation? yes - provided the attacker thinks, acts and reacts like a "normal" human to begin with.

  10. #10
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    My opinion is that "stopping power" is a legitimate point of discussion only if it refers to a person's ability to use a weapon well enough to stop a fight immediately.
    Any .22 rimfire will kill, eventually, but it takes a remarkably cool head and a very good shot to immediately stop a fight with one.
    On the other hand, any head, chest, or thorax hit with a .44 Magnum will probably stop most people in their tracks immediately. The downside is that .44 Magnums are pretty hard to carry concealed (fie on you, Dirty Harry), and even harder to use well.
    Those are the extremes. Useful "stopping power" resides somewhere in between. Real "stopping power" is the most effective combination of energy (mass times velocity) delivered to the target by a bullet, and your ability to handle your choice of weapon-and-cartridge combination when attempting to deliver that bullet.

  11. #11
    DevilsJohnson is offline Senior Member
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    Stopping power is a term used to sell bigger guns Just about every person I've talked to about this topic would say stopping power is a myth.

  12. #12
    Todd is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilsJohnson View Post
    Stopping power is a term used to sell bigger guns
    A point illustrated by the large number of brand new shooters here on the forum that say they want a .40 as their first gun. More than likely they got that term from a sales clerk or an "unbiased" article in a gun magazine (the reading kind).

  13. #13
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilsJohnson View Post
    ...[S]topping power is a myth.
    In terms of advertising and selling defensive pistols and cartridges, yes, it's a myth.
    That's why I attempted to re-define it as "your personal ability to stop a fight."
    The term is "out there," and has to be dealt with. Maybe re-definition will help.

  14. #14
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    Stopping power can also be referred to as it relates to Kinetic Energy. The key is "shot placement" and transferring that kinetic energy from the projectile to the vital organs of whatever it is you are trying to kill. Like the other posts have stated, someone shot with a 45 in the foot will in all likely hood not stop them but shoot that same individual in the center of mass where that Kinetic energy is transferred to the heart, lungs , kidneys etc. and they will stop whatever they were doing before they were shot.

  15. #15
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigpoppy View Post
    Stopping power can also be referred to as it relates to Kinetic Energy. The key is "shot placement" and transferring that kinetic energy from the projectile to the vital organs of whatever it is you are trying to kill...
    Yes.
    Please see my previous-but-one post on this subject.

  16. #16
    Flyboy_451 is offline Junior Member
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    Stopping Power- The ability to deliver the first telling blow...

  17. #17
    nky1129 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd View Post
    A point illustrated by the large number of brand new shooters here on the forum that say they want a .40 as their first gun. More than likely they got that term from a sales clerk or an "unbiased" article in a gun magazine (the reading kind).
    Have to agree with you here. When shopping for my first gun several months ago, three different clerks at three different shops tried to talk me into a .40 and/or a .45 over the 9mm, all claiming that those calibers had the most "stopping power" and that 9mm was insufficient. I explained that I had shot all three, and that I was the most comfortable and accurate with the 9mm, and at one of the shops the guy said, "Well, it'll still work if that's what you want. We're out of 9mm ammo though. If you'd consider the 45, we've got tons of that left. Better stock up now too. You won't be able to find it at all soon."

    I'm pretty sure he just wanted to move his mound of WAY overpriced ammo. Seriously. It was twice as much as what I buy for my Glock 19 at Walmart or Dick's.

  18. #18
    DevilsJohnson is offline Senior Member
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    A lot of shop owners/workers will get incentives to sell certain models. They are trying ot move one model over another they;ll have a contest to see who can sell the most XD's in 40 or 45 because they have more of them on hand or whatever reason they come up with to push one over another. It's one of the reasons I don't like to tell new shooters or not so experiences shooters to go into a shop alone. It's like sending a woman into an auto repair place they just spring on them like a pack of wolves. If the person behind the counter is pushing one weapon over another 75% of the time there is a personal interest in that particular model. And it's a lot easier to sway someone that don't have the experience and might fall prey to a sales person that wants to move the larger weapon.

    Not to take away for 40's ad 45's. I personally like either over a 9mm but I tend to shoot them better. I do have one Springer 1911 9mm that is a target pistol and I do shoot it really well but it's not a good carry weapon with the really light trigger.

  19. #19
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    Sorry boys, for coming late to the party again, but I just have to toss my 2 cents in...

    Stopping power and knockdown are just terms for imperfect attempts to assign a relative value to whole a spectrum of cartridges. Certain individuals (perhaps salesmen who often deal with customers who have limited knowledge and experience) need a simple way of comparing products.
    It's relatively simple on one end, bullet weight and velocity yeild a certain amount of energy, therefore more energy potentially has the ability to do more damage.Simple as that. Its on the other end where things get complicated. Game animals, and bad guys are organic creatures and it's impossible to simplify how they will react to being shot in every situation.

    Human nature being what it is, there always exists the opportunity for missuse, but it doesn't always have to be something sinister if someone mentions the term. Take it for what it is; if someone suggests a 9mm might be a better choice than a 25acp for self defense because the 9mm has more stooping power, where's the harm in that?

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