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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do you determine the effectiveness of a handgun cartridge in "stopping Power?" There are many tests to determine the suitability of a round to stop or disable or kill a human being. The bottom line is, none of these tests have been conclusive.

About the most accurate test was the "goat test" used by the Army in the 1900 test trial. During these tests, live goats, un-sedated, were shot with various pistol rounds from the competing pistols. The degree of instant shock was observed, as well as how the goat died. This was all dependant on shot placement and personal observation. There was no practical to determine which goat actually displayed greater shock. Autopsies were not of much help.

Shooting into damp clay blocks displayed "wound" channels and impact shock. Presumably the greater crater indicated the greater wound. Plaster of paris was pouned into these craters and compared afterward. The little .30 Luger took the prize in this test.

Now wet newspapers, duct seal, and ballistic gelatin are all used with hi-speed photography to determine what goes on at impact.

A few years ago the NRA made a wooden test dummy the size and approximate weight of a man. It was thick enough that the bullet would not penetrate completly so as to expend all of its energy in the figure. This test dummy was placed on free-rolling wheels on a smooth, polished concrete floor. The idea was to shoot this and then measure the distance it was driven backward by the shot. After the tests there was no significant difference between being shot with .380 ACP or .44 Magnums.

So, what's best?

The determining factor is placement of the shot, hitting vital organs and breaking major supporting bones. And a lot depends on the level of excitement of the one who is shot. An assailant who is determined can take more impact shock than one who is caught off guard.

Bottom line? It all depends on the circumstances.

Bob Wright
 
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It is near impossible to simulate a real human body. The human body is more than just soft skin tissue. It is muscles, nerves, organs, bone, tendons, etc. Lots of different variables there. I myself have always love ballistic geletin. I love how it shows energy transfer. I think the only true way to simulate a human body is to use an actual dead human whos body has been embalmed so that it wont get hard and decompose.
 

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A year or so ago - Mythbusters did a test - On the movies, U see the bad guys flying back when shot. They hung a huge hunk of beef from a hook, and shot at it with various calibers. Even hanging, the beef pretty much never moved when hit with the various calibers. Only a shotgun slug forced it back a little.

People are so used to seeing movies where the guy flies back on 1 shot - so, in a real self defense scenario, it may take several shots to stop a baddie - then they try to hang you in ct for shooting someone so many times...
 

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You ruined it for me...

Next you'll tell me that when Robert Duvall shot that guy in the alley thru the wall with a dbl.barrel shotgun in the movie Open Range it was faked:smt062
 
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Or how about when someone gets shot with a .380 in the head and it takes off half their head. Oh yeah, and you got to love that fake hollywood sound that they give silenced guns.
 

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If you ask 10 gun guys their theory on the best caliber you will get 18 different answers. A vital organ hit is a vital organ hit and a miss is a miss. Outside of a headshot people don't die instantly even when shot in the heart it can take up to 15 seconds before death occurs.
One of my brother’s old partners had to kill a suspect in an armed robbery one night and shot him 8 times in the torso with a .357 sig before he went down, and a woman in Colorado Springs once shot and killed a grizzly bear with a single shot from a .22 revolver (I read that story in a gun mag years ago).

I have spent so much time reading FBI reports and finding all I can on the net about wound tracts it has just about made my head explode. I have about 25 friends or acquaintances that carry. Some carry a .32 and one guy carries a Desert Eagle 50 AE and not one of them feels under gunned.

For me this debate ended some time ago as I settled on 9mm as my caliber. It has plenty of penetration, lots of great defense rounds available, low recoil for follow up shots, and the only thing cheaper to shoot is a 22. And no one will ever convince me that they can make someone more dead with a heart or head shot with a .45 than I can with a 9mm. Shot placement, shot placement, shot placement, practice, practice, practice. Almost everyone has a seen a test done, or heard someone say something that convinced them that a certain caliber is the one. Each person has to choose the right caliber and gun for them and weed through what is popular at the time. My theory, put two in the ten ring, with a .380 or bigger, and the vast majority of BGs won’t want to play anymore.
 

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I don't worry about stopping power. I am more concerned about bullet placement. A .22LR bullet placed in the right place will stop most things. I think the most important thing is practice to place the bullet where it will be the most effective. I've seen a lot of deer taken with a .22LR, and then read on forums where the .45 is not adequate to use on deer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I once had a lady, recently widowed, tell me this story:

Her late husband kept a loaded Ruger Super Blackhawk in the house, and it was still in a drawer, where, she did not elaborate. Late one evening a man high on drugs pounded on her front door. She grabbed the gun and went into the entry hall to call the police. As she did so, this giant of a man crashed through her front door, taking down frame and all. She pointed the gun at him and he roared and started toward her. She fired one shot, indicating at the same time that the gun really went up in recoil, so she only got off one shot. Her assailant stumbled backward and fell, tried to get up, and rolled down the steps of her porch. He was still there when police arrived.

She said she never heard the shot.

Bob Wright
 

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45 cal "The Manstopper" 260 grain

Has anyone tried the 45 cal .452" man-stopper bullets from Northwest Custom Projectile? I think if you just search for them on the internet you can fine them easy enough.
 

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I think the FBI testing protocols are the best we have yet seen. They have given birth to a large number of excellent premium projectiles that penetrate to sufficient depth, expand to good diameters, and seem to work extremely well in police and defensive shootings.

Regarding the tests of the early 1900s, I think that info is dated to the point of irrelevance. They obviously weren't able to test rounds we have now, like the .40S&W, nor the expanding bullets now used almost universally for defense.

I don't know about goat tests, but the cattle and cadaver tests in Thompson-LaGarde of 1904, which resulted in a recommendation of a .45 pistol, weren't conducted in anything close to what we would consider a scientific manner today. Not only that, they involved a rather small sample size of animals (thirteen) and produced results that were pretty inconclusive.
 

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If you ask 10 gun guys their theory on the best caliber you will get 18 different answers. A vital organ hit is a vital organ hit and a miss is a miss. Outside of a headshot people don't die instantly
I agree with the sentiments. However even a head shot is not a sure thing. One of my coworkers tried it to himself with a 38 years ago. Still walking although quite the scar. In a recent "ayoob files" article talked about a guy shot in the head with a .22 he came to as the perp was taking his wallet (after other stuff) fought him off enough the bg ran, grabbed his 40, and shot and dropped him (chased him etc.)

so i think i would ammend your statement only with this- "outside of movies people don't die instantly when shot":rolleyes:
 

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One of my coworkers tried it to himself with a 38 years ago. Still walking although quite the scar.
You can't mention that and not elaborate.

Also, quit watching movies expecting realistic firearm treatment. It does not matter whether a gunshot is realistic or not to the people who make movies nor to the people who watch them, I do both. All that matter is that it looks cool and makes money. Hell, most of the people I know through work are either quite anti-gun or are completely ambivalent about it. After all, it was said by an old time TV producer that "the business of television is to sell soap."
 

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I agree shot placement. I remember reading coronary somewhere that report that the sternum and left lung are the most effective.

Also IMO your adrenaline effects your dialation, expanding the pupils to see better so I would not be surprised that someone didn't hear the full sound of the shots. You will lose some sensitivity at that tone but never go deaf or completey, even if fired next to your head.
 

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I agree shot placement. I remember reading coronary somewhere that report that the sternum and left lung are the most effective.

Also IMO your adrenaline effects your dialation, expanding the pupils to see better so I would not be surprised that someone didn't hear the full sound of the shots. You will lose some sensitivity at that tone but never go deaf or completey, even if fired next to your head.
That altered sensitivity is, not to sound like a smartass, all in your head. It happens in between your ears and your brain. All of the mechanics of hearing loss are still happening to the parts of your ear(s).
 

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While the phenomenon of auditory exclusion is well-proven and commonly observed in gunfight participants, there is apparently also some emerging evidence that the flood of hormones into the bloodstream during the "fight or flight" response does offer some protection to the physical hearing mechanisms. I read about it a year or so ago. I'll see if I can find the article.
 

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While the phenomenon of auditory exclusion is well-proven and commonly observed in gunfight participants, there is apparently also some emerging evidence that the flood of hormones into the bloodstream during the "fight or flight" response does offer some protection to the physical hearing mechanisms. I read about it a year or so ago. I'll see if I can find the article.
That would be an interesting read. I don't see how that would prevent the wavelength-dependent damage or destruction of tissue.
 
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