No announcement yet.

A Beginner's Guide to Stopping Power

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    My last words about firearms at least for this week.

    It is a well know fact that in the USMC a pistol is used for only on purpose: To give you cover to get to your rifle. No more and no less. Give me a 870 or 500 shotgun any day over a pistol for close in work. At one time the Marines were issued the MP-5 for crew members of armor vehicles. That lasted 3 years... They now use the M-4!!!


    • #17
      Fackler said many times the only way to put someone down immediately was crush/sever the spinal cord or evacuate the cranial vault. He went to two autopies where hearts were removed with 12 gage guns at close range and both of them made it over 50 yards before they went down so the 5 second rule doesn't hold.

      Fackler said some people will go full bore upwards of three minutes especially if they are charged up on dope, taken a deep breath right before getting shot or are extremely mad.

      He told the police we lectured to that after a shooting remain behind cover, call for backup and don't approach shootee until the world arrives and use extreme caution when doing so.
      Distinguished Rifleman High Power , Distinguished Rifleman Smallbore Prone, Presidents Hundred (Rifle), Palma Teams Member (2), Dewar Teams Member (2), Member 4 Man National Championship Smallbore AnySight Team, Certified Small Arms and Ammunition Test Director Aberdeen Proving Ground , Eagle Scout, AC4HT, NRA Benefactor Member, Firefighter I, Shriner



      • #18

        Just read your original post. Lot's of good info, Thanks. I guess I fall back to my training on human targets (2 to the chest, 1 to the head) with whatever weapon is in my hand, be it a sidearm, SMG, shotgun or rifle. For hunting meat or fur I strictly go for head or neck shots. Can't run away if it's dead.

        What's that old military saying, (Never shoot a large caliber man with a small caliber round)



        • #19
          (Never shoot a large caliber man with a small caliber round) 2 center and go high was standard training at FLETC


          I also called the MOTHER IN LAW GUNS as they were only good for keeping your mother in law off you ! ! ! !

          Distinguished Rifleman High Power , Distinguished Rifleman Smallbore Prone, Presidents Hundred (Rifle), Palma Teams Member (2), Dewar Teams Member (2), Member 4 Man National Championship Smallbore AnySight Team, Certified Small Arms and Ammunition Test Director Aberdeen Proving Ground , Eagle Scout, AC4HT, NRA Benefactor Member, Firefighter I, Shriner



          • #20
            After the famous Miami shooting in Mid 80s the FBI held a Wound Ballistics Workshop at Quantico, VA facility. I forgot I had them but Fackler sent me the minutes of the workshop.

            Here is the summary section:


            I. WOUNDING – Except for hits to the central nervous s stem (CNS), reliable and reproducible instant incapacitation is not possible with any handgun bullet. Whether incapacitation occurs, depends entirely upon the physical, emotional, psychological, and mental state of the individual, including the presence or absence of narcotics, alcohol, or adrenalin. Even if the heart is destroyed, the individual still has enough oxygen in the brain for full and complete voluntary action for 10 to l5 seconds.

            Temporary cavitation caused by a handgun round has no wounding effect. Kinetic energy deposit has no wounding effect. Organs will only be damaged by handgun bullets if they are hit by that bullet. Therefore, bullets must be capable of penetrating deeply enough to pass through the organs to be effective. The experts condemned the use of the well-known Relative Incapacitation Index (RII) as a viable method for the comparison of bullets inasmuch as the RII measurements are based on temporary cavitation and do not reflect actual wound results.

            Given equal penetration, a bigger bullet will disrupt more tissue and hopefully cause greater bleeding. Barring a CNS hit, incapacitation can only be forced by blood loss and that takes time as well as sufficient penetration to hit major blood vessels through intervening musculature, fat, clothing, arms, etc. Any bullet that will not reliably penetrate a minimum of 10 to 12 inches of soft tissue is inadequate. Penetration is a function of bullet mass and design, not velocity. The feared hazards of over penetration are greatly exaggerated except in the case of full-metal-jacket (FMJ) ammunition.

            II. 9mm vs. .45 – The single most important factor in assessing the effectiveness of any caliber is penetration. If the bullet will not penetrate at least 10 to 12 inches of soft tissue, it is dangerously inadequate. Given equal penetration, a larger bullet will disrupt more tissue and could hasten blood loss; however, the experts could not say that the damage caused by the larger .45 caliber was significantly more than that of the 9mm. Barring the FMJ ammunition in both calibers, there are no currently available 9mm hollowpoints that are adequate. If they expend, they do not penetrate enough. If they do not expand, they perform like FMJ ammunition. A new 9mm round, the 147-grain, subsonic ammunition developed for the Department of Defense, may be the answer for 9mm pistols. Preliminary testing of this round reflects excellent penetration, expansion, and accuracy. In .45 caliber, the hollowpoint ammunition tested ranged in penetration from marginally adequate to acceptable. Three of the eight experts recommend the .45 over the current 9mm rounds with the exception of the 147-grain, subsonic round, which they recommend for further testing and evaluation. Four of the eight advised that there was no difference in the wounding effects of either caliber given adequate penetration. One of the eight recommended the 9mm based upon future military research and development that will occur in the years to come and which will improve the caliber in terms of ballistic efficiency. Such improvements are conservatively ten or more years away.

            Because incapacitation cannot be predicted, the Agent should keep on shooting as long as the individual poses a threat. The shooter should not assume that one or two hits will incapacitate or stop the threat. For this reason, several of the experts opted for increased magazine capacity.

            While expansion is desirable, no bullet should be selected if it must expand in order to perform properly. The perception of the Agents using the weapons can be an overwhelming factor. If the Agent believes in the reliability and effectiveness of the weapon and ammunition, then he/she tends to shoot better with that weapon.

            For those that want to read all the minutes you can download it from my cloud below.

            Last edited by Hummer; 05-01-2019, 06:45 PM.
            Distinguished Rifleman High Power , Distinguished Rifleman Smallbore Prone, Presidents Hundred (Rifle), Palma Teams Member (2), Dewar Teams Member (2), Member 4 Man National Championship Smallbore AnySight Team, Certified Small Arms and Ammunition Test Director Aberdeen Proving Ground , Eagle Scout, AC4HT, NRA Benefactor Member, Firefighter I, Shriner



            • #21
              Fackler's personal carry gun was a 45 ACP with 230 gr and I was told by shooters who used them on the following accounts.

              I worked with a guy that shot a guy 7 times with a 45 that was running towards him with a rifle w/ bayonet on it and he put the 8th round in forehead and that dropped him. The group in his chest was about 3" diameter dead center. Shooter was on the Marine Corps pistol team.

              Got another buddy who shot a guy from 7 feet with 230 gr. fmj and he turned and ran off. Nobody reported to a hospital and no body was ever found.

              Got another friend (beat cop) who saw a guy shot from about 15 feet with a 45 in the mouth, he got knocked back to a bar and spat out three teeth and the bullet, still on his feet.

              I had a pit bull attack me on a mountain bike two years ago. I shot him from a range of about 18", got him from the top 2 inches left of spine, he cut a backwards flip and did not lose his footing. He started yelping and I could hear him wheezing every time he yelped. I estimate dog only weighed about 55 lbs, bullet DID NOT EXIT BODY! ! ! ! Dog walked back up to property and was never seen again. I called a vet buddy who told me he would likely die without intervention. I could clearly see hole in him and NO BLOOD.

              Got a game warden buddy who has been shot on two separate occasions, once with 9MM and once with 45. He said 45 hurt a whole lot more.

              I have read two places in last several months that only 7% of handgun wounds prove fatal.

              I have never talked to anyone that took a solid thoracic cavity hit from a 6.5MM or larger rifle that survived. Talk to vets and ask them. Had a buddy here who had two purples, 5 Bronze Vs, operated on 47 times to remove shrapnel (Battle of Bulge where he was a sniper) and I asked him how many he shot or saw shot with a 8MM or 30.06 and survived and he said quickly, "None".

              Distinguished Rifleman High Power , Distinguished Rifleman Smallbore Prone, Presidents Hundred (Rifle), Palma Teams Member (2), Dewar Teams Member (2), Member 4 Man National Championship Smallbore AnySight Team, Certified Small Arms and Ammunition Test Director Aberdeen Proving Ground , Eagle Scout, AC4HT, NRA Benefactor Member, Firefighter I, Shriner



              • #22
                Originally posted by USMC0351Grunt View Post
                B]A Beginner's Guide to Stopping Power [/B]
                By Chuck Hawks

                Much of what one reads about the subject of handgun stopping power is a mixture of truth, half-truth, untruth, rumor and legend. A good place for inquiring minds to start would be to read the books by Ed Sanow and Evan Marshall, which are the most important works on the subject at the present time. They did the research, visited the morgues, talked to the shooting victims and police, and in the end collected the validated data from actual shootings that demonstrates what has worked in the real world. Their findings can correct a lot of popular misconceptions for those who are willing to learn.

                When discussing terminal ballistics what seems "reasonable" on the face of it often turns out not to be, sometimes for fairly complex reasons. One example would be the alleged superiority of the semi-wadcutter (SWC or "Keith style") bullet form. General Julian Hatcher, who invented the widely quoted (and copied) theory of Relative Stopping Power, and those who followed his lead theorized that such a bullet should be 25% more effective than the traditional Round Nose (RN) bullet. And, in fact, the SWC style bullet does look somehow deadlier than a RN bullet. Its sharp shouldered, truncated cone configuration was alleged to "chop" a chunk out of tissue and blood vessels as it passed through, rather than press them aside as it was alleged a RN bullet would do. This seemed to make sense to me, and for years I shot SWC style bullets. But when Sanow and Marshall evaluated over 100 actual shootings with 158 grain .38 Special lead SWC bullets, there proved to be no significant difference in stopping power compared to 158 grain .38 Special lead RN bullets at the same velocity. Clearly, the Hatcher theory has some flaws, no matter how reasonable it may seem.

                The stopping power of any handgun bullet turns out to be a function of its ability to disrupt vital bodily functions, not the diameter or weight or initial shape of the bullet that strikes the victim. For example, the difference in the size of the entrance hole made by a .451" bullet compared to that made by a .355" bullet in an elastic (semi-self sealing) material like skin turns out to be largely irrelevant to stopping power. The idea (which I have heard expressed) that a bigger bullet makes a bigger hole to "bleed out" a man or an animal is faintly ridiculous.

                The principle method of both stopping and killing with any firearm, whether rifle or pistol or shotgun, is the disruption of vital bodily functions. Fatally damage any animal's heart, liver, lungs, or central nervous system (including Homo sapiens) and it is not going to live long enough to bleed out. Fail to put your bullet in a vital spot and you are very likely to have a problem with a man or an animal. That is not to say that some bullet placements might not eventually cause death by loss of blood, or infection, or some other mechanism, but that is never the goal of any hunter OR gunfighter who wants an immediate one shot stop.

                Readers who have done some deer hunting have probably observed that often the entrance wound from a modern expanding rifle bullet (like a 100 grain .243, 130 grain .270, or 150 grain .308) seems minimal, with almost no external blood loss at all. In addition, there may be no exit wound--the bullet is often found just under the hide on the off side. But if the shot was true the deer's lungs probably look like they went through a blender, and the animal was down in seconds. That is an illustration of nearly perfect stopping power and it has little or nothing to do with the relatively small caliber of the bullet involved.

                Modern big bore advocates, following in the footsteps of Jeff Cooper (who I respect greatly and regard as a fine and very persuasive writer), will claim that the example cited in the paragraph above and witnessed by countless tens of thousands of deer hunters does not apply at typical handgun bullet impact velocities. They argue that below some magic impact velocity (usually about 2000 fps) the temporary stretch cavity that contributes so much to the lethality of rifle bullets like those in the example above ceases to exist. These writers continue to ignore any facts contrary to their preconceptions. (As an aside, it is interesting that big bore rifle fans use a similar argument, but for them the magic velocity is typically about 2400 fps.)

                Unfortunately, they are simply wrong about pistol and rifle terminal ballistics being fundamentally different, which can and has proven by controlled testing and high speed photography. In fact, they are fundamentally similar. Both depend on disrupting the function of vital organs, and bullets that reach such organs and expand quickly and violently, thus destroying a lot of tissue, are the best way to accomplish this, whether fired from a short barrel or a long one.

                How could the terminal ballistics of pistols and rifles be so different, since today we have pistols chambered for rifle cartridges and rifles chambered for pistol cartridges? In general, rifles have an advantage in kinetic energy, and this gives them an advantage in the amount of potential damage they can cause. (Of course, most of the big bore boys don't believe that kinetic energy matters, either, but that is their problem.)

                But in terms of the mechanisms of wound dynamics, rifle bullets and pistol bullets are both bullets, and function in pretty much the same way. The stopping power of pistol loads and the killing power of rifle loads are both based on a combination of the temporary stretch cavity and the permanent crush cavity produced by the bullet as it traverses the target. Any theory that ignores either of these factors will give erroneous results. Ignore the temporary stretch cavity and your results will favor big caliber bullets. Ignore the crush cavity and your results will favor high velocity, nearly explosive bullets. Both results will be incorrect.

                For at least 40 years I have been reading claims by various "authorities" that bullets cannot be made to expand reliably at typical handgun velocities. This is just plain not true. I discovered that in the middle 1960's by shooting game with .357 Magnum JHP expanding bullets, and it certainly isn't true now. These opinions usually trace their origin to ancient theories and flawed experiments, particularly the Thompson-LaGard study conducted around the turn of the (20th) Century and General Julian Hatcher's aforementioned Theory of Relative Stopping Power.

                When applied to contemporary handgun cartridges, theories based on Hatcher (which include Cooper's and Taylor's "Short Forms") have a statistical correlation to reality of only .64. In other words, they are meaningless. A vocal minority of gun writers and their disciples (again mostly big bore pistol fans) have come to accept this bunk as gospel, but it is really in the same category as urban legends. These "authorities" have been repeating this misinformation for as long as I can remember--but that does not make them right.

                It is instructive to read the actual results of the Thompson-LaGard cattle shooting experiments, which I have done. I urge my readers to do the same. It would be hard to imagine a less appropriate or more poorly controlled study. Despite the significance ascribed to it to this day by the ignorant and willfully blind, it proved absolutely nothing about the lethality or stopping power (on humans) of the handgun cartridges and loads tested. And it is even less relevant (if possible) to modern handgun ammunition, since no expanding bullets were tested.

                All that the Thompson-LaGard experiment really proved is that none of the handgun loads tested were effective at killing cattle. Most of the bovines those early experimenters shot had to be put down with a sledge hammer! The conclusion that the .45 caliber pistol was superior was forgone from the outset due to the bias of the testers, and it became their official conclusion despite a startling lack of data to support it. Interestingly, the only steer put down quickly with one shot was killed by a round from the high velocity 7.65mm (.30 caliber) Luger pistol!

                Well designed bullets (which includes most of the JHP pistol bullets now on the market) expand very reliably at their intended impact velocity. How do you imagine the 115 grain JHP 9x19 +P load, 125 grain JHP .357 load, 155 grain JHP .40 S&W load, and 230 grain JHP .45 ACP loads earned those outstanding 90%+ one shot stop records in the real world? In a sentence: due to the consistent performance of their JHP bullets.

                The famous 125 grain .357 JHP bullet, the most effective one shot stopper of all handgun loads, penetrates 13.25" in ordinance gelatin and produces a football shaped stretch cavity. This is how the very best bullets perform. And bullet performance has a great effect on stopping power.

                For example, the .40 S&W has higher one shot stop percentages in the real world than the 10mm Auto. Yet both use exactly the same caliber bullets, and the 10mm Lite load has exactly the same velocity as the .40 S&W. What gives?

                The difference is a function of the terminal performance of the bullets involved. The FBI adopted the 10mm Lite load and became the main driving force behind 10mm load development. The FBI protocol calls for more penetration, and therefore less expansion, than is desirable to maximize stopping power in most shooting situations. They are more concerned about shooting through car doors, barricades, and so forth than putting criminals down with one shot in the typical frontal shooting situation that homeowners and civilians are most likely to face. The FBI essentially wanted ammunition designed for extended gun battles with perps hiding behind cover, and that is what they got. But as a result most 10mm ammo has less actual stopping power than the lighter, faster expanding bullets used in the best .40 S&W loads.

                I wrote this article, not as a diatribe against big bore handguns (indeed, some of them--using JHP bullets--are near the top of the stopping power list), but because I have grown weary of hearing and reading the same old misinformation endlessly repeated. My opinion is no better than anyone else's unless it correlates with reality. Read the actual studies, not what others say about the studies, and decide for yourself. For those concerned with the problem, handgun stopping power is too important a subject to be left to urban legend.

                .45 ACP full metal jacket 230 grain ....... 49
                .45 ACP jacketed hollow point 230 grain ....….. 60.7
                .44 Magnum full metal jacket 240 grain ......….... 92.3
                *.44 Magnum lead wad cutter 240 grain ...... 136.8
                .44 Special full metal jacket 240 grain ......... 51.6
                *.44 Special lead wad cutter 240 grain ...……...... 76.5
                .41 Magnum full metal jacket 230 grain ........ 54
                *.41 Magnum lead wad cutter 230 grain ........ 80
                10 millimeter full metal jacket 180 grain ....…..... 50.3
                10 millimeter jacketed hollow point 180 grain ... 62.1
                .40 S&W full metal jacket flat nose 180 grain .... 53.4
                .40 S&W jacketed hollow point 180 grain ......... 59.4
                .38 Special full metal jacket 158 grain .......……... 26.7
                *.38 Special lead wad cutter 158 grain ........... 39.7
                **.357 Magnum full metal jacket 158 grain ........ 32.7
                **.357 Magnum lead wad cutter 158 grain ........ 48.5
                .357 SIG full metal jacket 147 grain .....…….... 36.6
                .357 SIG jacketed hollow point 147 grain .... 45.2
                9 millimeter full metal jacket 147 grain ...... 32.3
                9 millimeter jacketed hollow point 147 grain .... 39.9
                .380 Auto jacketed hollow point 95 grain ...…..... 18.3
                .32 Auto jacketed hollow point 71 grain .......... 11.1
                .25 Auto jacketed hollow point 50 grain ......... 3.7
                .22 Long Rifle jacketed hollow point 40 grain .. 4.2
                Performance in gel has almost nothing to do with performance in flesh and blood. JHP's that expand fine in gel do nothing of the kind in animals 230 gr jhp .45's do not expand. Plus P 185 gr .45 jhp;s just BARELY expand when used in4" barrels 147 ht jhp 9'mm's do not expand from pistol barrels. The best loads can no longer be had, since Corbon is out of biz. The 90 gr Hornady and Federal jhp 9mm's are wussy loaded, under 1300 fps and the hornady jackets are too thick and tough for such low velocities to work well. What works in uncontrolable, too big and heavy for ccw 357's is irrelevant. youve got to have sub .20 second repeat hits in a lw, compact pistol. 124-5 gr jhp's do not expand in 3" barreled 9mm's., in FLESH> Non plus p 115 gr 9mm's do not expand from 4" barrels, either. civilans better NOT be shooting at cars or even men who are sideways to them. They are likely to end up in prison or sued out of every dollar they ever make

                Physical incapacitation takes FAR too long,in handgun type confrontations, unless you hit the spine or the brain. You can blow apart the heart and the man or animal can fight for 4-5 seconds. We need his arms to fall in 1/2 second or less. You never see this from incapacitation. It only occurs from a psychological QUITTING. The loads more likely to achieve this are the loads that do the most destruction of tissue and the most shocking. We CAN get controllable 2000 fps loads in ccw handguns, but they pierce soft armor, so they will not be sold to the public.on any mass basis. Such high velocity loads DO produce temporary gas cavities that ARE capable of actually damaging vital organs.. They wont damage muscles or blood vessels, but they DO tear up lung, kidney, spleen and liver tissues. The very best of these loads is the "Split Nose" bullets, 45 grs at 2000 fps from 3" 9mm's, for 400 ft lbs. or the 70 gr 10mm or 460 Rowland loads, at 2300 fps from 4" barrels. They are hollowpointed, hollowbased, and sawn nearly in half lengthwise. They are made on a lathe, out of solid aluminum rod, with a grease groove and Alox lubricant Only Alliant Bullseye powder will even cycle the slide with such lw bullets. The get going so easily that chamber pressure is not an issue. You need so much BE just to cycle the slide that I want mention the powder charge, cause know-nothings always insist that it's" suicidal. However, pressure testing proves them to be full of it.


                • #23
                  the 12" of penetration thing is a croc of crap. Very few men are more than 9" from sternum to spine. Hitting the ribs on the way out of the body contributes nothing. You can't reasonably expand anything short of the 155 gr 10mm, full bore ammo, from a 5" barrel, to get such penetration but also expand. and it's not going to be ccw'd or controlled by anyone short of A class IPSC competitors. If somebody made a 100 gr .40 bullet, driven to 1500 fps in a 4" barrel, that would be about as close to perfect as you can get with normal, copper jacketed, lead-cored ammo. for use in a ccw pistol. The recoil is managable, altho stout. in a ccw gun and you;'d have decent penetration, 8" or more, with real expansion and 500 ft lbs of power,


                  • #24
                    I rechambered a spare barrel for my Sig P938 to 9x21mm and get 45 grs to 2200 fps, in a 3" barrel, for less recoil than a makarov, and 500 ft lbs of power. I get 8" of penetration in animals. Pretty damned good in a 6" long, 15 oz pocket 9 that lets me get .19 sec repeat hits on the 10" vitals circle at 10 ft. With a proper kydex holster, thin left grip panel, rounding off of a lot of sharp edges and corners, it looks just like a wallet in a front pants pocket. Starting 'hand in pocket". I can react to the beep of the timer, draw, and get a hit on each of TWO 10" gongs at 10 ft, 5 ft apart, in sub 1 second. Starting gun in hand, low ready,, only Miculek can do better with a full-charge 357 and it has to be a full size and weight 357, too.