Hello, Wes. I understand exactly where you're coming from, but don't worry; any discussions on calibers, relative effectiveness, preferences, etc, will be intelligently and courteously discussed.
On other boards I seldom enter into any such discussions as they often times go down hill in a hurry. Here we may just have the chance to share ideas and observations without the all too frequent smart remarks that offer nothing useful
and detract from the topic at hand.
Neither will anyone be "required" to cite their sources. Several of us may very well have first-hand reports from folks who have "been there and done that" more than once, but prefer not to be mentioned by name. If a member here has an opinion or what some call "anecdotal" evidence, they're welcome to present it. This site is not a ballistic research center trying to qualify for any grants or published in any scientific journals. If members have first hand observations to share, they are most welcome as well. What I'm saying is that more can be learned than some might have us believe through these sorts of discussions. At least I believe this to be true. The one thing I know to be true is that no one will talk down to anyone here. At least one site I won't name is so consistently rude that quite a few folks I know will not post there even though they've had to use deadly force to get out of the "dark place" and have viable information to share.
No one has to agree with my thoughts on "stopping power" or the next guy's, but posting here will be without
flaming, name calling, and so forth. I am not really sure how to say this politely so I'll just say it. Folks are more than welcome to post their views and I encourage them to do so. At the same time I will ban anyone on the first "violation" in which their post is a smart ass remark contributing nothing and serving only to try and make another look stupid, dumb, etc.
So far this has been a stellar group of folks and I suspect it will remain so.
I for one am extremely interested in various calibers, loads, their effects on BG's as well as in the hunting fields and suspect that others are, too. The only thing I'm absolutely sure of is that little is certain in the realm of handgun "stopping power."
While I tend toward the 38/9mm and up in caliber potency,
other folks simply may have seen 38, 9mm, .357, etc not perform to expected levels and trust nothing not starting with a "4" in caliber designation. Others will opt for the mid-bores for their reasons. I flat don't trust any caliber that is basically associated with self-protection. I see the 9mm, .357, .45 (insert your choice here) as part of a mix that determines its effectiveness:
1. Is it used in time?
2. Is the bullet (or bullets) placed in a vital area
3. Is the BG immune to what another might not be from drugs, adrenaline, rage, fear, pure determination to get you, etc? In other words, will he go down only if physically incapable of continuing?
4. Will the BG "stop" for psychological reasons when he actually could continue his assault?
There are so many unknowns and factors that we either cannot control or can influence but minimally that perhaps we fixate on that which we can dictate: caliber, load, action, etc.
I feel pretty secure with a .223 with expanding ammunition
and better with a .308 using the same, but seldom have either in my pocket or under my coat. I will have at least a .38 snub and frequently more. A couple of officers under my command were forced to take out a bad guy. He was hit at extremely close range with a 12 gauge that shredded his heart and a full-house .357 through the neck. The latter actually hit nothing of importance!!!! The
felon remarked, "I didn't think you'd shoot me" or something very similar and then sat down, leaned against a wall and died. Somewhere in that time period I quit laying awake wondering about handgun caliber effectiveness and more on being able to hit where I wanted and needed to with the handgun. It is odd and not that common for a human to absorb that level of damage and not instantly collapse but it does happen. If the shotgun blast represents jumping 20 ft high, it really might not be that big of a deal whether 9mm or .45 jump 4 and 5' respectively if 20' is no guarantee!
With the better loads, 9mm can be a capable defensive handgun. With the better defensive loads, .45 ACP can be a capable defensive handgun so long as "capable" is kept in the context of handgun effectiveness. At least that is what I believe.
Neither is likely to be particularly effective if we cannot hit where we need to quickly and possibly repeatedly.