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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. We see this all the time:

"9mm vs. .45"
"9mm vs. 10mm"
"10mm vs. .45"

...and so it goes.

Here's what I honestly believe.

Anything 9mm and up in autos is capable of satisfactory performance against a human aggressor. Ammunition selection is probably a bit more important with
the smaller calibers such as 9mm and .38 Super and they're therefore a little more dependent upon bullet performance for effect than larger ones, but I do not believe that the difference is great.

With revolvers, I'd think anything from .38 Special +P up will serve and serve well in the hands of someone who can handle the gun and caliber. At present, I normally have a .38 loaded with +P on me and there's a .357 loaded with magnums close at hand. Which is best? I believe the .357 is, but I do not believe that the .38 will fail if placed well. Likewise, I do not believe that a .357 will stop a determined aggressor w/o a solid hit.

In an article somewhere on my site, I said, "Placement is power." I believe that and suggest that we each go with what we:

1. Can actually handle and shoot well at speed

2. Have confidence in

Ideally the two will merge as one.

Best.
 

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In an article somewhere on my site, I said, "Placement is power." I believe that and suggest that we each go with what we:

1. Can actually handle and shoot well at speed

2. Have confidence in

Ideally the two will merge as one.

Best.
Exactly,
and if I may...
#3... what we will actually carry!
For exampleHot Texas summer usually equals a thin T-shirt for most folks,guys and gals a like.This usually fullsize 1911sand Glocks sitting out in the vehicles! Fanny packs are nice but they exclaim "gun" to everyone and that may or may not be a good idea.
 

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I think placement and application can overcome caliber and bullet selection, BUT, that is in the hands of an accomplished shooter and under a limited set of circumstances some of which involve a healthy dose of pure blind luck.

Determination allied to ability can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and can make it seem an otherwise marginal cartridge is a true giant killer, whereas the cartridge more suitable can allow those who may fall short of the abilities of many of thier fellow shooters to adequately defend themselves, even though they may lack that fine edge.

Is the 9mm better than the 38? does the 357 magnum rule the roost or is it the 45 acp or has it been unseated by the 40 S&W or the 357 SIG?

Each have things to recommend them and each is the BEST choice for someone and in relative terms with quality bullet selection and staying within the performance envelope of each cartridge,bullet, platform and with proper placement no one will know the difference and if the bullet(s) were to not be recovered, only the casings and the gun in the evidence locker would be able to tell you what did the damage.

I don't have all the answers, far from it.

The search goes on.

Regards, Mueller
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello, Mueller, and welcome. THAT is the sort of reasoned, intelligent response not seen in enough places. I appreciate your taking time to post it here. Between you and Mr. Higginbotham, I think there might be some pretty good information to be gained and considered.

Determination allied to ability can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and can make it seem an otherwise marginal cartridge is a true giant killer, whereas the cartridge more suitable can allow those who may fall short of the abilities of many of thier fellow shooters to adequately defend themselves, even though they may lack that fine edge.

Yes! A .22 in the hands of an SAS trooper who has been up to his knees in blood is likely a very "effective stopper."
That same gun and ammo in the hands of someone who is not sure of whether or not they can actually shoot another
human being and w/o comensurate skills to "thread the needle" so to speak has probably lost.

Each have things to recommend them and each is the BEST choice for someone and in relative terms with quality bullet selection and staying within the performance envelope of each cartridge,bullet, platform and with proper placement no one will know the difference and if the bullet(s) were to not be recovered, only the casings and the gun in the evidence locker would be able to tell you what did the damage.

Very true and something not often considered.

It's sort of like a good friend of mine used to say; "You have to put the medicine where the pain is." Some are more readily able to do that with a .38 revolver. Others may just not feel confident with less than a .41 magnum, but don't trust autos. A good many will want only a 1911 .45 while yet more rally around Glock "perfection."

I trust "down" to .38 Special +P from a snub, feel confident with a 9mm and my choice in ammunition, and the same with a 1911 .45 and good ammunition. Out in the woods I might opt for a .357 magnum, "honest" .44 Special load, or a .45 Colt handload.

In the right spot, any of these should "stop" a fight; at the
same time, any of them can fail. Handguns just are not all that potent compared to centerfire rifles and we've all seen deer that run sometimes considerable distances after taking a chest ("upper torso") hits with .308, '06, and so forth.

Placement is difficult and precise placement nearly impossible under stress and reduced time frames, but the bullet that makes an aggressor drop due to physiological reasons will be one that has gone where it should...be it by intention and skill or blind luck.

I wish there was a way to determine "psychological stops" from "physiological ones."

Best and thanks again.
 

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Mr. Camp,

I believe there is a way to determine psychological stops.

With a handgun, unless the CNS is hit, it would be a psychological stop. Even with the CNS hit- say, the spinal cord below the belly- the hands are still capable of movement. This would make an attacker with a gun still potentially dangerous.

If you were able to count in a gunfight... and gave a count of 60 once the attacker was down, then I would suppose that the attacker had bled out and it was a physiological stop- not instant to be sure as we're talking handgun velocities here- but anything 60 seconds or over I would count as a physiological stop. There are of course exceptions.

Dang... I think I just confused myself. I have a flowchart going in my mind, trying to put myself in the place of an attacker. It's kinda' like the OODA loop.

Until and unless I get what I'm thinking sorted out, I will state this much: I firmly believe that any hit, especially with a handgun, where the attacker stops, MUST be considered a psychological stop as there are no assurances of anything. Witness TuPac (or however his name was spelled). He carried a bullet around in his head for years before he was killed in a final shootout. When he was shot in the head the first time, did he stop instantly? I have no data on that. I do know that he almost died in the ER but they managed to save him.

That was a brain shot, man, and he lived. If he stopped, it had to be psychological IMO.

At calibers where one can actually start talking about "red mist" I would start to consider physiological stops. Otherwise, if they're still there, they're still alive, and not stopped.

*Footnote: My definition of a STOP is one where the attacker is down (or non-existant) and is incapable of resuming anti-social behavior. In other words, dead or comatose. Not simply dying or in shock, or even crippled. This sounds harsh but we live in a harsh world. I hope the majority here understand what I'm conveying.

Josh
 

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Blood loss or a drop in blood pressure can make a person sick and that along with the realisation that they have been shot and the onset of shock may lead them to cease thier present activity, does that equal a psychological or physiological stop?

A punctured and collapsed lung can lead to unconsciousness in a short period of time and even if one remained conscious the ability to continue would be seriously degraded and shock would be setting in, once again did the stop occur because of psychological or physiological?

An impact to or perforation of a nerve cluster can also temporarily paralyse an individual and lead to a cessation of hostilities. Psychological or Physiological?

Many times you could make the case for a psychlogical stop and in others it was purely physiological and in some cases we really would not be able to say definitively what stopped the individual.

The pain quotient must always be considered, as well as the general over all health and mindset of the parties involved all of which are extremely hard to measure and some parties may not be available to provide testimony as to why they stopped.

I am not saying you are wrong, just pointing out that the lines are blurred and there are no hard and fast rules.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello. "And therein lies the rub": the blurred lines at the differentiation between physiologicial and psychological "stops."

It may never be quantified, but guidelines will probably remain:

1. Get there first with the most
2. Get the hits
3. Use cover whenever possible
4. Shoot until the problem is solved

...and the most important of all:

Avoid the fight if at all possible.

Best.
 

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Mueller,

Sir, I would submit that there can be some hard and fast rules.

Let me clarify please. If the attacker does not have a head, he is not a threat. If the attacker exhists from the waist up, he is a threat.

I say this for several reasons. However, I will relate one of my own experiences.

I am a close quarter combat instructor (certified). When my friend and I were still in training we were teenagers. His 18th birthday came we had a party. We got drunk- dangerously so. I personally consumed a fifth of Jose Quervo 500 and several beers over the course of a couple, few hours. My friend was about the same. We were both bordering on comatose from alcohol poisoning (in retrospect ::) ) when we decided that we didn't want to sleep yet, so we decided to practice.

Every nerve bundle we knew about was hit, full force. I actually fought without breathing for a couple minutes because of a direct blow to my solar plexus. He was faster than I, but I was a better grappler and he took several throws, full power, along with nerve strikes. He couldn't breakfall correctly in his condition.

After we sobered up the next day we discussed the "practice session." I was sporting bruises all over, very sore muscles and nerve bundles which felt as if they had been hit with a sledgehammer. He was in the same, if not a bit worse, shape. We came to the conclusion that we absolutely do not want to fight a drunk person for real (I ended up having to later, though- but that's for a different day).

What finally stopped us though? Well, I threw him into a pile of dog droppings. He didn't like that and went in to clean up. I would definately call that psychological.

You do mention pain. In another part of my training history I was associated with the local sheriff's dept. We did OC training and were required to be hit in the face. We were cautioned that if we had asthma or bronchitis, we were not to be hit with the agent. I had both at the time and didn't mention it. I picked the best instructor there to hit me with it and it hurt. Bad. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. As I walked to the bucket to wash off this officer says, "Josh, do you think you can fight now?" I get up, assume a stance, and go back to the bucket. I could have charged him... but I didn't want hit again. I was still hurtin' and new this deputy- he'd chortle with glee and spray repeatedly. I was stone cold sober here. I was stopped by something much less than the pounding I had taken at the party (pretty much the same time frame). Psychological- I didn't want hit with that stuff again.

First incident was physical damage, didn't stop. The second one was aversion to what would come. It stopped me.

Because pain is relative, and controlled by the mind, I would submit that any stop caused by pain is psychological. I would further submit that BP loss can be offset by determination, drugs and adrenaline as well as (possibly) anaerobic manufacture of oxygen in muscles, as well as muscles and blood which are already well saturated with oxygen.

So I guess my question to you, Sir, would be this: To your mind, what is a "stop?"

Thank you,

Josh
 

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Hello, Josh

No need to Sir me, Mueller is fine.

Okay, I must be a sucker for punishment, I went back 3 times for the OC spray training as the antagonist


To my mind? A stop is when all aggressive activities cease.

If they choose to stop and no further input is required, then be happy and if it takes more and they cease thru no wish of thier own, they made the choice to start it.

Now if we are talking a threat or potential threat even after the stop, then unless they have them zipped in a body bag and loaded into the coroners van, I consider them a threat.

We are probably talking about the same thing but from different perspectives and I am having trouble articulating it in writing.
 

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Mueller,

Yes Sir, I do believe we are attempting discussion at the same thing... doh!

I am mild ADD and also have trouble articulating in writing much of the time. This has lead to severe misunderstandings on some firearms BBSs.

Being the psychological fellow I am, I do not consider any stop short of a missing head or torso to be a "stop." I rather consider it to be a "potential stop" even if all hostile actions have ceased.

Good discussion though... Thank you.

Josh
 
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Hey, I think this is going to work out pretty good here, while I have never killed a person I have killed large animals and have seen large animals killed, I think we as handgun shooters (real handgun shooters) know how a handgun bullet works unlike a lot of those guys on some boards that will say something like" the only real handgun round is the 45acp" and will say "the 9mm is useless" we all know this is just so much hype, I know what the 45 can do and what it can't, and so on with the 9mm, I shoot both and know that even the most powerful handgun is very weak when compared to a rifle, so placement is most important, that being said I would feel well armed with a 7 shot 45 or a 15 shot 9mm, because I know what each can do, Nate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hello, and welcome. I agree and believe that when using a handgun on any animal, we need to aim for a specific part of the body, i.e., where the heart/lung region is, and keeping in mind the angle from which the shot is to be made. It's also important to know the penetration capabilities of the rounds being used.

Best.
 

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Hello,



I use to be .40S&W all the way, 9mm was my second choice and .45ACP was third.



Now days, .40S&W is my third, "But" only because I have become some what afraid of the cartridge it's self, because of the .40 being so unforgiveing when it comes to bullet set-back, or even a slightly over charged factory load and so fourth.



So now, I still pretty much prefer the 9 over the .45, "But" only because of the 9's better Hard Target penetrating capabilities, all thow, I think the .45 is probally a better home defence "CQB" caliber.



I'm sure some of you will find this odd, But I have always liked the 1911 better for the gun it's self, than the caliber, "But" then theres a certain Texan taken deer with the 1911 .45ACP at 30-40 yards, so I'm starting to take a closer look at my feelings reguarding the .45ACP cartridge.



So where am I now, I still think the .40 has an edge over the 9, and I always will, just as I believe the 9 is a better Hard Target penetrator than the .45 is.



All that being said, if I was in trouble and could only choose one pistol, it would be The 9mm FN/Browning High Power.
 

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I always enter such a discussion with fear and trepidation - there is simply too much to consider and everyone has a differing points of view (which could change the order of preference with valid reasons).

Let me say that Steve and I have had a lot of private communication on handguns and that be pretty much agree but I characterize it from another angle. Which is summed up as follows;

Of normal defense cartridges given good hits but not CNS hits *none* of them work as well as we would like if the subject is a serious threat (if he wasn't a serious threat then why shoot him?).

To be a bit more clear, some people fall down immediately when shot (I even saw one when shot *at*) but that is not the result of ballistics (unless the CNS was hit). Under common circumstances we could expect a guy shot through the heart with a .44 Magnum to still be active for 2 to 15 seconds. Whether he can do us damage is up to him not us (except for defensive tactics we may be employing unrelated to ballistics). It does not always happen this way but we cannot affort to assume that ours will be the lucky one....if you are getting attacked it already is not your lucky day!

Now if I am shooting a deer and he goes down in 2 to 3 seconds (excellent performance) that is fine. If I am shooting a man at 7 yards who is pointing a shotgun at my middle (which is a considerable target :) ) for 2 to 3 seconds until he can no longer operate, let alone the more realistic 5-15, then that is not really what I call adequate.

Sadly, there probably arent any truly powerful defesne sidearms. It would be interesting to see what the .500 S&W would do in self defense (not so far fetched as the Coast Gurad and the CIA are using a very similar cartridge in carbines) but I truly don't see any normal person packing such a handgun on a daily basis.

Enough for now, I tend to go way to long on these things. Suffice to say, I agree with Steve, pundits tend to over state the differences between the cartridges. I truly beleive I have seen *some* difference but it is not enough to say that a person is silly for not picking cartridge "X".

One's ability with his weapon is still paramount!

Onward!
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hello. I agree that when we make the shot, unless it knocks out the "electrical system" vs the "hydraulics", the stop watch is ticking. The bad guy does have a very limited amount of time, but whether we survive the "dead man's ten seconds" probably depends on how well we utilize cover or tactics, or get in more hits...if appropriate.

I suggest that having to fight with a handgun can be an "iffy" proposition at best and I liken it to a knife fight. I am NOT in any sense of the word a knife fighter. The reference is because immediate stops may be more likely with the bullet than the blade, but they probably won't be the "toes in the air and on the back" effect that we'd like. If you can "stick" the felon with a couple of good hits and just stay out of the way or line of fire for a few seconds that will seem eternal, you'll probably win.

Popping him once, twice, or thrice and just exposing yourself unduly, assuming that he's down and out might result in his delivering a lethal blow such that as his "short term clock" stops ticking, yours begins.

Best.
 
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Hey all, I like the 9mm the best and I always have my Hi-power or Taurus PT24/7 ready to go in my house or in my car. But living in FL, when I carry, I carry a Beretta Cheetah 84 380 because it's easy to conceal down here in the heat. What's your opinion on the bet ammo for the 380? I have Federal Hydra-shock 90gr in it now. Anyone else fired the 24/7 in here? I think it's nice for a DAO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hello. The Beretta handguns I've fired in .380 ACP have been flawless in function and have had their fixed sights well-regulated to POI vs. POA out of the box.

As to the .380 ACP itself: It is just below what I consider minimal to feel comfortable carrying. I may be wrong, but I'm just not that confident in the caliber's ability, not to kill, but to incapacitate. Here's why I believe this: Most folks who've
studied up much at all on "stopping power" under whatever name it may have been called, usually agree that mid-bore bullets that don't expand usually give adequate penetration, but a small wound channel. Some calibers having lighter bullets as the standard weight that do expand often penetrate a bit less than is desired. The 90 to 95-gr. standard weight for most ball and JHP rounds
seems not to have deep enough penetration other than for unobstructed frontal shots. Most seem to do in the 7 to 8" range in 10% ballistic gelatin. Even the law enforcement Ranger SXT 95-gr. JHP only does about that and Remington's 102-gr. Golden Saber mirrors this performance.

Hornady 90-gr. XTP's do expand normally to about 1.5 times the original caliber and do penetrate a bit more than the more aggressive expanders.

I'm not suggesting that the .380 won't do the trick, only that it is likely not as capable of doing what we want under a wider variety of circumstances. I believe it can deliver a serious wound from any angle, but if it has to pass through an arm on the way to the torso via a broadside shot, it very well might not get to enough that is vital to cause a rapid incapacitation.

Were I toting a .380, I'd probably load it with one of the following:

Winchester Ranger SXT 95-gr. JHP
Remington 102-gr. Golden Saber
Federal 90-gr. "Classic" JHP
Federal 90-gr. Hydrashok
Hornady 90-gr. XTP

I'd pick the one that proved reliable in my pistol. If several did, I'd then decide whether I wanted maximum expansion or limited expansion and hopefully, deeper penetration.

When looking for the "perfect 24/7 always gun", I wound up going with the S&W Airweight .38 Snub. It allows the use of heavier bullets at similar to .380 velocities and a bit deeper penetration.

On the other hand, I have to practice with this little thing to stay competent enough to feel somewhat secure in its 5-shot capacity before reloading becomes necessary. The .380 auto has the clear advantage here. I find them quite a bit easier to shoot well and quickly than the snub, assuming equal practice with both. It usually holds more shots per loading than the snub.

Some opine that FMJ is the best option in .32, .380, and 9mm Makarov. I do seem some merit in their arguments, but in the end, I think that expanding ammo is probably a better choice for the private citizen. We're NOT as likely to have to make a side shot as a police officer who is backing up another; should we have to shoot a felon, it will probably be at close range and face on.

Hopefully, Corbon's new DPX load will offer both expansion and penetration better than what we now have.

Best.
 

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A 1911 or Glock 19 are my CCW's of choice. In a Texas summer, sometimes those choices are "unattractive" in
shorts and sweaty T-shirt weather


So, I'm usually carrying a Keltec P-32 with Hydra-Shoks, a Bersa Thunder .380 in Golden Sabres or an SP101 with the "FBI" load - Winchester 158 gr SWCHP +P. During the summer ALL three of those guns come out to the range with me EVERY time and get practiced with a couple of times a month.

Shot placment with any handgun is critical but probably becomes more so in the "lower tier" of self defense rounds.

But I have seen some pretty good expansion results with the .32 in Hydra-Shoks and the .380 in Golden Sabre - enough to feel that if I can place'em, I'm alot better off that if I had to depend on just my fists
 
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Like some here I came along prior to the development of effective JHP loads, and remember attempts to predict effectiveness through the Hatcher System, Cooper's Short Form and other guesswork--usually predicated on anecdotes or war stories. We certainly have better ammo these days, although I have a soft spot for large diameter SWCs--they just *look* mean.

I carried .357/125s in the latter part of my career and had a great deal of confidence in them, probably because of the real world track record that load had. It was worth the wear and tear on me and the gun to have that kind of documented performance on my side. I am now just another CCW but that is still my choice. (If I ever have to use it without hearing protection what hearing I have left will probably be history!)

I still have great fondness for that massive .45 ACP, and nagging suspicions about the 9mm, but am pretty well convinced that placement and 873 other variables are probably more to the point that exactly how many fps we are getting out of the muzzle that day.

Meanwhile I can probably do more for my personal welfare by avoiding troublesome people and places if I don't really, really have to go there.
 

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Well put Bat Guano!

I toyed with mathematical models and statistics for 30 years...all I got was a sore finger from punching the calculator and a fried brain :-/

I do however still have the gut feeling (one I did not start out with) that bigger is somewhat better, but those 873 other reasons you mention do indeed complicate the issue.

And before someone points out that "X" works 95% of the time I will remind you that Babe Ruth lead the league in strikeouts! :)

Onward and upward!
Jim
 
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