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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Hello. Within limits, it is my view that:

1. The person actually be willing to shoot another to save his own life, and

2. Have the skill to get the hit(s) quickly, and

3. Know where to put the shot(s), and

4. Have something in the .38/9mm power-range up

I think also that there are certain calibers and loads that are better than others within this range of "power," but don't believe that any of them offset the ability and willingness to use deadly force. There's little doubt in my mind that assuming equivalent bullet designs operating within their respective velocity envelopes, the larger calibers probably are better than smaller, but in competent hands, any will do the trick...until they don't. I simply don't trust any pistol round commonly associated with defense very much.

Best.
 
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Amen to the ancient and goodly philosophy that placement is power!

I don't know why I feel like saying this, but I'd like to make a side note, to this discussion.

If you don't enjoy practice, you won't do it, and we've already discussed the importance of shot placement. So, I'd like to say that we should all find ways to enjoy our practice, and practice more often.

I used to hate punching holes in paper. It bored me to death, so I didn't do it as much as I should have. Lately, though, I've found a new way of practicing, which I just can't wait to do every week: reactive targets.

Milk Jugs, empty cans, and anything else that will burst, hop, or otherwise entertain me when I hit it just makes practice more fun. Also, I'm finding that every few weeks when I do go to paper, to check how I'm grouping, I'm getting much, much better groups.

As a result, I feel like I would be a much more difficult adversary to bring down, right now, and it's got nothing, at all, to do with caliber.
 
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There was a local police department near me that issued .45 SIGs to all officers, patrol, detectives, etc. For its SWAT guys it issued 9mm SIGs. This would seem to be backwards, given that you would expect that SWAT guys would really "need" serious firepower to deal with the threats they know they will be forced to encounter, while normal patrol officers (are there any normal ones?... patrols, that is, not patrol officers! ;) ) might carry a weapon their whole careers and never fire a shot. Besides, the 9mm is much easier for the average shooter--police officers included-- to handle than the .45 ACP.

The logic? SWAT team members also carried MP-5s, and the ammunition compatibility was important. The SWAT guys were more highly trained than regular street cops, so were expected to hit with better shot placement under stress. Finally--and probably the deciding factor--SWAT team members often used a shield, and the more rounds carried by their 9mms meant more rounds down range between difficult one-handed reloads for the shield man.

Just more grist for the mill!


P.S. This mini "caliber war" is no longer an issue. They have switched everyone over to .40 S&W! I am ducking from the slings and arrows!
 
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To Jim's "ample cases" above, I'd like to add a case from many years ago of a bullfrog who was shot in the head by a lad from a distance of about 3 yards with a.22 lr fired from a 10/22. The bullet bounced off that frog's skull and left him with an expression on his face I can only describe as surprised. I imagine he had a headache but he danged sure wasn't dead (although he did "croak.")

I agree with just about all the above. I do think some loads irrespective of caliber are better than others though. And I think a fella is better off with the best he can get.

Over at Tactical Forums, Dr. Roberts has just posted a comparison of "law enforcement only" ammo, the Ranger T and Federal HST, Tactical, etc. His post also includes test results of Speer's 135 GDHP fired from a two-inch J-frame. Looking over all the numbers I was amazed at how well the snubby load did. It was within spitting distance of any of the 9 mms (fired from 4-inch barrels) and not that far off the .45's. And all the numbers are so close that it pretty much proves the caliber choice is not at the top of the list of self-defense priorities.

I think attitudes, training and such are most important; I think individual load selection is now more important than caliber.

That little .38 snubby with the 135s outperformed many of the results I've seen elsewhere for poor-performing .45 acp.

Load selection can affect accuracy too.

I've been benchresting my new Kahr MK-9 at seven yeards trying to find the most accurate JHP for it. The range of difference between six different ammo types I've tested has been astonishing.

For example, the most accurate, the "antique" Federal Hydrashok, consistently made 5-shot, one-hole groups.

At the other end of the spectrum, Hornady's 124 gr. TAP would not get closer than 1.5 inches to the bull's eye and was spread over six inches! I mean this stuff was absolutely horrible in that particular little gun. I would not want to be armed with that stuff in that gun in a tight spot. Even so, it'd be better than throwing rocks, I guess.

Max
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Hello. You bring up an interesting point well worth consideration: accuracy with a specific load in a specific handgun. The XTP load you mention not working well in your Kahr has literally proven itself a tack driver in several of my 9mm pistols.

Best.
 
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I hope most of us can agree on the following principles for self-defense ammunition:

All else being equal, heavier bullets are better than lighter bullets.

All else being equal, faster bullets are better than slower bullets.

All else being equal, larger diameter bullets are better than smaller diameter bullets.

Everything else is a compromise and give-and-take between and among these three ideas. And, unfortunately, "all else" is rarely equal. ;)
 

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Personally I have a few quick rules;

1) Use what you can shoot - a .380 you can use and hit with reliably is better than a .454 that you miss with.

2) Bigger is better - the smaller the bullet the less your margin of error in hitting something vital, that's why hollow-points were invented, to increase the margin. However, if you think your bullets are too small, see rule #1.

3) Magic bullets AIN'T - Expanding, exploding, fragmenting, or whatever, bullets do funny things when they hit people, so while they can be a good thing special ammo is not something to bet your life on. I'd rather have a caliber that is big and tends to do damage to begin with than one that I hope will get that way when it hits. But again, see rule #1

4) The firearm is a tool, the weapon is behind it - Equipment cannot replace skill, only add to it.

5) Never worry about what the other guy has - what you have and what you can do with it matters.

Just my .02
 

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I've said it so many times, they may put it on my tombstone: "All small arms fail." (I hope they don't put it on there, because mine did!)

I don't mean they fail all the time. They work a lot of the time, too. But none of them work ... how should I say this ... "enough of the time." Because, since statistics only apply to large numbers, if they let YOU down one time -- that is not enough of the time.

There have been some good comments made here and I won't repeat them all just to say that I agree with them. I think we are all agreed that the most important part of the equation is what's between the ears, not what's in the magazine or cylinder.
 

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4. Have something in the .38/9mm power-range up
Preliminary results from a wetpack test today comparing a 38special snubby, KT P32, and my new S&W .22magnum Ultralite revolver shows that for primary carry Stephen's comment above is the best advice you can get.
The P32 had poor penetration even with expansion, FMJ was better.
The S&W .22mag had excellent penetration but no expansion from std JHP (only Winchester Supreme expands but poor penetration). Lots of keyholing.
The 38special had "adequate" penetration from JHP rounds with excellent expansion. (FMJ rounds over penetrated.)

The 38special is adequate. The .22mag would be a good backup. Can't get excited about .32acp.

Pay attention to what Stephen says.

og
 
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