The Caliber War (lack thereof) - Page 2 - MP-Pistol Forum

The Caliber War (lack thereof)

This is a discussion on The Caliber War (lack thereof) within the MP Ammunition forums, part of the Smith & Wesson MP Forum category; Something that often gets ignored is likely tactical situations. A police officer is going into situations where it's possible that they'll be in an extended ...

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Old August 15th, 2014, 11:38 AM   #16
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Something that often gets ignored is likely tactical situations. A police officer is going into situations where it's possible that they'll be in an extended firefight against multiple perps at missable distances. They can't run away, they need to hang in there and attempt to stop, or capture the bad guy, or at least keep him pinned down until backup arrives. In that case trading away size for capacity makes a ton of sense.

On the other hand civilians can leave. It's just rare for a non-LEO to get into an extended fight. It's far more likely we'll to have to deal with 1-2 bad guys looking for easy meat, or one crazy/druggy that may not be impressed with 9mm holes - at 10 feet or less while backing away from the danger. In that case I want to make the largest holes that I possibly can in order to incapacitate the bad guy before he kills me. Summer may dictate that it's a 9mm or 40, but ideally it's 230gr Federal HST .45ACPs. Something that will make 7/8" diameter holes while penetrating 13"! With practice pretty much anyone can make plenty tight enough center mass double-tap groups with a 45acp at the 3-7yds that most civilian gunfights take place, it just takes practice.

Last edited by sholling; August 15th, 2014 at 11:44 AM.
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Old August 15th, 2014, 02:10 PM   #17
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^^^^ Great point about the LEO vs citizen responsibilities relating to ammo carry-ability and capacity.
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Old August 15th, 2014, 02:54 PM   #18
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Another case for an adequate caliber when hunting is that wounded animals run and hide making them difficult to recover. This is especially true when hunting just before dark when animals including deer are more active than earlier with more daylight to aid in your search.
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Old August 15th, 2014, 03:01 PM   #19
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Talking caliber effectiveness is like barking at the moon.

In rural areas the .22RF is an effective round for deer. Why because the deer are considered a nuisance because of crop damage. Its not important when a deer dies as long as it dies.

Its been mentioned that that the 357-magnum and 45ACP are effective man stoppers.

I'll allow that maybe but in my limited experience the 45ACP was not a one round show stopper. In fact it took two additional hits and a finishing round from a rifle.

People talk about solving the problem that said avoiding the problem is the better option.

I'm not a champion/advocate of a particular caliber that I would make a recommendation to others.
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Old August 15th, 2014, 08:11 PM   #20
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Side note: The 40s&w and 10mm were results of the Miami Dade incident. However they were using anemic silver tip ammo and extremely antiquated 9mm ammo. Most departments are going back to 9mm and only left due to cost involved. The discount programs were HUGE for a very long time. My opinion is based on my review of the data and it keeps leading me back to 9mm. It is what it is and I don't discount any round, because any bullet is better than a sharp stick. One shot one kill only applies to hunters and snipers.
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Old August 16th, 2014, 06:13 AM   #21
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Since the Miami Shootout came up, it's worth a bit more discussion. One of the suspects received what doctors described as a "non-survivable" wound to the lungs (from the side) in the opening seconds of the fight that stopped just short of his heart. It seems that the 115gr Silvertip lacked the mass necessary to penetrate that far. Unfortunately for the FBI agents, even though it was a "non-survivable" wound, it was not a rapidly incapacitating wound and he lived long enough to wound, maim, and murder several FBI agents. I've read the forensics report as well but for those that are not familiar - the gunfight scene from the movie based on the fight is reasonably accurate. Note that neither of the suspects were on drugs. Among other things, experts studying the fight concluded that a round needs to be able to penetrate a minimum of 12" in order to reliably reach vital organs, yet not penetrate more than 18" in order to limit collateral damage.

Several years ago we were lucky enough to have a ballistics expert (DocGKR) visit the site and post his (now hard to find) list of modern 9mm, 40s&w, and 45acp JHPs that have been tested and approved as effective enough for law enforcement use. Whether it's for one of my 9mms, my 40s, or my 45s I almost always pick my self defense pistol ammo from his list. That said, when practical, I prefer the larger round.

Last edited by sholling; August 16th, 2014 at 06:19 AM.
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Old August 16th, 2014, 06:40 AM   #22
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9mm vs .45 vs Rifle A Dr's View of Gunshot Wounds
9mm vs .45 vs Rifle A Dr's View of Gunshot Wounds (graphic photos) - YouTube
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Old September 8th, 2014, 06:20 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by ncgunslinger View Post
The 40s&w and 10mm were results of the Miami Dade incident.
That's quite a trick, considering the 10mm cartridge has been with us since 1983 and the FBI Miami/Dade incident happened in 1986. I want that guy working on my mutual funds.
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Old February 10th, 2015, 07:20 AM   #24
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Groo here
I recently attended a class with Grant Cunningham.
One of the items covered was bullet size and round count.
Grant said that in his research , draw speed, round count, or reload speed
had "NO" effect on the outcome of the fight.[ Self defense]
Where you hit, how many times you hit there [aka how much damage done]
was the key.
The you will have an outcome before the gun is empty.
You win,you loose , one or both are hit, one or both run away.
Ps when the guns go off , most people will find some where else to go.
The size of the bullet has little to do with how fast you shoot.
Training does.
Our class had everyone but 2 shooting 38spec[ 2in to 6in]
My friend and I short 3in 625's with millspec 45acp in moon clips.
Yes, we shoot better than most and faster to boot.
Shoot the largest gun you can well, then get the next larger and shoot
" buckets of bullets"
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Old February 11th, 2015, 07:45 AM   #25
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I see the constant caliber-war threads much as I see the constant debate on rifle calibers among hunters at the barber shop. For a majority of people, it's almost like a progressive, non-stop wandering in the direction of simply “more”; the main variable being simply more what?

In defensive handguns, some people want more penetration, some want more expansion, some want more rounds in the gun, some want more muzzle energy, some want more bullet diameter, some want more concealability, some want more hits-per-second. There’s not a thing wrong with any one of these things in and of themselves; the issue is the unavoidable reality (and it is reality; no way around it) that none of these factors exists in a vacuum, and in most cases increasing one of them decreases another of them.

Increase bullet diameter, it inherently decreases the number of rounds in the gun. Increase concealability, it decreases muzzle energy. Increase expansion, it decreases penetration. On & on, no way around it.

Most folks have one or two of those variable they prefer to maximize – they want the round-count and follow-up shot speed and of a 9mm, and so give up the bullet diameter of the 45 caliber. Or they try to maximize muzzle energy (typically with uber-light bullets), and so give up some amount of penetration in the process. If they want to maximize penetration AND bullet diameter, they have to sacrifice some level of magazine capacity. Or they want to maximize expansion and so give up penetration in the trade.

Fact is, any of the common service calibers are capable of much more than adequate fulfillment of any of those individual variables above. Want a round that penetrates 20 inches? There are loads in any modern service caliber that will do so. Want a carry pistol that holds more than a dozen rounds? Again, any of the calibers offer that. A round that reduces recoil to increase follow-up shot speed? Available in any of those calibers. That’s unavoidable, undebatable fact. The issue is meeting the combination of variables, in the acceptable ratio, to the subjective comfort level of the user.

Not saying they’re all identical in performance, because they’re not. Simply saying that a caliber that inherently increases one variable, tends to do it at the expense of another variable.

If a person wants to maximize follow-up shot speed, they can do so with any of those calibers simply by choosing an appropriate load. But they have to (or at least ought to) recognize that they’re doing so at the expense of something else – usually muzzle energy or penetration.

If a person wants to maximize penetration, that’s also doable with any of the normal service calibers, but they need to realize it’s coming at the expense of expansion or some other factor.

On muzzle energy, trying to maximize that leads people to the “magic round of the week”; usually with an extremely light projectile that has more marketing hype than testing. They end up with just the opposite – a round that almost always underpenetrates; and that's a bad thing.

On the other side of the coin, maximizing penetration usually leads to the opposite problem, but a problem nonetheless. I’ve read repeated online recommendations of the Buffalo Bore +P hard-cast for .380acp pistols. Because most non-fmj .380 loads underpenetrate, because I like RNFP bullets and because I like penetration, it sounded promising; so I checked into it. While it sounded good to me initially, in gel tests it simply penetrates way too much. The shortest gel-test penetration result I found was simply listed as “31-plus” inches, and they ranged up to 45 inches. That’s more penetration than 9mm 124fmj, which is widely (and logically) accepted as a tremendous over-penetrator. So if I won’t carry a 9mm 124fmj due to over-penetration, why would I carry a same-diameter, non-expanding bullet that penetrates even more..? I wouldn’t.

All the rambling & examples is to simply say – of those variables above, decide what you want from your gun. Only then will you have the info to choose the combination of variables that maximize the things you want maximized. And that’s what will tell you which caliber best meets your personal criteria.
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Old February 11th, 2015, 02:14 PM   #26
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The LE Agency that I serve allows for 9mm, .40S&W, and .45ACP...this choice allows the LEO to pick a caliber that they can shoot effectively, for us it's all about shot placement. As for me I transitioned last year from the .40S&W to the 9mm, my qual scores haven't changed much, but I don't miss that fast pressure spike of the .40S&W at all...

PS-- I'm starting to see a LE trend away from .40S&W to 9mm (at least in my part of the earth), the FBI transitioned over to the 9mm this year too...

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Old April 8th, 2015, 07:04 PM   #27
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I am quite happy with 18 round capacity of my FS M&P 9 as my house SD gun. Important factor to me is to train enough to be very accurate and smooth when I have to so - with a 9mm I can shoot hundreds of rounds a month in practice at very low cost relative to larger calibers. For me on my budget it is a trade off I can live with. I also carry a M&P Bodyguard .380 concealed in my front pocket every day because concealed carry of a larger gun just does not work for me. It is only .380 and only 7 shots but again I practice enough so that I know 100% I have a decent chance to make them count.

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Old April 9th, 2015, 11:18 AM   #28
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Great point. If you hunt in the same places all of the time then you know the "outer limits" of where you may wind up shooting from. There is a difference between hunting to eat and shooting to neutralize a threat.
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Old March 19th, 2016, 02:42 PM   #29
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I wish I still had access to a book I bought for a dear friend of my family who was just starting out in his career in law enforcement titled: "Street Wise" a police officers guide to surviving (I think ) either armed encounters or some wording to that affect. Bear in mind I gave this book to my friend some 25 years ago.

In this book was a chapter devoted to how hard sometimes it is to not only put an assailant down with a service side arm, but with shotgun fire as well. Because it has been so long since I read the book I do not recall the exact number, but I do recall reading of considerable number of documented instances where perpetrators failed to go down after MANY hits to the upper body area, I remember at least three that the round count of hits ran well into double digits, one in particular that stands out the suspect (IIRC W/9mm ammo) was shot 20 or 22 times before succumbing to his wounds. One instance cited were a suspect not only survived and failed to go down and actually ran a considerable distance after sustaining a full a blast of 12ga 00 buck to the chest.

Now I will concede these shootings may have ended sooner if the officers were using todays state of the art expanding ammunition, and I also have no idea what type of ammo was used in any of these shooting and I am almost certain in none of the instances I've cited did the suspect sustain a hit that disabled his CNS, but regardless of ammunition type and or performance am I wrong in saying after 4 or 5 hits to a persons upper body they should at least go down if not become completely incapacitated from their wounds?

My point being is this; There is now way of knowing what any persons reaction will be after being shot unless the shot is lucky enough to strike the CNS (spine/brain) and as a result instantly ceasing all brain function. In other words you can shoot some one dead in the heart but there is not a 100% guarantee that person will instantly drop and cease being a threat. Granted the odds are heavily in your favor of a instant drop, but not 100%

IMHO there will never be a end to the argument of big slow bullets VS small fast bullets
BKA 45acp VS 9mm, because despite all the ballistic gelatin testing in the world there is no way to replicate all the factors that impact the actual shooting of a human, it simply can not nor will it ever be. IMHO the closest anyone could come so such data is to as thoroughly and carefully as possible, research as many real world shootings with specific calibers, ammo and firearms and then try to gather enough factual information about every external controlling factor of the shooting as to be able to predict the outcome of most shootings. But your talking about compiling a HUGE amount of not easily obtained data or even being able to certify the data gathered as completely accurate. Basically all that can be confirmed for certain as true and accurate is the caliber of weapon, bullet type and # of hits the suspect sustained and what if any vital organs were damaged to the point of stopping function. Beyond these facts it IMHO becomes more like guessing than deduction.

Also LEO's (I'm guessing here but as well as us civilians) unless I am mistaken are not trained to take head shots as their primary target in a shooting, so it's likely that multiple shots to stop a threat will be with us for the long term foreseeable future.

Like I said this argument is likely to go on forever until ammunition or firearm technology evolves to the point where single shot incapacitations are the norm not the exceptions.
I think that is why most LEO's are trained to keep shooting until the threat ends.

Just my .2c worth of my uneducated opinion.
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Old March 21st, 2016, 07:06 PM   #30
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The basic difference between self-defense and hunting is that in self-defense you are the prey reacting to the hunter instead of being the hunter.
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