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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; 1. Energy in and of it's self does not increase or decrease wounding in service pistol calibers. There is no Shock, knockdown, or energy dump. ...

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Old March 22nd, 2016, 01:37 PM   #31
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1. Energy in and of it's self does not increase or decrease wounding in service pistol calibers. There is no Shock, knockdown, or energy dump. Yes energy is required to penetrate tissue and expand the bullet.
2. Velocity. If a bullet expands and penetrates deep enough at X velocity then X+Y velocity does not make it better. Heavy bullets, 124 or even better 147gr 9mm penetrate almost if not better than some .357 sig.
3. Penetration is the most important thing. A bullet has to penetrate deep enough to reach the vital blood bearing organs at any angle.
4. Bullet expansion is the second most important. A bullet that penetrates deep enough 12" min 18" max, that expands does more damage than a bullet that doesn't expand.
5. Baring an CNS hit blood loss is the only reliable way to stop a bad guy. Energy dump, or the mythical hydrostatic shock are just that myths.
6. Today's hollowpoint designs perform very well in all calibers. The difference in expansion is small between 9mm, .40, and 45. A .45 fmj does not make a .45 hole in tissue, more like .31 cal. Bullet performance is very important.

Finally given good penetration, and bullet expansion the edge always goes to the bullet that expands more.
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Old March 23rd, 2016, 05:22 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Darton Jager View Post
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.
As luck would have it, another study was recently done that quantifies real-world shooting statistics. This study was done by Greg Ellifritz who works in law enforcement and has compiled real shooting data from real LEO encounters and goes further into the shooting data than even Marshall and Sanow's "Handgun Stopping Power: The Definitive Study".

The statistics and conclusions can be found here.

I was once a caliber snob and thought that there just had to be a "magic bullet" caliber for handguns, but I now agree with Greg Ellifritz's conclusion that when it comes to weak handguns, as compared to rifles anyway, the choice in caliber is largely academic. For me, I will now just worry about factors such as dependability, accuracy and followup speed. Those are likely going to be the factors that mean more to surviving a real-life firefight than which "Wonder Caliber" bullet I am using.

Last edited by gglass; March 23rd, 2016 at 05:24 AM.
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Old March 23rd, 2016, 07:00 AM   #33
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that's good info gglass.


Many years ago I was a .45 auto type of guy only, but 9mm has come a long way in those years and I've recently included it in my safe and on my person.

Maine is typically low in crime, but my rationale is that the folks who are supposed to be protecting us, folks right at the very top, appear to be deliberately putting the country at risk. That has changed the risk and I'm going for round count. I'll probably never need it and I hope I never do. In 35 years of CCW I never have. But if I need it I want enough ammo so that if I can't disengage I'll have tilted the odds in my favor as much as possible. I know I wouldn't want to get hit with any of it. Even when 9mm ammo was pretty much just "fmj like" I wouldn't have wanted to get hit with it. Even less so today.
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Old September 19th, 2016, 03:58 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Blue9 View Post

I would agree that the gap has been decreased; however, I will always believe that a more powerful (whether that be bullet weight or speed) cartridge is a better man stopper. For example, a 125gr 357 mag is a better man stopper than a 124 gr 9mm primarily due to speed (bullet designs have advanced for both cartridges after all), a 230 gr 45 ACP is a better man stopper than 9mm due to size/weight. This premise is qualified by assuming a CNS shot did not take place since any 9mm in the CNS would stop a threat.
This may be simplifying the issue, but I look at it like this: The 357 Mag and the 45 ACP are the two MOST proven fight stoppers in handgun SD history. I can get the benefits of one (357 mag) without the consequence of the other (low round count).
The 125 gr. .357 would be better than the 124 gr. 9mm if fired out of a long barrel. Fired out of a shorter, 4 inch barrel, I have chronographed the Remington 125 grain .357, at 1250-1275, not much more at all than my 9mm 124 grain HST loads get. I feel good using the 9mm with proven loads for SD, but feel better using .40 or .45.
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