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Old 03-21-2013, 09:02   #1
caa
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Caliber debate speculation

Several prominent self-defense trainers, like Larry Vickers and Rob Pincus, now advocate or acquiesce to the use of 9mm as a defense round. On the other hand there seems to be a consensus by them and others that a "trail gun" or "backpacking gun" -- something you take into a place where a medium to large animal might attack -- needs to be 10mm or larger. It seems to have something to do with bullet diameter, bullet mass and velocity. If those are the primaries when you are facing claws and teeth, how come they are not the primaries in urban self-defense?
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:07   #2
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Several prominent self-defense trainers, like Larry Vickers and Rob Pincus, now advocate or acquiesce to the use of 9mm as a defense round. On the other hand there seems to be a consensus by them and others that a "trail gun" or "backpacking gun" -- something you take into a place where a medium to large animal might attack -- needs to be 10mm or larger. It seems to have something to do with bullet diameter, bullet mass and velocity. If those are the primaries when you are facing claws and teeth, how come they are not the primaries in urban self-defense?
Large animals require more penetration, in many cases, to reach the same vital areas in humans. The animals that would choose to cause you harm will generally have a heavier bone structure and more dense muscle.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:10   #3
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If those are the primaries when you are facing claws and teeth, how come they are not the primaries in urban self-defense?
Because people and bears are fairly different, physically.

Animals, especially of the type that are a danger to healthy adult human males, are generally much more solidly constructed than humans.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:40   #4
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It seems to have something to do with bullet diameter, bullet mass and velocity. If those are the primaries when you are facing claws and teeth, how come they are not the primaries in urban self-defense?
"Bullet diameter, bullet mass and velocity" are the "primaries" in urban self-defense.

Once you put the bullet where it needs to go, they give you penetration (the most important quality) and expansion (the second most important quality) which is what destroys vital tissue (CNS and significant vascular structures) and (hopefully) incapacitates an aggressor.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:57   #5
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Because a bear is bigger?
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:02   #6
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As Heidelburg Professor of Quatch I haf studied this problem extensively. Unfortunately you haf the horse before the cartridge. It is all about fairness. So when ve go in der woods with the big bears ve take ze 10mm pistol so that the bear has a fair chance to eat us. Fur self defense a 10mm would not be fair, so we carry the 9mm to give a fair chance to anyone who attack us.

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Old 03-21-2013, 11:46   #7
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"Bullet diameter, bullet mass and velocity" are the "primaries" in urban self-defense.

Once you put the bullet where it needs to go, they give you penetration (the most important quality) and expansion (the second most important quality) which is what destroys vital tissue (CNS and significant vascular structures) and (hopefully) incapacitates an aggressor.
Good post!!!!!
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Old 03-21-2013, 14:58   #8
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Thanks for the comments. I follow the ones on bear readily enough. Grizzlies are bigger than the biggest bad guy, but that's not the only thing you might face in the wild. Here are just 2 other examples:
Mountain Lion - up to 200lbs
Boar - up to 200lbs

Would you trust your 9mm to stop any of them as readily as a full bore 10mm or bigger?

This wasn't really about bears or mountain lions. I just wanted to know: shouldn't you arm yourself to stop the urban bad guy who might weigh in at 250 and be built like a linebacker? (After all you don't know you're only going to be confronted by a 100 pounder built like ballistic gel and presenting an easy and non-moving target.) If so, what's the practical difference in the need for penetration and tissue destruction between him and a mountain lion?

Hunters and hikers seem to know that -- since in the field you don't know how big, how fast and how aggressive -- you need a bigger and heavier load 'cause it works. If they're right, then why shouldn't you use the same logic in self-defense?

I'm not necessarily trying to advocate big-bore. I truly don't know. Like a lot of you I've read studies from the ballistic gel to Martin Fakler to the FBI report to the history of bullet expansion technology from nineteenth century dum-dums to "modern" expandable and frangible rounds. It's all pretty voluminous and often contradictory. It just seemed to me that maybe hunters know something practical that ballistic laboratories don't.
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Old 03-21-2013, 15:18   #9
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Good post!!!!!
Thanks.
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Old 03-21-2013, 15:18   #10
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This wasn't really about bears or mountain lions. I just wanted to know: shouldn't you arm yourself to stop the urban bad guy who might weigh in at 250 and be built like a linebacker?
I could tell you were fishing that angle from the very beginning.

But the answer is that a 250 pound man built like a linebacker is not the same thing as a 200 lb boar. This is about more than mass/weight. That's why I said exactly what I did:

"Animals, especially of the type that are a danger to healthy adult human males, are generally much more solidly constructed than humans."

Even a 250 lb linebacker isn't constructed the same as a dangerous wild animal.

The firearm and round best suited to stopping the two probably isn't the same. Lots of factors. Construction of the animal is likely going to be much more solid and require more penetration capability to get to the vitals than on a human. I suspect that you are even less likely, against an attacking wild animal than against an attacking human, to get multiple shots off. You are more likely to be concerned with over penetration, both through the threat and through anything that you hit with a miss, and collateral damage in an urban setting than in the woods.
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Old 03-21-2013, 16:57   #11
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Well, I carry a G17 9mm and I don't feel undergunned. I have total trust in my Winchester 115gr JHP +p+ rounds.
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Old 03-21-2013, 17:49   #12
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I wouldn't worry one whit carrying a 9mm with good JHP's around puma & Black bear. Pumas are thin skinned & light boned and Black bears 99.99% of the time run like Hell away from humans + are not hard to kill.
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Old 03-21-2013, 19:31   #13
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I wouldn't worry one whit carrying a 9mm with good JHP's around puma & Black bear. Pumas are thin skinned & light boned and Black bears 99.99% of the time run like Hell away from humans + are not hard to kill.
I have heard the same thing about black bears.
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:06   #14
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Thanks for the comments. I follow the ones on bear readily enough. Grizzlies are bigger than the biggest bad guy, but that's not the only thing you might face in the wild. Here are just 2 other examples:
Mountain Lion - up to 200lbs
Boar - up to 200lbs

Would you trust your 9mm to stop any of them as readily as a full bore 10mm or bigger?

This wasn't really about bears or mountain lions. I just wanted to know: shouldn't you arm yourself to stop the urban bad guy who might weigh in at 250 and be built like a linebacker? (After all you don't know you're only going to be confronted by a 100 pounder built like ballistic gel and presenting an easy and non-moving target.) If so, what's the practical difference in the need for penetration and tissue destruction between him and a mountain lion?

Hunters and hikers seem to know that -- since in the field you don't know how big, how fast and how aggressive -- you need a bigger and heavier load 'cause it works. If they're right, then why shouldn't you use the same logic in self-defense?

I'm not necessarily trying to advocate big-bore. I truly don't know. Like a lot of you I've read studies from the ballistic gel to Martin Fakler to the FBI report to the history of bullet expansion technology from nineteenth century dum-dums to "modern" expandable and frangible rounds. It's all pretty voluminous and often contradictory. It just seemed to me that maybe hunters know something practical that ballistic laboratories don't.
I sympathize with what you are saying and would choose 357SIG or 10mm over 9mm by a long way for a variety of controversial reasons I have written about at length in other threads.

But as Warp says, wild animals are much tougher and stronger than humans, weight for weight. With humans you have two situations. The first is the simple criminal who expects to take your money or more with little risk. The moment that risk changes against them, they will try to withdraw because what you have is no longer worth the potential cost of being shot. The sight of the pistol is usually enough so it doesn't matter whether it is a .32 or a 10mm. A puma is much the same. It will stalk you as another easy meal and if you don't realize it is doing so you will die before you can do anything to defend yourself. The moment you react aggressively it is likely to back off and find another meal. Very rarely, it will be committed or just over confident and will attack anyway but one shot will probably change its mind.

A wild boar is different again because its survival strategy is one of aggressive self defense. If it decides you are a threat it will try to kill you and will keep trying till it is incapacitated. Some human criminals are a little like that but their motivation is predatory rather than self defense. They are perfectly prepared to kill you to get what they want and, given any resistance, they will do so and keep trying to do so like the wild boar. With such people, with no moral restriction or fear of retribution, you are safer with something more effective than the 9mm because you need it to stop their attack very quickly. A boar will close on you very quickly, but a bullet will close on you a lot faster than that.

One of the most amazing things to me about the Fackler school of bullet trauma is that they paid no attention to the discoveries of hunters. Hunters have the opportunity to kill lots of animals and verify what works best. This is not really true for shooting people as the number one individual can shoot is very limited and he is unlikely to be able to try different cartridges to compare the results.

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Old 03-22-2013, 12:25   #15
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.355 125gr bullet moving 1350 fps = fantastic

.355 124gr bullet moving 1250 fps = junk


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Old 03-22-2013, 13:06   #16
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Large animals require more penetration, in many cases, to reach the same vital areas in humans. The animals that would choose to cause you harm will generally have a heavier bone structure and more dense muscle.
That's right. There's no way in hell that I would ever hunt big game with a puny 9mm. But I do carry a G17 for SD, and I expect to have to shoot more than three times.
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Old 03-22-2013, 13:06   #17
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Let me tell you coming face to face with a bear, even when you have a S&W 500, still makes you feel like a little whimp. Animals don't feel pain like you and me, they will keep going until they drop. They don't think of consequenses of being shot, they just point their aggression. Now having been shot I can tell you that I knew I had been shot but didn't feel the pain for several minutes, but I had sense enough to get the hell away and under cover. Bears don't do that! I like 9mm, I like 10mm or .44 magnum...but I want a BF rifle if a bear is in the area....maybe a 12G with slugs, anything but a little 9mm.
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Old 03-22-2013, 14:43   #18
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.355 125gr bullet moving 1350 fps = fantastic

.355 124gr bullet moving 1250 fps = junk

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Old 03-22-2013, 14:54   #19
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Black bears 99.99% of the time run like Hell away from humans + are not hard to kill.
Having shot a small black bear with a .44 magnum, after it had been wounded by a .30-06 and a .30-30 I disagree with the not hard to kill part.

I would not want to count on a 9 mm stopping a black bear intent on eating me.


posted from my stupid smart phone, please excuse any spelling mistakes.
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Old 03-22-2013, 15:58   #20
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Thanks again for the further comments.

I have a question for English: you said, "One of the most amazing things to me about the Fackler school of bullet trauma is that they paid no attention to the discoveries of hunters. Hunters have the opportunity to kill lots of animals and verify what works best."

I've read two papers by and seen one interview with Fackler and was under the impression that he believed deep penetration and large caliber were the best "assets" at pistol velocities -- kind of matching hunters' experiences. But everything I've seen is more than 20 years old. Did he change later?
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