Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

Welcome to Glock Forum at

Why should YOU join our forums?

  • Reason #1
  • Reason #2
  • Reason #3

Site Description

Caliber stopping power

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by whoflungdo, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. Yes, I understood what you meant with this. Now how about a 20mm cannon round? That should be able to impart some serious physical stopping power.

    Seriously, we don't carry 20mm cannons in our holsters so that is not a consideration. What we are concerned about is those more popular handgun calibers and loads that have developed a good track record of doing what needs to be done when a victim's well being is on the line. If stopping power is to be the term that we use to relate how well a given caliber and load performs, then so be it. I can go with that. As long as there is some sort of definition which is acceptable and understood by people then that's what it will be.

    Sanow and Marshall came up with a definition of "one shot stops" they used in their three "Stopping Power" books in the 90's and early 2000's. Don't know if that is still used but I like the idea that if you fire upon someone and they cease their violent attack on you, then some form of stopping power existed. Whether they succumb to their wounds is irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that they were stopped from continuing their assault. I can live with that.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  2. unit1069


    Oct 10, 2007
    So. Central US
    Given the many variables that go into each and every successful self-defense shooting I don't believe the term "stopping power" can have any meaningful definition.

    I do believe having a duty caliber weapon increases the odds for a defender but aside from that there are no quantifiable factors in an individual encounter.

  3. attrapereves


    Sep 11, 2011
    Yep, I often rotate 9mm, 45ACP, and 10mm. I feel comfortable carrying all of them, but would lean towards the 10mm if I were out in the woods.
  4. This is so true. Every extreme encounter is different. We would like to see some sort of pattern that will help us take good decisions about our caliber and load choices. Very hard to do.

    I do think the term stopping power can have merit if used in some way that easily conveys commonly known concepts. (The victim was assaulted and returned fire to stop his assailant's attack).

    Your points are well taken.
  5. robhic

    robhic WOLVERINE!!!! Platinum Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    How about if you could even take out the part I bolded? Then you'd have stopping power is the ability to cease a behavior with no qualifications? My thinking is that a pistol (or weapon in general) would have "stopping power" as far as I am concerned 'cause if someone pointed a gun or held a knife on me I'd damn sure stop!!!

    But I agree, in spirit, with the definition you make.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  6. Yes we could broaden the definition a bit with something like this;

    Stopping power is the immediate, near immediate, or practical cessation of the aggressive and dangerous actions of an assailant before he can do any harm or further harm to his victim(s).

    But the definition I offered related specifically to the use of a firearm for one's protection. And since this is a firearms-related website, I thought that was appropriate. The fact is, the above definition is also true in that one could have used a baseball bat, a knife, or some other implement to effect the same or similar results. Many times, just the threat of using a weapon of some sort can turn a BG away from his plans and cause him to seek other ventures.

    Still for us, we are concerned about how a sidearm is going to win the day for us. That is why we train and why we carry.
  7. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    How has S/A Patrick's definition of a "stop" been shown to be unreasonable since the release of his paper Handgun Wounding Factors & Effectiveness in '89?

    Why must we repeatedly try to rediscover the reason the wheel works best when it's round?

    I remember reading a just-released copy of it as a young LE firearms instructor, when it was new, and thinking that it seemed pretty straightforward and reasonable at the time.

    Read page 15 ... and remember this was written back at the end of the 80's. ;)
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2013
  8. M 7

    M 7

    May 22, 2012
    There will always be those who insist on 'tinkering'. :)
  9. I think for the same reason that terms, once perfectly understood, have been altered because of people getting confused who are new to the world of firearms. A perfect example is the term "DA/SA" when used to describe the trigger action of a semi-auto pistol. This is a relatively new term (maybe the past 15 years or so) that didn't exist when I first got into firearms (over 45 years ago). The description used to be "DA" and that is still what I use since I refuse to use the term DA/SA. Why? It is redundant. By virtue of the fact that a pistol is a DA it is also a SA. This was true 40 years ago and is still true today.

    So what you mentioned in your opening paragraphs has a correlation to what I just wrote above. I have always understood what I believed to be factual about "stopping power", which could also be called "stopping ability". This has never confused me. Different studies come and go but there are some facts that remain.

    I have read the work which you mentioned but it was years ago. The only thing that would affect that paper would be the current crop of quality defensive handgun ammunition. It is quite a bit better than that which was available in 1989. However, the core facts still remain the same. Incapacitation. How quickly and how effectively it takes place.
  10. uz2bUSMC

    uz2bUSMC 10mm defender

    Oct 21, 2005
    J-Ville NC
    :dunno: Instead if saying DA only?
  11. AZson


    Oct 5, 2005
    Stopping power to me is different then fatal shots, stopping power is what caused the bad gun to "stop". Yes 34% of the people died from a .22 but how long did it take them to stop?
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2013
  12. ???

    I accept the description of what DAO means and that is my preferred action type for carry and home defense pistols. I think one of the things that tends to get lost in the discussions of action types, and I have seen this, is what determines the action of a semi-auto pistol or a revolver. It is only one thing; what task(s) the trigger performs in firing the gun. That is all. It has nothing to do with a hammer or striker, or anything else. Just the trigger. If you always keep this in mind, you'll never go off base.
  13. Whether or not the assailant dies from his wounds is secondary at best. What is primary is how well did your ammunition (caliber and load), along with you, do the job in stopping that person's attack before they were able to hurt you.

    As for .22's used for self defense... that's a whole different animal that has caused pretty visceral discussions on this and other websites. I agree with your premise. I would much rather stop someone bent on doing me harm in as short a time as possible. I don't subscribe to the idea that a .22 can do this. People who try to promote this idea I think fail to consider reality. A BG is not likely to stay put while you are sending rounds in his direction. So a head shot, like I've heard proponents of the .22 argue many times, is not going to be an easy or viable target when that target is moving around trying to do you harm.

    No thanks. I'm with you. I'll continue to carry my .40S&W with quality SD ammo and train accordingly. Let those who argue for the .22 carry that round and find out whether or not it is best if and when the time comes. Darwin my likely be the arbiter in those encounters.
  14. Tiro Fijo

    Tiro Fijo

    May 31, 2011

    You make some valid points, however to be understood today one needs to utilize present lexicon no matter how silly it may be. After all, the original term for DA revolvers in the 19th century was "self cocker" and if you used that term today most people would think you were talking about self "pleasure". :supergrin:
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2013
  15. rustytxrx


    Oct 17, 2012
    A few months ago I got a graphic reminder. I spent decades hunting a Remington Varmint master .308 at 300+ yards and pigs with 10mm and 5.7x28 at very close range. I bought a FNAR (308). I put a eotech on it and decided to hunt pigs at my usual pistol range. Using 150 gr corelokte. The pigs did not move out of their tracks. Far different from the pistols I had been shooting. With a pistol the pigs usually made it at least 10 to 15 yds.

    After a few singles as a warm up, I decided to give to fill the freezer. In less than 3 seconds I had 4 pigs DRT.

    It just would not happen with my 10mm.

  16. As far as the so called pistol caliber/stopping power debate goes, one thing is almost always ignored. HISTORY. History tells the same story over and over and over again.
    One group of calibers WORKS better than anything else over hundreds of years and thousands of gunfights regardless of shot placement. .40 and up with a sizeable powder charge works historically better and more consistantly than anything else.

    History proves it every day. Why the debate on what works best? Carry what you feel comfortable with, but always remember the clear urgent proof of history and plan accordingly.

  17. uz2bUSMC

    uz2bUSMC 10mm defender

    Oct 21, 2005
    J-Ville NC
    History has done well for the .357 and it doesn't start with a 4.

    -And history hasn't been ignored, at least not in CC. Someone is always around to give a history lesson on just how long a given caliber has been doin' it's thang.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013
  18. rustytxrx


    Oct 17, 2012
    if you read the recounting of the old wild west pistol fights you will find they did not often die quickly.

    I think the only answer is to shoot accurately and often :)
  19. WinterWizard


    Jan 17, 2012
    What I want to know, is how can the exact same debate be carried out on the Internet with virtually the same people? I mean, Jesus-effing-Christ ... this exact same thread has been played out about 10,000 times on 10,000 different forums over the past 10 years. It's a giant cliche at this point.
  20. Jeff82

    Jeff82 NRA Benefactor CLM

    Feb 25, 2002
    History doesn't account for "improvement".