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Handgun Stopping Power: Sizing Up Your Options

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by TBO, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. TBO

    TBO Why so serious? CLM

    Handgun Stopping Power: Sizing Up Your Options

    The author fired 100 handgun loads into ballistic gelatin, measuring velocity, penetration and expansion for each.

    By Richard Mann, Field Editor

    From the current issue of American Rifleman.
    Not an end-all-be-all summation, but an interesting comparison.

  2. youngdocglock


    Jun 28, 2012
    Good to see my PDX1 in .40 preformed well.

    Sad to see he didnt test my buffalo bore .500 mag.

    I believe thats where my stopping power lies :)

  3. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    A little light on penetration (11"), but it did expand a lot. Almost as light as the old 155gr Silvertip. Surprising for a 180gr bonded.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2012
  4. M 7

    M 7

    May 22, 2012
    It would've been nice to see some testing through heavy clothing of some kind instead of the bare gelatin used by the author.

    It is pretty unlikely (but not impossible) that we'll be shooting nekkid bad guys.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2012
  5. Short Cut

    Short Cut PatrioticMember CLM

    Apr 28, 2002
    Above ground
    If they were only going to use one 10MM round it would have been better to choose a middle weight JHP like a 165 or 180 rather than the lightest end with a 135 grain bullet.
  6. Roering

    Roering Sorting nuts

    Feb 14, 2008
    Costa Mesa
    Looks like I can stick with the 180gr Remington Golden Saber.
  7. TBO

    TBO Why so serious? CLM

    Like the author said, this was never intended to be "Thee" definitive list, but to allow some basic comparisons.
    Take it for what it's worth, but don't expect it to be all inclusive.

    Sent from the toe my jack boot using Tapatalk 2
  8. PghJim


    Apr 21, 2005
    What you did not say was to make his list the fired bullet has to penetrate 13" (one more than FBI), go 1,000fps and expand 150%. I was surprised to see that there were no effective 230gr 45 ACP rounds because they did not go 1,000fps. I think an HST at 900fps would be rather effective. The study was worthless.
  9. Darkangel1846


    Jul 19, 2004
    The term "stopping power" is a myth, do not believe anything that uses that in a selling line. A handgun is there only to give you time to get to your rifle.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  10. PghJim


    Apr 21, 2005
    I do not disagree with you, but what would call a weighting of rounds and bullets where some evidently stop agressive behavior better than others, or are you saying all handgun ammo is the same? Or are you just a curmudgeon.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  11. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    I know there are a lot of folks who like to spout sayings ("fight your way to your rifle") as if they were some sort of scientific "proof", but when you're talking about both LE & non-LE who don't have access to rifles (or don't even own rifles), the handguns being carried on their persons may be it (except for LE who have access to shotguns).

    I also tend to agree that trying to debate "stopping power" is something best left to discussing disc brakes & motor vehicles.

    Magazine articles still have to be written to fill the pages of magazines. "Oldie but goodie" subjects seem to be welcomed with great regularity. No biggie.

    I have no doubt but that discussions regarding "handgun stopping power" will continue to exist, even after we've stopped using projectile hand weapons, and will provide many thousands of hours of invigorating and enjoyable debate for firearms historians in some future century.

    Meanwhile, the rest of us can only train & practice, increasing our knowledge and refining our skillset, as well as endeavor to optimize our mindset to cope with the demands of unexpected stressful situations involving the imminent possibility of serious bodily injury or death.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  12. M 7

    M 7

    May 22, 2012
    Or least highly biased...

    How anyone could rule out every .45ACP load in that manner and do it with a straight face is beyond me. :headscratch:

    Crazy stuff. :upeyes:

  13. uz2bUSMC

    uz2bUSMC 10mm defender

    Oct 21, 2005
    J-Ville NC
    Fighting back to your rifle is the myth. What you have at the moment is the reality. I don't know how long you think a gun fight might last, but it's really counted in rounds, not seconds.

    How many times have you actually heard this to happen? Your tool in hand must prevail, the rifle/shotgun in your trunk is for the gun fight you are expecting.
  14. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    Most of us wil never have anything but a handgun to fight with. By it's nature, it is he most likely option. I agree, it's going to be counted in rounds fired & hits scored. Do that, the time will shorten dramatically.
  15. cowboywannabe

    cowboywannabe you savvy?

    Jan 26, 2001
    if penetration and expansion factor are the measure of a bullets performance the .22lr 32gr. stinger in a handgun is better than a 135gr. 10mm......take from the data what you will.
  16. JW1178


    Jul 17, 2009
    It does state that "one shot stops" are rare, but often what stops a fight is the attacker being defeated due to his injuries, or bleeds out. That's why I like a bullet that does lots of damage. The higher velocity bullets tend to do the best at this.

    But looking at the test data, the rounds don't perform that much differently. However, the .357 does a lot more damage in that path and has a record of ending fights much better.

    This FANTASY I hear on GT all the time is that all BG's are enraged crazy nuts high on some crack/meth/PCP and feel no pain and are on a suicidal kamakazi quest to kill you. Really?
  17. copo9560


    Feb 21, 2012
    It is interesting to compare the DT 10 mm 135 bullet to the 40 in same weight. Looks like the bullet must have blew apart in the 10 - only about 1/2 the penetration while starting at a significantly higher velocity. Goes to show bullet selection in higher velocity rounds is pretty critical. I would like to see how DT/s bonded 165 in 10mm would have performed.

    As for pain, I bet the exploding 10 would hurt a lot more in the belly than the deeper penetrating 22.
  18. rednoved

    rednoved NRA Member

    Jul 8, 2012
    My carry choice faired well in this test. I would have liked to see the results of the Critical Duty round. They had a full featured article about Critical Duty a couple pages after the results of this test, I just wish it was included.
  19. unit1069


    Oct 10, 2007
    So. Central US
    This is exactly why velocity taken alone is misleading when it comes to effective stopping power.

    The ammo must match the specific bullet design with velocity, overall reliability, etc ...

    It's also why companies shouldn't mix-and-match bullets designed for one caliber in ammo intended for other calibers.
  20. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

    May 31, 2007
    Old Colorado City
    Read this article on the terlet a few weeks back when this issue came out.

    Still sittin next to the terlet.