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Interesting article on caliber vs stopping power

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by vader7071, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. vader7071


    Nov 8, 2011
    Dothan, AL
    I am not trying to start a "which round is better argument" with this. But I wanted to share this guys study and results. I found his report very informative and conclusions sound.

    Not everyone may agree with him, there are some aspects of the study that I believe he addresses well, but just the nature of the fact skewed the results some (and he points this out and why).

    Hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I did.
  2. Taurus851


    Jul 9, 2011
    my take away from the stats were 38 special is more effective than 9mm and 357 is a pretty effective round.

    oh yea shotgun and rifle >>> pistol but we knew that already

  3. vader7071


    Nov 8, 2011
    Dothan, AL
    I carry a 9mm (as does the rest of my family except my wife who now carries a .22lr and wants a .40), so I went into it expecting the article to read "9mm sucks, .45 is awesome, .40 is great, and if you are carrying a .22lr, just go ahead and lie down to die."

    But as I read his conclusions and the results of the shootings, and took into account the speed at which a 9mm can reacquire a sight picture vs (let's say) a .40, all of the sudden the numbers began to even out, and it came back to that old adage "caliber doesn't stop people, properly placed rounds stop people."
  4. My take from the article is any defensive caliber is good (depending on accuracy) and there is no magic bullet. Pretty much what I have thought the whole time. Good article.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  5. 9L0ck


    Mar 23, 2011
    Dallas TX
  6. eracer

    eracer Where's my EBT?

    Apr 5, 2011
    Tampa, FL
    He admits to not being able to statistically account for bullet type.

    Pretty important variable, if you ask me.
  7. Be careful gentleman...statistics will KILL 'ya!
  8. Buckeye Glocks

    Buckeye Glocks

    Jun 29, 2008
    He said, "I really would have liked to break it down by individual bullet type, but I didn't have enough data points to reach a level of statistical significance."

    I think there is a difference between having "data points" and "statistically accounting" for something.

    He also stated that the bullet type was unkown in many cases. It is not like he was disinterested in that or omitted it because he did not think it was significant.

    He could have made up numbers to satisfy people that wanted them, but that would have put into question all of his other statistics.

    Bullet type is important but not so important that it cancels out anything he has to say on the subject of the stopping power of calibers he discussed.
  9. Cephus0807


    Nov 3, 2011
    Tampa fl
    great read. thanks
  10. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    Skimmed it again, even though I'd seen it somewhere before. Interesting enough for the nature of the article.

    Certainly not surprising. Not really surprising regarding the opinion of the author based upon the data he gathered,either. Anybody really expect otherwise?

    Handguns are pretty much just ... handguns.

    Even rifles & shotguns aren't guaranteed to provide a 'one shot stop'.

    Pick whichever handgun chambered in one of the commonly used defensive/service calibers you happen to prefer (or are required to use by policy, restriction, law, etc), and then go on to the critical factors, such as knowledge of the applicable laws, training, practice, skillset, weapon familiarity, etc ... and then maintain that knowledge and your skillset by refreshing training as needed and putting the time in for periodic practice.

    Paying some attention to the state of your general health, as well as your physical capabilities and any limitations, isn't a bad idea, either.

    (This ought to be moved to the Caliber sub forum, though.)
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  11. I tend to agree with the author. I wonder if the .357 category might have consisted of "more seasoned" shooters than some of the other categories.
  12. eracer

    eracer Where's my EBT?

    Apr 5, 2011
    Tampa, FL
    OK, you got me. He admits to not having enough data points to account for bullet type as a statistical significant variable.

    That's REALLY different from saying "He admits to not being able to statistically account for bullet type."

    I stand semantically corrected.

    I never said he was or did either of those things.

    So, not including bullet type as a variable doesn't potentially skew the results to a statistically significant degree?

    I disagree. I think it's a very significant variable. Not sure why you don't.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  13. TomB985


    May 13, 2011
    This is a good read, thanks for posting!

    I think it validates my own feelings on the matter quite well, caliber isn't everything! I can't tell you how many folks I've run into that insist that if they shoot someone with their .45 they're going DOWN. Even a .44 Magnum, which can be more than twice as powerful as a .45, isn't a guaranteed stop in one shot.

    Another thing I gained from it is that the ability for follow-up shots is critical, as anyone thinking that they can drop someone in one shot in a situation as stressful as having to fight for their life may want to reconsider. I tend to think stopping power is the ability to put as many well-placed rounds into the right areas as fast as possible. I don't believe in overkill when fighting for one's life, and I would shoot someone 15 times if that's what it took to end the threat.

    Once again, a really great read. Thanks!!!
  14. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    I don't think most intelligent shooters think they are going to get a one shot stop. The thought process, at least for me, is I my only land one good hit in a dynamic gunfight. That hit needs to deliver a max result as it may be the only one that counts. No one can really argue that a 44mag isn't likely to give a better result than a 380 delivered to the same point on the target. So much like hunting dangerous game, shoot the largest caliber you can effectively hit with. Follow up shots are nice, but again, you may only land one effective hit, it needs to count. Spray & pray has pretty much been proven to not work & if multiple hits were all that mattered, the 22lr would be king of the SD/HD calibers.:dunno:
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  15. Buckeye Glocks

    Buckeye Glocks

    Jun 29, 2008
    Obviously it is significant to you that that information is not available. Take the article for face value, make your own decision on what to carry what you feel comfortable with and load it with the ammo of your choice.
  16. eracer

    eracer Where's my EBT?

    Apr 5, 2011
    Tampa, FL
    Will do.
  17. MinervaDoe


    Jan 26, 2009
    San Jose, CA
    I think the author probably put an enormous amount of work into collecting his data, only to have to admit to muddled results. It really points out just how difficult it was for Marshall and Sanow to put together a database. And to the detractors, Mas Ayoob has a very good point, "Go out and collect your own data."
  18. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    He has a masters in public policy management and used a lot of graphs so he must be a whiz with excel or whatever program does that. I've met enough people like that to conclude that they generally don't know much about anything. We had a hallway full of guys like that:supergrin:
  19. conpro


    Mar 21, 2009
    Sounds like i will stick with my 9mm.
  20. Let's keep in mind there isn't a national database for OIS, I expect civilian shootings and firearm related homicide data would be more difficult to gather.

    Author is to be commended for sharing his collected data, an arduous task to accomplish.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012