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Stopping power...

Discussion in 'Guns & Hunting' started by JimBeam, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. Sep 2, 2011 at 5:26 PM
    #1
    JimBeam

    JimBeam [OP] BECAUSE INTERNETS!! Moderator

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    Found this posted elsewhere

    Copied from another forum. Good info. (keep in mind this data includes any type of ammunition used.)

    This was posted by Greg Ellifritz, TDI Instructor/Staff

    Firearm Stopping Power…a different perspective.
    I’ve been interested in firearm stopping power for a very long time. I remember reading Handguns magazine back in the late 1980s when Evan Marshall was writing articles about his stopping power studies.
    When Marshall’s first book came out in 1992, I ordered it immediately, despite the fact that I was a college student and really couldn’t afford its $39 price tag.
    Over the years I bought all of the rest of Marshall’s books as well as anything else I could find on the subject.
    I even have a first edition of Gunshot Injuries by Louis Lagarde published in 1915.

    Every source I read has different recommendations.
    Some say Marshall’s data is genius. Some say it is statistically impossible.
    Some like big heavy bullets. Some like lighter, faster bullets.
    here isn’t any consensus.
    The more I read, the more confused I get.
    One thing I remember reading that made a lot of sense to me was an article by Massad Ayoob.
    He came out with his own stopping power data around the time Marshall published Handgun Stopping Power. I
    n the article Ayoob took his critics to task.
    He suggested that if people didn’t believe his data, they should collect their own and do their own analysis.
    That made sense to me.
    So that’s just what I did.

    Over a 10-year period, I kept track of stopping power results from every shooting I could find.
    I talked to the participants of gunfights, read police reports, attended autopsies, and scoured the newspapers, magazines, and Internet for any reliable accounts of what happened to the human body when it was shot.
    I documented all of the data I could; tracking caliber, type of bullet (if known), where the bullet hit and whether or not the person was incapacitated.
    I also tracked fatalities, noting which bullets were more likely to kill and which were not.
    It was an exhaustive project, but I’m glad I did it and I’m happy to report the results of my study here.

    Before I get to the details, I must give a warning.
    I don’t have any dog in this fight!
    I don’t sell ammo. I’m not being paid by any firearm or ammunition manufacturer.
    I carry a lot of different pistols for self defense.
    Within the last 2 weeks, I’ve carried a .22 magnum, a .380 auto, a .38spl revolver, 3 different 9mm autos and a .45 auto.
    I don’t have an axe to grind. If you are happy with your 9mm, I’m happy for you.
    If you think that everyone should be carrying a .45 (because they don’t make a .46), I’m cool with that too.
    I 'm just reporting the data.
    If you don’t like it, take Mr. Ayoob’s advice….do a study of your own.

    A few notes on terminology…
    Since it was my study, I got to determine the variables and their definitions. Here’s what I looked at:
    • Number of people shot
    • Number of rounds that hit
    • On average, how many rounds did it take for the person to stop his violent action or be incapacitated? For this number, I included hits anywhere on the body.
    • What percentage of shooting incidents resulted in fatalities. For this, I included only hits to the head or torso.
    • What percentage of people were not incapacitated no matter how many rounds hit them
    • Accuracy. What percentage of hits was in the head or torso. I tracked this to check if variations could affect stopping power. For example, if one caliber had a huge percentage of shootings resulting in arm hits, we may expect that the stopping power of that round wouldn’t look as good as a caliber where the majority of rounds hit the head.
    • One shot stop percentage- number of incapacitations divided by the number of hits the person took. Like Marshall’s number, I only included hits to the torso or head in this number.
    • Percentage of people who were immediately stopped with one hit to the head or torso

    Here are the results.

    .25ACP-
    # of people shot- 68
    # of hits- 150
    % of hits that were fatal- 25%
    Average number of rounds until incapacitation- 2.2
    % of people who were not incapacitated- 35%
    One-shot-stop %- 30%
    Accuracy (head and torso hits)- 62%
    % actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit)- 49%

    .22 (short, long and long rifle)
    # of people shot- 154
    # of hits- 213
    % of hits that were fatal- 34%
    Average number of rounds until incapacitation- 1.38
    % of people who were not incapacitated- 31%
    One-shot-stop %- 31%
    Accuracy (head and torso hits)- 76%
    % actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit)- 60%

    .32 (both .32 long and .32 acp)
    # of people shot- 25
    # of hits- 38
    % of hits that were fatal- 21%
    Average number of rounds until incapacitation- 1.52
    % of people who were not incapacitated- 40%
    One-shot-stop %- 40%
    Accuracy (head and torso hits)- 78%
    % actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit)- 72%

    .380 ACP
    # of people shot- 85
    # of hits- 150
    % of hits that were fatal- 29%
    Average number of rounds until incapacitation- 1.76
    % of people who were not incapacitated- 16%
    One-shot-stop %- 44%
    Accuracy (head and torso hits)- 76%
    % actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit)- 62%

    .38 Special
    # of people shot- 199
    # of hits- 373
    % of hits that were fatal- 29%
    Average number of rounds until incapacitation- 1.87
    % of people who were not incapacitated- 17%
    One-shot-stop %- 39%
    Accuracy (head and torso hits)- 76%
    % actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit)- 55%

    9mm Luger
    # of people shot- 456
    # of hits- 1121
    % of hits that were fatal- 24%
    Average number of rounds until incapacitation- 2.45
    % of people who were not incapacitated- 13%
    One-shot-stop %- 34%
    Accuracy (head and torso hits)- 74%
    % actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit)- 47%

    .357 (both magnum and Sig)
    # of people shot- 105
    # of hits- 179
    % of hits that were fatal- 34%
    Average number of rounds until incapacitation- 1.7
    % of people who were not incapacitated- 9%
    One-shot-stop %- 44%
    Accuracy (head and torso hits)- 81%
    % actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit)- 61%

    .40 S&W
    # of people shot- 188
    # of hits- 443
    % of hits that were fatal- 25%
    Average number of rounds until incapacitation- 2.36
    % of people who were not incapacitated- 13%
    One-shot-stop %- 45%
    Accuracy (head and torso hits)- 76%
    % actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit)- 52%

    .45 ACP
    # of people shot- 209
    # of hits- 436
    % of hits that were fatal- 29%
    Average number of rounds until incapacitation- 2.08
    % of people who were not incapacitated- 14%
    One-shot-stop %- 39%
    Accuracy (head and torso hits)- 85%
    % actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit)- 51%

    .44 Magnum
    # of people shot- 24
    # of hits- 41
    % of hits that were fatal- 26%
    Average number of rounds until incapacitation- 1.71
    % of people who were not incapacitated- 13%
    One-shot-stop %- 59%
    Accuracy (head and torso hits)- 88%
    % actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit)- 53%

    Rifle (all Centerfire)
    # of people shot- 126
    # of hits- 176
    % of hits that were fatal- 68%
    Average number of rounds until incapacitation- 1.4
    % of people who were not incapacitated- 9%
    One-shot-stop %- 58%
    Accuracy (head and torso hits)- 81%
    % actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit)- 80%




    Shotgun (All, but 90% of results were 12 gauge)

    # of people shot- 146
    # of hits- 178
    % of hits that were fatal- 65%
    Average number of rounds until incapacitation- 1.22
    % of people who were not incapacitated- 12%
    One-shot-stop %- 58%
    Accuracy (head and torso hits)- 84%
    % actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit)- 86%

    Discussion

    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. Getting accurate data on over 1800 shootings was hard work. I couldn’t imagine breaking it down farther than what I did here. I also believe the data for the .25, .32 and .44 magnum should be viewed with suspicion. I simply don’t have enough data (in comparison to the other calibers) to draw an accurate comparison. I reported the data I have, but I really don’t believe that a .32 ACP incapacitates people at a higher rate than the .45 ACP!

    One other thing to look at is the 9mm data. A huge number (over half) of 9mm shootings involved ball ammo. I think that skewed the results of the study in a negative manner. One can reasonable expect that FMJ ammo will not stop as well as a state of the art expanding bullet. I personally believe that the 9mm is a better stopper than the numbers here indicate, but you can make that decision for yourself based on the data presented.




    Some interesting findings:

    I think the most interesting statistic is the percentage of people who stopped with one shot to the torso or head. There wasn’t much variation between calibers. Between the most common defensive calibers (.38, 9mm, .40, and .45) there was a spread of only eight percentage points. No matter what gun you are shooting, you can only expect a little more than half of the people you shoot to be immediately incapacitated by your first hit.

    The average number of rounds until incapacitation was also remarkably similar between calibers. All the common defensive calibers required around 2 rounds on average to incapacitate. Something else to look at here is the question of how fast can the rounds be fired out of each gun. The .38spl probably has the slowest rate of fire (long double action revolver trigger pulls and stout recoil in small revolvers) and the fewest rounds fired to get an incapacitation (1.87). Conversely the 9mm can probably be fired fastest of the common calibers and it had the most rounds fired to get an incapacitation (2.45). The .40 (2.36) and the .45 (2.08) split the difference. It is my personal belief that there really isn’t much difference between each of these calibers. It is only the fact that some guns can be fired faster than others that causes the perceived difference in stopping power. If a person takes an average of 5 seconds to stop after being hit, the defender who shoots a lighter recoiling gun can get more hits in that time period. It could be that fewer rounds would have stopped the attacker (given enough time) but the ability to fire more quickly resulted in more hits being put onto the attacker. It may not have anything to do with the stopping power of the round.

    Another data piece that leads me to believe that the majority of commonly carried defensive rounds are similar in stopping power is the fact that all four have very similar failure rates. If you look at the percentage of shootings that did not result in incapacitation, the numbers are almost identical. The .38, 9mm, .40, and .45 all had failure rates of between 13% and 17%.

    Now compare the numbers of the handgun calibers with the numbers generated by the rifles and shotguns. For me there really isn’t a stopping power debate. All handguns suck! If you want to stop someone, use a rifle or shotgun!

    What matters even more than caliber is shot placement. Across all calibers, if you break down the incapacitations based on where the bullet hit you will see some useful information.

    Head shots = 75% immediate incapacitation
    Torso shots = 41% immediate incapacitation
    Extremity shots (arms and legs) = 14% immediate incapacitation.

    No matter which caliber you use, you have to hit something important in order to stop someone!

    Conclusion

    This study took me a long time and a lot of effort to complete. Despite the work it took, I'm glad I did it. The results I got from the study lead me to believe that there really isn't that much difference between most defensive handgun rounds and calibers. None is a death ray, but most work adequately...even the lowly .22s. I've stopped worrying about trying to find the “ultimate” bullet. There isn't one. And I've stopped feeling the need to strap on my .45 every time I leave the house out of fear that my 9mm doesn't have enough “stopping power”. Folks, carry what you want. Caliber really isn't all that important.

    Take a look at the data. I hope it helps you decide what weapon to carry. No matter which gun you choose, pick one that is reliable and train with it until you can get fast accurate hits. Nothing beyond that really matters!






    A "little" about Greg...

    Greg Ellifritz is a 16-year veteran police officer, spending the last 11 years as the fulltime tactical training officer for his central Ohio agency. In that position, he is responsible for developing and instructing all of the in-service training for a 57-officer police department. Prior to his training position, he served as patrol officer, bike patrol officer, precision marksman, and field training officer for his agency.

    He has been an active instructor for the Tactical Defense Institute since 2001 and a lead instructor for TDI’s ground fighting, knife fighting, impact weapons, active shooter, and extreme close quarters shooting classes.

    Greg holds instructor, master instructor, or armorer certifications in more than 75 different weapons systems, defensive tactics programs, and law enforcement specialty areas. In addition to these instructor certifications, Greg has trained with most of the leading firearms and edged weapons instructors in the country.

    Greg has been an adjunct instructor for the Ohio Peace Officer’s Training Academy, teaching firearms, defensive tactics, bike patrol, knife defense and physical fitness topics. He has taught firearms and self defense classes at the national and international level through the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors, The American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers and Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police. He has a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management and has written for several publications including: ‘The Firearms Instructor”, “Ohio Police Chief”, “Combat Handguns”, “Concealed Carry Magazine” and “The Journal of the American Women’s Self Defense Association”.

    One of the responses, a fair critique:

    I tend to agree. In most circumstances, even a .22 will probably work.

    In his statistics, he shows that .32 has better results than a .45 but look at how many people were shot with .45 compared to .32... 209 vs. 25. For instance, you could have 5 people hit with .32 and 4 of the people died or were immediately incapacitated. That's 80%. You could have 586 people hit with .45 but 425 died or immediately incapacitated. That's 73%. Does that mean .32 is superior? No, it just means .45 has a higher failure rate (if that's what you want to call it) because it's used more often. But it also shows .22 has better results than 9mm. I'd say that 9mm is certainly superior, to .22 despite his statistics. Heck you could have 2 failure to stops in 2 shots with .308 (yes, .308, not a typo), that's 0% stoppage and then 2 successful hits out of 3 with .25ACP (about 67%). Would that mean sniper's should have rifles chambered in .25ACP? Of course my "statisics" are not real, but ANYTHING can happen. It's all subjective, really.

    I'm certainly not trying to talk down on his research, just throwing my opinion into the mix. I find his research and dedication to be pretty impressive. I defiantly agree with him.... caliber doesn't REALLY matter.... We've all heard it 895347634586450869 times.... shot placement!

    I still agree with Ayoob saying, carry the biggest caliber you can. Then, IMO, find the best (in your opinion of course) carry ammo, whether is be a fancy JHP or even FMJ.


    One thing that stood out to me. If you want the best, get a 12gauge.
     
  2. Sep 2, 2011 at 8:04 PM
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    Zombie Runner

    Zombie Runner Are these black helicopters for me?

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    Good read. Thanks for posting.

    I had a small .40 for my first carry gun but i couldnt conceal it that well without wearing large baggy shirts. I traded it for a s&w bodygaurd .380 that fits in my pants pocket and I carry it pretty much everywhere.

    a .380 in your pocket is better than a .40 in the safe :)
     
  3. Sep 2, 2011 at 9:12 PM
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    afd23a

    afd23a Well-Known Member

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    Great article thanks for posting it
     
  4. Sep 3, 2011 at 7:20 PM
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    ChewbacaTW

    ChewbacaTW My progeny will be awesome!

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    Yay!!! Vindication of the drum i've been beating on for a long time. I.E. "Use the gun/caliber that you can connect with." Great, great, article! :cheers:
     
  5. Sep 3, 2011 at 7:22 PM
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    ChewbacaTW

    ChewbacaTW My progeny will be awesome!

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    Amen
     
  6. Sep 3, 2011 at 7:29 PM
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    Packman73

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    Interesting read for sure but there are so many variables that it's too hard to quantify such data though he did a great job trying.
     
  7. Sep 3, 2011 at 7:55 PM
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    Rmodel65

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    357 ftw! carrying my snubbie tonight
     
  8. Sep 3, 2011 at 8:07 PM
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    Mtek

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    +1 357 is nasty. I have a Python that is so smooth I can trigger cock it, I love it and the round it fires.
     
  9. Sep 4, 2011 at 12:25 AM
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    redes

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    These findings read a lot like another study I have read addressing the question of what cartridge produced the highest percentage of one-shot-stops. The data for that study was gleaned from a variety of police shootings. The author(s) of the other study did go so far as to say there appeared to be an effectiveness gap between .380 and .38 spec/9mm. But once you hit the .38 spec/9mm threshold, there was minimal difference between one shot stops.

    BTW I cannot remember where I got that data, but I read it when I was doing homework on weather 9mm was adequate for personal defense. Usually if you post a question to this effect on gun forums, the only answer you get is how awesome the 45 ACP and 357. I love those rounds and shoot them as frequently as I can, but I am far more accurate and deliver higher quality follow up shots with the 9mm.
     
  10. Sep 6, 2011 at 5:30 PM
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    Apricotshot

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    Not mention, cheaper, more available. Thus leading to more practice/training which results more rounds on target.
     
  11. Sep 6, 2011 at 5:37 PM
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    RCBS

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  12. Sep 6, 2011 at 5:41 PM
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    chris4x4

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  13. Sep 6, 2011 at 6:51 PM
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    Zombie Runner

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    thats in the lego land report.
     
  14. Sep 6, 2011 at 6:51 PM
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    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Dont underestimate the power of the rubber band :cool:
     
  15. Sep 6, 2011 at 7:38 PM
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    Rmodel65

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  16. Sep 6, 2011 at 7:47 PM
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    Fightnfire

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    This is why I have a 12 gauge loaded with a round of bird, two 00's, then two slugs and lastly another 00.

    My wife grew up around shotguns and fully understand how to load and use it. If she needs to fire, she needs to hit. I'm not going to worry about her ability to aim a handgun.
     
  17. Sep 6, 2011 at 7:59 PM
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    rleeharris

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    I've heard of Evan Marshall and Massad Ayoob is one of my personal heroes. Been reading his books since 1992 and just got his signature Spyderco knife in the mail today. Have to look Marshall's stuff up.

    Great article. Shot placement is [nearly] everything. One .22LR missile to the eye and you've not only likely incapacitated the target, you've probably just scrambled a good portion of their brains too. Death may not be immediate as with a head shot with a .44 or .270 but it will soon follow. Any hunter worth their salt will agree.

    I have never once felt I am underpowered walking around carrying my .380 or 9mm (and I have many large calibers to choose from but often too large to conceal properly in summer clothing). As for the article, the point is well taken.

    Thanks for sharing. I'm saving for future reference. +1
     
  18. Sep 6, 2011 at 8:06 PM
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    JimBeam

    JimBeam [OP] BECAUSE INTERNETS!! Moderator

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  19. Sep 6, 2011 at 8:20 PM
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    Konaborne

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    In a close quarters combat class, a student asked the instructor why he carried a M9 instead of a 1911, knowing the difference in ft/lbs between the rounds, and the instructors answer was
    "I can kill you with a 9mm to the head, just as well as I would with a .22, or even a .50. If you learn how to shoot, and shoot well, that skill is all that matters"
    Trying to find the video.....

    But good post tiger! Saved for later...
     
  20. Sep 9, 2011 at 12:00 AM
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    Mtek

    Mtek Well-Known Member

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    Member:
    #60310
    Messages:
    226
    Gender:
    Male
    WA
    Vehicle:
    '11 TRD Sport DCSB 4x4
    TRD S/C Toytec OME 3", TRD Ivan Stewarts, 285 Yokohama
    Thanks, I love it too. It is a circa 1973, 6" barrel, with well worn blueing and factory stocks. The trigger is pure glass and breaks as clean as anything I have ever tried, including some hopped up 1911s I have. My father purchased it brand new the year I was born, gave it to me when I turned 18.

    Back on topic, one of the stats that stick out to me is the accuracy percentages. I guess people who carry .357, 45 acp and 44 mag are potentially more "into guns" or something as they all have approx 10% better head and torso hits. The 44 mag even has a better accuracy stats than the shotgun, and a good 20% better than the 25acp.
     
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