Gun Digests proves the Thompson Tests were invalid and stacked


April 22, 2003, 04:54 PM
As I promised you I got ahold of a copy of the 1983 GunDigest in regards to its evaluation of the Mythical Thompson Tests and here are some shocking facts that prove once and for all how totally invalid the Thompson tests really were.

Did you know that only 13 animals were shot and-------

1. That more animals were shot with the .45 calibers making the statistical outcome irrelevent.
A. 8 were shot with the .45 calibers.
B. 2 were shot with the .30 Luger.
C. 1 was shot, thats right just only 1 was shot, with the 9mm, the 38 ACP and 38 long colt.


2.The .45 calibers were also given the advantage of using expanding bullets as well as solid bullets(the smaller bullets were not tested with expanding bullets just solid ones (ARE YOU READING THIS CAREFULLY: IF YOU THINK THAT OLD STYLE EXPANING BULLETS WERE SO INFERIOR TO WHAT WE HAVE TODAY!)

3. Later in the test after the .45 calibers had failed so miserably the testers shot the animals rapid fire and they never did this with the smaller calibers. ONCE AGAIN STACKING THE RESULTS IN FAVOR OF THE .45 CALIBERS.

4. AND HOW ABOUT THE BALLYHOO OF THE CADAVER TESTS. The smaller calibers busted up bone just well as the bigger calibers and in the case of the .45's some of the expanding bullets failed to penetrate adequately as the ranges were increased.


Once again the .30 Luger dropped a 1,300 pound steer in just 30 seconds better and faster than any of the other calibers tested and with only one shot not the multiple shots shot rapid fire from some of the .45 caliber weapons. (AND IT WAS SHOT THROUGH THE LUNGS NOT THE HEAD).

Neither LaGarde nor Stephen Trask remembered the tests rightly years later (when quoting for later info that was put out in publications like "Gun Shot Injuries".)

In regards to stopping power this is what the board had to say:

).The board has been prompted to refer to this point because of the prime importance of decisive shooting at close quarters, and of the large amount of target area of the human body whch offers no hope of stopping an adversary by shock or other immedieate results when hit."

In conclusion the Gun Digest had this to say:

It is interesting to note that they flat point 9mm (fmj) that was adopted by the U.S. Air Force (circa 1983) is very like the one tested in 1904. We have taken 76 years (today 96 years) to come full circle in the design of 9mm military ammo. Louis LaGarde had a lot to do with that delay. (my own comment-due to the ridiculous conclusions of the Thompson-Lagarde tests.

If this is not eough valid enough proof to completely throw out the Thompson tests I do not know what is. I am not advocating throwing out your favorite caliber handgun. Use what ever caliber makes you comfortable but I personally do not see the 9mm or even some of the other smaller calibers like the .30 Luger, .30 Mauser, ,or .30 Tokerof etc. as being in any way inferior to the mythical .45acp.

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April 22, 2003, 05:01 PM
I have a question. Why is it that 9mm fans constantly feel they have to prove that their cartridge is good enough? If you're confident in it, fine for you. What do you care that others think .45 is better?

9mm Inferiority Complex...troubling shooters for over a hundred years! :uhoh:

April 22, 2003, 05:02 PM
Not oposed to the 9MM or the 45 but I have a CZ52 that shoots the equilivant of the 30 Luger and neather the 9 MM or the 45 can hold a candle to it as far as penetration is concerned.
I carry a 9MM or a 45 because I am afraid to carry the CZ for fear of way to much penetration.

Marko Kloos
April 22, 2003, 05:08 PM
Jiminy Cricket.

Carry what you want, in the caliber you like best, and live happily ever after. Suppress the urge to convert the unbelievers to your favorite caliber and platform...that goes for the small-'n-fast and the big-'n-slow crowd. Sermons are boring.

April 22, 2003, 05:10 PM
Yep, I know that I choose my self defense ammo based on the Thompson LeGarde tests and its effect on goats and other large mammals.


Now where did I leave my Makarov?

April 22, 2003, 05:21 PM
Out of curosity, what is the name of the author of that article and on what page does the story start?

WR, I carry a 9mm, a small one. And a 32ACP. I have faith in both of them but you make it look really bad for those of us that do believe in our choices when you constantly defend the 9mm with your often wild, sometimes outrageous claims and references.

Regardless of the findings, they were penetration tests. Granted, they supposedly timed hwo long it took them to drop, but they did plenty more testing on dead cattle. They always said that. That was the reason for the tests.

So now that it is well proven in your mind that the fast and light is more effective, what are you going to gell the think cover bear or moose hunter? To ditch his .45-70 and use a .270? Different species respond differently. And different people respond differently. You need to look at the 'average' and averages show that there is less than 10% variation between the best loads in 9mm, 38 Special, 40S&W, 10mm and 45ACP. You sure do spend a lot of time and effort into convincing the 45/10mm crowd that your 9mm is just as effective. By the way, did you really mean to embolden the entire bottom two thirds of your post? If you would take just a couple minutes to proof read your posts, it would make you seem a little more credible. To some folks, anyway. ;)

April 22, 2003, 05:24 PM
It's not a big deal about which caliber is carried it is where you put the bullet. A near miss with a 45 will not help near as much as a solid hit with a 22.

April 22, 2003, 05:28 PM
Here are links to the FBI paper on handgun wounding factors and effectiveness:

April 22, 2003, 05:29 PM
BHP9,, So called "unbiased" tests are unfortunatly run by "biased" people. No different in 1904 than today. People skewer the results to get the outcome "they" want. I am not going to knock them though; I have my own prejudices, which would probably skew the results if I were doing the tests also. Just shoot, and shoot some more, with whatever you want.

April 22, 2003, 06:47 PM
I stopped caring about all forms of bullet "performance" evaluations a long long time ago.

I decided to dedicate to being very good with a very reliable gun.

I own a 1911 and a pair of .38sp Smiths.

I am not even sure what kind of ammo I have in them right now - the .38s have some reasonalby warm JHPs and the .45 has LSWCs in it.

There are at least 10 things you should worry about before you worry about what kind of magic bullet you are using.

1. Have a reliable gun
2. Know how to safely use your gun
3. Be able to access your gun when you need it
4. Be able to hit with your gun
5. Make sure you can clear malfunctions in your gun
6. Practice as much as possible
7. Maintain your gun so it will work when you need it
8. Know the laws of your area and when you can and cannot deploy your gun
9. Make sure other people in your house have appropriate knowledge of the gun
10. Be comfortable and familiar and confident with your gun/gear

I really do not think it matters much at all whether you use a .38special or a .500Magnum

What will matter is your mindset, your confidence, your awareness, your aim and your determination to win and survive.

To me, putting so much into having just the perfect bullet ("ooh! this one has an 85% one shot stop! but that one only has a 78% one shot stop!") just plays down your own role in deploying a total defense solution.

I don't like 9mm much at all - got no use for 'em and I really like the 1911.

You know why? LOL - the smaller 9mm bullets are harder for me to handle with my giant hands!

The .38s are longer and the rim make them easier to pickup and deal with but when I reload, the smaller bullets and casings make me slower and more prone to fumble than the .45

Also - .45 ACP has such a manly boom to it :)

George Hill
April 22, 2003, 06:54 PM
I think Wild Romanian is trying to overcompensate for something.

I'm just waiting for Plus P Inc to come in and say that we don't need to aim any more and we should all pack a can of Easy Off oven cleaner.


George Hill
April 22, 2003, 06:56 PM
Hmmm... I better order a case of "Extreme Shok" ammo.

April 22, 2003, 07:05 PM
Hmmm... I better order a case of "Extreme Shok" ammo.

You go, Ogre! It's Nytrillium! I don't know what that is, but it sounds high-tech, so it MUST be good! :D

Marko Kloos
April 22, 2003, 07:09 PM
New product guidelines for gun gear recently observed: double the price if it's black and says "TACTICAL" on it. Add another 10% to the price for every occurrence of the letter "X" in the product name.

April 22, 2003, 08:07 PM
BHP9: Speaking as a fellow member (taking off my Moderator hat), I want to politely ask you:

Could you please refrain from bold-facing and CAPPING your messages? Let the data speak for itself.

I would email or PM you, but for some reason you don't want anyone contacting you (?)

April 22, 2003, 08:20 PM
Out of curosity, what is the name of the author of that article and on what page does the story start?

The Gun Digest 1983 page 25. "The Holes in Stopping Power Theory". By Leon Day.

Who was Leon Day? Jan Liborel recently asked the same question but he should have asked me for the answer.

Famous author's like even"Jack O'connor" often wrote articles for various publications including artilces in the "Gun Digest" under various pseudonyms for various personal reasons such as a conflicting views of previously published information or personal opinion.

It would not surprise me if Leon Day might have really been "Good Old Jeff" himself. But this is of course is only mere conjecture. Whoever really did write the article certainly did a first class job blowing the lid off of the Thompson Tests once and for all and making me personally wonder why in the world any clear thinking scholar would have ever given the tests even a second glance as to their validity.

It must be remembered also that they were Government tests not tests done by an individual or private commercial concern and as with just about every test the Government does the results and conclusions are usually without much merit.

April 22, 2003, 08:25 PM
BHP9: Speaking as a fellow member (taking off my Moderator hat), I want to politely ask you: Could you please refrain from bold-facing and CAPPING your messages? Let the data speak for itself.

Actually I was trying only to bold face a couple of words and somehow the whole darn post got high lighted. At that point I couldn't figgure out how to undue what I did.

April 22, 2003, 09:49 PM
I took the liberty of editing out the extra bold tag. Could you tone down the all caps by editing your original message, thanks.

Also speaking as a member, it would be nice if you were available via private message or email.

April 22, 2003, 10:44 PM
Darrell Mullroy - PlusP Inc - passed away recently.

As far as I know, he was an advocate of "Point Shooting" not Sight Shooting or Point and Blast shooting for CQB use.

Also as far as I know, based on use results in CQB situations, Sight Shooting is a proven failure.

Mike Irwin
April 23, 2003, 12:13 AM
Wow. What do you know.

Wild Romanian just dredged up a smoking...


Let's look at this point by point.

1. Statistics. Nothing in Thompson & LaGarde's tests were ever designed to be statistically valid. Absolutely nothing.

They were looking for what inflicted trauma in an apparent and rapid manner.

It was painfully obviously that the smaller calibers lacked this capacity, so why ramp up and shoot another steer if after 10 shots the first one isn't showing any apparent results?

2. Expanding bullets. If by expanding bullets you mean all-lead bullets, don't humor yourself. Even a soft lead bullet of that time
is going to show virtually no expansion when shot in the areas where Thompson & LaGarde shot the steers.

3. .45s fail so miserably... Hate to tell you this, but rapid fire placement of the bullets should have even less effect than slow fire. And remember, this was after the .30 Luger and smaller calibers had no to little visual effect on the animals earlier in the testing. So, going back to point 1, why bother to rehash the failure of the smaller rounds?

4. We've already discussed the effects of the cadaver tests, and as I've already noted, the .30 Luger was CLEARLY superior to the larger, slower bullets when hitting the skull.

But let's face it. Which do you think someone is going to be able to readily shrug off... A .30 Luger to the brain, or a .45 Long Colt to the brain?

Uhm... Does neither pop instantly to mind?

As for strikes on other, larger, thicker bones, such as the breast bone or thigh, it's been well known since the American Civil War that large, slow moving bullets, when striking a bone, do amazing amounts of damage because they tend to crush the bone.

Small, non-expanding, high velocity bullets tend not to do the massive amounts of bone damage -- they simply drill straight through, in comparison doing relatively minor damage as compared to the larger bullets.

You know, through 3 series of messages, and I'm still not sure what your point is, or if you even have one.

As for the author of this so called "block buster" article, Leon Day.

If only you knew.

Mike Irwin
April 23, 2003, 12:49 AM
You know, another thought here.

You're screaming and crying about scientific validity and the desparate need to stack the results.

Let's go back and take a look at the original message that started this whole thing...

I was talking to a police officer today that told me a story that adds much more evidence to some of my findings through by tests down through the years with the .45Acp v/s the 9mm.

I own and shoot both calibers and have conducted penetration tests and uncovered a U.S. Government test made in 1945 with these two calibers. In the Government test the 9mm penetrated a G.I. STEEL helment at a phenominal 130 yards while the .45 ACP bounced off at a mere point blank range of only 30 yards.

My own tests including shooting at steel 55 gallion drums at a range of only 3 feet showed the .45 acp would penetrate only one side of the steel drum using full power loads while the 9mm using weak wimpy loaded down ammo easily penetrated both sides of the steel drum.


That post is chock full of "scientific validity!"

Someone told you a story...

A story you still haven't provided ANY basis for. As far as we know this is simply a figment of your imagination.

Specious "penetration" testing on 55 gallon drums, which proves what? That you're better off with a 9mm if you're attacked by a pack of wild 55 gallon drums?

BTW, I don't know what your steel 55 gallon drums were made of, but steel oil drums I've shot at in the past with my .45s have been easily penetrated at distances far greater than 3 feet.

You know, in fact, you're a great example of the pot calling the kettle black...

You cry and moan about the lack of scientific validity of other people's tests, and then post tripe and crap like this about your own supposed experiences?

Cut me a break.

It's time you give this fantasy a rest.

April 23, 2003, 01:14 AM
Anecdotal stories about one particular shooting don't mean anything. You need numbers of shootings to develop trends.

I read that Gun Digest article years ago (still have it in fact) and concluded(on the assumption that the author did a fair synopsis) that the Thompson-Legard was bogus, not statistically valid and not at all scientific. Does anyone know if the T-L report is available to the general public?

The closest factual statements about what needs to happen to the human body to put it out of action when shot were by Dr. Fackler. Essentially the bullet has to penetrate deeply enough to cause major blood loss and /or hit the central nervous system.

Mike Irwin
April 23, 2003, 02:05 AM

No, the Thompson LaGarde test report isn't generally available to the public. I don't know of a reprint of it, I don't know of it being on line.

Some major libraries do have copies of it, and it may be available through inter-library loan.

Were the T-L tests designed to be scientific? No.

Were they an attempt at being the be all and end all of stopping power? No.

Were they an early attempt to quantify what might be an effective combat handgun round? Yes.

Were they unduly influenced by known events in the Philippines? Oh hell yes.

Is it true that some people have seized on the T-L tests to "prove" that the .45 is the be all and end all of handgun calibers? Oh hell yes.

Is that entirely justified? No.

But do the T-L tests generally trend with what has been experienced with these rounds over the past 100 years? I'd have to say yes.

But the fact remains that no one here has ever attempted to claim even half of what certain individuals are attempting to state.

The fact also remains that the original poster, in his quest to "expose" the transgressions of others and point out how their tests/information aren't scientifically valid, in fact started this entire mess with an ancedote that he has refused to back up with any solid information.

In all his running in circles, hooting and bleating about how the .45 fails as a cartridge, and the 9mm is some uberpooperscooper, he's missed the fact that he's attepting to prove something by providing even less information (is there any REAL information that can be provided? I'd have to say no, that the entire lynchpin story is a lie) than what he's demanding from others whose pedigrees really aren't in question.

What it REALLY boils down to, though, is not an individual's quest for information or enlightenment.

It's really all about one individual's almost pathologic need to "stir the pot."

April 23, 2003, 11:31 AM
So, why do some people site the T-L Tests? Obviously, they were poor, but I keep hearing about them.

Same thing with Marshall. Gun Digest wouldn't be printing such articles if it wasn't so common to quote such crummy "studies".

I really think you guys are shooting the messenger. Everyone here, including BHP9, seems to think the T-L Tests aren't very useful. So what's the debate? Bold lettering? Oil drums?

Give it a rest.

Mike Irwin
April 23, 2003, 12:26 PM
Hardly a case of shooting the messenger, Handy.

Go back and re-read the original thread. Then you'll understand why it's not a case of shooting the messenger.

If anyone should give it a rest, it should be the erstwhile Wild Romanian, who has the temerity to cry foul while engaging in the exact same practices as those he wishes to debunk.

As for why people still cite Thompson LaGarde?

Well, as I noted earlier...

"But do the T-L tests generally trend with what has been experienced with these rounds over the past 100 years? I'd have to say yes."

Even Marshall & Sanow's work, as flawed as it is, points to trends in bullet/cartridge performance that are supported by the information developed by Dr. Martin Fackler.

As I have continuously noted, I have little patience for someone who attempts to "prove" a theory based a supposed shooting that looks more and more like it never actually took place.

None of it is being done for any valid attempts at fostering discussion. Prevarications, half-truths, misrepresentations, etc., aren't the basis for logical, rational discussions, or the mark of someone who wants to engage in such a discussion. It's nothing less than a pathetic need to engender controversy.

George Hill
April 23, 2003, 12:56 PM
Junk Science makes for Junk Threads...

Mike Irwin summed it up nicely.

Well Done, Mike.

This thread is done.

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