357 verus 45 ACP etc. etc. Stopping Power


January 27, 2008, 08:31 AM
Everyone has an opinion as to what caliber is the best stopper self-defense against two legged predators but what does hard data show. I'm especally interested in seeing what the 357 sig. has done. Also is there any LEO agencies carring the 357 sig?



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January 27, 2008, 08:57 AM
My best recollection and my interpollation included :

No.1 manstopper per 1 shot stop percentages and with a long street record is:

.357 Magnum 125 Grain JHP out of a service revolver

With stopping power that was rated at 96% (which is where they had the tac shotguns and rifles starting if I recall)

No. 2. was .45 ACP +P in 230 grain and some 185 grain +p versions. Hard to argue with a shining service record of a century.

No. 3. (around 90%) switches between 9 and .40, but I think fully stoked modern .40 has a clear advantage over 9mm +p now

My favorite: .44 Rem Mag med. velocity is like #7 on the list, which tells me that either Elmer was a fool or the list is not perfect.

The most important thing once you have enough power to disrupt vitals, is the accuracy to disrupt the vitals. All of the aforementioned calibers will do that on the average BG

Pick the most powerful cartridge you can shoot well and then practice practice practice, and quit looking for magical bullets.


January 27, 2008, 09:33 AM
I use .45 because if one shot doesn't stop them, 2,3, and 4 shots can follow in seconds.
.357 has more recoil and would cause immediate hearing damage if fired indoors, even if it has a couple percentage points great "stopping power." When i carry my .357, i load it with +p .38 special. Follow up shots are easier and more manageable, and accurate (i can fire .357 accurately at the range when i am calm, cool, and collected, but don't trust myself to be those things if fighting for my life, and if every trigger pull produced a deafening noise.. flinch o rama).
ah crud. you meant .357 sig, not magnum, huh?

January 27, 2008, 09:55 AM
deleted - duh. reread post.

.45 over .357 Sig

January 27, 2008, 02:06 PM
I have two "favorite" handgun calibers for Self Defense, but use three calibers.

My two favs are the .357 Magnum and the 45 ACP. Between the .357 Sig, which TX DPS carries and the 45 ACP I would go with the ACP because it's an easier round to shoot, for me. The .357 Sig was designed to "mimic' the .357 Magnum in an autopistol. To that end it seems to do a pretty good job and has not been found "wanting".

Personally I put no "absolute faith" in any round, rifle, shotgun or handgun.


January 27, 2008, 02:11 PM
There is no way to get "hard data" for this. There are too many variables to come up with anything meaningful. Handguns all suck, load it with big name ammo and be sure you can put the rounds where they need to go.

January 27, 2008, 02:41 PM
I believe that the Texas State Troopers are issued .357Sig.

US Air Marshalls are also issued .357Sigs. They are trained for headshots with this caliber in the confines of an aircraft cabin.

January 27, 2008, 04:10 PM
Maine IFW (Inland Fisheries & Wildlife) are issued the .357SIG. Sig pistols, I'm not sure which model.

I've seen a close range .357SIG injury, real big wound.

January 27, 2008, 05:16 PM
Turk, I asked a similar question in a thread begun last week. One of the contributors to that thread, tipoc, kindly listed some studies relevant to this issue. You may wish to visit the thread on trustworthy statistics to retrieve that information. I suggest that you review studies conducted by Martin Fackler, a U.S. Army doctor, on this topic. He presents some interesting information about ballistics in general that should interest you. I hope this helps.


January 27, 2008, 05:21 PM
357 sig is a hoped up 9mm which is ok
357 mag does have more stopping power 158 gr.

January 27, 2008, 05:51 PM
1.Shot Placement
2.When it your time to get stopped.

These two factors have always trumped caliber debates, platforms from which they are fired, and bullet design.

Applies to self defense, and hunting.

January 27, 2008, 05:55 PM
Turk, the .357 Magnum performs better with longer barrel lengths as you no doubt realize. When examining the various studies, I would pay attention to barrel length as well as the type of ammo used.

One factor that may not be mentioned is the blast and recoil effect. A 10mm auto or .44 Magnum produces more of those features, making a quick followup shot more difficult for some people. This is unrelated to a "one-stop" torso shot, but it may come into play if successive rounds need to be fired quickly. At the very least, this is something people should consider when selecting a self-defense firearm. Again, I hope this information is useful.


January 27, 2008, 05:55 PM
I believe the .357 magnum is better. Especially if the bad guy is hiding behind a shield of some sort. The .45 works great most of the time against targets not wearing armor and the recoil isn't that bad either.

January 27, 2008, 09:47 PM
Unless they have changed things. The Secret service carries a Sig p226 in .357 sig. and awhile back a friend of mine said that the barrel on that Gun was made to limit recoil. but i think this round is harder to find and thus harder to practice with. the 45 is a good all around caliber. Not too many LE agencies will carry it because its an exspensive round. A 40 call will do just about the same thing and is more availble

January 27, 2008, 09:56 PM
The .357 is the winner with 125 gr. remington or federal even from a 2.5" bbl. I had 2 model 66's with 2.5" bbl. Too much recoil/muzzle blast for me. I got rid of them. My 1911 is much easier to control if follow up shots are needed and, well, it's a .45.

January 28, 2008, 12:50 AM
Like posted above, the 125gr .357 Magnum is a proven man stopper with many decades of data to back it up. At #2 the .45 ACP will do a great job too. I would say carrying either will give you an edge and it all comes down to personal preference. (I prefer the .357 Magnum)

January 28, 2008, 08:10 PM
I agree with others:


I think it is more important to pick the gun that gives you the best chance to shoot quickly and accurately. The circumstances may change depending on your situation. A carry gun or a hide out house gun might be different choices.

That said, performance will change if you are talking about a short barreled carry gun versus a full size 6" barrel.

Michael Courtney
January 29, 2008, 06:05 AM
Even with comparable shot placement, there will be more variations between different loads in the same cartridge than there is between the best loads in the different cartridges (comparing .357 with .45).

And shot placement itself is so important that I would give the edge for any given shooter to gun that a given shooter can shoot more accurately under time pressure.

Given the limitations inherent in service caliber handguns, the best loads in each caliber are at the upper end of the available performance range.

Michael Courtney

January 29, 2008, 07:29 AM
i have a 45 acp for ccw, my wife has a 40 s&w. either, imho, will stop most anybody with 1 or 2 shots, which are easily accomplishid thanks to being auto loaders. i do not really know much about the 357 sig. but for what it is worth, the 45 acp was developed SPECIFFICLY for stopping humans, and the 40 s&w is used by the vast majority of govenment law enforcement agencies. what do they need to do? stop humans. i do know that some l.e.a. carry the .357 sig. why, i am not sure. but one factor you need to consider is the cost of ammo. you are not a government agency, and to be proficiant with whatever you choose, you are going to NEED to shoot, a lot. so dont forget to figure that into the equasion. just my opinion.

January 29, 2008, 07:02 PM
9 mm +p will stop most humans Federal HST awsome round

January 29, 2008, 07:15 PM
I do believe that the Secret Service uses the .357 sig.

January 29, 2008, 07:31 PM
Big slow bullet, trumps small fast one, more knockdown power.

January 29, 2008, 08:38 PM
You are right, at least in this 357 sig v. 45 acp debate. Big and slow v. smaller and faster.

I got rid of my lightweight .357"s and believe it or not, I actually do carry a Colt Series 80 most of the year as my ccw. It's a pussycat to shoot compared to my last 357 roscoe.

January 29, 2008, 09:09 PM
Let's see
the endless debates of the decades

Semi-AUto Platforms
9MM vs .45 ACP
then 10MM auto is adopted but FBI rejects and up comes
the .40 S&W splitting the differences

Revolvers vs Semi-AUtos
.357 Mag vs .45 ACP
then neck down the.40 S&W
and it gets blurred
.357 SIg. vs .45 ACP

hey, notice something?

.45 ACP is the yardstick

That said, I shoot the .45 ACP better in my
1911 than my 625 but shoot them both better
than my 686P 4" with WW 125 JHP it has a BIG
lightening bolt of muzzle flash, and sloer to get back
on target.... but that's just me.

Here's another to throw in the mix... since the O.P.
wants to play with souped up bottlenickers

.400 CorBpn 155 gr. SPeer GD JHP @ 1400 fps or
the same eweight bullet Hornady XTPJHP @ 1360 FPS

just like beer YbottleneckMV

Momentum explained easy look at
Federal ballistics,
.357 Magnum 125 gr. at 1450 muzzle is 200+ less at 100 yards
.45 ACP 230 gr. 870 fps muzzle but at 100 yards it's still 800+ fps

and I bet you in organic material it;s the same velocity loss ratio
but the .45 is .45 at the starting line...

Check Federal ballistics for a .357 mag.

Harley Quinn
January 29, 2008, 09:24 PM
I like um all anyone of them is a killer in my hands, why? Because I shoot and practice and can hit what I aim at. Try it you will be much more confident with what you have in your hand. I like the 9mm at times with +P ammo and hi cap mags. Some times I have my G17 on me or my G22 in 40 or 357 or my G21 in 400 corbon 10mm or the good old 45 cal:p Depends on the amount of clothing I have on...:D This is for human consideration ;)

January 29, 2008, 09:42 PM
Harley Quinn argument, for the win.

Neither's going to do bupkiss to a malcontent trying to harm you if you can't hit the bloke with it.

Less time griping, more time shooting.

January 29, 2008, 09:58 PM
I switched from .45acp to 357SIG and havent regretted it in the least.

The SIG does duplicate the 357MAG load that its was intended to (except for the blast and flash), and does so in guns that are more or less the size of a 2" J frame. The 357MAG load is based on a 4" gun. My P239 and S&W 60 are about the same size, but the 239 has a barrel thats an inch and a half longer, and its a hell of a lot easier to shoot well with. My 15 yard SIG groups are about the same size as my 7 yard S&W groups. Bump things up a little to my P229, and I get a gun that is just a little bigger than the P239, and carries basically double the ammo. Ammo runs a little hotter too with the extra half inch of barrel.

Ammo isnt hard to get, nor is it all that much different than anything else. Its actually cheaper than .45acp.

January 30, 2008, 06:05 PM
Both the .45 and .357 are about as good of "threat stoppers" as can be asked for in a practical handgun. The .357 sig has the same ballistics as the revolver, but I have heard of failures to feed because of the bottleneck design, as it relates to magazine feeding. Shoot them both, and make a decision. Wheel guns are very low maintainence (Ruger,or Smith), and most Decent autoloaders( 600-1200 doller range) autos are very reliable with the .45. The jury is still out on the 357sig.

January 30, 2008, 06:50 PM
Also, is there any LEO agencies carring the 357 sig?

I believe the VA State Police are, with reported good results.
You might want to pick up a copy of "Stopping Power: A Practical Analysis of the Latest Handgun Ammunition"

I read way too many of these threads (many/most of which are BS) and figured I'd get the book in order to toss a few facts/statisics into my choice of weapon/caliber. 'Course, before I bought the book I found on the 'Net there were opposing camps AFA this book and it's findings. Personally, I thought it was great, coming down on the side of real world results (ignore the real world at your own peril).
Got a good deal on a SIG P229R a few years back, and it just seemed a crime not to get it in the 357 SIG!

January 30, 2008, 06:57 PM
...but I have heard of failures to feed because of the bottleneck design, as it relates to magazine feeding.
Just curious, but what exactly did you hear, and from whom?

March 5, 2008, 10:09 AM
I own a Sig 226 and a 229 both have 357 sig barrels and 40 short and weak barrels. The 357 sig shoots groups about half the size of the groups of the same gun with the 40 barrel in place. Also the 357 sig will penetrate pieces of plate steel that the 40 wont. I shot a 1/8" sheet of mild steel and the 3 that went all the way through were 10mm auto, 357 mag, 357 sig. The 45 acp, 40 s&w, 9mm, 38 spl, and 380 acp just dented the steel. The 357 sig outperforms the 40 S&W and the 45 acp in every test I have tried.

March 5, 2008, 01:23 PM
That's great if you're attacked by a piece of steel:cool:

March 5, 2008, 01:37 PM
I've read in more than one thread on the .400 CorBon - a bottle necked
.45 ACP that it has feeding problems out of a double stack

Practice hitting the target ....

March 5, 2008, 02:59 PM
That's great if you're attacked by a piece of steel
Its even better if whats attacking you is behind one. ;)

March 5, 2008, 03:13 PM
357 any day

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