9mm insufficient?


January 17, 2003, 07:52 AM
No, this is not 9mm bashing; just read an article in Handgun magazine, can't remember what it's called but it was something like "When they won't go down " or something close to that; talking about how the one shot stop is a lie; and how some perps take multiple hits and still manage to return fire..

In there, (paraphrasing) I'm sure someone with the magazine will give the quote; but it said that you should stay away from insufficient stopping power rounds like 9mm and 380.

Again, not my words, don't shoot the messenger!!

He lists .45ACP, .40SW, and .357Mag as better selections..

OK people, keep the flames to a minimum, and let's DISCUSS this..

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January 17, 2003, 08:15 AM
Shot placement, shot placement, shot placement.

January 17, 2003, 08:26 AM
Sounds like the article I just read my Mr. Cooper...

I think it may have been misunderstood however, that article was meant as to look back at the 1911 .45ACP as it was back in the day.

He was talking about the 45 -v- the 9mm & 380 a that time in history.

I know Mr. Cooper is a "45 guy", but I also know that he understands that things have changed for the better now days with the "other" calibers.

January 17, 2003, 08:39 AM
Shot placement, shot placement, shot placement.


There is one documented case of a doper taking 49 9mm hits. without slowing down. Obviously none were immediately fatal. He was finished with a 12 gauge slug.

In the '86 Miami shootout, Platt was hit 12 times. The first hit was a 9mm round fired by Agent Dove which, "hit his right upper arm, just above the inside crook of the elbow. The bullet passed under the bone, through the deltoid, triceps and teres major muscles and severed the brachial arteries and veins. The bullet exited the inner side of his upper arm near the armpit, penetrated his chest between the fifth and sixth ribs, and passed almost completely through the right lung before stopping. The bullet came to rest about one inch short of penetrating the wall of the heart."

The doctor performing the autopsy believes that Platt's first wound was unsurvivable, and was the primary injury responsible for Platt's death.

He was a walking deadman that managed to kill two FBI agents and severely wound five others before dying.

Placement is 99% of the battle.

January 17, 2003, 08:54 AM
Without enrageing 9mm advocates I have to believe that all the reports of BGs being hit multiple times COM and still continuing aggressive actions have to have some merit. Not that there is anything basically wrong with the caliber, certainly many GGs and BGs have died from 9mm hits.

I can't think of any ammo effectiveness tests that show any 9mm round to be superior in terms of one shot stops, The most effective always comes up the same, 357 mag. 125 gr HP.

The argument can be made that using modern 9mm high performance expanding HPs, it is superior to 45ACP. These arguments are usually based on the 45 using 230 gr ball.
When the 45 is stoked with lighter high performance HPs the numbers swing back in favor of the old warhorse.

Over the years I have carried most very caliber as a backup or off duty weapon. I never felt seriously outgunned ,(NAA 22lr excluded) however given the choice I will still go with my 45, it just makes me feel more secure. JMHO


Baron Holbach
January 17, 2003, 09:23 AM
A .380 saved the day:


Marko Kloos
January 17, 2003, 09:41 AM
There are plenty of documented instant DRTs with .22s and .25s, and there are equally plenty documented incidents where BGs were not stopped by multiple COM hits from 9mm, .40, .45ACP, and even 12 gauge slugs. No caliber is an instant death ray, and no caliber is "useless" or "feeble". Even a tiny .25ACP pill can do you in right there, if that bullet intersects with something vital.

Caliber wars are almost religious discussions, and you're no more likely to convert people to a different religion than to a different caliber preference.

Personally, I think 9mm is just fine for defense. It's low recoiling, which means faster follow-up shots, and it's cheap, which translates into more practice. With modern bullet designs, I doubt that there's a big effectiveness difference between any of the current major defensive calibers. Shot placement is ten times more important than caliber.

January 17, 2003, 10:10 AM
I think caliber wars are fun and I haven't seen many here yet.

I'm thinking that many of the people that formed their opinions that 9mm is a poor stopper did so before the modern HPs came out... or formed their opinions based on teachers that did this. Either that or they are forced to compare FMJs, in which case the .45 should naturally make a slightly larger wound channel (and I don't buy into the 147gr 9mm yawing, sorry).

I mean if you take away the modern bullets's diameter, weight and velocity and just look at the average expansion/penetration numbers from 9mm to .45 ACP, the data are very very hard to separate.

The main reason I like the .45 is because that's what I grew up with.

Neal Bloom
January 17, 2003, 10:14 AM
Hate to sound like a borken record: Shot placement!

January 17, 2003, 10:24 AM
Carrying a defensive handgun is all about defense. It is a trade off in power and accuracy for comfort and always have utility. No handgun is a good man stopper in a strict sense.

Shotguns and rifles are the way to go if you are expecting a fight and even they are not going to drop everybody all the time immediately.

I am a .45/.357 guy at heart. Comes more from the history, nostagia and fun I have shooting them then raw "One Shot Stop" numbers. I also use 9mm, .38 and .40 caliber for defense and don't feel any less armed as I use very high quality ammo that should at least buy me enough time to run away.

It is all about playing the odds and since the odds don't favor ever actually pointing your gun at somebody in anger much less using it and the fact that the chances are 9mm will be just fine should the event occur you should be just fine. I mean statistically speaking what are the chances you have to shoot the doped up, uber nazi, ninja, wearing body armor. Pretty low. Chances are it will be some scumbag who picked your house because they thought it was empty and as soon as that handgun swings their way they are done.

Now I understand that we should all prepare for the worst but If we let ourselves get caught up in over preparing, pretty soon we are carrying radios to call in artillery strikes and having belt feds in the trunk of the car.

Remember most police officers never fire their gun in anger during their career.

Both 9mm and .45 hardball have been killing people for around a century now and they are both still very popular choices. If one was a clear winner the other would be obsolete by now.


January 17, 2003, 10:57 AM
You can find horror stories of bad guys taking multiple hits from most if not all handgun calibers.

Shot placement and good ammo are important. Which would you rather have Corbon 115gr JHP 9mm or 45 ACP FMJ?

Of course the 12ga Rem 870 trumps them all. :D

January 17, 2003, 10:58 AM
....shot placement....

January 17, 2003, 11:03 AM
The 9 mm does have some practical advantages for many shooters. If "shot placement" is key, then practice, practice, practice is paramount to accomplish this, the 9mm is just less expensive to shoot. The more you shoot, the greater chances of achieving proper "shot placement".

January 17, 2003, 11:05 AM
I don't think there is any arguement that 9mm is BETTER than .40 or .45, but many believe it is in the same ballpark. 9mm is a major step up from .380 or even standard .38 Special.

With 9mm, in all weights and bullet designs, penetration is not the problem-almost all loads go deep. The bigger bullets mainly have an advantage in wound diameter, but not a great one if the 9mm slug expands properly. But the most internal wound area is going to come from penetration depth, not diameter. I would prefer FMJ even to a HP that only goes in 3 or 4 inches, like a .380 might.

I like my 9mm pistols. 9mm is the most reliable feeding auto cartridge. It is very accurate and easy to shoot and doesn't put undue wear on your pistol. It's total power may be near the acceptable minimum, but it still makes that minimum. When the cartridge you shoot encourages reliability and accuracy with reasonable lethality, it's a good bet for defense. The +P hollowpoints I've carried have never made me feel like I wasn't armed to the teeth.

Would a .45 HP have done significantly more damage to Platt with the same placement? Would the placement have been as good?

4v50 Gary
January 17, 2003, 11:36 AM
Shot placement. Shot placement. Shot placement.


Mike Irwin
January 17, 2003, 11:42 AM
Shot placement COMBINED with adequate penetration.

You need both.

January 17, 2003, 11:45 AM
All of the above. Handguns are a crap shoot anyway.

January 17, 2003, 11:52 AM
Fed, you folks carry the smith .45 correct?

January 17, 2003, 12:23 PM
Shot placement is the most important factor. A 22 long rifle through an eye socket is going to be far more effective than a 454 Casull hit to a pinkey finger. Be very careful of what you read in magazines. These guys get paid to submit articles, regardless of accuracy or veracity.

Jeff Cooper was and is a great man. In his day, the 9mm was available in 115 or 124 grain ball loads and the 45 ACP was available in 230 grain ball loads. Between these, I would take the 45 ACP. Today, with high performance hollowpoints, there is little real difference in effectiveness.

Chuck Taylor touts the 45 ACP, or at least he used to. All of his articles said the 45 ACP was the ultimate round and there was none better, not even the 357 Magnum could come close to the 45 ACP. Unless his article was about 357 Magnum's, then this caliber was the best.

I stopped subscribing to Peterson's Handguns many years ago due to such writings.

January 17, 2003, 12:27 PM
Here's an interesting article on the 9mm for you:

January 17, 2003, 12:31 PM
Gee, too bad Carbon-15s have a rep for unreliability. :D


January 17, 2003, 12:33 PM
I'll be the first to agree that shot placement makes the biggest difference.

But after that the bigger the bullet the less critical shot placement becomes. (envision a cannonball at this point)

A .45acp just allows me to have a greater margin of error. I'm sure if I ever get into a lethal force encounter my shots are not going to be as accurate as I am on the range.

January 17, 2003, 01:11 PM
Every shooting is it's own beast. It's difficult to infer anything from a single shooting because all of the factors are unknown.

I still remember hearing the story from a police officer who shot a man with a 12-gauge slug. They had to run and tackle to guy afterward to make the arrest. I also remember the story on PBS of the man who was shot 27 times by 7.62x39 and ran around for an hour helping his buddies in Vietnam.

These make the 9mm vs 45 debate seem even more silly. Any round that will consistently go in one side of a man and out the other is powerful enough. Everything else is just shot placement. Stop studying ballistic tables and pick up Gray's Anatomy.

January 17, 2003, 01:30 PM
Ahhhh Mikul. The voice of reason and logic. Good post... and I have a copy of Gray's Anatomy...

January 17, 2003, 02:07 PM
I used to sponser a guy who was shot in the head with a .45. The slug ripped his ear up and glanced off the bone.

January 17, 2003, 04:06 PM
"Sufficient" is relative. I have sufficient means to buy most of what I want. Not even Bill Gates has sufficient means to buy everything I want.

To maximize the effectiveness of what you have, shot placement and angle of incidence are key. Shooting a BG in the eye with a .22 will do the job as long as it's from the front.

Jim Higginbotham
January 17, 2003, 04:08 PM
Sure, a 9mm is insuficient. If the goal is to instantly incapacitate a dangerous human attacker all handgun rounds - including the .454 Casul and the .480 Ruger - are insufficient, unless you hit the brain or upper part of the spine. Most rifles and shotguns are better but still not perfect.

Is there a difference in effectiveness...sure but it is not more important than where the bullet strikes or what mental/physical condition the subject is in.

The important thing to remember is that a pistol is a pitiful puny popgun - shoot like they vote in Chicago: Early and Often!

Food for thought,
Jim H.

January 17, 2003, 04:20 PM
and whiile I like both calibers, my CCW is a HK USPc 9mm with 124 gr. +P Gold Dot Proload.

Why the 9mm? It's 100% reliable in the HK, and the Proload rounds are extremely fast, expansion 'proofed' and very deadly.

The 9mm rounds of today are far more effective than rounds 10-20 years ago. The 9mm is also very easy to control for follow up and multiple shots. Remember, I'm not an expert shooter but I do practice with both .45 and 9mm. The 9mm, I practice with more.

The .45 ACP is a huge bullet that I happen to have a fondness for. However, my 1911's are much heavier in weight (to carry) than the HK and are just a little bit more accurate.

Personally speaking, I would NOT want to get hit by a Proload 124 gr. +P Gold Dot round. This is why I carry the 'bulletproof' 9mm.

BTW, I could have purchased a .45 acp HK compact but I wanted the 9mm. In town, in the home, in the mountains and backcountry, 21 rounds of 9mm in the 2 mags is enough protection that I'll be needing.

January 17, 2003, 04:26 PM
I can't even be sure with a .45. To be sure, I bring Bambi (my Benelli) or Daisy (my M1A).

.45 and 9mm are the same, as far as I'm concered. Neither are good enough. Fun, but not good enough.

Handguns: Shot placement, shot placement. Failure to stop! Shot placement!

January 17, 2003, 04:58 PM
Enough! Enough!:banghead:


January 17, 2003, 05:10 PM
Someone said it on the first page. 9mm is cheap and cheap ammo means more practice which equals bettter shooting. Most frequently I carry a .38 with standard factory loads. I have absolute faith in it because I know that I can shoot it well.

January 17, 2003, 07:28 PM
"9mm insufficient?"


Shot placement into a vital organ with a 9mm is critical, since even pointblank hits with that little .355 slug can be insufficient to stop a determined attacker, as seen here for example:


Shot placement with the .40/10mm & above calibers is important also, but these calibers seem more forgiving of "near misses" into a vital organ area - with the "knockdown" energy transfer (i.e., ft-lbs) of the larger calibers and the heavier bullets often being sufficient to cause rapid, if not instant, incapacitation. With the 9mm, you're more or less rolling the dice. (Hopefully, you've got a rabbit's foot in your pocket. ;) )

In addition to training for accurate shot placement, practice double-taps. Once you become reasonably proficient w/ d.ts., try doing triple taps if you can safely control muzzle rise.

The shocking-power of well-placed d.ts. is sometimes underestimated, but getting several accurate shots into a vital area fast increases the probability of immediate incapacitiation.

January 17, 2003, 08:20 PM
Now I will throw everyone a curve ball. In some cases the 9mm even with ball ammo is better than the .45acp

In shootouts and even more dramatically in warfare often enemy soldiers are not just standing around in a classic shoot me at close range pose. The 9mm with ball ammo is a superior round in penetration and when the enemy soldier is standing sideways and you have to shoot through his arm to get to his vitals the 9mm will more than likely penetrate all the way. The slower .45 slug especially as the range increases really starts to slow down.

Soldiers hiding behind wooden doors and even street parked autos are a lot safer from fire coming from a .45 acp than from a 9mm.

Higher capacity, higher velocity, deeper penetration all can sometimes be more advantageous with the 9mm. True the .45 is a good cartridge at close range and against a soldier with no body armor or standing out in the open but just as in hunting animals your target is not going to stay out in the open for very long if you are pointing a gun at him.

Which do I really like the best. I cannot answer that question, I really do like them both, own both and shoot both. But I tend to shoot my 9's way more than my .45's due to expense and recoil.

Quintin Likely
January 17, 2003, 08:20 PM
Ok, broken record mode:

Doesn't matter if you're using a .22 LR or a .50 BMG...as long as you put 'em where they count.

January 17, 2003, 08:24 PM
Shot placement with the .40/10mm & above calibers is important also, but these calibers seem more forgiving of "near misses" into a vital organ area - with the "knockdown" energy transfer (i.e., ft-lbs) of the larger calibers and the heavier bullets often being sufficient to cause rapid, if not instant, incapacitation. With the 9mm, you're more or less rolling the dice. (Hopefully, you've got a rabbit's foot in your pocket.
Sure . . . and as long as agtman is quoting Glocktalk:


You have to love gunwriters (or anything to sell an article). In the article to which the original poster referred, the bad guy got to one-shot stops (unfortunately both LEOs and on fatally) with a 9x19 while absorbing 25 hits from the .45 ACP. A clear-cut case of superiority, right?

January 17, 2003, 08:47 PM
Now if I could only get everyone to realize that a hot 9mm (.355's) are almost the same thing as a .357. And that 15 hot 9mm's and fast reloading magazines are alot better than 5 or 6 .357's and two speedloaders.

Apparently that's quite a leap for some people.

January 17, 2003, 10:17 PM
Ok...so how many of you "Shot Placement" guys are carrying Hammereli 162's??? :neener:

9mm/10mm/45 are all relativly tiny (when compared to the human body) chunks of metal flung out of pipe under pressure, that's it. They damage or destroy a very small area of the human body if contact is made. In wartime guys have been hit with multiple 50 cal machien gun rounds, had arms and legs blown clean off and still killed efficiently for minutes after. No super duper hollowpoint in the 9mm or huge .45" bullets gonna be able to guarantee that a crack head or loon might not be able to do the same thing.

Hard for me to get too much in the arguement my two favorite guns are my G-17 and 4506. 45's a bigger bullet, but on the other hand I can get three accurate shots off with the 9mm in the time it takes me to get 2 off with the .45. So if the 45's a 20% better stopper but I multiply by 1.33 then carry the one....Oh hell nevermind, SHOT PLACEMENT. ;)

January 17, 2003, 11:01 PM
Hanguns should only be used to fight your way to your rifle;)

If you dont have a rifle handy then use a handgun with enough capability to neutralize your threat.

One shot or 10, either way I aint gonna quit pumping rounds into the advesary until he abandons his agression.

January 17, 2003, 11:24 PM
I think this guys opion on 9's are unfair. Now when it comes to standard 9mm fmj rounds , they have proven to be among the most poor stopper . BUT with Ammo such as Corbon , Hydra-Shok
and some ohters , they have proven very effective . I think that to say the 9mm on the whole is a bad stopper isnt true . I dont really believe in a 1 shot stop anyway , i have heard of people getting hit with a 357 and still continued to come at a police officer . I would agree that the 45 and 357 have much better stopping records . But with todays top of the line ammo , and good shot placement the 9mm is just as effective , and their are reports to prove this .

January 18, 2003, 12:15 AM
quack quack...... quack quack quack!:banghead:

January 18, 2003, 02:36 AM
Keller, SW 4506, 230 gr. Winchester Ranger load.

January 18, 2003, 04:06 AM
USGuns, you posted a hyperlink that refers you to info on energy transfer from a handgun.
I'm sorry, but many people have turned away from Marshall and Sanow made up stats. Examine it closly and you will see M&S can no way be correct in theory.
Sorry, that dog don't hunt.
All things being equal in shot placement and not taking into account other human factors, a BG just has to "bleed out," ...lack of blood pressure. The deeper and bigger hole accomplishes this well.
The 9mm accomplishes it by expanding to larger caliber by its velocity and impact. I do not believe a 9mm hard ball is as effecient as a 45 hard ball if penetration and placement were equal.
Many ideas on OSS comes from the caliber the army has selected. The army does not use expanding bullets for general issue although they should.

January 18, 2003, 08:04 AM
People survive after being shot with 45s or 44 mags or even rifle calibers. There is no one magic bullet.

January 18, 2003, 08:37 AM
shot placement! cover! and common sense... plus 15 rds per magazine, all in 115g, +P JHPs :D

I can control 9mm follow up shots better than on a 45. And 15+1 rds of that load ought solve it... if that doesn't the other two hi-caps should cover it....

January 18, 2003, 08:49 AM
I must address the fact that most people can't hit squat; and so most speak from what seems to me to be a hole other than their mouth...

Others, seem WAY too prepared for serious war (Skunk comes to mind) that's not a bad thing; boy scouts motto...

I'm in the "as big as I can shoot well camp"... So something like .40SW in a Corbon load seems like a good choice to me. .357Sig is another great choice.. I personally feel a little underdefended with a 9mm, but everybody's view is different. If I can shoot it well, then I would probably carry a 9mm..

I think a .45ACP has it's advantages, and a 9mm has it's advantages as well..

There is no magic bullet...

The handgun is for killing that which comes between you and your rifle.

The police with their bad 1 shot stop, 7 shot stop, 35 shot stop stats; are STUPID... They should have been using a .223 or .308... Asking a pistol to do a rifle's job and then getting upset and blaming the caliber is stupid..

January 18, 2003, 09:28 AM
My 9x19 ammo is not 'insufficient'

Regardless of the caliber I might use, I believe in the 'empty until you get the correct response" method..

January 18, 2003, 09:31 AM
I mean I actually believe that.

Jim Higginbotham
January 18, 2003, 09:58 AM
WESHOT2 wrote:
My 9x19 ammo is not 'insufficient'

Regardless of the caliber I might use, I believe in the 'empty until you get the correct response" method..


That's a sound enough plan, so long as one is not making himself a good target (by standing still) or there is not another threat close by that you must deal with (half or more of all assaults involve more than one assailant according to some, though personally I have not found that).

While I am not much on statistics, I don't find the P.M./Fairburn study to be that far off in that on average (with JHP ammo) you can expect to register five (5) 9mm hits before the fight is over and you can expect to register about half that many .357 mag or .45 hits. .38s are somewhere between (the revolver calibers probably indicate that there were several 6 shot cases but you just could not get more at the time the study was done unless you reload - there was the case involving 10 .357 hits in Louisiana). On the other hand this sort of hides the several cases we have seen where 15 9mm chest hits were ineffective and the few cases in which 32,33, 42 and 65 torso hits were ineffective. Of course those are not the norm, but then gunfights are not the norm and my luck is not so good :(

The fly in the ointment is that typically you only have about 2 to 3 seconds to identify the threat, present your weapon and deal with the problem - it takes most people at least half that time to get the gun out so it matters not so much how many bullets your weapon holds (in most cases but not all) but how many hits you can achieve, while moving, in that second - and how much damage each one does.

Of course all situations are not the same and some do indeed turn into running gun battles when the BG could not deliver a telling blow also. So it is not unsound to go for more capacity.

It is good to Remember John Hall's (former head of the FBI FTU)#3 rule of gunfighting: "Bigger is better and more is more".

Or better yet, Pray the first bullet will work....shoot like the last one won't!

Press on,
Jim H.

January 18, 2003, 10:11 AM
I prefer the "run screaming like a girl the other way" method best.
I've had BG literally bump into the muzzle of my gun (him moving fast-n-close-by-surprise; me doing fast draw, weak-hand, real fast); met the 'we need six-or-more buddies to feel bad' crowd twice; never shot nobody.

I moved someplace safer.

Jim Higginbotham
January 18, 2003, 10:34 AM
I know exactly what you mean.

It is sort of like the case of John Smith, who showed up at the Pearly Gates and asked St. Peter to let him in.

St. Pete says: "I don't have you down here for any outstanding acts that would allow your admitance. Did we miss something?" (I know it's not theologically sound, bear with me).

John Smith: "Well one time I saw this biker gang bothering this young lady who's car broke down. I waded right in amongnst them and picked out the largest one, yanked his earring out of his ear and said 'you evil people leave this young woman alone, or you will have to answer to me!'"

St. Pete, astonished says: "That was outsthanding, I wonder how we missed that, when did it happen?"

John Smith: "About 2 minutes ago." :)

Press on,
Jim H.

January 18, 2003, 10:51 AM
9mm insufficient? :scrutiny:

Has he been hit with one COM??? :rolleyes:

January 18, 2003, 06:03 PM
In terms of "stopping power in handgun effectivness:

#1) LUCK
#2) Shot placement
#3) Bullet design
#4) Calibre

January 19, 2003, 10:03 AM
IMNSHO it doesn't really matter what service caliber you use. If you don't sever the spinal cord or destroy the brain there is always a chance of fire being returned.

January 19, 2003, 11:10 AM
Turn off the switch, or Peetmoss is dead right.

(And remember, the brain has areas that aren't needed to shoot back.)

I prefer car as projectile.

January 19, 2003, 11:20 AM

I have this strange feeling, this topic was discussed at length at a poker table at some point in history, and the 4 men concluded "We need something that will take the guy out, 1 shot!!"

And thus, the .50BMG came to be :evil:

Yes, there are 1 shot stops... if the caliber is big enough... Something like an H-bomb, you almost don't have to aim!!

January 19, 2003, 11:40 AM
Caliber size and bullet type is meaningless unless you can deliver it accurately.

So shot placement is key.

A 22 in the eye will be more effective then a 45 to the thigh.

The first rule in a gun fight is to bring a gun. No one questions the ability of a 45 ACP to stop an attacker. But if you can't or won't carry it, then it is useless. The best gun to defend you is the one in your hand. Learn to use it properly, and it should serve you well.

About four times a year, I teach a CCW class. I tell my students to first select their back-up/"always" gun first. The reason is to lower the pressure on them to select their primary firearm and to get them into the habit of always having a gun on their person.

Once they have developed the habit of carring a firearm on them always, they will have a better understanding of their own particular carry needs. This will help them select the correct primary defensive pistol that meets their needs (and not mine, some gun writer, or gun store clerk).

As to caliber selection, I tell them that the defensive use of a firearm is different that selecting a firearm for target shooting or hunting. If they can fire 2 shots into a 10 inch paper plate at 10 feet in 1 second, then the caliber is acceptable.

January 19, 2003, 02:18 PM
Hanguns should only be used to fight your way to your rifle


I can rember where I read this or who said it. And I'm paraphrasing also. But I though he made a good point.

A women asked why I carried a gun," Was I expecting trouble? "

I responded "If I was expecting trouble I would have bought a rifle"

January 19, 2003, 04:02 PM
9 is fine with the right ammo. Glaser or Corbon come to mind

January 19, 2003, 05:19 PM
shoot him until he stops, that's what you have the extra rounds and quicker follow up for.

January 20, 2003, 04:54 AM
I do want to remind everybody of the first and second rule of a gun fight, (even before we start talking about calibers)

#1 Have a gun!
#2 Bring the gun!!

Any caliber in hand, is better then any caliber in the safe!! So bringing your gun along is the most important..

I'm still not a believer that 9mm is enough if I have other choices...

January 20, 2003, 03:42 PM
So what if you do end up using a 380 or a 38 special or 9mm Makarov?
I'm inclined to think that with a 9mmx19, the bullets will penetrate far enough to get to the vitals no matter what kind you are using, except maybe certain angles with the frangibles.
But what about the smaller calibers? Would you be better off with FMJ's to make sure that they get where they are going, or with jHP to tear a bigger hole?
Or are they entirely useless?
I currently have three 9mm's, two of which I can shoot quite well. I would like to get another handgun before too long. It will mostly be a plinker, like the others, but like the others it will probably get carried too.
Should I go bigger?
Would I still be reasonably safe if I go smaller?
Or maybe I should consider getting a registered Thompson....

January 20, 2003, 05:58 PM
"#1 Have a gun!"

"#2 Bring the gun!!"

#3 Be certain the gun's caliber is "sufficient" to get the job done!

Hey, that way you won't regret not bringing a baseball bat instead. :neener:

January 20, 2003, 06:00 PM
Aint 9mm just a target load anyway? :p

It's placement and penetration.
Of course heavy and large diameter don't hurt either. :D

January 21, 2003, 03:13 PM
... I'm sure I've read all the above before! ;)

Are the 40/45/357 S&M "better" than the 9x19? Of course they are!

Do I still prefer the 9x19? You bet I do!

I can do more with less. When I use more, I do less... really don't care what anybody else can do/has done with whatever.

January 22, 2003, 01:01 AM
including the .454 Casul and the .480 Ruger - are insufficient,

Ahhhh hahahahahahaha!!!!



Baron Holbach
January 22, 2003, 12:20 PM
I second Peetmoss's analysis.

January 22, 2003, 12:34 PM
Here's my bottom line. Whatever will stack more of the chips on your side. A .45 makes a bigger hole so that's a plus. But if you can't handle the recoil as well as a 9mm than it's a minus. Test your equipment and choose accordingly. If you will do, the equipment probably will also.

January 22, 2003, 01:52 PM
In an attempt to decide on the best caliber I have decided to shoot myself with one each of:


I will let you all know which one hurts the most.
Is I am only 5'11" and 220lbs I am not big enough to shoot myself with each bullet weight and type.

What do you guys recomend.


January 22, 2003, 04:03 PM
Well there are too many variables in goats, how about grape Jello-0?

If you shoot yourself with a 9mm first, you may conclude that it hurts the most because the .40 and .45 will come after the endorphine dump?

9mm MUST be insufficient... there can't be any other reason why those shooting competitions have MAJOR power factors right? (It can't be to make the .45 ACP look good, is it?) ;)

Really, some guy on another forum (Can't remember now) said something to the effect of... "We spend countless hours debating the smallest of things and often times overlook those which matter the most."

January 22, 2003, 07:57 PM
9mm MUST be insufficient... there can't be any other reason why those shooting competitions have MAJOR power factors right? (It can't be to make the .45 ACP look good, is it?)
No, it is really way compensate for the .45 ACP being harder to shoot quickly and accurately than the 9x19. Some may brag on these forums that they can shoot the .45 (or .40 or 357 Sig) just as quickly and accurately as they can the 9x19, but sure want their handicap when there's money on the line.

January 22, 2003, 08:25 PM
This is fun, so here' s my .02.

I carry a .38 snubnose in the right front pocket most of the time, so a 9mm would be a step up and would be "sufficent."

But when I want to "step up" to a belt gun, I go with a .357 magnum or a .45 ACP. Why? A couple of reasaons.

1. Shot placement is nice, but what if you don't get to choose? What if the BG offers limited exposure, either in time or person?
He's moving? Behind cover? The something bigger (.45) or much faster (.357) is, IMHO, a better choice.

2. Hi-caps don't make a lot of difference, unless you plan on being part of a protracted civilian affair. So, you can plan on one or two, maybe three shots. If someone said you could swing a 12 oz. hammer or a 16 oz. hammer three times to pound in a nail, what would you choose?

3. Having a CCW on you and reliability come before shot placement, IMHO. That's where .357 shines, I believe.

Anyway, let the discussion continue....

January 22, 2003, 08:35 PM
The major/minor distinction in shooting sports is an unfortunate one. Perhaps an ideal situation would be to better reflect the reality that the "major" calibers are harder to shoot well, but the "minor" calibers don't hit the target as hard. Gaming should perhaps require factory level ammo loadings, (none of this barely cycling the slide gamesmanship with the lightest bullet possible), and the caliber requirement just be called "service caliber," i.e. 9mm and above.

The direct way to level the playing field between calibers is by using steel targets at various distances rather than paper/cardboard. This target system would still "penalize" the larger bores' poorer recovery time on marginal hits or misses but also "penalize" the 9mm/.38 Super because at times they lack authority with just one hit COM on steel plates (and bowling pins in my experience), thus requiring those fast follow-up shots that the .45 or 10mm probably won't need with a decent hit.

It is interesting to note that the fastest time in the last IDPAs was posted in SSP by a Glockster shooting 9mm. Rob Leatham came in second overall and first in custom with a 1911 .45ACP, a whole three hundredths off the overall winning pace. It's never the caliber, it's the shooter, but IDPA doesn't account for the tactical need of the 9mm sometimes requiring a double-dose to throw the same relative amount of lead to get the job done.

I "abandoned" the 9mm when I started realizing that I could shoot .45ACP nearly as fast and I felt smoother doing so. I happen to like the trigger, handling, and recoil characteristics of all steel single-stack 1911A1 .45s as I am a big guy and manage the recoil well. I am not stupid enough to think my experience is transferable to everyone else.

Admiral Thrawn
January 22, 2003, 08:37 PM
Down at the range, I mostly practice with 9x19mm and .45ACP.

What i've found is that the .45ACP has a slower bullet, but fires much more smoothly and is less "snappy." This has resulted in me being able to shoot better with it than the 9x19mm, which I find I have a tendency to shoot a little to the left.

The added recoil of the .45ACP is compensated for by this smooth firing. Overall, I find the .45ACP to be a very well balanced round, amd certainly leaves much bigger holes in the paper than 9x19mm.

The only downsides of the .45ACP compared with the 9x19mm are that it is larger, resulting in increased weight and reduced magazine capacity, and that it is much more expensive to shoot.

However, if I was using a good quality JHP 9x19mm round, it should do the job of self-defence quite nicely, but the favorable characteristics of the .45ACP would make it a very good choice also, if you don't mind paying the extra ammunition costs.

January 23, 2003, 11:24 PM
I've never competed, but I think that you could set up blocks of stone or iron that a .44 Magnum would knock out of the way, but a .45 ACP or 10mm would jitter it a little...

Then again, is there specific rationale for choosing the density of the IDPA or other orgainization's targets that one has to knockdown?

I like the .45 for sentimental reasons and the fact that it makes holes that appear a little bigger.

January 24, 2003, 10:49 PM
I have heard it said that a 9 may expand but a .45 will never shrink.

January 26, 2003, 01:43 PM
You never met my 10mm..............:what:

That said, my common carry caliber is 22LR; my common centerfire carry is 9x19 (or 41 AE, or 45 ACP, or the Magnums, or something).

January 26, 2003, 05:03 PM
I used to sponser a guy who was shot in the head with a .45. The slug ripped his ear up and glanced off the bone.

A guy was shot point blank by a township sherrif in central Indiana by 9mm FMJ ammo from an issue GLock and bounced right off with minimal blood. But... it resolved the situation.

With enough shots of anything, strange things are bound to happen. Another reason to always shoot twice.

January 26, 2003, 09:32 PM
You've obviously never handled a Beretta...:D

I find it a little hard to believe about the 9mm. Any good gun with the right ammo (Hollow points: Federal or Winchester) will do the deed. Also, don't forget to practice. You won't hit anything regardless of the caliber or the ammo if you don't work at it. :cool:

Jim Higginbotham
January 26, 2003, 09:59 PM
I find it a little hard to believe about the 9mm. Any good gun with the right ammo (Hollow points: Federal or Winchester) will do the deed. Also, don't forget to practice. You won't hit anything regardless of the caliber or the ammo if you don't work at it.

Please don't take this as a slam on any particular gun or caliber but, while many people will quit when shot - or shot at - or even when a gun is produced. There are ample cases where multiple *good hits* have not done the job.

No need to bore folks with a laundry list, but while pistol bullets are quite lethal, none of them, including the .44 Mag., are "powerful" enough to insure an instant (or even quick) stop given hits to the heart or lungs. Hits to the Brain (not the same as just a head hit) or upper spine seem to work quite well but many pistol bullets will not penetrate the skull on a straight line no go deep enough into the torso to damage the spine - plus it is a difficult target to locate considering that people are three dimensional. Outside of these areas, people are seldom inconvienced - in the short term - by hits from even hi-powerd rifles unless a bone is broken.

I know this is difficult to imagine...I was one who thought there was "power" in handgun/rifle bullets to be transferred also - there is some of course but it amounts to enough to move 10 pounds about a foot (without friction).

Very best regards,
Jim H.

January 27, 2003, 01:57 AM
ON Discovery today they were interviewing a Navy Seals Captain, He mentioned that they use a 9mm handgun as their sidearm, he then commented that many people have suggested that this is not enough. His answer was this " When I put two bullets through your heart and one through your head you won't know the difference" Hence the reason they use 9mm all seals are taught to put two through the heart and one through the head.


January 27, 2003, 08:30 AM
Not one to denigrate the SeALs, but they are always shown capping static targets with their Sigs, even in CQB drills.

Not too long ago there was a somewhat goofy series on USA that I cannot remember the name of. The producer of "Survivor" got a bunch of operators and SWAT cops together and weeded them down to one "tactical" champion. The one instructive thing was the final, where we had a LA Swat cop taking on a Miami Dade Swat cop firing 9mm Berettas with simunitions, first head shot taking the game in a glass panel maze that self destructed as the game went on.

These two highly trained men burned through about 4 or more mags each before the Miami cop got a face shot on the LA cop's safety visor.

Lesson: Don't ever count on hitting a dynamic target with just a couple of shots, let alone hit a guy in the head. It is impressive against cardboard, but those targets aren't trying to kill you. I would tend to think that the SeALs, who can undoubtedly shoot, are better served by the surprise of their targets than any fancy head shot drills.

January 27, 2003, 01:02 PM
"Outside of these areas, people are seldom inconvienced - in the short term - by hits from even hi-powerd rifles unless a bone is broken"
:confused: I disagree that a "high power" rifle can't be relied upon for instant stops. There is a huge difference between effectivness of handgun and rifle rounds. I have seen way too many deer with their heart and lungs turned to jello to believe they are in the same ball park as handgun wounds.:rolleyes:

January 27, 2003, 09:45 PM
Hmm... if you shot skunk at 100 yards with a 308, at 120lbs, the bullet will not expand, and will go right through... Dependency on a rifle for 1-shot stops is also a fallacy IMHO.

I can tell you something else, I'm not too bad with a handgun, but the first time I shot with the instructor yelling at me, I missed all 5 shots!! So the stress of the situation also greatly effects placement; caliber aside.

Recoil is another killed for followup shots.. That's why I try to pick a round that I can handle the recoil quick enough for a followup shot..

October 14, 2009, 11:36 PM
2 of the most popular calibers for self-defense are no doubt the 9mm and .223 rem . if people say they are not sufficient then they need more practice, i am confident cuz i own both calibers.

yes shot placement and penetration AND bullet type are paramount. a FMJ from a .223 rem will double the damage of a .45 acp hp, and a 9mm fmj will give better penetration then a .45 acp AND a .223 rem.

David E
October 15, 2009, 12:13 AM
Hey, BushyGuy..........did you happen to notice that this thread is almost SEVEN YEARS OLD?

Just curious.....:D

October 15, 2009, 12:27 AM

October 15, 2009, 01:18 AM
I've been shot to the chest 40 or 50 times with .357's and 45's. Yes they burn a little but it's no big deal. Sometimes I have my wife fire a few rounds into my chest in the evening. There is some blood, you know, but it's not all that bad.

October 15, 2009, 02:00 AM
I think that anyone who practices with a 9mm and can double-tap effectivily has plenty of self defense power. I feel safe carrying my 9mm. Now between my Kahr PM9 and my 1911, I feel safer with my 1911 all things being equal. The 45 hits harder and with the same amount of shots basically, you want the concrete block and not the brick. If I have any of my high capacity 9mms, i'll throw 2 or 3 bricks and get the job done. Concrete block or brick: a miss is as good as a mile - practice and be comfortable with your gun. If you're carrying a 22 you could be throwing stones all day and not stop a bad guy.

In my life i've known 3 instances of 10 to 13 year old boys being hit in the chest with a pellet and dying from heart stoppage. Several boys have died from being hit in the chest with baseballs - heart stoppage. Placement is king.

October 15, 2009, 02:24 AM
Don't get shot by a 9mm whatever you do! It would hurt like hell and may very well kill you.

October 15, 2009, 06:06 AM
All the service calibers are pretty much the same. Only the 10MM makes a BIG jump in energy, and results.

45 Super, or bigger if you want to get into handguns that are outside the box...

October 16, 2009, 08:04 PM
I think the 9mm is "good enough" but agree that .45, 40 and .357 are better.

October 16, 2009, 10:36 PM
9mm not enough? What makes you think I'm only going to fire one shot?

October 16, 2009, 10:48 PM
Big holes well placed.

Modern .380 hollow point ammo makes rather large holes.

I don't want ever to be shot with hollowpoints.

October 16, 2009, 10:55 PM
The 9mm is perfectly sufficient to suit my target shooting needs.

My firearms are for my enjoyment and shooting pleasure and are not "weapons" to me and I don't intend on using them that way.......sounds like other people's intentions may be a little different.

October 16, 2009, 11:14 PM
There's simply no right answer. That's why I go for a blend of capacity, performance and second-shot placement when considering firearms and calibers.

Personally, I'm a fan of being versatile, and that's why I like my 9mm. It hits harder than a .380, has greater ammo capacity than a .45, and the recoil is managable enough to have good second shot placement (maybe even third shot placement once I improve further).

October 17, 2009, 12:32 AM
Zombie thread!

BLAM<!What d'ya know? It IS shot placement!

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