Does Shot Placement Make .40 and +P Obsolete?


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Air,Land&Sea
August 17, 2009, 10:40 AM
I wonder to what extent shot placement with a standard load 9mm, for example, is significantly more important than 9mm +P or "moving up" a bit more to .40. I currently have no 9mm or .40 and would like to keep it nice and simple. Having 124 gr. AE or WWB along with some standard 124 gr. Gold Dots might be just the ticket. Or, maybe the same in 165 gr. would be "better" if it's possible to determine "better".
The discussion could go in many directions so have at it if you like. Of course, I could always just stick with .45's and call it a day (there is a lovely CZ 97B at my trusty local shop screaming for a home).
Thanks.

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Coyote3855
August 17, 2009, 11:00 AM
I'm not sure what your question is. Shot placement is important whatever caliber you use. Keep it simple and stick with .45.

bri
August 17, 2009, 11:04 AM
I'd keep the .45, then also buy a 9mm and .40. Variety is the spice of life!

Old Fuff
August 17, 2009, 11:06 AM
Shot placement is indeed a critical component in stopping a lethal attack, and doing so quickly. I have never heard of an instance where a solid hit in the opponent’s central nervous system didn’t stop hostilities.

However, doing this requires precise marksmanship under what must be called “difficult conditions.” There are a lot of people out there who put too much dependence in so-called high performance ammunition because they lack the requisite marksmanship skills, and need a security blanket.

It may be argued (and it will be) that high performance ammunition offers advantages regardless. That may be so, but there are enough cases on record to show that multiple hits don’t necessarily stop a fight, unless they are placed in the right spot, and when that happens the particular design of the bullet may not matter.

The bottom line would seem to be: Pick a gun/ammunition combination you can place your shots precisely with, and then practice. :scrutiny: ;)

CoRoMo
August 17, 2009, 11:09 AM
Does .40 and +P make shot placement obsolete? Nope.

Neither is the reverse true.

.40 and all the +P ammo is here to stay.

Mike OTDP
August 17, 2009, 11:10 AM
I agree 100% with Old Fuff. Shot placement is the most important factor in stopping power, by a wide margin. Forget the ballistic black magic and practice.

Sam1911
August 17, 2009, 11:14 AM
A less-than-adequate shot with a .45 is no better than a less-than-adequeate shot with a 9mm.

If you can hit your intended point of aim rapidly and consistently with your 9mm, but can't do so with the .45, then stick with the 9mm.

If you can do so equally with either gun, then the .45 offers some advantages in penetration capability, size of wound cavity, and energy delivered.

However, 9mm may offer some advantages of capacity (if you feel better defended with lots of follow-up shots), cost (practice is more important than cartridge or platform), and recoil (the harder it is for you to handle the recoil of a certain gun and cartridge combination, the less self-defense capacity you really have).

-Sam

chuckusaret
August 17, 2009, 11:25 AM
Shot placement is stressed by all the professionals, but when the average guy is being mugged/attacked by the BG it is very hard to be concerned about COM shots. I carry a .40 cal with a 12 round mag and hopefully, if I am ever mugged, one of the twelve (12) rounds will hit the BG COM.

jaholder1971
August 17, 2009, 12:58 PM
Shot placement is primary beyond everything else.

After that, it's whatever tears, cuts and crushes the most soft and hard tissue in and around its path without over penetrating into an innocent.

blikseme300
August 17, 2009, 01:15 PM
Shot placement is critical. The caliber wars are just so much hot air. Super duper ammo types offer no advantage if you miss. A reliable automatic, firing hardball and hitting the intended part of the antagonist trumps any supposed advantage of large(r) calibers and specialty ammo.

ArmedBear
August 17, 2009, 01:25 PM
Shot placement is critical. The caliber wars are just so much hot air.

A non-sequitur.

Shot placement is critical.

The stopping effectiveness of a well-placed shot is influenced greatly by the projectile.

M2 Carbine
August 17, 2009, 01:27 PM
I carry a .40 cal with a 12 round mag and hopefully, if I am ever mugged, one of the twelve (12) rounds will hit the BG COM.
IMO, that's not a very good plan if the other guy hits you COM the first shot or two.

Like I was telling a girl yesterday (who does very well), a miss is not acceptable. If you miss the other guy may not have missed. So, consider if you miss, the fight is over, you have been shot.

Nothing but every shot COM is acceptable.
Of course we don't do that all the time but in practice I consider the fight is over the first shot I miss and I have lost.

There is no scoring system, just winning or losing.

David E
August 17, 2009, 01:31 PM
I carry a .40 cal with a 12 round mag and hopefully, if I am ever mugged, one of the twelve (12) rounds will hit the BG COM.

Me, I want it to be the FIRST shot ! (and every necessary shot thereafter)

Shot placement is critical. The caliber wars are just so much hot air.

Then why aren't the "highly trained" police, FBI, etc all using .22 rimfires?

Shot placement IS key, but less than ideal placement is helped by a better caliber/bullet choice.

TXHORNS
August 17, 2009, 03:16 PM
When it comes to defending my life I like to have every possible advantage I can think of or afford. Of course shot placement is key, but I dont train everyday in high stress situations. I practice as much as I can, probably a few days each month. I carry a 45 for self defense as I want my first shot to do as much damage as it can, those seconds are critical if someone is shooting back at you and I want to stop the bg as quick as possible.
So, to answer your question, I dont think either are obsolete because shot placement is not guaranteed by most shooters. Self defense advocates will always be looking for that extra edge in a gun fight. And I don't blame them.

earlthegoat2
August 17, 2009, 03:44 PM
Shot placement makes discussions about which caliber is better obsolete.

mljdeckard
August 17, 2009, 03:56 PM
I honestly think that real-world difference between all of these things we love to argue about so much is of little significance. I think you would have to go to one end of the options. (115 gr 9mm FMJ), to the other (.45 ACP 230 gr HST) before you can see any discernible difference at all in effectiveness.

IF shot placement is key, and IF good hits are very difficult to get in a real fight, then the best option is THE GUN YOU SHOOT BEST. I shoot a .45 1911 best. If you are interested in the other calibers and pistols, I would recommend buying them (if you have the means), or renting them (if you don't), to get a good feel for each of them. MY EXPERIENCE shows that a .40 pretty much always has snappier recoil than the same pistol chambered in .45.

ThrottleJockey72
August 17, 2009, 04:14 PM
Having 124 gr. AE or WWB along with some standard 124 gr. Gold Dots might be just the ticket. Or, maybe the same in 165 gr. would be "better" if it's possible to determine "better".
Generally speaking of course, a heavier bullet is always "better" as it has more energy to transfer.

Lonestar49
August 17, 2009, 04:17 PM
Shot placement makes discussions about which caliber is better obsolete.


...

In a perfect world, I would agree, but..

Using the right, or left, edge of the (*grey box) lower pic of each JHP caliber bullet spread, let's say the *edge is a vital nerve or organ. Hit it, by just a tad/millimeter and the damaged nerve or organ starts to disable the BG. The more it is severed, the more the, slightly, less than perfect shot, begins to disable the BG's humanly function/s.

http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc306/Lonestar49/HandgunGelComparisons-1.jpg

Using the right or left *edge as the key-hit spot, now start moving each caliber over left or right, as in a near perfect shot, one millimeter at a time.

As you can see, the larger caliber/spread will touch/hit the *edge before each of the smaller calibers does, for the very most part, shot for shot. All shots being equal until the edge is completely taken out and what you have left is a_truth that IF each caliber shown is the near perfect shot, to start off with, then the larger caliber/spread is gonna hit the *edge/nerve/organ first as the shot is moved left or right.

Bottom line is: The larger caliber is gonna have a more forgiving result based on the same shot placement because they simply cover more area/spread and key contact points based on equal shot placements being slightly off, in a non-perfect world.

Bigger bullets are more forgiving than smaller bullets, being less forgiving, based on all things being equal from the beginning in a equal, but non-perfect world/shot.. placement

OMMV, of course, based on what caliber gun one can shoot with the best, first shot, accuracy, with quick, fast, follow-up shots, with accuracy, at what distance one considers the_key HD/SD distance/s. My choice and use is with a 40 caliber for, the very most part, up close and out to 35ft.

But, I also use a 45cal, and 9mm, as well, with full confidence. But feel free to shoot the messenger.. ;)


Ls

LightningJoe
August 17, 2009, 06:59 PM
The stopping effectiveness of a well-placed shot is influenced greatly by the projectile.


Well-placed shots can only be affected by penetration.

Old Fuff
August 17, 2009, 07:11 PM
There is always a trade-off:

I don't think anyone has disputed that big diameter bullets make larger holes then smaller ones. But if you are going to put larger bullets into smaller guns you run into other problems such as recoil control. Carrying larger guns may not be practical for a number of reasons.

I had the privilege and pleasure of knowing a number of interesting people that were well accomplished in this gunfighting business, and also the subject under discussion.

In particular, one was an officer in the British Special Air Services. (SAS), and the other was a World War Two marine officer, a U.S. Border Patrolman, and later gun magazine writer named Bill Jordan.

His usual armament was a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum, and he was quite handy with it. But for a back-up/off duty gun he suggested that a then new S&W airweight snubby chambered in .22 WRM had much to be recommended!

Yup, .22 WRM, and he put that into writing.

I was surprised to say the least, so when we happened to meet I ask him about it. He grinned and said, “Well I did catch some flak over that, but you know that little cartridge has practically no recoil, great penetration, and it will work if you put that little pill where it’s supposed to go.” He was right of course, and he had plenty of experience and knowledge to back his opinion. It should be noted that in plain clothes or uniform, his usual sidearm was a .357. But when he didn’t want to lug that much iron around he considered the smaller one would do.

My other friend in the SAS also had plenty of experience. He was sort of a James Bond type without the girls and gadgets. He’d had a number of encounters in places like Northern Ireland, The Middle East, and Argentina. He explained that in his business, the mission defined what weapons (if any) would be carried. He was an absolutely deadly shot with any firearm you might hand him, and his motto was, “Train, practice, and then practice some more.” In plain clothes his handgun (if any) was likely to be 9mm/.38 Special or smaller – mostly smaller. He considered the old Colt 1903 Pocket Model in .32 ACP (hardball of course) to be a great choice, because as he put it, “It always works.” Another of his favorites was a Colt Police Positive/4 inch chambered in .38 S&W (not Special). “Handy little piece,” is the way he put it.

By now I suspect that some of our members are hitting their respective heads against a wall. Obviously the above gentlemen weren’t always doing what is so often posted on The High Road as “the right way." But I also suspect that we don’t have many – if any – members that can match their credentials. :uhoh: ;)

gbran
August 17, 2009, 10:12 PM
A well placed .177 pellet is better than a miss with a 45acp, especially since we all know the larger the caliber, the less chance of a hit.

I'm about sick of this BS.

Lonestar49
August 18, 2009, 12:05 AM
...

Agreed, and I believe the David and Goliath version..

But sometimes ya have to find the laughter in old business..

http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc306/Lonestar49/DaffyBugs45-9mm-fbc.gif

This should help.. lol


Ls

Deanimator
August 18, 2009, 09:58 AM
Unless you can get your assailant to attack you while hanging on a target carrier, "shot placement" is imprecise at best.

In a real fight, you'll be doing good to achieve center of mass. Center of mass with a .40 S&W is better than center of mass with a 9mm standard velocity.

speaksoftly
August 18, 2009, 10:25 AM
There should be, in my opinion, countless hours of training for anyone who carries a pistol. Shot placement is the most important aspect of any defense or offense and should be trained and trained repeatedly. The Israeli Mossad is one of the scariest outfits in the world and they use .22LR Berettas. If you need a huge round then perhaps some more time at the range is in order.

minutemen1776
August 18, 2009, 10:26 AM
My rule of thumb is to shoot the biggest and/or most powerful cartridge that you can shoot well. Stepping up to a bigger cartridge will do you no good if the extra power ruins your marksmanship. Also note that your "best" cartridge may be different according to the weapon you're using. For me, the biggest cartridge I can reliability shoot well in a compact auto is 9mm. However, in a full-size auto, I can get consistent hits with a .40 S&W.

Old Fuff
August 18, 2009, 10:39 AM
In a real fight, you'll be doing good to achieve center of mass. Center of mass with a .40 S&W is better than center of mass with a 9mm standard velocity.

Well in your context, one cannot make a precise shot, so therefore they shouldn't train and practice to the point where they can, and instead depend on a larger bore handgun to work if some kind of a hit might be made. To each his own, but the two gentleman I mentioned in an earlier post would disagee. Both could make precise hits under gunfighting circumstanced, and had proved it.

Peripheral hits, even with a big-bore bullet, offer little guarantee of quickly ending the action. They may of course, but if they don’t one could be in a world of trouble.

In a perfect world the best thing would be to be able to make precise hits with any handgun, but in particular one firing a large-bore bullet. If and when this isn’t possible it is better to pick a handgun/cartridge combination that the user can use accurately – and then train and practice to improve their skill in doing it.

None of the handful of men I knew that were experienced gunfighters were inept marksman – especially under stress – and they had practiced long and hard to get that way. While many (but not all) of them had a preference for larger/big bore handguns; none of them were overly dependent on that combination.

They were absolutely deadly because of their mindset and skill – not because they used a certain weapon, cartridge or style of bullet.

ArmedBear
August 18, 2009, 11:05 AM
Well in your context, one cannot make a precise shot, so therefore they shouldn't train and practice to the point where they can, and instead depend on a larger bore handgun to work if some kind of a hit might be made.

I don't think that's the point.

I think that the point is that, even with the best training, if you can shoot 6 inch groups while under extreme time pressure and pumped with adrenaline, that's pretty good.

A 6" COM circle is hardly a peripheral hit. That IS a precise hit. And with the right bullet, it ought to be plenty precise enough. I can shoot a lot better than that, at the range or at beer cans. But they're not shooting back, and even shooting NRA Rapid Fire, I can take my time in ways that an armed bad guy isn't exactly going to allow.

A .22LR can most certainly kill someone with VERY precise shot placement. I don't think that "precise" in the context of a gunfight is the same as "precise" in slow-fire Bullseye.

"Peripheral hits" are a whole different issue, and of course you're absolutely right. I just don't think that Deanimator was referring to that.

Sam1911
August 18, 2009, 11:29 AM
or at beer cans. But they're not shooting back

They don't? Sheesh...I've got to find a new way to empty them all before I start my practicing! [Hic!...Buuuurp!]

:D

-Sam

tipoc
August 18, 2009, 12:39 PM
The Israeli Mossad is one of the scariest outfits in the world and they use .22LR Berettas.

The Mossad uses a wide variety of weapons, these have included .22 pistols where they saw the need for those. But they, like a lot of others, tend to pick the weapon based on the task in front of them. When they know they are going to a gunfight they have access to more potent sidearms. The .22 is a specialized weapon.

tipoc

speaksoftly
August 18, 2009, 01:13 PM
This is true but the statement was made to illustrate that a .22LR is correctly considered a trustworthy load in the hands of a skilled operator.


So what's the solution in my opinion? Become a skilled operator.

earlthegoat2
August 18, 2009, 02:20 PM
I am in total agreement about fringe shots and the margin of error reduction in using a bigger gun but since those are all hypotheticals I will make the hypothetical that under any given condition a good (non fringe) COM hit whether from a 9mm, 40, or 45 wll not matter much.

Yes I understand the fallacy of this argument and yes this is only in a perfect world.

Shot placement makes discussions about which caliber is better obsolete.

Maybe better like this:

Hypothetically good shot placement makes discussions about which caliber is hypothetically better, obsolete.

Sam1911
August 18, 2009, 02:26 PM
Hypothetically good shot placement makes discussions about which caliber is hypothetically better, obsolete.

Which leads us pretty much full circle as, until and unless were all standing around an autopsy table stretching a pair of calipers to determine whether a .45 would have severed a nerve or artery that a 9mm missed, the discussion is all bound up in "ifs" and "maybes" and an infinite number of angels dancing on the heads of an infinite number of pins while typing Shakespeare for monkeys.

(Or some analogy to that effect.)

-Sam

tipoc
August 18, 2009, 03:13 PM
This is true but the statement was made to illustrate that a .22LR is correctly considered a trustworthy load in the hands of a skilled operator.


So what's the solution in my opinion? Become a skilled operator.

It may be useful to review what the Mossad and similar outfits use the .22 for; mostly it's assasination, taking out sentries and situations where a small caliber silenced handgun are useful.

My chances of becoming what I would consider a "skilled operator" on the level of a government paid killer or gunslinger are minimal. I'm pretty good for day to day stuff but "skilled operator" ain't gonna happen. I figure I could shoot a fella in the back of the head with a .22 from two feet away as well as anybody but an "operator"? Only of the "How may I direct your call please?" type.

For me the 200 year old advice works best. Pick a gun and a cartridge that suits the task and a bullet type that matches the task. If it's hunting pick a good gun and caliber for the game you're hunting with a good hunting load. If I need a small very concealable piece for self defense I'll take that with a bullet to match. Select that gun in a round that I can handle well for the task. Part of that is the most powerful round I can handle well. For self defense speed and accuracy are important but so is power. Practice.

tipoc

golden
August 18, 2009, 07:04 PM
What I read about the Mossad, using a .22lr was not impressive.

When they murdered the wrong man in Norway (it may have been another Scandanavian country), they shot the poor guy in front of his wife, then had to chase him down the street. They finally caught up with him and pumped a total of 18 rounds into his body.

This was during their assasination program called "THE WRAITH OF GOD". They mistook a dishwasher for a Black September terrorist.

The main reason for .22 pistols being popular is their small size and low noise level even without a silencer.

Jim

mustang_steve
August 18, 2009, 09:29 PM
Shot placement will always be the most important. Next up is the caliber.

As the gelatin photo posted earlier suggests, it seems better to use a heavier round when velocities are similar (the effect of inertia). That said, you don't need a .45acp when you can just get a 9mm with more mass to it. Given this will increase recoil some, but will offer more power in a smaller package (which I would think is the holy grail of CC).

The main difference in calibers is the wound channel. Which is a very good point. I guess the question is "Is that much damage required or is it overkill?"

The major thing to keep in mind is how fast you can fire off any extra shots if needed. The massive power of a .45acp is going to be a disadvantage if the user cannot fire off two shots as fast as the BG with a cheaply manufactured pocket pistol can get off 3 shots.

I think of self-defense as boxing...do you go for speed, power or both. I'd go for a blend of both honestly.

Deanimator
August 19, 2009, 01:29 PM
None of the handful of men I knew that were experienced gunfighters were inept marksman
I'm neither an "experienced gunfighter" nor an "inept marksman".

What I am is a realist. I don't expect every (or possibly ANY) encounter to go according to plan.

Not only don't I shoot people frequently, I've NEVER shot anybody. I am smart enough to learn from other people's experiences. And those experiences, from a one on one gunfight in one's livingroom, to a corps level armored attack, almost invariably validate the saying, "No plan survives contact with the enemy." I'm not going to bet my life that in a sudden attack by a rapidly moving assailant, I'm going to be able to do in my home or in a poorly lit parking garage, what I can do in a bullseye 2700 match.

ACHIEVABLE "shot placement" is important. That doesn't mean that it should be trivialized to the point of the gibberish about the sound of a shotgun action being worked.

Shadow 7D
August 19, 2009, 06:38 PM
Interestingly the op poses the counter as the argument, as quick summery would be if you don't hit it don't count (also known as "close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades")

Once that has been established then the caliber wars continue unabated. Seemingly the summery would be that caliber is a personal issue of like, accuracy, and gun preference. Your just as dead from the granny who can pop you in the brain case at 7 yards with her Jennings .25 as you are from the BG who hits you 11 of the 19 times from a 9mm.

Erik
August 19, 2009, 07:36 PM
At one time there may well have been a difference worth debating, but for some time now the popular options have been designed to perform/conform to a standard and surprise, surprise... they do so.

Air,Land&Sea
August 19, 2009, 08:01 PM
A new thought occured to me if it's better to miss with a .45 or miss with a 9mm.
Sorry about that. Actually, a good discussion. I think that the arguement, for me anyway, has turned into what caliber is most "appropriate" for a particular gun. I like my 1911 in .45 and a CZ 75 in 9mm. There is, however, that ever looming CZ 97B still unaccounted for so my quandry is to get the CZ 75 and have to add a caliber to the lineup or just get the 97. Either will only see range use since I carry the 1911 or a small .357 or smaller .38.
If anyone says both I'll protest by getting another .22 and change my name to Yosef.

SHOTGUN PETE
August 19, 2009, 10:03 PM
Everything factors together: 1. Good shot placement is desirable but the real world ain't no shootin range. 2. Big bores are more forgiving but usually present recoil and carry issues. 3. FMJ is a poor choice for self-defense and all things are not created equal so buy the best ammo for self-defense. 4. 380 ACP is bare minimum I would recommend for carry. The carry situation may dictate what you can conceal but I would recommend at least a 40S&W if possible, many police departments agree. There are many other calibers that work fine also.

makarovnik
August 19, 2009, 10:29 PM
No. Bigger is always better. The ones that don't say so have small ones.

easyg
August 20, 2009, 09:42 AM
Yes, shot placement is extremely important.

But to say that "shot placement alone makes the caliber used insignificant" is utter BS.

History has shown us that some calibers are simply more effective at quickly stopping humans than other calibers.
The 9mm does not have the reputation for quickly stopping humans that the .45ACP or the .357 magnum does.

The .40S&W seems to perform marginally better than the 9mm, as does the .357Sig.

But this does not mean that the 9mm is an insignificant caliber, it's just not the best performer at quickly stopping humans.

eJack
August 20, 2009, 05:26 PM
If shot placement were the only factor, there'd be no reason for anything other than a 22. So somewhere between a .22 and a .556, figure out what you can handle comfortably. Then decide if going down in caliber is worth higher capacity and/or less recoil. Simple enough?

Dr_2_B
August 20, 2009, 08:24 PM
I even recall reading someone talking about .308s and discussing the fact that placement was important cuz the badguys wouldn't fall.

Shadow 7D
August 20, 2009, 09:41 PM
I say a 30mm derringer, I saw one earlier on a webcraw, some place in Europe was making them......

That is what we all need, as a matter of fact, I think that I'll jest run out to wally world and pick up a 8 pounder (British artillery piece) That'll knock someone down......

I just don't think that it will fit on my belt.

gym
August 20, 2009, 10:34 PM
Chose the weapon that you feel comfotable carrying. Having a 32 in your pocket, beats a 45 in your car.

Frank Ettin
August 21, 2009, 02:10 AM
Shot placement is first. But a good hit with a more powerful caliber is better than a good hit with a less powerful caliber. There is no guaranteed quick stop. But your odds get better as (1) your hits get better; and (2) the more damage the ammunition you've chosen can cause.

Action_Can_Do
August 21, 2009, 03:05 AM
I'm such a good shot, I use a 17 mach 2 for self-defense. I just keep hoping they'll come out with something lighter so I don't have to put up with all that recoil and muzzle blast.:neener::neener::neener:

eJack
August 21, 2009, 10:31 AM
A well placed .177 pellet is better than a miss with a 45acp, especially since we all know the larger the caliber, the less chance of a hit.

A well placed .177 gets you a ticked off attacker. A miss with a .45 (liability aside) gets you an attacker that is quite possibly wetting himself or falling down thinking he got hit.

rbernie
August 21, 2009, 10:46 AM
I normally try not to close threads with any kind of judgmental comments, but in this case I'll make an exception. This is the mission statement of THR:Welcome to The High Road, an online discussion board dedicated to the discussion and advancement of responsible firearms ownership. It is the declared mission of this board to achieve and provide the highest quality of firearms discussion on the InternetGiven some of the inane statements I've read in this thread, some of y'all really need to review this mission statement and decide if you're really capable of supporting it.

If not - maybe you ought not post.

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