What caliber in a handgun is considered the BEST man stopper?


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ORHunter79
April 1, 2012, 11:47 AM
Ok, so what brought this is on, is I keep reading the .357 Mag is the best man stopper in a handgun. There are so many choices out there. I know most folks won't carry a 500 S&W or a .44 mag but for home defense wouldn't that work better than a .357 mag? Would a .357 Sig be better since it has a higher capacity?

So I'd like to settle the debate once and for all what you consider to be the best man stopper (outside rifles and shot guns).

What handgun would you reach for when something goes bump in the night and why? There are so many things to consider, caliber, capacity, semi vs revolver, barrel length, etc.

Also, this is outside "what you can shoot the best", "what ever you practice with the most", "whatever you carry everyday", "shot placement" etc.

I think we all know, if you miss, it's useless.


Please vote and tell us why.

Thanks.

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RhinoDefense
April 1, 2012, 11:58 AM
There is no best. Handguns are poor fight stoppers. We use them because they are convenient.

ORHunter79
April 1, 2012, 12:00 PM
There is no best. Handguns are poor fight stoppers. We use them because they are convenient.
Thanks but that doesn't help really. I guess I should have said the best "handgun" caliber. I'll change the title.

RhinoDefense
April 1, 2012, 12:02 PM
You don't get it. It doesn't matter what cartridge the handgun is chambered in, there is no best handgun and there is no best handgun cartridge. The "best" doesn't exist and will never be developed.

ORHunter79
April 1, 2012, 12:05 PM
You don't get it. It doesn't matter what cartridge the handgun is chambered in, there is no best handgun and there is no best handgun cartridge. The "best" doesn't exist and will never be developed.

That's only until I invent the DEATH RAY!!!!!:evil:

But thanks anyway, you are entitled to your opinion.

Water-Man
April 1, 2012, 12:08 PM
I have a .45acp in my nightstand. ;)

Big JJ
April 1, 2012, 12:27 PM
The answer would be specific to the user and how they will carry the gun.
You would also have to consider the purpose (i.e. defensive vs combat,L.E vs privete citizen) of the gun.
For me only it is a 5 shot revolver in .357 mag. loaded with .38 special +P ammo.
I prefer the Ruger LCR but there are other guns that fit this purpose.
My reasons are:
It is for self defense only.
It fits the pocket in a holster without printing.
It is light enough to carry all day.
The caliber will do the job.
Shoots every time with no jams,racking,safty, or any other problems a common citizen would find challenging in a stressful situation.
I am not in a combat situation.
If I was in combat I would only use this as a backup gun and I would go to a 40 or 45 caliber gun.
This works for me and is just my opinion may not be right for everyone.

460Kodiak
April 1, 2012, 12:40 PM
I'm not trying to be a jerk, but there are so many things that are subjective in this question, that you may as well not even ask it.

A 500 is by far the most powerful, but would blow your ears, and windows out so is this good? Control for follow up shots would suck unless you are Andre the Giant. Over penetration would be a huge concern, and the lack of expansion and high velocity would likely cause it to pass through the intruder and do no more damage, and possibly less energy transfer, than an expanded 44 hp.

44 will still blow your ears up too but control would be "easier". Overpenetration can be big.

You know,this could take for ever to write.............

Here's the bottom line. The theoretic best man stopper doesn't exist. Statistically, .357 and .45 acp both have outstanding track records for ending fights with fewer shots. No, I'm not going to sight a bunch of references. If you want to know for sure, Google is your friend.

The "best man stopper" in my mind is a combination of 3 things.

1. It is the most powerful caliber handgun that YOU can accurately shoot, and consistantly hit your target, in a very quick way.

2.It is the model handgun you can do this with.

3. It is the caliber that you are the most confident you can use effectively and well enough to remove collateral damage fears. This empowers a person to use the gun for self defense and not be affraid. Nothing is better for the cause of gun rights than an armed citizen who stops a threat and uses their gun effectively and responsibly.

Caliber is only one dimension of a good "man stopper".

For me it is an FNP45 loaded with 45 acp +p, and also a Ruger SP101 in 357, loaded with 125 gr hps. My 460 is a bit much, but works if loaded with 45 Colt +p.

chhodge69
April 1, 2012, 12:41 PM
What handgun would you reach for when something goes bump in the night and why

Reach for a shotgun

tipoc
April 1, 2012, 12:52 PM
So I'd like to settle the debate once and for all what you consider to be the best man stopper (outside rifles and shot guns).

"once and for all" eh? There have been some who have debated that for over two centuries, so good luck with that project!

But wait! I'm confused. Is the question what we all here on the forum consider the "best man stopper"? Or is it... "what you (meaning my own personal opinion) to be the best man stopper"?

If it's the latter I can tell you my own uninformed opinion. It might not be right but it has the value of being mine.

Inside a rifle or shot gun I find it too dark to see anything well enough to take a good aim, so I'm glad we are outside of the long gun. I find the best "man stopper" to be...wait for it...a baseball bat. But if I have to use a handgun I'd say any standard service caliber in a gun I can shoot accurately and at speed. Loaded with a bullet designed for the job of defense and suited to the caliber I'm using. The biggest factor is the shooter/gun interface and bullet construction and not the caliber.

tipoc

ORHunter79
April 1, 2012, 12:54 PM
"once and for all" eh? There have been some who have debated that for over two centuries, so good luck with that project!

But wait! I'm confused. Is the question what we all here on the forum consider the "best man stopper"? Or is it... "what you (meaning my own personal opinion) to be the best man stopper"?

If it's the latter I can tell you my own uninformed opinion. It might not be right but it has the value of being mine.

tipoc
Yep, YOUR opinion.

ORHunter79
April 1, 2012, 12:57 PM
I'm not trying to be a jerk, but there are so many things that are subjective in this question, that you may as well not even ask it.

Caliber is only one dimension of a good "man stopper".

For me it is an FNP45 loaded with 45 acp +p, and also a Ruger SP101 in 357, loaded with 125 gr hps. My 460 is a bit much, but works if loaded with 45 Colt +p.

Not a jerk at all, and thanks for your response. I know caliber is only one dimension, but people still insist the .357 is king, that's why I want the know the opinions of the folks on the THR.

Thompsoncustom
April 1, 2012, 01:06 PM
Trying to understand your exact question here. Are you asking if each of these calibers were shot in the same place on the target which would be the best one?

Also, this is outside "what you can shoot the best", "what ever you practice with the most", "whatever you carry everyday", "shot placement" etc.

What exactly are we comparing? if it's just say each caliber in the same shot placement the .500 would win hands down everytime, so i'm guessing that's not it, what are you requirements? As above, shot placement is one of the things excluded are we assuming the all shots are equal?

Ragnar Danneskjold
April 1, 2012, 01:42 PM
There are only two ways to turn off a human machine. Damage the central nervous system in order to stop movement signals to the body, and puncturing holes in organs to cause blood loss. CNS damage is pretty much instant, but hard to hit. Causing blood loss can be done by puncturing almost anywhere on the torso or even appendages, and is helped by larger holes from larger bullets...but it's much slower than CNS damage.

The "ideal" caliber for you is going to hedge your bets. It will be something with which you can easily make several shots in close succession with a good chance of hitting part of the CNS(spine or brain), and it will also damage enough organs and cause enough blood loss that the body will run down on it's own if you did not hit the CNS.

Go too small and the holes you make won't leak enough to cause a fast enough bleed out. Go too big and you have fewer chances of making CNS hits and each shot will be less accurate. A hit is always better than a miss of any caliber. So you want a gun that carries enough rounds where you can fire a few rounds at the target, increasing your chances of hitting him at all, and still have rounds left in the gun for when you miss or if there's other targets. Caliber does not exist in a vacuum. Real life shootings are not done in a lab against ballistic gel with one round. Capacity matters. Misses will happen.

Asking about what round, if only one round is fired, will cause most damage if it hits in the same spot is a nice theoretical question, but it doesn't pertain to reality. The bigger the round, the generally less accurate you will be with it, especially with followup shots. And if any round hits the spine, the question doesn't matter anyways since they will all turn the person "off".


Are we asking what caliber has the best chance in your hands of being used against a person? Or what single round of what caliber performs the best in a controlled setting? The answers will not be the same.


OP: How are you training to shoot? Fire one round and reassess? Two rounds? Three? How many targets are you anticipating when you pick your caliber/weapon? How many misses are you accounting for (plan for at least half of your rounds to miss completely)? Do you want any rounds left in your gun when the engagement is over?

I train for 2:2:2:2. A controlled pair each time I fire, two possible targets, firing the pairs at each target twice in case the first pair missed, and being able to repeat the whole engagement twice without reloading. That means I do not carry pistols that do not hold at least 16 rounds. The old mantra "one is none, two is one" rings true for self defense shooting, hence my break down.

firesky101
April 1, 2012, 02:58 PM
I was wary with this one, as it is april 1st. The OP seems to be on the up and up though. I did not vote, as all are capable it is all about skill and control-ability. What is right for my 90 lb wife, is not the same as what is right for my 250lb father. Pretty sure a .500 would do more damage to her than what she was trying to hit (emphasis on the trying). I typically have a double stack 9mm, but that is my preference. So the best man stopper is what you can hit with.

P5 Guy
April 1, 2012, 03:06 PM
http://home.comcast.net/~gunspotz/pistols/ar15pistol/arp2.jpg

Or an AK pistol?

Pyro
April 1, 2012, 03:12 PM
Also, this is outside "what you can shoot the best", "what ever you practice with the most", "shot placement" etc.
Wait..what?

ORHunter79
April 1, 2012, 03:17 PM
Thanks for all the responses. To clarify some people swear by the 45ACP, others by the .357, and yet still some contend the 9mm is the best since it's low recoil and follow up shots are easy.

To answer one of the questions, I practice three ways. Slow controlled fire, Mozambique drills and empty the mag as fast and accurately as possible with immediate reload at the end into to the ready.

And no this was by no means intended to be an April 1st/fools post.

I really want to know why people choose one caliber over another.

ORHunter79
April 1, 2012, 03:22 PM
Wait..what?

Meaning those requirement are obvious. I'd like to know why people choose what they deem as the best man stopper.

As I said before some swear by the .45 , because it make a big whole; others on the other hand swear by the 9mm because you can make up for the size of the by volume or follow up shots.

Not sure how else to ask my question.

baylorattorney
April 1, 2012, 03:36 PM
10mm or .357 magnum

bluetopper
April 1, 2012, 03:42 PM
The best at stopping a man?

Really there's no comparison of the calibers you listed.........the 500 S&W Magnum.

I say this after shooting many different objects with many different handgun calibers and seeing the effects

The other calibers are not even in the same league as far as sheer power and destructiveness.

sirsloop
April 1, 2012, 04:05 PM
From that list....500 S&W hollow points hands down are the most effective.

If you choose others from not on the list, you might as well put something like .50BMG or some other absurd round in there (.458 win mag, .500NE, .700 NE, a cannon etc).

A .500 S&W magnum can do everything...something like three times a .357 magnum can do. Its ~three times the powder, ~three times the bullet weight, same or greater bullet velocity, in a revolver. I own both and the .500 S&W is an ABSURD cartridge compared to a .357. It will not only kill you, it will remove entire body parts from you.

Whats practical to carry on your person daily? Probably .357 magnum is the most a person would want on their body in a size thats capable of being fired in a life or death situation (S&W scandium revolvers).

.357 Magnum H110 max load:

http://photos.tallmanphoto.com/Miscellaneous-Photos/2010-12-15-Fort-Dix-Night/IMG8754/1128023659_hQx3y-XL.jpg

.500 S&W Magnum H110 max load:

http://photos.tallmanphoto.com/photos/i-MhxMZFH/0/XL/i-MhxMZFH-XL.png


/thread.

I'd love to see the logic behind the people that voted .45ACP or .357 magnum. How is that a better man stopper than a .500 S&W magnum or larger round. I'm very interested.

Jaymo
April 1, 2012, 04:06 PM
.50 BMG shot from a Maadi Griffin.

TonyT
April 1, 2012, 04:11 PM
The one you can handle with accuracy and speed.

sirsloop
April 1, 2012, 04:22 PM
The one you can handle with accuracy and speed.
Also, this is outside "what you can shoot the best", "what ever you practice with the most", "whatever you carry everyday", "shot placement" etc.

accuracy and speed set aside.

Tcruse
April 1, 2012, 04:34 PM
Well, the top tier of choices are 9x19, 40sw and 45 acp and second tier of choices of 357 sig, 45 gap and 10mm. Each of the second tier attempts to improve on its top tier counter part. They generally offer some performance improvement but introduce other negative changes, usually larger case, more recoil and less availability. You have two camps, the high capacity, fast and small vs the low capacity, slow and big. Then the polically correct 40sw that is a compromise in every respect. When the only ammo choice was ball or first generation hp ammo, the .45 had a real advantage over 9. Today the high tech ammo levels the field enough that the bullet performance differences are over shadowed by number of rounds and expected accuracy.
So, my choice would be 357sig or 45gap if ammo supply and cost was covered by someone else (like the government). Otherwise, I would choose the 9mm as first choice and 45 acp as second choice. The 40 just is hard to justify for either way to approach the problem.

After all a gen 4 Glock 17 shoots 9mm.

sirsloop
April 1, 2012, 04:38 PM
^^ off topic.

Loosedhorse
April 1, 2012, 05:09 PM
If I recast your question as: "You have only one shot, and it will be to your attacker's torso. If it doesn't stop him, you die--game over." I'm not trying to be funny: I consider that a reasonable way to think about your "best man stopper" question.

Then, of the specified choices, .500. Hollowpoint. No question.

And let me know when they come up with a .5000! :cool:

(Okay, that last line was me trying to be funnny. ;););):D:D:D)

mljdeckard
April 1, 2012, 05:28 PM
Besides the question of how effective the round is, is how many of them you can quickly put on target. I have more faith in the three .45s I can draw and fire quickly than the single .500 I would have to draw and try to fire without cringing.

With some practice, you can be much more effective with a .44. But I can probably place five 9mms effectively in the same time I can place . .44s. There is a reason we have decided on the cartridges we have. It's not like it has been a secret that you can make bigger, more effective cartridges than the ones we use, it's that there is a trade-off between effectiveness and controllability, and the service cartridges we use have shown to be the best compromise.

Hoppes Love Potion
April 1, 2012, 06:15 PM
Went with .22 because it looked lonely there with no votes and because I'm counting total number of men stopped. .38 Special runs a close 2nd.

tipoc
April 1, 2012, 06:17 PM
Also, this is outside "what you can shoot the best", "what ever you practice with the most", "whatever you carry everyday", "shot placement" etc.

I did not note well enough earlier the above sentence. Others caught that one. So we go from the practical to the more abstract question when we cut out the type of handgun, the shooters skill, shot placement, reliability, etc. We can get completely abstract by cutting out any references to bullet type and load...

Again I go with the baseball bat.

If you rule out the above considerations most people would have to cut out what they presently shoot (because they shoot a certain gun well, with a well designed bullet suited to the task, which are verboten criteria) and go with the largest, fastest, heaviest caliber bullets available. It would not matter that this caliber is better suited to hunting than self defense. The criteria now rule out the .357 Magnum, the 9mm, the 45acp, etc.

Since the criteria rule out the service calibers, which are the most shootable of the ones mentioned, and shootability and shooter skill is ruled out as a criteria, again we have to look to the biggest and fastest of those mentioned.

Odd poll this one. Or is it an odd pole? Pole, brings me back to the baseball bat.

tipoc

wlewisiii
April 1, 2012, 08:30 PM
Appropriate question for April Fools Day, isn't it?

(Chose other. There is no "best")

allaroundhunter
April 1, 2012, 08:36 PM
.22 short.

Dumb question, dumb answer...


And just because I helped settle this "once and for all", as of my posting the .22 is a better man-stopper than the .44 Mag...guess what I am taking on my next handgun hunt?

Mamertine
April 1, 2012, 08:56 PM
I think ammo plays a larger role then caliber alone.
Not sure how much to believe about this, but this ammo is supposed to dump all of the ballistic energy into the first 6 inches of penetration.
http://www.extremeshockusa.com/cgistore/store.cgi?page=/new/product_info.html&setup=1&cart_id=9068298.10912

460Kodiak
April 1, 2012, 09:36 PM
I think ammo plays a larger role then caliber alone.

+1 to this. I know some people, ones that I know personally, who carry FMJ ammo in their gun. I know lots of people do this on THR. For energy transfer, HP's are supperior, provided that they expand. I don't think anyone will argue with that statement.

If you are out in the country away from people, fine. For in your home, if in a neighborhood, or carrying in an environment with population, then this is not a responsible thing to do IMO. I'm sure some people would argue otherwise. Ammo choice is huge in my mind.

Pyro
April 1, 2012, 10:22 PM
I think ammo plays a larger role then caliber alone.
Not sure how much to believe about this, but this ammo is supposed to dump all of the ballistic energy into the first 6 inches of penetration.
http://www.extremeshockusa.com/cgistore/store.cgi?page=/new/product_info.html&setup=1&cart_id=9068298.10912
Extreme Shock is terrible ammo even when compared to the rest of the pre-frag genre. If your gonna go pre-frag go for Magsafe.

ORHunter79
April 1, 2012, 10:36 PM
.22 short.

Dumb question, dumb answer...


And just because I helped settle this "once and for all", as of my posting the .22 is a better man-stopper than the .44 Mag...guess what I am taking on my next handgun hunt?

How is this a dumb question? I thought the only question that is dumb is the one not asked.

There's a saying, ask a question once and your thought a fool for a minute. Never ask a question, you're a fool all your life.

The purpose of This question was to debunk the myth that the .357 or the .45 ACP are the best man stoppers out there.

I think I have brought to a light a simple yet complex answer to the age old question as to what hand gun caliber is the best at stopping a human in his tracks.

To me the answer is obvious. The 500 S&W is king. But some people still hold to their opinion that the .357 is king. They, like you, are entitled to their opinion.

A lot of you didn't like this question. That's ok. I respect your answers and reasoning.

Some went with a track record, some with low recoiling rounds, and yet others with "other."

It's interesting to see what people chose based on their reasoning.

Though in my opinion the 45 LC, 45 ACP or the .357 might have been king in recent history, I believe the 500 is currently the best one stop shot round. As some of you pointed out, a shotgun or rifle is way better than a hand gun.

Disagree if you like, that is your prerogative, and I, like most of you, enjoy reading peoples opinions on THR. Otherwise we wouldn't be members. :-)

SFCRandall
April 1, 2012, 10:55 PM
Statistically, in police shootings the .357 is the top "one shot stop" cartridge. I believe it is around 98 percent with the 125 grain hollow point. The .45, .40 and 9 mm all follow closely. These stats have their detractors, but offer documented,real life results from armed encounters.

bikerdoc
April 1, 2012, 11:10 PM
Didnt vote cause I only know about 357 and 45 from experience, both proved to be manstoppers, YMMV

Brian Williams
April 1, 2012, 11:29 PM
So I'd like to settle the debate once and for all what you consider to be the best man stopper (outside rifles and shot guns).
This is what shut down the thread, we are a discussion board, a 22lr up the nose will kill a person quicker than a 357 thru the lungs.(maybe)
This "debate" will not be settled once and for all, new projectiles and powders come out all the time.

It is not about the cartridge, it is about the process of developing experience in the use of your weapon. Being able to hit some one with your chosen cartridge is more important that the best cartridge for a SD weapon.

Ask why is the 357 a good stopper and we can debate that, ask why the 22lr is a good nose-picking gun and we can talk about that, etc. in regards to cartridges. As for platforms, why is a 1911 right for you? Why does an M&P fit your hand, etc, in regards to platforms.

When you find a good combo that is right works for you, start to ask what training do you do at the range to improve your accuracy, and when you find that you are running out of options in your own range, ask what classes you have taken and what problems does one come up against that one should train to avoid and/or deal with.
HD/SD is more than Caliber/Cartridge/Gun. Do some searching and find out what it is and then come and re-engage. Hint, start with Mindset

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