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One shot stops, what's the best criteria?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by john l, May 4, 2004.

  1. john l

    john l Well-Known Member

    If you were in charge of creating a database for one shot stops (oss), then what would be your criteria?

    An example: Upper torso hits from the sternum to the neck excluding arms/shoulders. Incapacitation means that within 3 seconds the person is on the ground and not moving. Just an example.

    I know that there are many of you out there who think that Marshall and Sanow have flawed ways of collecting their data, so how would you do it?
    I still like the idea of using real-life shootings as a reference point against using ballistic gelatin. However, I think that ballistic gel serves a useful purpose. I think that shooting mythical goats to sell your bullet only pisses people off.

    And, yes, I am aware that there are many, many variables in each shooting, but I am curious what you all think and why.

    Question #2:
    Using existing data from Marshal/Sanow and ballistic gel tests, are there any results that directly conflict each other, i.e. a bullet that has performed well on the streets but gel tests conclude that it is a poor performer?
    john l
  2. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Well-Known Member

    IMHO, the Marshall/Sanow definition of a OSS is very good. Their flaw was throwing out shootings where more than one shot was made. This would seem to throw out a bunch of one shot failures that required additional shot(s), thus skewing the results for those loads and making them look better than they are.

    Ballistic gel is great for comparison, and probably the very best practical way to compare terminal effects. However, unless performance in gel has been correlated to real life, it has very limited value. Fortunately, such comparisons have been done.

    Having never shot a mythical goat, I am unaware of the consequences. Shooting real goats has rarely caused a problem, unless the owner objects.

    I suspect that you will find the answer to #2 in one of the three Marshall/Sanow stopping power books.
  3. john l

    john l Well-Known Member

    I am not cracking wise here, but if there was more than one shot to the individual, then I don't see a problem with throwing that incident out, because it wouldn't be a oss.
    perhaps I am not understanding what you mean.
    I haven't bought any books from Marshall/Sanow because of all the hype, so I asked about the comparison because I figured someone out there knew the answer off the top of their head.
    The goat reference is the dubious " Strassbourg" test printed in G&A circa 1993 or 1994.
    john l
  4. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Well-Known Member

    Hey John:

    What I meant was it should be counted as a failure to OSS, rather than throwing it out and not counting it either way - in other words the first shot was a one shot stop failure, and the remainder were not "one" shots.

    Yes, I know about Strasbourg, but understood they were French Alpine goats, rather than mythical goats.
  5. NukemJim

    NukemJim Well-Known Member

    IMHO The Marshal & Sanow data are not flawed from the criteria used. The data is however frequently misinterpeted .

    The data was collected to compare bullet effectiveness only . If you use it for that and that only then I believe that it has usefull data.

    It is NOT valid at all to say I use round "X" which has a "One Shot Stop" rating of 92% therefore if I shoot someone with this round in the chest with one bullet there is a 92% chance that the person will be "stopped". Again that is not valid at all.

    Many of the attacks I have read on M & S were by authors who either did not read or purposlely misquoted the books. That is of course their right to do so but I think actually reading the books where they (M&S) suggest that any round in the upper 1/3 of the ratings is fine as long as it functions 100% reliable in your gun.

    I am not saying M&S work is perfect but I do think that many of the criticisms come from misunderstanding the work.

    As always I could be wrong.

  6. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    Their flaw was throwing out shootings where more than one shot was made.

    Correct -- that skews the picture.

    The correct standard should be stops/encounters. That does away with the problem of determining if a hit was a "torso hit," and goes to the meat of the question -- "What do winners use?"
  7. mete

    mete Well-Known Member

    Far too much emphasis is placed on exact numbers ( my 96% is better than your 94%) .The fact is there are many variables in the real world but what can be said is that a 357sig,40S&W, or 45acp, with premium ammo do a fine job of stopping. Remember also that the rule is to shoot and continue to shoot until the BG is no longer a threat..... Only good hits count so the effort should be to place the rounds in the center of mass.....You cannot substitute more power for poor hits and and if a 9mm (less effective than the above rounds) isn't enough for you don't go to +p, go to a more potent round.
  8. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    Using any handgun, there is absolutely no guarantee of a one shot stop using. Even a .45 ACP to the head doesn't.
  9. strambo

    strambo Well-Known Member

    Throwing out instances where there was more than one shot also has the opposite problem of masking possibly more oss. If a typical split is say .15sec for a controlled pair (I'm not a gamer, just guessin';) ) then if a shooting was 2 quick shots, and gets thrown out, the first shot could have been a oss, but the next one followed too quickly to know. Since shooting until the BG is down makes the most sense it seems the data is culled way too much...including all gunfights and classifying rounds by which ones take the least amount of shots too stop would be better, or the "what the winners use" idea.

    Using gunfights with one shot only results in a sample size that is way too small.
  10. woerm

    woerm Well-Known Member

    some field notes

    here is an interesting set of notes I ran across a while back

    at least it has contact info if you are so inclined

    <snip started here>


    Snip.....<sorry extraneous junk ads etc if I recall>

    The criteria I established were a set of rules that I felt
    comfortable with. They are as follows:

    Only torso hits were included. I and co-researcher, Ed Sanow, found
    that it was unrealistic to include shootings where the victim was hit
    in a non vital area and then use that incident as proof of a
    particular rounds ineffectiveness.
    Multiple hits were also discarded. I just couldn't come up with a way
    to equate, for example, how three hits from a .380 ACP could be
    compared with two 2 hits from a .357 Magnum.
    A stop was defined as the assailant collapsing within 10 feet. If the
    perpetrator had been engaged in an assault, he or she would not be
    able to strike any more blows or fire any more shots, whether they
    struck their intended target or not.
    In order to include a shooting in my study, I had to have access to
    the officer-involved shooting files, autopsy or medical treatment
    reports, police reports, homicide reports and files, press accounts,
    and when possible, conversations with emergency room personnel.
    Recovered bullets were either personally examined and photographed by
    us, or we were provided with photographs of the bullets.
    Interestingly enough, there was often little correlation between the
    expansion of hollow points and the final result.
    Finally, a minimum of ten shootings were required before a load could
    be included in this study. Of course, I would like to have a lot
    more, but I had to start somewhere, and fortunately in most cases, I
    have significantly larger totals than that.
    The collection of a data base of appropriate size was a difficult and
    time-consuming process for several reasons. First of all, it was self-
    financed, and police sergeants with seven children don't have much
    discretionary capitol. Second, there was a reluctance to share data
    because departments feared they would see themselves identified in
    gun magazines as the source of such sensitive material. It took
    almost a decade to develop a network of sources who trusted my
    discretion. Third, this was just one of many things that occupied my
    time including the completion of a masters degree and service as a

    It finally came into focus with the publication of "Handgun Stopping
    Power-The Definitive Study" published in the early 90's. This work
    is, in the opinion of many experts, still the most definitive study
    of the various stopping power theories, followed by the inclusion of
    what is the best way to determine what are appropriate loads to use
    for law enforcement/self-defense.

    Let's take a look at the most current results from the street in the
    handgun caliber's most often used by law enforcement personnel. Feel
    free to draw your own conclusions from the data and I will share my
    own opinions with you as well. Perhaps we can find a common ground.

    .380 ACP
    The .380 ACP has been used in law enforcement for years as either a
    plain clothes/off-duty pistol or as a second gun. This caliber has
    seen a lot of attention from the ammunition manufacturers. There are
    some good performers in this caliber.
    Federal Hydra Shok 78 55 71
    Cor Bon Jacketed Hollow Point (jhp) 23 16 70
    Federal jhp 62 43 69
    Winchester Silver Tip 85 52 61
    Remington jhp 58 33 57
    CCI jhp 63 36 57
    Federal full metal jacketed 154 79 51

    For decades the short-barreled .38 Special revolver was the plain
    clothes and off-duty weapon of American police. In spite of the
    massive inroads made by semiautomatic pistols, these compact
    revolvers are still extremely popular in the second gun/off-duty
    Winchester 158gr lead hp 119 80 67
    Federal 158gr lead hp 144 97 67
    Remington 125gr jhp 104 70 67
    Remington 158gr lhp 92 62 67
    Federal 125gr jhp 111 72 65
    CCI 125gr jhp 62 40 65
    Winchester 125gr jhp 70 43 61
    Federal 125gr Nyclad hp 36 22 61
    Fed 158gr semi-wadcutter 204 101 50
    Fed 158gr round nose 381 185 49
    The four-inch barreled, fixed sight .38 Special revolver was the
    police duty hand gun for decades. While the .357 Magnum made some
    inroads into its popularity, it was the adoption of the Beretta 9mm
    pistol by the US military that sounded its death knell. It offers
    good performance in a moderate recoil, proven design.
    Cor Bon 115gr jhp +P+* 29 24 83
    Winchester 110gr jhp +P+ 36 30 83
    Winchester 158gr lead hp 375 287 77
    Federal 158gr lead hp 249 189 76
    Remington 125gr jhp 144 104 72
    Federal 125gr jhp 239 171 72
    Remington 158gr lead hp 156 109 70
    CCI 125gr jhp 79 56 70
    Federal 158gr swc 312 163 52
    Federal 158gr lead 504 259 51

    .357 MAGNUM
    The .357 Magnum was the first choice for decades by those officers
    who were dissatisfied with the performance levels of the
    available .38 Special loads. It was also the first choice of many
    highway patrol units who were concerned about penetration of motor
    vehicles. It has produced the best stopping power results of any
    handgun caliber.
    Federal 125gr jhp 556 536 96
    Remington 125gr jhp 245 231 94
    CCI 125gr jhp 169 154 91
    Federal 110gr jhp 239 214 90
    Remington 110gr jhp 67 59 88
    Winchester 125gr jhp 111 97 87
    Winchester 145gr Silver Tip 94 81 86
    Remington 125gr jhp-mv 29 24 83
    Remington 158gr jhp 45 37 82
    Federal 158 gr Nyclad hp 49 40 82
    Winchester 158gr swc 117 85 73

    The 9mm is a favorite weapon in law enforcement at the present time.
    This weapon is easy to fire, accurate, and reliable. Care should be
    given to selecting a model which can be handled safely.
    Cor Bon 115gr jhp 35 32 91
    Federal 115gr jhp +P+ 149 136 91
    Winchester 115gr jhp +P+ 139 126 91
    Remington 115gr jhp +P+ 74 67 91
    Federal 124gr HS +P+ 85 75 88
    Federal 124gr Nyclad hp 265 222 84
    Winchester 115gr ST 365 299 82
    Federal 115gr jhp 263 216 82
    Federal 124gr HS 129 106 82
    Remington 115gr jhp 221 180 81
    CCI 115gr jhp 149 121 80
    Cor Bon 147gr jhp 10 8 80
    Federal 147gr HS 461 371 79
    Federal 147gr jhp 34 27 79
    Winchester 147gr jhp 291 216 74
    Winchester 115gr fmj 312 201 64

    .40 S&W
    The .40 S&W has become the premiere law enforcement caliber. It
    serves as a bridge caliber, satisfying those who feel more
    comfortable with a bigger caliber than the 9mm and more bullets than
    the .45 ACP. It has started to produce excellent results and appears
    it will be the law enforcement round of the future replacing
    the .45ACP.
    Federal 155gr Hydra Shok 56 54 96
    Cor Bon 155gr jhp 24 23 96
    Remington 165gr Golden Sabre 68 64 94
    CCI 155gr Gold Dot 39 37 94
    Federal 155gr jhp 34 32 94
    Cor Bon 150gr jhp 38 34 93
    Winchester 155gr Silver Tip 29 26 90
    Remington 155gr jhp 25 22 88
    Federal 180gr Hydra Shok 58 51 88
    PMC 155gr Star Fire 33 29 88
    CCI 180gr Gold Dot 45 39 87
    Cor Bon 180gr jhp 22 19 86
    Remington 180gr GS 48 41 85
    PMC 180gr Star Fire 29 24 83
    Black Hills 180gr jhp 34 28 82
    Federal 180gr jhp 88 72 82
    Winchester 180gr jhp 107 88 82
    Winchester 180gr Black Talon 69 56 81
    Winch. 180gr full metal jacketed 42 30 71

    .45 ACP
    The .45 Auto, of course, has an extremely large and emotional
    following. Unfortunately, much of this loyalty is tied to the alleged
    superiority of .45 ACP hard ball. I used to a believer in it too,
    until I started to collect actual shooting data and found that while
    there are some excellent loads in this caliber, the 230 grain full
    metal jacketed offering is not one of them, regardless of bullet
    Federal 230gr Hydra Shok 107 102 95
    Remington 185gr Golden Sabre 66 62 94
    Cor Bon 185gr jhp 12 11 92
    Remington 185gr jhp +P 59 54 92
    CCI 230gr Gold Dot 32 29 91
    Federal 185gr jhp 114 100 88
    CCI 200gr jhp 139 123 88
    Winchester 185gr Silver Tip 101 84 83
    Winchester 230gr Black Talon 67 54 81
    Remington 230gr fmj 145 90 62
    Winchester 230gr fmj 201 124 62
    Federal 230gr fmj 198 123 62

    .45 COLT
    The .45 Colt has seen only limited use in law enforcement primarily
    due to the introduction of large frame revolvers chambered in this
    caliber. It had seen use in those departments who allowed their
    officers to carry privately-owned, non magnum revolvers.
    Federal 225gr lead hollow point 73 57 78
    Winchester 225gr Silver Tip 62 45 73
    Winchester 255gr round nose lead 72 50 69
    Remington 255gr rnl 24 15 63

    The recent violent confrontation in Los Angeles brought cries for
    more powerful handguns. While I can understand the reason for such
    demands, the facts of this case make it clear that handguns chambered
    for .45 ACP would have not performed any better against the heavy
    armor the two bank holdup men wore. If we examine carefully the best
    performers in the most popular semi-automatic pistol calibers, we can
    see that they vary by less than 5%. Anyone who thinks that the felon
    shot with a load that is producing one shot stops 96% of the time
    will collapse significantly faster than the felon shot with a load
    that produces one shot stops 91% of the time is in for a severe
    disappointment. Gravity can only pull a body to the ground so fast
    and no handgun round produces knock down power.

    We need to remember that the three most important components of
    handgun stopping power are: bullet placement, bullet placement, and
    bullet placement. I carry a double action 9mm Beretta because I shoot
    it very well. The fact that I'm giving up five and four percentage
    points respectively by not carrying a .45 ACP or .40 S&W, has not
    caused me to suffer sleep deprivation.
    We should remember that if we know we are going into harm's way, we
    should be equipped with an appropriate shoulder weapon. Handguns are
    last ditch, emergency weapons that are as much a badge of office as
    they are for our self-defense. I cannot see the value of giving up
    seven rounds of ammunition in my magazine to gain four percentage
    points of stopping power. The .45 ACP is an excellent caliber and I
    own several hand guns chambered for this round, but after 20+ years
    in law enforcement I've found that the 9mm meets my needs.

    It should also be pointed out that the majority of ammunition R & D
    is and will be focused primarily on the .40 S&W, at least until the
    next super caliber comes along. There are a number of ammunition
    manufacturers that are producing new loads and bullet designs almost
    every day. All of them, of course, claim their load is the ultimate
    stopper and while some of them are working rather well, the one that
    appears to hold the most potential is the Quik Shok load from Triton
    Cartridge. Designed by Tom Burzinski, who gave us Hydra Shok and Star
    Fire bullets, it is a pre-stressed bullet that breaks into three
    pieces that go their separate ways causing tissue damage over a much
    broader area. Pre-production versions of this load worked extremely
    well in the controversial Strasbourg Tests. Of course, we'll have to
    wait to see how it works in actual use, but it looks extremely


    I am hopeful the information I have provided in this short article
    will assist you in selecting a handgun in which you have absolute
    confidence. In my opinion, it doesn't make much difference whether
    you select a 9mm, .40 caliber, a .357 caliber, or a .45 caliber as
    long a you use the proper ammunition. Any weapon of these calibers is
    adequate for law enforcement use. My advice is to select a weapon
    that you can fire most accurately given the different size, weights,
    and recoil of each weapon. I think the data I have provided makes
    that point very clear. I also urge you to buy a weapon that is safe
    to handle in our rough and tumble world and can be stored at home
    without any worry about the potential of an unintentional discharge
    by a child. Finally, for God's sake, learn how to handle the weapon
    safely and shoot accurately. In the final analysis, safety and being
    able to shoot the weapon accurately are the two most important
    aspects in the selection of a law enforcement handgun.

    The National Executive Institute Associates Leadership Bulletin
    editor is Edward J. Tully. He served with the FBI as a Special Agent
    from 1962 to 1993. He is presently the Executive Director of the
    National Executive Institute Associates and the Major City Chiefs.
    You can reach him via e-mail at tullye@a... or by writing to 308
    Altoona Drive, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401

    <end quoted>

    hope this helps. I'm not much on stats I tend to say hit early and often with what ever you have handy

    says the dude with .32 61gr jhp out of a pocket pistol ;-)
  11. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

    John, I think you may have opened up a can of worms my friend. :)

    My problem with any sort of analysis of OSS is that there is not really a good way to measure the physical or psycological make up of the person getting shot. There are people out there who have died quickly from otherwise non-fatal hits with weak calibers, and there are people from the other end of the spectrum who soak up tons of heavy caliber rounds who refuse to stop for a long time.

    I just don't see a really scientific way to get good data from actual shootings.
  12. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    I just couldn't come up with a way to equate, for example, how three hits from a .380 ACP could be compared with two 2 hits from a .357 Magnum.

    I just don't see a really scientific way to get good data from actual shootings.

    The way to accomplish both is to use stops/encounters as the standard.

    That way we answer the question, "What do most winners use?"

    Once we have that answer, we can probe deeper. Perhaps we find that the .380 IS more effective than the .38 Special under our standard (Just to pick a possible example at random), and find the reason is that .380 shooters get more hits per encounter.

    We are now standing at the point where we can look at issues like how controlability and ergonometrics contribute to winning gunfights.
  13. woerm

    woerm Well-Known Member

    good point


    that is in essence what is often missing from the debate,

    what winners use give light to other factors that need to be address ie spray and pray etc.

  14. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    A lot can happen in three seconds. There's no way in @#$%^&! I'm going to wait three seconds before the first pair of warning shots to the center of mass and the second pair of warning shots to the head if I ever need to defend my life.
  15. RustyHammer

    RustyHammer Well-Known Member

    :scrutiny: ... three seconds can be a lifetime.
  16. Firethorn

    Firethorn Well-Known Member

    One problem with including multiple shots as 'failures' is that it would unfairly penalize lighter rounds. Why? Because people are going to get off more shots in the same amount of time with the smaller loads. You'd have to start factoring things like the average number of shots in the 3 seconds it takes any gun to effect a 'stop'. A .40 might average 1.8 shots vs a 9mm's 2.3 (numbers pulled out of ether). As I've only shot a .45 once, I can't really say how much it'd slow me down. I know I shoot my .40 (CZ40) slower than my 9mm(CZ75BD),

    I also train for Doubletapping & rapid aimed fire. If a 'one stop shot' is defined as the BG going down in less than 10 ft/3 seconds, I'll have already shot a second or third time into them.

    Now a seperate "Stop" study that checks the 'average effectivness in an encounter' would be a good idea. Just don't try to factor it into a One Shot Stop study. A .50BMG handgun might come in first place for a OSS study, but it's not practical in a number of ways.
    Last edited: May 4, 2004
  17. Ryder

    Ryder Well-Known Member

    In a hunting situation my definition would be to instantly drop something in it's tracks which did not require a follow-up shot. Why modify that for a self defense situation?
  18. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    In a hunting situation my definition would be to instantly drop something in it's tracks which did not require a follow-up shot. Why modify that for a self defense situation?

    Because it puts us back where we started -- throwing out any encounter where multiple shots were fired.

    Remember, on dangrous game, many professional hunters urge their clients to fire again, until the quarry is definitely down, not to sit around and "admire the shot."

    Also consider this -- most people don't hunt large animals with handguns designed for concealed carry. When you combine the relatively low power of these weapons with the danger from the opponent, "Shoot 'til he's down" is the obvious tactic.

    Why adopt a criterion that penalizes the obvious tactic?
  19. WT

    WT Well-Known Member

    Tell me what premise you want to "prove" and I will provide the statistics to support it.

    If one deals with statistics, one should read "How to Lie with Statistics" by Darrell Huff. Its a classic in the mathematics literature.

    Marshall & Sanow take a very SMALL sample of SELECTED shootings to generate their statistics. By using a SMALL sample instead of ALL shootings they can arrive at results which exhibit a low confidence level when it comes to the real world.

    Marshall can be forgiven if he gets the stats wrong. He was a Detroit cop. On the other hand, Sanow has a degree in industrial engineering (some would call it imaginary engineering) from Purdue. IE's deal heavily in statistics and Sanow should know better.

    On top of that, there was the Sanow - Dayton, OH PD messup. A web search will provide more info on that SNAFU.
  20. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

    There are no magic bullets....

    I think that when you figure in all the variables that it's impossible to quantify one shot stops. No small arm known to man, no bullet that fits in a small arm is capable of making one shot stops all the time. The numbers that M&S have come up with are worthless, not only because their science is wrong, but because no two shootings are alike enough to really be comparible.

    For defensive purposes, get the most reliable handgun you can find, in any caliber .38 special or larger, choose ammunition that meets the FBI criteria in 10% ordnance gelatin and practice...a lot. Then train for the right mindset. Then train force on force, then practice some more.

    Men win or lose gunfights. The equipment used is usually a minor consideration.


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