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Ballistics & Caliber Effectiveness Research Question

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Mr. Mosin, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    I've been studying and reading on Greg Ellifritz' caliber studies, and I discovered something interesting to me. According to his compiled data and research, .38 Spl beats out 9mm across the board in his listed categories... or so it appears. My question is, if the numbers were equal (going off memory roughly ~4 times the number of people were shot w/ 9mm vs .38 Spl), would the .38 Spl still reign supreme over the 9mm ? Not bothering with shot placement, type of bullet, etc, etc. Just using his study.
     

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  2. cheygriz

    cheygriz member

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    He seems to have an agenda to push.
     
  3. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Taking that approach to interpreting the data also says that .380ACP not only beats both .38SP and 9mm, it also beats .45ACP and gives .40S&W a run for its money.

    There's really good information in that data. But I think a lot of people miss what it's really saying and try to interpret it as a way to determine which caliber works the best on the street.

    What it's really saying is that handgun caliber (terminal performance) doesn't make that much difference in real-world outcomes.
     
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  4. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    It's faulty to look at past performance and conclude from those situations and circumstances that any particular variable doesn't make much difference. The obvious problem is you do not know that your situation and circumstances will be the same or not.

    It would be fair to say that "caliber" did not make much difference in the outcome of those incidents. But you can be sure that you won't be involved in those incidents. Does that mean that .32 ACP will work well when YOU need it to? We do not know the answer to that question. You could carry .32 or .380 and probably you will never find out. But why would you even want to when you can with certainty avoid the question?
     
  5. film495

    film495 Member

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    Interesting to see John Browning's 32 ACP topping those statistics several different ways.
     
  6. joneb

    joneb Member

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    regardless of the cartridge shot placement is the paramount factor.
     
  7. Lyle Wyatt

    Lyle Wyatt Member

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    If in doubt, use a rifle.
     
  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Yes, because the data isn’t presented as discrete volumes of incidents, but rather is compared as percentages of incidents. The outcome percentages, if there is any statistical validity to any of the numbers, would not change with volume.
     
  9. film495

    film495 Member

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    Hits beat misses 100% of the time.
     
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  10. Mustangowner

    Mustangowner Member

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    Exactly
     
  11. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    The study is less "a study" and more a matter of opinion based on his observations. It's more of an opinion piece than a study based on hard lab or street research. I don't know if Ellifritz ever advanced it as a thorough, exacting professional study of the questions but it is sometimes advanced by others as that.

    "I've been studying and reading on Greg Ellifritz' caliber studies, and I discovered something interesting to me. According to his compiled data and research, .38 Spl beats out 9mm across the board in his listed categories." Yes reading it does imply that.

    An earlier version of the essay, several years back, revealed that the 25 acp was more effective than the 9mm. Or so it could be read.

    John said this...

    "What it's really saying is that handgun caliber (terminal performance) doesn't make that much difference in real-world outcomes."

    That's Ellifritz's point. The articles (there was more than one version of this piece, different editions, so to speak). The article appeared as law enforcement agencies began switching from 40 S&W back to the 9mm. It was and is a part of that discussion that caliber, momentum and energy is less important than often thought.
     
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  12. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    It's possible to have all the correct data and still reach the wrong conclusion. Reminds me of the old joke about a kids science fair project.

    Kid places a frog on the ground and tells it to jump. When measured it jumped 4'. Kid cuts off one leg and it jumps 3'. With 2 legs missing it jumps 2' and with 3 missing it jumps 1'. Next he cuts off the last leg and commands the frog to jump. He repeats this several times and the frog does not jump. His conclusion. "Frog with no legs is deaf".
     
  13. OneFreeTexan

    OneFreeTexan Member

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    At normal handgun range, the best caliber, is 12 gauge slug...
     
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  14. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Handgun bullets just poke holes in living creatures.

    Bo83Fb8.jpg

    Rifle bullets travel at speeds where the surrounding tissue is ripped, so the wound is worse, but either way, bleed out is the predominate kill mechanism. Any creature that lives and breathes, make it bleed enough, and it will stop breathing.

    What happens till then is a matter of how the animal reacts to the pain, shock, of the event.

    You want to make real bad wounds, use explosives, or medieval weapons. It has been so long since we have used bladed weapons, or war hammers, that the memory of the horrible wounds they inflict has pretty much been forgotten.

    A solid cut with a two handed sword has detached humans in two.

    H5TPofL.jpg

    Polearms are very powerful. The wound channel of the spear of a halberd, given a shake and a twist, is much larger than the wound channel of any handgun bullet.

    nTY5uq6.jpg

    These will cut a person in half, or just remove a head.

    1f8vtD3.jpg

    Based on what I saw on history programs, these were considered decisive stoppers by the former soldiers who used them.

    BY29AD2.jpg
     

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  15. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    Also recall that (I don't believe he had parsed it out) these studies don't take into account the situation of the shooting.

    Mouse calibers are more likely to be used in simple murder as compared to service calibers being used in actual gunfights.

    The whole adrenaline and fight vs flight effect can certainly change the alleged effectiveness, in addition training methods in police involved shootings (shoot till the threat is stopped vs looking to just plug a guy) also can have an effect on how many rounds are used or even needed.

    Just considerations to think on while looking at the data. I have my opinions on what to use but that's my personal philosophy.
     
  16. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    Another consideration is the typical personal defense training mantra is to shoot until the threat stops. At the rate folks can fire, the first shot may be the shot that actually stops the threat, but another five or six shots may be expended before the shooter realizes this has happened.

    When the shooting is studied, while they may be able to determine which bullet caused the stop, they'll probably never know if it was the first or seventh fired.

    I'd also expect more shots expended with typical law enforcement calibers such as 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 SIG, and .45 Auto, as those shooters probably have more training in the "shoot until the threat stops".
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
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