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Old December 9, 2006, 09:49 AM   #1
Para Bellum
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9mm vs .357 Sig (penetration, expansion, armor piercing)

Hi there,

I wonder what arguments you will come up with in that comparison for a defense/duty gun. Let's take the Glock 4" barrel platform Glock 19 and Glock 32. Which one would you prefer and why?

What makes me personally doubt the benefits of the .357 Sig are e.g. the results posted on Winchesters LEO Comparison tool: http://www.winchester.com/lawenforce...g/testing.aspx (Click on Launch Testing Comparison Tool and compare 9s and .357s...) and extreme but easy to handle 9x19mm bullets such as Fiocchi's 6g (93gr) and 5gr (77gr) EMB, a Hirtenberger invention.

I assume that penetration and expansion with a .357 Sig are not better than with a 9x19mm (see Winchester above) and I also assume that a 9x19mm EBM round will be as good as any .357 Sig round against (i.e. through) light body armor, but I haven't tested that yet.
Am I right?
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Old December 9, 2006, 10:00 AM   #2
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With the proper bullet for the situation(FMJ for light armor/controlled expansion hollow points for anti-personnel), the .357 Sig will out perform the 9mm because of higher velocities, but that comes at the price of expensive ammo.
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Old December 9, 2006, 10:08 AM   #3
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I also used to think that, but when you take a look at the winchester LEO test link above, you will see why I doubt even that...
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Old December 9, 2006, 10:25 AM   #4
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thanks for the link

Pretty interesting stuff.
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Old December 9, 2006, 10:52 AM   #5
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The results are interesting, but also not conclusive. They don't show the ballistic gel so you can't see how big the temporary and permenant crush cavities are. Overall penetration is over rated in my opinion since you want the bullet to deposit its energy into the target, rather than passing through it. It has to have enough penetration to reach the vitals of course. I'm sure the .357 Sig dumps a tremendous amount of energy into the target, much more so than the 9mm. Try and look up some ballistics tests where they show the ballistic gel. You'll see what I mean.
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Old December 9, 2006, 11:48 AM   #6
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I would tend to favor the 9x19 over the 357 SIG due to the fact that in the G19/32 sized package the felt recoil will be less which should allow for better shot placement especially when having to fire multiple rounds at an assailant.
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Old December 9, 2006, 11:56 AM   #7
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I emailed Speer awhile back on a similar question. They answered that 9mm bullets in either caliber driven to the same velocities, will deliver the same performance. +P+ 9mm and basic 357SIG being about the same power and performance wise.

The biggest difference is in the guns themselves. The guns chambered in the 357SIG were built to take the round, while the 9mm you shoot may or may not be rated for +P. I dont know of any gun makers who will recommend or endorse +P+ 9mm in their guns, which is the real comparison to the 357SIG.

The other issue often neglected to be brought up is, the +P+ 9mm is at or over the top of the 9mm power range, the 357SIG loadings always compared, are the standard loading for the round, not the hotter specialty rounds also available for it.

The ammo cost between the two so often thrown out really isnt that big an issue. The self defense loadings are comparable price wise, and I've actually spent less on 357SIG than I have on +P+ 9mm in 50 round boxes. Practice ammo in 9mm that is the same power level as your carry ammo(basically your carry ammo), is more than the 357SIG. The 357SIG self defense ammo and practice ammo are loaded to the same spec, the only difference is the type of bullet. When bought in bulk, factory 357SIG is only a couple of dollars more a box than standard 9mm.

It would be nice to have real life data available to decide from instead of gelatin and numbers. Everyone always comes up with contrary info to counter someone elses contrary info. Its an endless argument with nothing solved. I think how well the rounds work in the field is more important, and thats the info I want to see.
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Old December 9, 2006, 01:11 PM   #8
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Here's comparison info:
http://www.handguninfo.com/Archive/w...57.compare.htm

Does anybody have gel-pic links which show a comparison......
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Old December 9, 2006, 11:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK103K
It would be nice to have real life data available to decide from instead of gelatin and numbers. Everyone always comes up with contrary info to counter someone elses contrary info. Its an endless argument with nothing solved. I think how well the rounds work in the field is more important, and thats the info I want to see.
AK,

The problem with real life number is that there are many variables as well. Where did the bullet strike? How many shots was the "victim" hit by? What type of ammo was used? Was the "victim" high on drugs? Was the victim obese or very athletic? My point is that even a .22lr can make a one stop shot provided it is a good head shot and a .500 S&W to the leg may not stop the fight (although I'm sure it would hurt like hell!).

Don't discount the value of ballistic gelatin testing since it provides a replicatable control. There are some indisputable facts based on physics when it comes to bullets and ballistics. The formula energy = mass x (velocity squared) is often quoted in these arguements. The problem is you have to look at how that energy is deposited into the target. A shot that simply passes through a target is not depositing its energy into the target. A well designed hollowpoint that expands rapidly and retains its weight will deposit much more of its energy into the target. With ballistic gelatin, you can analyze how different bullets performed in an ideal setting. All things equal, rounds that perform well in ballistic gelatin should perform well against humans provided that the shot placement is the same for all rounds compared.
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Old December 9, 2006, 11:34 PM   #10
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It was winchesters little ballistic comparison graphic-tool that made me come to the same conclusion pb.

Of course, to be fair Winchester's .357sig is loaded south of it's potential, at barely 100fps faster than their 9mm +p+. Although if you look at DT, they get the same bullet weight up to 1400 fps (though no penetration/expansion data, so who knows what it's really adding).

Nonetheless, despite that, and the fact there are things I like about the 32 over the 19 (the new melted corner slide like on the prac/tacs and subcompacts; and as said its beefier- designed to eat essentially +p+ all day; AND you can barrel swap to shoot 9mm from the 32 anyways)- I'd STILL make it a 19 at this point.
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Old December 10, 2006, 12:24 AM   #11
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Speaking as a physicist, but not a ballistic wound expert...

Quote:
Overall penetration is over rated in my opinion since you want the bullet to deposit its energy into the target, rather than passing through it.
Depositing energy into the target is good; however it is possible for a bullet to deposit energy into a target without doing real damage. A bullet does most of it's damage via penetration; if it hits a bone and stops (without doing significant damage to the bone), that energy has been dissipated in a relatively harmless manner. Consider a bullet stopped by body armor; it'll leave a nasty bruise and maybe break a bone, but it's a much more survivable injury due to lack of penetration. A bullet which expands to huge size but only penetrates very little into the body might be stopped by skin and muscle, causing a horrible wound but not a life-threatening injury even though it may have as much energy as a .45 ACP round.

Quote:
The results are interesting, but also not conclusive. They don't show the ballistic gel so you can't see how big the temporary and permenant crush cavities are.
I disagree. You can estimate the wound channel size from the penetration and expansion data. But I'm of the opinion that the overall volume of the wound channel is not as important as having sufficient penetration (not too much, and definitely not too little!) and good shot placement. The idea is to stop someone by hitting something vital, not make them bleed out after they've bludgeoned you to death with your own gun.

The ideal defense round will expand as much as possible yet have enough energy to completely penetrate the target, with essentially no energy to spare after that. I've seen other posts describing bullets being found in clothing after traveling all the way through the target's body; that is the ideal, perfect terminal ballistic. Further over-penetration wastes some energy, but that's only a problem because it could be a risk to something or someone behind the target.

As for expansion diameter: the somewhat higher expanded diameters in .45 do not directly translate to substantially greater "stopping power," which requires hitting a vital organ, usually the central nervous system. The size of the bullet matters little; an extra 0.1" in diameter doesn't make much difference unless your shot missed nicking something critical by 0.05". Clearly, that is a small distance so it really doesn't matter. The bullet just needs to be large/heavy enough so it can have sufficient penetration to reach and damage something vital.

Based on this Winchester data, it looks like a toss-up between .357 Sig and 9mm +P. Indeed, the .40/.45 also have similar performance to .357/9mm, with perhaps a slight edge to the .45 (but it's not a huge difference, and it's only because the .45 round fully expanded even after passing through cloth while the 9mm and .40 did not).

I've seen several "caliber war" discussions where people say things like "only choose a caliber that starts with .4" or "the .45 has superior stopping power" etc. But really, look at the data: there are no huge differences in performance. They all have similar, adequate penetration - by design, I'm sure - and they all expand reasonably well (some less well when going through cloth, which is why I like what I've heard about Corbon DPX... though I don't have any, due to cost). I imagine smaller rounds would be less effective, though I haven't seen much data.

If you don't have to worry about over-penetration and hitting something behind your target, I think ball ammo is great - especially for military purposes, where you might need to shoot through cover or armor. The wound channel is smaller, with perhaps about half the cross-sectional area, but it's still plenty big enough provided you hit something important.
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Old December 10, 2006, 03:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nobody special
Depositing energy into the target is good; however it is possible for a bullet to deposit energy into a target without doing real damage. A bullet does most of it's damage via penetration; if it hits a bone and stops (without doing significant damage to the bone), that energy has been dissipated in a relatively harmless manner. Consider a bullet stopped by body armor; it'll leave a nasty bruise and maybe break a bone, but it's a much more survivable injury due to lack of penetration. A bullet which expands to huge size but only penetrates very little into the body might be stopped by skin and muscle, causing a horrible wound but not a life-threatening injury even though it may have as much energy as a .45 ACP round
.

First of all, you are a physicist. How many pounds of force does it take to break bone... especially when you take into account the small frontal surface area of a bullet. We are talking about 9mm and .357 Sig. Given that the shot is made perpendicular to the target (not a angled shot that may deflect) these are not going to be stopped by skin (unless you are a rhino) and will certainly destroy muscle tissue. If it breaks bone, that can cause secondary fragments in the body and increase the hemmoraging. This is what causes incapacitation and death rather than simply penetration. Many people have survived getting impaled or even shot by arrows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nobody special
I disagree. You can estimate the wound channel size from the penetration and expansion data. But I'm of the opinion that the overall volume of the wound channel is not as important as having sufficient penetration (not too much, and definitely not too little!) and good shot placement. The idea is to stop someone by hitting something vital, not make them bleed out after they've bludgeoned you to death with your own gun.
Go back to your fluid dynamics text books and imagine a massive amount of energy being deposited into your body. We are dealing with very high velocities here. Even dropping a pebble into a bocket of water causes ripples. Imagine that pellet being thrown at 1400 feet per second... and expanding as it enters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nobody special
As for expansion diameter: the somewhat higher expanded diameters in .45 do not directly translate to substantially greater "stopping power," which requires hitting a vital organ, usually the central nervous system. The size of the bullet matters little; an extra 0.1" in diameter doesn't make much difference unless your shot missed nicking something critical by 0.05". Clearly, that is a small distance so it really doesn't matter. The bullet just needs to be large/heavy enough so it can have sufficient penetration to reach and damage something vital.
After reading up to this point, I will need to ask for your credentials and ask where the heck you studied physics. So you are basically saying that if a round does not strike a vital organ or CNS, it doesn't matter what size the bullet is? I guess that why physicist make horrible doctors. When you look at a wound channel from a FMJ and wound channel from a hollow point that properly expanded, do you notice a difference? The FMJ will punch through and usually leave the same size exit wound as the entrance wound. With a properly expanding hollow point, the exit wound is larger than the entrance wound, and not necessarily just the diameter of the expanded bullet (unless it has slowed down so much that it barely has enough energy to penetrate the body). This is because the energy from the round acts in a cone like pattern, from the nose of the bullet. The energy is not simply a vector (straight in straight out). That is also why you stretch cavities in ballistic gels rather than a simple hole straight in and straight out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nobody special
If you don't have to worry about over-penetration and hitting something behind your target, I think ball ammo is great - especially for military purposes, where you might need to shoot through cover or armor. The wound channel is smaller, with perhaps about half the cross-sectional area, but it's still plenty big enough provided you hit something important.
I am not in the military so I should always worry about over penetration. More importantly, hollow points are much more effective at incapacitating someone than a FMJ. Ask any cop what he carres and I can gaurantee that you would be hard pressed to find a single one who carried fmj. How many bad guys do you encounter wearing body armor (unless you are talking about the LA bank robbery). Furthermore, shooting through cover is risky since you don't know what is on the other side. Besides, the chances of that are pretty slim too.

Bottom line... Hollow Points are much more effective at incapacitating someone compared to FMJ (as long as there is suffucient penetration). The more powerful the round, the more energy is deposited into the person, even if it penetrates completely. The deceleration of the round while inside the body is where the force is transferred. Furthermore, there is some hydraulic shock (much more so with rifles) that creates a "splash" within the body and radiates out from the bullets path. This is what can shut down the CNS very quickly versus causing death through hemmoraging.
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Old December 10, 2006, 04:55 AM   #13
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I also mentioned a 1640ft/sec (=500m/s) 9x19mm bullet, the 5g EMB

In my original post I also mentioned a
- 1640ft/sec (=500m/s)
- 479 ft/# (650 Joule)
- 9x19mm bullet,

the 5g (77gr) EMB from Fiocchi (designed by Hirtenberger).

Given that bullet and it's unique capacity to penetrate hard targets and expand in soft targets, I really doubt any advantage on the side of the .357 Sig even against light body armor.
Any thoughts on that?


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Old December 10, 2006, 07:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
First of all, you are a physicist. How many pounds of force does it take to break bone... especially when you take into account the small frontal surface area of a bullet. We are talking about 9mm and .357 Sig. Given that the shot is made perpendicular to the target (not a angled shot that may deflect) these are not going to be stopped by skin (unless you are a rhino) and will certainly destroy muscle tissue. If it breaks bone, that can cause secondary fragments in the body and increase the hemmoraging. This is what causes incapacitation and death rather than simply penetration. Many people have survived getting impaled or even shot by arrows.
Sure... and arrows do more damage than pistol rounds at close range, primarily due to the huge large arrowhead combined with tremendous mass (incredibly high momentum, thus good penetration against non-armored targets). Most people survive being shot by a pistol, too. My examples, that you are responding to here, were not regarding 9mm or .357 Sig; I was simply pointing out that energy alone is not the most important factor in the efficacy of terminal ballistcis.

Hemorrhaging on this scale is not a quick cause of incapacitation or death. It may be lethal, but it's not going to kill someone instantly. Even damage to the heart or a major artery (aorta, etc.) does not guarantee an instant kill - and the heart is a major organ!

Psychological effects (pain, surprise, an unwillingness to die) are much more likely to stop someone quickly than any injury short of direct CNS damage.

Quote:
Go back to your fluid dynamics text books and imagine a massive amount of energy being deposited into your body. We are dealing with very high velocities here. Even dropping a pebble into a bocket of water causes ripples. Imagine that pellet being thrown at 1400 feet per second... and expanding as it enters.
The human body is not composed of fluid alone, and most non-fluid parts are remarkably elastic. Every bit of information I've read suggests that the permanent wound channel is the significant factor in handgun wounds, and hydrostatic shock is greatly overestimated as a mechanism of injury. (It's a bit different for rifle wounds, where the shock wave is many times stronger.)

Consider the energy in a 9mm round at 350 m/s and 8 g mass (124 grains, 1148 ft/s). That's 490 Joules of energy, but only 2.8 kg-m/s; relatively low momentum of course. A substantial fraction of that 490 J will not be dissipated by hydrostatic shock, but will instead do mechanical work directly on the target by breaking skin and tissue. The shock wave energy dissipation depends on the cross-sectional area, but the difference between ~0.7" for 9mm and ~0.8" for .45 isn't going to make a huge difference. Anyway, 490 J is probably comparable to the amount of energy transfered by a hard hit with a baseball bat (to within a factor of a few).

Quote:
After reading up to this point, I will need to ask for your credentials and ask where the heck you studied physics. So you are basically saying that if a round does not strike a vital organ or CNS, it doesn't matter what size the bullet is? I guess that why physicist make horrible doctors. When you look at a wound channel from a FMJ and wound channel from a hollow point that properly expanded, do you notice a difference? The FMJ will punch through and usually leave the same size exit wound as the entrance wound. With a properly expanding hollow point, the exit wound is larger than the entrance wound, and not necessarily just the diameter of the expanded bullet (unless it has slowed down so much that it barely has enough energy to penetrate the body). This is because the energy from the round acts in a cone like pattern, from the nose of the bullet. The energy is not simply a vector (straight in straight out). That is also why you stretch cavities in ballistic gels rather than a simple hole straight in and straight out.
My credentials? B.S. from here; B.A./Ph.D. from one of the better UC's.

I'm not saying that the size of a round is completely unimportant; I am saying it's one of the least important factors, at least among the rounds we're discussing. The more important factors are having sufficient penetration, and good/lucky shot placement. Aside from there being little difference in ballistic gel performance between these rounds, my conclusion is also supported by (imperfect, but still relevant) statistical data, for example here.

And yes, if it doesn't hit a vital organ or CNS, it doesn't make much difference how big the hole is. A slightly larger bullet makes a slightly bigger hole, but a modest increase in the amount of bleeding does little to immediately stop an attacker. Besides, the amount of bleeding is really going to depend on whether or not a major artery was hit, which depends more on shot placement (or random chance, really) than bullet size.

Quote:
I am not in the military so I should always worry about over penetration. More importantly, hollow points are much more effective at incapacitating someone than a FMJ. Ask any cop what he carres and I can gaurantee that you would be hard pressed to find a single one who carried fmj. How many bad guys do you encounter wearing body armor (unless you are talking about the LA bank robbery). Furthermore, shooting through cover is risky since you don't know what is on the other side. Besides, the chances of that are pretty slim too.
That's why I qualified my statement... it only seems relevant for the military.

Quote:
Bottom line... Hollow Points are much more effective at incapacitating someone compared to FMJ (as long as there is suffucient penetration). The more powerful the round, the more energy is deposited into the person, even if it penetrates completely. The deceleration of the round while inside the body is where the force is transferred. Furthermore, there is some hydraulic shock (much more so with rifles) that creates a "splash" within the body and radiates out from the bullets path. This is what can shut down the CNS very quickly versus causing death through hemmoraging.
What makes you think that hydrostatic shock will shut down the CNS in a typical COM hit? The CNS is mostly in the cranium, and what isn't (the spinal cord) is reasonably well protected by the spinal column.
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Old December 10, 2006, 03:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
The results are interesting, but also not conclusive. They don't show the ballistic gel so you can't see how big the temporary and permenant crush cavities are. Overall penetration is over rated in my opinion since you want the bullet to deposit its energy into the target, rather than passing through it. It has to have enough penetration to reach the vitals of course. I'm sure the .357 Sig dumps a tremendous amount of energy into the target, much more so than the 9mm. Try and look up some ballistics tests where they show the ballistic gel. You'll see what I mean.
according to FBI report on the wounding effectiveness, energy and temporary cavity (in handgun rounds) is overrated, the thing that matters most (and probbaly the only thing that matters) is the penetration (permanent cavity).
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Old December 10, 2006, 04:44 PM   #16
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Well, finally. A '9mm vs 9mm' thread. I will be watching this one with bated breath

In all seriousness...I really never could see the big ballistic advantage of the .357 Sig over the 9mm +P+, but I can see the magazine capacity advantage of the 9mm. They are both .35's capable of scooting a 115 grain bullet a shade over 1350 fps, give or take a few. Given the wide availability of cheap 9mm ball, and the plethora of expanding bullet ammunition available for it, I'd take the old Luger round every time.
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Old December 11, 2006, 06:47 PM   #17
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There is one other thing I forgot to mention. While the 9mm can be pushed to +P+, is the gun actually designed to handle those pressures. How many rounds are you going to fire to test the reliability in the gun? I know most people could care less if they had to throw away the gun if it lasted long enough to win the gun fight. The point is that the .357 Sig is designed to handle those pressures and can probably be loaded even hotter.

Please refer to this website

nobody_special...
You have some impressive credtials. My bad for questioning them. Do you have proof that arrows do more damage than pistol rounds at close range? Lets refer to field points rather than broad heads since we are talking about penetration rather than hemmoraging. Arrows have excellent penetration due to their momentum from their greater weight. The produce very little shock though since they don't expand. Like I said, broad heads are another story since they have a larger wound channel with the sharp blades.

Now if you say that there is little difference between many handgun rounds (according to Marshall and Sanow's research) why does the .357 Magnum has such a high one stop shot percentage compared to the .38 special and even the 9mm. If you use the heavier .38 special loads, you will get the deeper penetration, but not the tissue damage of the .357 magnum.

I know that the human body is composed of "stuff" other than water, but the human body is a little over 50% water (55% - 60%). Even if the bullet hits bone, it will most likely break it and send secondary fragments throughout the wound channel.

Like I said, if penetration is the most important factor, why does almost every law enforcement agency use hollow points instead of full metal jacketed rounds? Maybe because they have money to waste. Maybe they have no clue what they are doing. Maybe it just gives them a psychological advantage and that puts the bad guys down faster. I still assert that the transfer of energy from the round to the person shot is what causes the damage, as long as there is sufficient penetration and vitals are hit.
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Old December 11, 2006, 11:20 PM   #18
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stephen426, I don’t think there is much (if any) difference between 9mm and .357sig guns; after all .357sig uses 9mm platforms. I really doubt that a .357 Glock, Sig etc. will last as long as a 9mm versions. The way I see it is with a heavier recoil spring 9mm will last as long on +P ammo as the same model in .357sig. I’m not a big .357sig fan so maybe I haven’t seen enough guns in that calibre, but I don’t think they’re build that much beefier than same models in 9mm. Also many 9mm designs are made in Europe and are designed for 9mm NATO pressures (~ +p).

reguarding HPs, I'm sure we all know that most SD rounds provide adequate penetration (12in +) even with HP bullets. So why not use them?
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Old December 12, 2006, 12:38 AM   #19
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Quote:
I'm not saying that the size of a round is completely unimportant; I am saying it's one of the least important factors, at least among the rounds we're discussing.
Hmmm... Where have I heard something like that before?

Interesting assessment, nobody special, thanks for the time you put into your post.

As far as elasticity, some organs are remarkably elastic, others (the liver and spleen to name a couple) much less so. It's also been documented that a bullet can have an effect on even elastic tissue without coming directly into contact with it. There is a radiologist who posts occasionally on this site who has posted at least one X-Ray of "intimal flap" damage to a blood vessel which the bullet did not touch. It's not terribly likely that the intimal flap would have a dramatic effect on incapacitation, but it is an interesting result.
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Old December 12, 2006, 01:49 AM   #20
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Quote:
There is one other thing I forgot to mention. While the 9mm can be pushed to +P+, is the gun actually designed to handle those pressures. How many rounds are you going to fire to test the reliability in the gun?
That's a gun question, and is not a caliber issue.

Quote:
Please refer to this website
I'm aware that the Marshall and Sarnow data aren't the best and have obvious statistical problems, but I haven't seen anything better. And unless it was essentially fabricated, it's still useful. Besides, my conclusions are pretty self-evident from the ballistic gel data alone.

Quote:
Do you have proof that arrows do more damage than pistol rounds at close range? Lets refer to field points rather than broad heads since we are talking about penetration rather than hemmoraging. Arrows have excellent penetration due to their momentum from their greater weight. The produce very little shock though since they don't expand. Like I said, broad heads are another story since they have a larger wound channel with the sharp blades.
No statistical evidence, just anecdotal. But look at the ballistics. And let's not restrict ourselves to field points; those razor-sharp flanges in broadheads are there for a reason, and they penetrate just fine if you're not shooting a rhino. Arrowheads are typically much larger than bullets, and with a 2" wide arrowhead you probably do have a much greater chance of hitting something vital on a single hit (compared to a ~.4" handgun bullet). The energy involved is comparable to a handgun round; a 1m draw at 100 lbf. is 444 Joules, assuming constant draw force. (I realize that modern hunting bows often are weaker, but historical war bows were actually much stronger than this.)

Now let's talk momentum. I don't know the actual weight of a typical hunting or war arrow, but let's assume 1/30 kg (about 500 grains). At 444 Joules, the arrow can move at 163 m/s and the momentum is 5.4 kg m/s - 2 times more than the 124 grain 9mm bullet with 490 J energy. More momentum gives more penetration (though this is affected by the cross-sectional area of the projectile).

Another advantage to bows is that the arrowhead is usually flanged, unless you're trying to punch through armor. A circular cross-section is the worst for causing trauma as it concentrates all the damage in the smallest possible cross-section. Arrowheads do damage over a larger area, but without completely penetrating that entire area. That gives them a much better chance at hitting a vital organ or severing an artery.

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Now if you say that there is little difference between many handgun rounds (according to Marshall and Sanow's research) why does the .357 Magnum has such a high one stop shot percentage compared to the .38 special and even the 9mm. If you use the heavier .38 special loads, you will get the deeper penetration, but not the tissue damage of the .357 magnum.
The .357 magnum does not have a much higher one-shot stop rate than the other rounds. It's 96%, while 9mm is 90% - on average. But the 9mm result, to within 1-sigma errors, is really 90+/-5%. That means that the 9mm result is only different from the .357 magnum result by one standard deviation, which is not strong statistical evidence for any difference between their performances at all! So it's reasonable to conclude that their stopping performance is similar. (I'm not saying identical; but even if we take the numbers at face value and ignore the statistical uncertainties, the difference between 90% and 96% is not huge.)

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Like I said, if penetration is the most important factor, why does almost every law enforcement agency use hollow points instead of full metal jacketed rounds?
Maybe they don't want to injure the innocent bystanders in the next apartment. Too much penetration is a problem, especially in urban areas. And sure, expanding bullets do more damage than FMJ ball rounds; but I don't think they give a huge advantage in immediately stopping an opponent.

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I still assert that the transfer of energy from the round to the person shot is what causes the damage, as long as there is sufficient penetration and vitals are hit.
Hm... well, I can't argue with that. But I strongly believe that direct penetration is substantially more important than the shock wave.
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Old December 12, 2006, 03:17 PM   #21
nobody_special
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OK, I goofed. First, the 90+/-5% for 9mm is a 2-sigma error, not 1-sigma. That makes the argument (that .357 magnum is a better 1-shot stopper than 9mm) a bit stronger, but it's still not a hugely significant difference.

And I ignored the .38 special result, because I don't know anything about .38 special ballistics. There clearly is a very significant difference between .38 special and .357 magnum in the M&S data. Again, I avoided this one because I don't know anything about the .38 special round. One possible comment, though... the .38 special data specifies a 2" barrel, so there may be insufficient power or poor accuracy compared to the data for other calibers.
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