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Old October 6, 2012, 09:56 AM   #44
Frank Ettin
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 8,884
Originally Posted by Amsdorf
...A well placed .22LR at close range will kill somebody....
Yes, but will it reliably stop someone who wants to do you harm? That's your real goal.

In fact, sometimes a well placed .357 Magnum isn't enough. LAPD Officer Stacy Lim was shot in the chest with a .357 Magnum and still ran down her attacker, returned fire, killed him, survived, and ultimately was able to return to duty.

She was off duty and heading home after a softball game and a brief stop at the station to check her work assignment. According to the article I linked to:
... The bullet ravaged her upper body when it nicked the lower portion of her heart, damaged her liver, destroyed her spleen, and exited through the center of her back, still with enough energy to penetrate her vehicle door, where it was later found....
Originally Posted by Amsdorf
...It's not the ammo, it's the accuracy...
Wrong. It's both.

Except for psychological stops (I don't like getting shot so I'll stop) alluded to in post 37, to physiologically stop someone requires tissue damage: significant trauma to the CNS, the breaking of major skeletal support structures or incapacitation from significant blood loss.

At the velocity/energy levels of most handgun cartridges, any tissue damage will come only from direct contact between the bullet and the tissue. So a handgun bullet passing through a blood rich organ will damage the tissue it actually touches as it passes through, and a larger caliber bullet penetrating more deeply will damage more tissue than a smaller caliber bullet penetrating less -- thus causing more rapid blood loss.

So yes, shot placement is important, but a small caliber bullet not penetrating very deeply will, even when well placed, still be producing only a modest amount of tissue damage compared with something larger. So --
  • More holes are better than fewer holes.
  • Larger holes are better than smaller holes.
  • Holes in the right places are better than holes in the wrong places.
  • Holes that are deep enough are better than holes that aren't.
  • There are no magic bullets.
Everything has a price. The increased convenience of a lighter, smaller caliber, less powerful handgun for self defense comes at the cost of less reliable efficacy. And the more reliable efficacy of a large caliber, more powerful handgun for self defense comes at the cost of less convenience.

One can make his choice, decide what's important to him and what he's willing to give up to get. But one should not delude himself into believing that a .22 will be just as good as a .45 or even 9mm for self defense.
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
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