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Old January 18, 2020, 11:58 AM   #14
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Join Date: October 31, 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,126
stopping power

At some point, you'd have to deal with that elephant of a question: what is stopping power? - in order to answer the original question. Regardless of round characteristics, the properties of the target make a big difference. For thick skinned animals, I've heard that hard cast lead with a focus on penetration is the way to go. I've read that people can be more sensitive to pain, but in certain circumstances don't even know they've been shot. The discussion about bullet weight and surface area / sectional density inside the barrel is analogous to hollow point vs. FMJ or flat nose design.

As it stands I'm assuming the original question about stopping power is related to stopping a human assailant, with the broad definition of "making them stop being a threat". Unless someone gives a more specific requirement, the answer will be a big "it depends". Pain compliance? Central nervous system hit? Blood loss / loss of consciousness?
  • shot placement is most important for effect
  • a larger surface area can technically crush more tissue
  • but a larger caliber round means less capacity, slower follow-up shots for the same accuracy

I'd say that if we remove hollow points from the equation that purposely stop short in tissue, most calibers from 9mm and larger in an FMJ or Flat nose are *more* than adequate to penetrate through a person if we also remove bones and clothing / armor / limbs from the scenario. But in reality, you can't remove these things: rib cage, cranium, angles, moving targets. In a rifle with enough velocity and heavy enough bullet, these things have less impact on the trajectory. But on a handgun you never know where the round will go. So you'd have to specify more requirements to get a more specific answer.
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