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Old November 7, 2018, 07:25 PM   #1
John D
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Handgun stopping power

People seem to always be seeking the "magic bullet, one-stop shot". Just heard a story from a friend that shows this just ain't always so...

He's a retired LEO who lived in an area that was suburbs/semi-rural. His wife had taken the dog out back and was confronted by a mountain lion in their yard. The dog stayed between his wife and the cat, trying to protect her. The cat was intent upon getting to her. She was yelling for her husband; when he came out and saw what was happening, he ran back inside to get his pistol. When he came back he then shot the mountain lion twice - once in the neck and once on his side. The cat proceeded to crash through a wooden fence, stopped by a chain link fence, and they crashed back through another part of the wooden fence before disappearing.

After calling the cops, they then proceeded to try and find the cat. There was a blood trail that eventually led to a tree the cat had climbed before dying and falling out. This was a 120# lion that had been struck twice by .45 ACP hollow point rounds and still had an incredible amount of fight left in him.

So, if your assailant is a 215# guy, don't count on that "one-stop shot" ending the encounter!
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Old November 7, 2018, 07:28 PM   #2
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A 120 pound mountain lion is tougher than most 215 pound guys!
If you don't believe me, put both of them in a cage and see who will be eating dinner!LOL
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Old November 7, 2018, 07:33 PM   #3
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And don't assume there isn't more than one "mountain lion" attacking you.
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Old November 7, 2018, 07:36 PM   #4
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A great article concerning handgun stopping power or rather, the lack thereof against a determined assailant.

https://www.policeone.com/police-her...mo-on-the-job/
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Old November 7, 2018, 07:39 PM   #5
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Many wild animals are tougher than you might think. The .223 was developed for killing men in war, but why do most of us use a gun more powerful than that for shooting a delicate-looking deer?
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Old November 7, 2018, 07:54 PM   #6
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Although there are certainly plenty of people who have been killed with a single handgun wound, historically 80-85% of handgun gunshot wound victims have survived.
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Old November 7, 2018, 08:35 PM   #7
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There are so many factors that go into being "stopped" by a shot and how fast. This might not be a complete list but you've got, in the least:

- Disruption of central nervous system
- Reaction to pain
- Reaction to realization of being shot
- Mechanical damage to involved body parts
- Disconnection of nerves to involved body parts
- Failure of circulatory system

Some of those are faster or more definite than others. Some can be a matter of degree. Some can work in concert. Luckily, every shot on target is a vector for one or more of those factors.
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Old November 7, 2018, 08:36 PM   #8
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.......and statistically more people are killed with .22's than any other caliber.
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Old November 7, 2018, 08:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoArk Willy View Post
.......and statistically more people are killed with .22's than any other caliber.
Which may say less about the power of 22 and more the prevalence of the caliber.

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Old November 7, 2018, 08:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
The .223 was developed for killing men in war, but why do most of us use a gun more powerful than that for shooting a delicate-looking deer?
Actually it was developed from the .222, to wound, not kill.
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Old November 7, 2018, 08:58 PM   #11
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.......and statistically more people are killed with .22's than any other caliber
.

That has been tossed around alot since I was a kid but never saw anything to prove it.

Statistically the flu kills more people than violence does.
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Old November 7, 2018, 09:24 PM   #12
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Folks might be interested in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nycYxb-zNwc
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Old November 7, 2018, 09:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Actually it was developed from the .222, to wound, not kill.
To quote someone on this thread, this theory (military wants small arms to wound, not kill) has been tossed around for years, but I've never seen anything official that confirms it.
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Old November 8, 2018, 01:44 AM   #14
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You could argue the cat was stopped, not sure what happened after the first shot but the pointis to stop the attack. Yes the animal had life left but he was no longer aggressive. Story doesnt say if it was after the first shot or not. Most 215lb men shot would likely be out of the fight as well, assuming they are not “on” something.
Caliber is not a substitute for shot placement. Quite the opposite. A well placed 380 will stop better than a poorly placed 45
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Old November 8, 2018, 08:51 AM   #15
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Here's an interesting study of handgun and rifle caliber/info..may be old news but interesting to me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nycYxb-zNwc&t=519s

Opps, sorry, already posted above..
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Old November 8, 2018, 10:50 AM   #16
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The latest and tragic mass shooting seems to refute the assertion that 45 acp is ineffective.
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Old November 8, 2018, 11:24 AM   #17
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Quote:
The latest and tragic mass shooting seems to refute the assertion that 45 acp is ineffective.
When are we going to accept the fact that lethality and “stopping power” are NOT related.

The above list of effects of handgun bullets is pretty good. The basics are that handgun rounds incapacitate in 2 ways.

First, the bullet must enter the cranial vault with enough energy to destroy the brain or sever the spinal cord. This is refered to as a CNS hit. Generally, results in instant incapacitation.

The second way is thru blood loss, resulting in hydraulic failure as blood volume falls below the amount needed to oxygenate the brain, resulting in loss of consciousness.

The best explanation ive ever heard was by an edged weapons instructor i trained with. He used the analogy of “timers and switches”.

A CNS hit is a switch....immediate effect
Blood loss is a timer...it will work, but its going to take time.
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Old November 8, 2018, 11:40 AM   #18
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Not sure who said it, but, a pistol is just the starter gun for the fat man's race to his rifle.

As a CC I am only interested in protecting myself and loved ones. The police have an entirely different mission.
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Old November 8, 2018, 11:40 AM   #19
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Shoot till the enemy is on the ground!
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Old November 8, 2018, 12:18 PM   #20
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I have blown the heart out of deer and watched them run 100 or so yards. Animals are not people
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Old November 8, 2018, 01:10 PM   #21
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Quote:
This was a 120# lion that had been struck twice by .45 ACP hollow point rounds and still had an incredible amount of fight left in him.
SO?? That kind of thing does happen. I watched a guy shoot a 20lb skunk THREE times with 158gr .357 Magnum (from a carbine!!) without stopping it. The shooter, apparently having lost confidence in either his gun, or himself, then asked me to dispatch the skunk. I did, with one shot from the .45 Colt I was wearing at the time. One .45 through the head was much more effective than THREE .357s through the gut. (yes, he was that bad a shot) Its not as much WHAT you hit them with, as it is WHERE you hit them.

Quote:
So, if your assailant is a 215# guy, don't count on that "one-stop shot" ending the encounter!
Don't count on ONE shot, whether from a .22 or a 12ga.
You can find cases where everything has worked, and cases where everything has failed.


Now, on to those oft repeated sayings...
Quote:
The .223 was developed for killing men in war,
Not exactly.

Quote:
Actually it was developed from the .222, to wound, not kill.
Closer, but still not quite there...

Quote:
this theory (military wants small arms to wound, not kill) has been tossed around for years, but I've never seen anything official that confirms it.
The 5.56mm (.223 Remington) was developed to meet certain specific requirements for bullet weight and velocity at a certain distance that the .222 Rem could not quite meet, AND do so while fitting in the AR-15 rifle. The already existing .222 Rem Mag could meet those requirements, but was a teeny bit too long to work in the AR rifle. Killing and wounding ability were not part of the specs.

And, you won't find anything "official" about the military desiring to wound, rather than kill. It's a BS story, made up as justification why it was ok to use the .22 cal AR rifle. Told to the gullible, and repeated endlessly in the half century since. The bean counters can show you the numbers, it is true that one wounded soldier takes 3 guys out of the fight (at least temporarily), but it isn't true that such a thing is a constant. It actually only applies to those forces who give aid to their wounded DURING the fight, and even then, the way we (and some others) do it, a wounded troop doesn't take anyone else out of the fight, except for the brief time his buddy(s) stay with him until medical help arrives. Medics and stretcher bearers aren't "in the fight" anyway.

The idea that the military actually sought out and adopted such a weapon as the best tool for the job is complete fantasy.

Quote:
.......and statistically more people are killed with .22's than any other caliber.
We do hear this all the time. We never hear any actual numbers, or any names of people who have those numbers. Might be true, after all, our military has been using a .22 caliber as the main infantry rifle for over half a century now...

Quote:
Statistically the flu kills more people than violence does.
Statistically, old age kills everything...if you're attacked by a 120lb mountain lion, or a 215lb thug with roid rage issues, you can choose to sneeze on them, or wait for them to die of old age, but I prefer different options.

Quote:
Although there are certainly plenty of people who have been killed with a single handgun wound, historically 80-85% of handgun gunshot wound victims have survived.
I've heard this one a lot, as well, and it always makes me wonder...just where these numbers exist as data, and what the parameters are...

Historically means throughout all time and there are so many different factors involved, a big one being the degree of medical aid available and another the amount of time between the shooting and any aid, and an even bigger one being the actual physical damage caused by the shot, that I just don't see how a blanket statement like 85% survive can be accurate.

And that leaves out the possibility of skewed analysis of the data, which is also always a possibility. If you've got 100 cases, and 85 of them were people shot in the foot (and lived), and 15 were shot in the head (and died), that data does support a claim of 85% "survivable", but how close to reality do you think it actually is??

back in the days of the old west, surviving a gunshot was always a 50/50 thing. You lived, or you didn't. Why would anyone think differently today?
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Old November 8, 2018, 01:12 PM   #22
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I shot a deer with Delta Elite 10mm, 155 XTP, bullet broke front leg bone, 1 1/4'' hole in shoulder, made quarter size hole in heart and exited.
The deer still ran 40 yards on 3 legs with a hole through its heart; this was not a big buck, just a small deer.
If the deer had been armed it could have used those remaining seconds to shoot back rather than run.



I've seen broadheads inflict much greater damage (1 1/4'' diameter hole all the way through the deer including both lungs) and the deer still run 50 yards or so.

So when I see people advocate 380 and 32 acp to defend their life, rationalizing it with statistics, shot placement, ... I'm like
A human on drugs (meth) or simply psychotic could take fatal wounds but still be capable of inflicting lethal damage, up to 10 seconds of voluntary action after the lungs are completely perforated based on my experience with deer.
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Old November 8, 2018, 01:16 PM   #23
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I've said this before. Humans are fragile. Compared to wild animals from a physical standpoint, it is amazing that we're the current apex predator.

Second, being able to kill the attacker isn't the same as being able to end the attack. It takes time to die from a gunshot unless it's a CNS shot. Zombie movies are a good example.
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Old November 8, 2018, 01:35 PM   #24
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"...Handgun stopping power..." No such thing. No such thing as a 100% guaranteed one shot stop either. Physics doesn't allow it.
Mountain lions and every other wild creature, spend their entire lives just staying alive. It's their job.
"...shot in the head..." There are stats that show head shots are more survivable than torso shots. Just don't ask me where those stats are. Some book I read long before there was an internet.
"...223 was developed for killing men in war..." Nope. It was never intended to be a battle rifle cartridge. Strictly an air crew survival rifle cartridge. Until McNamara decided the M-16 was sexy and jammed it down everybody's, the U.S. Army included, throats. Shortly after the U.S. jammed the .308 down the throats of the rest of NATO. Nobody wanted either cartridge.
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Old November 8, 2018, 02:42 PM   #25
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The 80-85% survival rate for handgun gunshot wounds comes from hospital emergency department and trauma center data collected over many years. This general figure has been presented many times in articles published in multiple medical journals. As for a 50% survival rate for gunshot wounds in the old west, medical care has changed a lot since then. Back then, gut shot individuals almost always died. Now the great majority survive with reasonably prompt medical care.

This figure derives from gunshot wounds overall, not stratified for location of wound or any other factor. I rather suspect that as multiple simultaneous gun shot wounds become more common, that the overall survival rate might decline somewhat. It may already have done so, since the figure I quoted is based on historical data.

There are mechanisms other than penetrating injuries to the upper CNS that can result in immediate incapacitation. A non-perforating head wound that does not penetrate the skull can easily result in unconsciousness. This might be considered by some a CNS hit, but not in the way most people think of.

For an assailant armed with a hand weapon, a shot that disrupts the musculoskelatal structure of the dominant arm and hand, or disrupts the nerve supply to it, can result in immediate effective incapacitation.

Injuries to the face which do not involve the CNS may damage the eyes or flood them with blood causing at least temporary blindness and immediate incapacitation.

Gunshot wounds to the upper torso or neck, or lower head my result in airway compromise or flooding of the airway with blood, which will result in very rapid incapacitation in most individuals.
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