I have read many conflicting theories about the subject of ammunition stopping power. What is real stopping power? Is it caliber or is it velocity? Are expanding bullets better than ball to stop and attacker? Which brand is best?
There seems to be as many answers to these questions as there are writers addressing the subject. After reading Dave Spaulding’s article in the August/September 2005 issue of HANGUNS, I find that his comments answer most of these questions to my satisfaction.
Besides providing anecdotal evidence on the subject, Mr. Spaulding discusses specific brands, types and calibers of ammunition. It is however, Mr. Spaulding’s own theories that I found to be most valuable.
“Stopping power really does not exist. What we are looking to achieve is incapacitation.” In other words, “we know that any firearm can cause death by damaging vital organs in the body. However, death does not always result in instant incapacitation.”
“The handgun incapacitation problem or lack thereof, is not an ammo problem at all; it’s a training problem. Let’s use common sense and take a look at the topic of handgun incapacitation. Is a large bullet better than a small bullet? To think otherwise would be silly. A larger-diameter bullet will strike more tissue, which will result in a larger would.”
“By delivering two bullets about four inches apart, the chance of hitting a vital area is enhanced. Naturally, more shots would be even better.”
Mr. Spaulding quotes Dr. Vincent DiMaio, “a famed medical examiner.” Dr. DiMaio:”incapacitation was a direct result of where you shoot the suspect and how many times you can shoot him.”
It seems to me from reading the reference articles, that regardless of the caliber, velocity or type of bullet that one loads, the best way to incapacitate or if you prefer, stop an attacker, is to put numerous quick hits on the center mass of a person. In any event, expending a complete magazine is far safer than expecting that one great shot to down the adversary.
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”.
Last edited by shepsan; 07-04-2005 at 08:46..