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Posted: 4/16/2003 6:15:17 PM EST
I am about to purchase my first hand gun. I want a XD Extream but what is the best caliber for defence? How about accurcy and stopping power? Any info would be appricated
Link Posted: 4/16/2003 6:37:37 PM EST
Guns & Ammo put an annual out that had the Top 10 of defensive loads as rated by police incident reports and the calibers used. The best ended up being the 40S&W 155gr Fed Hydra-Shok 97% 1 shot stop

1-40 S&W 155gr Fed HydraShok - 97%
2-.357Mag 125 Fed JHP - 96%
3-.45ACP 230 Fed Hydra Shok - 96%
4-.45ACP 185gr Golden Saber+P - 95%
5-9mm Fed 115gr +P+ 9BPLE - 93%
6-40S&W Corbon 135gr JHP - 92%
7-.44 Mag Winchester 210gr silvertip - 91%
8-.357SIG 125gr rainier JHP - 91%
9-.41MAG 175gr silvertip - 90%
10-40S&W Fed 180gr Hydrashok - 90%

I use the Fed 180gr Hyrda's in 40S&W in my USP40c. I like them.

I will switch to the 155gr's as soon as I can find them.

Link Posted: 4/17/2003 4:12:47 AM EST
The best caliber is the largest one that YOU can personally shoot accurately and comfortably. A 9mm that you can effortlessly drill the x-ring with, feel confidient with, and love to shoot, will be much more effective than some other caliber that you arent as good with and dont enjoy shooting. My personal choice is .45.
Only hits count.
Link Posted: 4/17/2003 6:37:37 AM EST
Ditto what Hawkeye said. I'd take anything put out by Gun & Ammo with a grain of salt. They're in the business of selling advertising. The fact that Corbon made the top ten list should tell you something. (hint: Corbon 135s underpenetrate and aren't very accurate.)
Link Posted: 4/17/2003 6:45:56 AM EST
Whichever one you can shoot the best. No kidding, try them all, and keep the one you're most comfortable with.

Some say the Beretta 92F 9mm is the biggest piece of junk on the planet. I own one and can shoot the crap out of it. It's NEVER jammed, ever. I've got 15 in the mag and 1 in the pipe, so I'm really effective with it.

It's only drawback, no night sights.
Link Posted: 4/17/2003 7:57:12 AM EST

Originally Posted By Big_Bear:
Ditto what Hawkeye said. I'd take anything put out by Gun & Ammo with a grain of salt. They're in the business of selling advertising. The fact that Corbon made the top ten list should tell you something. (hint: Corbon 135s underpenetrate and aren't very accurate.)

Actually, the way it read these were taken from the incident reports of one shot stops from police departments in the US. This was not their independant testing, but I suppose it could be skewed.

The fact that CORBON made the list is probably because they supply police departments somewhere in the country where a shooting made a report and the ammo listed was CORBON blah blah blah.......

Link Posted: 4/17/2003 8:08:55 AM EST
Best defense caliber: 12 gauge.

For handguns, whichever of the accepted self-defense calibers (.38 Special and above; I pass on .380 ACP) you can shoot the best. Personally, I go with .40 S&W, but I have not felt undergunned when using my 9mm. As the others have said so well, it's hits that count.

For a first gun, 9mm makes a lot of sense as ammo is cheap and you can practice a whole bunch.
Link Posted: 4/17/2003 8:07:21 PM EST
i agree fully with the above, whatever you are comfortable shooting, a .22 will end someone with the right placement, i personally have a 9mm, and while its obviously not the most powerful round, i sure wouldn't want to take 2 JHP's to the chest
Link Posted: 4/17/2003 8:33:37 PM EST
Link Posted: 4/18/2003 5:20:03 PM EST
Lots of good advice. Remember, 99.99999999999% of all you hear about one caliber over another is pure BS.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that the lower cost of 9mm ammo can mean more time practicing and so faster proficiency.
Link Posted: 4/18/2003 5:23:01 PM EST
Link Posted: 4/20/2003 11:01:25 AM EST
As long as you use modern hollow point ammo, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference. But if your held to FMJ nonexpanding bullet get a 45ACP.
Link Posted: 4/21/2003 7:09:45 PM EST
Make mine 45.
Link Posted: 4/21/2003 7:23:53 PM EST
45 based on anything other than "bigger hole"? Seems like from these tests energies will be similar, and unless you select the correct bullet you may actually underexpand an optimum .40 S&W.

The test length barrels on most of the .45's were 5" or there about, most of the .40's were 4" or thereabouts. Wonder how some of those 4" and under 45's perform in penetration and energy output?

Not to generally bash the .45 as I have one as my nightstand gun. However, the .40 is in the holster on top of the nightstand. Only because I WILL hit what I aim at with the H&K compact.



Any thoughts? Don't make this a bullshit .40 vs .45 thread. Just looking for what may be relayed as actual testing or documentation of performance.


Link Posted: 4/22/2003 4:28:40 AM EST
There is a whole lot of BS, conjecture and misconception about handgun ammunition, from caliber to bullet type, velocity, etc. and a serious amount of what researchers call "anecdotal" information. Having spent a fair portion of my life in search of the "perfect" handgun and caliber because I buckled one on with my pants every working day for a long, long time (and mostly still do) I am reminded of the comment from an old Souix indian in his 90's who as a young boy had been a "horse holder" at Custer's last stand. When asked what "really" happened, he said "People who were not even born then have written books about that battle. Me? I was there, and all I remember is a BIG cloud of dust!"

Handguns do not have "stopping power"...stopping power is a 1964 Ford Galaxy at 60 MPH! Handguns are "hole punchers", and really not very good ones at that. Big holes work better than small holes, more holes work better than fewer holes, deep holes are better than shallow holes, but accurate holes are best of all. Now, if we can place a big, deep hole accurately upon demand, we are approaching the limits of what the handgun is able to do for us.

Hollowpoints and/or other types of "controlled expansion" ammo are a means for us to make a bigger hole, if they work. Today's defensive handgun ammo usually works pretty well, but it is not perfect. Too much emphasis upon expansion can limit penetration capability and vice versa. In addition, real world conditions may place our three dimensional human target behind cover/concealment, moving, and in low light, etc., conditions far different from those encountered in a controlled range environment. The MOST important things in personal defense are awareness, mental conditioning, tactics and skill with the equipment you have with you when the event happens.

However, because the handgun type, caliber and ammunition are things we DO have some control over (unless we are LEO's or Military) we tend to get...IMO...overly obsessed with the smallest details and end up spending far too much time on things that really don't matter very much. Think about the term "one shot stop" for a minute. What, exactly, does it mean? If the impact from the bullet physically "knocked" the assailant down, it would knock the shooter down when he fired it! If the assailant is drunk, or drugged up, or enraged, he may barely feel the impact at all. If I stick you in the ass with a pin and you jump 6ft., did the impact of the pin "throw" you that far? How about a drunk at a party...what if we stick him in the ass with the same pin? Can you say "delayed reaction"?

If this is the case, we must depend upon a hit to the "control center" (brain) or "support structure" (spinal chord) or the "hydraulic system" (heart or major artery). In a dynamic situation, perhaps in low light, perhaps with multiple assailants, careful placement of shots to targets like the head or spinal chord is a luxury we will probably not have...certainly we should not plan on it. You may very well be able to place only a single hit on a ducking, weaving opponent for several shots fired. This leaves us with shots to the center of the body where the major vessels, arteries and heart all connect. On a large man a shot through the upper arm may have to travel over a foot through the body to reach a vital spot, and after it does so, a determined adversary can continue fighting with relative efficiency for anywhere from a few seconds to a minute or more. A minute is an absolute eternity when you are fighting for your life!

What does all this say about choosing a defensive handgun and /or ammo? Simply this...choose a RELIABLE handgun that fits and works well for you, and allows you to hit what you shoot at within reasonable limits. (I want something that will shoot into 2 1/2 in or less at 25yd. if possible) Load it with good quality ammunition that has been proven to work on the street and works reliably in your gun when you shoot it. Then train like Hell!

Because there is no guarantee that my ammo will be able to expand, and because it is an accurate round that is easy to shoot, and has worked for me when I needed it, I tend to prefer the .45a.c.p., but I can live just fine with any of several others. I can use the 9mm Parabellum if I must, and while I am not its' biggest fan, 15 or so rounds of WW 127gr. +P+ JHP can certainly take a lot of worry off my mind.

The "Best" caliber for self defense is exactly what Hawkeye said, but without the other skills and attributes necessary it won't matter a whole lot.
Link Posted: 4/22/2003 4:46:34 AM EST
Ditto what Ikor said. I have never liked the idea of "one shot stop" talk. I dont ever plan on firing one shot, and then stopping to see what effect that one shot had.
Link Posted: 4/22/2003 2:50:49 PM EST
Two sayings apply here,

no matter what they'll live for a minute fifty-five.


Shoot it till its not recognizeble.

The point is, it doesn't matter were you hit them there going to live for almost two minuts. So do you want them to be able to move and react(insert lung/heart/arteries) or do you want them to only able to breath, if that(see brain/spinal columm/center high chest hit)? And, don't stop shooting untill its adamently clear that they are destroyed.
Link Posted: 4/22/2003 3:06:12 PM EST
All the talk about Police incident statistics is neither here nore there. Lets face it, IMO, 95% of the time all an officers have to do is QUALIFY, and probably 90% of them only do that. Just because they were a badge, doesnt make them a good shot.

With that being said, I don't belive that Police shooting stats should be held as the GOSPEL for bullet performance....The fact of the matter is any bullet can KILL....From the 4MM, (yes FOUR.MM), asassination guns up to and beyond the .50BMG..


My personal preforance is th .45acp with FULL METAL JACKETS....FMJ's because I like having the ability to shoot thru stuff(car doors, wall, ect.)......

Just my teo cents, In no way am I, or do I claim to be a profesional.. Caliber choice is up to you..My suggestion though, Is 9MM, easy to shoot, and cheap so you can practice a lot.Good Luck..

P.S. The springfield XD's are fine pistols, I own 2...
Link Posted: 4/22/2003 3:25:10 PM EST

Originally Posted By coltshorty14:
I don't belive that Police shooting stats should be held as the GOSPEL for bullet performance....

I'm glad we agree. It is, however, a good metric to gain an overall perspective of bullet performance.

If you'll notice I've provide real world incident reports AND FBI LAB velocities, penetration, and expansion data.

Notice on the expansion table for some of the 45 acp that some don't expand as much or penetrate as much as some of the others. Some don't even expand as much as some of the .40's from the same testing lab.

I think it is wise to explore all the information and not use anecdotal, "I like 357 mag...." or whatever stories. I try to have a good understanding of what I am using. Not "bigger hole" = more better.....
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 12:52:40 PM EST
I don't buy into that theory of -- "Whatever you're comfortable shooting". The question asked was, "What caliber has the best stopping power?" By simply saying whatever you're comfortable with means nothing if your comfortable shooting a 22, or a 32, or a 38. With todays Kevlars and other tactical gear a 22 has as much potential of stopping someone as much as a sling shot! Make mine a 1911, 45!
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 1:12:35 PM EST
Id factor ammo availability and price into it.

Its hard to find .357 SIG in a lot of places. Its not nearly as bad with .40, but its more expensive than 9mm.

Lots of cheap practice ammo is a GOOD thing.
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 1:26:00 PM EST

Originally Posted By Lumpy196:
Id factor ammo availability and price into it.

Its hard to find .357 SIG in a lot of places. Its not nearly as bad with .40, but its more expensive than 9mm.


Lots of cheap practice ammo is a GOOD thing.

A very good thing.
Link Posted: 5/8/2003 8:35:20 PM EST
this is why my first handgun will be a 9mm

1. 9mm ammo is way cheaper then other calibers. Odds of me going out and shooting cans outnumber the possibility of me having to shoot someone billions to 1

2. If you hear a thump in the night, and find someone in your house, are you wanting to shoot a .40, .357, or .45 in your hallway without ear protection? Goodbye ear drums. Not saying a 9mm won't cause significant damage, but easily not as much as the other calibers.

3. A properly placed round is a properly placed round. Investigate a good stopping round for a 9mm and happy plinking
Link Posted: 5/8/2003 8:50:27 PM EST
.45 is quieter than 9mm, because it is lower pressured and subsonic.

Plus P supersonic .45 is another beast.
Link Posted: 5/9/2003 7:30:46 PM EST
If you cant wait for the XD to come out in .45 acp and you refuse to get a 1911 in .45 acp go with the .40S&W.
Link Posted: 5/11/2003 7:21:14 PM EST
If i were limited to 10 round mags, i would get a compact 40SW or a fullsize .45

Personally, I use 9mm's. I have a 21 shot 9mm for a house gun, a 16 shot 9mm for work, and a 13 shot 9mm for CCW.
Link Posted: 5/12/2003 3:45:36 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/12/2003 3:48:44 PM EST by green18]
Which ever you can shoot the best with. If all were equal then bigger is always better.

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