Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A new contribution to the caliber wars,

including something I hadn't seen before: using an old Africa hands' KO formula for a look at self-defense ammo.  Well worth reading.


KM said...

Interesting read, yes.
But lots of opinion there that tries to wear the "fact" cape.
However, (45acp) even with traditional 'ball' ammunition, its greater weight and momentum makes it hit considerably harder than the lighter 9mm.

Ummm...no. Newton can not be ignored. Given that handgun ammo is fired from handguns, they deliver the same amount of "hit" as the *shooter* gets, albeit in a smaller area. That smaller area is also less able to absorb the "hit" so you get (hopefully) penetration. Amount of hit when it comes to effect on Bad Guy is preposterous. It just doesn't matter.

Buy a gun you WILL carry, not one you wish you had with you.
Make it a caliber you shoot well - as in fast and accurate.
Make it a caliber you can afford to practice a lot with - both physically and monetarily.
Buy the a bunch of the best modern bullets you can afford and practice with those too.

Peter said...

@KM: With the greatest possible respect, on the grounds of both momentum and Taylor's KO factor, the .45 does indeed "hit harder" than the 9mm. In terms of ballistic gelatin, the difference is very much smaller, as illustrated in my article. That's why I quote Jim Higginbotham, too: his experience in the US mirrors mine in Southern Africa.

However, I totally agree that you should carry a firearm chambered for an affordable cartridge, that does an acceptable job, and practice with it until you're sure you can put rounds where they'll do the most good (for you, at any rate).

KM said...

Peter, thank you for your reply. (also copied to Peter's blog post)
I give you that a large heavy bullet will "hit" harder against a fixed object. A 230gr 45 may knock down a pepper popper that a 115/124gr 9mm might not - which means absolutely nothing to Joe Bad Guy. He's a pliable object.
Talyor's KO factor favors heavy slow bullets. This means about as much as Marshall/Sanow favoring light and fast...nothing.
(a 240gr 44mag has the same KO factor as a 168gr 308? I guess we can throw sectional density out the window)

Trying to somehow compare what happens in VERY large dangerous game hunted with VERY large bullets to handgun effects in humans is kind of going off the rails a bit IMO. The two aren't even in the same ballpark. Hell, they're not even in the same league. It's an apples to bananas comparison.
Higginbotham cites a bunch of anecdotes. His "If you hit the heart, 3 or 4 expanded 9mms will do about what a .45 expanding bullet will do" doesn't square with what I have seen in a bunch of autopsies. (which is also anecdotal!)
Add up the permanent wound tracks between them. Which do you think is larger/did more damage?

We gun guys like to look at hardware/platform solutions but in fact, it just doesn't really matter if using a modern 38, 9mm, 40 or 45 bullet in a gun that works.
(hint: all the premium bullets penetrate well)
What does seem to work against humans is hitting as many times as you can, as fast as you can in places that house things *really* important.
The *caliber* should be BY FAR the least of our concerns.