Stopping Power Chart

29 comments

I pulled this off the internet some time ago and do not recall the source, but it is interesting information. I believe it was created from information gathered by law enforcement. Perhaps you can confirm the data from another source and use it for your blog.

Regards,

Steve Lowe

Hi! Yes, it seems to be Marshall and Sanow’s data. The link to their book can be found below. These are numbers taken of actual shooting incidents where they knew the ammunition used. They only took into account center of mass shots, disregarded limb shots that would have affected the study due to inaccuracy of the shot placement. I think its a good guideline to decide what caliber and brand to go by, also the projectile diameter, weight and speed.

FerFAL

Stopping Power
Top loads for each caliber
Brand                      Bullet Shootings One Shot Stops Percent Penetration
Federal 308 168 gr Match                                 112     110     98%    24.9″
Remington 223 69 gr JHP                                   40        39     98%    16.9″
Federal 357 Magnum 125 gr JHP                     641       615    96%    11.1″
Federal 45 ACP 230 gr HS                              173       166    96%    13.9″
PMC 30-30 150 gr SF                                       44         42    95%    19.6″
Remington 40 S&W 165 gr GS                 146        137   94%    13.9″
Remington 45 ACP +P 185 gr JHP                     77         71    92%     12.9″
Winchester 44 Magnum 210 gr JHP                    71        65    92%      16.3″
Federal 357 SIG 125 gr JHP                              24        22     92%     12.3″
Federal 9 mm +P+ 115 gr JHP                          189      172    91%     13.9″
Winchester 41 Magnum 170 gr ST                      61        55    90%     14.9″
Federal 10 mm 155 gr JHP                                 20        18    90%    12.4″
Speer 9 mm +P 124 gr GD                                 74        65    88%    13.6″
Winchester 30 Carbine 110 gr JSP                     43        38    88%     
Winchester 9 mm 115 gr ST                               421      349  83%     13.7″
Federal 45 Colt 225 gr LHP                                36        29   81%     14.9″
Winchester 38 Special +P+ 110 gr JHP               49       39    80%     12.1″
Remington 38 Special +P 125 gr GS                   10        8     80%     12.4″
Winchester 44 Special 200 gr ST                        70        53   76%     13.8″
Federal 380 ACP 90 HS                                     96       68   71%     9.4″
Winchester 32 ACP gr ST                                 151      99    66%     9.2″
Federal 38 Special 129 gr HS                             77      50     65%     10.2″
CCI Stinger 22 LR HP                                        465   178    38%     7.3″
Winchester 25 ACP gr Expanding Point               204     55    27%     8.9″

BT = Black Talon GS = Golden Saber GD = Gold Dot
HS = Hydra Shok ST = Silvertip LRN = Lead Round Nose
SWC = Semi Wadcutter JHP = Jacketed Hollow Point FMJ = Full Metal Jacket

All data taken from Evan Marshall and Ed Sanow’s book: Stopping Power: A Practical Analysis of the Latest Handgun Ammunition.

  1. Why worry too much about 1-shot stops…you usually have at least 6 rounds, and even with something as underpowered as a .380, 3 or 4 shots in the center of mass should do the trick. Of course, that's the problem isn't it – most people (even cops) can't reliably put 3 shots where they want them. …better one well placed .22 than 6 misses with a .357.

  2. Totalinvestor says:

    I have seen/read so many of these "expert" comparisons. Here is another comparing 9mm vs. 40 vs. 45ACP.

    http://www.greent.com/40Page/ammo/9/9mm-advoc.htm

  3. That is a pretty interesting table My first impression is that it either uses cherry-picked data or there are some confounding variables that remains unaccounted for. I find it odd that some of the bullets which have a both higher velocity and higher mass (and thus momentum) give a smaller 1-shot stop percentage.

    Although, those percentages are all so high as to make me wonder at the people who say nothing but a brain/upper spinal cord shot will stop somebody. Something tells me all of those hundreds of one-shot stops were not the result of perfect placement to the brain/spine.

    Does the book contain more than a raw data chart, or does it contain data upon which a statistical analysis has been run? Processed data is a lot more useful than raw data, as long as the processing is honest.

  4. These data are clearly meaningless. Sorry if that offends, but given the small number of supposed data points in each caliber/load combo, the odds of a linear relationship between the bottom end (.25 and .22) and the high end are so low as to make it unequivocally clear that the data are made up.

    Here's a nice analysis:
    http://www.firearmstactical.com/marshall-sanow-discrepancies.htm

    Another here:
    http://www.firearmstactical.com/afte.htm

    Everyone is free to pick whatever they want from among the available loads, and believe whatever theories seem attractive. If bigger is better, get a 50 GI, I guess.
    http://www.guncrafterindustries.com/model1_50gi.shtml
    I prefer to stick with the fact that there's a survival anecdote for every load (i.e. someone got shot a dozen times and kept right on ticking) so this is all largely a silly discussion. I prefer the 9mm, in 147 gr JHPs, but I'm fine with the 45 ACP, too. You may differ.

  5. Federal 357 SIG 125 gr JHP 24 22 92% 12.3"

    Shouldn't that be 98%? Or am I missing something?

    "I find it odd that some of the bullets which have a both higher velocity and higher mass (and thus momentum) give a smaller 1-shot stop percentage."

    Just a thought: It goes straight through, the higher mass prevents breakup of the projectile when it hits softer objects? The lower mass projectiles break apart more readily and do more damage?

  6. "One-shot stops" depend on a shock to the nervous system resulting in unconsciousness. I do not believe (nor do I think the data supports) the idea that it is necessary to shoot the central nervous system to shock the nervous system.

    My experience is that there is no such thing as the idea that bullets just zip right through a target without doing damage. They have a smaller chance of damaging an artery resulting in a lower chance of death, but not a lower chance of nervous system shock. If bullets could just zip right through a target, we wouldn't use rifles with hard-nosed bullets (or they wouldn't be as effective as they are).

    The .357 SIG math appears correct. 100(22/24)= 91.67

  7. "My experience is that there is no such thing as the idea that bullets just zip right through a target without doing damage."

    Nerveous system damage… seems more like the discussion is about shock waves, in which case the lessons from a U tuner apply? I wonder if it's related to how the funny bone works?

    Sorry about the bad math qustion above = brain cramp, I guess?

  8. The M&S "data" was not collected in a statistically rigorous fashion and as such is suspect at best and dangerously misleading at worst. Note that 115 grain loads are rated best for 9mm when analysis of the 1986 Miami FBI shootout clearly shows these loads are inadequate due to poor penetration.

    The M & S "data" are misleading and outdated.

    Here's a "Firearms Tactical" link to an archived copy of the FBI's own "Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness" study, which debunks basically everything in the M&S study:

    http://www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/fbi-hwfe.pdf

    Additionally, numerous examples of people surviving (and NOT being stopped by) multiple hits with virtually every caliber show that "one shot stop" percentages are useless. If your life is in danger, keep shooting until the threat stops. End of story.

  9. Actually Bones,the Miami incident is just one case, and that's much worse point of reference than analyzing over 100 separate ones. A 115 grain +P+ JHP will have a greater shock and is more likely to stop someone than a heavier and slower load.
    Same thing is proven with 357Magnum loads, teh historic best load for stoping men is 125gr at 1400 fps, not heavier loads which may penetrate more but wont hve that same shock.

    FerFAL

  10. The Miami episode serves to demonstrate why statistical analysis is important. The only worry I have with 1 shot stops is whether a headshot with a .44 magnum will stop a 350ish pound boar hog that is charging (It does). Because unless I'm shooting a .44 magnum, I'm probably gonna shoot more than once. My only experience with "stopping power" is recorded elsewhere in this blog.

    I do think the data presented by M&S is seriously flawed due to a lack of analysis and a lack of a coherent data gathering strategy (which means cherry-picked data). Raw data usually looks really good, but is essentially meaningless with regards to a comparison between the variables. That is a lesson I've had pounded into me so many times I think about it in my sleep.

    That said, FerFAL is absolutely right when he brings up the point that kinetic energy (light and fast)shocks while momentum penetrates (heavy, and thus usually slower).

  11. Guys, Miami showed that all the statistics and data in the world are useless if the bullet doesn't produce a stop. The FBI was using 115 gr ammo because the literature of the day was full of mythology and bullshit.

    The M&S "data" is virtually meaningless because they did not use statistical sampling techniques. It's a collection of anecdotes, that's all.

    For pistol rounds KINETIC ENERGY IS IRRELEVANT. No pistol round has enough energy to stretch soft tissues beyond their elastic limit. Pistols make a hole, that's all. The bigger and deeper the better, making penetration the primary consideration. (Think about it – bird shot imparts a lot of kinetic energy and makes a wide shallow wound – and does not stop reliably)

    Rifle rounds (at rifle velocities) DO cause soft tissue tearing along the wound path creating a much larger wound.

    Don't confuse pistols and rifles.

    Here's some links to information collected on ar15.com and elsewhere.

    Best handgun ammo:

    http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/index.htm

    Wound ballistics:

    http://ammo.ar15.com/project/AR15_Ammo_FAQnRules/index.htm#Wound%20Ballistics

    The "shock wave" myth:

    http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Fackler_Articles/shock_wave_myth.pdf

    What's wrong with wound ballistic literature and common misconceptions:

    http://www.rkba.org/research/fackler/wrong.html

    Guys, read this stuff like your life depends on it.

  12. The data is only somewhat helpful. Shot placement is understood as the most important factor. I like the advice of a tank Sgt. Shoot until it changes shape or catches on fire. To learn more about what is effective in hunting situations, where the goal is a quick and humane taking of game, check out the extensive writings of Chuck Hawks. It's much like the choosing tires for your car. For optimal performance, different tires are better for different driving conditions for a particular vehicle, but of course, if the driver is lousy, it won't matter much anyway.

    a

  13. Hydrostatic shock at 3000 fps from a 5.56mm or 7.62mm rifle bullet is certainly a different consideration than a similar mass pistol projectile at 1000 fps. I wonder if any researcher has investigated the "hydrostatic shock curve" for both handguns and rifles and compared results? Perhaps what we have is a skewing of (individually) accurate information for different classes of weapons?

    I've always wondered whether the +P+ 100 GR truncated cone 9 MM (specialty round – 1500 fps) had more "stopping power" than the 147 GR HP's at 1000 fps. Perhaps in the lower velocities, heavier is better, and as you move up in velocity, mass becomes less critical? But what is that curve? Does it start at 1350 FPS, or 1700, or 2200? And what is the contribution to lethality compared to mass at lower velocities?

    It would seem we have confirmed conflicing information even in this age of quantatitive statistics.

    So we can all agree that a 1 oz 12 gauge slug at 1000 fps is more lethal than any pistol, as long as the point of impact is center of mass. 3000 foot pounds of energy is hard to live through. Heck, it sure hurts my shoulder to fire lots of them!

  14. Here is my understanding, for what it is worth. "Stopping power" is the capability of a bullet to disrupt nervous system function enough that somebody loses consciousness.

    The variables that I can identify are shot placement, projectile shape, projectile velocity, and the mental state of the person being shot. It takes a lot more to shop somebody who is juiced up on methamphetamine (or adrenaline) than it does to stop somebody who is at a resting state.

    No, there is not an equation to accurately predict the effects of a specific round, with a specific placement, in a specific type of person, in a specific mental state. To develop such an equation would require some very illegal lab testing because the historical data is insufficient to account for all of the variables.

    What I can unequivocally state is that I have been rendered unconscious for at least a few seconds (I think I lost about 1 minute of memory) by a shot to my abdomen from a handgun (did not hit my spine, but did hit my left Iliac crest). This incident makes me reject the idea that a person cannot be stopped except by a direct hit to the central nervous system.

    With that said, this discussion is almost purely academic. The standard practice is to shoot until there is no longer a threat.

    • I agree with Nolan in that I do not think that a one-shot stop can only be achieved by major disruption of the central nervous system. Specifically, the central nervous system is very difficult to disrupt without a head shot. If the attacker is advancing toward you or facing you, spinal cord is well protected behind a lot of other very important organs. The purpose behind firing at the center of mass is to reduce the risk of a miss. But if you damage the cardiovascular system such that the individual bleeds out, the individual goes down and doesn’t get up. Ideally you want to select the round that does the most damage THAT YOU CAN ADEQUATELY CONTROL. If you miss, it’s all academic. Larger diameter = bigger hole = more damage. Unless you are worried about the attacker wearing body armor, a well placed 9 mm will be sufficient to do the job. Personally, I carry a .45 ACP due to the reasons behind its development being specific to putting down drugged up Indonesian natives in the early 1900′s. It has never let me down.

  15. Anonymous said:
    "But what is that curve? Does it start at 1350 FPS, or 1700, or 2200? And what is the contribution to lethality compared to mass at lower velocities?"

    What, no one reads? Kinetic energy, "shock," all this stuff is silly, unscientific crap published endlessly in gun rags. Go back and read the links to firearms tactical!

    Why is self-defense supposedly so different from hunting? When a whitetail or a hog drops DRT (Dead Right There) the bullet or a fragment thereof disrupted the upper spine or the brain. Any other hit (short of splitting the animal into chunks) and it RUNS AWAY. This is true if you hit it with a .410 slug, a 500 S&W, or a 7mm mag.

    Guys that fixate on "hydrostatic shock" are just buying the snake oil used to lube people into buying some exotic "superbullet" or the newest cartridge/lightning bolt (9×23, .357 Sig, 9mm Win Mag, etc.). My personal experience with the 9×23 reinforced this view.

    Honestly, I'm unchecking updates on this thread because of the silliness quotient of the comments (and the topic as a whole).

    • The issue isn’t as clear as all that. There certainly are myths and good ol’ boys tales about it but there is scientific evidence as well. Just look up hydrostatic shock on wikipedia.

      They have found that shockwaves travel up the major blood vessels and that is how it reaches the brain. That may be why I’ve had heart/lung shots on deer that dropped them in their tracks while others ran for a short distance.

  16. @Anon
    The problem is that your viewpoint isn't established in any scientific way either. Both sides have a large mass of anecdotal evidence that they like to quote as if it is scientific. Did you not read my post? I was rendered unconscious by a handgun that did not hit my spine or brain…that incident alone refutes your position that a brain/spine shot is necessary to stop somebody instantly.

    You have your hugely unscientific sources, just as others do. You may with to remove your mouth from the kool-aid cup and listen to what others have to say. I did read your articles and they are about as silly as the original chart in this post. My own life experience makes that abundantly clear.

    The system involved is too complicated for us to address the issue in any definitive way and we are left with only anecdotal information (or pseudoscience BS). That is no reason for you to be demeaning toward people just because you have decided that you are right and therefore everybody else is wrong.

  17. "My personal experience with the 9×23 reinforced this view"

    Which is?

    I thought the benefit of 9x23Win or any of the super 9's was the same difference between .357Mag and 9mm Luger.

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  20. I am a researcher/scientist. The reason that there is no scientific data on stopping power and we are left to look through anecdotal evidence is because it is very difficult to get the experimental protocol of shooting an individual through the Research Ethics Committee. That being said, we have to agree that shooting into ballistic gelatin is not a sufficient test. Further, we have to acknowledge the wide variety of individuals that have been shot to develop the anecdotal evidence. Simply stated: fire the largest round you can accurately aim and hit the target with repeatedly. In my opinion as a physicist, kinetic energy is an overrated variable in shooting ballistics. I think momentum is a more appropriate variable as momentum (mass * velocity) is proportional to the force applied to the target over a period of time (Force * time). Therefore, the Force applied to the target is typically greater with heavier rounds. Moreover, the rounds that are designed to deform (hollow point rounds) are more effective at applying the force of the round to the target and will ultimately create a larger wound cavity resulting in greater tissue damage and hopefully death or at the very least supreme demotivation.

    • That’s one set of theories.

      As a researcher I’m sure you’ve read the FBI’s report and analysis of hollow points. They are great when they work and very bad when they don’t.

      If a hollow point hits bone, zipper, thick clothing, or other solid objects it is prone to deformation. It’s easy to see how one half of a hollow point smashing the hole shut has just created a very badly shaped solid projectile.

      When it works right it might flatten out on skin, layers of winter parkas, all the way up to bullet proof vests. You’re going to get punched very hard but it isn’t going to penetrate.

      That probably wouldn’t make a difference for a high velocity rifle round but that’s not what we’re discussing.

      A pistol round doesn’t kill or maim by shock alone. If it did a bullet proof vest would be useless. I don’t recall the FBI calculations precisely but they calculated the height a 1 pound ball would have to be dropped from to equal the force of a pistol round. It wasn’t far, it would hurt, it wouldn’t maim and it wouldn’t kill (well maybe if it dropped on your chest).

      The US Military “claims that the hollow-point does not result in wounds significantly different from full metal jacket ammunition in practice”
      http://www.thegunzone.com/opentip-ammo.html

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