Friday, July 25, 2008

Lethality vs. Stopping Power

I recall an article by Jeff Cooper I read over 30 years ago. He told a true story about the host of a party who left his guests, went upstairs and shot himself in the temple with a .25 caliber handgun. The guests heard a little pop, but were not alarmed, as the host came downstairs with a band-aid covering the hole in the side of his head. After the guests left, he went to bed and died in his sleep.

That's lethality. Stopping power is another matter.

Studies have found that, in general, the likelihood of stopping a determined foe increases with bore diameter. That's a generalization, to be sure, because bullet placement, whether the attacker is on drugs, etc. are mitigating factors.

Any firearm can be lethal. Some are more likely to stop a determined attacker than others. For self defense, I recommend you carry the largest caliber that you can accurately shoot, under pressure. And for home defense, you can't do better than a 12 gauge shotgun.

That's for civilian self-defense. Warfare is another matter. Perhaps this calls for a followup post?


Stephen Boyd said...

Definitely a follow up post!

I have thought about doing a post on this subject, so I will be looking forward to having your opinion in advance.

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Fantastic article!

Sorry I haven't been around lately...too busy....

Anyways, I myself would love to carry the biggest and the baddest. However, when I buy my own gun, I will do so with legal ramifications in mind. No doubt, though, I will purchase something that's not going to be like a popgun. In a fantasy world I'd like a large caliber with hollow tipped bullets with teeth, kinda like the S&W ammo made a while back (it was later discontinued due to what some call legal "sheeple").

My favorite as to a shotgun? Something I saw on the Military channel. A bullet instead of a buckshot case, with a hollow tip.

Enormous bullet + hollow tip = big hole in bad guy.

I like Kelly McCann's name for my style of home defense: layered defense. Guns, knives, a good security system, and he also advocates dogs. Never thoguh about it before...I don't like dogs, but perhaps if I could get a good wolf dog that would be a good protector....

Please do a follow-up!


Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

I think I have the honor of being the first to join your forums, my friend. :-D