Does knocking or stopping power exist?

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We have all heard the terms stopping power or knockdown power.  These terms are normally used when people are debating 9mm Vs .40 Vs .45 Acp.  If you have not heard these debates, they can and will get quite heated.  Everyone has their own sets of ideas and beliefs much like religion and politics.

But the whole “stopping & knockdown power” talk is a complete myth.  I was raised up watching John Wayne and Clint Eastwood shoot men with a pistol and the bad guy would fly backwards through the bar window even if he was shot in the foot and die instantly.  Yes, I know it is Hollywood and was more for entertainment purposes.  But it would surprise you to know how many casual shooters believe that KD power really exists.

I am not going to get into the whole 9mm Vs .45 debate here.  But, I do want to try and look at both sides of the coin of this myth and controversy.

The bigger the bullet, the bigger the hole=more KD power.


Negative ghost rider.

To effectively stop a threat your round will need to disrupt the central nervous system or create rapid blood loss (hypovolmic shock).  Proper shot placement is far superior to the size of your bullet.
We have all seen ballistics gelatin (which represents muscle) tests with different calibers and different rounds.  What these test don’t show us is how a bullet acts when it impacts clothing, fat, bone and tendons.

Will a .22LR “stop” a person if the shot is in the right place?  Absolutely.  However, I always want the odds in my favor and for me that is to carry more rounds rather than bigger rounds.  I am saying that is my personal preference.  I know that my 9mm is just as lethal as a .40 or a .45 round if it is placed in the same location.

In the event you actually have to shoot someone in self-defense, don’t think that your brand new 1911 that costs $1,500 is a guaranteed man stopper just because it is a .45.  You need to put as many rounds on target and in lethal areas as fast as you can.

Not everyone will react the same when they are shot, so they may be mortally wounded and continue to fight.  Keep in mind that down doesn’t mean out.

When it comes to ammo that will “stop” someone…it doesn’t exist either.  There are plenty of good rounds out there that offer great penetration and expansion.  But, they can’t say they have more KD power, because it is that mythical unicorn.
I have heard my whole life that the .357 is the best “man stopper” out there.  Hopefully by now you realize this is total hogwash.  It is a great caliber weapon, but it has no more mythical KD power than its’ cousins.

If I gave you the option to be in a gunfight with a .223 AR with only a 10 round magazine, or a .40 cal pistol with a 15 round magazine, which would you pick up?  And the crowd said AMEN.  The .223 is a much smaller caliber, but it carries far more terminal velocity and is a much more deadly weapon.  Bigger hole=stopped threat is not factual.

Rely on your training and remember that you have to put rounds in the right place no matter how big they are.  Don’t rely on your ever so slightly larger bullet that is going slower to be that man stopper just cuz your uncle Rick said it was.

People say that the .45 is what the GOV relied on for 60 years.  That is correct.  However, I work for the Federal GOV and I know there is a lot of money that changes hands and contracts awarded on good ol boy deals rather than what is the best.  FACT.  We go through spells when it is Ruger, then Sig and now Glock.  So, did they find fault with the other weapons?  No, it is about GOV contracts and the almighty dollar.

Well, I hope you read this and understand that I am not bashing people who carry .45 or .40 caliber weapons.  If that is your weapon of choice, by all means use it.  Just don’t think it carries more “knock down” power than any other caliber.

Fortuna Paratus Remunerat- Fortune Favors the Prepared

Shane Smith


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