Recently I read a great article by a surgeon entitled “Stopping Power: Myths, Legends, and Realities“, by Sydney Vail, MD. He talked about the actual effects (or lack there of) that various bullets have on the human body. However, while worth the read and full of useful information, I think most who opened the article looking for a definitive answer about “Stopping Power” will still be left with the question “Which round should I choose?!” or “Which round has the most stopping power?”
You could spend days reading the age old arguments given on dedicated 9mm vs .45 websites “Bigger bullet means bigger hole!” or “Higher velocity means deeper wound track!” and even longer watching YouTube gelatin tests (ShootingTheBull410 being the best in my opinion), and still not come to a conclusion.
I am about to make a very bold claim. I can solve the mystery with near 100% certainty. You have come to the right place. I am about to reveal the end all and be all of stopping power. The complete and definitive answer on what so many have spent so much time and energy searching for.
And the best round for stopping power is… The one you will shoot, and shootaccurately.
Now hold up. Don’t close out your browser just yet, you haven’t been tricked, let me explain. As the good doctor said in his real world analysis, round size is far less important than shot placement.
Don’t get me wrong, the size and expansion of the bullet will have an effect on the trajectory, wound track, and related damage… blah blah blah. But lets break this down.
There are a few simple factors that tend to be skipped when considering what causes the mythical “stopping power” and the first and arguably most important one is, can you hit your target?
Ask yourself a very important question, “am I confident in my abilities when it comes to shooting my firearm (whatever the round size)?” “Am I comfortable firing my carry weapon?” Sure, I can punch a big hole in an attacker if I carried a Desert Eagle with me everywhere I went, but is that practical? Not in the slightest. The simple fact is,the weapon you are most comfortable and confident with is the one that provides the best stopping power. Period.
In a high adrenaline situation like someone breaking into your home, every second counts. If you cringe every time you fire your 50 cal at the range (remember paper cant fire back), I promise you are going to be apprehensive when the time comes and real actions matter. Whether it be a .380, 9mm, .45, whatever, as long as you can put rounds accurately on the threat, you have the stopping power in your hands. Mystery solved.
Be Prepared. Stay Vigilant. Remember that YOU are your first line of defense.