Caliber wars are fun. I’ve been cruising The Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy lately, and for whatever reason there are multiple threads in which some guy rolls in with the assertion that “ROROROR .40 SUXXORS”, while at the same time asserting that the 9mm is a superior caliber. To the .40.
Whenever people start talking about which caliber is “the best”, usually you’ll get three-five solid forum posts about relative muzzle energy, felt recoil impulse, etc…and then after that it just turns into a free-for-all, with everyone chiming in on why “Caliber X sux” or “Caliber Y felled an elephant with a 1-shot stop”. After the “five post” boundary, you’re also going to find a lot of refernces to “hydrostatic shock”, “temporary wound channels”, and fun stuff like that.
Which leads to Ahab’s Rules for Stopping Power – this is how I select my carry and defensive catridges:
- You have to hit the target for the bullet to do any good
- The bullet must penetrate deep enough to reach vital organs (aka the stuff that produces rapid stops)
- If penetration is equal (i.e. two projectiles that penetrate approx 16 inches) then a larger diameter bullet is superior, as it crushes a greater volume of tissue.
So, to put it in general terms, “penetration is king, but a big fat bullet is nice”.