Tag Archive for Greg Ellifritz

Stopping Power: Do You Really Need a Large Caliber?

One of my main reasons I started “Heels and Handguns” is to document new things I learn and to share what I learn with others so we can increase our collective knowledge about firearms and other interesting topics. When I went to buy my first pistol (mostly for home protection) I was advised over and over to get something with good “stopping power”. I am in the Navy, a very male dominated group, even today (although it grows more diverse every year). Several of my buddies told me to get at least a 9mm, and my most trusted gun advisor told me, “You need a .45 – for knock down power alone.” When it came down to it, I bought an XD45, and never regretted it. When I pull the trigger, I can feel the power, it has a kick and I have no doubt it will take a guy down if the time comes. I also know that there are some people, kids and ladies who might be intimidated by a firearm and might think a .45 is a bit much. For those people, I usually tell them to try a .40 or a 9mm or various other similar sized rounds I never tell them to get a .22 for home protection, although they are cheap and fun to take to the range.

That was until…  I heard an episode of my favorite podcast, The Survival Podcast (one of the best all around survival education resources). The premise of this podcast (by Jack Spirko) is not only surviving the Zombie Apocalypse, but mainly just living well and surviving day to day in an ever changing world.

In episode 855, he gave a very detailed talk (geared toward the beginner shooter) about caliber, gauge, ballistic coefficient, and other terms described in a very practical way.  All this was very interesting, and while I already knew a lot of what he said, I did learn things I had wondered about but hadn’t yet fully understood.  The part that made me pull my car over and start taking notes (ahhh…. the life of a blogger) was when he quoted a non-scientific study done by Buckeye Farms association.  It was called “An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power”.  Basically, Greg Ellfritz, over a 10-year period, kept track of stopping power results from every shooting he could find. He talked to the participants of gunfights, read police reports, attended autopsies, and scoured the newspapers, magazines, and Internet for any reliable accounts of what happened to the human body when it was shot.  There is A LOT of data in his report, and you can read it here.  Jack Spirko got my attention in his podcast when he said that, according to this study, a .22 actually had a higher percentage of fatal hits than most large caliber pistol rounds.  This really got me thinking.  Listen to Jack Spirkos explanation of Greg’s data.  It is enlightening!

I am not going stop recommending a bigger caliber, but I think at the end of the day if you have any gun – it just might do the trick.  What are your thoughts on this topic?

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