When i first saw this thread, I said "Oh, no, here we go again!", but i think most everyone here has posted wisely. The FBI spent a whole lot of money figuring out what went wrong after the big miami shoot out, and wound up adopting a 10mm loaded a little light, and later, a .40 Smith and wesson for the majority of thier agents. The key is accuracy, and penetration. I would feel better armed with a 22 and some deep penetrating loads, like cci velocitators, or the Aguila 60 grain SSS loads than I would any of the the shallow penetrating hollow point loads. The latter will penetrate about 16 inches in gel, and would likely disable a person by disrupting the spine or a large artery close to the back bone.
Personally, I carry a 44 magnum, it has big bullets that move very fast in pistol terms. I am a grewat big guy, and reall strong. I shoot a LOT, like 200 to 1000 rounds per week. Most people are mucj better off with a 9mm or 40 or 45, their choice, but they need to understand that if the bullet won't penetrate 12 inches or more, it might not get to anything vital in nature, even with perfect placement.
By the way, there is no such thing as "knock down power". Energy dump, as it is called in self defense circles, is a scam, and what's worse, a scam that will get you killed. As one gentleman posted, lookin at the "numbers" a 5.56 nato is just as powerful as a 7.62X 39 russian. In real life, as was noted, the 5.56 is at best a crippler, while the 7.62x 39 is a fight ender, and a widow maker. The difference? primarily penetration. The 5.56 does penetrate steel better than the other round, but in flesh and bone, the bigger round does the business.
.40 S&W (any grainage, doesn't really matter) for me is the best combination of bullet velocity, mushrooming (for hollow points), and energy upon impact, and that's why it's my preferred carry caliber. Were it not for its propensity to overpenetrate, I'd seriously consider the cartridge fired by the FN Herstal five seven pistol.
Statistically speaking, if most handgun related confrontations occur in the hours of darkness, and occur within 4 - 7 feet, AND typically involve fewer than 4 shots being fired....
Then, though I'm a firm believer/supporter of shot placement born through superior training, I want to carry a round with the mechanical energy to drop a man-sized threat with ONE well placed round.
That would include everything north of a .38 spcl and 9mm. Use the +P round to minimize "shoot through" and combine that with effective shot placement (honed through training - and training under stress), then with that .38 spcl or greater round, you are more likely to win to fight another day.
Speed in presentation and delivery rank right up there with shot placement in my book. A .50 cal Desert Eagle serves no benefit if you can't present it and employ it when you NEED it. (Just an example - I love the DE.)
I carry a .40 S&W and/or .45ACP (both with hydra-shock rounds). But I'd have no reservations about carrying a 9mm if I could just find the "perfect" one... I'm still looking. It'll probably be a Sig P239, but I've yet to decide.
I agree most with the "On target" ideas. I think someone's sig line on this forum is on the order of:
"6 clean hits with a .22 are better than 6 clean misses with a .44!"
Amen bro. 6x.22 holes in a bad guy > 6x.44 holes in the wall.
Or in my case, possibly upwards of 17x9mm holes in the BG
Got to get my wife at the range more so she's more comfortable with our revolver (until I can buy her something DA). It's a single action .22/.22mag. If she can be comfortable with the single action bit, load it with .22 mag (recoil is non-existent even w/ .22mag) and it's better than nothing if I happen to be out and about with the 9 while she's at home.
I would follow The Gunny and ecocks words. Placement is the key. I don't care if you carry a cannon, if you can't get to it, get it out, aim properly and control it then you should leave it at home and carry a stick. Practice is the key. It sounds stupid, but stand in front of a mirror and watch yourself. Then draw, put it back and do it all over again. Keep doing it until you can get to your weapon, clear the holster and your clothing, aim and dry fire (PLEASE make sure your weapon is empty and preferably with a snap cap in place). Do it over and over again until you can second nature draw your weapon effectively in under 5 seconds. Remember, it isn't the devasting load you carry in your weapon, it's where you place the shot you have in your weapon. I can use a 38 more effectively than some bubbas with a 44 mag, because I CAN CONTROL MINE AND PLACE THE SHOT. Rapid fire on TV is a joke. Practice, control, and placement are the keys.
I was shooting next to an LAPD cop at Frontsight some months ago. We were scoring pretty much the same but when I looked at his target, there were these litlle pinholes, made by the 9mm Glock he was shooting quite accurately. I was shooting just as accurately but the holes in my target were signicantly larger as they were made by a .45 XD. Call me old school (or just old and simple-minded), but assuming you can control the weapon, I want the one which makes bigger holes.
A 230gr is standard and it was originally designed for a 200gr (The US military suggested to Browning that he increase the bullet weight to 230gr like the .45 Scholfield).
I prefer to think logically. I want the heaviest bullet I can get that will be accurate and effective out of my particular gun. I won't use the 147gr loads in the 9mm because their velocity is marginal a best for reliable expansion of most JHP's. Personally, I think of 1000fps as the absolute minimum velocity for a jacketed self defense load. Oh, and I mean actual numbers, chorographed from the gun, not something that the bullet company printed on the back of the box. 1100+fps would be better, but I can deal with the load being in the upper subsonic range (the speed of sound is just over 1100fps @ sea level) if the round in question is designed for low velocity expansion and it is accurate.