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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As to bullet weights for defensive pistols one only need to look to the real world for easily obtained performance estimates.

Let us look at some real world scenarios.

What I mean is this:
Although their is a very real difference between hunting predators, game animals, and using a defensive arm.
One can estimate their needs from a similar body weight/size equation.

Think in terms of logic, forget the caliber issue/debate and look at bullet weights and hand gun hunting.

You are a hunter and you will be traveling alone in the "country" far from backup and medical assistance you cannot afford to be injured as you may in fact die before assistance can reach you.

You know that large aggressive hungry cats in the 180-260lbs range prowl for food and very brazen fearless wolves in the 160lbs range frequent the area you will be traveling through and you have read of other hunters who were savagely attacked by these predators and some hunters were fatally wounded.

These predators are known to attack quickly and silently often with no prior warning, you may only have the opportunity to fire once or twice, maybe three times if you are really fast before the predator will be upon you.

You will be walking on foot at times on slippery and uneven ground, climbing step rocks, leaning, reaching, and standing in uneven positions.

You will have only your handgun that you will carry under your parka to protect/conceal it from the heavy rains/foul weather.
You also know that visibility will be limited and their may in fact be periods on darkness, so scopes, red dots, laser sights are out.

You will be carrying other gear and may need to fire one handed and you will need to consider where your shots will go as the you will be traveling through several rock canyons and an errant shot could in fact bounce around and hit you or your horse.

Also combine this knowledge with the fact that hikers are known to be in the area so you will need to control you fire and account for each round fired.

Knowing all of this what bullet/caliber/and pistol do you choose?
Now, change from a rural canyon to an urban concrete city, you horse is now a mountain bike, the hunter is now a street cop, the predators are no longer hungry animals they are armed and violent gang members, many of whom have already murdered more people than those cats and wolves, what is your answer?

Change again, suburban neighborhood, your horse has become a stroller with two children in it, the hunter is a woman a mother and she is alone, storm came and everyone cleared out of the playground in the back of the now empty park, the cat is now a very large 300lbs+ man who has just smiled as he reached out and grabbed your wrist as you turned from fixing your daughters rain hat and the wolves are now two other men one is holding what is easily a 12" carving knife, he is telling you that he will bring you babies back in a "little while" and the other man has started to unbutton his pants.

What is your choice-permium bullet,standard bullet, light fast, heavy/deep? expanding, FMJ?

Is your bullet selection now different, should it be, given the size and weight similarities between the predators?
If you say only a fool would use a .115gr x bullet against a 280lb cat would a 300lb man be that different?
Can your wife's Jframe stop a 160lbs wolf, if not how about a 300lb man?

Would you choose a .32, a.380, 9mm, a .40, a 10mm, a .45, .44 as the hunter, as the cop, as the mother?

Will a reduced penetration fragmenting safety load do the job, how about a "mild" personal defense load?

Some of you will realize what I have done here, I have given you a losing scenario, it will take every mental/physical and equipment advantage possible for each person to survive and in each case only a firearm can save the "victim".

These are tough choices and I would submit that if your choices are really that different between a 280lbs predator, a 160lbs predator and a 300lb predator all armed and clearly intent on doing you bodily harm at the minimum that you need to seriously rethink the issue.
 

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Super post, David!!! My choices wouldn't change. It is my opinion that whatever will stop an aggressive 4 legged animal in the 200lb range, will do the same for a 2 legged one, or at least it should. To recommend one type of caliber/bullet for hunting deer, cat, etc., then recommending a totally different caliber/bullet for defensive use against a human aggressor is stupid, IMHO. In both cases you are physically breaking down the animal's vital structures. None of this b.s. "shock effect", "temporary cavity", or "one-shot stop" theories.
Both man and beast have a will to live, and to what heights it may reach cannot be determined beforehand. Some people want to live more than others, some deer or lions want to live more than others. Drugs and the effects of television complicate the issue, as does disease and hunger. The bottom line is, you cannot predict the mindset of your aggressor, whether it be man or beast.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Clay,
Thank you for the kind response, but this is not about what I think.

I am really asking the readers of this post to think, turn off the television, put down the latest three page spread of the SuperX commando model 634509 with custom this and special that, stop dreaming about stuff that your "heroes" in Spec. Ops will never use and think about the local "stop and rob" at 330am when you stop for a coffe and turn around to a 12guage pointed at your face.

Think about driving your SUV and ignoring the local "window washers" who want a buck only to realize that he is not holding a squigee, it is a Glock and it is pointed at your face and your cellphone is in your gunhand as you were talking and driving.

You are the person walking out of the store carrying two bags, calling after your kids to watch where they are going and look for cars when you are hit from behind and you fall on top of your gun with your hands full and wrapped in plastic bags, you can feel the heat coming off of the pavement and you wonder why it is so warm even at night, when you taste blood and realize it is yours, their is a whistling noise when you breath, you look to your left and see a man a stranger is forcing your wife into a car, where are your kids? Are you going to die?

What do you carry? What is it loaded with?
And how fast can you draw and hit with it and will it work now? Right Now!
 

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Good post. It reminds me that we need to be concerned with what really works in the real world. Not glossy ads and clever wording. If it’s not going to work, it sucks. It also reminds me that Coopers "color code" system is still very valuable. Too often I find my self sitting alone behind the counter at my business day dreaming only to realize I’m not being as attentive as I should be. But most importantly it reinforces the fact that if you have to fight, fight hard and fight smart.
 

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I always carry a Kimber Pro Carry w/ 9 rounds of 230 gr. Speer Gold Dots. My time for a cold concealed iwb draw, move off the line of force, and double tap at 7 yrds is about 1.75 sec. If I was caught at total suprise my time could easily go over 2 seconds.
I think only cold times are realistic, and those cold times are going to be a lot faster than what anyone will shoot when its for blood.

I have heard it said that your worst performance in training is the best you can hope for when its for real. Humbling thought.

As to changing loads and guns for diffrent
scenarios, train for your worst nightmare as Dane says. This means always using a gun and load that would stop a 300 lb maniac or 200 lb cougar.
In my mind, there is no less of a need to carry the same gun and load to the donut shop as there is for going to the bad side of town. If you have to fight for your life, you have carry the most effective weapon you can. Your enemy isn't going to be easier to defeat in comfortable environment than a hostile one.

Clear as mud ain't it?
 

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Since you cannot predict the mindset of the threat, you must be sure that you can at least be sure of your own. Col. Cooper's Colour Code is superb indeed. I often(shamefully) find myself slipping into white :smile: .
I carry a Glock 21 or 23 in an El Paso Saddlery Street Combat Holster, or a Sidearmor belt holster. My ammo choice varies(always a deep penetrating JHP type), but I check for reliability, and continue to do so on a weekly basis.
I find myself spending more and more training time focusing on very close(3ft.) one-handed/speedrock type drills, as well as incorporating my auto in my training, i.e. shooting out the window and shooting while opening the door, etc. Very aggressive and physical, ground gaining manuevers-offensive behavior instead of defensive in nature.
I think we hear to much about "Defensive" this and "Defensive" that. Certainly we don't go looking for a fight, but once it is on, I think we need to be the one's running the show, and taking ground instead of giving it up, so to speak. Circumstances obviously may dictate otherwise, but if one is given the option of winning instead of just surviving, I'll take the win notion any day. Just my thoughts :smile: . Sorry David for cluttering up your post.
 

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On 2001-06-21 12:52, David DiFabio wrote:
These are tough choices and I would submit that if your choices are really that different between a 280lbs predator, a 160lbs predator and a 300lb predator all armed and clearly intent on doing you bodily harm at the minimum that you need to seriously rethink the issue.
I can honestly say my choice would be different between a wilderness and street situation. For wilderness use I'd personally go with a 4-6" barreled M29 for it's ability to boost large, heavy bullets to high velocity. The way I see it, in the time I'll have to shoot I can probably get off almost as many rounds with the 44 anyway. My splits with a 4" M629 run around .32 sec on a 10yard IPSC target vs about .18 with my 5" Kimber. In the event that I only had time to get one hit, I'd prefer the 44 mag.

As for the street, the M629 and spare ammo is just to much to carry in the real world, so I'd choose the Kimber loaded with 230 Golden Saber with a spare mag on the belt. With it's faster splits it would be better when engaging multiple targets and I do have confidence in the 45ACP to put an end to hostilities. As for midbore rounds such as the 9mm, I think they are sadly lacking and while they can get the job done under ideal conditions, the real world seldom seems to be ideal.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dbltap,
Good observations even if you did bring the caliber issue into play.

From your response would you choose 240gr loads for the .44 and 230gr. loads for the .45acp? If so, then you are really "on track" and my "rethink" comment would not apply to you.
 

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On 2001-06-22 17:39, David DiFabio wrote:
From your response would you choose 240gr loads for the .44 and 230gr. loads for the .45acp?
What it really boils down to with handgun ammo is this, a bullet has four qualities that if maximized would seem to me to enhance terminal performance: 1) Bore Diameter 2)Weight 3)Velocity 4) Proper Bullet Construction. Maximize the first three until hit potential and speed suffer significantly. Carefully choose regarding item four.

Actually, I was thinking about 240 grains as the minimum in the 44 Mag but would consider up to 300. You could shoot a cougar in the nose and it would probably come out his rear!
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Actually,
I will have to dig the file out but I do have a shooting file where a 300gr. Hornandy XTP JHP out of a 4" model 29 was used by a NM policeman to save his life, if I remember correctly the officer fired two rounds, the first broke the suspects collarbone and lodged itslef in his leather jacket after exiting his lower back and the second round pentrated through the chest just below the armpit on a downward angle and lodged in the suspects pelvis giving him a serious fracture and dropping him like a stone, neither round fully exited the body or overpenetrated, but the pelvis shot gave him the "instant" incapacitation.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Oh,
And for what it is worth my secondary carry gun is usually a second 1911 in either 10mm or .45Super sometimes replaced by one of a pair of custom Performance Center 629s in .44 Magnum loaded with Winchester Ranger T 250gr JHP loads.

One of my "country" guns is usually one of a matched pair of S&W model 57s in .41 Magnum loaded with Federal 250gr cast core full power loads.
 

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I actually do hike/bike in cat country, and the cats have been known to visit the neighborhood too. Last one was scared out of a little old ladies garden with the water hose.

A Glock w 180/40 JHP or a 357 Magnum w 140+ JHPs cuzz those are the only pistols I have now.

Lottsa black bear too. For them I just yell louder/pedal faster. I'm too lazy to carry real bear medicine. :wink:

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: MichaelOrick on 2001-08-19 12:56 ]</font>
 

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My solution for all of the above would probably wind up being the same: my Colt Delta Elite loaded with 180gr Pro Load Gold Dots or 175gr Silvertips.

Why? I'd choose 10mm because that's about as powerful a handgun cartridge as I can handle without having my accurate rate of fire drop off dramatically. I'd choose my Delta Elite because it is very reliable, very accurate and relatively concealable. I'd choose the heavier full-power 10mm loads because they penetrate well AND expand reliably.

If I had to deal with larger-than-large-human sized critters I'd probably bite the bullet and get a .44 Magnum, or at the very least carry my S&W 610 6.5" loaded with Cor-Bon hunting loads. Past a certain size you just need all the penetration you can get in hopes of getting at the critter's brain.
 

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Interesting.

Awareness=avoidance. If one insists on walking around unaware, one must expect to sooner or later be unlucky.

If needed, only the gun you have at hand will do you any good. The rifle/shotgun one would rather have will still be at home/in car trunk/behind seat, etc.

Have a plan, practice the plan--often. Know your equipment. Stay awake. DVC
GLV
 

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always carry p32 with fiocchi 60 grhp but normal is commander or para p14 with 9 to 17 fed 230 hs in iwb or planner holster - if these don't work the up the s**t creek with some sort of paddle
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
On 2001-08-20 18:50, GLV wrote:
Interesting.

Awareness=avoidance. If one insists on walking around unaware, one must expect to sooner or later be unlucky.

If needed, only the gun you have at hand will do you any good. The rifle/shotgun one would rather have will still be at home/in car trunk/behind seat, etc.

Have a plan, practice the plan--often. Know your equipment. Stay awake. DVC
GLV
The most oftern quoted non-applicable generic advice possible.

You did not read my thread.
 

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I've always questioned how valid animal versus human comparisons are. Animals are generally tougher than your average human, with a higher muscle to body mass ratio.

The predatory cat in David's post was literally designed to be a brute force predator, whose hunting tactics as well as social interactions (with its own kind as well as other predators) demanded extreme physical capability, and an ability to absorb damage while continuing to function.

Humans, on the other hand, are omnivores who achieve their success through the use of tools. The vast majority of don't have anything comparable to the physical attributes of other predators. Some do get close to extreme physical conditioning, sometimes augmented through drugs. But those are generally the exception, not the rule.

I guess for me, the choice is the same as it would be before I read David's post: I carry the largest caliber that I can effectively control and conceal in the given situation.
 

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If I have understood the discussion so far I will agree that the bigger the bore the better. I also agree that penetration is vital. That said, I carry .45 auto commercially produced 230 grain FMJ.

Why? I don’t have an extensive collection or the budget to support one, so for purely aesthetic reasons, I chose the one gun type I really wanted (1911) and the most traditional and available caliber (.45ACP). I have tried many different loads: The lightly loaded 200gr hand loads were easier for accurate target fire but too prone to FTF/FTE for competition or carry, and all of the high-velocity-super-hollow-point loads caused poor second shots. (Most probably because I didn’t practice enough with them, but I can’t afford that so I have little confidence.) I shoot 230FMJ in the local IDPA because I want everything to be street-stock, I’m not there to win I’m there to learn and practice.

In life there are always trade-offs and compromises. In this case for me it’s what is the biggest stinger I can carry and have confidence. If deadly force is my only option I don’t much care if the target is a Hungry Big Cat or rabid ally cat, 300lb drug crazed nightmare or 90lb 7th grader. I liken my choice to a greeting card, I care enough to only send my very best.

I would like to hear what Mr. DiFabio, Mr. Givens, Mr. Higginbotham and Mr. Burns would carry if there were just one. It’s probably already posted out here somewhere, I’ll go look.

Regards, Webb
 

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The most oftern quoted non-applicable generic advice possible.
You did not read my thread.
I know GLV is rather serious about his training. I took his post to mean that caliber/bullet weight/weapon platform concerns are fairly low on his list of worries.

My weapon might change if I am carrying under a parka vs. concealed under a polo shirt, but my approach does not. I want to have the biggest weapon that I can carry and hit with effectively. In general, I think heavier bullets are better than lighter, bigger caliber are better than smaller, faster are better than slower, deeper penetrating are better than shallow penetrating, and expanding are better than non-expanding. Yes, I know there are implied contradictions in the previous sentence. That's why people spend so much time talking about this.
I also know that the vast majority of civilian defensive uses of a firearm do not result in a shot being fired at all. Thus, one could argue that, for most purposes against people, an unloaded 22 J-frame would be sufficient. So why do I want the "biggest weapon that I can carry and hit with effectively"? Because I train for the worst case.

TB., NC
 
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