GarandScience – Pistol Caliber Wars

Here is Mike’s video on 9mm vs .45 ACP in a tissue torso simulant. The Pistol Caliber Wars decided! For now…


Because caliber debates, like reliability debates, are fun at some level and can be done in manner that stimulates intellectual growth and betters understanding of how wounding science works.

That isn’t the comment section though. The comment section is the Between Lands, a space of angry pixels and dank commentary.

But wounding science and raw physics are always fun topics. The idea that one round is better than another. The various concepts that all go into what is needed for a disabling shot into somebody in order to stop them. Damage to the human form is a crazy and complex subject, as humans can be broken and stop working with seemingly innocuous superficial injuries or take an astonishing amount of punishment and keep going.

But before we go too far let’s look at another data point.

Greg Ellifritz’s study of incapacitations, spanning some 1700+ incidents, shows us another information point. While the video covers raw wounding power of an individual round per hit, not an insignificant point by any means, Gerg’s study shows us real world results over a wide range of calibers.

That result is telling. The major factors in winning a gunfight are…

  1. Have a gun
  2. Hit the other person(s) with one or more shots

In pistol calibers we aren’t talking about orders of magnitude more energy the way we do when discussing rifles. The wounding characteristics are best described as ‘enough’ or ‘adequate’ more than anything when it comes to handguns.

So, 9mm vs .45? Then, now, and still, shoot what you can hit with quickly and consistently with a good round in the chamber.

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.