Best Defensive LE Calibers One Shot Stop 357 Magnum 40 S&W 9mm Luger
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Best Defensive LE Handgun Calibers

  The best zombie stopper is not rated only by the power of the cartridge. If an 100 score counted for an one shot stop, then shot placement makes up 66% of that score. It does not matter if you are using an 40 S&W or 32 ACP, as shot placement is king. The 67% to 100% margin is filled in with how much internal damage the bullet is going to do. I hope this clears up some locker room arguments.
Listed in order of most powerful stoppers:
357 Remington Magnum
Bullet Wt: 125gr, VEL: 1450 FPS, Energy: 583ftlb
Above is the 357 Remington Magnum ballistics based on a 6 inch barrel. Velocity is about 1350 FPS out of a 4 inch service revolver barrel and 1160 FPS from a 2 incher. The 357 Mag in a snub nose is about effective as a 9mm Luger. Back in the 1970s, the 357 was one of the most popular police calibers. In the 1980s most of them were replaced by the Beretta 92 and Smith & Wesson 59 series pistols. There are a few sheriff deputies out west that still carry 357 wheel guns. The S&W 686, S&W 27, and Ruger GP100 are the most popular. The Colt Python was one of my favorites.

10mm Auto
Bullet Wt: 155 gr, VEL: 1265 FPS, Energy: 551ftlb
Ballistics listed are for a 5 inch barrel M1911 pistol. In a duty sidearm, velocity will be slightly less. After agents were out-gunned in the 1986 Miami shootout, the F.B.I. adopted the 10mm Auto as their official sidearm. The problem was the recoil was so great, not all agents could shoot it worh a darn. They made the switched to the 40 S&W. There are a number of police officers that carry the 10mm. What I don't get is that most shoot slower 180gr ammo that is about effective as the 165gr 40 S&W. The 10mm 155gr loads in a duty size pistol pretty much match the 357 Magnum.

357 Sig
Bullet Wt: 125gr, VEL: 1350 FPS, Energy: 506ftlb
What an awesome caliber. Crazy things happen when you push a 9mm bullet another 200 FPS. The one stop shot results are amazing. State troopers love the 357 Sig because of the excellent performance shooting through windshield glass and car doors. I am surprised a bottleneck shaped case works so well in a semiauto pistol. I really wish the 9x23 Winchester would catch on as it would give us 357 Sig power and the magazine capacity of 9mm pistols. In the last few years, 357 Sig ammunition prices have been coming down to 40 S&W levels.

40 S&W
Bullet Wt: 165gr, VEL: 1150 FPS, Energy: 485ftlb
The 40 S&W was developed as a joint effort by the F.B.I., Smith & Wesson, and Winchester. Because agents couldn't handle the hammering of the 10mm, they were using reduced loads. The 40 S&W was born and is now one of the most popular calibers for duty sidearms. The 40 S&W is more powerful than standard 45 ACP loadings, plus it offers more magazine capacity. The 165gr hollowpoint loadings from any brand show the best performance in clothed and bare ballistic gelatin.


45 ACP
Bullet Wt: 185gr, VEL: 1000 FPS, Energy: 411ftlb
+P Bullet Wt: 200gr, VEL: 1055 FPS, Energy: 494ftlb
The 45 ACP was the US Military pistol cartridge of choice for over 40 years. Even in the days when revolvers were the most popular police sidearm, many cops carried 1911 45 ACP pistols cocked and locked. With the light weight 45 ACP polymer framed pistols now available, there is renewed interest in this cartridge for police carry. The hotter +P 45 ACP loadings have matched the energy performance of the 40 S&W, plus it makes a much bigger hole. There is just something about carrying a 45 that makes you feel secure.

9mm Luger (9x19mm)
Bullet Wt: 124gr, VEL: 1125 FPS, Energy: 349ftlb
+P Bullet Wt: 124gr, VEL: 1220 FPS, Energy: 410ftlb
The most popular police caliber on the planet! The 9mm positives are: more magazine capacity, light recoil, low ammo cost, and good stopping power. The low cost factor is a big deal as it can save police deparments thousands of dollars per year. Magazines up to 19 rounds gives advantage over the 40 S&W in a shootout. Choose any brand of 9mm 124gr or 147gr hollowpoint ammunition as they all perform about the same. In some guns, the 124gr may feed better. The F.B.I. test in ballistic gelatin proves the 9mm +P works just as good as the 40 S&W or 45 ACP. See chart below.
CCI Speer Ammo (Gov. Test) Penetration Expansion
9mm Gold Dot JHP 124gr +P 13.40" 0.68"
40 S&W Gold Dot JHP 165gr 13.05" 0.65"
45 ACP Gold Dot JHP 185gr 11.95" 0.68"

38 Special
Bullet Wt: 110gr, VEL: 950 FPS, Energy: 220ftlb
+P Bullet Wt: 125gr, VEL: 945 FPS, Energy: 248ftlb
The 38 Special was a popular military officer sidearm and adopted by the US Navy. For 20 years, the 38 Special was the most popular police cartridge until the 357 Magnum was introduced. Even many officers that carried the 357, loaded them with 38 Special ammo for the lower recoil. What keeps the 38 Special one of the most popular calibers today, is the snubby revolver. Because of the lower operating pressure, the 38 Special performs really good in 2 inch barrel revolvers. The small "J" frame class revolvers are a hit with the concealed carry crowd, and work excellent as a backup weapon.

380 ACP
Bullet Wt: 95gr, VEL: 955 FPS, Energy: 190ftlb
+P Bullet Wt: 95gr, VEL: 1080 FPS, Energy: 246ftlb
Designed in America by John Browning, and adopted as the official handgun cartridge of Germany in WWII. After the war, the 380 Auto was one of the most popular cartridges in europe. Today, 380 ACP pistols are very common for concealed carry use in America. Small 380 pistols also make for very good law enforcement backup weapons. The best defense ammo is also some of the cheapest. Since hollowpoint bullets don't offer reliable penetration, the Winchester white box flat nose 95 Grain FMJ from WalMart is king. Clothed ballistic gelatin test show over 15" of penetration with this ammo.

32 ACP
Bullet Wt: 71gr, VEL: 905 FPS, Energy: 129ftlb
Don't look at the 32 Auto as a sissy cartridge, even if women love it. The 32 S&W Long Colt New Police revolvers were used by police departments from about 1905 through the 1950s. This weakling was a man stopper for 50 years! The 32 ACP matches the power of the 32 S&W Long Colt New Police cartridge. With the light recoil, the 32 ACP is gaining popularity as a concealed carry chambering for women. Don't choose the hollowpoint bullets as they can hang up in magazines. FMJ bullets offer the most reliable feeding and penetration.

22 LR Hyper-Velocity
Bullet Wt: 36gr, FPS: 1050-1100 3.6" BL, Energy: 98ftlb
A compact 22 pistol is not the best defensive handgun, but it is better than no gun at all. To be effective, you have to load it up with 22LR hyper-velocity ammo, and shoot the zombie twice as many times as you would a 9mm pistol. The 22 compact pistol is good to carry in a fishing tacle box or survival bug-out bag. In my experience the Ruger SR22 and Bersa Thunder 22 are the most reliable. The Walther P22 and Sig Mosquito can be ammo picky, but made to work. My favorite Hyper 22 ammo is the CCI Velocitor solids and Remington Viper.

LE Rifle Ammunition:


223 Remington (5.56mm NATO)
Bullet Wt: 55gr, VEL: 3240 FPS, Energy: 1282ftlb
AR-15 M4 Carbine ballistics will be about 20% less than shown above. Avoid FMJ and TMJ ammunition for defensive purposes, even thought the military uses it. All FMJ ammo does is punch little holes through the body, and could take hours or days for the zombie to bleed out. This is not the way to win a fight. Use ammo with soft point or spitzer point (SP, PSP) bullets as they have reliable penetration and cause a lot of damage. The more heavy 64gr and 75gr bullets offer no real advantage over the 55gr performance, so save your money.

308 Winchester (7.62x51 NATO)
Bullet Wt: 165gr, VEL: 2700 FPS, Energy: 2670ftlb
The reason the 308 Winchester is the most popular sniper round, is because most cops don't handload. Premium factory 308 ammunition can shoot MOA all day long in a good rifle. The 165gr loading is the best choice because it is flat shooting, with minimal deflection through window glass. Spitzer or soft point bullets for deer hunting work excellent. Remember the North Hollywood bank shootout? The 308 Winchester is powerful enough to shoot through any soft body armor the threats may be wearing.

LE Shotgun Ammo:


12 Guage Shotshell
Don't be a sucker for all the fangled shotshell trickery marketed to police departments, such as flechettes and frisbee disk. For over 50 years, the 12ga 00 Buckshot 2 3/4 shotgun shells has remained supreme. Is there any real world advantage with the 3 inch magnum shells? No. Plus you loose magazine capacity with 3" shells. How about rifled slugs? For state troopers trying to stop a car or truck, I can see where slugs could be useful. Standard 00 buckshot loadings have 8 or 9 33 caliber lead balls, and gives you a 5 inch pattern at 20 feet from an 18" riot barrel. This is far superior to using a M4 carbine to sweep rooms in a drug house.

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Best Defensive LE Calibers One Shot Stop 357 Magnum 40 S&W 9mm Luger 32 ACP 38 Special 380 Auto 45 ACP 22 LR 10mm 357 Sig - Home Buy Cheap Gun Safes

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