We’ve spoken about the so-called “stopping power” of firearms in these pages before, specifically in this three part article. Basically, no handgun has much “stopping power” compared to a rifle or shotgun, and we’d do well to bear that in mind. What makes the difference is where the bad guy gets shot. A central nervous system hit – specifically, in the brain stem or spinal cord – will shut down the fight right there and then. Anything else might not do so.
Two videos came my way via e-mail this week that illustrate that reality very clearly. WARNING: These videos show people getting shot, and in one case, getting killed. If you’re squeamish about such things, DO NOT WATCH THEM!
In the first incident, shown below from two perspectives, an agitated man at Dallas Love Field airport attacked police. He was shot four times, but was able to get up and attack again, being shot five more times for a total of nine hits. He survived them all, and is facing criminal charges.
The first video is silent, from surveillance cameras. The second was taken by a bystander, and the nine shots can be heard clearly.
In the second shooting, two criminals try to hold up a store clerk at gunpoint. He fires a single shot at point-blank range into the face of the nearest criminal, who drops to the ground, dead right there. It’s a perfect example of a central nervous system hit, probably taking out the brain stem.
That’s “stopping power”. One shot in the right place – the cartridge and caliber were basically irrelevant. It might have been a lowly .22LR, or a full-house .45 ACP. Doesn’t matter. It was in the right place. In the first incident, the first four shots were clearly not in the right place, because the attacker got up and continued his attack; and the last five shots stopped the attack, but didn’t kill him.
It’s all about bullet placement.