What Is Stopping Power?

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Stopping power is the ability of a firearm to stop an assailant from attacking you or another innocent person. Stopping power does not refer to the weapon’s lethality (i.e., likelihood of causing death) but instead to its ability to incapacitate the target or keep the target from taking further action. 

Here at Powder Valley, we carry a wide range of ammunition designed specifically for personal protection. Check out the full inventory of supplies for reloading ammo at our online superstore.

Stopping Power Saves Lives

Self-defense weapons are intended to save lives. Sometimes the only way to achieve this purpose is to incapacitate the assailant. That’s what stopping power is all about. It means just what the term implies: stopping the threat to your safety as quickly as possible.

Doing so will certainly wound the attacker and may even kill him or her. This is why a self-defense firearm should only be used as a last resort.

Choosing the Right Self-Defense Firearm

The most powerful weapon is not always the best choice for self defense. Here are two reasons why:

  1. Third parties may get hurt – this is why a high-powered hunting rifle is a poor choice for self-defense. The round can exit the attacker’s body and strike a family member or passerby, even through thick walls.
  2. Powerful guns are hard to control – for example, the 44 Magnum generates enormous stopping power. But the massive recoil it generates can ruin the user’s aim unless he or she is accustomed to the weapon.

For these reasons, choosing the right self-defense firearm means weighing its stopping power against the shooter’s skill level and the welfare of innocent people.

With these factors in mind, let’s look at some good candidates for a personal protection firearm.

38 Special

The venerable 38 Special is a good all-around selection for self-defense. Here’s why:

  • It combines reasonable stopping power with modest recoil — making it a practical choice for shooters of all body types.
  • Ammunition is relatively affordable — allowing gun owners on a budget to practice more often.
  • There’s a wide range of personal protection rounds to choose from – including hollow point and soft point ammo.

357 Magnum

The 357 Magnum is the 38 Special’s big brother, offering substantially more stopping power while still being relatively easy to shoot. Plus, any 357 Magnum revolver can also shoot regular 38 Special ammunition, giving the gun owner a wide range of ammo choices.

12 Gauge Shotgun Loaded with Birdshot

A 12 gauge shotgun loaded with standard birdshot is a good choice for protecting the family home. Compared to buckshot, it’s less likely to penetrate the walls of a modern residence. Yet it provides enormous stopping power, especially at point-blank range.

There’s No Substitute for Shooting Skill

Choosing a self-defense weapon is only the first step in protecting yourself and your loved ones. You must also practice with your firearm on a regular basis. Your local gun range is a great place to start.

While you’re at it, remember to learn and practice the essentials of firearm safety. Owning a gun of any type is an enormous responsibility. There’s no excuse for carelessness that could put the life and wellbeing of an innocent person in jeopardy.

Powder Valley: Your Source for All Your Reloading Supplies

Choose Powder Valley for self-defense ammunition and other reloading supplies, including bullets for reloading, primers, smokeless reloading powder, and much more. Take advantage of our competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Shop our website and place your order today. Remember, we can help you to shoot more and pay less than before.