Darwinian testimonials
James Rummel asks why many people who depend upon handguns in their professions appear to be so emotional about the caliber .45 Automatic Centerfire Pistol cartridge.

The very unscientific answer to James's question is that many users either survived a lethal encounter, or know closely someone who has, while using said caliber. Those who entered similiar lethal encounters with arms or cartridges dispensing less power, uh, are less likely to have survived them, so there are fewer people available to testify to their effectiveness. Doubtless many cops have shot their way out of such encounters with a 9mm, for example, but I seriously have never heard anyone in that business say "If the 9mm Parabellum weren't such a potent and decisive manstopper, son, I wouldn't be standing here today." I have heard quite the opposite, from people who were skilled or lucky enough to survive in spite of the round. Reports of orcs absorbing multiple hits from .45, or from 10mm, are met with head-scratching puzzlement, because they are so rare.

Consider the term Darwinian testimonial, though perhaps a better term can be found. I do not claim to have had such an experience either way, but I know enough people who have, and their consensus is that the 9mm is an inadequate round for the application, all other things being equal. That suffices. If recoil, expense, platform, or other reasons require that one choose the 9mm over a larger caliber, its lesser effectiveness could be compensated, say through training to emphasize shot placement.

Update: Please visit James's post, and the comments thereunto. This argument is as old as either cartridge is, and will not be resolved any time soon. Your humble narrator is mulling a further post on the "conceptual space occupied by a handgun" the better to frame my flimsy argument.

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