A new study from the FBI’s Training Division shows that overall, the 9mm Luger pistol round is the best option for law enforcement handguns, recommending departments shouldn’t switch their side arms to larger rounds considered by many to be more lethal.
Based in a combination of factors, including so-called “stopping power,” weight and availability, the FBI study shows that the 9mm round penetrates far enough, allows for shooters to carry more rounds, and is more widely available and less expensive than alternative rounds like the .45 ACP or .40 Smith & Wesson.
“Most of what is ‘common knowledge’ with ammunition and its effects on the human target are rooted in myth and folklore. … Handgun stopping power is simply a myth,” the FBI said in its report. “There is little to no noticeable difference in the wound tracks between premium line law Auto enforcement projectiles from 9mm Luger through the .45 Auto.”
The study — which was concluded May 6 but has just been leaked online — comes as the U.S. military is considering a new handgun to replace its decades-old Beretta M9 9mm pistol, and some law enforcement agencies are debating whether to outfit their officers with heavier rounds. The findings may also help civilian gun owners decide which handgun to purchase for self defense and concealed carry.