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handgun energy

This table certainly provides a great summary to help sort through conjecture with real numbers on cartridge type-bullet weight-velocity-energy. I took a subset of the information from the original to put it below, but you can see the whole thing at Chuck Hawks’ Handgun Cartridge Power Chart.  His chart format is much prettier and contains more than twice as much information than I posted below.

Opinions are all over the place as are a lot of various test procedures and results. You can get someone to support just about any flavor, but personally I am just beginning to get comfortable that there is enough energy to stop an assaliant when your defense cartridge delivers around 400 foot-pounds of energy. More is better EXCEPT if it is not comfortable for the shooter.

.38 Special +P is good.
9mm is good.
.40 is good.
Plenty of them will do if you will do.

Modern bullet design and powder formulations have improved things a lot. The .38 Special has a new life better than the old one.  There are no WRONG answers, but you should at least pay some attention to the details.

Caliber    Load    Bullet    MV (fps)    ME (ft. lbs.)
.22LR    CCI, Rem, Win Hi.Vel.    40gr.LRN    955    81
.22LR    CCI Stinger    32gr.LHP    1262    113
.22WMR    CCI +V    30gr.HP    1450    140
.25ACP    Winchester    45gr.Ex.Pt.    815    66
.25ACP    All    50gr.FMJ    760    64
.32ACP    Winchester    60gr.STHP    970    125
.380ACP    Federal    90gr.JHP    1005    200
.380ACP    Federal Hydra-Shok    90gr.JHP    1007    200
.380ACP    Cor-Bon +P    90gr.JHP    1041    217
.38Spec.    Winchester +P    158gr.LHP    790    280
.38Spec.    Cor-Bon +P    115gr.JHP    1243    395
9×19    Glaser Blue    80gr.Frag.    1555    430
9×19    Winchester    115gr.STHP    1225    383
9×19    Remington +P    115gr.JHP    1288    399
.38Super    Remington +P    115gr.JHP    1300    431
.357Mag.    Federal    125gr.JHP    1442    580
.357Mag.    Remington    125gr.SJHP    1468    583
.40S&W    Glaser Blue    105gr.Frag    1449    490
.40S&W    Cor-Bon    135gr.JHP    1300    507
.40S&W    Remington    155gr.JHP    1140    447
10mm    Winchester    175gr.STHP    1250    607
10mm    Winchester    180gr.JHP    1055    445
.41Mag.    Winchester    210gr.JHP    1300    789
.41Mag.    Winchester    175gr.STHP    1250    608
.44Spec.    Remington    240gr.LSWC    851    384
.44Spec.    Cor-Bon +P    180gr.JHP    1000    400
.44Mag.    Cor-Bon    180gr. Urban    1200    576
.44Mag.    Winchester    210gr.STHP    1301    788
.45ACP    Federal    185gr.JHP    1001    411
.45ACP    Cor-bon +P    185gr.JHP    1150    544
.45ACP    CCI-Speer    200gr.JHP    975    422
.45ACP    Remington +P    185gr.JHP    1129    519
.45Colt    Winchester    225gr.STHP    920    423
.45Colt    Federal    225LHP    900    405
.45Colt    Cor-Bon +P    200gr.JHP    1100