^ Indeed, terminal performance can drive one nutty.
I'm a research scientist - basic science - by trade and training. So you can imagine how much data appeals to me. There's so much of it, it's hard to make heads or tails without another context.
Towards that end, my background is biological/medical, so where it comes to terminal performance, I'm strongly biased towards the physiologic stop side of the equation: I believe in the need to physically disrupt the critical CNS structures or to induce hypovolemic shock, in order to stop the threat.
With that in-mind, my go-to has thus always been DocGKR
's data:https://www.ar15.com/ammo/project/Self_ ... _Ammo_FAQ/
Within the criteria of the testing above, there becomes no best/better: it's only pass/fail. Of those cartridges that pass the testing, the resultant list is not generated in terms of performance or personal preference, but rather, is just a list.
It is also this "list format" which illustrates the relative importance of vetting the ammo you select for function in your specific and unique firearm, rather than to judge that ammo by its supposed quantified performance. That we must remember that terminal performance is a byproduct of the projectile actually reaching the intended target.
So the question is less whether a particular round does more/less damage. It's a handgun round, it's gonna suck: if I knew I'd be getting into a gunfight that day, I'd have brought a long-gun.
And with that, we're back to the fact that the bullet must exit the muzzle and the cartridge must function your autoloading pistol correctly.
And we're back to the fact that you need to be able to shoot that load with the speed and accuracy that you deem necessary.
To verify both is actually easier than one would think.
For the former, simply make sure that your weapon will work well with said cartridge. This type of testing may be expensive, but realistically, as long as your daily concealed-carry weapon can successfully discharge its resident magazine and the spare magazine(s) that you carry on your body, that's really all that's necessary, no?
With the latter, simply shoot to a known metric that both has restraints of time and forces a quantifiable score. Even something as simple as the Vickers-Hackathorn "The Test" ( aka 10/10/10 - http://soldiersystems.net/2012/11/10/gu ... vickers-5/
and http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/1 ... ting-drill
), shot in its simplest format, will force you to perform towards the most fundamental of the BSA template.
If you score worse, given the same time (or score the same, but spend longer doing it), then is the juice worth the squeeze?
With respect to "overpenetration," my view of it is rather simplistic.
That any round designed to carve a hole is going to carve a hole, period. That there is no magic bullet that's just going to kill the bad guy but will magically leave any innocent unharmed, should such an individual find his/her way in the path.
In the open, watch the foreground and background. Rule 4. Understand how your movement as well as that of the threat(s) can influence angles and its interplay with the backdrop (i.e. swinging that close-up shot because the threat suddenly took a side-step, how much distance have you swept through via that arc, 20 ft. or 20 yards downrange?).
For home-defense, where lanes-of-fire can be worked out prior to the event, what are your no-shoot zones? can furniture be rearranged to offer a more solid backstop? etc.
So, again, this ties back to our performance behind the gun as shooters. The better control we have over the gun, the better we can shoot, the less likely that overpenetration or other backdrop/foreground considerations will be an issue.