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Author Topic: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR  (Read 40951 times)

LittleLebowski

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Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
« on: July 13, 2009, 09:29:59 pm »
***Reprinted and linked to with permission from the author****

When comparing well designed duty handgun ammunition, there are minimal differences in penetration depths and temporary cavity effects, as noted below in the gel shots by Doug Carr:


 

As you increase bullet size and mass from 9 mm/357 Sig, to .40 S&W, to .45 ACP, more tissue is crushed, resulting in a larger permanent cavity. In addition, the larger bullets often offer better performance through intermediate barriers. For some, the incremental advantages of the larger calibers are offset by weapon platform characteristics. As is quite obvious from the photo above, NONE of the common service pistol calibers generate temporary cavities of sufficient magnitude to cause significant tissue damage. Anyone interested in this topic should read and periodically re-read, "Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness" by Urey Patrick of the FBI FTU, as this remains the single best discussion of the wound ballistic requirements of handguns used for self-defense -- it is available at: http://www.firearmstactical.com/hwfe.htm .



Keeping in mind that handguns generally offer poor incapacitation potential, bullets with effective terminal performance are available in all of the most commonly used duty pistol calibers--pick the one that you shoot most accurately, that is most reliable in the type of pistol you choose, and best suits you likely engagement scenarios.

The following loads all demonstrate outstanding terminal performance and can be considered acceptable for duty/self-defense use:

9 mm:
Barnes XPB 105 & 115 gr JHP (copper bullet)
Federal Tactical 124 gr JHP (LE9T1)
Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +P JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 124 gr +P JHP (RA9124TP)
Winchester Partition Gold 124 gr JHP (RA91P)
Winchester Ranger-T 127 gr +P+ JHP (RA9TA)
Federal Tactical 135 gr +P JHP (LE9T5)
Federal HST 147 gr JHP (P9HST2)
Remington Golden Saber 147 gr JHP (GS9MMC)
Speer Gold Dot 147 gr JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 147 gr JHP (RA9T)
Winchester 147 gr bonded JHP (RA9B/Q4364)

.40 S&W:
Barnes XPB 140 & 155 gr JHP (copper bullet)
Speer Gold Dot 155 gr JHP
Federal Tactical 165 gr JHP (LE40T3)
Winchester Ranger-T 165 gr JHP (RA40TA)
Winchester Partition Gold 165 gr JHP (RA401P)
Federal HST 180 gr JHP (P40HST1)
Federal Tactical 180 gr JHP (LE40T1)
Remington Golden Saber 180 gr JHP (GS40SWB)
Speer Gold Dot 180 gr JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 180 gr JHP (RA40T)
Winchester 180 gr bonded JHP (Q4355)

.45 ACP:
Barnes XPB 160 & 185 gr JHP (copper bullet)
Federal HST 230 gr JHP (P45HST2)
Federal HST 230 gr +P JHP (P45HST1)
Federal Tactical 230 gr JHP (LE45T1)
Speer Gold Dot 230 gr JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 230 gr JHP (RA45T)
Winchester Ranger-T 230 gr +P JHP (RA45TP)

Notes:
-- Obviously, clone loads using the same bullet at the same velocity work equally well (ie. Black Hills ammo using Gold Dot bullets, Corbon loads using Barnes XPB bullets, etc...)

-- Bullet designs like the Silver Tip, Hydra-Shok, and Black Talon were state of the art 15 or 20 years ago. These older bullets tend to plug up and act like FMJ projectiles when shot through heavy clothing; they also often have significant degradation in terminal performance after first passing through intermediate barriers. Modern ammunition which has been designed for robust expansion against clothing and intermediate barriers is significantly superior to the older designs. The bullets in the Federal Classic and Hydrashok line are outperformed by other ATK products such as the Federal Tactical and HST, as well as the Speer Gold Dot; likewise Winchester Ranger Talons are far superior to the old Black Talons or civilian SXT's.

----------------------------------------

Basically all the standard service calibers work when fed good quality ammunition. The platform picked tends to dictate the caliber. For example, Glocks and Sigs tend to run best in 9 mm; the S&W M&P is the first .40 S&W pistol that seems to offer an ideal ergonomic and shooter friendly package; while a properly customized 5" steel-frame single-stack 1911 in .45 ACP is a superb, unparalleled choice for the dedicated user willing to spend a significant amount of money to get it properly initially set-up and considerable time to maintain it. For folks who want a .45 ACP pistol, but don't want to invest the funds and effort into getting a good 1911, they would be better served with a S&W .45 ACP M&P, HK45, S&W 4566, or possibly the SA .45 ACP XD.

Whatever you choose, make sure you fire at least 500 and preferably 1000 failure free shots through your pistol prior to using it for duty. If your pistol cannot fire at least 1000 consecutive shots without a malfunction, something is wrong and it is not suitable for duty/self-defense use.

------------------------------------------

The keys are:

-- Cultivate a warrior mindset
-- Invest in competent, thorough initial training and then maintain skills with regular ongoing practice
-- Acquire a reliable and durable weapon system
-- Purchase a consistent, robust performing duty/self-defense load in sufficient quantities (at least 1000 rounds) then STOP worrying about the nuances 
   of handgun ammunition terminal performance.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2009, 09:31:24 am by LittleLebowski »

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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #1 on: August 06, 2009, 12:03:48 am »
    ***Reprinted and linked to with permission from the author****

    As you increase bullet size and mass from 9 mm/357 Sig, to .40 S&W, to .45 ACP, more tissue is crushed, resulting in a larger permanent cavity. ”

    I would argue in the picture above that the .357 sig shows the most tissue trauma since the simpathetic shockwaves in the gel along the channel of penetration cover significantly more area or volume.  The channel wound looks much more violent and devistating beyond penetration point.

    My favorite defensive round is made by Extreme Shock. 
    http://www.extremeshockusa.com/cgistore/store.cgi?page=/new/product_info.html&setup=1&cart_id=3128051.748
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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #2 on: August 06, 2009, 12:17:33 am »
    Video


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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #3 on: August 06, 2009, 12:48:32 am »
    Video

    I'll keep them in mind when the watermelons and 2.5 gallon jugs attack. Until then, I think I'll pick something that won't just make a big flesh wound. And actually, even then, I think I won't pick something that overpenetrates walls but underpenetrates people.

    Also, if you read the OP thoroughly, you would notice that it says that the temporary cavities caused by the handgun ammo aren't large enough for reliable damage. Most of the flesh of a human body is elastic, the temporary cavity does minimal damage on it.
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    LittleLebowski

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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #4 on: August 06, 2009, 07:41:44 am »
    I would argue in the picture above that the .357 sig shows the most tissue trauma since the simpathetic shockwaves in the gel along the channel of penetration cover significantly more area or volume.  The channel wound looks much more violent and devistating beyond penetration point.

    My favorite defensive round is made by Extreme Shock.  
    http://www.extremeshockusa.com/cgistore/store.cgi?page=/new/product_info.html&setup=1&cart_id=3128051.748

      Let me quote DocGKR again:  "Keeping in mind that handguns generally offer poor incapacitation potential, bullets with effective terminal performance are available in all of the most commonly used duty pistol calibers--pick the one that you shoot most accurately, that is most reliable in the type of pistol you choose, and best suits you likely engagement scenarios."

      Doc has also analyzed Extreme Shock and found their claims to be almost entirely unprovable hype.  
    « Last Edit: August 08, 2009, 11:12:36 am by LittleLebowski »

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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #5 on: August 08, 2009, 12:03:35 am »
    I'll keep them in mind when the watermelons and 2.5 gallon jugs attack. Until then, I think I'll pick something that won't just make a big flesh wound.

    Oh, yes Mr.Fluffy, I forgot how much more deadly inert blocks of ballistic gel are. 

    When I get more time I will post pictures of wild game that probably weighs twice as much as you do, killed with one shot by otherwise small pistol calibers that are illegal to hunt with in most states.

    BTW, most defensive shootings occur inside three feet.  What majic rounds are you shooting that will not go through your target at that range?

    Use what ever ammo you want to roll with, I could care less.  I'm mearly stating what I have used and I've seen the damage done on live game personally because I've actually tested it and found it to gut out a chest cavity and turn organs and muscle into jello much like the  watermellon in the video.

    I didn't dispute the above data, it's well written.  I did make some personal observations based on my 38 years of hunting and reloading experience and 42 years of shooting experience and the damage done to tissue and organs of live game by various pistol and rifle rounds.

    So Mr. Hitman, what is the best defensive round to protect yourself from those oh so evil and deadly blocks of ballistic gell?  Amazing you are still alive to tell us about it.

    Just curious...

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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #6 on: August 08, 2009, 12:33:12 am »
      Let me quote DocGKR again:  "Keeping in mind that handguns generally offer poor incapacitation potential, bullets with effective terminal performance are available in all of the most commonly used duty pistol calibers—pick the one that you shoot most accurately, that is most reliable in the type of pistol you choose, and best suits you likely engagement scenarios."[/b]

      Doc has also analyzed Extreme Shock and found their claims to be almost entirely unprovable hype. 


    Agreed on the quote from the Doc, LittleLebowski. As I said, I don't dispute the post.  As for Doc's analysis of Extreme Shock, I'd be interested in what he found.  Especially the tests on live (or dead for that matter) subjects such as big game comparing internal organ and muscle trauma. 

    You saw the 275 lb boar in the above video get taken down by a .45?  All videos I've seen of bear, boar etc fell over just like that animal, (including the animals I've shot) they seem to just stand there for a second or three then just keel over.  The discriptions of the internals turning to soup are the same as what I've experienced.  I'll post some examples when I get more time I promise, just too much on my plate right now between work, kids and prior commitments. 

    Oh, while the rifle rounds work great for hunting and bringing down large game, I won't use them anymore for that purpose because of all the meat that is ruined.  Lesson learned.

    Extreme SHock make several types of rounds like the FF which has deeper penetration then the AFR.

    Watch this space.
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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #7 on: August 08, 2009, 12:53:56 am »
    From the link provided by the good Doc in the above article:

    In order to predict the likelihood of incapacitation with any handgun round, an understanding of the mechanics of wounding is necessary.  There are four components of projectile wounding.  Not all of these components relate to incapacitation, but each of them must be considered.  They are:
    1. Penetration.  The tissue through which the projectile passes, and which it disrupts or destroys.
    2. Permanent Cavity.  The volume of space once occupied by tissue that has been destroyed by the passage of the projectile.  THis is a function of penetration and the frontal area of the projectile.  Quite simply, it is the hole left by the passage of the bullet.
    3. Temprorary Cavity. The expansion of the permanent cavity by stretching due to the transfer of kinetic energy during the projectile's passage.
    4. Fragmentation.  etc...

    Read the whole PDF, good stuff.

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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #8 on: August 08, 2009, 01:39:45 am »
     Magic Bullets

    There are a lot of misconceptions about bullets and how they work.  There is no voodoo to what a projectile does.  There is no mystery.  There is only ignorance and misunderstanding.  So, the next time you see a full color 2 page advertisement for some wonderfully tactical ammunition that is obviously used by every Special Forces Ninja out there... take it with a grain of salt.

    Let's take a look at how a bullet stops a bad guy.  Lots of people who read gun magazines and little else use a certain phrase way too much.  "One Shot Stop".  These are the same guys that go on and on about bullets and loads and are always searching for that Magic Bullet.  The "Black Arrow" that will slay evil even if it misses.  There is no such thing.  Some hollow points are better at certain aspects of bullet performance than others... but in effect, they all do the same thing.  Make holes.  The trick is to make the holes where they do the most damage.  This is called "Shot Placement" and is the most critically important aspect of a bullet wound.

    There is more than one way to skin a cat.  There is also more than one way for the bullet to stop a threat.

    1. Hydraulically.  Making the target bleed out. Once a human looses enough blood, he goes into Hypovolemic shock.  Hypovolemic shock refers to a medical or surgical condition in which rapid fluid loss results in multiple organ failure due to inadequate tissue perfusion. Most often, Hypovolemic shock is secondary to rapid blood loss (hemorrhagic shock).  The cardiovascular system initially responds to Hypovolemic shock by increasing the heart rate, increasing myocardial contractility, and constricting peripheral blood vessels.   This means to you and I that shots to extremities get a biological response that naturally reduces the loss of blood.  A center mass hit is required to insure this rapid loss of blood.   If you aim Center Of Mass (COM from now on) the bullet has the best chances of penetrating deeply into vital internal organs.

    2.  Structurally.  The human body is built on a solid framework we call the skeleton.  Certain bones in the skeleton support the whole weight of body.  I'm talking about the legs and the pelvis. A shot that hits and shatters one of these bones disrupts the structure and causes a collapse. Actually making this shot is difficult as the legs are much thicker than the actual bone.  There is another downside to that kinda of a shot, and that is the subject may still have some fight left in him.  He may not be able to stand, and probably wont be doing any tap dancing for some time, but if he is armed, he is still a threat.  He just might still be able to take a shot back at you.

    3.  Electrically.   CNS.  Central Nervous System.  The nervous system in the human body is basically like electric wiring and all the wires run to the brain via the conduit called the central nervous system.  It's located in the spine.  Sounds easy enough, but really this is where it gets complicated.  If you fire a shot that hits the spine and severs the CNS, you've disrupted the electrical system.  But only everything "Down Stream" from that wound.  That could be a problem.  If it was a COM shot and you hit the subject in the spin in the middle of the back, he will not be able to use his legs, but the upper body is still connected and functional.  The subject could still return fire.  The place that you want to hit to turn the subject off like a light switch is a very small target.  You want to hit the Medulla Oblongata. It is the size of a Grade A Medium egg, it is nested in a protective covering of very solid bone.  Making that shot with a handgun is unlikely.  Unless your subject is bound and kneeling in front of you and your about to give him the Mafia Classic "Two shots to the back of the head"... don't even think about taking that shot.  In such a dynamic event as a gunfight, you're a fool if you think your going to be making that kinda of a shot.  Even bench rested.  Your target is small and the subject is moving... Take the shot you can get and aim COM.  Now, if your in the urban police sniper role and you have a nice .308 rifle with a high power scope, then MAYBE this shot is an option.  Especially if you only have one shot it has got to stop the subject instantly... that is what you want to hit.  Like a light switch.  Effective - but hard to get.

    4.  Psychologically.  Getting a bullet wound, even a minor can have a drastic effect on someone's moral motivation.  Some people, they see a little blood, and they just lose the will to fight.  They give up right then and there.  They may even go into shock.  Some people have even died from this, when the wound its self was not even life threatening.  Although this does and can happen, don't bank on it.  You might think that the bad guy might stop having been hurt.  There is a pretty good chance if they were not bright enough to stop at the sight of an aimed gun, they are not going to stop with a mere wounding.  Sometimes getting hurt just makes the subject all the more dangerous.  Your shot may have been a lethal one and that guy will die... but in the mean time, he wants nothing more than to take your head off.  The famous Miami Massacre in which two mortally wounded villains took on and wounded and killed several agents of the FBI is a good example of this.  Then again, a wounded villain could have caught a poorly aimed slug, and all the sudden has a vision of his mortality and throws in the towel right there on the spot.  You never know.  Don't count on this... if you get it, great.  But predicting psychology is a lot more guess work than predicting the weather.

    Looking at these four ways of how a bullet stops a fight, I am left with the simple conclusion that the only thing that you can bank on is well aimed shots to the Center Of Mass. You want to use as big of a bullet as you can handle... in as powerful of a load as you can handle.  You want to drive that slug deep into the vital organs of the threat.  That has the best chances of stopping the threat via one of these 4 ways.  Notice that I used the word "shots"? 

    I have never seen a situation where a shooting was warranted that only warranted one single shot.  You can multiply your bullet's "stopping power" by multiplying the number of hits.  Follow that first shot with another one.  Shoot until the threat stops.  Firing one shot and waiting to see what happens is not a good idea.  You shoot until the threat is no longer a threat.  This is for Police or Military or Momma at the Mall in the parking lot.  Banking on the One Shot Stop is a bad idea.  The only people who do are the gun writers who get to deposit the check for the articles.

    UPDATE:

    To clarify and muddy the waters further, let's look at what a round does specifically to tissue.  Now, there are 2 different kinds of basic rounds.  Handgun rounds and Rifle rounds.

    Let's look at Handguns first.  Even the most powerful handguns fall far short of the energy levels of a rifle.  This is why hunters don't take to the field with handguns.  A handgun bullet hits the target with and delivers blunt force trauma.  Much like throwing a rock.  The bullet penetrates because of its energy but this isn't a piercing.  A handgun bullet crushes the tissue all the way through and leaves the permanent wound channel as pretty much the only damaged tissue.

    A rifle round is different.  Thanks to the bullet shape and the higher energy levels the rifle bullet does much more damage.  First of all, the rifle round pierces the tissue like a knife blade.  It cuts through the flesh much cleaner than the blunt force of the handgun, but thanks to aerodynamic forces it does some nasty things.  First off is the vacuum effect from the bullet's aerodynamic drag.  This vacuum pulls debris into the wound channel... debris that can become secondary projectiles and or introduce infection to the wound.  (A handgun round will only punch a small bit of debris like a cookie cutter as it passes through barriers like fur or clothing) Very nasty that debris.

    Now to understand what happens next, you have to have a little understanding of fluid dynamics. Have you ever watched a fast boat?  What follows the boat?  The wake.  The wake is the essentially the boat's slow motion shockwave of displacement of water across the surface as the boat passes through it.  The same thing happens with a rifle round, but much much faster.  Water can not be compressed.  Water does react though... it's pushed out and away, and then it is sucked back to fill the vacuum.  Tissue is essentially water.  Water that is held together in the collection of cells we call tissue.  The shockwave from a rifle shot moves so fast and so hard that it literally shatters the cellular walls.  The result is that in the area around the rifle hit, the tissue is pretty much transformed into jelly.  The higher the power of the rifle the greater that cavitation damage.  The shape of the rifle's bullet of course also plays an effect, just like the shape of a boat's hull.  This shockwave can also disrupt the neural network through and around the body of the creature that has been shot.

    There is some misunderstanding in the shooting community about this shockwave.   It happens in a very small and ineffective way with a handgun round... yet because of this misunderstanding some guys play on it and sell handgun rounds that are advertised as creating huge shockwave damage which is just not possible.  That would be like a Bi-Plane creating a sonic boom.... it just isn't happening.

     

    UPDATE:

    5.  Denial of Oxygen to the Brain.  Cerebral Anoxia and Hypoxia.

    Also contained herein: an addendum to CNS injury, some interesting facts about your heart and blood, and an extremely fun description of hydraulic cavitation.

    Found these on the subject of Anoxia/Hypoxia and your heart:

    http://www.thecochranfirmno.com/areas-brainjury-anoxic.html

    http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/921384224.html

    http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2003/IradaMuslumova.shtml

    I submit this as number 5 because it's different from system-wide hydraulic failure.  You aren't necessarily bleeding the target out, or ever even inducing Hypovolemic or Hemorrhagic shock.  The brain uses about a fifth of the body's oxygen supply.  Cut off or even restrict it, and he can die with most of his blood still in his veins and arteries.  That's what we hunters try to do with every big-game shot.

    There are two--well, three main ways to accomplish this cerebral anoxia/hypoxia.

    The third, which I almost didn't mention, is to pinch off the carotid arteries.  There's one on either side of the neck, and if your grip is on target, the subject passes out in seconds.  Cerebral anoxia.  Denial of oxygen-bearing blood to the brain.  If you continue to hold, he eventually dies.  But the unconsciousness is, literally, seconds away.  But that's a hand-to-hand move.  If you have a knife, you can stab him in his carotids, instead.  This causes both anoxia and system-wide hydraulic failure (hypovolemic shock).  Which one kills him first will be a toss-up, but he'll loose consciousness in seconds.  See, the carotids are two of the main branches of blood flow from the heart, so he'll be pumping his blood directly out of his body.  At the same time, that blood isn't reaching his brain, so it's dying of anoxia.  He goes unconscious from the anoxia, and then that and hypovolemic shock are in a race to kill him.

    Some facts:

        * The average adult contains about 5 liters of blood.
        * The average healthy heart, running an average 75bpm, pumps about 4 to 5 liters per minute.
        * That's means the whole blood content of your body circulates completely just under once per minute.
        * Under stress or during exercise, the blood-flow can be quadrupled, to between 15 and 20 liters per minute.
        * A man in a fight, with his carotid artery cut, is, whether he likes it or not, going to be doing his darndest to pump out his own life's blood as fast as he can.  One minute, maybe two, to congestive heart failure, through just one hole in one carotid artery.  A true spray.

    Second, and far easier than an attack on the carotids is to is to simply shoot the man through the heart.  This is what hunters try to do with big game.  Destroy the heart, and it stops pumping.  Blood flows for another second or so on momentum alone, and then it comes to rest, and even begins draining toward the lowest end of the body.  Which is the opposite end from the head.  Again, the brain needs continuous oxygen to function.  All metabolic processes in the human body begin with ATP, and ATP is produced via the Krebs Cycle, which is essentially the controlled burning (oxidizing) of carbohydrates.  No oxygen, no Krebs Cycle, no ATP, no cellular function, no brain function.  Stopping the heart is the fastest kill possible, save for the destruction of the Medulla Oblongata.  Stop the heart, and the subject will usually fall where he stands.  Full death in seconds.

     

              A note to your readers regarding CNS injuries: they will not stop the heart.  That's the other thing to be aware of regarding spinal shots.  Even without nervous input, the heart will continue to beat, thanks to God's miracle, the Sinus Node.  The Sinus Node is a point at the top of the heart where an electrochemical impulse begins in the muscle cells, causing them to contract.  The impulse cascades down heart from there, causing all the other cells to act likewise.  Thump.  The heart beats.  The Sinus Node is not a thing, not visible or recognizable.  It is just a place.  No one, to my knowledge, knows exactly what makes it work.  It generally does its thing on command from the CNS, but it will continue to generate its cascading signal even without that input.  This is the grain of truth behind legends of hearts beating after being ripped out of bodies, as in "Temple of Doom."  The ramifications of this capability should be obvious.  The heart is a trooper.  It will keep fighting, even when all its comrades lie dead or dying around it.  And it has won many Alamo-type situations, thanks to that fighting spirit.  It might just keep you alive, all on its own, long enough for the paramedics to arrive.  Or, it might keep your foe conscious just long enough to get off one last shot.

     

    First, and easiest, is the lung-shot, which causes cerebral hypoxia.  Hypoxia is Anoxia's twin sister.  Anoxia is the restriction of blood flow; hypoxia is free blood flow carrying restricted quantities of oxygen.  The brain continues to pump blood to the brain, but the blood it pumps is oxygen-poor.  Why?  Because your target is drowning.  You won't know it, save for a little bubble or trickle of blood at his lips, perhaps, but his lung (or lungs, if you're good) are filling up with his own blood, if those lungs even still exist.  All the blood in the world won't do you any good if it's not carrying oxygen.  As with a the carotid artery puncture, hydraulic failure is not far behind, for the lungs are by necessity one of the most bloody parts of the body, since surface-area is a major factor in transporting oxygen into the blood.  Death from a lung shot, depending on severity, can be almost as quick as a heart shot.  A rifle bullet or high-energy projectile of any sort can cause the lung to disintegrate via cavitation (see below), but even a simple hole in a lung will bleed hard and fast.  Mid to high holes are better for this because they bleed down into the rest of the lung.  It fills up with blood, which is just like filling up with water.  An exploded lung will kill in seconds.  A filling lung might take longer, but will still take only a fraction of the time required to actually bleed someone into Hypovolemic Shock with a liver shot or something of the sort.

    All in all, it's just another case for Center Mass.  While a shot to the Medulla Oblongata is instant death, a shot to the heart is almost as fast--indeed, just as fast, in practical terms.  Lungs are close behind.  A good side-on with a rifle will pass through one lung, through the heart, and through the other lung before exiting.  Any one of those brings near-instant unconsciousness, if not near-instant brain death.  So, yeah, aim for his heart.  "Aim small, miss small," goes the "Patriot" quote.  Aim at the heart, and if you miss, you hit the lungs.  Any of them will cause cerebral anoxia/hypoxia and almost instant incapacitation.

     

    I mentioned "cavitation" above.  In the interests of general education and the dissemination of information, I'll give it a few words as well.  What I'm referring to is specifically "Hydraulic Cavitation,"

     

    First, Newtonian physics:  A moving mass hits a relatively (it's ALL relative, after all) stationary mass.  The stationary mass is, of course, happy where it is, thanks to Inertia (God rest ye, Newton).  However, the moving mass has momentum, another kind of Inertia, and insists that the stationary mass "Get out of the way!"  Well, for the stationary mass to vacate, it must acquire some kinetic energy.  It gets this energy from the object that is striking it.  The amount of energy transferred depends on the masses involved, as well as some variables such as elasticity and friction, and of course the actual amount of energy the moving mass starts with.  Basically, it takes more energy to move a bigger object.  So if the stationary mass is huge and the moving mass is tiny, the stationary mass will "stop" the moving mass.  Splat.  Like a meteor hitting the earth.  Of course, nothing is absolute.  The stationary mass will move a little, but in the case of the meteor and the earth, the difference in the earth's velocity isn't enough to notice.  If on the other hand, the moving mass is huge and the stationary mass is tiny, the moving mass may not even slow down to a noticeable degree, but the stationary mass will suddenly take on a great deal of velocity.  You'll see this if you ever see someone (a person, a deer, a dog) get hit by a car.  The car hardly seems to notice.  But the poor victim notices.  The victim does NOT plaster to the front of the car.  Rather, the victim launches, suddenly taking on a velocity even greater than car had when it hit.  Hence the "flying thirty feet through the air" part of most car-vs-pedestrian encounters.

     

    Yeah, anyway, hope you followed that.

     

    So, bullet vs you.  Bullet hits your flesh.  Your flesh would rather sit still, but the bullet is very insistent.  "Incoming fire has the right of way," is another quote on M. Ogre's site.  So after a brief (read: instantaneous) resistance, the flesh at the point of contact gives way.  No, I take that back: it FLIES away.  But the bullet is fast, man.  Real fast.  And soft tissue (brain, guts, and the like--all 70+% water) isn't much of a resisting force.  So the bullet and the leading edge of the shock-wave it created on impact travel together through the body.  The shockwave trails out in a wide cone behind the projectile (like the fire coming off the nose of an Orbiter on reentry).  But wait, that shock-wave-cone-thing is the actual tissue from the point of impact, still moving away from the bullet.  So what about the other tissue it hits along the way?  Well, the tissue compresses as much as it can.  But tissue is, again, seventy-something percent water.  Water is liquid.  Liquid is a "compressed state."  Unlike a gas, a liquid is a small as it can get, molecularly speaking.  The molecules simply can't get any closer together, unless you're measuring on a minute scale and super-cooling the liquid.  Which we're not.  In fact, we're heating the liquid.  Because what energy the bullet imparted to the flesh that couldn't be immediately turned into motion was turned into heat instead.  And the bullet is hot to begin with, because it was propelled by an explosion.  So that's just one other factor AGAINST compression of the tissue.

     

    So where does this flesh, being bulldozed as it is by other flesh, go?  Well, find a man who's been shot in the front, and take a look at his back, and then you tell me.  That cantaloupe-sized hole is there for a reason.

     

    Okay, so we have a cone-shaped bulldozing effect.  But if that's the original flesh from the point of impact, pushing outward, then what's inside the cone?  Nothing.  It's empty.  There isn't even any air there.  The bullet is moving too fast for air molecules to stay filled in behind it.  See, they had their own inertia.  Then the bullet came whipping through, pushing them away to the side rather harshly.  The air molecules are still moving OUT after the bullet passes.  It takes them a moment to slow down and reverse course, to fill in where the bullet went through.  Same with slightly-compressed soft tissue.  That original mass of flesh is slowing down, because it's running into all of the other flesh in the affected area and transferring its energy.  So the shockwave is now no longer pushing like a bulldozer, but passing from cell to cell like a true wave.  Like a seismic wave travels through the ocean.  But fear not, you still get your explosive exit wound.  After all, that seismic wave ends in a tsunami when it hits the shore, even if those water molecules aren't the same ones it started in.  So, yeah, that original mass of flesh is slowing down, but it hasn't stopped yet, and it certainly hasn't reversed course to fill in the hole.  But it's about to.

     

    You see, that flesh is feeling a pull from behind.  This can be compared to the blow-back in a high-heat explosion.  Remember those images of early nuke tests?  The initial shockwave goes by, and then the wind starts blowing TOWARD the epicenter, because the heat at the center has caused the air there to shoot up into a mushroom cloud, leaving a void that has to be filled.  Well, in the case of your bullet, the shockwave itself caused the void.

     

    Ladies and gentlemen, that void is what we officially call the Cavity.  Hence "Cavitation."  The Cavity is a vacuum, and nature abhors a vacuum, so it tries to fill this vacuum with whatever is nearby.  Air flows in from the entry-wound, but most of all, soft tissue, having offloaded the kinetic energy of the shockwave to the next layer of cells, falls back into its original place.  Except it doesn't fall, it surges.  This in itself can happen with an almost explosive force, causing a little bit of spray forward, toward the entry wound, and adding to the explosion that's currently taking place at the point of exit.

     

    So what is the final effect of all this?  Well, the flesh of your brain just vacated a volume the size of a plum (or even larger) and then refilled it, in a tiny fraction of a second, probably at supersonic speeds.  Complex molecular structures such as those that form cells simply can not stand up to this kind of abuse.  The bonds that hold cells to each other to form coherent tissues are even weaker.  The result is that what flows back into the gap--as well as all soft tissue anywhere nearby that got pounded and compressed and generally abused by the passing shock-wave--is no longer tissue at all, but rather what those in the business call "soup."  It's just assorted liquids, with a few bits of tattered, barely coherent flesh suspended within.

     

    My 6mm did this to one entire lung of a Tennessee whitetail deer.  I found some of that lung along the blood trail, mixed in with the blood itself.  There were a few recognizable chunks, but the rest of the lung tissue was completely pulverized.  A high-energy bullet to the head will destroy most of the brain in the same way.

     

    What does this mean for you shooters?  Well, it means "If you can choose what to bring to a gun fight, bring a rifle, and bring friends with rifles."  Pistols rarely deliver enough energy to cause cavitation.  You can shoot a man in the head, and he just might live, all though he might be a changed man afterwards, either because of the psychological trauma or because you remapped the synapses that determine his personality (yes, your personality IS a mapping of synaptic links across the brain).  All you've done is make a hole.  However, shoot a man in the head with a rifle cartridge (even a 5.56 NATO Ball, if the range is under a hundred yards or so, though bigger holes are still better holes), and you've made a soup out of everything inside his skull.

     

    Indeed, Cavitation is one of the main reasons why Michael Lee Platt was able to kill as many FBI officers as he did on April 11th of 1986 after already taking a supposedly mortal bullet wound in his chest.  The FBI were using pistols.  Platt had a Mini-14.  Cavitation is the reason rifles stop the target when pistols can't.  Cavitation and the fact that rifle bullets go through Kevlar on a regular basis.  If you want to stop a rifle bullet, you have to try harder.

    Special thanks to Horde Member Ancient for this new information.
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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #9 on: August 08, 2009, 07:09:57 am »
    Excellent write up Ogre. The only thing I can add is that bullet placement is everything. The first homicide I ever worked was a man killed by a .22 LR round fired at point blank range. One round through the upper chest and it killed him almost instantly. We found the projectile on the carpet behind the victim and the only marks on it were the rifling. No mushrooming or expansion, just rifling marks. Go figure.





     

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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #10 on: August 08, 2009, 09:13:32 am »
    George, I've read this exact post on a write up you did on Mad Ogre a while back.  Glad you reposted it here with some new information.

    When I made my initial post on this thread, this was my intent for you to respond with that article so I wouldn't have to mine your site so I could copy it.

    (I will credit you to the people I show it to.)

    Awesome.

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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #11 on: August 09, 2009, 08:17:41 am »
    I wonder why Doug Carr didn't test the 115 gr JHP Federal 9PB round.

    Geoff
    Who still likes WW Silvertips and 115gr Hollow Point Personal Defense.

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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #12 on: August 09, 2009, 11:02:41 am »
    Thanks guys.  Glad you like it.  Yup, I wrote that a long time ago... Spent a ton of time researching medical papers to compile that.
    Quote
    The only thing I can add is that bullet placement is everything.
    Indeed it is.  Unfortunately we don't have a Cat Scan available so we can't see all the vital organs going on and where a bullet needs to go.  What we see is A Threat that must be engaged.   Where do we aim?  We aim for the area that gives us our greatest likelihood of a Hit.  Fortunately, we aim for a Center Of Mass hit and as luck would have it, center of mass is where lots of good juicy Vitals live.  Whatever that Mass is, aim for the Center, and follow up with more shots.  That Mass could be a leg sticking out, a foot, a head, whatever center of whatever mass we can take a shot at, we take it.  For example, a guy behind a car that is firing over it.  He's behind the engine block and we can't shoot through it... But his foot is visible.  Shoot the foot.  This will distract the badguy and maybe give you room to move... or maybe he falls and provides a COM shot to the torso.  All the better.  The goal is to end the threat.  We do that however we must.
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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #13 on: August 09, 2009, 11:13:55 am »
    I wonder why Doug Carr didn't test the 115 gr JHP Federal 9PB round.

    Geoff
    Who still likes WW Silvertips and 115gr Hollow Point Personal Defense.
    I was thinking the same thing. The Federal 9BPLE +p+ has an excellent service record with LEAs, as does the std 9BP round.
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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #14 on: September 08, 2009, 04:19:55 pm »
    I would argue in the picture above that the .357 sig shows the most tissue trauma since the simpathetic shockwaves in the gel along the channel of penetration cover significantly more area or volume.  The channel wound looks much more violent and devistating beyond penetration point.

    My favorite defensive round is made by Extreme Shock. 
    http://www.extremeshockusa.com/cgistore/store.cgi?page=/new/product_info.html&setup=1&cart_id=3128051.748

    Too bad those extreme shocks are so freakin' expensive. (at least when last I checked)

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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #15 on: September 08, 2009, 04:37:27 pm »
    Always good to read a reminder to ignore the marketing hype of most everything.
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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #16 on: September 23, 2009, 01:16:21 am »
    ES seems a bit gimmicky and the adverts don't help that any.  I'll stick with what has a track record.
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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #17 on: September 28, 2009, 01:39:34 am »
    Any track record on the Federal Expanding Full Metal Case? I found the idea intriguing, since it theoretically allows any gun that can handle ball to shoot an expanding bullet reliably.

    As to the fancy schmancy stuff, I had some Glaser 357 mags for years, finally took em to the range to shoot a pop bottle full of water and found they were so inaccurate I couldn't hit with them at 10 feet! Never found out if they could perform as advertised, which really says "buy something else" because if you can't hit with it, who cares what the terminal performance is.
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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #18 on: November 28, 2009, 02:45:31 am »
    Wow, great read, the whole thread.
    Confirms what I suspected.
    In the grand scheme of things, handguns are kina wimpy.
    I'll still carry my Rossi though. :coffee
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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #19 on: November 30, 2009, 12:29:23 am »
    From what I hear the Federal EFMJ work pretty good.
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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #20 on: November 30, 2009, 02:13:50 pm »
    ...Unfortunately we don't have a Cat Scan available so we can't see all the vital organs going on and where a bullet needs to go.  What we see is A Threat that must be engaged.   Where do we aim?  We aim for the area that gives us our greatest likelihood of a Hit.  Fortunately, we aim for a Center Of Mass hit and as luck would have it, center of mass is where lots of good juicy Vitals live.  Whatever that Mass is, aim for the Center, and follow up with more shots.  That Mass could be a leg sticking out, a foot, a head, whatever center of whatever mass we can take a shot at, we take it.  For example, a guy behind a car that is firing over it.  He's behind the engine block and we can't shoot through it... But his foot is visible.  Shoot the foot.  This will distract the badguy and maybe give you room to move... or maybe he falls and provides a COM shot to the torso.  All the better.  The goal is to end the threat.  We do that however we must.
    This points to the "practical aspects" of the problem at hand above and beyond ballistics.
    A few additional facts relevant to the discussion:
    1. Getting a "good shot" off "first" is of prime importance, as is NOT shooting the wrong thing (ie. ""misses"--always HIT something"). Unfortunately handguns are usually a factor responsive to a threat so you are already playing "catch up"--however it is critical to carry-and have available-handguns that we can handle deftly AND quickly get timely, consistent hits with, so as to stack the deck in our favor as much as possible to provide "enough" firepower to retake the initiative, and stop the threat; the shorter time that takes, the better.
    If our guns dont shoot us OUT of a bad situation, they WILL shoot us IN to a bad (or worse) situation.
    2. Holsters, belts, and other related gear are vital components to getting the handgun in the right place at the right time for making (#1.) above happen. (Ammo falls in this category.)
    3. In the world we live in, cars are a HUGE reality, and so it is VITAL that our carry guns/holsters are able to effectively interface with this mechanical fact in every way can. The relatively high probability of facing the prospect of having to shoot (and hit) "in, thru, and around" vehicles is a practical consideration for the vast majority of us. Ditto for "indoors".
    Penetration becomes much more important than "expansion" when we look at this fact.
    Many handguns/loads CANNOT reliably penetrate car bodies and still have enough left afterwards to deal with a threat on the other side (some rifles cant either). Some types of handguns CAN reliably function in that environment. It is clearly in our interest to be ready with the latter types.
    4. FBI stats show that in ALL relevant handgun shootings in the US, regardless of number of shots/hits, resulting fatalities are the minority--to the order of some <11% (percent shooting resulting in fatality) IIRC, with 80% of shootings being at night, less than 10 feet (with multiple rounds fired), so what we are really talking about here is incapacitating the attacker sufficiently to stop the attack, and then going on from there. From the data, apparently as often as not the attacker "gets shot (at)" and either "gets distracted", or just "gives up"(--sure they MIGHT die, but they more likely will not die, and may well not even realize they have been shot/hit). The ballistics only "matter" given a good, timely hit thru a vital area, so once again we see that getting the first, best shot we can is what we have to concern ourselves with, the rest is just details.
    5. Furthermore, in the world we live in, anti-self-defense/antigun laws and enforcement are a HUGE reality, and so it is VITAL that our carry guns/holsters are able to effectively interface with this fact.
    It has been estimated that for every time an armed citizen shoots in self defense, they will draw, and face down a bona fide threat without shooting some 5 to 7 times "on average".
    The point is that NOT shooting (and in fact simply being an armed citizen) can and probably will land us in a worse situation defending ourselves against litigious/political attack, so it is vital that we stack that deck in our favor as much as possible--lesson being: arrange the battlefield to favor your side, make certain the relevant facts support your version of events, have a skilled criminal defense lawyer, and lots of friends backing you. ....."We do that however we must."...

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    Another self defense perspective?
    « Reply #21 on: July 02, 2010, 01:23:58 am »
    Another perspective:

    Since more self defense shootings are occuring in the "back country" against both criminal and animal threats, how effective are the current generation of heavy for caliber, hard cast, wide flat nose factory handgun rounds for self defense?
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    Re: Another self defense perspective?
    « Reply #22 on: July 02, 2010, 01:49:18 am »
    Another perspective:

    Since more self defense shootings are occuring in the "back country" against both criminal and animal threats, how effective are the current generation of heavy for caliber, hard cast, wide flat nose factory handgun rounds for self defense?
    They work very well...   The wide meplat cuts a nice hole as well as providing a big shock effect that you just don't get with pointer bullets.  For example, a 9mm FMJ wound is almost self sealing.  An hard cast flat nose - say a .45 Colt cuts a hole that is almost a full .45 caliber diameter.  The penetration is deep.  Total amount of tissue damage is huge.   Around here a lot of guys pack .45 Colt revolvers.  They are well armed indeed.  Combine that with a lever action carbine in the same caliber... that's a popular combo for a good reason.
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    Re: Another self defense perspective?
    « Reply #23 on: July 04, 2010, 10:26:32 pm »
    They work very well...   The wide meplat cuts a nice hole as well as providing a big shock effect that you just don't get with pointer bullets.  For example, a 9mm FMJ wound is almost self sealing.  An hard cast flat nose - say a .45 Colt cuts a hole that is almost a full .45 caliber diameter.  The penetration is deep.  Total amount of tissue damage is huge.   Around here a lot of guys pack .45 Colt revolvers.  They are well armed indeed.  Combine that with a lever action carbine in the same caliber... that's a popular combo for a good reason.

    George Hill:

    I appreciate your answer. I could not have said it better myself. Nontheless, there is an old saying that "people go where the roads go", the same can be said in regard to marketing and advertising.

    As your reasoned response indicated, for handgun use, a hard heavy for caliber large flat nose bullet is an effective tool for self protection. The hard flat nose design not only works well, it is not dependent on expansion or deformation to be effective. This in turn leads to the conclusion that expanding handgun bullets, which may or may not expand as designed, are only superior for urban self defense primarily because expansion sometimes limits the danger to bystanders.

    This is not meant to be argumentative, but simply to point out that expanding handgun bullets are not the only option for self protection.  The reason is simple, at handgun velocities the flat area or meplat of a bullet, in the original or expanded shape, is the primary mechanism of tissue destruction.



     
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    Re: Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads by DocGKR
    « Reply #24 on: July 04, 2010, 10:41:47 pm »
    That's true with larger calibers that also have some oomph, .41 mag, .45 Colt, etc. I wouldn't trust smaller, automatic rounds to have the energy to make semi-wadcutters effective. Reliable feeding is also an issue that concerns me (the weapon would have to feed them as reliably as JHPs). I know that some 1911s run on the Keith-style 185-grain bullets. I just don't know of any fights that the load has ended. 
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