What do you think of these small-bore, high velocity PDWs?


February 25, 2003, 05:27 AM
They seem to be all the rage in TV in film now, at least the P90 is.

There are two out there, that I know of. One is the FN P90 submachine gun (http://www.fnmfg.com/products/p90/p90.htm), and the other is the H&K PDW (http://www.hkpro.com/pdw.htm). The HK model is not yet in full scale production. FN has also produced the Five-Seven pistol (http://www.fnmfg.com/products/fivesevn/fivesevn.htm), a companion sidearm for their submachine gun.

Both are an attempt to garner soft armor penetration out of pistol rounds, and both succeed by using small bore, high velocity bullets. Their penetration is impressive, but their other ballistics are...well, not so much.

The FN 5.7x28mm SS190 round features a 31 grain bullet that leaves the barrel at 2,346 feet per second, and produces roughly 378 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

The H&K 4.6x30mm round utilizes a 24.7 grain bullet at roughly 2,378 feet per second, for about 310 foot-pounds of energy.

Both rounds will easily slide through soft armor, to their credit, and that is something that even .44 Magnum won't do. However, it IS something that nearly any rifle round would do.

Both rounds also have a very low recoil impulse for making fast follow-up shots. On the other hand, at least from my point of view they are both rather lacking in the energy department, and have very small bore diameters to boot. Making matters worse would be the use of subsonic ammunition in either piece, for suppressed work. You can only make a bullet that small so heavy. The 5.7mm Sb193 subsonic round fires a 55 grain bullet at 984 feet per second. I'd much rather have a 230 grain or 255 grain bullet (from .45ACP or .45 Colt) going at that speed. But then, neither .45 will defeat soft armor.

The question is, can 9mm, .40, 10mm, and .45 be loaded to defeat soft armor, flak jackets, and kevlar helmets?

Don't get me wrong. I think both are very cool, and am glad to see such innovation. But I'm wondering what the real-world unility of either piece is. I know they were INTENDED for rear-echelon troops, but in all honesty there's no reason that support troops can't carry rifles like they do now, especially lightweight and handy rifles and carbines like the M16 and M4.

I also don't know what kind of permanent wound profile either of these rounds makes, but I imagine it's not that impressive. Sure, you give the badguy two holes to bleed out of, but I'd rather give him two BIG holes.

So, without actually being able to test one, what do you think? Do either of these weapons have a place on the battlefield? What about for law enforcement? Should police be carrying P90s and Five-Seven pistols instead of MP5s/M4s and 9mm or .40 pistols?

Let's pretend that the country was as it SHOULD be and all three weapons were available on the market. Would you buy the P90? The Five-Seven pistol? The HK PDW? Would you CCW the Five-Seven pistol, or use it for home defense? What about either of the subguns?

Finally, one last question. The P90 magazines originally had a problem in that they were fragile, and dropping a partially loaded mag would cause the rounds to scatter in it, making for a pretty nasty jam. Have they fixed this?

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duck hunt
February 25, 2003, 08:12 AM
No, these little bottle-necked smallbore rounds do not cause the massive tissue disruption that one might expect from a +P .45 JHP, but, as you say they were not intended to. They defeat body armor, have low recoil, less bulk than a rifle. I agree for rear area troops, the M-4 makes more sense, but for police and certain types of entry teams, the little HK would be handier.
With proper shot placement and perhaps a two-round burst option, the HK would smite kevlar-skinned hooligans just fine.

To get a 9mm slug to disregard body armor like these little rounds do, I think you would have to get them moving at 2,000fps, and that would be quite a chore. :)

February 25, 2003, 09:05 AM
The question is, can ...10mm... be loaded to defeat soft armor, flak jackets, and kevlar helmets?

Only by necking it down to make .224 BOZ.

February 25, 2003, 09:13 AM
I don't know. I've heard of armor piercing pistol ammunition used in places like South Africa and Europe. Invovled making a very hard bullet with a pointy nose, sitting on top of a hot charge. FWIW, typical flak jackets as seen in most militaries aren't designed to stop bullets and are very poor at it. More modern armors are being seen more often, but those involve the use of steel or ceramic plates, which 4.6 adn 5.7mm rounds won't defeat anyway. In lots of places, armor isn't even commonly issued, especially in the third world, or amongst terrorist groups.

Still, no one's answered about the Five-Seven pistol. Given the option, would YOU pack one for self defense? Why or why not?

While they 5.7mm round doesn't have much energy left over after penetrating armor, it's better than not penetrating the armor at all.

...On the other hand, it's fairly anemic for use on NON-armored targets, and it's impractical for people to carry two submachine guns around, one for armored and one for unarmored targets.

One thing these weapons do have to their benefit is penetration. I DO like penetration. I wonder how well they penetrate hard cover, like dumpsters, cars, walls, etc.

Tom C.
February 25, 2003, 09:18 AM
Let's see. Less velocity than a .22 Hornet. Penetrates body armor. Makes a .223 look like a canon. Do I want one? What for? Are burglers expected to be wearing body armor? If not, I will stick with conventional rounds.

February 25, 2003, 09:19 AM
Here's FN Herstal USA's (http://www.fnhusa.com/contents/tw_57x28system.htm) info on 5.7x28mm ammunition.



The 5.7x28mm weapon system is comprised of three components: the 5.7x28mm ammunition, the P90 Sub-machine gun, and the Five-seveN handguns. The 5.7x28mm SS190 ammunition has been designed to bridge the gap between the 9mm ammunition and the 5.56 x 45mm. The 9mm FMJ round will not penetrate modern body armor and the 5.56mm (.223 Rem.) rifle ammunition creates over-penetration concerns in a close combat situation or urban warfare. The SS190 has unique design, utilizing two metal inserts. The tip of the ogive has a steel penetrator followed by an aluminum core that is heavier than the forward tip. This causes the bullet to tumble in soft body tissue after 2 inches of penetration. This design virtually eliminates the risk of over penetration. This also creates a large wound cavity and quick incapacitation. The SS190 will perforate 48 layers of Kevlar up to 200 meters when fired from the P90 and achieve the same result up to 50 meters with the Five-seveN handgun. The 5.7 ammunition has only 60% of the recoil impulse of a 9mm. The muzzle velocity of the SS190 is 2,346fps when fired from the P90 and 2,133fps with the Five-seveN. Tracer, Sub Sonic, Training and Blank ammunition available. Ammunition is supplied in the U.S. by Olin.


More information can be found at the link at the top of this post.

February 25, 2003, 09:21 AM
I'd be interested in a P90, if only for the novelty value. I like the ergos a lot, but the jury's still out on the cartridge. (I'm not a real "early adopter": it took ten years of circling and sniffing warily for me to buy a Glock, for pete's sake. ;) )

February 25, 2003, 09:23 AM
Interestingly enough, you see more of these things on TV and in the movies now than you do in the real law enforcement community. I've seen a P90 once, in some footage of a hostage takedown in South America, and that's it.

Anybody know of any law enforcement or military units that use any of the three weapons?

February 25, 2003, 09:25 AM
The question is, can 9mm, .40, 10mm, and .45 be loaded to defeat soft armor, flak jackets, and kevlar helmets

Sure, put one of these small diameter bullets into a sabot and load hot. Of course, then you'd have the same disadvantage re: tissue damage.

It sounds to me like they are thinking quantity of hits as opposed to quality.

February 25, 2003, 09:44 AM
My opinion is that guns like the HK PDW (MP7) were developed to meet some abstract demands.
- it has to penetrate x layers of kevlar at x meters.
- it has to be as small a possible.
- rapid loss of velocity to reduce the risk for bystanders.

Scenario 1, you're a LEO:
- Will you engage targets beyond 100m with such a weapon?
- As a member of an entry-team, do you need an as-small-as-possible weapon, using as-light-as-possible ammo?
- Will you shoot to wound at long distances or shoot to stop at a few meters?

Scenario 2, you're a truck driver in a supply unit, member of a tank crew,... :
- Would you like to engage an assault-rifle armed enemy with your PDW at 200m? What do you think your chances are that you will eliminate such an enemy instead of just attracting his fire?
- When the enemy has closed to 50m, whouldn't you want a weapon that will likely stop him dead with one or two shots instead of half a mag?

I think the question should not have been, "what's the smallest weapon that will fulfill these abstract demands?", but "what's the most effective weapon with regards to the circumstances the possible user will be in?"

El Tejon
February 25, 2003, 12:20 PM
Speciality tool for the DDDs. Feckless waste of space for the Big Army. Carrier of "Iwannacoolgun" virus for rest of us.

February 25, 2003, 12:28 PM
Hmmm. The link provided for the HK appears to be that of an MP5/10 or -/40 PDW. Do you mean this for the 4.6mm MP7 :



February 25, 2003, 12:32 PM
It sounds to me like they are thinking quantity of hits as opposed to quality. I think what Braindead says sounds pretty logical.

These weapons are all designed to have low recoil and high capacity. From that, I'm assuming that the idea is to allow the user to make as many hits on target in as short a time as possible. Sure, the two big holes out of Nightcrawler's .45 are going to do more damage against an unarmored BG than two out of a P90, but I think the idea behind the P90 or FiveseveN is to give the badguy 20+ holes from which to bleed out of.

February 25, 2003, 12:36 PM
...and as any cylinder head engineer can tell you, more small ports flow better than one big one. ;)

February 25, 2003, 12:46 PM
I had the opportunity to shoot a P-90 & a Five-Seven at a Class III shoot a few years ago (great way to spend a 4th of July). Very little recoil, & good penetration on an old car we were using as a target.

One of the TV shows that prominently features the P-90 is STARGATE SG-1. The later seasons have them taking them to every alien world--sometimes eschewing alien weapons to take them.

Personally, if I were going to operate on an alien world w/ no backup & possible hostiles around every corner, I'd take an FAL & as many mags of armor-piercing as I could....:evil:

(And a Redhawk .454 as my sidearm...:cool: )

February 25, 2003, 12:47 PM
True enough, but there comes a point (I think) when your need to shoot the badguys mulitple times can negate your capacity advantage.

It's a good thing the P90 has fifty round magazines, and the pistol has 20 rounders.

Me? I'd verymuch prefer a 13" FAL with a folding stock for CQB, but then, I'm a bit of an oddball. Loaded with 150 or 180 grain soft points, I wouldn't have to worry about either penetration or stopping power (though overpenetration might be a minor concern, but I'm not a cop).

Yeah, baby.

February 25, 2003, 12:57 PM

Bet that would make a few aliens run home to their mother---ships...:evil:

February 25, 2003, 01:06 PM
This is a specialized class of weapons for fighting indoors against opponents wearing body armor.

Regular infantry may find these weapons useful for urban warfare. The Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard may find them useful for boarding ships.

SWAT teams will want to add these to their arsenals.

February 25, 2003, 02:21 PM
Actually, a guy I know in the Coasties told me they stopped issuing M16s to the Coast Guard on the Great Lakes. (Some politician complained it was too military or something). In any case, with some of the dinky little boats the coast guard boards, overpenetration is a serious concern, even moreso than in your house. I mean, if you shoot a hole in the floor of your kitchen, your house doesn't sink.

As for the aliens...buddy of mine is a HUGE Stargate fan. From what I've seen, a regular FAL rifle would do just fine on those kinds of missions. Most of them are in the great outdoors or are in temples that are spacious enough that a 43" battle rifle isn't going to be a disadvantage, especially considering the 6-foot long blaster-staffs the badguys use. :cool:

February 25, 2003, 02:35 PM
In case you have not noticed, these weapons are not used by either military or law enforcement for very good reason. First if the target is not armored then the rounds zip right through causing minimal damage, plus endanger those behind. Second they overpenetrate walls. Third if the target is armored they do defeat the armor but do little to stop the targer.

They are ineffective at best, dangerous to civilians due to overpenetration at worse. I do not know about you but I would rather shoot a BG one time rather than having to do multiple shots in a high stress environment. Give me a M4 any day! They do not overpenetrate with standard ammo (surprisingly) they will put down a BG in one shot and they are about half the price!


February 25, 2003, 02:48 PM
Tell me who's handing these weapons out and I'll stand in line?!:D

February 25, 2003, 03:06 PM
I wouldn't carry the FiveSeven even if I could. The trigger pull is horrible. :)

I'm not convinced that these new super fast little rounds are going to turn out to be very effective.

Now if they made something like the P90 in .223 we would be talking.

Oleg Volk
February 25, 2003, 03:29 PM
First if the target is not armored then the rounds zip right through causing minimal damage

That's not what I hear from the users. The bullet fish-hooks and ends up functioning like a mini-5.45 Russian. Not great BUT the whole point behind this is that the weapon helps to get a fast and accurate hits at ranges exceeding what's practical with a typical pistol.

From experience limited to airsoft P90, I'd say ergonomics are a huge win (it is streamlined, points well and deplays fast). Caliber is debatable but a P90 would be re-made in another caliber. 4.7FN is a decent caliber though: flat shooting out to the limit of its effective range, enough punch to do some damage. If I had access to a PDW (any controllable SMG of roughly P90 or Beretta S12 form factor), I would carry it instead of a large handgun.

Mark D
February 25, 2003, 04:18 PM

Something like this???


February 25, 2003, 04:26 PM
They do not overpenetrate with standard ammo (surprisingly) they will put down a BG in one shot and they are about half the price!

Well, sometimes. 5.56mm won't overpenetrate if the ammunition fragments. While 55 grain ball will often fragment, I don't think it does so reliably enough to bet on it. It IS moving at 3000 feet per second, after all, overpenetration must be considered. SS109 ammo doesn't fragment at all. The reason for this is simple. The military doesn't use AR-15s for home defense, they're not worried about putting a bullet into nice Mrs. Wilson next door, or one of her twenty cats. They DO want a round that can hit a badguy hiding behind cover, something a reliably fragmenting bullet won't be very effective at. It's a tradeoff.

A 5.56mm round will usually put a man down. It's not exactly the most poweful round out there, though. Still, it's 1,200 foot pounds of muzzle energy, and that's enough to put the hurt on somebody.

In a combat setting, you don't care about overpenentration. You WANT overpenetration. You WANT to be able to hit the guy behind cover, and to give the sucker two holes to bleed out of, especially if you're not using expanding, fragmenting, soft-tipped, exploding, or otherwise extra-nasty ammo. Hence my preferance for the .308. But again, I'm an oddball, trying to use "obsolete" battle rifles in situations that any ultimately tactical SEEL will tell you can ONLY be survived with a tricked-out AR-15...

February 25, 2003, 04:41 PM
Of course you guys did know a .22 mag will defeat most body armor.

El Tejon
February 25, 2003, 04:43 PM
"The one thing nice about a .30 caliber, whether a BAR with AP or an off the shelf M1A, is that you can shoot through a lot of stuff!" Wise Man in Tejas.:)

February 25, 2003, 05:00 PM
Tamara just wants to add a new caliber to her armory... :D

AJ Dual
February 25, 2003, 05:32 PM
Anybody who wants to play with the ballistic qualities of the new PDW rounds can just load .223 with .30 cal sabots into 7.62x25mm Tokarev and shoot it from a CZ52, Tokarev, or one of those semi-auto carbines made off of PPSh parts kits.


Otherwise if you don't reload, you can still buy it made as ".223 Timbs" from Quality Cartridge.

If you are rolling your own, just don't use SS109 5.56 projos though, if you do, you're in trouble for manufacturing armor piercing handgun ammo. Not that plain FMJ won't work as well and be legal. :D

February 25, 2003, 06:50 PM
I belive the correct term is "Solution in need of a problem"


February 25, 2003, 06:58 PM
I think I'd like to have an HK PDW.:D

February 25, 2003, 07:19 PM
Any chance the 5-7 pistol will become available for mortals?

February 25, 2003, 07:34 PM
Any chance the 5-7 pistol will become available for mortals?

Not unless current bans on "armor piercing pistol ammunition" are repealed...

February 25, 2003, 08:03 PM
I belive the correct term is "Solution in need of a problem"

The PDW is an obvious choice for SWAT entry teams when the criminals are wearing body armor.

Regular troops might use it for urban warfare.

February 25, 2003, 08:08 PM
Of course you guys did know a .22 mag will defeat most body armor.

I have heard that rumor but I don't know if it is true.

Do you have any links to some evidence to back your assertions?

Dave Markowitz
February 25, 2003, 08:13 PM
I prefer the original"PDW" -- the M1 Carbine. I wouldn't use it as a battle rifle, but for close-in defense it gives ballistics similar to a .357 Magnum rifle and penetrates body armor well.

Better yet, just issue rear echelon guys M-4 Carbines, which are going to be a lot more effective than the FN or HK popguns.

February 25, 2003, 11:54 PM
The question is, can 9mm, .40, 10mm, and .45 be loaded to defeat soft armor, flak jackets, and kevlar helmets

Why bother when .38 Super JHP will penetrate any level two vest out there already? For that matter, so will a .22 LR from a rifle length barrel. At least that's what the label on the last Second Chance vest I looked at said.
The P90 is cute but the ammo is basically a 50 year old Johnson wildcat, the .30 carbine necked down to .22 cal. And the 5/7 is ugly, awkward and bulky.

February 26, 2003, 12:06 AM
What? Aren't the guy's in the rear issued empty beer cans to throw at the enemy?


February 26, 2003, 12:35 AM
I have heard that rumor but I don't know if it is true.

Do you have any links to some evidence to back your assertions?

Gonna just have to trust me on this one. ;)

I don't think this specific info is all over the net (and probably a good thing), since most people don't think this far outside the box.

HOWEVER, in my former employment we were warned of this reality. Wondering if it was horsepucky or not, I brought a Ruger .22 mag single six to work and we did a private evaluation.

One a level II vest we penetrated the front and almost completely penetrated the back. We couldn't get away with crapping out a IIIA vest so I have no idea.

But my gut tells me you would probably get complete penetration with substantial loss of energy after entering soft tissue.

February 26, 2003, 01:37 AM
I heard that the 7.62x25mm Tokorov round will penetrate through a vest as well.

I suppose that a Tokorov pistol and a PPSh submachinegun kit might yet have alot going for it. The PPSh has what? a 72rd drum magazine?

February 26, 2003, 05:25 PM
The tip of the ogive has a steel penetrator followed by an aluminum core that is heavier than the forward tip. This causes the bullet to tumble in soft body tissue after 2 inches of penetration. This design virtually eliminates the risk of over penetration. This also creates a large wound cavity and quick incapacitation. That is interesting. Sounds like a good quality for law enforcment ammo despite all the ugly images of overpenetration one would get considering normal AP ammo.

Agent Z
February 26, 2003, 06:29 PM
All this info from obviously well informed people is simply astounding. I'm soaking all the ballistical info up like a sponge.

My father has drilled it into my brain to think simple. So I'm going to ask a question pertaining to simple logic.

If your in a shoot situation against a foe with body armor why spend money on special weapons and ammo to penetrate body armor?? Why not just aim a little higher and blast away at the head area??

Heaven forbid I should go astray and become a criminal and end up in a fire fight with a police officer. But knowing he's wearing body armor guess where I'm going to attempt to be aiming??

Unless I'm stupid (which I don't think I am) why worry about body armor. Just change your aim point.

February 26, 2003, 07:06 PM
for muzzle velocity below 1,000 fps, i have research that shows non-magnum rounds do not completely penetrate body armor up to level II. Certainly no level III. (without the trauma plate). But rifles routinely defeat body armor. I believe that's what happens with the .22 magnum.

But the same research showed that short of penetration, bigger bullet give bigger momentum, hence bigger punch. after penetration, the bullet can go pretty wild unless it fragments.

So the key is to send the heaviest bullet the fastest. Small bore helps with the bullet shape.

but I echo the last simple question: armor maybe irrelevant if the target is behind cover. The headshot may be harder but that's irrelevant at close range. Spraying more bullet improves chance, not aim.

so what's the application for light bullet, close to rifle speed, and tiny cross section? it doesn't fit any of my imagined scenarios.

Agent Z
February 26, 2003, 07:23 PM
YY "Spraying more bullet improves chance, not aim. "

I'd rather go up against a person who sprays bullets than a person who aims any day.

February 27, 2003, 04:54 AM
The PDW is an obvious choice for SWAT entry teams when the criminals are wearing body armor.

Regular troops might use it for urban warfare.

How would in such a situation a HK PDW be a better choice than a G36C or M4?

February 27, 2003, 06:31 AM
What Agent Z said.

Jim March
February 27, 2003, 10:05 AM
The proper answer to armored assailants:

Marlin 45-70 Guide Gun with Garrett +P Hammerhead 540grain hardcast @ 1,550fps.

Will it penetrate? WHO CARES? They'll feel like they've been run over by a Mack truck regardless :D.

February 27, 2003, 12:34 PM
...a .22 mag will defeat most body armor.

If you don't bother with the shape of the bullet (round nose / pointy nose) and bullet deformation (and deformation of the material you shoot at), what determines if a bullet will penetrate something or not is roughly if it has enought (kinetic)energy per area.

The formula for kinetic-energy per area is:


where m is the mass of the bullet, v is the velosity and d is the diameter.

and using this formula I can find the velosity a .44 must have to penetrate the same as a .22 (where thjey have the same E/A)

asuming: .22mag: m=0.003 [kg] , v=600[m/s] , d=0.0056[m]
.44mag : m=0.020[kg] , v=what we want to find, d=0.011[m]

the velosity of the .44 will be:

v= Sqr.root((0.5*0.003*600^2*0.011^2)/(0.0056^2*0.5*0.02)=456.5[m/s]

I don't know if 456 [m/s] is about normal for a .44mag but if it is, the two will penetrate about the same. ( but the .44 will probably do more demage on the other side of the penetrated material)

February 27, 2003, 01:49 PM
A very hot loaded .44 Mag could get those kinds of velocities.

It'd work even better with a very hard, steel jacketed, pointed bullet, but that'd probably be illegal (though cool).

.357 Magnum with a steel jacketed, pointed bullet would be a great armor-buster too. Since, in a revolver, you don't have to worry about feed ramps and such, you can make the bullet as sharp as you want and it'll still function.

Robert inOregon
February 27, 2003, 02:40 PM
There is a race to build an affordable PDW cartridge. It is the primary objection an agency has against using such a weapon. Costs for ammunitions are two to three times more than current issue. At Shot there were a number of companies showing off new PDW concepts and other that have managed to get their existing products classified as "sporting" by BATF in order to increase audience and market share.

The main selling point that all these companies are repeating over and over are that the PWD's have an effective range no greater than 400 meters, will not exit soft tissue targets and do not ricochet. That is very attractive, at least in theory, to any city trying to control litigation cost from third party injuries. Has very little to do with penetrating body armor.


February 27, 2003, 04:39 PM
He was down at Ft. Rucker AL and the H&K people came down with a lot of goodies for the US Artmy Aviation units to test drive.

As PDW for a Blackhawk or Apache driver, a little tiny MP7 might be kind of handy and a lot easier to fit into a cockpit with a decent load of ammo than an M-16 commando model with a lot more firepower than a semi auto pistol.

I have all the brochures they left with him at home. (He's deployed now and had to clean things up before he left so he sent them to me to make me feel bad!) The MP-7 is only slightly larger than the Berretta semi-auto.

They had several flavors of the new toys, including a suprressed version that he was able to hold on target at full auto with longer bursts. One of their pilots down there cut the heart out of the target at 100 yards, like one of the carnival games where you have to shoot the star out. It was a wet surpressor and he said it was "quieter than a pellet pistol" for short bursts.

They also demoed it on body armor and the kevlar helmets. He said it went through all the stuff, including trauma plates at 50 yards. Small hole in and out though.

His overall impression was very nice hardware and it seemed pretty rugged. Of course the only souvenir he got for his old man was an H&K T-shirt and gimme cap. I suggested that he go back to the range and see if they left an extra MP7 around, but no luck.

Don P.

February 28, 2003, 02:50 AM
About these small-bore, high-velocity PDWs, with their itty bitty super-light bullets...yes, they'll penetrate soft armor and flak jackets, but they don't do as much damage once they get through as a 130 year old .45 Colt round. Obviously, it's a compromise.

Another pistol round that penetrates well is the 7.62x25mm Tokarev. Similar to the FN 5.7 round, but larger and not "armor piercing pistol ammo", the 7.62 Tok round will slide through many level IIA and II vests, and is also good for defeating hard cover. Again, a .30 caliber, 86 grain bullet is a bit on the small side for a handgun, and again it's a compromise.

So I've been thinking. Any pistol round that is designed to penetrate armor and hard cover is going to compromise terminal ballistics; it will, by design, have to be a non-expanding bullet.

However, a 9mm+ caliber bullet that doesn't expand is LESS of a compromise than a .22 caliber bullet that doesn't expand.

So I've been thinking. It might be less complex, logistics wise, to load existing pistol ammo to "AP" specs, instead of adopting an expensive round dedicated to that purpose and possibly of limited utility.

In order to better penetrate soft and hard cover, you need a few factors, as I understand it. The more mass your bullet has, the better, as it gives it more momentum. You also need as much velocity as possible. But there's more to it than that. You'd want a very hard bullet, possibly steel cored, or tungsten, or at least steel jacketed FMJ. (After all, tungsten bullets are probably expensive.)

In order to facilitate better penetration, you'd also want a sharp, pointy bullet, if at all possible. Of course, such bullets don't feed well in autoloaders, from what I've heard. So I'd start with a strong revolver.

.357 Magnum would be a good platform. First, you'd want the proper bullet; a pointy, super hard, steel-cored, steel jacketed 158 grainer, or maybe even a heavier one. But let's stick with 158 grains. You'd also want it to be a long bullet.

You'd want a hot charge under it, to propell it to at LEAST 1300 feet per second, 1500 if you can get it (you can, but you need a strong gun).

It could be done with .44 Magnum, too. .44 Mag has a much larger bore diameter, but it can also use much heavier bullets. So it'd be a tradeoff, but it'd probably be harder to get a .44 to go through a soft armor vest than a .357, oddly enough.

Just an idea. It'd be prettymuch illegal to load ammunition like this, so nobody try. Just musing over here. It wouldn't necessarily have to be "armor piercing", though. In one of his commentaries, Jeff Cooper suggested such a load, out of a .357, as backwoods bear defense, against the smaller breeds of bear. He said you'd have to be a good shot, but said that the tradeoff would be that backpackers would be more likely to carry a light .357 revolver than a huge, heavy .454 or something. A .357 in hand is worth a .500 Linebaugh in the safe, after all. Don't know much about bears, myself, but it'd certainly be better than nothing.

Robert inOregon
February 28, 2003, 04:57 AM

Read it twice now. I'll have to fire up another bowl.

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