Technical Question About Contact Shooting


August 21, 2005, 12:06 AM
So let's say that you are assaulted and in a situation where you have to use your weapon as the proverbial belly gun. So you are pressing your weapon into the assailant, which is for all intents and puposes blocking the barrel. At what point does a barrel blockage become something that is going to create enough explosive pressure to buldge the barrel or blow back into the shooter?

I have always read/been told etc. to alway keep the bore clean and dry and of course free of debris but if you are actually pressing the barrel of a gun into a BG are you not technically creating a barrel blockage.

I realize this may be a stupid question but I never claimed to be a smart guy. :confused:

Now I do not advocate going around pressing guns into folks and shooting them as the though of actually doing this actually makes me ill but in a defensive situation/mugging whatever it is likely to be at contact distance and it is very likely the bore of your firearm may very well be pressed into the body of the BG.

.......what if he sticks his finger in the barrel :D :scrutiny:

I was doing some snubby close range fast shooting practice tonight and this thought crossed my mind.


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August 21, 2005, 12:13 AM
Not normally a problem, as human flesh "gives" under impact, and the muzzle blast and passage of the projectile should remove the problem (literally! :D ). However, a related problem is that some semi-auto pistols are going to have the slide pushed out of battery if pressed against someone, so they won't fire (or worse, will fire out of battery, creating a hazard to the shooter).

August 21, 2005, 12:27 AM
ot normally a problem, as human flesh "gives" under impact,

I hate this to be such a gory topic but lets say you have mud in your barrel would that not give and have less consitency then human flesh?

I relize this is a problem for a semi auto as pointed out.

I guess my thought process is that as a civillian carrying a gun and one who has absolutely no desire to actually shoot anybody (Read, given the chance I will be the guy running away screaming like a little girl), my most likely self defense scenario will be ultra close range. I guess I just wanted to make sure my little snubby wouldn't hurt both of us at those contact ranges.


Double Maduro
August 21, 2005, 12:55 AM

Oh, it will hurt both of you. But the ringing in your ears should go away much faster than the hole in the bg's gut.


August 21, 2005, 12:59 AM
Huh , what'd you say? Speak up. Pinging in my gears?????? :neener:

August 21, 2005, 09:35 AM
I recall reading about this one, but I'm going from memory here. Keep those grains of salt handy...

First, there is (probably) no danger that your gun will blow up. While it is true that a small amount of mud in the muzzle can raise havoc, the physics here are complicated, and there is a big difference between blocking the bore with something soft and actually plugging the bore with something soft.

It's hardly unheard of for somebody to be shot at contact range, and I've never heard of a gun being ruined as a result. Never seen any official training documents that warn against it, either.

A second point is that a contact shot is likely to make a larger wound - injecting pressurized gas into a newly-made hole can produce a significant effect. You might see a dramatic (if superficial) entrance wound, or you might see greater internal trauma, depending on the nature of the tissue and the pressures involved.

I recall a gun magazine experiment which involved firing a snub-nosed .38 special from within a coat pocket. The pocket basically exploded from the pressure, throwing burning bits of cloth everywhere.

Jim K
August 21, 2005, 02:14 PM
Won't be a problem, due to the reason a barrel bursts from an obstruction.

The barrel does not burst because something is on or in the barrel. It bursts because the something is big or heavy enough to stop the bullet in the barrel. When that happens, the energy of the bullet (those "foot pounds" everyone talks about) have to be dissipated in some way. All that energy is converted into heat, which actually softens the barrel and renders it open to being distorted or burst by the pressure behind the bullet. There is no way this can happen from something soft being pressed against the end of the barrel (or the barrel being pressed into it). The soft material will not provide enough resistance to the bullet at that point to cause the bullet to stop partly in the barrel, which it would have to do to cause the barrel to burst.


August 21, 2005, 02:23 PM
Entrance wound will be normal size (same to caliber) but the expanding gas will be released into the BG and as there are a lot of volume of it (in order to give the bullet the nessesary acceleration) it will make a significant damage. In gut shot it should pulp/disintegrate the whole internal organs that stay in the way. Of course the exit wound will relieve some pressure if the skin holds but if not then the tearing apart by exessive pressure will be substantial, literally blowing the midwaist all apart. It would be a hell of a mess to clean up.

August 21, 2005, 03:29 PM
If I remember correctly, H&K, Ruger and others test fire their semi-automatic pistols with a fully blocked bore. Not every one, but those under development.

Edit: Here's something from another website discussing the strength of the H&K USP.

"The barrel of the USP is cold-hammer forged from a high-grade chromium steel - the same type of steel used in cannon barrels. For increased velocity and longer barrel life, all USP barrels now have a polygonal profile. During testing, a bullet was deliberately lodged in a USP barrel. Another cartridge was then fired into the obstructing bullet. The second bullet cleared the barrel, resulting in a barely noticeable bulge. The pistol was then fired for accuracy and the resulting group measured less than 2 1/2 inches at 25 meters."

I don't think a jelly belly will cause a pistol to blow up.

Jim March
August 21, 2005, 03:54 PM
You ARE likely to get some seriously messy "backsplatter" and in this day and age of AIDS, HepC or similar that's not a good thing.

August 21, 2005, 06:44 PM
I can understand your concern somewhat but, I am also pretty befuddled by it. Just because you are in close with a bad guy does not mean that your muzzle should be touching the bad guy. I guess it can happen accidentally in some sort of a wrestling match/gunfight but if you are talking about drawing and ramming it that is a very bad tactical move. heck, even letting it get there accidentally is a somewhat bad move. You should strive to avoid having your firearm ever contact anyone at whom you are shooting or with whom you are struggling if possible. Learn how to do push off shooting, to push off the bad guy with non-shooting hand, step back with holster/shooting side foot (if not already in a somewhat boxer's stance), draw and shoot from the hip (literally with the shooting hand on your shooting side hip), so as to avoid giving the bad guy a chance to grab it. Any time that you touch someone with a firearm you do several things: you let them know exactly where your gun is, you risk a take away from in close where the bad guy can use more of his strength to grab the gun, you put it well within easy reach of their hands and possibly their legs, you take a great chance that the firearm (in the case of a pistol or revolver) will malfunction after only one shot (shame on you if that one does not do the trick or if there are more than one assailant). Remember that distance is your friend if you can get it. Even a foot or two makes a big difference if someone tries to do a gun take-away on you.

Red Tornado
August 21, 2005, 08:24 PM
I have no knowledge, but everything above sounds right to me. With the exceptions of wascally wabbits, who WILL stick their finger in the barrel. For some unknown reason this is effective only for them. This generally results in superficial burn wounds over most of your body, and your teeth swinging like broken piano keys. There may or may not be sound effects. :evil: :D

Anyone else trying the finger in the barrel trick, (miniature mountain men, ducks, coyotes, roosters, etc.) will generally meet with unfavorable results, and you will have ample opportunity to skedaddle. :neener:

August 21, 2005, 09:17 PM
many hunters know that something soft blocking the muzzle is no big deal... i run 2 layers of black tape over my muzzle during hunting season to keep debris out. when moment of truth comes, shoot right through - no problems, and bullet's flight is unaffected.

my hunting rifles run quite a bit more pressure than probably any handgun... i would not be concerned about shooting under the circumstances in the scenario.

Double Naught Spy
August 21, 2005, 09:33 PM
Just because you are in close with a bad guy does not mean that your muzzle should be touching the bad guy.

Right, but this wasn't the point or the query. Such things do happen with some frequency, regardless of whether it is or is not good form.

So Jelly Bellies should pose no problem, but according to cartoon science, a finger in the barrel will result in a reversed explosion that will pretty much only harm the person behind the gun and pulling the trigger, nobody else. You should keep your feathers numbered for just such an emergency.

August 21, 2005, 09:53 PM
You said it is a snubnosed revolver, correct? Don't worry, you're not going to blow up the barrel by firing while pressed against a BG's body. Execute a watermelon at contact and you'll see why. The obstruction is at the very end of the barrel, and the combination of the bullet being able to 'push' through enough to create a space for gases to escape, plus the gas escaping through the cylinder gap, will keep it from blowing up. Also, the short barrel won't allow the air 'trapped' between the bullet's nose and the end of the barrel to compress enough to worry about. PS: bring extra clothes when you do this, you will be showered with watermelon. ;)

August 21, 2005, 11:27 PM
Right, but this wasn't the point or the query.The point was made and it was answered but, as is often the case there may be a case in point in addition to the knowledge already developed based on and around the original inquiry and answers. The way it was, someone may have figured yeah, it is ok to shove a gun into someone's belly because it will not blow up on me, and I'll get them good. The truth is that it is still a bad idea to do so. I pointed that outfor those who may not have seen it. People have INTERESTING conversations by adding information to the discussion. The info I gave was a ntaural run off of the original topic. Sorry you cannot see that it was in any way helpful to those with less firearjms knowledge than you.

August 22, 2005, 06:23 PM
I once saw a pic of a woman whos had pressed a rifle up to her abdomen and fired it. The release of gas pressure into her abdomen swelled it so large and with such violence that the cloth of her jeans (not on the seams) actually split in several places. She, naturally, did not survive.

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