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Defensive Ammunition 101

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Dave McCracken, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Well-Known Member

    Most will never, repeat never, fire a shot at another person (many that do so will be under arms for their country.... a tiny percentage will be in civilian life). In a "civilized" country all are taught from an early age that doing so is bad stuff. Military and police training to some extent overcomes this (in police work, particularly, the prohibition still remains very strong in my experience). I think that's a good thing. I wouldn't want to live in a world where killing was a routine matter.

    The result of this exhibits itself in every rational discussion about use of force, deadly force, and related topics. As a result many will do their best not to look squarely at the fact that in some situations, you're not only justified in shooting, but you'd better be quick about it and not miss.

    In my case I'd been a cop for more than five years when I found myself in a shooting situation on the street in uniform. I had a clear shot at the armed individual and I couldn't shoot. A minute or so later, I had another clear shot and still didn't take it. The sound of gunfire finally did the trick... the third opportunity was taken, and there's nothing to be proud of there.

    Most cops that I've known are very hesitant to actually shoot until they've passed that first milestone. As a result there's was usually the second shot, not the first. In the real world actions have consequences. If an opponent in an armed encounter survives you can bet their account of what happened will be very different from yours. Stopping your opponent from actually doing damage after being wounded (even a killing wound may not stop a response, the FBI shootout some years ago in Miami is a textbook case, and good men died as a result). That's the reason I always relied on that 12ga. police shotgun. Discussing this sort of stuff is one thing, being there (and scared to death if you're normal) is another matter entirely. Just being able to hit the mark when in that state takes some concentration and skill. Not the sort of stuff we see every day in movies and the television...
  2. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

    Okay, you are rushing at me from 10m bringing a firearm to bear. I can shoot you and stop you by severing you femoral artery. I can deny you assistance save the 911 call, and if they don't get here fast enough, you will die. But you will still be a threat to me as you lay there bleeding out, thus the need for another shot, a finishing shot you might say, but that is how to stop the threat here.

    In a second scenario, just like the first but you have a knife, I can hit the femoral artery and get satisfactory results --provided you don't reach or make sudden movements that scare me.

    You do aim to kill. In fact, it is illegal in some places to aim for anything less. Lethal force is lethal force and it is protected as such here. You can use deathdealers in .75calibre semi-auto belt fed cannons (make believe) and deadly force is deadly force. It doesn't matter what you use here, but in some places it does --Arizona, I think, recently changed this because a man was convicted over using a 10mm. They cut him loose and changed the law.

    The shot that stops the threat fastest is the safest for you and your family. Unfortunately, that means kill. But that shouldn't weigh on your soul. The reason you would need to do this in the first place is if someone were trying to do it to you. People don't break into houses and approach the occupants to say thank you before leaving.

    I taught combat anatomy and terminal ballistics at the SDM course at Ft. Lewis. A shot to the nose with a round that will make it all the way through the head is called the ragdoll shot. You can do the same behind the ear or just above the neck (or obliquely). The subject will fall like a marrionette with the strings cut. Lights out. The next best shot is the area a bowling pin covers from the bridge of the nose to the bottom of the sternum. Secondary to that is just to the left and right, and upper abdominal shots.

    An area that supposed to be a good shooting point for stopping an aggressor is the pelvic region. Especially if they are armored. There is a lot of blood there, the guts hurt BAD when aggravated (and shooting them definitely would aggravate them) and the bones there are easy to hit. If you hit the bone, and you probably will, it will anchor the target. If he is still a threat, well, you know what to do next.

    Bottom line is if you aim to shoot another man, you aim to kill him. We are THE alpha predator in case anyone forgot. When an alpha predator comes for you, you don't play around. You wouldn't shoot to wound a lion if it were attacking. Why would you do differently to that lion's top predator?

    I agree with the OP about buckshot. Definitely buckshot. I like the 00 Hornady TAP FPD. 8 pellets at 1600fps. But I have shoulder problems now, I wake up with it burning, so I don't know if I can manage a shotgun when I might need to. So I use an M4. At HD distances, the M4 is the ultra weapon in my mind. I am very skilled with it, I have a LOT of practice clearing buildings with it and engaging surprise targets at various distance. It will punch right through soft armor, and it is lethal enough. I like to use 55gr. M193 ball. It fragments well, doesn't penetrate too much hard material, but causes grievous wounds in flesh.
  3. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Lobo, not tongue in cheek at all. When people in the future want to find out stuff about this, we can point them to the top instead of using up more bandwidth.

    MCW, 00 spreads less than smaller pellets, all else equal. And, if I need to shoot through my refrigerator,00's the better choice. Go ask your local police what they use. Chances are it's 00.

    Lemay, even the military admits maybe 20% of the troops are doing 90% of the threat management.
  4. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

    I am simply questioning the logic of using the heaviest possible load to target the CNS, and then trying to fit that in with a civilians goal to stop threatening behavior.


    Thing is, a 2 3/4" load of 00 buckshot IS NOT the "heaviest possible load." There are heavier shotgun loads available, that will fit most shotguns in use these days. A 3" magnum load of 000 buck is arguably heavier (larger pellets and more of them) than most of the 9 pellet loads of 00 buck used by the military, in law enforcement and for self defense by many armed citizens. Yet few recommend using 3" magnum loads for defense.

    And the target isn't the CNS necessarily. It's whatever might be intersected in the midline of the body, where anatomical features critical to continued function lie. The object is to shut down the function of the attacker as efficiently as possible. Why the emphasis on efficiency? Because the faster the attacker is stopped, the less shot he will be, for one thing. Even with a shotgun it's possible not to induce instant incapacitation with one hit, and any shotgunner who has had good training in the defensive use of a shotgun will have been drilled in following up with another shot or even more shots if necessary. Therefore the faster the attacker is stopped, the less shot he is going to be.

    Also, there is no guarantee there will only be one assailant. I read of a home invasion in the news a couple of days ago where five thugs were involved. It's not always one on one... http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/08/15/connecticut-family-tied-up-during-home-invasion/ , see http://www.homeinvasionnews.com/ for more news stories.


  5. Kiln

    Kiln Well-Known Member

    I've got a question, the article condemns using "exotic" types of ammunition. For those of you that are more experienced than me, would you recommend using Winchester PDX-1 .410 shells (link below) for personal defense? It is not my primary defensive firearm but I do have a .410 derringer that accepts 2 1/2 inch shells, what I'm wondering is if this is a decent loading for the gun in question or not?

  6. Maple_City_Woodsman

    Maple_City_Woodsman Well-Known Member

    I have no desire to argue semantics.

    My thanks to those of you who managed to support the arguments you made while answering my questions, especially Lee Lapin who has been most helpful.

    I did not intend to step on toes, but it has happened anyway. My apologies to those who got their feelings hurt. I'm bowing out of this discussion, to keep it 'High Road'.
  7. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

    Winchester PDX-1 .410 shells ... .410 derringer

    If it holds any kind of pattern with all the stuff the Winchester shell is loaded with (shot plus "defense discs"), it should probably do about as well as anything else. I'd guess you only have about 1/2" to 1" of barrel in front of the shotgun shell in a derringer, and that's not going to help matters much with either velocity or patterning. I've never shot one to pattern with anything at all, but it's my guess the short barrel will prove to be your biggest disadvantage with that particular gun. But only experimentation can answer those questions - shoot various loads and test both penetration and patterning to see what you can expect out of it.


  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I have no sympathy for thugs who rob, (delted a word for forcible, non-consensual sexual relations), maim, kill, etc, and if in stopping them I kill them, so be it. They put themselves in harms way.

    The idea is to stop the attack. Sometimes killing is required to do so. It is completely up to the thug who is committing the crime. If when they are told to freeze, drop any weapon, and lay face down, they choose to do so, their lives are not in jeopardy. If instead they choose to attack, they take their health and well being into their own hands.

    What reason do I need to believe that? It speaks for its self. If you believe differently, OK.

    If you truly believe what you say, debate it, don't bow out. AC
  9. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    its not that I disagree with you its just that 00 buck gets discussed alot here and this thread isnt bringing anything new to the table other than another conversation about 00 buck and possible a scenerio.
  10. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Well-Known Member

    Lee, this is tremendously good advice. Do you mind if I save your post for future reference?
  11. Apple a Day

    Apple a Day Well-Known Member

    If you're asking about a derringer then I think that's a whole different animal (as compared to an 18"+ bbl longarm).
    I won't attempt to put words om MB's mouth but I believe he's addressing the larger guns.
    If I'm in a self defense situation I'm sticking with A)simple and B)most effective. Simple 00 fits both those criteria. Woodsman, I understand what you are saying but I agree with MB's point:
    I was recently trying out some different rounds and remarked the huge difference in spread between some 00 and some birdshot at the same range from the same barrel.
    I'm no expert and I'm not sure how comfortable I am trying to work with a less-than-most-effective tool especially when my life is at stake. It's not that I want to kill anyone, it's just that I really, really, really don't want to get killed myself. I think I can get that idea across to a jury.
    Everybody has their own opinions/methods. Good luck whichever you choose. Stay safe.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011
  12. bushmaster1313

    bushmaster1313 Well-Known Member

    Do the pellets in 8 pellet LE reduced recoil 00 travel about as fast as the full power 9 pellet 00?
  13. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

  14. Jesse 8

    Jesse 8 Well-Known Member

    What are opinions on #1 buck? I think 12-15 pellets of .30 caliber would be quite convincing and possibly penetrate dry wall slightly less than straight 00 buck
  15. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    On paper, 1 looks very good. But, some of us who have been doing this for a long time have yet to find a load of 1 buck that patterns tightly without flyers.

    Inside, that may not be a problem due to proximity. But, we can never be completely sure we will not need a shotgun outside during crisis points.

    In the scenarios we may have to deal with, collateral damage is unacceptable.
  16. bratch

    bratch Well-Known Member

    Federal is/has came out with a FliteControl #1B LE132-1B. DocGKR has tested it and is getting one hole groups at 7 yards. I'll be really interested to get my hands on some when I see it in the wild.
  17. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

    The Winchester LE reduced recoil is much slower, but I think it has 9 pellets. Around 1090fps? The Hornady TAP FPD (my favorite) has 8 pellets and chugs along at about 1600fps. Oh yeah! I'll trade that one pellet in exchange for the rest going 500fps. faster. More recoil than the Winchester, but much less than Federal magnums.

    Oh yeah, the Hornady also patterns better than anything else I've tried. Very tight, all of them go evenly in a saucer or desert plate at close to moderate range. The wad is the secret. I think Federal uses something similar. With proper shot placement, this is devastating. The wost patterns I've seen come from Fiocchi and other cheaper loads that use cardboard wads. Uneven, erratic, and wide. Some people like this though?
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  18. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

    #1 buck is very good. Just between #4 and 00... Some think 00 is overkill and some think #4 is underkill, so #1 should be just right. Ayoob I think is a big proponent of #1. I don't use it because of availability, but I think he may just be right. I like all three, plus 000, my favorite. I just wish it came in different flavors like the 00 does. A low recoil 3" would be awesome.

    Seals used #4 to break ambushes in Vietnam with full auto shotguns. 200+ pellets in the air in a second or two. The Winchester XX load, 3" mag, has 41 or 42 pellets! It also has the most recoil of any shotgun shell I've fired since I was 8.
  19. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

    I really like buck and ball, the concept anyway. But there isn't a really well designed one out there. There is the Centurion, one ball and six buck (00? I think there are ones with #4 and #1 too). Not the best pattern. Then there is the Winchester buck and slug. Very promising looking, it has a rifled slug UNDER three 00 buck. It patterns like you'd expect: one slug in the middle with a triad of buck around the slug. The catch? Probably because the slug is under the buck, it tends to spread very rapidly. You will have a flier in distances over a few yards. The slug also gets a little deformed through firing. But a little over 1000fps, this load would be a fight ender. I really would like to see one done with the buck under the slug and engineered to pattern tight.
  20. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Well-Known Member

    In a self defense / home defense scenario, there is a subtle but critical difference between "stop the attack" and the end game I believe is the right one: "neutralize the aggressor."

    "Stop the attack," which can be accomplished in many ways including simply scaring the bad guy away, and you might do nothing more than set the attacker on your less well protected neighbor. "Neutralize the aggressor" means render him unable to continue his agressive activity. Not unwilling, not somewhere else. Unable. That is the desired outcome of the encounter.

    To the original question, as I recall it, that's 00 buck in as large a dose as it takes.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011

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