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Facial Wounds

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Tired_and_hungry, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. Tired_and_hungry

    Tired_and_hungry Well-Known Member

    At my most recent range trip with my new Beretta Mod 84 .380auto, I was practicing for the eventuality of dealing with a body armor wearing assailent and i noticed that at a range of 8 yards, I could draw and fire 3 rounds in quick succession but that my rounds mostly impacted where the lower area of the face would be on the target. Hence, my question to those of you with medical training (whether military or civilian based) is.....

    What would be the terminal ballistics effect of a 95gr .380acp fmj round travelling at 870ft/s if it squarely impacted an assailent's:

    2)Cheek bones?
    4)jaw line?

    How different would the results be if a easily expanding hollow point like the Winchester silvertip were used? Can one shot to the lower face be expected to produce a "one shot stop"?
  2. KenW.

    KenW. Well-Known Member

    I've been trained in a couple of methods;

    Target the mouth. The brain stem is a preferred target and it is behind the back of the moth
    Occular cavity. Shoot through the eye socket where there is little to no bone to effect your projectile.
  3. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    Good chance it would enter the cranial cavity and cause CNS damage

    Depends on the angle, but cheek bones aren't particularly heavy. A friend of mine took a .22 LR out of a 3" barrel to his left cheek, the bullet ended up against the back of his skull. He survived after several surgeries, 2 weeks in the ICU and 4 months in Craig Hospital, but still has some serious issues with memory & temper. That was 17 years ago.

    Open mouth? Probably penetrate right through to the brain stem. Closed? Teeth are pretty hard, would definitely serve to slow and/or deflect the bullet some.

    Jaw bones have deflected much more substantial rounds than the .380. I would expect it to fracture the jaw, but probably not be a lethal wound. Incapacitating? Depends on the assailant, but I'd bet most would cease their attack.

    Any bullet to any part of the face is serious trauma, even if it doesn't enter the cranial cavity. If you can score hits there during an attack, do so.
  4. Odd Job

    Odd Job Well-Known Member

    Never seen a gunshot nose. Either they are very rare or I have extremely bad luck, because I have seen all other body parts hit, but no nose.

    These have the capacity to deflect bullets, seen it several times. But, there is no guarantee on any specific behaviour because I have seen bullets go straight through also. By cheek bone I mean the malar bone surface.

    A lot of variation depending on teeth, and whether the mouth is open or closed. At this point, the trajectory is more likely to involve the upper cervical spine instead of the brain, even if the bullet passes straight through the teeth.

    This is the least valuable target and there can be a lot of deflection if the round hits teeth because you have the possibility of having several teeth in the way. If the round just hits mandible you have to hope it also involves a carotid artery or if it is central, the upper cervical spine otherwise it is not likely to be an incapacitating shot. Even if the artery is hit it will take time to make the guy stop involuntarily.

    The face presents opportunity for unexpected deflection of bullets.
  5. HDCamel

    HDCamel Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure having my teeth shot out would have me writhing in pain.
    If nothing else, it would probably give you time to shoot them again.
  6. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure that anyone shot in the face is going to stop, at least momentarily, doing whatever he was doing to get himself shot. Once he does, I doubt either of us will take time to analyze the trauma before executing our next move. My money is on that one, or both, of us will flee the situation.
    So-called "one-shot stops" are an abstract term at best. If you hit someone in the bicep with a .25 and he stops threatening, is that considered a "one-shot stop"? That's all the "stop" I need; anything else is just extra.
  7. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Well-Known Member

    Shoot 'em in the molars with an ice bullet, tinfoil jacketed... it'd stop me in my tracks. You'd be amazed what a skull will deflect. I served with a lady whose husband's girlfriend shot him twice in the head without penetrating the skull... my BIL double tapped a pig with. 380 HP without penetrating the skull. Best advice is to empty the magazine into his face and see what THAT does.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
  8. 481

    481 Well-Known Member

    Probably be pretty effective, but there are no guarantees.
  9. Sport45

    Sport45 Well-Known Member

    Try aiming a bit higher.
  10. olderguns

    olderguns Well-Known Member

    Texan scott +1
  11. KenW.

    KenW. Well-Known Member

    Eventuality of an armored assualt?

    I don't believe it is eventually going to happen to everyone. It MAY, but its not likely unless you are an armored car employee. Its not bad to practice the head shot, but don't get too hung up over it.

    Even we cops are trained to get two into the center of mass, evaluate, then follow with one to the head if necessary. The head is generally moving; bobbing and weaving makes for a poor target. You also have a high probability of deflection from the skull; that's why so many people who attempt suicide often survive. Small caliber projectiles will glance off the skull pretty often.

    I investigated one recently where a guy shot himself with a .45ACP (hardball) through the bottom of the jaw. It exited the top of the skull. Went perfectly between the hemispheres of the brain and he's recovering nicely.

    Head shots are not gaurentees. They don't "all fall with ball".
  12. brickeyee

    brickeyee Well-Known Member

    You are way over thinking this.

    Aim for the biggest section of head you can see.

    It is not like things are going to be nice and static like a square range.
  13. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    I don't think he's asking so much for a specific place to aim on the face, but curious about what to expect with a hit in these particular areas.
  14. brickeyee

    brickeyee Well-Known Member

    Bleeding if the bullet penetrates.

    Everything else is pure speculation and guess work since the trajectory is unknown ahead of time.

    It is like asking what will happen if you are shot in the chest.

    Anything from 'ouch' to 'dropping like a stone' depending on what is actually struck.
  15. scaatylobo

    scaatylobo Well-Known Member

    Till END of threat.

    Shoot till end of threat is my teaching and what I taught.

    A "double tap" is NO garranttee of a stop.

    My last gun shot call as LEO was a self inflicted contact wound to the lower jaw with an AR - 15,ball ammo.

    the wackadoodle lost his lower jaw up to his eyes and all in between.

    He was still able to WALK OUT of the house with assistance of the EMT and fireman.

    I could see him capable of picking up his rifle and trying to finish the job.

    SO, in conclusion I see that shooting till the THREAT IS OVER - and you are positive you are safe is the best route to take.
  16. barnbwt

    barnbwt Well-Known Member

    "I'll bet his eyes are as gooey as the next guy's..."
    -Agent Cardholder, after a torso shot fails to penetrate :)

    If you're shooting a .380 against a dude in body armor, there's hardly any other choice for a soft target than the face/head area. Just remember, you're limiting yourself to a target area way smaller than the torso, which enough people have a hard time hitting anyway.

    If humans are anything like other primates, the skull is more reinforced in the jaw, and cheek regions (our bite force is +300lbs IIRC). Seems like the weakest areas are between the cheekbones and brow, and through the teeth.

    Yeah, teeth are hard, but they're also pretty thin and brittle. They won't stop a bullet unless it's traveling down multiple molars, in which case, Bad Guy's got a really bad injury anyway). The face is always a favorite target in hand-to-hand, since it's fairly fragile, and contains a lot of sensitive and important equipment. I seem to recall facial wounds were preferred in old-school rapier fencing since they hurt more and interfered in continued fighting ability.

  17. orionengnr

    orionengnr Well-Known Member

    If you are talking about a two-way exchange of fire, stop and take a look at one of those targets that portray someone with a handgun aiming directly at you.

    What do you notice?

    Okay, I'll help. A good portion of his face is hidden behind his two arms/hands extended forward. His gun is (most likely) lined up with one of his eyes, effectively providing a barrier to his head. Further, his head is likely cocked forward, toward the sights.

    How much skull/face is available to you? And how much of what you can see is perpendicular to your shots (allowing for a reasonable chance of penetrating the bone instead of being deflected by iit)?

    Don't forget, he is shooting at you at this same time....

    Bottom line...if you have a .380 and he is wearing body armor, you had best either be a really good shot, or be exceptionally lucky.

    This might call for the Modified Mozambique Chicken Drill: two to COM, one to the head, throw the dang .380 at him and run like your life depends on it. :)

    Just my .02 worth.
  18. MrDig

    MrDig Well-Known Member

    The point of Aim is referred to as the "Vermilion" Zone and it forms a triangle from the outer edges of the eye brows to the bottom of the nose.
    This will impact and damage the central nervous system and be a no questions stop. The target will drop like a stone.
    Try two shots center mass, if these have no effect a head shot to the "Vermilion Zone" this was once called the Mozambique Drill, not sure what it is called today.
  19. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    IF the bullet gets through. That's the point of this thread; We're talking about defensive handguns, not rifles. The face itself is pretty fragile, but there is a good chance that a relatively low powered handgun round will be deflected by bone/teeth. Serious trauma? Yes. Instantly incapacitating or life threatening? Good chance it won't be. A bullet that shatters the mandible, blows out some teeth and tears off a big chunk of flesh is going to hurt, and it's going to require medical attention. But a broken jaw and a nasty laceration is not physically incapacitating.
  20. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    I think a .380 to one of those spots would be about like a sharp axe swung by a berserker.

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