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A gel expert explains

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by labnoti, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    By now, most of us have heard the gel-based theory that has been oversimplified to state that all service handgun cartridges have the same terminal effectiveness. The theory rules out any effect from hydrostatic shock because it is not consistently witnessed where impact velocities are below 2200 fps in common handgun calibers.

    According to Federal's Johann Boden, because the organism's (human's) tissue has an elasticity that is able to absorb the energy imparted through "temporary wound cavities", there is no meaningful permanent effect. Or is there?



    Beginning at 5:06, Johann begins to explain this elasticity thing. He describes the "temporary wound cavity" appearing too fast for the human eye to see in human tissue, which he explains is made largely of water. I can't help but think that Boden, as well as possibly Boone, learned about humans from gel. Anyone who has shot a pumpkin, which is also largely made of water, knows that they don't explode the way a watermelon does, which is also largely made of water. The difference is that the pumpkin is also full of compressible gases like air. Humans and most mammals are similarly full of compressible gases. It's not just the elasticity of Jello-brand tissue in the organism that stretches to absorb the hydraulic force of the bullet's impact displacing the matter in its path. A lot of it is just gas. Anybody that's ever field-dressed a deer knows that it's more like a pumpkin inside than a watermelon. There is a lot of hollow space, and we wouldn't describe it as "mostly water" unless we ran it through a woodchipper into a bucket first.

    At 5:46, Johann tells us what's left after the recovery from the rapid stretching of Jello is the "permanent wound cavity, namely the crushing path" the bullet took. He then goes on to describe how at velocities above 2200 fps, the elastic threshold of the tissue is exceeded and the tissue tears at a much greater diameter than the expanded bullet's path.

    Johann is simplifying some things here for the sake of brevity. I'm sure he understands this better than only the necessary explanation he gave impromptu. If I were to explain in a little more detail, I would propose the velocity thresholds involved in terminal ballistics are caliber-sensitive. The research I've studied suggests a threshold of around 2200 fps for 35 to 40 caliber projectiles. With a larger projectile like a 45, the threshold may be as low as 1800 fps. With calibers 30 and under, the threshold may be as high as 2600 fps. Since this is all only relevant to rifle ballistics, its not hard to see why Johann glossed it over. But there are a couple of other issues that are relevant to handguns.

    One I think is missing that we need to understand is that either velocity and larger caliber do contribute to greater wounding even at velocities below the thresholds mentioned. The other thing is that so does the width of a flat meplat.

    Anyone that has shot game mammals will readily recognize that bullets that impact below Boone's velocity thresholds most certainly can produce wound cavities much larger diameter than the caliber.

    Johann acknowledges this but glosses it over. At 7:15, Johann attempts to explain what happens to the energy of more powerful handgun rounds so that one is not meaningfully more effective than another. Using the 44 Magnum as an example, compared to a .40 S&W, Johann explains the additional energy of the Magnum is simply absorbed within the elasticity threshold of human tissue.

    This is simply balderdash.

    Of course, most often, the additional momentum of the heavy magnum's bullet is simply carried through the body and imparted to a backstop somewhere else. But the question was asked about higher energy rounds that do not penetrate more. The 44 Magnum is probably a poor example of this, but we can certainly see examples of much higher energy ammo not penetrating deeper than lower energy ammo even though both rounds expanded about equally.

    Look at these two rounds for a good example: Be sure to choose the drop-down to compare the data for Ruger GP100, barrel length 4"

    https://www.luckygunner.com/357-mag...h-short-barrel-buffalo-bore-20-rounds#geltest

    https://www.luckygunner.com/357-mag-125-grain-hp-barnes-tac-xpd-20-rounds#geltest

    If you're looking at these test results, and you've selected the 4-inch test barrel data, you'll see that with the Barnes 125 grain bullet, a 5-shot median penetration and expansion of 16.3" and 0.69" were achieved at a median velocity of 1416 fps or 556 foot-pounds of energy. Also, with the exact same Barnes 125 grain bullet (save for the color), a 5-shot median penetration and expansion of 16.2" and 0.72" were achieved with a median velocity of 1287 fps or 460 foot-pounds.

    Where did the extra 96 foot-pounds of energy go? Well, in this case, it jiggled the Jello. It's easy to see where Johann gets his theory. In this case, 96 foot-pounds might not make a noticeable difference on a game carcass either.

    But Johann is comparing a 1044 foot-pound 44 Magnum to a 361 foot-pound 40 S&W (using his specs), and he claims at 7:36 that it, "does not seem to translate out into a corresponding amount of damage in a human organism." He says he believes that is because we just stretch around it, as it's within that elasticity threshold.

    But then at 7:50 he admits, "Does it make a bigger, more significant wound than say a 40 cal or 9 millimeter, yes it does, but really not enough to matter, to change the outcome of a critical event."

    Now anyone that has seen the wound of a .40 S&W on a deer and the wound from a .44 Magnum on a deer might need this double-talk to be explained a little better if they are to believe it.

    First of all, it should be acknowledged that finding a 240 grain .44 Magnum bullet that at 1400 fps does not penetrate better than a .40 S&W would be impractical. Not all of the .44 Magnum's additional 683 foot-pounds of energy will be transferred into wounding as it will almost certainly over-penetrate, but it is almost certain that the net transfer of energy will be greater than that of the .40, unless the bullet was intentionally designed to avoid this. The bullets in any of the more powerful cartridges are going to have to be constructed so as to transfer as much energy as is practical while maintaining sufficient momentum to achieve a depth of penetration according to their target if they are to wound most effectively.

    What I think is missing in this apparently prevailing theory of the absence of hydrostatic shock in handgun terminal effects, is a distinction between the capability of a projectile to induce coma through hydrostatic shock at handgun velocities, and the capability of a projectile to produce wounding through hydraulic pressure.

    I believe the Boone velocity thresholds do not determine a bullet's ability to produce a much larger than caliber diameter permanent wound channel with hydraulic pressure. These thresholds have been misunderstood. Where these thresholds are relevant is with regard to the ability of a projectile's impact to cause a hydrostatic shock wave that induces coma. Coma is probably achieved by a spike in blood pressure resulting from the shock wave (rather than the bullet) hitting the central nervous system. The result of this mechanism is very similar to a knock-out punch. It is the immediate, but temporary incapacitation of the person or animal through coma or loss of consciousness. The permanence of this incapacitative event is dependent on the severity of wounding and blood loss that must result in total disablement or death before the animal regains consciousness. The hydrostatic shock is not the chief mechanism of the wounding, but the bullet crushing tissue in its path and the hydraulic pressure of the fluid it displaces are.

    In the absence of the practicality of achieving immediate coma without direct hits to the CNS, does it make sense to also dismiss the ability of a bullet to produce a larger than expanded-caliber wound?

    Johann says this greater wounding does not matter enough to change the outcome of a critical event. Do you agree?

    Now there is a separate issue relating to the justification for replacing .40 S&W with 9mm. About this, Buford Boone himself has written, "Without getting into the weeds, a full power .40 is a great cartridge. Unfortunately, most shooters and many pistols can't actually handle a full power .40. Put a problematic pistol in the hands of a problematic shooter and you've got guaranteed catastrophe."

    This is clearly a pistol and shooter problem, not a cartridge problem. The weight of the pistol and the skill of the shooter can be increased to the points where this is made irrelevant or overcome. Boone goes on to say, "So far as the more powerful cartridges go, my personal opinion is that nobody should even be allowed to carry them unless they are able to consistently max out the qualification course." Again, the weight of the pistol can be increased to the point where there is no perceptible difference to the shooter, and if their skill is equal with the lighter gun, then there is no issue.

    But what we have are people selecting cartridges based on how far the gun they can shoot them in pulls their pants down, rather than on what effect the bullets are having on the target. What's worse, is we have ballistic analysts and technical consultants that are justifying less effective cartridges by disingenuously claiming, "they're all the same."
     
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  2. Dibbs

    Dibbs Member

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    There's been a lot of blather about 460m Rowland being "as good as" .44 Magnum, 9mm being "as effective as" .357 Magnum, 22WMR
    being "as powerful as 5.7 in gel tests", but when you start to compare apples to apples, grain weights to grain weights, and actual performance of rounds in real, live, and practical tests, all the wannabees come up far short, eventually.
     
  3. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    I prefer large diameters and momentum. If my 45-70 (under 2200fps so it applies) or 44mag, or 45 acp fail me, I’ll concern myself. I do appreciate science and where it has brought us. But at this point in my life, I don’t need a physicist to confirm or deny what my real world experiences have already taught me.
     
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  4. Goosey

    Goosey Member

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    Sometimes, even often, you hear silly things, like ".357 is the same as 9mm". But even Fackler didn't claim this magic foot-per-second barrier:


    MAJOR MISCONCEPTIONS
    1. Idolatry of Velocity:

    A widespread dogma claims that wounds caused by "high-velocity" projectiles must be treated by extensive excision of tissue around the missile path, whereas those caused by "low-velocity" missiles need little or no treatment. Two half-truths nurture this error. The first of these, "Cavitation is a ballistic phenomenon associated with very high velocity missiles", is easily disproved. The wound profile in Fig 1 shows a very substantial temporary cavity produced by a low-velocity" bullet. This bullet, fired from the Vetterli rifle at 1357 ft/s (414 m/s), has ballistic characeristics typical of those used by military forces in the latter half of the nineteenth century. It is the same bullet used by Theodor Kocher for most of his wound ballistics studies. It is obvious from this wound profile that temporary cavitation is not, as popularly believed, a modern phenomenon associated exclusively with projectiles of "high velocity."

    The adjunct half-truth, Cavitation requires extensive debridement of tissues...", lacks valid scientific support. Cavitation is nothing more than a transient displacement of tissue, a stretch, a localized "blunt trauma." It is not surprising that elastic tissues such as bowel wall, lung, and muscle are relatively resistant to being damaged by this stretch, while solid organs such as liver are not.



    I don't believe in your average handguns, or magnum handguns, causing "hydrostatic shock", though.
     
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  5. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    The .45-70 is a good example of how Caliber Matters. At short range, it does often have velocities above 1800 fps which is the estimated threshold for producing a hydrostatic shock wave capable of producing instantaneous coma with indirect hits to the CNS. Caliber does matter with regard to this effect, but practically speaking, caliber is not enough to make up for the velocity deficit of short-barreled handguns in producing this effect. Caliber also matters with regard to wounding, and the velocity threshold for this is lower than that for hydrostatic shock to the CNS. The .45-70 has for its long history, consistently produced large-diameter wounds and deep penetration. To think that a small-bore projectile will always do the same thing is surely folly.

    The .30-30 was the first smokeless powder small-bore cartridge to challenge the dominance of the .45-70. Velocity Matters. We have long been demonstrating to ourselves that with a high-enough velocity, the .30-30 can produce wound diameters as large or even larger than a slower-moving .45-70. This phenomenon was the whole justification for its generation. Smokeless powder had the ability to accelerate a 30 caliber projectile to nearly 2000 fps, and would later push it beyond 2300 fps, which could produce even greater wounding than the .45-70's larger caliber projectile then propelled by black powder to about 1200 fps. If increasing velocity from 1200 to 1900 fps caused a smaller diameter and lighter 160 grain projectile to generate greater wounding, this is certainly within the relevant parameters to handgun ammunition. The early .30-30 could falter, however, if it was loaded with a bullet that was too soft or too hard for the game being hunted. Bullet Construction Matters. If a soft lead .30 caliber driven to a high velocity splattered on entering a big mule deer buck, or a solid, hard .30 bullet penciled through a little whitetail doe, we would prefer the old .45-70 because it would reliably wound better than either. The gel testers do seem to have been successful in identifying the parameters in gel that constitute reasonable goals for bullet construction with respect to the penetration and expansion when the target is human. But they seem to have gone on from there to conclude that caliber and velocity have no meaningful effect beyond obtaining sufficient penetration and expansion in gel.

    Once the necessary bullet construction was identified for the .30-30, it was ultimately it's flatter trajectory that gave it favor over the .45-70, because by then, both were available in lever-action repeaters. The .45-70 remains popular for the greater penetration on large game that can be achieved with it's heavier projectiles at higher pressures in modern Marlins and Ruger No.1's. Neither of these virtues are relevant to handguns used for self-defense, but both the .45's consistent advantage in caliber and the .30-30's unmistakable advantage in velocity are part of the history of our knowledge that these things matter. To argue otherwise or claim that velocity is not meaningful to terminal performance (as
    Chris Laack claims at 10:00 in the video, and reiterates his claim at 10:30 that the need for velocity is false). Mr. Laack claims that "we can make, with this modern technology, a bullet do just about anything that we want it to do." Clearly he is talking about doing only the things in gel that Vista Outdoors/Federal/Speer has convinced its customers need to be done.

    I never heard someone say they wished they'd brought a gun that wounded less to a gunfight.

    Laack finishes his assertions not by dishonestly claiming that caliber won't make a difference, but that the difference won't over-rule a discrepancy in the shooter's ability between a larger and smaller cartridge. There is validity to this up to a point. What I question is whether the shooter's inferior ability with the larger caliber weapon is due solely to the caliber itself or just insufficient skill and insufficient weight in the weapon for the shooter's skill level. We cannot instantly fix the shooter's skill level, but we can very readily increase the weight of the larger caliber weapon.

    I never heard someone say they wished they'd brought a lighter gun to a gunfight.

    At 11:30, Johann makes a very lucid assertion that handguns are feeble compared to the danger that a human adversary can present. He calls out the importance of having appropriate bullet construction for the purpose. But then he repeats the argument that a weapon that delivers more effective wounding but the recoil of which causes the shooter to be less proficient is inferior to a weaker weapon handled with proficiency.

    I would argue that a weapon should be chosen to deliver the most effective wounding. Caliber, velocity, and gun weight should be maximized just short of what is impractical for a handgun. Bullet construction can be matched for maximum performance with these parameters. The shooter is advised only to lower the weight of the gun when they are able to demonstrate equal skill with the lighter weapon.

    There is no question in my mind that all of these excuses for less effective guns are being made for unskilled people to carry lighter weight guns. When you justify carrying a less effective handgun so that you can be relieved of carrying additional weight or acquiring improvement in skill, you will be stuck with that decision when it comes time to prove your faith in these experts. What's appalling is that ammunition manufacturers, gun companies, and their technical consultants, and the FBI are complicit in making these excuses and false justifications. Somebody like Jeff Cooper never would have tarnished his integrity by stooping to cater to these pansies by arguing endlessly with gel blocks, rulers and dial calipers for you to carry a weaker gun.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
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  6. Nuclear

    Nuclear Member

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    It is non-sensical to say that crush cavity & penetration is all that matters, but then turn around and say the caliber doesn't matter. Likewise, 2200 fps can't be a magic number for all calibers, because a 125 grain 357 Mag at 1400 fps is much more effective than a standard pressure 124 grain 9mm, almost as effective as a rifle round. Or why a JHP 30 Carbine is a very effective round, yet there is no commercial loading that exceeds 2000 fps at the muzzle.

    The reason all the handgun rounds made for self defense penetrate to the same extent is because the FBI has published a criteria for penetration, and none for expansion or temporary cavity. So expansion is just considered one method to control penetration, not a goal in and of itself. Likewise, since there is no official value to temporary cavity generation, it is completely ignored and dismissed. So there can't be any study of its effectiveness out in the real world.

    They have blinders on, and they may not even know it.
     
  7. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    The message was abbreviated and a bit generalized but from my experience it's pretty spot on. The 2200 FPS threshold is a generalization. Bullet weight and profile do make a difference. Dr Roberts has stated that they have seen temporary cavitation wounding with heavy hot loaded 44 magnum. I think what they are saying with the 2200 FPS is that you are pretty much guaranteed to see temporary cavitation wounding above that line as long as bullet profile is working for you... example, small FMJ 223 rounds not upsetting in tissue and punching small caliber holes.

    From my experience with handgun wounds the normal magnums.. 357, 44.. dont really do much, if any, more damage than the "duty" calibers unless it's a contact distance shot where the extra blast definitely makes a difference. They do tend to penetrate more, but from what Ive seen on scenes and in the hospital they are punching caliber sized holes just like the other handguns. Now the extra penetration definitely could be beneficial in certain situations but I cant remember ever seeing a 38, 9mm, 40, or 45 have a lack of penetration in a person. 22 and 380 hollow points I have definitely seen a lack of penetration though.
     
  8. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    This has been my experience as well. Obviously clothing and distance factor in. But pretty much all the GSV’s I’ve seen and worked on, this holds true.
     
  9. redbullitt

    redbullitt Member

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    I'd like to see some exploration of those copper "extreme defender/penetrator" bullets out of a 6 nch 357 sig. Or maybe a 9x25 dillon. The lighter offerings run 2100 fps from a typical barrel. The 9x25 offers similar speed with a heavier bullet.

    Anyone shot them or better yet taken game with any ?
    Gel tests are nice to compare rounds I think, ie garbage 9mm hp vs federal hst in the same controlled test. Hunting tells a more complete story most of the time.
     
  10. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    Poor wounding from magnums is due to bullet construction that is improperly suited to the target. If the bullet is too hard for the target, it will pencil through. Magnum handgun bullets are frequently of a type for deep penetration on large game. There are softer bullets for Magnums that are better suited for more rapid energy-transfer to shallow targets. Evaluating this is one of the ways gel can be immensely useful.

    For example, in Lucky Gunner's gel testing, the 125 grain Remington Semi-jacketed hollowpoint was driven to 1473 fps median velocity and it penetrated 13.6 inches median depth. The Hornady 125 grain XTP was driven to 1125 fps, but penetrated 21.4 inches -- even though all the bullets expanded to 0.50" This excessive penetration wasn't because the bullets failed to expand (there are examples of that too), and it wasn't because the bullets were much heavier, nor was it because the bullets were driven to much higher magnum velocities (they were in fact 348 fps slower). But the XTP is designed for deep penetration even at lower velocities so that it penetrates sufficiently at longer ranges where bullet speeds have dropped off. In the LG test, the XTP's velocity was low because of a short barrel rather than a long range more typical of hunting. The Remingtons, at long range, would probably fail to penetrate because they are so soft and would still expand. Indeed we see them from the short barrel at 1209 fps still expanding to 0.64" but only penetrating 10.5". Compare this to the 125 grain Gold Dot, which at 1003 fps fails to expand and penetrates 29.9".

    What gel tests do not show is the difference in wounding from a bullet at 1473 fps that stops at 13.6" and a bullet at 1100 fps that stops at 13.9", or bullets of greater caliber. The person whose sole criteria are expansion and penetration in gel, Johann Boden of Federal Ammunition, concludes that the additional energy of a 44 Magnum is simply absorbed within the elasticity threshold of human tissue. This is the gel leading him to a false conclusion. He even admits, "Does it make a bigger, more significant wound than say a 40 cal or 9 millimeter, yes it does, but really not enough to matter, to change the outcome of a critical event." How does he know that? He believes that because his customer will buy ammunition based on their gel criteria and nothing else, and his customer very much wants to justify their selection of the lightest-weight gun they can while still meeting the irretractable standard of effectiveness they set forth themselves.
     
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  11. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    I suspect we're unlikely to know about the true effects on the person shot for any of these kind of wounds, as it's only when there is a postmortem done that such damage can be closely examined or measured. Even then, I suspect that the wounds that cause DEATH are given more attention than wounds that don't. A wound to the thigh, which could have taken that leg out of action isn't likely to get the same atttention as a shot to the chest.

    I would argue that the disadvantage of putting too much faith in ballistic gel test results is that such tests can seldom replicate the bones, tendon, ligaments, organs and other connective tissue that holds the living organisms together.

    While there are gases and liquids in the human body which sometimes match ballistic gel behaviors, the gases and liquids in the human body are constrained in ways that ballistic gel can't (or, at least don't) simulate. Bigger holes CAN mean a greater likelihood of hitting something critical, but only if you're close to those critical points in the first place.

    Everything I've read or seen discussed about using a handgun in a self-defense situation is that your only objective should be to STOP the attacker before s/he can stop you. While a bigger hole (i.e. a larger caliber projectile) in the attacker can lead to greater blood lost more quickly, just causing your attacker to bleed out is not a show stopper, it's a slow stopper!

    The skeptic in me feels that watching discussions about the impact of secondary wound effects are a bit like the reading about the proverbial medieval clerics who may have spent hours arguing about how many angels can dance on the point of a pin . Does it REALLY matter? It all seems to boil down to the arguments and guesswork by true believers.

    QUICKLY STOPPING the attacker means you must use a weapon that can deliver a round that penetrates deeply enough to hit a critical part of the central nervous system. A critical part for a quick strop is the head/brain or spine. If you don't hit a critical area, you may still kill your attacker, but not quickly enough to keep him or her from doing the same to you. Even a shot to the heart may not STOP an attacker quickly enough to make you safe: in some cases the attacker may have another 30-60 seconds to finish what he or she started!

    As others have noted secondary wound channels (in which tissue is disrupted) don't seem to be disabling unless the round is traveling at very high velocities -- i.e., at least 2,000 fps. Darned few carry weapons and loads can do that. Then, too, I've seen and read of too many examples of experienced, determined, or drugged-up attackers continuing the fight despite multiple center mass hit by LEOs or defenders who were using good self-defense rounds. Even when some of the shots hitting the bad guy were .357 magnum, the bad guy might keep on coming. An attacker who is DOWN but not out can still shoot at you. If he's just slowed down and bleeding out, he can still stab you or pound you with a baseball bat or hammer! Wound channels can disable an attacker, but may not do it quickly enough to do YOU any good.

    A bigger caliber weapon makes a lot of sense if you shoot it well, but if you're only adequate with it, you might be better-served using something a bit less robust that you handle more effectively. A .32 or .380 in the hands of a cool-headed defender could be more effective than a .45 or .44 magnum in the hands of someone who isn't good with that more powerful gun. This can be seen in the data from the Ellifritz study which is based on a lot of different documented shootings.

    Ellifritz%20Study_zpsotjjkjxn.jpg

    You'll notice a remarkable similarity in results regardless of caliber. We can't tell anything from this table about the proficiency of the shooters, however. If you haven't gone through the study, it might be worthwhile to do so. This study included 1785 people shot, with 276 of them shot with a rifle or shotgun. The details are available in the study, shown below.

    https://www.buckeyefirearms.org/alternate-look-handgun-stopping-power
     
  12. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    We don't actually know how quickly the person shot must be stopped, but it's safe to say we want them to be stopped as soon as possible. Death is a stopper. A larger wound channel that does not stop a person immediately can still result in stopping them sooner than a smaller wound channel. Some ballistics analysts simply want to dismiss the advantage of a 20 second stop versus a 45 second stop because they assume that 45 seconds is too long. They seem to have come to the conclusion that immediate, 1 second stops are impossible with all handguns without a direct hit on the CNS. And then they conclude that a 45 second stop is "just as good as" a 20 second stop. Both may very well be inadaquate to our intents, but one is still better than the other.

    Of course, there is no way of analyzing with gel how quickly a single 44 Magnum shot will disable an attacker or how much longer a 9mm shot will do the same. But I can speculate with confidence that if every one of the five hits that was made on Michael Platt before he killed Grogan and Dove was with a 44 Magnum, he would have been stopped before he killed them. The FBI has developed the conclusion that only the one 9mm shot that was lined up with his heart, but came an inch short needs to be improved, and they're confident that with a little different bullet design, they've achieved what they need. But Platt was also shot in the left foot, the right thigh, the right forearm, and by a bullet that went through the upper right arm and into the torso and shoulder blade. Not only would have Dove's first shot through the arm and into the chest have penetrated Platt's heart, but the next four shots also would have cumulatively destroyed him if they had been with a 44 Magnum and suitably soft bullets for such a shallow target. But the FBI's technical consultant from Federal is denying this, saying about the 44 Magnum, "Does it make a bigger, more significant wound than say a 40 cal or 9 millimeter, yes it does..." but then going on to say, "...but really not enough to matter, to change the outcome of a critical event."

    This is nothing but baloney to support the narrative that FBI and police agencies want promoted, that "handguns are all basically the same, and the cartridge makes no difference." Don't be mistaken in thinking that a big portion of the community of civilian gun owners isn't buying this too.
     
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  13. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    A big portion of the civilian gun owners haven't really studied the topic, and many of them aren't into handguns. Many of these gun owners are easily swayed by marketing campaigns and word of mouth arguments from their friends -- friends who might may be equally lacking in gun knowledge but opinionated and convincing.

    I'll agree that there is nothing to support the contention that "handguns are all basically the same" but will note that there is at least SOME evidence that the differences between the real-world performance of various larger caliber center-fire handguns/rounds (.380 and greater) are not as great most shooters might think. This is seen in the chart above.

    In the part of the Ellifritz study data set shown in the chart above, we see that .357 magnum actually seems to out-perform .44 magnum in % of fatal hits (34% vs. 26%)' rounds to incapacitation (1.70 vs. 1.71), but we can also see that the lowly .380 round is right there with both of them at 1.76; This is repeated with one shot head/torso incapacitation (61% vs. 53%) -- but again, the lowly .380 scores 62%, higher than either the .44 magnum or .357 magnum.) The .44 Magnum has a truly impressive 1% not incapacitated compared to 14% for .45 acp. and better than rifle (9% or shotgun 12%) and outperform the .357 in one shot stops.

    Interpretation of the Ellifritz study data is very difficult because of the differences in the number of cases offered for each caliber -- from very mall numbers for some caliber to to relatively large numbers for others.

    You can speculate with confidence, but speculation is, in effect a guess and your confidence in your guess doesn't make it less of a guess. You seem to feel that some calibers are better than others, and I tend to agree, but it's an agreement that is based on my own speculation and also not fully based on any evidence I can share with you. I've also seen nothing to support the claims of those who see round performance in ballistic gel to be a meaningful predictor of real-world results when comparing the performance one caliber to another or one round to another. You've made some points that may be valid, but you've offered no evidence to support them.

    I acknowledge that the Ellifritz study leaves a lot of questions unanswered -- about the guns used, the competence of those who used them, and the loads they fired. But, it does offer results that are tied to actual self-defense shootings. Until we can somehow tie round performance in ballistic gel to real-world results they remain records of round performance in ballistic gel.

    And, until you can offer evidence that .44 magnums are likely to be actually carried by FBI agent in combat situations, that the shooters will be as proficient with the .44 magnum as they were with a 9mm or .40 S&W handgun, making that argument, while logically valid, is interesting but largely irrelevant.
     
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  14. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    I suggest this is because .357 bullets are frequently better constructed for shallow targets like people, whereas the great majority of 44 Magnum bullets sold are better suited to penetrating deeply in large game and are ill suited to shallower human targets.

    I am not advocating for 44 Magnum. It is the example that Johann Boden chose to use in his argument. He is the technical lead for Vista's law enforcement divsion. 44 Magnum is not my pet cartridge.

    I did address the argument that people will be less effective with higher recoiling guns, potentially rendering any ballistic advantages of the more powerful cartridges irrelevant. The solution is for those people to use heavier guns until their skills result in equal proficiency with the light weight guns.
     
  15. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    To say that the FBI's "narrative" about common defensive handgun rounds being essentially the same is baloney is ignorant. The FBI has a testing budget and man hour allowance greater than the cumulative of every single CCW holder in the country. They have spent millions of dollars and thousands of hours testing dozens of rounds from every major manufacture under laboratory conditions, and studying tens of thousands of use of force accounts from law enforcement agencies across the county. There is probably no other organization, and certainly no other law enforcement organization on the planet with a better understand of terminal ballistics. The FBI is one of the most well respected sources in the world on this issue for good reason. They literally set the standards for terminal ballistics research. This is why when they say something, professional listen.
    The entire rest of the world laughs at the silly Americans and their caliber debates. For them, this issue has been settled since 1904. The 9x19 is the most successful handgun cartridge in the world. It took them a while, but the FBI has not arrived at the same conclusion as the rest of the world on accident. When you see nearly every single professional, from the FBI HRT and Secret Service Presidential Security Detail to SEAL Team 6 and SAS, to GSG9 and Mossad all in agreement, it might be prudent to pay attention. These are not people who don't want to invest in the time to become proficient with a larger caliber. If real world experience or testing showed appreciably better results from larger caliber handguns, they would use them. Instead, they all use SIG, Glock, or CZ 9mms. All over the world, on every continent and every theater, the 9mm does what a semi-auto defensive handgun should do. To discount the combined experience of the entire professional world as a "baloney" narrative parroted by bean counters and limp-wristed sissies afraid to commit to training is ridiculous.

    There may be a point at which more powerful handguns show a corresponding increase in effectiveness, but I don't think it exists within the realm of common defensive handgun calibers. There is not a lot of evidence from testing or the review of real use of force encounters to suggest a .40 or .45 is appreciably more effective than a 9mm. Likewise, I don't like the 10mm Auto as a defensive round because I expect it to be more effective in most situations than a .40 S&W. More powerful handgun rounds become more useful as the need for penetration arises. So I like the 10mm Auto because it allows me to get enough velocity behind a heavy for caliber bullet to make it practical for use in the woods for defense against bear and cougar, for hunting game like deer or black bear, as well as providing an extra degree of comfort in defensive scenarios where penetration through auto bodies and windshields, or other common barriers, might be necessary. Additionally, expansion is closely related to velocity. So if we take two bullets of roughly equal caliber and construction, say a .40 S&W and a 10mm Auto, each loaded with a 200 gr XTP, just to keep things as fair as possible, we will probably see some increased damage from the 10mm Auto, because this bullet will open much faster and to a larger degree at ~1250 fps the 10mm Auto is capable of driving it than at the ~1000 fps the .40 S&W can drive it at. The difference in damage may or may not be enough to provide a noticeable decrease in the amount of time it takes to incapacitate a threat, depending on a lot of different variables, from shot placement to the assailants mental condition, but it probably isn't going to hurt your chances either. In any case, having taken deer with this load in my 10mm Auto, I know not to expect hydrostatic shock damage, or damage to any tissue beyond the actual crush cavity of the projectile, and am therefor highly skeptical of any claims of such damage done with slightly less powerful, more common defensive rounds like .40 S&W and .45 ACP. I have also shot deer with expanding 5.56 rounds like the 62 gr Barnes TSX, and was quite surprised by its effectiveness and the extent of the damage it created. I am not discounting the role of caliber and bullet profile (meplat) on hydrostatic shock, but I am fairly certain at this point that velocity is the primary driving force.

    Here's a thread I posted a little while ago on the Revolver forum with good discussion on the effect of meplat on hydrostatic shock in large caliber magnum revolver and big bore rifle rounds:
    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...hydrostatic-shock.857067/page-2#post-11256035
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
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  16. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    You mischaracterized my comments. I never wrote that the FBI's narrative is baloney. I wrote that Johann Boden's absurd explanation about the 44 Magnum and the 9mm were baloney. What I wrote concerning the FBI is that it is determined to promote the relative equality of handgun cartridge effectiveness. You seem to agree that is exactly what they're promoting. I don't think that part is even controversial. Whether its true or not, and under what circumstances its truth is relevant can be contested, but that the FBI promotes this idea is not contested. You don't seem to be convinced that 9mm is ideal for hunting or dangerous animal defense. The FBI's narrative probably isn't relevant to hunting or animal defense, but Boden's conjecture on wounding is. He claims the additional caliber and velocity of the 44 Magnum bullet does not matter enough to change the outcome of an event because it is simply absorbed by the elasticity of tissue. Now if Boden's conjecture was the basis of the FBI's narrative, I would certainly call that into question. But I do not think it is. I think the FBI's choice, and the choice of all those other agencies and organizations you listed have little to do with cartridge effectiveness or wounding. There are a great many other factors involved in their choices.
     
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  17. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    I reach a different conclusion.

    As I see it, the FBI has concluded, based on objective testing, medical analysis, and a lot of expert judgment, that, with today's premium defensive ammunition, there is little or no meaningful difference among the defensive loads generally used in handguns. That was not true in their prior evaluations. The ammunition has changed.

    They "promote" nothing.

    They have also reaffirmed a much earlier conclusion that an an immediate one shot stop with a handgun is generally unlikely, the new projectile technology notwithstanding.

    And based on results seen in extensive actual shooting exercises, they have concluded that shooters are more likely to perform well with the 9NN than with the .40 s&W. "Perform well" has to do with putting multiple shots on target quickly. Rob Pincus tells us that the advantage accrues to everyone due to the laws of simple newtonian physics, and not just to the less experienced,

    It most obviously had a lot to do with it.

    Other than terminal ballistics and the wounding effectiveness of single rounds, yes indeed.
     
  18. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
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  19. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. The OP is asking about your opinion. It's not a sermon from someone whose credentials are to be believed for the sake of their background, but a question. Specifically, "In the absence of the practicality of achieving immediate coma without direct hits to the CNS, does it make sense to also dismiss the ability of a bullet to produce a larger than expanded-caliber wound? Johann says this greater wounding does not matter enough to change the outcome of a critical event. Do you agree?"

    Johann Boden, Federal, is comparing a 1044 foot-pound 44 Magnum to a 361 foot-pound 40 S&W (using his specs), and he claims at 7:36 that it, "does not seem to translate out into a corresponding amount of damage in a human organism." He says he believes that is because we just stretch around it, as it's within that elasticity threshold of human tissue. But then at 7:50 he admits, "Does it make a bigger, more significant wound than say a 40 cal or 9 millimeter, yes it does, but really not enough to matter, to change the outcome of a critical event." Do you believe this?
     
  20. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    Yes, I believe that. He didn't say that the .44 Magnum didn't do any more damage than the .40 S&W, just that the increase in the amount of damage does not correspond with the increase in the amount of available energy. Because testing and actual, real world lethal force encounters repeatedly verifying that energy means very little in the use of handguns to disable an assailant. There is no consistent, predictable mechanism whereby handguns create trauma beyond the crush cavity of the projectile. So a .44 Magnum will create a larger crush cavity as a result of both greater initial frontal area (caliber) and through velocity, which aids in increasing frontal area through expansion. But the .44 Magnum is neither going to do 3x the damage of the .40 S&W nor is it likely to incapacitate an assailant 3x faster, as it's energy would indicate, because handguns don't really use energy in the manner high velocity expanding rifle projectiles are able to. Hence, as the man stated, the .44 Magnum may do more damage, but not a corresponding amount more, and in many cases, probably not enough to change the outcome of a critical event.

    If research and real world experience indicated that these more powerful handgun rounds were vastly more effective than the more common rounds currently issued, professionals would use them. Instead, the .44 Magnum is relegated as a service cartridge to Dirty Harry, because research and real world experience indicates that the .44 Magnum is not vastly more effective than common service rounds. Terminal ballistics is as much magic as it is science. Human physiology is incredibly complex. We know that kinetic energy weapons do not present a 100% effectiveness guarantee. Accounts exist of humans taking much bigger rounds than the .44 Magnum and still fighting. So the tactics reflect this by favoring rounds that allow for larger capacities and faster follow up shots, because putting multiple fast hits from less powerful rounds on target seems to be more effective than one larger round. This is especially true of handguns, which lack the velocity to reliably use kinetic energy and thereby lack a consistent method of creating trauma beyond the immediate crush cavity physically displaced by the projectile. I am sure exceptions may exist, but we don't bet our lives on exceptions to generally verifiable, researched, fact.
     
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  21. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    I have no basis on which to disagree.

    I have no reason not to.
     
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  22. Smokepole14

    Smokepole14 Member

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    This is where I stand, ballistic gel it perfect for comparing two rounds to each other. Say like 9mm vs 40s&w the media is consistent and eliminates variables so you can see what each round can do vs the other. The fbi states that more than 12 and less than 18 inches through bare gel and all those barrier test. That’s for a reason because fbi actually has to shoot at people through barriers. That criteria was set in place by the fbi for the fbi not us civilians. People on YouTube shoot bare gel with a premium self defense round and it passes but when they shoot through a barrier it fails and they just toss that ammo to the side and forget about it. Or you’ll see people shoot ballistic gel and which ever one expands the most or looks good declares it the winner. Blasting gel might simulate human tissue but were not made of 18 inches of ballistic gel. We have skin, muscle, bone, cartlidge, and each person is not the same in terms of body mass. I’ve never heard of bullets recovered from body’s that mushroomed perfect like you see from ballistic gel. They’re all deformed and jagged looking assuming from hitting bone. I hate to say it but I think ballistic gel is all apart of the “marketing” helped used to sell premium self defense ammo. I could be wrong but that’s just my opinion...
     
  23. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Comparison, yes, and it also determine which rounds meet minimum penetration requirements and which ones exceed them.

    There's gel, fabric which simulates cloting, material which simulates drywall (doesn't impede penetration, but it does lug the HP and prevent expansion, thin mild steel, and auto safety glass.

    These represent the things that bullets will likely have to penetrate in the majority of combat encounters.

    If it were the case that the requirement to pass the steel and glass test were to result in exceeding the maximum depth in tests involving only clothing plus gel one mightt worry, but it does not.

    No. The criteria were established for evaluating ammunition used by law enforcement officers.

    Tom Givens tells us that deadly force encounters involving FBI agents differ very little from those involving civilians.

    For uniformed officers it's a different story.

    But that has everything to do with the way the incidents occur and develop, and it has nothing to do with the ammunition needed.

    Absolutely correct. The gel is used as a surrogate in testing. It is the best test available, and it has been for decades.

    It is of course used for that, but marketing was not the raison d'etre of gel testing. The tests were developed by Dr.Marvin Fackler and others to develop understanding of how projectiles perform and what makes them effective.

    The idea that law enforcement requirements differ significantly from those of civilians has been very much overblown. Stories in screen fiction notwithstanding, the justification for the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer is the same as that of a civilian: self defense, or the defense of others. It's a Fourth Amendment thing. For more on that, study Spat's McGee's posts on qualified immunity in the Legal forum.

    It is true that, for an LEO, the encounter is not over when the attacker turns and runs--the LEO has a duty to pursue. But he cannot just chase him down and shoot him.

    That duty will enter into the need for carry extra magazines , but it will not, in the vast majority if scenarios, influence ammunition needs.
     
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  24. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Smokepole14, right, gel simulates animal tissue so long as the tissue is a giant layer of fat. That is about it. I have never shot an animal that was all fat.

    I think what a lot of people fail to realize, or forget, is that gel testing can tell you how the bullet performs in an optimal circumstance (expansion, tumble, etc.) and does NOT tell you how the tissue will perform.

    I have never seen an animal that I shot suddenly expand to nearly two times its original volume as you might see in some gel tests, not even when I played back the video of the shot in slow motion. I have never been able to walk up to an animal I shot and stick my fingers through the side of it and pluck out a bullet buried 4" deep, not even a skinned animal. Heck, sometimes I have trouble pulling out a bullet I can see in animal muscle. I have never seen gel liquefy as sometimes happens to the lungs or liver when shot.

    Gel testing does have some comparative utility, but not necessarily to reality of animal tissue.
     
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  25. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    I don't think you're wrong about this.
     
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