Author Topic: Some examples of terminal ballsitcs (how bullets may perform)  (Read 3511 times)

Offline Gadget

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Some examples of terminal ballsitcs (how bullets may perform)
« on: October 18, 2009, 07:03:49 PM »
I’m starting this thread to give examples of how various calibers and types of bullets perform in the real world and in testing. I regularly hear wild tales of bullet performance and I would hate to have someone bet their life (or someone else’s) on how a particular cartridge may perform for them. No bullet can be guaranteed as to its performance on the amazing creation we call the human body.

For a little background on me, I have been a police officer for 14 years and a firefighter/EMT for 7 years before that in the USAF. During my time as a cop, I have been on our SWAT Team for 12 years and a sniper for 11 of those years. As a result of this and being a firearms instructor, I am also involved in testing various types of cartridges for dept. use. I am also a CWP Instructor in my off-duty business. With all of that said, I have seen my fair share of shootings and the effects of many types of bullets.

If anyone has first-hand accounts of bullet performance please feel free to add them.

- 7.62 x 39 FMJ from 15 yards (drive-by shooting): 3 rounds fired – 1 round penetrated exterior wall – interior wall – interior wall – stopped just before exiting oven; 1 round penetrated exterior wall – interior wall – interior wall – stopped in water heater; 1 round penetrated exterior wall – 4 feet of tightly packed hanging clothes in closet before stopping

- 9mm FMJ from Hi-Point pistol from approximately 10 yards from a moving vehicle into a moving Chev Suburban from the rear: bullet penetrated the rear door – 3rd seat – stopped by folding metal plate behind 2nd row seat. If had gone through the plate it would have hit a passenger in the lower spine

- .40 S&W 180 gr. Speer Gold Dot HP from Glock 22 at approx. 5 yards: 1 round fired hitting subject in the abdomen without exiting. Subject survived due to immediate EMS attention. He stopped firing at officer upon being hit

- .40 S&W 180 gr. Winchester SXT from Glock 22 at approx 4 yds: 1 round fired striking subject in sternum. Fatal

- .45 ACPFMJ from Hi-Point Pistol at approx. 4 yds: 1 round hit deputy in upper right chest near shoulder, 2nd round struck deputy in right hip. Deputy was able to return fire (above incident) and stop BG. Deputy is still on the job.

- 1 oz rifled slug and 1 round of 00 Buck from Mossberg 500 26” barrel from approximately 35 yards: 1 slug struck right end of the front bumper of a parked minivan. Slug stopped 2/3 of the way through the bumper side-to-side. 3 pellets from 00 Buck shell struck victim in left side of head above the ear. 2 pellets penetrated the skull with 1 stopping when it struck the inside of the right side of the skull after passing through the brain and the other stopped in the center of the brain. The 3rd pellet penetrated the skin and traveled to top of skull between skin and skull without entering the skull. The victim was paralyzed and is learning to walk again

- .357 Magnum unknown jacketed hollow point bullet brand from 3 – 10 yards (moving target): 1 bullet passed through the thigh. 2 bullets entered chest on right side with one of them striking the heart and basically destroying it. Immediately fatal

- 9mm Federal 147 gr. Hydra-Shok from Ruger P-89 at approximately 10 yards: bullets struck subject in arm, leg, and buttocks. Subject immediately dropped to ground and dropped his gun. Subject survived due to shot placement and immediate EMS attention

- 9mm Federal 147 gr. Hydra-Shok at approximately 3 yards from MP-5: 2 bullets struck subject in center of chest. Subject survived due to immediate EMS attention

- .22 Short fired from small, cheap semi-auto pistol: subject was horsing around and attempting to prove that the pistol was unloaded and the safety was on by placing it in his mouth and pulling the trigger. Pistol fired and bullet could be seen sticking through the roof of his mouth. Almost the winner of the Darwin Award.

- .40 S&W 165 gr. Speer Gold Dot accidentally fired from Glock 22 at 2 ft (oops!): bullet struck electrical outlet with metal box. Bullet stopped before penetrating last layer of paper on sheetrock before going through the wall.

- .38 Spl FMJ at approximately 25 yards at moving vehicle: bullet penetrated passenger door, traveled across the car and stopped in heavy winter coat of the driver

- .45 ACP FMJ and .380 FMJ from 35 yards from unknown types of pistols into a house: bullets penetrated exterior wall – interior wall – stopped in exterior wall or furniture

- .38 Spl. Semi-jacketed hollow point fired from 2” barrel revolver in contact with abdomen: bullet did not exit, but struck descending aorta and victim died after approx. 20 minutes

- .22 LR bullet fired from Ruger MK I pistol in subject’s lap (oops!): bullet entered thigh, but did not exit. Subject was able to walk to EMS stretcher

- .22 LR bullet fired from Ruger MK I pistol while holstering (oops!): bullet struck knife in pocket causing it to “splatter”. Entry wound was 1 ½” diameter and bullet traveled 6” through thigh and stopped without exiting

- .38 Spl bullet of unknown type from unknown range: bullet struck victim in chest just above the heart without exiting. Sucking chest wound. Victim survived due to immediate attention by officers and EMS.

- .223 Hornady 60 gr. TAP (same as V-Max bullet) from M4 at 25 yards fired at cantaloupe and water filled 20 oz. soda bottle (informal bullet testing): bullet caused the cantaloupe to explode. The “exit wound” on the soda bottle looked as if it was hit by a shotgun and did not penetrate a sheetrock wall behind it. Only flakes of copper and lead and the plastic ballistic tip were found.

- 9mm 147 gr. Federal Hydra-Shok fired from Ruger Carbine at 100 yards at water-filled 20 oz soda bottle (informal bullet testing): bullet penetrated bottle and sheetrock wall behind it

- .40 S&W 165 gr. Speer Gold Dot fired at cantaloupe at 5 yards (informal bullet demonstration): exit wound of approximately 1 ½” diameter.

- .380 ACP 90 gr. Hornady FTX (the one with the rubber insert in the hollow point) from Kel-Tec P3-AT at 5 yards (informal bullet demonstration): the cantaloupe exploded.

These are some of the shootings that I can remember off of the top of my head from the last 21 years in police/fire/EMS. I hope this helps dispel some of the myths as to how bullets may perform. Also remember that ANY bullet more powerful than a BB gun will likely penetrate sheetrock walls

« Last Edit: October 18, 2009, 07:07:23 PM by Gadget »

Offline Hartmann

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Re: Some examples of terminal ballsitcs (how bullets may perform)
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2009, 05:31:30 PM »
Oustanding data.  As you said, it is hard to predict how bullets will perfom with all the variables in the real world.  Many of those shot at in cars were lucky that the bullets struck hard objects in seats, etc., before reaching them.

Another interesting one is the shotgun at 35 yards -- three 00 pellets struck the head/neck area yet the victim lived (though paralyzed).  Was it shot through diruver side glass I wonder?

And I'm glad to know the officer shot in the chest survived.  Score one for the good guys. 

Offline Hartmann

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Re: Some examples of terminal ballsitcs (how bullets may perform)
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2009, 05:58:27 PM »
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Some examples of terminal ballsitcs (how bullets may perform)
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2009, 09:34:28 PM »
Regarding cars, the ONLY thing in a car that can be counted on to stop a bullet is the engine/transmission assembly. All other parts will certainly slow them down but cannot be counted on to stop them.

The guy that took the 00 buck pellets in the head was a pedestrian and totally unaware that he was being shot at.

Another incident:

- .38 spl. (unknown bullet type) from less than 3 yards from behind the victim (same shooter as in the shotgun incident, just a few months later): bullet entered between spine and shoulder blade, traveled through chest cavity and could be felt under the pectoral muscle and skin, did not exit. Victim survived. BG finally got bond denied and is sitting in jail.

Offline teton traveler

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Re: Some examples of terminal ballsitcs (how bullets may perform)
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2009, 10:34:40 PM »
I think the most interesting one was the officer who was shot twice with the 45. Once in the hip and once in the shoulder.  He was still able to return fire. Luckily he lived through it, but it just goes to show that depending on shot placement, the person being shot, and real world conditions, even a 45 isn't guaranteed to stop someone. Although bigger is generally better, a well placed 38 spl can be more deadly than a poorly placed 45. I guess it goes back to the idea that you should shoot the largest caliber that you can accurately and confidently handle.

Offline Gadget

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Re: Some examples of terminal ballsitcs (how bullets may perform)
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2010, 06:35:50 PM »
- .38 Spl. semi-wadcutter from a 2" barrel revolver at approximately 2 yards. bullet entered mid thigh and exited on the back side of the thigh. Victim didn't know that he had been shot until he felt the blood running down his leg. He was able to walk to the ambulance and go home a few hours later.

This is not the first time that I have seen someone get shot and they didn't realize it until they felt/saw blood or a body part didn't work.