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 Handgun Induced Trauma

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PostSubject: Handgun Induced Trauma   Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:41 am

This is not mine. I found this on another forum and thought it was an interesting read.

Quote :
I wrote the following report as supportive Training material for the Tactical School I owned and ran for years. It is quite lengthy, but contains a lot of relevant information. Feel free to PM me with ?'s or comments.

STEALTh Institute Ltd: Bruce Nathan; President
Specialized Training Against Lethal THreat

The critical factor in any Lethal Threat Encounter, especially one involving a trained and lawful citizen, is the ability of the projectile to stop the fight. We do not fire on an assailant to kill or wound, selectively. We shoot to “neutralize” the threat to our lives.

Utilizing minor calibers that require multiple strikes and eventually cause our assailant(s) to exsanguinate (bleed to death) are of no use. It is not our intention to sustain serious and/or fatal injury to ourselves or our loved ones, while secure in the knowledge that our attacker will die “eventually”. Our equipment’s ability to deliver immediate fight-stopping trauma is the ONLY concern in a gunfight. The following report will outline major points concerning “in-vivo” or in the body ballistics and reaction to handgun-fired projectiles.

Equipment Selection:
Shot placement is critical. Given that fact, ammunition selection is as, if not more important than caliber. We will assume a well maintained and quality weapon is employed.

Bullets work by transferring energy to the target. This is the science of Terminal Ballistics. Bullets which pass cleanly through tissue create little stopping energy and can endanger unintentional secondary targets. Projectiles can deflect up to 45 degrees in-vivo, exiting at different angles than the entry vector.

Conversely, a projectile that stops quickly in target and rapidly transfers its energy, will cause gross hyper-extravasation (stretching; as when you slap your hand into water) of tissue due to hydrostatic shock. This shock wave will cause internal organ shock and render an attacker incapable of continuing the fight. To this end, defensive ammunition should be high-velocity hollow points or pre-fragmented projectiles such as Glaser or MagSafe rounds. As an added benefit, correct ammunition will stop in the primary target. Always remember that your only backstop in a gunfight is the target!

Two specific wound classifications are involved in GSWs (gunshot wounds). The area of tissue that is macerated and destroyed by the projectile is the permanent wound channel. This classification is a measure of lethality. The temporary stretch cavity is the area of surrounding tissue violently displaced by the above mentioned stretching of tissue; this is the measure of incapacitation. Remember that organic tissue is elastic; if it was not any punch to the stomach would be fatal.

It is interesting to note that amidst all the media cow-flop surrounding “killer” hollow-point ammunition, hard statistical data proves that this type of round is more humane than conventional “hardball”. Justice Bureau statistics show that Law Enforcement agencies carrying high-velocity HP ammunition are logging a 25% hit-kill ratio. Skilled trauma Surgeons can repair the permanent channel as it is localized, allowing our felon to return to his profession as soon as his incarceration is over. Approximately 1 out of 4 felons shot by these agencies succumb to their wounds. Conversely, agencies restricted to full jacketed handgun rounds have logged a 70% hit-kill ratio. Numerous strikes are required to “shut-down” a dangerous felon, resulting in multiple organ damage and rapid bleeding out.

Physiological Aspects of In-Vivo Ballistics:
We must accept the fact that a large percentage of street felons we will engage have high narcotic levels in their system. Cocaine, crack, “meth” and the like increase blood pressure and virtually anesthetize the system. Normal reactions to gunshot wounds often do not apply. Increased cardiac tamponade (the tendency of wounds to control bleeding by increased blood pressure sealing the vessels) is the operative factor here. The final scene in the movie “Scarface” (Al Pacino) is actually quite accurate. Medical Examiners have often been amazed at the ability of drug addled felons to continue fighting after sustaining what should have been incapacitating wounds.

We can also divide wounds into two additional categories: dynamic or stopping wounds and adynamic or non-stopping wounds.

For the bullet to do its job, transfer its energy, it must encounter dense and viscous tissue. Soft and spongy tissue, such as lungs, will not cause the bullet to “spallate” (stop) and transfer energy. Our primary target area should be the central mass of the torso or thorax. Imagine a 6” wide area, center chest, extending from the lower neck down below the solar-plexus. Hydrostatic shock in this area will cause gross impact-trauma while actually destroying less tissue in the permanent wound channel. Once again, our goal is NOT lethality but rather immediate incapacitation.

From a legal standpoint, head shots are a gross liability. Not a single Law Enforcement agency I have ever Trained teaches its officers to engage the cranial area of the target. This type of work is reserved for highly skilled snipers and Situational Response Teams or SRTs. Also, it is a small target, easily missed. Court interpretations of this issue have proven disastrous to civilians in what would have been justified shootings. Shot placement required to effect a CNS or Central Nervous System “disconnect” is critically small and must impact the medulla at the base of the brain stem.

Ammunition Selection:
Much misinformation exists on ammunition selection. The firearms press is full of detailed reports on bullets’ effectiveness in ballistic jelly and wet phone books. This is important data if you are ever attacked by the “blob”, or a gang of soaked yellow pages. Seriously, the only data that is relevant is the Justice Bureau’s actual shooting report database; a compilation of detailed shooting de-briefings from Law Enforcement agencies across the country. Their criterion for acceptable incapacitation is as follows; all hostile activity by the felon ceases within 2 seconds and two shots impacting target. This performance is quantified by a percentage of recorded shootings with correct bullet placement that affected the desired immediate incapacitation. The lawfully armed community is always seeking that “Magic Sword Excalibur” round that can be carried in a wallet holster and stops like a .357 Magnum. Unfortunately, until we can carry Phasers, the laws of physics apply and restrict us to real-world loads and equipment.

Sub-calibers: (.22, .32 etc.): Forget about them! Refer to the opening of this report. Reserve these calibers for beer cans and squirrels. A loaded .22 in your pocket may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but in actual street encounters they are not capable of stopping the fight “right now”!Modern loadings of the .32 ACP and its popularity in little guns have popularized what has been shown to exhibit a less than 40% stopping level. .22 Long Rifle HPs have logged less than a 20% rating!

Minimum; (.380 ACP): Although on the low end of the acceptable stopping spectrum, a very popular round that I have carried for years as a back-up or casual carry weapon in my Beretta 84B. HPs are a must, preferably quality engineered defensive rounds like CCI, Hornady, Remington, Silvertips etc. This round has an extensive data base and exhibits a 68% stopping percentage. With MagSafe and Glaser pre-fragmented rounds, the percentage increases to 80+% (guess what I carry). Make sure the light round is feed-reliable in your weapon. Classically, Walther “P” guns do not like this round. This round makes for a very viable “bed table” load as the muzzle report and flash will not render you deaf and blind in the middle of a dark night when you are half asleep! Additionally, through-wall penetration of the pre-frags is a non-issue as they break up as soon as they strike a hard surface.

Secondly, major hunting calibers like .44 and .50 caliber magnums have no place on the street. Excessive carry-through will endanger secondary targets. Recoil and muzzle blast slow down multiple shot recovery times. Finally, the last thing you want is to face a criminal or civil jury, having justifiably stopped your attacker with a weapon that “paints” you to look like Dirty Harry! From a legal standpoint, civilians should always carry calibers and loadings used by local Police Departments. Trust me on this!

.38 Special: The grand-daddy of all handgun rounds has been and remains quite effective if the correct loads are carried. Forget the ultra light 95 grain loads supposedly for 2” wheel guns; they do not exhibit acceptable penetration. Most effective is the 158 grain soft lead “Keith” (semi wadcutter) bullet hollow point. It opens nicely, and has logged a stopping ration of 78% in +P loadings. Once again, for the “little” guns, carry pre-fragmented rounds. These push the stopping percentages of .38 Spl. To over 85%.

9MM: “Nothing could be finer than a gunfight with my niner”. Definitely one of the most popular calibers today, it should be loaded with 124 grain defensive hollow points, preferably +P. NEVER carry 9MM hardball. The pointed ogive bullet just does not work! Avoid the light (95 & 110 grain loads) and forget about the “sub-sonic” rounds. These were developed for suppressed submachine guns to eliminate the sonic crack and just plain do not work on the street unless you are carrying an Uzi or HK class-III. Correct 9MM has logged an impressive 82% stopping ratio in literally thousands of recorded incidents.

.40: Quite literally the “hula-hoop” of the handgun world in the mid 80’s, this round is the result of compromising the 10MM which had been adopted by the FBI and was found to be too powerful for many agents to master. S&W had literally thousands of service automatics chambered for this round and engineered a shorter case and less powder to utilize the existing components by trimming the barrel throat. Thus was born the .40. It has proven an effective round in HP configuration, and is showing a stopping percentage equivalent to the 9MM +P HP in 124 grain loadings. What the .40 gains in mass and diameter, it loses in velocity to the 9MM.

.45 ACP: In a word, one of the most effective fight-stoppers on the street! Forget the lightweight HPs. The .45 ACP works due to mass (230 grains) and diameter of the bullet. It is really interesting to note that in the 230 grain loading, the rounds 87% stopping ratio is identical in either HP or hardball.

.357 Magnum: In 125 grain hollow point, this round has been and remains the best fight-stopper in the field. The 110 grain loads are too light and break up shallow in-vivo, failing to provide the required penetration. The 158 grain loads are basically medium-game hunting loads and over penetrate. The 125 grain jacketed hollow point in .357 has recorded an impressive 97% stopping ration; a fact I can personally attest to! For the record, there is not enough data on the .357 Sig auto-round as of yet. I am sure it is quite effective, especially in 125 grain HP. I also remember seeing quite a few Sigs with cracked frames in the 90’s when I was in the gun business; it may just be too hot a load for carry-sized semis.

Lastly, carrying handloads on the street is a one-way ticket to HUGE civil litigation, even if there is no criminal liability. Those of us who lawfully go armed MUST accept the fact that anytime we shoot another human being, we will end up in court. Lack of criminal liability does not preclude civil liability. I have done numerous Expert Witness and Material Witness cases involving armed citizens and could fill another 5 pages with facts and data on this issue.
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