Archive for the 'Ammunition' Category



Pistol Ammunition Ballistics Part 2

BY Herschel Smith
2 days, 3 hours ago

In Oversimplifying Ammunition Ballistics I had an argument with Tam, who is an NRA writer, and she doesn’t like the idea of “flying dimes.”  Ridiculous, said I.  And you can read the rest for yourself.

Today I passed through The Firearm Blog, and normally I like what I see there to some degree, including the comments, but this one just caused me to laugh.

They have a picture of a man (obtained via Facebook) who had a bullet lodged in his head, still visible.  Must have been a squib load, must have been a reload, he must have been wearing a helmet, and on and on the comments go.

Pitiful .45 ACP, said a few.  Shooter should have used something else like the much more effective 9mm.  One commenter said that the .45 ACP penetrates farther than the 9mm, and so there must have been shielding in between the muzzle and his head (like a helmet).  The response to this commenter was that he lost all respect because he said that the .45 ACP penetrates farther than the 9mm.

Good grief.  So much chaos in one place is mind boggling.  I don’t know how many readers actually dropped by the ballistics tests run by Lucky Gunner that I linked in my original post, but probably not many.  I usually have readers for under two minutes, so blogging is something that must be done where readers can digest quickly.

But after I read those comments, I did a little bit of calculating on those test results for 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP.  Here is what I got for their self defense loads.  I discarded the 2 (two) lowest penetration depths for all three rounds, as they appeared to be outlier data points.

9mm: Average penetration depth = 17.762 inches, standard deviation = 2.777, maximum penetration = 26.5 inches.  This gives a fractional standard deviation (FSD) of 0.156 or 15.6%.  Mass of bullet achieving maximum penetration = 124 gr.

.40 S&W: Average penetration depth = 19.034 inches, standard deviation = 5.637, maximum penetration = 32 inches.  This gives a fractional standard deviation of 0.296, or 29.6%.  Mass of bullet achieving maximum penetration = 180 gr.

.45 ACP: Average penetration depth = 18.867 inches, standard deviation = 5.009, maximum penetration = 31.2 inches.  This gives a fractional standard deviation of 0.265, or 26.5%.  Mass of bullet achieving maximum penetration = 200 gr.

Various bullet masses were used for the tests.  This doesn’t give room for either (a) Tam to claim that lighter weight bullets are “flying dimes,” or (b) the commenter at TFB to claim that .45 ACP penetrates farther than 9mm (at least, not much farther).  It also certainly doesn’t give room to tell that commenter that he has lost all respect of the firearms community.  Such exaggeration is juvenile.

Here is the problem.  An astute Monte Carlo analyst would tell you that these problems haven’t converged.  Most analysts like to see on the order of 5% – 10% FSD before developing any confidence in the system.  There may also be some issues with these rounds, in that there was inconsistent or incomplete expansion of every “maximum penetration” round for each of the three calibers.

More data is needed, and I didn’t run a VOV (variance of the variance) on these samples since the sample size is so small.  The problem needs to converge before developing confidence in the system.  The trouble is that this takes ammunition, ballistics gelatin, denim, test apparatus, and human resources.  None of this is cheap.

There is also the issue of differing masses of bullets, but since the sample size is small for caliber, it’s even smaller for bullet mass within a caliber.  But suffice it to say that lighter mass bullets aren’t flying dimes, and you can examine the data for yourself.

It’s also clear that each round performs well and penetrates far enough to do massive damage (except perhaps for the outlier data points).  Ammunition brand is also a consideration.

The point of all of this is that if you want to make hyperbolic and exaggerated statements concerning much of anything, be my guest.  I prefer to be a thinking man.  And if Lucky Gunner wants assistance in analyzing the performance of any other tests, I’m available.  But I do recommend proper convergence of the data sets.  That requires more shooting.

Oversimplifying Ammunition Ballistics

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 1 day ago

Via Say Uncle, this comes to us from Tam.

Super Vel Ammo: I have to vent.

What kills me is how they’re hyping 90gr +P .38 Spl & 9mm and 185gr +P .45ACP bullets as if the last thirty years of accumulated terminal ballistics knowledge hadn’t even happened.

Flying dimes with no sectional density moving at Warp Factor Six are how we got Miami and then wound up spending twenty years wandering in the .40 caliber wilderness, and the shit is being pimped by people who should goddam well know better because, I dunno, Cameron Hopkins is a nice guy or something and the boxes make older gunwriters feel nostalgic.

Oh dear.  The lady doth annoy me sometimes.  So let’s discuss this a bit.  She’s referring to sectional density, which is technically calculated as the ratio of mass over the cross sectional area, or SD = M/A.  The gun community simplifies that by ignoring the value of Pi in the computation of area, and converting mass in grains to pounds with the conversion of 7000 grains per pound.  Like this.

SD = M / (7000 X r^2)

The resultant value is dimensionless and totally meaningless unless in the context of comparison to the sectional densities of other bullets.  So for instance, the 230 grain .45 ACP bullet has a sectional density of 0.162, while the 185 grain bullet has a SD of 0.130.

But in reality, the lighter bullets aren’t travelling at “Warp Factor Six,” and a 185 grain .45 ACP isn’t a “flying dime” compared to any handgun round on earth.  And as for that matter, the 45 grain 22 magnum round has a SD of 0.128, which is reasonably close to that of the 185 grain .45 ACP.  Does that mean we should all dump whatever we currently shoot and adopt the .22 WMR?

No it doesn’t, because SD isn’t the only thing on earth to consider.  If it was, then Lucky Gunner would show that the penetration and expansion of 185 grain rounds sucked, while the 230 grain rounds succeeded.  Oops.  Guess she got that one wrong.

There are multiple things to consider, like (a) velocity, (b) consistent expansion, (c) penetration depth, (d) wound track, etc.  I’ve pointed out before that while I shoot the .45 ACP and I like it, I also like much higher velocity rounds.  Let’s rehearse what we saw with the FN 5.7 shot at Fort Hood.

The FN 5.7 pistol is constantly maligned or underestimated in many gun forums and articles, often by people who have never experienced shooting the pistol. Subjective comparisons with the .22 magnum or categorization as a sub-par .223 round create confusion about the effectiveness of the FN 5.7.

Enough time has passed after the terrorist attack at Ft. Hood. The shooter, Nidal Malik Hassan, has been arrested, tried and sentenced. The media has moved on. Now we can begin to analyze the impact of the FN 5.7 and address the question of lethality.

Using SS192 and SS197SR ammunition (common commercial 5.7×28 ammo), several 20-30 round magazines and an FN 5.7 (shooter also had a .357 revolver but did not use it), Hassan killed 13 and wounded 32 people.

Many armchair ballistics expert criticized this result as proof that the FN 5.7 platform is not lethal enough because of the proportion of the fatalities to the wounded. Others have proposed that had Hassan use another type of pistol, 9mm or .45, there would have been more fatalities.

If you look at this Wikipedia link and look at the list of casualties, one can come to a very eye-opening conclusion.
Fort Hood shooting – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1. 11 people were shot center-of-mass (COM), one was shot in the stomach and one was shot in the head. All 13 died. All 11 victims who were shot COM did not survive.
2. 3 of the 13 people who died, tried to charge Hassan, but he stopped them with COM shots.
3. The 32 people who were wounded were hit in the arms, legs, hips and shoulders. None of the wounded survivors were shot COM.

The following conclusions can be drawn:
1. The FN 5.7 is a very lethal round CQB because all 11 victims who were shot COM died. No survivors for those hit COM.
2. The FN 5.7 is a real stopper, because 3 tried to charge Hassan at close range and were stopped by COM shots.
3. One of the fatalities was shot in the stomach, and died. The fragmentation of the SS197R round can create a hail of metal shards that can cause serious internal organ damage and bleeding in the stomach.
4. None of the 32 people who were hit in the extremities, hips and shoulders were able to muster a counter-attack because the FN 5.7 must have shattered or broken bones. The high rate of wounded vicitms to fatalities was the direct result of the shooting ability of Hassan (or lack thereof), and not because the 5.7×28 round is not lethal.
5. Sgt. Kimberly Munley (base civilian police), one of the first responders, was immediately disabled with 5.7×28 bullet shrapnels to her wrist and a second 5.7×28 bullet broke her femur. The light 5.7×28 commercial ammo showed that it can shatter large bones due to its velocity
6. According to medical personnel, there was so much blood in the room that it was difficult to get to the victims because the floor became very slippery. One can conclude that the commercial 5.7×28 rounds can fragment or tumble, causing immense blood loss.
7. It took five bullets (which I assume was a 9 mm) from Sgt Mark Todd to stop Hasan. And he survived his wounds (no available info on where he was hit, except that one of the bullets paralyzed Hasan).

In conclusion:
1. The FN 5.7 is definitely a very lethal round. 100% fatality for COM shots.
2. The FN 5.7 is a man-stopper. Three military men tried to charge Hasan, and all three were stopped.
2. The FN 5.7 is a very incapacitating round, if extremities are hit, because it is powerful enough to break the femur (which is the largest bone in the body)
3. The fragmentation or tumbling effect of commercial ammo can cause a lot of blood loss.

The FN 5.7 is a very effective weapon. It is as effective as, or arguably more effective, than any military or civilian pistols in the market.

It is unfortunate that the jihadist Hassan used this weapon against U.S. soldiers.

I have an FN 5.7.  You don’t want to be shot with that round, especially not the ammunition travelling 2200 FPS (the red box ammunition versus the blue tip sporting rounds).  Velocity isn’t everything.  If it was, I’d carry a 6″ barrel .357 magnum with me everywhere.  There is the issue of weight, shape, form, and so on the list goes.

But oversimplifying this to some idiotic rant about turning back the hands of time on 30 years of research is silly and does nothing to serve the gun community.

By the way, there is nothing wrong with the .40 S&W, even though she likens it to wandering in the wilderness for 20 years, any more than there is anything wrong with the 10 mm (which is similar).  The notion of high velocity round to which she refers can be studied here.  The comments are laughable.  There is this one.

In the ’60’s I was a cop in a moderate size PD in Texas, an officer shot a suspect in the chest three times with .357 Super Vel 110 grain bullets. Even though the bullets were traveling 10,000 miles an hour none of the three penetrated past the ribcage and they expanded well and destroyed his ribcage he almost knocked the officer down running passed him. The next day Super Vel was removed from my revolver.

If you believe that someone shot someone else with three .357 magnum rounds, or even one of them, and it failed to penetrate past the rib cage (in other words, it only penetrated the clothes and skin), then you’re dumber that a box of rocks.  That cop missed.  Or the person was lying about what happened.  He was fabulating.

Be careful what you read on the interwebz.

Shooting Illustrated 5.56mm Ammunition Test

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

Actually, it includes not just 5.56mm but popular .223 ammunition as well.  The source is here.  Read it all to find out his test method.

Here are the results.

In my opinion this isn’t a complete test.  I would have liked to see PMC ammo tested as well, but he couldn’t include everything.  I’m not interested in steel case ammunition.  Also, I’d like to see some heavier loads tested (62 gr., 77 gr., etc.).  This should be an ongoing series of articles and I found it useful.

Ammunition Laws In Massachusetts

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

News from the land of the communists.

Boston — Massachusetts has some of the toughest gun and ammunition laws in the country, but 5 Investigates put some of those laws to the test and found just how easy it is to purchase hundreds of rounds of ammunition without the proper license.

Within minutes, 5 Investigates went online and was able to buy that ammunition and get it delivered within a few days of ordering, no questions asked.

At the The Gun Parlor, a licensed gun and ammunition dealer in Worcester, ammunition is readily available for purchase by Massachusetts residents if they have a license to carry (LTC) or a firearms identification card (FID), which is required by law.

Justin Gabriel, owner of the gun shop, said no one can come in his store and buy ammunition without a proper license. “Absolutely not,” he said. “You need a license. Whether you have an FID or LTC, you need one of those licenses in Massachusetts to purchase the ammo.”

But 5 Investigates discovered that’s not always the case online when we managed to score 450 rounds of ammunition with no firearms license required.

Working with a WCVB employee who is properly licensed, 5 Investigates set up an account with Connecticut-based online dealer Target Sports USA and ordered nine boxes of .40 caliber full metal jacket bullets.

The questionable deal was done, and 5 Investigates was never asked for or any type of ID, even though our account and shipping address made it clear the ammunition was headed for Massachusetts, which is one of a handful of states that restricts online purchases like this.

It’s alarming because in our purchase, anyone with just a credit card could have gotten their hands on that ammunition. Not only must Massachusetts residents be of age and have the proper firearms license, but the companies must be licensed by the state to sell it here legally.

Just a few days later, FedEx rolled down the driveway and delivered the goods. The box containing hundreds of bullets was left on the doorstep for anyone to grab.

The 5 Investigates probe also showed this was not just a one-time event.

This story began with a tip from a licensed gun owner troubled that he could order 2,000 rounds of ammunition from the same company, no questions asked. Again, the firepower was left on his doorstep for anyone to access.

“This is just putting the stuff in the hands of the wrong people,” the man said. “You don’t want someone who shouldn’t have a gun that’s got a gun [and] now they have an unlimited supply of ammo through the mail.”

5 Investigates’ purchase and others like it are particularly chilling in the wake of some of the deadliest shootings in our nation’s history, where in some cases thousands of rounds of ammo were bought online and stockpiled.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who enforces some of the toughest gun laws in the country, is troubled by what 5 Investigates could do.

“I think people would be very surprised by that and outraged, and that is in fact why we have laws in Massachusetts that prohibit that kind of conduct,” Healey said. “We don’t want to see people stockpiling ammunition illegally and unlawfully here in Massachusetts.”

Well, I’m sure it makes everyone feel safer with Maura on the case.  She never misses a chance to infringe.

Can you smell the self-righteous shock and indignation from the writer?  The ammunition laws in Massachusetts must make the collectivists proud.  My goodness, how far they’ve fallen from the war of independence where British gun control catalyzed the war of independence.

The Siren Song Of Caseless Ammunition

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

TFB:

Previously, we discussed trying to lighten the soldier’s load by making the cartridge case out of different materials, including aluminum and compositing the case out of polymer and metal. Yet, wouldn’t the lightest possible case configuration be… Having no case at all? That’s the thinking behind one of the most ambitious ammunition configurations there is, the case-less round.

Of course, it’s true that before the metallic cartridge casewas invented, essentially all ammunition was caseless, but today the term “caseless” refers to ammunition that is self-contained, but with a body made of combustible propellant that directly contributes to sending the projectile out of the gun’s barrel. This concept is as elegant as it is simple; after all, making every part of the round work at killing the enemy can only be a good idea, right? Well, it’s not so simple as that, because economically producing caseless ammunition suitable for automatic weapons has proven to be an incredibly technically complex challenge. For starters, there’s a fundamental contradiction to the concept: Gunpropellants need to expose a certain amount of surface area to igniting flame in order to work properly and have the correct burn rate, but a caseless round needs its propellant to be consolidated into a single solid chunk which is durable enough for storage, shipping, and field use. This requires some kind of “disintegrator” charge – which may be provided by the primer – that breaks up the consolidated propellant during ignition, increasing its surface area. Also, caseless ammunition lacks any protective barrier between the propellant and the chamber, which may be very hot after a string of fire. This lack of a protective envelope reduces the threshold at which ammunition cooks off inside the weapon, a serious concern for a military small arm. Finally, caseless ammunition also cannot gain the benefit of disposable breech sealing that comes built-in to the modern metallic cartridge, so sealing must be accomplished some other way. All of these problems are difficult at low production levels, and impossible at the volumes required for a modern military round.

In fact, these challenges are so great that it’s unlikely that the concept will become feasible within the next few decades. However, if the considerable technical challenges are somehow surmounted, caseless ammunition offers the maximum reduction in ammunitionweight possible with conventional projectiles, while also facilitating extremely high rates of fire, due to the elimination of the extraction and ejection phases of the cycle.

From an engineering standpoint, it’s an awful idea.  Just terrible.  Even if something can be done – and I doubt this can ever be achieved – there is an engineer’s adage (I made it up and have used it extensively mentoring my young engineers) that comes to mind.

Margin is your friend.  Court her and be jealous for her.  Don’t cut corners, give yourself room to degrade, corrode, erode, design below your limits, and give yourself a margin of safety.  The larger the better.  Sure, too large won’t work because it is the enemy of functionality, creates physical interferences, causes components to be too heavy, and creates unnecessary expense.

But the other side is that lack of safety margin kills people.  It costs money, time, broken structures, systems and components, and it ruins companies.  My suggestion to the companies trying to do this is simple: this is a sweet, sweet siren song sung by an enchanting lass, but the cost of making all of that money and being famous may be your reputation, your company or even your life.

Ignore that song.  Get back to work designing better firearms and ammunition.  Forget caseless.

The FedGov Is Arming Up

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 4 weeks ago

Forbes:

1) The 2,300 Special Agents at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are allowed to carry AR-15’s, P90 tactical rifles, and other heavy weaponry. Recently, the IRS armed up with $1.2 million in new ammunition. This was in addition to the $11 million procurement of guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment procured between 2006-2014.

2) The Small Business Administration (SBA) spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to load its gun locker with Glocks last year. The SBA wasn’t alone – the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service modified their Glocks with silencers.

3) The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a relatively new police force. In 1996, the VA had zero employees with arrest and firearm authority. Today, the VA has 3,700 officers, armed with millions of dollars’ worth of guns and ammunition including AR-15’s, Sig Sauer handguns, and semi-automatic pistols.

4) Meanwhile, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agents carry the same sophisticated weapons platforms used by our Special Forces military warriors. The HHS gun locker is housed in a new “National Training Operations Center” – a facility at an undisclosed location within the DC beltway.

5) Loading the Gun Locker – Federal agencies spent $44 million on guns, including an “urgent” order for 20 M-16 Rifles with extra magazines at the Department of Energy ($49,559); shotguns and Glock pistols at the General Services Administration ($16,568); and a bulk order of pistols, sights, and accessories by the Bureau of Reclamation whose main job is to build dams, power plants, and canals ($697,182).

6) Buying Bullets in Bulk – The government spent $114 million on ammunition, including bulk purchases by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ($66,927); the Smithsonian ($42,687); and the Railroad Retirement Board ($6,941). The Social Security Administration spent $61,129 on bullets including 50,000 rounds of ammunition plus 12-gauge buckshot and slug ammo.  The EPA special agents purchased ammunition for their .357 and 9mm revolvers and buckshot for their shotguns. While Bernie Sanders claimed that the biggest adversary to the United States was climate change, the EPA stood ready to fight in ways we couldn’t have imagined.

7) The DOE (Department of Education) is armed and ready with 88 law enforcement officers possessing arrest and firearm authority. They’ve purchased buckshot for their shotguns and 40-caliber ammunition for their Glocks. DOE special agents dress in body armor. Their spending on guns, ammunition and military-style equipment was up 25 percent during the last two years under the Obama Administration. Yet, in 2016, it took a pair of armed U.S. Marshals to arrest a man for his unpaid $1,500 student loan!

He goes on, with the Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, etc.

FedGov is arming up.  You can take guesses why, and post them in comments.  They are the standing army that the founders feared so much.  And for very good reason.

The Controllers: “We Want Monitoring Of Ammunition Stockpiling”

BY Herschel Smith
3 months ago

The Daily Journal:

Radio talk show host and TV commentator Hugh Hewitt is among a growing number of conservatives calling for monitoring the stockpiling of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices similar to how Sudafed is controlled.

Hewitt calls for photo IDs and records of purchases on firearm ammunition following the Oct. 1 shootings in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and 489 people wounded.

“If people buy a lot of ammunition in a short period of time, this should trigger a red flag with law enforcement,” said Hewitt on the NBC “Meet the Press” show on Oct. 8.

Monitoring ammunition stockpiling would be a way to let stockpilers know that law enforcement is keeping an eye on them. However, no guns or ammunition would be confiscated.

Officers who entered the room of the 32nd hotel floor used by the shooter were shocked to see the amount of weapons and ammunition the shooter had stockpiled. His victims were those who gathered nearby at the Harvest Country Music Festival.

Sudafed is regulated because pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in some forms of medication, can be used to create the street drug methamphetamine, or crystal meth.

The federal act sets daily and monthly limits on how much of the active drug a person can buy.

When it comes to firearms and ammunition, there is no federal limit to how much a person like the Las Vegas shooter can buy, nor is there a national database of purchases.

A 1994 federal law, which expired a decade later in 2004, defined a large-capacity ammunition feeding device as a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip or similar device that has a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

“Gun control won’t work but ammo monitoring could,” says John Carnes, conservative author and firearms expert.

Twice you read it in the commentary above.  “Conservative” host Hugh Hewitt.  “Conservative author and firearms expert” John Carnes.  Actually, he somewhat misrepresents the gist of John’s article, who says this.

People should oppose gun control restrictions and registration requirements, but we shouldn’t let these turn our eyes from the existential threat of ammunition control. If ammunition printing ever becomes as cheap and effective as printing firearms parts currently is, then we can all rest assured that the right to keep and bear arms will never again be as infringed as it is today. Until that day comes, ammunition controls may be the most effective form of gun control.

He didn’t misrepresent Hewitt, apparently.  I never really thought Hugh Hewitt was a conservative.  But it does go to show that even the supposed conservatives are giving you up (case in point, the NRA, whose willingness to compromise empowered the controllers, who saw nothing but weakness).  They don’t care about your rights, whether firearms or the ammunition to use in them.

I know, I know.  The Supreme Court may block such rules and regulations, but they may not.  They didn’t block the assault weapons ban, and Heller was a weak enough decision that it may even be used to bolster the ammunition control case.

I think a lot of people sense that the one weakness our community has is ammunition.  This isn’t any different than it’s always been.  Consider this report, the only significant piece of information in an otherwise stupid article.

“Everybody I know is stockpiling ammo,” said Allen, who came from Sacramento, as he carried a plastic bag bulging with bullets and gun parts. He declined to give his last name.

Sure, fight this in the political arena, fight this in the courts, and fight it in the town square and court of public opinion.  But never assume you’re going to win.  If at first we lose, the winning will come later.

Prior: Gun Control Through Ammunition Control

Gun Control Through Ammunition Control

BY Herschel Smith
3 months ago

SunSentinel:

There are approximately 300 million guns presently in the United States — probably much more if you count the illegal weapons. Even if the most stringent laws regarding gun control were passed, we would never see our country unarmed.

There is a simple solution that is largely ignored: Guns do not kill people — bullets do. Bullets are not good forever — guns are. The average life of a cartridge is 10 years; after that the primer is no longer dependable. Why can’t we limit the ownership of ammunition to a reasonable amount and strictly regulate the sale of bullets? Since the right to bear arms in the Constitution doesn’t state “and ammunition,” it would probably also hold up to challenge by the NRA.

Right now we strictly regulate the sale of narcotics and give hypodermic needles away to addicts. Hypodermic needles are the guns and narcotics are the bullets.

How do you like being compared to a drug addict?  Still, there is wisdom is listening very carefully to your enemies.  I think Sun Tzu said something along those lines.

As gun control goes, if the collectivists want to get the biggest bang for their buck, ammunition is the way to do it.  Plan and act accordingly.

“Mouse Gun” Gelatin Testing Results

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 3 weeks ago

Active Response Training:

You’ll notice that I didn’t provide any expansion data.  That’s because NONE of the .380 or .38 special rounds expanded at all!  All of the bullets except for the two 9mm rounds could have been reloaded and fired.  They had no expansion whatsoever.

They made that statement after testing .38 Spl, .380 ACP and 9mm in gelatin covered with several layers of denim.  But here’s the problem to me.  This data doesn’t comport with what Lucky Gunner found at all.  It’s not even close.

If you take a look at Lucky Gunner’s testing protocol and test results, which were performed under tight control and strict boundary conditions, it’s clear that there is indeed expansion of most PD rounds regardless of barrel length.  Mind you, some do better than others, and it’s also clear that the higher velocity imparted with longer barrels helps.  But I just don’t see anything in the testing done by Active Response Training that even comes close to what Lucky Gunner found.

But regarding Lucky Gunner’s test results, I will offer up a few comments.  First of all, the venerable .45 ACP, which I shoot, does well just about regardless of barrel length or ammunition type.  Second, there are some good performers and some weak performers for every caliber.  But on the average, the high performers seem to be Speer Gold Dot, Winchester PD rounds and Federal PD rounds (such as Hydra Shok).

Finally, I don’t really think anyone who ever gets shot with a .38 Spl round is prepared to call the gun that shoots it a “mouse gun,” even if it has a 2″ barrel.

Should You Shoot Reloads For Personal Defense?

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 1 week ago

Glenn Reynolds links TTAG where the author is discussing daily carry of reloads.  It’s not a trivial discussion by any means, but something else caught my eye.  See these comments.

If you have to use the pistol to defend yourself, which I presume is the reason you’re carrying it, you could be placing yourself in a very ill advised position by using reloaded ammunition, particularly in light of the prevailing legal climate. There’s nothing in that equation that bodes well for you.

I agree with Mr. Savage. My reloads are better than a lot of factory cartridges for the same reason your mom’s apple pie beats anything you can buy at the grocery store.

Just beware that in the aftermath of a defensive shoot, you will get destroyed in court for using reloads. Even if you did everything else right, even if you prove the shoot was self defense, the few dollars you saved could cost you everything you own. A halfway decent prosecutor can convince a jury that you created a round that causesd undue suffering, that only a madman predispoaed to violence would.use. Legally, the best defensive ammo is what the police use, for it destroys any argument a prosecutor may present that the ammo was used for some nefarious purpose. I know, it is silly, but that is what happens in our courts.

Regarding the use of reloaded ammo causing extra jeopardy in court, please cite a case where this happened. Otherwise, I call BS.

Well, I’ve already dealt with this issue directly, so you missed hearing an expert weigh in.  No, not me.  Someone else.

For years, I’ve warned people that there are a couple of serious concerns with using handloaded ammunition for personal or home defense.  The big one is forensic replicability when the shooter is accused, and opposing theories of distance become a factor.

How often does this happen? One time some years ago, that question came up on an internet debate.  I looked through the ten cases I had pending at the time as an expert witness, and gunshot residue (GSR) testing to determine distance from gun muzzle to the person shot was an issue in four of them.  Forty percent is not what I’d call statistically insignificant.

[ … ]

… if you have any friends who use handloads for serious social purposes, please share. You might just save them from the sort of nightmare suffered by the defendant in New Jersey v. Daniel Bias, who was bankrupted by legal fees before the first of his three trials was over, and wound up serving hard time.  Both of his attorneys were convinced he was innocent, and told me they believed that if he had simply had factory ammo in his home defense gun, the case would probably never have even gone to trial.

So there you have it.  The commenters are advised to get around a little more.


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