Home Main Category Personal Defense

Penetration v expansion

Gene LGene L Senior MemberPosts: 12,750 Senior Member
edited June 2019 in Personal Defense #1
What are your thoughts, especially on lower caliber ammo?  I don't think with a .380, a .32, (which I carry some of the time)  or even a .38 special with a 158 bullet you're going to get any expansion. Velocity just isn't there.   I'm not sure with a 9mm, but I shoot hardball in my short 9mm  guns as I want to punch a hole.  Not always, I'm unsure on the 9, but pretty dedicated on the .32 and the .380..  Is there any stats on making a hole through a bad buy is better than limited penetration with expansion?  How important is a bigger hole in stopping a bad guy, which is the only reason I carry a CCW.
Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
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Replies

  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    There's a new load for the 380acp made by Super-Vel that supposedly does both. It was a featured article in the Dillon blue press catalog.

    I lean towards penetration. I figure road rage incidents are a likely scenario. Also winter clothing. I've never really trusted HP bullets from handgun rounds. I mostly assume (perhaps wrongly) that their advantages are too small to matter.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Colorado SpringsPosts: 7,821 Senior Member
    I prefer expansion....explosive expansion if I can get it. IME, something blowing up on the target yields more immediate results than something digging 2 feet into the dirt behind it.

    YMMV.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • JasonMPDJasonMPD Senior Member Posts: 6,583 Senior Member
    Research Doctor Gary Roberts. He's a trauma surgeon who's been collecting terminal ballistic data for 20 years. 

    Basically, if it ain't a rifle, it's awful.  End of story. Pistols don't nominally wound at an incapacitating level unless they make physical contact with a vital thing and damage it. Rifles generate some proxy damage due to impact velocity. 

    AND pistol bullets are very unreliable expanders. So, I'd say I'm more interested in a non expanding flat nose bullets for light calibers like 32, 38, etc, even wadcutters that show between 15-18" of gel penetration. 
    “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,696 Senior Member
    edited June 2019 #5
    I've spent few years pretty deep (no pun intended) in the more recent terminal ballistics science with the intent of initiating a ditch of the .40 in favor of 9mm.  What follows is some of the science and some of my $0.02 take on that science, with some of my bullet casting experimentation thrown in.

    Penetration over diameter ALL DAY LONG.

    The current thinking on how to prioritize things is (1.) Accuracy, (2.) Sufficient Penetration to hit something important, and (3.) ONLY SO LONG AS #1 & #2 are not compromised, take all the diameter you can get. (HOLD THAT THOUGHT)

    So when you go to stuff that makes bigger holes, you're generally going up in recoil which is going to cut into a lot of folk's ability to deliver accuracy.  The end effect is that yeah, you might get a couple tenths of an inch more diameter, but if the bullet lands five inches away from where it was intended to go, and the lighter kicking round is in the X-ring, those couple tenths aren't helping you.  A lot of the expanding .40's and even .45's don't have the penetration of their 9mm counterparts.  They get wide, but they usually lack the few extra inches the heavy 9mm's can deliver.  What a lot of folks overlook is a thing called "wound volume", which is a factor of both width AND depth, so the extra depth a 9mm can get you will count towards that, AND stand a better chance of intersecting something critical because of that depth than an equal wound volume achieved by a wider slug won't make.

    But you're talking pocket pistol calibers.  The minimum happy number for penetration is regarded as being 12" in FBI-spec Jell-O.  The reasoning is that if you have a side-on shot and an upper arm to contend with, you can still make it to aorta, vena cava, spine, etc..., whereas a massive mushroom that stops short is useless.  9mm and bigger can be loaded to a power level where the slug can expand and still have the energy to penetrate. .380 and .32 hollowpoints that expand very typically DO NOT make that depth, and the only way you can reliably get there is with a solid.  My preferred approach for those smaller rounds is a flat-nosed FMJ or hard alloy bullet.  This is probably your best compromise - it will penetrate enough, and the flat nose will have at least a little better crush/tear effect than a round nose.  It is worth considering in this discussion that a lot of European powers considered the .32 and .380 totally adequate police and military rounds, but that was back in the day before we started insisting on hollowpoints for everything.  I think the concept of them being "gutless" didn't really get rolling until HP's took their penetration away.

    Another thing to consider is that if you aren't solving the problem instantly with nerve damage, you're solving it somewhat less instantly with blood loss.  An equally well-placed, equally penetrating .40 or .45 is better on the theory of "bigger drain diameter", but then you have the argument of more holes in less time for an overall bigger drain with the smaller stuff.  Any hit that does more than nick a big, pressurized artery or vein will end things quickly, & I doubt that "starting with a 4" is going to be the definitive game changer.  There may be a point below where an artery can marginally self-seal, but that's probably well below the diameters we're discussing.  This is just my theory here. . . If you look a some of the "one shot stop" studies, 9mm seems to run around 88-90% and the .40 and .45 about 92 to 94%.  Statistically, not very definitive, but the question I have to ask is this:  "Are the bigger rounds ranking slightly better because they ARE better, or is the only reason the 9mm is ranked slightly lower is because the shooter was able to get down out of recoil faster and deliver more than one round before he perceived the first one was effective, therefore that incident didn't rate a "one shot stop"?

    Don't mistake me - I'm not going to start carrying a .32 or .380 loaded with ball for grizzly bear defense, but the above thought processes have caused me to regard that idea as less insane than I would have 30 years ago.  Mr. Browning was no dummy, & it seems unlikely that he'd design a cartridge that he thought wouldn't work for the intended task.  I think it's people monkeying with his tools (i.e. with hollowpoints) that is the cause of the doubt. 




    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,772 Senior Member
    For the small pistol calibers like the .380, I prefer solids like these.
    Or for .32 acp there's these.
    https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=31
    If I could have both adequate penetration and expansion regardless of entry angle and/or intermediate obstacles, I would take both.
    I suspect most folks visualize a serious encounter as having that perfect shot position that resembles a static range target. If that could be guaranteed to me, to be the case every time, then I'd be onboard with the hollow-points for small calibers. But no one can make that guarantee. They can only present likelihoods and probabilities.... I'll stick with my solids for my own small pistols. As long as they function/cycle reliably.
    Btw, I'm also a firm believer in the mantra, Any lethal bad guy worth shooting is worth shooting a lot. This becomes especially true the smaller the cartridge gets.


    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,484 Senior Member
    Forget veins and arteries and organs.  Bigger bullets will smash more bone.  The goal is to stop, not kill, at least usually.  A .45 to the pelvis will put down just about anybody.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,061 Senior Member
    I have proven that a .40 S&W 180gr Federal HST will put a 130lb individual (1 shot pig bullet lodged on off side hide) on the ground in 8 seconds (stopped breathing in 54 sec) and a 110lb. individual (deer with two successive shots pass through), and a 150lb. individual (1 shot pig within 50 yards run). 

    Tell me how the .40 S&W is obsolete?

    Everything I’ve seen shot with the .40 S&W (and it ain’t just animals) died quickly and decidedly when placed in the right location. 

    I have not not been impressed with the .45 ACP and one bullet. Penetration was there but expansion was not. Took a long time to die with two rounds (posted). 

    Me?

    I want both penetration and expansion. 

    I currently have that with the .40 S&W 155 & 180gr HST. We will see what the 9mm that everyone praises as having caught up with the rest of the world, will do. 

    I will set a trap for pigs this coming weekend and see and see if I can test the 124gr Speer Gold Dot in a 9mm as compared to others. 

    Science!!

    i don’t know what the answer is. But, I know what works. And it’s both. 

    Rapid expansion without penetration sucks. 

    Penetration without expansion sucks. 

    I want both. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • AccipiterAccipiter New Member Posts: 898 Senior Member
    edited June 2019 #9
    I am very interested in the 9mm results for what it is worth.  I will tell you I labor under the opinion that a 40 or 45 are irrelevant.  The 9 is just fine.  I would be very curious about real world testing.  Same shot placement and compar the result.  I could very well be wrong and would like to know if I am.  Opinions suck!  Results are what matter.

    Thanks for the efforts Zee.  I always enjoy the science.
    Apparently free thought is punished, and conformity is required, while peckerless cowards run the show.

    ECHO...ECHO....echo...

    Ah......One savors the hypocrisy!

    Karma.........It’s a bitch.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,061 Senior Member
    edited June 2019 #10

    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,772 Senior Member
    Just an observation.
    The 180gr Federal HST is a heavy for caliber popular commercial load. I would be interested in what a heavy for caliber commercial 9 load would perform like. Something like the 135 gr. 9mm +p Critical Duty or the 147 gr. Winchester Defender loads.
    Just a thought.

    Btw, who said the .40 was obsolete?


    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Living in a van, down by the river.Posts: 14,034 Senior Member
    edited June 2019 #12
    Much like Snake with a. 270, so will Zee rise to any slights of the .40 .

    Only difference is one cartridge is actually effective. 
    I'm just here for snark.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,061 Senior Member
    Spk said:
    Just an observation.
    The 180gr Federal HST is a heavy for caliber popular commercial load. I would be interested in what a heavy for caliber commercial 9 load would perform like. Something like the 135 gr. 9mm +p Critical Duty or the 147 gr. Winchester Defender loads.
    Just a thought.

    Btw, who said the .40 was obsolete?

     
    There’s a dude in Cali and a dude in Bama seem to think the 9mm is the answer to our prayers.


    I await the 9mm sacrifice that will compare to the .40 I have been using. 

    :popcorn:

    😁
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JasonMPDJasonMPD Senior Member Posts: 6,583 Senior Member
    Shot placement will always be the principle by which all successful pistol shoots are measured. 

    If you're not hitting the pump or the computer you're just changing the position from which your getting shot at. 
    “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
  • JasonMPDJasonMPD Senior Member Posts: 6,583 Senior Member
    BAMAAK said:
    Forget veins and arteries and organs.  Bigger bullets will smash more bone.  The goal is to stop, not kill, at least usually.  A .45 to the pelvis will put down just about anybody.
    Breaking the chassis doesn't stop the engine from running. 

    The computer or the pump. Everything else is just unnecessarily prolonging your encounter. 
    “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,772 Senior Member
    Sounds like fun. Wish I could be there.
    :/
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,484 Senior Member
    edited June 2019 #17
    In your experience, have you seen or heard of anyone continuing to fight with a shattered pelvis?  Not saying they can't, but I would think that would take away the will to fight on.  I wouldn't shoot at a pelvis with a 9 mm.  But a 230 gr ball I might.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Manistee Natl ForestPosts: 18,281 Senior Member
    I have attended autopsies on a couple of guys who were shot in the pelvis...one was hit with a 12 gauge slug that entered the right hip and ended up in the left hip and was dead on scene. The other sustained multiple hits from a .357 mag.  and was dead before he could be loaded in the ambulance...both bled out from damage to the femoral artery....what damage wasn't caused by the bullet, was caused by big assed bone shards.
    The likelihood of either of them continuing any sort fight after sustaining those wounds was highly unlikely...


    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • JasonMPDJasonMPD Senior Member Posts: 6,583 Senior Member
    BAMAAK said:
    In your experience, have you seen or heard of anyone continuing to fight with a shattered pelvis?  Not saying they can't, but I would think that would take away the will to fight on.  I wouldn't shoot at a pelvis with a 9 mm.  But a 230 gr ball I might.
    Not continuing to fight, but continuing to be viably physical, yea. If they'd have had a gun they were more than physically capable of using it. 
    “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,061 Senior Member
    edited June 2019 #20
    Much like Snake with a. 270, so will Zee rise to any slights of the .40 .

    Only difference is one cartridge is actually effective. 
    Don’t get me wrong. I’m kinda excited to try the “New Breed 9”. If it actually works..........after all the years shooting the “Snappy .40cal”...........I’m gonna be a ROCK STAR with a 9 in a real gun!!

    😁
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,061 Senior Member
    edited June 2019 #21
    I plan to hunt with my Ruger PC Carbine in 9mm. 

    Need to to figure out what distance the velocity will equate to being fired out of a handgun from point blank to 25ish yards. 

    Its getting 1,350 fps from its 16” barrel. Not a fair comparison until its slowed to Pistol impact velocity. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,696 Senior Member
    Spk said:
    Just an observation.
    The 180gr Federal HST is a heavy for caliber popular commercial load. I would be interested in what a heavy for caliber commercial 9 load would perform like. Something like the 135 gr. 9mm +p Critical Duty or the 147 gr. Winchester Defender loads.
    Just a thought.

    Btw, who said the .40 was obsolete?


    I don't know about "obsolete", so much as "ill conceived".  There's no denying the .40 has the ability to make bad people stop doing bad things.  On paper, it's following in the footsteps of the old .41 Colt and 38-.40 Winchester.  That's a pretty good lineage of stuff that works, and I don't have much to gripe about regarding the terminal side of the round.

    What much of the LE community is concluding is that the .40's problems are in the internal ballistics side of the equation.  I know from long firsthand experience that its high pressure and snappy recoil is a wearer of gun parts and a frustrator (invented word - just now!) of casual 100-300 rounds-per-year shooters, which is unfortunately the majority, and we have to consider the users in this whole discussion.  In fairness to the cartridge, a big part of the initial attraction to the round was that it fit into a 9mm magazine body.  The major problem early on was that very little was typically done to re-engineer the pistol for the new power level, and the result was either a gun that needed recoil and mag springs changed as often as you change your socks, or a gun that starts breaking or malfunctioning rather rapidly if you don't - compared to a gun that in 9mm would run practically forever.

    To HK's credit, they were one of the few (maybe the only) manufacturers that designed the gun from the ground up around the .40's pressure curve.  Good on them, but the USP pretty clearly outlines the problems I'm talking about.  The gun is a big, chunky, blocky, brick of a thing - the light, sleek 9mm is gone.  In the rest of the industry, we saw a lot of half-assed revisionism going on the the form of reinforced slides, heavier springs, and various other forms of "shoring up" that worked to varying degrees of satisfaction, but at the armorer level, the .40 still makes for headaches - more money spent on parts that could be better spend on ammo, and more time wrenching that could be spent shooting.  First and foremost, a handgun's gotta work, and the hotrod .40 gets to a point of not working quicker than comparable 9mm's and .45's.

    The ideal pistol would hold a 250-count case of 12 gauge magnum slugs in its magazine, conceal like a Walther PPK, recoil like a subsonic .22, and last like an AK-47.  The .40 has been a less extreme version of teaching us that this is not going to ever be a practical reality.  The current thinking in the field is that 9mm with good ammo is functionally the best way to achieve all our goals.


    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,772 Senior Member
    And to think the .40 started out in life as the 10 mm.

    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Miami, FL almost in the USA ;)Posts: 6,992 Senior Member
    FWIW...  I have coup de gras 'd 100 lb pigs with both .40 and 10mm and I am not impressed with their "immediate" dispatching.  The science behind "stopping" a threat really hasn't come much further than the four stops, electrical, hydrological, mechanical, and force of will.  Most handgun calibers have a strong possibility of being deflected by the skull, and the vital nerves are hard to hit.  Bleed out occurs depending on where the damage is, but it could be 10 seconds, it could be 2 hours.  Mechanical damage stops a person, but they still have the ability to fight back unless disarmed, and force of will ( I give up ) just isn't reliable.  

    I suppose you could argue for both, so alternate solids and HP's in your stack.

    IMHO

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,772 Senior Member
    Zee said:
    I plan to hunt with my Ruger PC Carbine in 9mm. 

    Need to to figure out what distance the velocity will equate to being fired out of a handgun from point blank to 25ish yards. 

    Its getting 1,350 fps from its 16” barrel. Not a fair comparison until its slowed to Pistol impact velocity. 
    You can pull a bullet and use the mathematical BC. It won't be perfect but it'll be close enough.
    I went ahead and used the BC listed on the Midway website. It lists the Gold Dots at 0.134 -- should be go enough.

    Using that and the JMB website, a good guestimate will put you around 35 to 60 yards beyond the Chrono position. The Midway website lists the muzzle velocity at 1220 fps. So this will be the approximate speed at 35 yards beyond the Chrono. Add another 25 yards and you'll be at 60 yards beyond the Chrono with and approximate speed of 1144 fps.
    You can put in your own numbers at the JMB Ballistics website.



    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,061 Senior Member
    edited June 2019 #26
    Here’s what I come up with for the PC Carbine using StrelokPro. 




    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,061 Senior Member
    edited June 2019 #27
    And for my G34 using StrelokPro. 




    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,772 Senior Member
    Looks good 👍
    I have no idea how far your chronograph was set up at but the numbers seem to line up. I'm guessing around 15' feet or 5 yards.
    Anyway, close enough. Happy hunting. Can't wait to hear the results.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,061 Senior Member
    3 yards but yeah.....same/same. Pretty much the same data. 

    35-65 ish yards for a window. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,696 Senior Member
    Zee said:


    I await the 9mm sacrifice that will compare to the .40 I have been using. 

    :popcorn:

    😁
    I think I speak for the entire mob in the Colosseum when I say:


    Porcus en Circenses. . .how can we lose? :D
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • bisleybisley Senior Member East TexasPosts: 10,815 Senior Member
    I spent a lot of time going back and forth on this issue, and when I finally got tired of the indecision, I just bought a couple of boxes of .380 hardball, tested it for accuracy, and parked the pistol in the gun safe.

    I elected, for a pocket gun, to carry a 9mm Shield with an Apex trigger and sear kit, and load it with 147 grain Hornady HP's. They seem to expand, most of the time, and if they don't, they will just penetrate more - also good. The Shield bulges more in my pocket than a .380 Ruger LCP, but I no longer worry about printing, because nobody studies an old fart's 'bulges,' anyway. Besides, open carry is now legal for CHL holders, so it's no big deal if somebody does notice. If I feel under-powered, I can substitute a Springfield XDs in .45 ACP, or a Kahr K-40, which are both the same basic dimensions as the Shield. Mostly, I stick the Shield in my pocket and forget about it, because it is cheaper to practice with.
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