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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you believed that there was a high probability that you might have to use your sidearm against attackers wearing soft body armor, would that change your choice of handgun and/or ammunition? For purposes of this question, assume that you cannot carry a long gun on your person, nor can you use anything other than ammo available to the general public (i.e., you can't get Q to give you some AP rounds :wink:).

BTW, I realize that only a tiny percentage of street thugs are wearing armor. I'm thinking more along the lines of what someone like an armored car guard or a bodyguard might face from more organized oppposition.
 

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I would go with a .45 super semi-auto or a 45 long colt with very heavy handloads. The energy coming out of these rounds will damage an attacker even if they don't penetrate. I have also heard stories about CZ-52's being able to penetrate armor with conventional hot loaded rounds, but I don't know if they are true. I would use a large powerful handgun and aim at the pelvis or head. Good luck. Jake
 

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If the goal is penetration, a Tokarev with hot loads or a CZ-52 with Czech factory loads will punch through most armor. In the Far East, criminals used them to punch through Level III vests, according to Karwan. But the goal is to stop, not penetrate.

If I knew I was going up against armored bandits, I'd bring a rifle. But, since even with my current bulk I can't conceal a rifle (give me time), I'd take a 10mm (probably a Glock) with heavy handloads or CorBon hunting ammunition.
Second choice would be a 9x23 with FMJ. Both choices give me sufficient penetration, power, and width to do damage to meat under the armor, while still being controllable.
 

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I would probably use my TDE AutoMag chambered in 30 LMP. Thats a 44 AutoMag case necked to .308" so you could use .308 AP bullets in it.




<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Tony Rumore on 2001-06-29 12:20 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Tony Rumore on 2001-06-29 12:20 ]</font>
 

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Hey Tony...BTW welcome to the fray!

Saw your web-site...great stuff there, do you have some photos you could share over here?

Thanks
:wink:
 
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In the past when the possibility of encountering armored/armed assaliants was high I often carried a 4" N frame .41 Magnum with solid core loads, a .44 Magnum with 180gr full power FMJ loads (level 3 and below) or Mag Safe Agent loads mixed with Magsafe "fast hardball".
A good combo for level 2 and below armor is the CZ52 loaded with S&B FMJ ammo.

The original Glaser Black Tip loads were also very good as well as the THV 9mm.
 

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I would forget the idea of causing blunt trauma injury to armored bad guys. I'd imagine even a shotgun slug impact on a vest could be shook off. The impact would be no worse than a hard punch. Consider how adernaline keeps people from realizing they are shot even without armor.

Richard Davis shoots himself all the time with heavy .44 mag loads and even .308s, and he is still able to shoot back effectively.

The 7.62 Tokarov is defeated by level II vest according to Second Chance's website. Remember a level IIa can really defeat the same rounds as a IIIA vest. The difference comes from the back face deformation standards set by the NIJ. This means the wearer will get a larger bruise if shot with a IIa than a IIIa but, the rounds will not penetrate. Although, in a Chuck Kawan article he did penetrate a vest with a 7.62 Tokarov so YMMV.

Check out http://www.secondchance.com/information/
stoppingpower.htm

Stay with the handgun you are most comfortable with already, and aim for unarmored areas. Dane's advice is good.

I like the neck as an alternative target to the head. The neck is equally difficult to hit as the head but, the bullets don't bounce off as often. :grin:

If I were truly worried I may be attacked by armored and prepared bad guys, I would find a way to keep a small rifle with me. An ar-15 pistol or Short Barreled Rifle could be concealed under a loose jacket or kept in a brief case. A SBR would be a hassle to get but, an ar-15 pistol w/ a 10 rd mag on a shoulder holster similar to a HK PDW set up may work. The butt of the PDW is attached to a shoulder strap that is pulled taught and functions similar to a stock.

The rifle offers such a decisive advantage over a handgun that I would find a way to have one handy if I knew I was going into harms way.

Good Luck!


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: JM on 2001-06-28 21:32 ]</font>
 

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I expect I'll get shot down for this, but having been involved somewhat in the armor biz and having to live with some of the stupid, baseless legislation that's out there, and given that there is legislation pending to prevent you and I from being able to possess body armor, I think the subject of how to defeat armor should not be discussed here. Remember that case of foreign pistol ammo you bought 12 years ago that you found so cheap? You shot it all up within a few weeks or months? Except, ah, for that one round you dropped and it rolled under the bench in your workshop-- well, thanks to the gullible folks in Washington doing what the scare-mongering press told them to, you are a felon for possessing that one Cop Killer bullet. Maybe it won't even make it through IIA, but if it meets the material/construction specs, you're going up for a stretch.

The First Amendment is as important as the Second, but sometimes we give the other side too much to feed on, not to mention this is a wide-open forum, where who knows who is reading tips on how to perf armor.

On the other hand, I never have a problem with any of the other topics we rountinely discuss here... maybe I'm being a little inconsistent, but isn't this mainly a police safety issue? Richard Davis himself implored Congress to shut the hell up when all the Cop Killer legislation was being discussed. He went to DC and spoke to them against it. It is so true what he says... "We need publicity like we need a hole in the head." The fools that fell for the whole Cop Killer thing really proved the value of education-- by educating every dumb crook in the country about armor, they did more to endanger cops than any amount of KTW or other ammo ever could have.
 

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Remember that the cross section of the bullet (read diamter) is directly related to its abilitity to defeat soft armor. A 22 LR or magnum from a long gun will eat a level II vest up. I would think it would be difficult to find any .45 caliber that would defeat a good Level II. While not the best platform, I have to agree that the Tokarev with hot loads is a good choice. The .38 Super, 9X whatever, and the .357 Sig, if loaded hot with the right bullet might do the job. Velocity and diameter are the key elements.
 
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On 2001-06-29 10:43, Ned Christiansen wrote:
I think the subject of how to defeat armor should not be discussed here.
The First Amendment is as important as the Second, but sometimes we give the other side too much to feed on, not to mention this is a wide-open forum, where who knows who is reading tips on how to perf armor.
Ned brings up an interesting point here and on some levels I agree with him and on others I think we can offer an alternative.

First, I believe the idea of the "cop killer" has been grossly over played by the media to the point that it became a political sound bite.

The reality is that American Law Enforcement Officers have been wearing concealable soft body armor made of Kevlar or a similar material for the past 21 years.
In 20 of those years (last year for statistics) not one American LEO has ever been killed by an "Armor Piercing Round".

And according to Dupont not one LEO has ever been killed by a concealable soft armor failure to stop a penetration of an armor panel by a round that it was rated to stop.

I do believe as an LEO, Security Officer, or CCW citizen that the possibility does exist that you may encounter an attacker/criminal wearing body armor.
Few trainers will discuss this issue with LEOs let alone armed citizens.

I do believe that this is the internet and we need to acknowledge the "flow" of this information and the wide availability of almost anything you can think of or search for.
Before I responded to this post I ran an
internet search for the following
Searched the web for soft armor piercing ammo.
Results 1 - 10 of about 1,180. Search took 0.40 seconds.

To glance over this topic would be irresponsible, but to discuss it in detail or to discuss "brand" names of armor would also be wrong, I submit that our topic has delved no further than the Second Chance web page or Safari lands latest ballistic chart.

I still believe we can no more effectively regulate this topic than we can legislate common sense.






_________________
Think, Plan, Train, Be Safe.
Thanks,
David

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David DiFabio on 2001-06-30 12:56 ]</font>
 

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I know I'm a newbie here, but Ned knows me and will (I THINK) vouch for the fact that I'm not completely clueless about topics such as this one.

First, I have to agree with Ned about the wisdom of discussing this topic. I KNOW it's silly and stupid and meaningless to call any particular bullet a "cop killer" (about as stupid as trying to define an "assault weapon"), and I KNOW that "cop killer" bullets aren't a real phenomenon in the sense that bad guys have been loading them up and perforating body armor like so much tissue paper. Nevertheless, the fact is that the other side has somehow managed to demonize certain topics in the mind of the general public, and we run the risk of taking a big hit in the public relations war if we're not careful about what we say and where we say it. Try to imagine Chuckie Schumer and Billary reading a printout of this thread on the floor of the Senate... does this sound good for our side? Forget facts...what kind of emotional impact is it likely to have?

That said, I'll offer this much on the topic:

Blunt trauma doesn't incapacitate people. Rich Davis has proven this, as someone already pointed out. So have loads of cops who've been shot while wearing vests--Davis has hundreds of interviews with these guys, and I've seen many of them. Without exception (that I can recall), they report being only marginally aware of being hit, probably because they were so pumped on adrenaline at the time. (Most also report that the shots weren't nearly as loud as one would normally expect. Your body does funny things when you're scared.) Bottom line on blunt trauma: it hurts some later, but it's not likely to save your life if the other guy is wearing armor.

That's about all I'm comfortable saying on the subject. I've done testing on Level IIIA vests (for a unit I was with in the Marine Corps), and there definitely IS commercially available handgun ammo that'll penetrate the stuff, but I'm not gonna say which ones, here and now. I will say this though: MOST of the stuff suggested so far isn't likely to do it.
 

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On 2001-06-29 10:43, Ned Christiansen wrote:
I think the subject of how to defeat armor should not be discussed here.
I think Ned has a good point here. Since it is unlikely that we can pack around anything that'll do the job under an untucked polo shirt and the fact that blunt trauma is a minor consideration, there isn't much point to carrying on about hot pistol loads.

Besides which, unless the armor is visible, what you will have is a failure to stop for reasons unknown and NO time to analyze it further. One's response to this IS an area that is appropriate for discussion here. You really won't know whether the failure to stop is due to armor, drugs, determination, or the simple fact that pistol rounds are pretty feeble. What is important is to do something differently as "plan B" and not just pour more rounds into the center-of-mass.

Rosco
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
On 2001-07-02 11:39, Rosco Benson wrote:
Since it is unlikely that we can pack around anything that'll do the job under an untucked polo shirt and the fact that blunt trauma is a minor consideration, there isn't much point to carrying on about hot pistol loads.

Besides which, unless the armor is visible, what you will have is a failure to stop for reasons unknown and NO time to analyze it further. One's response to this IS an area that is appropriate for discussion here
That's the sort of discussion I had in mind when I started this thread. Is it better to pack a handcannon and hope for incapacitation through blunt trauma, or is it better to use a quicker-shooting pistol with higher capacity to be ready for "Plan B"?

Two real life examples:

After the much-publicized North Hollywood bank robbery and shootout, there was a movement to allow LAPD officers to carry .45 pistols instead of 9mm Berettas. But would that have been an improvement in that particular episode? Neither round would have penetrated the bad guys' body armor, but at least a cop carrying 46 rounds of 9mm would have been better prepared to put out suppressive fire than one carrying 22 rounds of .45 ACP.

There was an incident in Arizona in which two police officers got into a shootout with a suspect wearing an armored vest. The Glock-armed officers fired over a dozen rounds into the bad guy's center mass before a head shot (I can't recall if it was intentional or lucky) ended the fight. (If anyone has a better account of this event, please correct me.)
 

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The problem is that most handgun ammo which will penetrate a vest is less than optimal for stopping a person. Really deep pentration is not usually considered the #1 priority for stopping a bad guy, but it becomes your biggest concern if you have to shoot through something "hard"--whether it be a wall, a car door, a vest or whatever. A perfectly mushroomed slug sitting in a barrier of some kind isn't helping you any. (I know, I know...it won't mushroom if it hits a barrier. You get my point though.)

So the question becomes, "do I want ammo that works well on 99.99% of bad guys, but won't help with the .01% who might be wearing a vest, or do I want ammo that will penetrate a vest but is less than optimal for 99.99% of bad guys?" I think the answer is pretty obvious. You go with what works best for the vast majority of situations, and resort to failure drills (or the AR-15/12 ga. w/slugs) for the extremely rare guy who happens to be armored.

Again, though, don't count on blunt trauma to do ANYTHING for you. Forget it. For all practical gunfighting purposes is just doesn't exist.
 
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Matt VDW,
If I may offer an opinion a pistol is not capable of laying down "suppressive fire", even with 46 or 60 or 70 rounds available to the officer.
Against an antagonist who is steady and sure the officer will be dead before he is able to lay down this imaginary "wall" of bullets.
(let alone the officer should live and have to account for these rounds).

As to the question of magnum caliber versus 9mm or .40 or other high cap, I believe that is a question of skill and priorities.
A well placed .41 magnum to the face of the attacker or center neck line will do the same job that a 9mm will do except with greater force and pentration allowing for a percieved margin of error and the ability to pentrate building materials that the attacker may also use for cover.

The man or woman who aims carefully, squeezes the trigger with a suprise break using a good sight picture will end the confontation each an every time with a single well placed round.

As to the specific ammo performance question at last count (test)their are 6 .41 magnum, 11 .44 magnum, 8 .357 magnum, 4 9mm, and 2 10mm commercial (over the counter) loads that will penetrate a NIJ level 3 soft armor vest that you can purchase at any common gunstore.
If your choice is .223 I wish you luck, the .223 is an incredibly poor performer against un-armored attackers let alone men in kevlar.

Having used the SS109 in combat I am of the opinion that only the inexperienced tactician would recomend this load to a patrol officer or a SWAT operator as you give up a lot of capability when you transition to this cartridge and only gain a mathematically possible longer "effective range".

As to the second issue- the LAPD Incident.
I suspect the LAPD firearms group used the incident as "administrative firepower" to leverage the re-adoption of the .45acp.
Not that the .9mm they were using was poor, but rather the .45acp is better (yes, you can buy commercial .45 ammo that will penetrate a level 2 panel).
I believe the real issue with the shootout was that the responding patrol officers were not taught the mozambique (failure to stop) drill and did not have the training or tactical knowledge to know how to "stand off" against rifle weilding assailants.

They were unwisely allowed to continue to engage the suspects instead of being ordered to withdraw, observe, and await the deployment of tactical officers by the commanding officers.
Those poor men and women learned the hard way that cars do not provide hard cover even from handguns and that is a very painful lesson to learn indeed.
I am continualy dumfounded by training officers who will teach a police recruit to stand behind a car window for cover, granted when you are 60 miles from nowhere this is the best you can do but in an urban setting surrounded by concrete buildings that do provide hard cover.

Simply put,
The patrol officers were facing men in armor deployed with real field unit automatic weapons in what became a common "combat" situation.
In all fairness and no disrespect intended Police Officers are not soldiers and do not belong in combat, were this incident to occur again or within a sperate juristiction the responding officers would be well advised to observe from a distance and allow tactical officers or officers trained in "combat" tactics to engage the attackers from a distance with sighted tactical rifles.
 

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You've got a lot of interesting points there, David. I'd like to respond to some of them.

With respect to your assessment that proper training more than a Wunderbullet is the right answer for dealing with an armored bad guy, I couldn't agree more.

Roger on "suppressive fire" from a pistol, too. The very concept frightens me, as a civilian who may just end up as a bystander to the events in question, or whose kids may be bystanders. Cops have no business firing anything but well-aimed rounds (as well-aimed as possible under the circumstances); neither do civilians who are defending themselves. You want suppressive fire, get yourself an M249 or similar SAW---but I don't believe cops need such gear. Not yet, anyway.

I have a few questions about the numbers you quote for what'll penetrate various armor levels. How'd you get these numbers? Reason I ask is that there are some rounds that'll penetrate one manufacturer's vest, but won't penetrate another. A particular 9mm round that's manufactured by one of the major manufcturers comes to mind in this regard. I know of IIA vests it'll do, and IIA vests it won't do. So it's sort of hard to be as precise about this topic as you're suggesting. Also, you don't mention commercial .45 rounds that'll perf IIIA, and I know for a fact that such exist, because I've penetrated IIIA with .45 ACP. In fact, if I recall correctly we may have perfed a DOUBLE thickness of IIIA with one particular .45 ACP round--I won't swear to that, though.

Also, you refer to Level 3 soft armor. I assume you mean Level IIIA? Unless the state of the art has advanced considerably without my knowledge, there's no such thing as a Level 3 "soft" vest. All Level III and IV vests I am aware of use hard trauma plates--steel, ceramic, composites, etc. Without those, they won't perform at Level III standards. If there's "soft" Level III out there, please tell me where to find it. I know some folks who'd be very interested in buying a few hundred sets.


Finally, your observations about the SS109 are borne out by what I've read about its performance in Somalia. It's just too goddamned long and stable, and drills a nice, neat, .22 caliber hole in targets. However, don't throw the baby out with the bath water--FMJ is seldom ideal for stopping people. Some of the reports I've read of .223 HP/SP being used by SWAT officers and the like indicate that it hits HARD. And I KNOW that any standard .223 round will perf soft armor, because, again, I've shot the living shit out of some IIIA vests with .223 commercial SPs and HPs, and every single round cut them like butter.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Matt1911 on 2001-07-03 10:09 ]</font>
 
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Matt,
Good eye, spell checker does not pickup on things like the level 3a designation, I need to change the setting to allow the a after the 3.

As to .223 HP ammo I guess it is up to the users or agency in question. I had the misfortune to see more than a few B. Guys taken down with the Krinkov loaded with JHP ammo and it does hit hard after a 10rd burst to the chest, the round is more effective than the 5.56mm NATO and does create a much larger permanent and temporary wound cavity.

But I would still be very hesitant if given the choice to select the 5.56mm or .223 JHP for anything beyond groundhogs/varmints.
(This obviously does not include headshots)

What you do and what you prefer is up to
 
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