Author Topic: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)  (Read 11942 times)

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Offline Shane for Wax

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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2013, 10:47:20 am »
I've got my own things (a lot have already been touched on but I'm also trying to add new information to make the rules better and more sweeping in knowledge) :

1a) Be aware that even if a gun is old, the laws may still affect it. There is indeed an antique law, but that fully auto machine gun from WW2 may still be affected by a different law in your area.

1b) Always always always check to see if you have to do something extra in order to own that antique gun. Always always always have a record of said gun. What type of gun it is, when it was manufactured. Get in touch with your local police department if you have to. They will be able to tell you the law or find someone else who can. It doesn't matter if nobody makes ammunition for the gun anymore or anything like that.

1c) Remember: antique laws are not universal. While your gun may have been legal in Georgia it may not be legal in California. If you plan on moving, check the laws where you will be moving to. I know it's hard to leave a possession behind, but you might as well learn beforehand instead of having it confiscated when you get to your destination. And no, do not think 'oh they will never check to make sure all of my firearms are legal'. That is a dangerous train of thought and you should rethink owning a firearm to begin with.

2a) Do not always trust buying a gun from a gun show. That is a recipe for disaster. If the seller is at all responsible, they will let you look over the gun from butt to business end. Make sure to ask about it. Where it came from, if they can name the manufacturer. If not, look for a manufacturer stamp and look up what it means. Nobody wants to spend $400 or more on a gun that is a piece of shit and/or a danger to themselves (such as it being poorly built).

2b) With that in mind, don't just buy a gun because it's a good deal. Stormwarden already somewhat touched on this but still, be aware of the gun you are buying. I don't care if that sexy gun is only $75, you check and double-check what the hell you are buying. You do not want to get home and realize you have no idea how to handle the gun, much less what ammo it takes and whether you can still get replacement parts for it if heaven forbid something breaks.

2c) Be wary of online sellers. There are a good handful of reputable dealers that are almost exclusively online. But that doesn't mean that they all are. Not to mention, you cannot look over the gun before purchase. Nor the ammo. Some online sellers have physical stores, however. If you find an absolutely great deal in an online gun store see if they have a physical store in your area. I'm not going to say never buy online but be wary of what you're doing and who is selling that gun.

3) There is no excuse for not having trigger discipline. I don't care if you've held the gun like that a thousand times. You keep that finger away from the trigger. Even if it's pointed in the air. Especially if it's pointed in the air.

4) If you insist on having a gun in your car while you're traveling, make sure you check the laws (local and the places you will be traveling to/through) and have a proper storage place for it. Tucking it up under your seat is a dumb thing to do. Always check to make sure the gun is still in the car when you come back from that bathroom break at the gas station or lunch at the Waffle House. Always keep your doors locked when you leave the car. You do not want to arrive at your destination and find someone has swiped your gun from your car. It doesn't matter if you don't believe it could happen. Safety is your number 1 priority.

5) Never tell your guests the combination unless you absolutely positively trust them. And even then tell them to get you if they want to see your collection. This falls under the keep track of your firearm rule.

6) Somewhat of an addendum to the above: Be wary of who you tell about your gun collection. Especially if they know where you live. Even if you always keep your guns locked away. If your gun is stolen because you shot your mouth off (no pun intended) it's on your head. Especially so if they then use the stolen gun for crime.

7a) Somewhat of an addendum to an earlier rule and something touched on already by others: There is no shame in having a gun you can easily carry and use. If you cannot handle the weight of something like a .45 and have to drop down to that .380, so what? Better a gun you can carry and use than one you might drop and end up shooting yourself because of it. Or getting yourself hurt by that intruder who knows you are now unarmed because you went and dropped your gun cause it was too heavy.

7b ) Which brings me to another thing: aesthetics. The color of a gun does not dictate whether it is usable or not. The color of a gun does not change its stopping power (go ahead and do a Google search of pink guns used in defense. The stories I found each had a successful defense using a pink gun). Do not buy a gun cause it's a cool metallic blue. Buy it because it fits your needs. You can always paint it later on down the line if you know how to (or have someone else do it. I'm sure there is a profession out there that does it. Similar to coloring bowling balls).

8 ) Somewhat repeating point 1b but: always have a record of both ammo and guns. Write down the ammo caliber and how much of it you have (editing it each time you use ammo for whatever reason). Write down the make and model of the gun along with year of manufacturer if possible. Keep that list as separate as possible from where you store the guns and ammo. If it makes you feel better you can also give a list of your weapons to your local police department. I know that some people who wouldn't feel comfortable at all doing that for a myriad of reasons (and I can even understand some of them). So it isn't a necessity but it's an option.

9) Do not copy something you see on tv. Do not try to fire your gun underwater to see if it will fire. Unless you are in a safe area and aren't just screwing around (such as doing an experiment).


I think that's all I have. Feel free to use or discard as you like.

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Offline chitoryu12

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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2013, 12:41:49 pm »
I have to admit, I'm surprised (and learning all sorts of nifty stuff from this thread, for the record) that a 9mm round will go through a wall.  I was under the impression that 9mm rounds were so cheap because they had next to no real stopping power compared to .22 rounds and up.

.22 and up? Just so you know, if someone refers to a ".22" they're almost definitely referring to .22 Long Rifle, which is an extremely cheap (as in $20 for 500 rounds) rimfire round that's generally the weakest commonplace cartridge you can buy; there are lower power ones, like .22 Short, but that round is almost totally obsolete and only gets bought if you want a very quiet gun that requires no hearing protection or if you bought the smallest available pocket pistol.

You might be confused by rounds like .223 Remington, the civilian version of the 5.56x45mm NATO round that's used in pretty much every assault rifle that doesn't have a name starting with AK. The difference between rifle rounds and pistol rounds is that rifle rounds usually have a longer, bottlenecked cartridge case (which lets them pack more powder for a higher velocity) and a pointed "Spitzer" bullet that has improved aerodynamics and allows for them to be effective at longer ranges. There's more than just bullet diameter for determining what your cartridge is going to do.

But yeah, 9mm has plenty of power. Especially if you load it with hollow points, soft points, or plain lead bullets that will expand upon impact. A 9mm looks a lot more deadly when it creates an 11mm hole in your body. 9mm (or more specifically, 9x19mm Parabellum) is so cheap because it's the most popular combat pistol cartridge in the world.

The debate between 9mm and .45, including all of the alternates people have like .40 S&W, .357 Magnum, .357 SIG, and so on, is a debate with no answer. The cartridges are both very different:

* 9x19mm is smaller in diameter, but has a much higher velocity that gives it a flatter trajectory and greater penetration.

* .45 ACP is slower and will usually have a lower effective range, but it has a larger bullet and thus will (theoretically) create a bigger hole on entry.

The problem is that people try to simplify the debate down to purely these points and ignore everything else. Sure, .45 creates a bigger hole than .358......if you're shooting standard FMJ ammo that won't expand on impact. If you fire a hollow point 9mm and a full metal jacketed .45, the 9mm will probably leave a bigger hole because it expands.

And "stopping power" is a nebulous concept that probably doesn't really exist. There are so many variables in wounding effects that any scientist who tried to actually create a theory around firearm effectiveness would throw up his hands and chug straight scotch after putting his hypothesis to the test in a real world scenario. People have been hit by the mythical .45 straight in the heart and kept on going until they killed the guy who shot them. People have been hit by the puny little 9mm in the same spot at the same range and instantly dropped to the ground and stayed there until they bled out. People have been hit by .22LR and bled out before they got to a hospital; some of them immediately fell and began twitching, others didn't notice they had been fatally wounded until they passed out.

Besides, most of the complaints about 9mm's "stopping power" come from the military; soldiers, by the Hague Convention, aren't allowed to use expanding bullets against human targets because it's "inhumane." The power they get from their guns depends more on larger diameter and the ability of the round to tumble. The 5.56mm round has been derided since its inception for being "underpowered", but that's just because it doesn't reliably tumble on impact within a certain range depending on your barrel length (and soldiers have been using shorter barreled guns for their convenience recently, which compounds the problem) and they can't use expanding rounds like civilians and police do.

(click to show/hide)

But anyways, there's too much to consider in terms of defensive rounds to simply write off any cartridge as "too weak." People have used .22 pistols effectively because they're skilled enough to use it, typically by immediately shooting the target in the brain. The most important part of choosing a defensive cartridge is that YOU can use it effectively; a .45 may be more powerful at close range on paper, but the heavier recoil (thanks to the heavier bullet; bullet weight affects recoil more than you'd think) means that some shooters can't easily recover between shots. A Walther PPK/S chambered in .380 ACP, as far as some shooters are concerned, is puny and wouldn't hurt a fly. But their opinion doesn't mean much when they have a .380 caliber hole drilled through their skull.

Proper shot placement and rapidly firing multiple rounds on target will drop anyone, regardless of the bullet.
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Offline chitoryu12

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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2013, 12:49:12 pm »
Wanting to put this in another post, since it's unrelated and that last one is hella long and dense.

Quote
9) Do not copy something you see on tv. Do not try to fire your gun underwater to see if it will fire. Unless you are in a safe area and aren't just screwing around (such as doing an experiment).

A lot of hullabaloo gets made about a gun's ability to fire underwater, but that's actually completely worthless in determining anything but reliability underwater. The effective range of a bullet when fired underwater is measured in feet; their shape causes them to rapidly slow to a stop. Contrary to what you see in films like Saving Private Ryan, most bullets won't lance underwater with deadly force and a trail of bubbles in their wake; even a .50 BMG round fired from point blank range into a pool will go a few yards before disintegrating. If you were to end up in a theoretical duel to the death in your pool, the only way either of you could use a gun effectively would be to press it against the other guy and pull the trigger.

In which case you'd be lucky if it even went off, as the water pressure may result in the firing pin not traveling fast enough to strike a hard primer. And if it DOES go off, said water pressure will probably cause it to jam and require some slide racking and smacking to get it to load the next round. Not exactly something you want to be doing in this theoretical underwater combat.

A bigger threat is the chance of the pressure being too high in the barrel and causing a "catastrophic failure"; in layman's terms, you just popped a hole in your gun.
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Offline Cerim Treascair

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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2013, 04:42:33 pm »
Chi:  Yeah, .22 LR rounds are what I'm thinking of.  My dad owned a great .22 bolt-action rifle growing up, and I had the assumption that it had actual stopping power (since he used it for hunting).
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Offline chitoryu12

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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2013, 12:28:23 am »
Chi:  Yeah, .22 LR rounds are what I'm thinking of.  My dad owned a great .22 bolt-action rifle growing up, and I had the assumption that it had actual stopping power (since he used it for hunting).

Ironically, .22LR is one of the weakest commercial rounds you can get. Again, that doesn't mean that it's not deadly; the Reagan assassination attempt involved a .22 revolver. While Reagan didn't even notice that he had been hit by a ricochet until he was already speeding away from the scene (and he would have died had they not gotten immediately to a hospital), James Brady was left permanently paralyzed from a shot to the head and Thomas Delahanty was instantly dropped from one to the back of the neck. Nobody died, but that's related more to modern medicine and prompt response than any "weakness" on the part of the .22 revolver.

The reason you don't see .22s used for self-defense by anyone who's physically capable of using something else is because it's not especially likely to immediately STOP the attacker. Causing a wound that kills in an hour doesn't mean much when there's a person beating you in the head with a pipe right now. It's especially important if your attacker is hyped up on drugs, adrenaline, or both and won't notice or properly acknowledge pain or fear of death.
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Offline Cerim Treascair

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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2013, 10:40:52 pm »
Which is why I'm looking at paired .32's.  One as a secondary, one as a backup.  My main? I like to keep my distance.  Rifle for me.  Bolt action, preferably.
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Offline chitoryu12

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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2013, 11:34:14 pm »
Which is why I'm looking at paired .32's.  One as a secondary, one as a backup.  My main? I like to keep my distance.  Rifle for me.  Bolt action, preferably.

.32 ACP is perfectly acceptable as long as you remember your lack of raw power and practice enough to make up for it. James Bond did fine with a Walther PPK in .32 ACP for many decades, as did many other real life agents and assassins; they just have good aim.
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Offline Cerim Treascair

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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2013, 08:57:18 pm »
Yeah, I'm a natural crack shot, despite having bad eyes that were fixed once with surgery already.  Folks HATE me in online FPS games.
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Offline Stormwarden

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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2013, 12:10:37 am »
Cerim- Your remark about the .32s brings up a very relevant point. A rule that should be under "Always keep control of your weapon," but is important enough to have its own place:

"Don't buy more gun than you can control." - If you can't handle the recoil of a weapon, don't buy it. By the same token, if you can't hold the firearm with both hands, don't buy it. I read a Darwin Award "Honorable mention" about a pair of idiots who brought an IMI Desert Eagle to a rifle range (having gone there to test out a sawed-off shotgun, which in itself is illegal). He tried to fire it, by holding it improperly (in the Hollywood "45 degree" position), and knocked out several of his own teeth for his trouble.

If you're buying for home defense, bigger isn't always better. Controllable is better. A bullet doesn't help when it fails to hit its target, or worse, hits something you didn't intend it to (such as a bystander).

It also sums up my position on full-automatics. I personally consider them expensive wastes of money, but won't stop others from buying them, given the hoops people have to go through to buy them, and the sheer expense of the ammunition for the things, to say nothing of the firearms themselves being expensive as all get out.

There's a special gun license (a type III license) that has to be obtained before one can own machine guns legally. Now, some say (stig.jpg) that it permits them to sell machine guns to the law enforcement market and is basically a sort of gunstore license. Thing is, what I do know is that it basically allows the cops to come over at will to search your property and make sure said weapons were not being misused in any fashion, no warrant necessary. Now, I myself am not sure as to the truth of it, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Regardless, it is a very expensive thing.


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Offline chitoryu12

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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2013, 12:29:24 am »
You're mixing up some of your NFA laws. Under federal law, no special license is required to own an NFA item (machine guns are the most popularly known, as they got a special restriction in 1986 that's made no noticeable statistical impact on actual usage of machine guns by criminals, but this also includes sawed-off shotguns and short-barreled rifles, suppressors, explosives launchers and grenades, and weapons with bores greater than 0.50 inches in diameter, as well as the nebulous "Destructive Device" term which has been applied to everything from 20mm rifles to scary looking semi-automatic shotguns and the even more nebulous "Any Other Weapon"). You just need to fill out the appropriate paperwork while living in a state where you can legally own them, pay a $200 tax stamp, go through a thorough background check, and wait a while before you can make the purchase. In the case of machine guns, it's actually called a "transfer"; no machine guns manufactured past a certain date in May 1986 can be sold to civilians, so all machine guns on the market now are currently in private hands.

For dealing firearms, you require a Federal Firearms License (FFL). There are multiple "types" of FFL that allow for different items and weapons to be imported. They also have Special Occupational Tax classes. A Type 1 license allows for the dealer to sell Title II, or NFA devices. As you can see, it's all extremely complex and it gets even worse when you dip into specific laws for states, counties, and even cities and towns. A single trip across the state with a loaded pistol in your glovebox can result in you violating entirely different ordinances in 4 different areas.

Now, you may wonder why you see non-government private citizens with machine guns manufactured after the 1986 cutoff date. That's because these guys have a license to sell weapons to government agencies and whoever the government approves to purchase because it's beneficial to them, including the police and well-connected "private security companies." They often have dealer samples, which are modern weapons able to be taken out and demonstrated but cannot be sold to private citizens.

Now, I've actually been lucky enough to fire some machine guns myself (an Uzi with the original wood stock and an SP-89 converted with an MP5K foregrip, PDW stock, and full auto trigger group to make a faux-MP5K). They burn through ammo faster than you can imagine and even guns with relatively light recoil would have difficulty keeping more than half of your burst on target at 50 yards; an MP5K isn't suitable for anything except for very close range shooting, such as inside a house. I'd frankly be much more afraid of someone who's a good shot with a bolt-action rifle if he was out to kill me than a guy with an SMG.
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Offline Stormwarden

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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2013, 01:50:41 am »
Okay, thanks for clearing that up. I thought I was confused on the subject.

And a less confusing firearms code is something I've been advocating for a while. Eliminating unenforced and useless gun laws and streamlining into a code that would make more sense, and be easier to understand for all involved would solve a lot of problems in that respect. Sadly, as long as firearms are a political football, I don't see it happening.


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Offline Askold

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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2013, 02:11:45 am »
Apart from the gun being controllable I'd like to add that you must also be able to afford the ammo.

If you get a gun for self defense you must be able to handle the gun and be proficient in its use. This means practise. A lot of practise, both live ammo and dry use. (On the other hand if the gun is for target shooting or collectors item or other use then this is not that vital. Go ahead and buy a gun you want to have, as long as you are not a threat to others, but for self defense choice get something you can use, a lot.) Certainly if the recoil is too much for you in your .44 magnum and you don't want to use it much it is not the optimal self defense gun for you but this also happens if the ammo is too expensive. .40, 10mm, .357SIG etc. some cartridges are quite expensive compared to the extremely popular 9mm, .38SPC and some other calibers. Even if you can handle the .50 desert eagle or .454Casull (which is rare) but can't buy enough ammo to regularly practise with it then you are placing yourself and others in danger if you use a gun you are not familiar with in a self defense situation.

And like I said, if you only do target practise or some shooting sport (and these would be the only reasons for me to get another gun) then it is not such an issue if you rarely shoot the gun, but AND I CANNOT OVERSTATE THIS if you carry a gun for self defense, OR as a duty (police, I'm looking at you, WHY AREN'T YOU TRAINING MORE OFTEN?) you need to be able to train with it often.

For this you need a gun that you can:
a) use comfortably
b) afford the ammo
c) be able to carry it comfortably (The Swedish police actually changed their carry gun simply because the older pistols were too cumbersome and heavy.)
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Offline chitoryu12

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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2013, 12:14:43 pm »
Quote
If you get a gun for self defense you must be able to handle the gun and be proficient in its use. This means practise. A lot of practise, both live ammo and dry use. (On the other hand if the gun is for target shooting or collectors item or other use then this is not that vital. Go ahead and buy a gun you want to have, as long as you are not a threat to others, but for self defense choice get something you can use, a lot.) Certainly if the recoil is too much for you in your .44 magnum and you don't want to use it much it is not the optimal self defense gun for you but this also happens if the ammo is too expensive. .40, 10mm, .357SIG etc. some cartridges are quite expensive compared to the extremely popular 9mm, .38SPC and some other calibers. Even if you can handle the .50 desert eagle or .454Casull (which is rare) but can't buy enough ammo to regularly practise with it then you are placing yourself and others in danger if you use a gun you are not familiar with in a self defense situation.

The Box O' Truth (a wonderful site that covers firearms intensely, becoming most famous through the essentially "Firearms Mythbuster" section in their archive) tested some ExtremeShock 9mm ammo at the behest of some members of the HS2000/XDTalk forum. They were a very fancy and complex pair of fragmenting bullets that were meant to transfer maximum energy to the target while also fragmenting in such a way that they wouldn't easily penetrate walls AND wouldn't leave razor-sharp fragments behind in the body for EMTs to slice their fingers with.

After testing, they found that the rounds really weren't that great and were actually inferior to existing rounds like Glaser Blue Tip. But the worst part is that these cost $1.85 per round, or $73.97 for a total of 20 of each type. Exactly how is anyone supposed to effectively practice when it costs you $100 just for enough ammo for a decent practice session? Not to mention needing to be able to test your chosen load over and over again in the gun it's going to be used in to make sure that it works properly.
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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2013, 12:42:26 pm »
What is stopping you from using cheap 9mm ammo for practise and carrying the expensive but better ammo for the real deal? Unless there is a huge difference in the power it should not matter what brand of ammo you use while practising.
No matter what happens, no matter what my last words may end up being, I want everyone to claim that they were:
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Offline chitoryu12

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Re: The Warden's Guide to Firearm safety and views (WORK IN PROGRESS)
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2013, 02:48:33 pm »
What is stopping you from using cheap 9mm ammo for practise and carrying the expensive but better ammo for the real deal? Unless there is a huge difference in the power it should not matter what brand of ammo you use while practising.

Because all guns are different and all ammo is different. While you're not dealing with something as stringent as special handloads messing up 100 yard accuracy, there's still very noticeable and important changes in reliability, power, and accuracy between cartridges. You need to be able to put at least a few dozen rounds of a particular ammo out of your gun to be able to tell how it feeds, as well as performing testing on the actual ballistics and power if possible; Old_Painless, the guy who runs Box O' Truth, found that a gallon jug of water roughly simulates penetration into ballistics gel at a 2:1 ratio (24 inches of water is roughly equal to 12 inches in ballistics gel), which allows him to see just how much penetration different rounds can be expected to make in the body. For instance, he found that you actually want to use FMJ ammo in "weak" calibers like .32 ACP because they have a better chance of fully penetrating to the vitals, especially if the bullet passes through the target's arms or hands on the way. If you just buy yourself a box of expensive "super" ammo and leave it untouched except for minimal function testing, you might find that it's not reliable in your gun or not as effective as the manufacturer claimed.

On a related note, you may hear that the FBI mandates 12 inches of penetration into ballistics gel as the minimum penetration required. You're probably thinking "That's excessive! Nobody has a whole foot of muscle and fat blocking their heart!" Well, it's not meant for just penetrating the torso. It's actually very likely for bullets to pass through the arms and hands, as well as thick clothing, before they reach the body, especially if you're shooting at someone who's shooting back and their arms naturally block their center of mass. 12 inches of penetration ensures that the bullet will be able to pass through that kind of resistance and still penetrate deep into the chest cavity where the vital organs are.

Box O' Truth also uses these tests to demonstrate why birdshot is utterly terrible as a defensive load: it doesn't have penetration power. Multiple anecdotal accounts are backed up by his tests, where birdshot consistently fails to achieve penetration that even a .22 pistol can manage. People mistakenly think that at close range, the sheer mass of the shot will allow for it to penetrate. But penetration is dependent on the individual weight of the projectiles, not a total mass. Birdshot leaves an ugly wound, but it's shallow and unlikely to kill someone even if they don't get immediate medical attention. If you try to use anything less than buckshot as a defensive load, you're not going to be very happy. Or alive, for that matter.
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