A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, October 05, 2008

.40 Caliber Failure

It has often been said that a handgun's purpose is to keep you alive until you can get to your long gun. There is truth to that. All handguns are a compromise in power to make the firearm more portable. As a result, handgun ammunition is a compromise as well, to allow the portable firearm to be fired without injury.

Paul at Guns Crime and Video tape has a salient post up, with video tape, of a perp who was shot by police officers, twice. In the chest. With a .40S&W handgun. That is him spurting crimson from his chest wounds while he walks struts out in handcuffs in the custody of two officers. Whether Mullet Man had meth in his veins is unknown. What is known is he was walking, using both arms, and thinking after two hits with .40S&W.

There are those who declare any round that does not begin with the digit four to be underpowered. Compared to a rifle or a shotgun, all handguns are underpowered. It is up to the defender to chose the most effective tool for the job within the limitations that present themselves. Then shoot to stop the attack. The attack will stop when the attacker is on the ground.

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Anonymous Billy Budd said...

.45 ACP is the ticket. There is no replacement for displacement.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Joe Allen said...

Could it be that "Camaro Crash Helmet" he's sporting conveys some mystical, Samson-like protection against physical injury.

Perhaps they should shave his head and shoot him again and see what happens.


6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brings me back to the first time I shot a .357 magnum. After being exposed to all of the hype ("Best one shot stopper" "Shoots clear through cars" "Can kill anything on the NA continent") I was shocked at how mild it was. I realized that day that pistols provide more for the user's peace of mind than actual protection - not only are they burdened with poor ballistics, but the package is hard to shoot accurately, particularly under stress. Give me a shotgun loaded with buckshot or slugs anyday.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

Shoulda' used a .45 [g]

7:08 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Simple proof that it is NOT enough to put your rounds center of mass, they have to intercept something VITAL, such as the heart or spine.

Still I wouldn't be surprised if the toxicology report came back that he was flyin' pretty high.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Montie said...

While I agree with billy budd and syd in that my carry gun of choice is one or another iteration of 1911in .45 ACP, having actually had to shoot at people 3 times in the last 23 years, I don't kid myself as to how quick the shootee will go down from it. Sometimes it takes a damn long time, sometimes it happens right away.

Truth be told, I have worked a homicide where a person dropped DRT where they stood from a .25 ACP, but also worked a homicide where a guy took a through and through wound from a 12 guage loaded with bird shot fired from about 3 feet away,to the chest. This caused a wound you could see through. He drove himself to the hospital in his pickup and died on the table in ER from blood loss.

I think joe allen may be onto something. I personally saw a guy get shot through the bicep with a
.45 ACP+P hollowpoint who then calmly surrendered and asked for an ambulance. I always thought it must have been the mullet he was sporting.

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Rush baby said...

That .50GI is starting to look good against meth/coke/crack fiends.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Anthony said...

To be fair, two to the chest seemed to calm him down enough so that he was compliant (lol)

That is quite surreal to see that guy strutting over to that ambulance. Next time the police should take the shotgun.

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Brent Crude said...

The cattle shooting trials where .45 was recommended as the minimum calibre suitable for US service, achieved only one instant knockdown with a chest shot on cattle.

guess what calibre did it?


8:50 AM  
Blogger Mikael said...

Depends a bit what kind of ammo you put in there as well. If they'd been using some kind of hollowpoint, say speer gold dot, hydrashock, whatever, he wouldn't be standing.

Swedish police use gold dot 9mm, works a treat.

12:41 PM  
Blogger BobG said...

I'm a little curious about the type and weight of the bullet itself. It might be that the bullet didn't have enough penetration to get through the rib cage.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Carl H said...

We may need to switch to a ray gun.
Make mine a Ronald Ray Gun.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Geoff said...

I carry a 9mm and I don't feel underpowered by it. Even if I was magically able to pull a 12ga, SAW, .50BMG, or Abrams tank out of my back pocket, I'm not going to assume any given shot is going to stop a given critter unless and until it happens. (Granted, the bigger the hole the greater the chance it interrupts something vital, so I'm not for a second discounting the .45) Bodies can do some unbelievable things sometimes. Slight variations in skeletal structure, organs, and blood vessels can sometimes throw a curve for the worse or for the better. This critter might just be incredibly lucky.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Less said...

From the FBI Academy:

11/29/2006, 18 YO male in a shooting with 3 officers.

He was shooting a 1911 with .45 ball. He was reloading from a box in the mag. He had one mag.

Cops had Speer Gold Dot, 180gr in .40S&W and some Hornandy TAP in M4's.

This was the shooting that caused NTOA to question the efficacy of .40 S&W in 180gr.

He was shot 11 times by M4's and .40's, took 5 COM hits that expanded and he kept fighting until shot by 180gr .40S7W in the right arm above the elbow.

He was still fighting being cuffed, then died later.

Even a rifle is a talisman.

Hit the body, then hunt the head - it is all about placement...

There are plenty of reports of .45 not doing the job either...

Hell, look at the poor girl that was shot execution-style and the bullet lodged on her skull...

Bullets do some strange things - JFK vid anyone?!

4:11 PM  
Blogger David said...

.40 Short and Weak

9:51 PM  
Blogger Weer'd Beard said...

I definitely agree with the above statements that a .45 might not have solved this problem either.

Bottom line lots of people are taken down with the gammet of carry loads, its up to you to pick what you're most comfortable with. Still pistols are pistols and rifles are rifles, and as Tom Waits said:
"It's the same with Men, as with Horses and Dogs, Nothing wants to die."

No matter what you throw at your target know that your target may not be at all willing to give up the fight no matter what.

4:18 AM  
Blogger TOTWTYTR said...

I'm not sure if this is a matter of not enough bullet or not enough bullets. A guy that presented enough of a threat to police that they were justified in shooting him, probably presented enough of a threat that they should have shot him until he was unable to stand up and walk.

Then again I wasn't there, so I'm not going to question their tactics.

10:55 AM  
Blogger ToddG said...

It's an injustice for the author (in the linked article) to say this is evidence that .45 is the way to go. There's absolutely no way to know whether five hundredths of an inch would have made a difference, or whether one ninth of one ounce of extra lead would have made a difference.

I'm no fan of the .40, but this one case doesn't do much to disprove its record as an effective cartridge in law enforcement over the past decade.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

I shoot .45 for a lot of reasons but thinking is it magically superior to .40 is not one of them. I don't shoot .40 because i don't enjoy it's snappy recoil not because i don't think it is an effective round. I sometimes carry a 9mm, 124gr +P Gold Dots and am quite comfortable with that. As others have said bullets do strange things and people react in different ways. I've seen the results of people shot with about everything you can imagine. The human body is not a consistent medium and people do not act in consistent ways when shot especially if they are on a drug of one sort or another. That is why I consider gelatin tests etc. to be nothing more than an indication of how a given round might act.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Terry said...

This was in 1994. Hollowpoint design and propellant efficiencies have seen dramatic improvements in just the last four or five years let alone the last 14 years.

6:44 PM  

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