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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:35 pm 
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I think I read that FBI study about 20-years ago... in fact, I know I did. The irony is that with today's modern ballistics, much of the .45 edge demonstrated in those days can now be accomplished with the 9mm. Which can be interpreted to mean the modern .45 round is that much better as well.

This piece by Gabe Suarez has been posted on here previously (I think) and is a decent read. Nothing substitutes shot placement, but the following is food for thought, given what happens in the real world and in real time.

MAGAZINE CAPACITY FOR SELF-DEFENSE

I think the truth of the matter is that all self defense handgun calibers (excluding the pocket pistol category) are basically the same when it comes to dropping an adversary. That being the case, should we carry a pistol that only holds seven marginal shots, or one that holds as many as twice that number?

Magazine Capacity

I suppose this will be yet another highly controversial issue, but what the heck. Controversy makes for interesting discussion, no? The issue is to look at whether high magazine capacity gives you a tactical advantage, or if we are better served by carrying an equally sized weapon with a smaller capacity of bigger bullets. Before I answer my own question, let me put forth some facts as seen both in force on force training and on the street.

Point One - Pistol bullets, regardless of caliber are all, what one colleague calls, "iffy". None can be guaranteed to drop an adversary in his tracks reliably. The notion of a one shot stop is an urban myth dreamed up by those with a vested interest in such things. I have seen 45’s work and fail, and I have seen 9mm both work and fail. For the record, the only one shot drop (excluding head shots) I have ever seen with a pistol was fired by a good friend as we entered a crack house during a SWAT raid. He shot the bad guy squarely in the heart with 9mm +P+ out of a SIG P-226. He only fired once because the bad guy fell before my friend could reset his trigger for the next shot!

If we look at the most prevalent calibers we see that there is very little difference between them. A 9mm (also .38/.357) is only one little millimeter smaller than the 10mm (aka .40 S&W), and that is only one little millimeter less than the vaunted 11mm (aka .45 ACP). And before we get into the high speed light bullet versus the heavy slow bullet argument, lets remember that you can only drive a pistol bullet so fast without drastically affecting its integrity. Moreover, since penetration is affected by weight, sacrificing weight for speed will not yield good results. Finally, you can only make a bullet so light or so heavy. There are limits to what you can shoot out of a pistol.

I have seen every one of these calibers fail at one time or another. There are those who disdain the 9mm as unsuitable for anything larger than squirrels. With modern ammunition, this is simply not true. There is also a myth and a cult grown up around the .45 ACP in this country. Sadly, it is not the deadly hammer of god its proponents suggest. This is not new. Read Fairbairn's Shoot To Live. He writes of two separate times when the .45 failed to work any better than anything else. Although one millimeter may give you a slight edge in a less than optimum body hit, under most circumstances, there will be very little difference between the effectiveness of the various calibers when modern anti-personnel ammo is used. Trauma injury doctors and reputable terminal ballistics experts tend to agree with this statement.

Point Two - Private Citizen CCW Operators do not go looking for trouble. If they are called to fight it is either because they have inadvertently crossed paths with bad guys while they are doing bad guy stuff (walking in on a robbery in progress as an example), or because they have been specifically targeted and stalked (such as a carjack, or home invasion event). They will have to use extreme violence to fight off the surprise attackers. When we translate the conversion of fright and startle into a firearm application we see that definition is high volume of fire. You will shoot a lot, and until the threat is no longer there.

While these events share slightly different dynamics, the common thread often seen is that of multiple adversaries. The lone criminal or terrorist is an urban myth. If your fight only involves one, consider yourself lucky. More often than not you will be outnumbered.

Another point is the time frames in which these events take place. Think three seconds. After this, either you will be dead, or your adversaries will be dead. Urban gunfights do not go for hours. Unexpected, short duration, high intensity, extreme violence, multiple adversaries. That is the back drop.

Point Three - Our staff has collectively been in a large number of gunfights ranging from police, citizen, and military events. We draw on those experiences to set up mock gunfights in dynamic, unscripted force on force training drills. Although the surprise factor is missing (you generally don t know you will be in a gunfight until it is upon you), the dynamics of its evolution do not change much. Here are some other observations from watching hundreds of those drills.

1). Defenders will fire their weapons until the threat disappears. That means that until the role player falls down (simulating effective hits delivered), or runs away (removing the target), the good guy will keep firing. The concept of school solutions, controlled pairs, or otherwise artificially limiting the number of shots (as one does in a firing string on the range) does not hold up even in guys who've been extensively trained to do it.

2). When a training gun stops firing (due to running out of pellets), the shooter is still in the fight and still trying to shoot his enemy as well as trying to not be hit by him. We see them continue to try to work the trigger for one or two times before there is a realization that there has been a stoppage (malfunction or empty gun). This is followed by a visual examination of the gun, and only then is remedial action taken.

This can take upwards of a second and a half before anything is even attempted to fix the gun, and then the additional time needed to reload. Thus the idea that one can read the gun’s feel and immediately realize a need to speed load simply does not hold up. Running out of ammo is usually a fight ender if there has been a failure to stop, or there are multiple adversaries at hand.

3). Participants in these reactive mock gunfights are debriefed immediately to get a clear picture of what happened before any rationalization takes place. Besides a shoot them to the ground firing process, most shooters do not remember seeing the crystal clear sight pictures they learned on the shooting range.

We see a great deal of point shooting, and gun index shooting. I have yet to see anyone strike a classic shooting posture and press off a carefully sighted pair in these room distance drills.

The point to remember is that in a fight such as what are likely for the private citizen, one can easily develop Bullet Deficit Disorder, and that this can have deleterious effects on the outcome of that fight.

The idea that a pair or trio of quality rounds carefully delivered onto a high scoring target zone will stop the action fails both the terminal ballistics test as well as the applications test.

A truth of gunfighting - Having more ammo immediately on board lessens the likelihood of ever needing to reload. Not needing to reload translates into more time delivering lead and less time manipulating the weapon. More trigger time increases likelihood of hitting, which increases survivability.

So the question is this. Given that there is a limit to the size pistol one can carry, do I want that pistol to hold more rounds? My answer is a strong YES!

Consider the similarly sized Glock 36 in .45 ACP, and the Glock 23 in .40 S&W. The latter holds nearly twice the ammo of the former in an almost identical package. The Glock 19 is an even more drastic comparison with 15 shots available. Of course there are also high capacity 45 pistols for those so inclined and for those who can wield them. I would argue that if your choice is a 45, a gun holding 13 would be better than a gun holding 6. And if your hand is too small for the 13 shooter, rather than decrease capacity, I’d decrease caliber.

I have a colleague is South America who has been in High Risk Police Service for close to three decades. He has been in over three dozen verified gunfights. His weapon was originally a Browning Hi-Power and later a Glock 17.

I was very interested in hearing more so I asked him about the load he used. He said he had always used military ball full metal jacket. Astounded I asked him why he chose that. That is all we can get here. Hollow points are illegal.

I shook my head and told him that there was a belief in the USA that 9mm was an anemic caliber, especially in the load he’d chosen. He shrugged and said that his adversaries must not have gotten the word. He said he fired a burst at the chest and if they didn't fall fast enough, he fired a burst at the face. He never needed to reload and had enough on board so if he missed a shot or two he could catch up in the fight. And before we hear the careful shooter versus the spraying prayer, this man is one of the best shots I have seen and competes on an international level. Even so, he knows the chaos in a gunfight can play havoc with even the most gifted marksman. Perhaps we need to take a lesson from him.

I still carry a Glock 17 with 17 rounds of Corbon DPX ammo in 9mm.

Gabe Suarez


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:25 pm 
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Why would one carry around 17 rounds of 9mm for something that is only going to last 3seconds according to Gabe himself? Mmm Kool Aid


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:08 am 
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Thanks for posting that, long Ago LEO.
Interesting read.

Since I don't know how I would react if I had to draw (and I hope I never have to) in self defense, I'm more than willing to listen to someone who has actually been in a fight.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:09 am 
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Rem700 - Not sure about you, sir, but I can dump that 17-rounds in about 3-seconds... and most of them will arrive in nearly the same spot. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:21 pm 
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Rem700 wrote:
Why would one carry around 17 rounds of 9mm for something that is only going to last 3seconds according to Gabe himself? Mmm Kool Aid


I don't know but I think I'd be more comfortable with too much instead of 'just enough' or 'just enough' - 1. :wink:
8)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:26 pm 
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Long Ago LEO wrote:
Rem700 - Not sure about you, sir, but I can dump that 17-rounds in about 3-seconds... and most of them will arrive in nearly the same spot. :wink:


Amen, good sir.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:07 am 
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Long Ago LEO wrote:
Rem700 - Not sure about you, sir, but I can dump that 17-rounds in about 3-seconds... and most of them will arrive in nearly the same spot. :wink:
Me, too. And with a Glock, for me, that spot is up and to the left of where I want them, alas. [ETA: I'm not anti-Glock, honest; I'm anti-Glock as a carry piece for those for whom they don't point well, like me.]

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:41 am 
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Long Ago LEO wrote:
I think I read that FBI study about 20-years ago... in fact, I know I did. The irony is that with today's modern ballistics, much of the .45 edge demonstrated in those days can now be accomplished with the 9mm. Which can be interpreted to mean the modern .45 round is that much better as well.
Yup. What's an even safer bet is that the modern one hasn't shrunk a whole lot.

I wish we had more field reports on the .45 EFMJ. I'm guessing is that if Fackler were to be given a couple of hundred bodies to autopsy, we'd find that it performs as advertised.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:54 pm 
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WHile capacity matters, I think it was the FBI who said the first person who put three shots on target won something like 90% of the gun fights.

A lot of us here are pretty good shots, and are by nature, "gunnuts" (used in all the positive connotations) where as, a small percentage of LEO's are gunnuts, and it was for a VERY long time, a badge of honor among one segment of law enforcement that guys went entire careers without ever drawing a gun in the field.

But I much prefer to be prepared to get shots on target, I do better with a 1911, and I can do it more or less without effort, I have ten or twenty extra rounds in my pocket.

Mr Suarez has an agenda of his own, selling training classes and equipment and creating new perceived needs for what ever he thinks he can sell...

For a long time he refused to have anyone in class who did not have a Glock, He refused to offer any class for rifles except AK, and he called SMG's or pistol caliber carbines useless. Now he teaches SMG classes and owns several UZI's as well as actively recruiting AR shooters to his classes. At one time he declared shotguns as antiquated and rendered redundant by AK's for all forms of home bound self defense. When enough people said, "I don't think so", he suddenly labeled himself the czar of the only effective shotgun technique.


For a guy with a felony conviction, he gets around a lot with a firearm. For one who never served in combat, he loves to declare himself a warrior.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:16 pm 
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This has been a most interesting thread to read. I still go to the 1911A1 in .45acp, that's my personal choice though. I found the experiences shared by Long Ago LEO to be very enlightening. Thank you sir for sharing them.

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 Post subject: EFMJ?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:25 pm 
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joelr wrote:
I wish we had more field reports on the .45 EFMJ. I'm guessing is that if Fackler were to be given a couple of hundred bodies to autopsy, we'd find that it performs as advertised.


Sorry, could you please explain EFMJ? I know FMJ but what does the "E" stand for? Haven't ever seen that abbreviation before.

Apologies in advance for the thread drift...

Hobie


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 Post subject: Re: EFMJ?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:30 pm 
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Hobie wrote:
joelr wrote:
I wish we had more field reports on the .45 EFMJ. I'm guessing is that if Fackler were to be given a couple of hundred bodies to autopsy, we'd find that it performs as advertised.


Sorry, could you please explain EFMJ? I know FMJ but what does the "E" stand for? Haven't ever seen that abbreviation before.

Apologies in advance for the thread drift...

Hobie
Expanding Full Metal Jacket. It's, basically, a hollowpoint with a rubber ball in the hollow, surrounded by a thin metal jacket. It can't clog with, say, clothing, as it comes pre-clogged, and (at least in testing) seems to expand with great reliability while maintaining good penetration.

Good write-up at http://www.thegunzone.com/efmj.html .

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:34 pm 
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Well yeah, this about said it all. :lol:

"A bullet comprised of a jacket of malleable metal having a closed nose portion encapsulating a forward core made of rubber, the nose portion having circumferentially spaced, axially extending deep scores in its nose-defining walls, and a rear core within the jacket made of a malleable metal preferably softer than that of the jacket and hard-seated against the rear of the rubber core to bring pressure against the interior surface of the meplat and the interior surface of the nose-defining walls of the nose portion, whereby upon the bullet striking and penetrating a target, the scores will rupture and the nose-defining walls of the nose portion will collapse axially and open, and together with the rubber core, will expand substantially in a radial direction to thereby provide an adequate penetration, optimum expansion bullet."

joelr - But seriously, I've read some good stuff about this round. Is this available in all standard sizes? Cost relative to Hydra-Shok, etc?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:08 am 
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Long Ago LEO wrote:
joelr - But seriously, I've read some good stuff about this round. Is this available in all standard sizes? Cost relative to Hydra-Shok, etc?
Yup, and street price a bit more.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:24 am 
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joelr - I have to confess that I hand select your responses and forward them to my (very old) Uncle, a retired English Lit teacher in Florida who thoroughly revels in your writing; irrespective of the topic or the benefit of any preceding posts. I can hear him howling all the way back here in Minnesota some times. He thanks you.

Oh, and if it matters, I don't own any Glocks. :lol:


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