Gun etiquette

A Florida woman has been accidentally shot to death in front of 34 people by an officer during a citizens academy exercise, according to Punta Gorda police.
Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis says Mary Knowlton, 73, was taking part in a role-playing scenario Tuesday when she was ‘mistakenly struck with a live round’.
Lewis says Knowlton was chosen randomly from about 35 people in the class for a ‘shoot/don’t shoot’ simulation during the Citizen Police Academy at the station headquarters.
Sue Paquin, a photographer covering the event for the Charlotte Sun, witnessed the accident and told the Fort Myers News-Press the officer fired at Knowlton, who was playing the ‘bad guy’ during the scenario, several times.
The officer was supposed to fire blanks at Knowlton, but live rounds were loaded in the gun, according to WINK News.

That’s, err, bad gun etiquette

128 thoughts on “Gun etiquette”

  1. The cop will plead ‘accident’ get some paid vacation and desk duty and once the media hubbub has died down, be back on the street.

    Anyone else? Negligent homicide charges if we’re lucky.

    America – where the cops are no longer civilians.

  2. The first law of gun safety is a gun is always loaded, even when it’s not.

    What is it, don’t point a gun unless you intend to shoot it, don’t shoot a gun unless you intend to kill the target.

  3. Or the cop will sue the department for emotional distress caused by the accident and never gave to work again

    Is it just me or does the Citizen Oilce academy sound slightly creepy, seems like it’s people being trained to deal with the police not the other way around

  4. Thames Valley Police are still ahead on points

    Even after that, he was STILL WORKING for the police!! After negligently shooting someone! If he’d muttered the word ‘nigger’ in private he’d have been sacked and lost his pension, but shooting someone isn’t a sacking offence.

  5. What jgh said.

    The officer was supposed to fire blanks at Knowlton

    if I’d done that as an Army Cadet I’d have been collecting rocks from distant hills to this day.

  6. That’s even worse than the French Army having live ammo during a display day.

    When else are they supposed to let off live ammo? Not during wartime, obviously. 😉

  7. I thought American cops were supposed to shoot unarmed innocent people to death. That’s what they seem to do most of the time these days.

  8. Anyone else? Negligent homicide charges if we’re lucky.

    And people will start kicking and screaming when you point out there’s a double standard.

  9. Mary Knowlton was ‘mistakenly struck with a live round’ while a witness says she was fired at several times. I’m not sure whether that means the policeman missed or a live round got mixed in with some blanks.

    If guns had to be pink and sparkly perhaps some officers would be a little less gung-ho.

  10. Training with real weapons is weapons grade stupid. Blue guns, airsoft are de rigeuer.

    Sounds like the instructor invented his own little training program, and killed someone. 3 years in prison sounds about right to me.

  11. jgh: “The first law of gun safety is a gun is always loaded, even when it’s not.”

    This. I don’t even know why anyone would do a simulation with blanks and real people. Is that standard operating procedure? If it is I’m still not going anywhere near it.

  12. When I shot I reckoned my rifle was safe if I had removed both the magazine and the bolt. Even then I wouldn’t have pointed it at a human, just to keep up the habit of not doing so.

    As for confusing two types of ammo: I plead ignorance. I’ve never shot a blank. They sound like a problem in waiting.

    The world is well provided with idiots.

  13. Zerohedge has a story a while back where 2 plods in NY (gun free zone) fired off 24 shots at 2 suspects, wounding 9 bystanders, can’t remember for sure, but I don’t think they hit the suspects.

    Mad, bad, and dangerous to be around, the thieves generally only want your money.

  14. Ours are worse though – I could not believe the fuckwits decided to use dum-dums in urban areas.
    For anybody who doesn’t know a dum-dum virtually explodes on impact because of lack of structural integrity. If you ever wondered where the back of JFK’s head went, now you know.
    Their reasoning is that they don’t want bullets going through suspects and hitting bystanders. Maybe use less powder?

    Blam! Blam! Armed Police! Ha ha dead funny.

  15. Gareth, hollow point rounds are preferable as they generally stay in the body being shot, not pass through and hit bystanders.

  16. Nobody who understands firearms and ballistics uses the term “dum-dum” except in context of a .303 Mk.III to Mk.V.

    Expanding ammunition is the *only* safe ammunition to be shooting in a police or civilian self-defence context.

  17. Bloke in North Dorset

    I’ve never seen a blank for a police gun but if its anything those used by the armed forces their pretty easy spot due to the lack of projectile at the pointy end.

    If they can’t be easily distinguished when loading well they fucking well should be, its not like they need to be realistic, just paint them pink or some other colour.

    Someone’s head needs to role.

  18. Actually, everybody from the Police Chief to the officer involved needs to be fired, as the design of the training exercise violated (as noted by others) at least three of the four cardinal rules of gun safety. Given that blank rounds are potentially lethal in and of themselves, the idea that anyone with a passing knowledge of firearms would think that sort of exercise was good idea simply tells you just how stupid (and badly trained) many police officers in the US are.

  19. Maybe, but I’m ‘uneasy’ with the amount of damage it does in the target.

    Our police suffers from a need to take charge in every situation.

    Expanding rounds sounds so much better than dum-dum, I agree, in the same way that anti-personnel munition sounds better than land mine with its negative connotations.

  20. Nobody who understands firearms and ballistics uses the term “dum-dum” except in context of a .303 Mk.III to Mk.V.

    Expanding ammunition is the *only* safe ammunition to be shooting in a police or civilian self-defence context.

    Correct on both counts.

    G2: There is a reason hollow point bullets are called “defense rounds”, and the reason is important.

  21. @Gareth, you’re the first person I’ve ever heard argue that the police should carry even less effective ammunition. Basically, semiauto handgun ammunition is pretty weak sauce in the global scheme of things, and the aim is to STOP the target, without risking a shoot-through and without posing a ricochet hasard.

    Anyhow, even the best expanding 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP is incredibly ineffective compared to any non-expanding FMJ rifle round…

  22. So, explain to me the difference between dum-dum (probably soldier modified in the hope he ensures the other guy is down) and expanding.
    I’m thinking they’re both intended to fragment in the target caussing horrendous injuries instead of just serious injuries.
    Maybe the difference is the the dum-dum is intended to utterly destroy the target for sure, while the expanding round does that as a side effect while ensuring it doesn’t hit anyone else. Well if that’s the case we’re talking semantics, if not, I’m genuinely all ears.

    And if you actually know firearms why aren’t they just using weaker ammo? The cops don’t need to kill at 100 yds.

  23. Maybe, but I’m ‘uneasy’ with the amount of damage it does in the target.

    Getting hit with any size round will do enough damage to be lethal. The studies I’ve seen show that in the real world, there really isn’t any statistically significant difference in lethality rates between smaller rounds such as .22 and larger rounds such as .45. Lethality in a gun fight hinges on a variety of factors, of which the size of the round is only one.

    The simple fact this: The difference in damage between getting hit by a 9mm (or .40 cal. or 10mm or .45 cal.) full metal jacket round and a 9mm(or .40 cal. or 10mm or .45 cal.) hollow point round will probably not matter to the person on the receiving end of the round nearly as much as where the round impacts the body.

  24. See abacab, you’re always comparing upward. FMJ rounds have no place in the police regimen, sayin that their rounds are inferior because they wouldn’t cut it in a war zone is the wrong argument completley.
    Armed police are never called out until the situation is understood. If you know you’re going to be close you can employ .22 popguns instead of dum-dum. Expanding rounds are for when you have no intention of taking prisoners and that is not where the police are supposed to be, that’s the preserve of special forces.

  25. A “dum dum” is a particular type of expanding ammunition, and refers to .303 Mk. II modified at the Dum Dum aresenal in India, and thereafter unofficially applied to the Mks III to V produced in the UK. It’s not a technical term.

    Modern handgun expanding ammunition is designed to get the maximum effectiveness out of a handgun projectile. As mentioned above, semiauto handgun ammunition is weak sauce compared to rifles, and is not very effective, even with modern defensive ammunition.

    “And if you actually know firearms why aren’t they just using weaker ammo? The cops don’t need to kill at 100 yds.”

    They need to stop a meth head at bad breath distance. Which can take a large number of modern, expanding handgun projectiles. They don’t use weaker ammo, cos it’s… erm… too weak to do what it needs to do. A full-power 9x19mm with a modern expanding projectile is considered the minimum (yes, really) to do this. And any police force going weaker than that will get sued for putting its officers’ lives in danger.

  26. I’m thinking they’re both intended to fragment in the target caussing horrendous injuries instead of just serious injuries.

    You’re thinking wrong. Hollow point bullets are NOT designed to fragment. They are designed to remain intact and expand… Remaining intact and expanding are key to transferring as much of the bullet’s energy as possible into the target.

    The reason you don’t see fragmenting bullets used by anyone is simply because they are far less effective than either full metal jacket or hollow point rounds in terms of stopping power.

  27. @Gareth, I’m not sure you even know what the terminology means – the alternative to a hollow-point (or a JSP) is an FMJ.

    And they are not effective enough for police use. So are a step down. But they are obligatory for military use (no SF use anything else, cos it’s illegal for military combat).

    I suggest you write to the FBI and every armed police in the world to tell them they’re wrong and they can just employ .22 popguns cos they know they’re going to be up close…. Really…… :/

    I’ll say it again – the prime concern for handgun ammo is that it’s not good enough to ensure a stop.

    PS – no serious debate on handgun effectiveness uses the term “dum-dum”. Seriously. Every time you use it, I hear “dum-dumbass”, sorry.

  28. @Dennis,

    Quite – a fragmenting handgun projectile (if there was such a thing) wouldn’t penetrate enough to dump its energy in a useful way, cos it’s spent in doing work on the proj to split it up into teeny tiny pieces, none of which will go very far.

    Now, some of the modern frangible projs are extremely clever – fragment on a hard surface to eliminate ricochets, but remain malleable in a soft target, and mushroom nicely.

  29. Yeah, it still looks like expanding and hollow point are 2 methods of modding the bullet to injure the target more than a standard bullet.
    Deciding whether the target is in standard human or PCP mode should be done before deployment, at the time the decision is taken which guns to use.
    Doing anything else is deciding to kill the guy instead of arresting him, which means the judgement is executed by the police instead of the courts.

    Believe it or not, I’m not a beeding heart liberal, it’s just that the police has been known to abuse its power, and when it happens close ranks instead of eject the bad apples.

  30. Gareth, seriously, go watch some ballistic gelatin films of YouTube. You’ll learn a lot.

    Also, you don’t understand the terminology, go learn it. “hollow point” is a subset of “expanding” (which also includes jacketed soft point). And the bullets are not “modded”, they’re made like that.

    And yes, the aim is to injure more than an FMJ (aka “standard bullet” in your own terminology). That’s the point. Handgun FMJ is crap.

    And most armed police don’t get an opportunity to “take a decision which guns to use”, they have what they have with them when an incident happens. And if you’re in a position to take a decision, you take a rifle or a shotgun, not a handgun. Because both of these injure more, so are more likely to stop a suspect in a minimum number of shots fired.

  31. And by the way, cops are almost universally shit shots, with a few exceptions, so we want them flinging the minimum of lead around as possible.

  32. Yeah, it still looks like expanding and hollow point are 2 methods of modding the bullet to injure the target more than a standard bullet.

    Hollow points ARE expanding rounds. They are NOT two methods of modding anything, because hollow points AREN’T a modification… They ARE a separate and distinct design. Hollow points WEREN’T designed to increase injuries… They WERE designed to increase stopping power. There IS a difference and the difference IS important.

    I understand that your heart is in the right place, but please, quit while you’re behind.

  33. Police shoot to kill with every shot, but will (should) stop shooting once you are no longer a threat.

    I understand non-expanding/fragmenting projectiles are used pretty much only in war (I think even others are banned by various conventions – others here have far more expertise than me). It makes sense anyway since a wounded enemy soldier ties up several of his colleagues immediately and eats more of the enemy’s resources longer-term.

  34. @BiG,

    “It makes sense anyway since a wounded enemy soldier ties up several of his colleagues immediately and eats more of the enemy’s resources longer-term.”

    NOOOOO, not this old canard again! Wounded enemy can (and often do) continue to shoot if insufficiently incapacitated. Hence the whole 7.62 vs 5.56 debate (the canard seems to have been invented to provide a reason why the relative terminal ineffectiveness of 5.56 was actually a bonus).

  35. I’m not a gun enthusiat, I think we’ve established that.

    I’m simply horrified that cops think it’s ok to use dum-dums on the public.

    When I say modded by the way, I simply mean a development on the design of the standard bullet. That doesn’t mean brutalised with a knife like a soldier might do.

    I somehow got the impression that when armed police are despatched they are generally aware of the threat they’ll be facing. If they can’t face that threat without dum-dums they should probably be doing something else. The police as a service has a responsibility to the rest of us, not just its own officers.

    If the armed police are as bad at shooting as is suspected it’s even more important that they do not use devastating ammunition.

    The police should always be looking at what the minimum force required is, not just making sure the guy behind the gun is ok. Unless they’re ok with the the rest of us having guns. If anyone puts a dum-dum in my son, well I’m afraid ‘sorry it was an accident’ isn’t going to cut it.

  36. @Gareth, sorry, but your knowledge of this topic is sub-ritchebollocks. He knows more about the nature of money than you do about firearms projectiles, just to put it in context. Your continued use of “dum-dum” confirms this, sorry, but that’s just how it is.

    It would be absolute negligence for police to go out with standard FMJ, not only in respect of their own safety, but that of the public at large: inadequate stopping power putting the cops at risk, and over-penetration risk putting the public at risk.

  37. I’m simply horrified that cops think it’s ok to use dum-dums on the public.

    Shooting full metal jacket in public is far more dangerous than shooting hollow point. Because FMJ doesn’t expand, it tends to pass through things (such as people, cars, walls) and keep going… To hit more things (such as people, cars, walls) until it either strikes something really, really hard (like a brick wall or steel plate) or runs out of steam.

    I could stand outside my house and fire a 9mm round into it, and if it didn’t strike my fireplace or chimney, it would pass through every wall I have and into my neighbors house. If it didn’t hit his fireplace or chimney it would pass through onto his neighbors house.

    If I’m shooting at a burglar with FMJ, I could easily end up shooting several of my neighbors in the bargain as the FMJ bullet passes through the burglar, my house and travels beyond. If I shoot at a burglar with HP, the bullet will either (a) stop when it hits him, or if I miss, (b) stop when it hits a wall in my house.

    HP is safer because it is far less likely to produce secondary/unintended casualties.

    A .45 cal. bullet shot on a perfectly horizontal plane will travel around 1,000 feet unless it meets some sort of significant resistance… And by significant resistance, I mean something denser than a human body, wall board or auto sheet metal.

  38. Yeah, thi g is, I asked you to explain the difference and you told me they were different names for the same thing, namely converting the bullet’s kinetic energy into damage in the target.
    Having ascertained that multiple names are redundant, dum-dum, expanding, hollow point, think of another I don’t care, the meaning is the same. As shooters or gun experts you’re all thinking about looking after they guy behind the gun.

    Well I’m not likely to be behind the gun, I’m likely to be in the crowd of bystanders, and from my plint of view the cop doesn’t have a divine right to be better protected than the rest of us, especially as the cops don’t want us having our own guns. If the cops think they want to use guns in public they can fucking well take their chances like the rest of us, if that’s too dangerous they can figure out something else that isn’t can’t they.

    Always this kind of discussion is based on how to look after the cop and it’s arse about face because in Britain it’s generally to cops who decide whether to act or not. If the cop is in the same level of danger as bystanders he’ll approach the situation differently.

    In a war situation, go for it, do your worst, it’s a crime so big its not illegal, but everyone there knows that normality is on hold.
    When the police confront a suspect they want us to believe that civilisatiln is still in force while they are using munitions outlawed by the Geneva Convention – seriously?

  39. Well Dennis, it sounds like you’ve got a war grade.munition there in a non-war setting.

    You’re kind of making my point for.me.

  40. @G2, I’m convinced you’re just trolling now.

    So you want cops to be inadequately armed and to put bystanders at risk by using standard (identical to military) ammo.

    Fine. You do that.

    But let’s not pretend it’s based on any form of logic or understanding of ballistics, right.

  41. Well Dennis, it sounds like you’ve got a war grade munition there in a non-war setting.

    You’re kind of making my point for.me.

    Both FMJ and HP are “war grade”, you fool. They’re both utterly lethal. Any round that can be fired from a firearm is “war grade”, because any round that can be fired from a firearm is potentially lethal, including blanks. To try to argue one is somehow less lethal is attempting to draw a distinction where, in reality, no difference exists.

    And understand that the idea that HP is more appropriate for use by police and in self-defense situations simply isn’t even debated anymore. Anyone who understands the properties of both FMJ and HP understands that HP is less likely to cause secondary casualties.

    The only points you’ve made so far are that you’re extraordinarily ignorant regarding the topic at hand and won’t refuse to listen to those who aren’t. You made those points without any help from me.

  42. Also know that anyone who understands FMJ and HP also understands that HP is the more effective round in police/self-defense situations due to its increased stopping power.

    If I have to shoot a man in self-defense, I’m doing it because I’m attempting to stop him from harming me. That’s the point of shooting him… To end the threat of harm. The point of shooting him is NOT to kill him, although that may well be a by-product of ending the threat via pistol.

    It seems, g2, that you still haven’t grasped the point of using a firearm in the first place.

  43. No abacab, you’re trolling me.
    Cops are not a precious species more valuable than the human dross that flows through the habitat they operate in.
    This is my very point – gun experts cannot visualise any position that is not the one behind the gun! You have a need to constantly improve the situation of the guy behind the gun at every turn.
    I’m saying there are plenty of people who are not behind the gun whose welfare is not being considered. The direction you are taking this in where the lives of cops are held as more important than bystanders leads to the situation you got in America where someone set out murder cops back again.
    I think we can step back from that cycle by reducing the lethality of police handguns because we’re on an upward spiral. Cops in Britain cannot claim to be at war, we don’t have extended shoot outs like in the USA. If being shot by some unimpressive .22 is enough to kill at close range if you’re unlucky it’s enough to incapacitate a suspect. If it’s likely to kill a bystander it’s a too much.

  44. Gareth, IIRC correctly, expanding rounds where outlawed by the Hague convention, not the Geneva convention… and very few soldiers would brutalise a round with a knife to make it expand. It was a court martial offense.

  45. Yes gunker, I remember a piece of training video telling infantry soldiers not to do it.
    It’ll be a court martial offence because although it’s accepted that it’s a place we don’t want to go, and the enemy will figure out what you are doing on day one, then you’ll find what goes around comes around.
    Wrong convention, sue me.

  46. Yes Dennis, I understand completely, shoot someone like you mean it.

    British police only have the right to shoot members of the public to protect the public. If they endanger the public in order to protect themselves they’re doing it wrong. The police had full control of the situation when they ambushed and shot a dangerous criminal in Manchester (I think) a few years ago. With that much control of the situation there can be no need to use such deadly munitions.

    Alternatively they can carry on the way they are going and accept they will take casualties from police inspired vigilantes.

  47. G2, but we require armed police to put themselves in harm’s way and engage a suspect. Hence they deserve the tools. And it’s *you* who’s insisting on “standard” ammunition (i.e. FMJ, i.e. milspec), which is more likely to harm a bystander than modern defensive ammo.

    Seriously, as Dennis said, this stuff is just not debated anymore amongst anyone who has the slightest knowledge of it.

    And the fact that a well-placed .22 can kill doesn’t mean it’s adequate for police use. Stress situations don’t lend themselves to perfect shot placement.

  48. Actually guys, let’s cool this down a bit.

    I’m trying to identify the best solution: stop the bad guy, minimise injury to bystanders.

    If we assume the bad guy is not some relentless superhuman, surely the best way to do this isn’t the most destructive ammo we can get?

    Also assume that cop’s lives are not more valueable than bystanders.

  49. No, don’t stop- I’m enjoying the discussion. I know fuck all about this, and I’m learning lots.

  50. Oh yeah, don’t confuse me with some idiot who thinks a weapon can be shot out of a man’s hand.

    Really my point here is that bystanders are being discounted and their lives are just as important as those of cops. If you disagree, give me a proportion; 6 citizens to 1 cop? Where would you put it?

  51. @G2, the best solution with a handgun has been identified, at least a decade ago – a 9×19 or 40 S&W expanding round.

    And these are WAAAAAY off the most destructive ammo we can get. We can go waaay up from here, even staying with handguns.

    As mentioned N-times already, it’s actually pretty weak sauce. But it’s the minimum that can just about do the job reliably, and is controllable enough to expect PC Plod to hit with it (by the way, pistol shooting is hard. Really hard. Needs a lot of practice, which PC Plod doesn’t get). And we want PC Plod to hit, and not wing shots off down the high street.

    It’s the best compromise. This is basically totally settled now, and the only debate is 9mm vs. 40, when really the answer is 9mm cos you can afford to train more with it.

  52. “Really my point here is that bystanders are being discounted and their lives are just as important as those of cops.”

    But it’s you that’s suggesting that bystanders should be put at more risk by giving cops FMJ rather than proper defensive ammo.

    Overpenetration is a bitch. As is ricochet from a miss.

  53. Summary of learning so far:

    1/ there are many kinds of bullets
    2/ there are many sizes of bullets
    3/ bullets have different uses
    4/ policemen use bullets that the military don’t
    5/ or maybe they do, It’s hard to tell sometimes
    6/ John Square shouldn’t be allowed a gun

  54. Abacab, you’re assuming that when I suggest expanding rounds are too dangerous that the police go up the scale to more military stuff.
    I’m saying that they should be going down the scale to less deadly munitions.

    The police have a non-military mission: they don’t need to kill, athough it may be necessary, they need to protect bystanders from injury. There should be short range ammunition for this kind of function. Police don’t have to kill at a multitude of ranges as soldiers do, there should be no comparison with military rounds.

  55. If they go down, the rounds are not sufficiently adequate.

    This is the point I have been making.

    9x19mm really is the minimum for someone who you’re asking to go into harm’s way. Anything less is for a small pocket pistol.

    Again, there is no debate on this any more.

  56. Also John,
    Although a standard bullet does devastating damage, causing a cone of ripped flesh as it travels, it only does it one time, and a bullet which separates into pieces when it hits a man will cause mulitple paths of injury.

  57. @g2,

    “a bullet which separates into pieces when it hits a man will cause mulitple paths of injury”

    Which is not what a normal expanding bullet does. I can think of only 1 handgun projectile on the market that does this, and it’s not adopted anywhere by police.

    As I said before, go watch some ballistics gelating videos.

  58. Really my point here is that bystanders are being discounted and their lives are just as important as those of cops. If you disagree, give me a proportion; 6 citizens to 1 cop? Where would you put it?

    If you really are concerned about the safety of bystanders, you’d stop prattling on about smaller rounds in FMJ being a better round for police use and accept the facts as they stand: HP is less likely to produce collateral damage when a shooting occurs in a public place, irrespective of the size of the round.

    Once again, you don’t understand the basics: Decreasing the size of the round does not, in and of itself, decrease the overall danger (or lethality) at the time of a shooting. A good quality .22 magnum FMJ round will be far more dangerous to bystanders than a standard velocity 9mm HP round will be. That’s because the .22 magnum round is more likely to hit something and keep going than the 9mm HP. The further the round can go, and the more things it can go through, the greater the chance it will hit something other than what was intended to be hit.

  59. OK Abacab, we’ve ascertained I’m not a munitions expert. In this case I don’t know up from down.

    I still can’t help but think that the case was settled on the basis of what’s best for our people, decided the cops.

    You say the cops can’t be asked to into action with anything less, but nobody asks the bystanders if they’d like to be there, also ,as before the cops largely choose the time and place (in Britain).

    I would think there is enough of a case for low range ammunition which is just enough for police use, we can quit this talk of stopping power; they are not facing off a rhinoceros. There is no case for choosing fragmenting ammunition to counter overtravel.

  60. If being shot by some unimpressive .22 is enough to kill at close range if you’re unlucky it’s enough to incapacitate a suspect.

    I’m sure you understand that .22lr isn’t available in FMJ, so you’d be shooting someone with either HP or a soft metal bullet (lead). And I don’t think there are any semi-autos available that are chambered in .22 magnum, for which there is FMJ. Kind of limits your proposed solution a bit.

    Yes Dennis, I understand completely, shoot someone like you mean it.

    Evidently, you don’t understand at all, so perhaps your patronizing tone is misjudged. You shoot to end the threat of harm. It is the only acceptable reason to shoot in the roles we have been discussing.

  61. “I would think there is enough of a case for low range ammunition which is just enough for police use, ”

    Yes, it’s called modern expanding 9x19mm or 40 S&W.

  62. I would think there is enough of a case for low range ammunition which is just enough for police use, we can quit this talk of stopping power; they are not facing off a rhinoceros. There is no case for choosing fragmenting ammunition to counter overtravel.

    That’s so moronic on so many levels that I’ve got to call it as I see it:

    You’ve outduelled Richard Murphy for the day.

    There’s absolutely nothing he has written in the last 24 hours or could write in the next 24 hours that will ‘overtravel’ the above stupidity.

    Congratulations. And please, never touch a firearm for any reason.

  63. No, I am not patronising anyone!

    My concern is that the police are protecting themselves, and then…… The public, as in the public come in a distant 15th, or maybe lower than their own people.
    They adopted expanding munitions (which do more damage than standard bullets?) to counter the range these munitions would otherwise have.
    OK bullet experts, why not use something that doesn’t travel as far?

    Don’t bring fmj into it – I have no idea of the implications of jacketing.

  64. You don’t understand what a jacket does vs. pure lead?

    Then we have no basis for a sensible discussion, since you understand NOTHING.

    At.

    All.

    Sorry.

    This is sub-Ritchiebollocks.

    And why?

    Because physics. The laws of which can’t be broken, Cap’n.

  65. Gareth2 is digging the deepest hole I have ever seen here, or lots of other places for that matter.

  66. @Dennis, there’s a bunch of .22 WMR pistols about. Being rimfire though, they’re crap.

    As to .22 WMR pistols: Kel-Tecs don’t qualify as firearms. RIAs might, but I’ll still give them a pass.

    Actually, I like .22lr pistols. I have a Beretta Bobcat, Beretta M9, Ruger SR-22, Ruger Mk. III, Ruger Single Six, and a Browning Buck Mark. They’re lots of fun if you like plinking, which I do.

    The key is to avoid pistols made by crap manufacturers ( Kel-Tec and German Sport Guns come to mind) and stick to high quality ammo… I shoot CCI (mostly Mini-Mags) and reliability is near perfect.

    If I carried, which I don’t, I’d have no problem carrying either the Bobcat or the SR-22 using CCI Mini-Mags.

  67. Whatever, I’ve tried to meet you half way, you’ve gone into technicalities which you understand and and I do not.

    I’ve actually been ready to be convinced, but you have to keep up with the insults so I’m not at all changed from my original point of view.

    So, police are gods who walk among us, they should use any ammo they like, bystanders should be thankful to be shot knowing it’s for the greater good, fuck you very much chaps and good night.

  68. I’ve actually been ready to be convinced, but you have to keep up with the insults so I’m not at all changed from my original point of view.

    Bullshit.

    You didn’t listen to a thing anyone said to you. Not a thing.

    Way back in the thread I told you to quit while you were behind. You didn’t. And you ended up getting what was coming to you. OK, you don’t like the cops. Big fucking deal. Neither do I. That doesn’t mean you get a free pass to be stupid about it.

    So suck it up, shut it up, and take it like a man.

  69. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Look, if we have made the decision that the police will be allowed to shoot people under some circumstances, then the tactical exigencies of shooting people dictate that expanding rounds be used over jacketed ones. If in a given situation the decision has been made to elevate the response to the use of deadly force, then it has (ideally) been made because to act otherwise would put bystanders or the police in more danger, not less. The police do not shoot to kill. They shoot to incapacitate—to end the threat, in other words. The incapacitation quite often is accomplished by the death of the person being shot, but that’s not the goal. The risks to bystanders are non-zero no matter what ammunition is used in a shooting, but expanding rounds carry a lower risk than jacketed rounds. The terminal ballistics of handgun rounds have generated reams of discussion and major policy initiatives. One reason .40S&W JHP is often favoured over 9×19 Parabellum or .38 Special ball stems from an incident in which a bunch of FBI agents were killed and wounded because they were unable to promptly incapacitate a couple of extremely nasty armed robbers. The robbers were armed with, among other things, a .223 semi-automatic rifle, which fires rounds that will quite cheerfully go a mile and retain enough energy to kill someone stone dead.

    Honestly, Gareth, you are forgetting the first rule of holes: when in one, stop digging.

  70. How could I resist enjoining such a friendly discussion? I have only a small question, to do with abacab’s aforementioned ‘physics’: you state that a round that remains intact in the body transfers more of its kinetic energy than a round that fragments. How so?

    If we have two rounds of same weight, impacting at the same velocity, and all the mass remains within the target body, then 100% of the round’s kinetic energy is transferred to the target body – no more, no less. Whether any of that energy is used to fragment the round is surely irrelevant – it is doing so within the target body, and is a transfer of kinetic energy as any other. It seems very basic physics to me – how am I wrong?

  71. Bloke in Costa Rica

    You’re not, per se. The issue is which one causes the larger ‘permanent wound channel’, and the one that expends more energy in causing trauma rather than in fragmenting is likely to do that.

  72. Oh, and one other point: I thought that the original Dum-Dum bullets were modded by scoring a cross in the tip of an ordinary round, and thus almost guaranteed to expand four ways and fragment on impact; a hollow point is as the name suggests and thus lacks the lines of weakness by which the Dum-Dum round cleaves. Again, I feel like I’ve brought a sharp tongue to a gunfight, so please don’t shoot the messenger.

  73. BiCR, but any energy expended in fragmentation is going to add to the trauma, though in a slightly different pattern. Perhaps it’s all this talk of ‘stopping power’; two grammes of lead travelling at 500mph has exactly the same stopping power as a kilogram of cheese travelling at 1mph – not very much. The trauma however…

  74. Bloke in Costa Rica

    2g is 30 grains. Usual handgun rounds are 130gr to 250gr and velocities from 900 fps up to 1800 or so. And kinetic energy is quadratic in velocity. You do not want your bullet to fragment, or strip its jacket in the case of a JHP round, for example. You want it to stay in one piece and punch a single, big channel. Fragments decelerate faster and cause shallower wounds. The ammunition manufacturers spend a lot of time trying to ensure their bullets expand in a controlled and repeatable manner, and they spend a lot of money marketing them.

    It’s also worth noting that the wound characteristics of pistol bullets, which mainly travel in the transonic regime, are very different from those of rifle bullets, which usually operate at strongly supersonic velocities.

  75. If we have two rounds of same weight, impacting at the same velocity, and all the mass remains within the target body, then 100% of the round’s kinetic energy is transferred to the target body – no more, no less.

    Nemo –

    What you say is not quite correct. You are ignoring the differing amount of surface areas for each bullet once they’ve contacted the target body.

    The point is this: There is a far greater chance of the FMJ not remaining in the target body than the HP round due to the difference in surface area… The FMJ will be more likely to pass through the target body because of its smaller profile, thereby transferring only a portion of the kinetic energy available. Less surface area (the smaller profile of the FMJ bullet) means less energy actually transferred.

    The HP round is designed to expand – increasing the surface area of the round itself – in order to increase the resistance of the target body to the bullet. The increase in surface area ensures that the maximum amount of kinetic energy is transferred to the target body. The expansion of the round and the subsequent increase in its surface area is what puts the “blunt” in blunt force trauma.

  76. BiCR, we’re veering away from the physics: if fragments decelerate faster and cause shallower wounds, there are more of them and they transfer exactly the same amount of energy. I’m not doubting a word of what you say regarding the preferred trauma profile or manufacturers seeking to ensure the reliability of their product – just that the energy transferred iis the same whether the round fragments or expands.

    DtP, I’m not ignoring the differing surface areas at all, and explicitly covered that point by saying “and all the mass remains within the target body”; if the round continues out the other side of the body then obviously the body didn’t absorb all its energy. I must stress, my point wasn’t about HP versus FMJ, merely about whether fragmentation of the round reduces the energy transferred to the receiving body, as suggested in a number of posts above and jarring against my knowledge of basic physics.

    As to ‘blunt force trauma’, I’d always understood that to mean a baseball bat rather than a sword, a bruise rather than a cut, and a quick Google seems to back me up. Or am I just showing my vegetarian irony deficiency?

  77. ‘The increase in surface area ensures that the maximum amount of kinetic energy is
    transferred to the target body.’

    “In the case of low-velocity missiles, e.g., pistol bullets, the bullet produces a direct path of destruction with very little lateral extension within the surrounding tissues. Only a small temporary cavity is produced. To cause significant injuries to a structure, a pistol bullet must strike that structure directly. The amount of kinetic energy lost in tissue by a pistol bullet is insufficient to cause remote injuries produced by a high velocity rifle bullet.” – FBI

    Kinetic energy transfer at pistol velocities does nothing, except slow a bullet down. To the extent that expansion limits penetration, it is WORSE than useless. NO 9mm Kurz/.380 auto hollow point load passes the FBI protocols.

    NYC was the first major department to implement the use of hollow point bullets. They did it SPECIFICALLY to limit penetration, ostensibly to protect bystanders. As NYPD shooters miss the assailant with up to 83% of their shots, it’s rather ridiculous to worry about ‘over penetration.’

  78. two grammes of lead travelling at 500mph has exactly the same stopping power as a kilogram of cheese travelling at 1mph – not very much.

    Of course, it’s easier to get out of the way of something going 1mph. 😉

  79. As NYPD shooters miss the assailant with up to 83% of their shots, it’s rather ridiculous to worry about ‘over penetration.’

    I’d be more worried about being hit by one of the errant bullets..

  80. @Nemo, go back to GCSE physics and look up momentum and kinetic energy in terms of nonelastic collisions.

    Top Tip – kinetic energy is not conserved in a nonelastic collision. Total energy, yes, but kinetic energy not.

    Any energy expended in doing work on the projectile is not expended in doing damage to the target. And we’re not talking about fragmenting projectiles anyway.

  81. BiCR, we’re veering away from the physics: if fragments decelerate faster and cause shallower wounds, there are more of them and they transfer exactly the same amount of energy. I’m not doubting a word of what you say regarding the preferred trauma profile or manufacturers seeking to ensure the reliability of their product – just that the energy transferred iis the same whether the round fragments or expands.

    As a further illustration (or perhaps just to muddy the waters), after expanding ammunition was outlawed in warfare by the Hague Convention, later versions of the .303 round were designed to tumble on impact, thereby still presenting an increased surface area to the target and increasing the wound trauma compared to a stable round.

    So, same mass, same velocity, different characteristics producing different results.

  82. I must stress, my point wasn’t about HP versus FMJ, merely about whether fragmentation of the round reduces the energy transferred to the receiving body…

    Got it. Reading comprehension gets me every time…

  83. abacab, GCSE is for da yoof. But at least we’re getting somewhere, and the conservation of energy was my point from the start. Now in your own words:

    “Any energy expended in doing work on the projectile is not expended in doing damage to the target. And we’re not talking about fragmenting projectiles anyway.”

    I know exactly what the conversation’s about and have stressed repeatedly that I’m only interested in the general physics so, sticking to physics, how does your line above not apply to expanding nose rounds versus non-expanding? It seems to me your whole case is that the expanding round does more damage, yet it would require energy to expand. Perhaps it’s worth repeating your words: “Any energy expended in doing work on the projectile is not expended in doing damage to the target.”

    Are you sure you want to stand by those words?

  84. @Nemo, It’s all about compromise. And not wasting energy doing something you don’t need it to do.

    Fragmenting does unuseful work. A hollow point expanding “costs” an amount of your energy budget that enables you to “spend” the rest of it doing what you need (penetrating enough but not too much while doing enough tissue damage), rather than have an amount of it fly out the back uselessly for an FMJ.

    A fragmentation wastes the energy budget – too much work is expended on the projectile, and the resulting fragments don’t have enough mass to penetrate deeply enough to “spend” the rest of the energy in a useful fashion.

    Effectively, 9×19 is the smallest round that gives you enough “energy budget” to expand and penetrate enough to do enough tissue damage. You go under that, and you typically get non-expansion and/or insufficient penetration.

    You go bigger/faster and you’ve got more to play with, but then they’re harder to train people to get on target.

  85. BiW, an interesting side point and I’d be very curious to know how they achieved that without affecting the round’s in-flight characteristics.

    But just to reiterate, clarify and avoid doubt in general, I never doubted or questioned the wound characteristics of different projectiles, only the conservation of energy.

  86. Ted S: “Of course, it’s easier to get out of the way of something going 1mph”.

    Perhaps, but I like to imagine someone standing transfixed like a rabbit in headlights as a kilo of Edam comes hurtling towards them at glacial speed.

  87. abacab, I don’t doubt a word of that, merely whether you’re responding to me or still arguing with Gareth Too. Now, back to your ‘GCSE’ jibe: for the purpose of this conversation we can discount any heat energy in the projectile and radioactive decay won’t figure, so the only energy we’re concerned with is kinetic. And, assuming the projectile doesn’t exit the target, all of that energy must be transferred to the target. The energy required to deform the projectile still affects the target – it (mostly) doesn’t get converted to heat energy, for instance. A little thought experiment: if I drop 1kg of brie and then 1 kg of cheddar then their force of impact will be identical, though they may behave differently on impact.

    Put another way, what does the energy ‘lost’ on a fragmenting round* get converted to – heat?

    *I use it only as an example for its physical attributes.

  88. @Nemo –

    “BiW, an interesting side point and I’d be very curious to know how they achieved that without affecting the round’s in-flight characteristics.”

    Aerodynamics are not a major consideration at handgun ranges. As long as it’s stable so doesn’t tumble, it’s good.

    As to where does the energy go when fragmenting? Into doing work on the projectile. And doing work on the tissues through which it passes. And this is a zero-sum game. Work = force x distance, by the way. Ultimately the KE gets all converted into heat and work done.

  89. abacab: zero sum game – precisely my point throughout. First law of thermodynamics ‘n all. But that work you mention is the continuance of the kinetic energy of the projectile; the fact that it’s molecules of meat being violently rearranged doesn’t change that, and the amount of energy converted to heat is insignificant.

    As to the ‘tumbling’ round, it’s precisely why I said “in-flight characteristics” rather than ‘aerodynamics’ – because I’m curious how they get it to tumble on impact but remain stable in flight. It’s almost as if I chose my words for their meaning – not bad for someone without a GCSE to their name, eh?

  90. You’d be amazed how much heat is generated when plastically-deforming metal.

    But srsly, kinetic energy is not conserved in an inelastic collision. Overall energy is, kinetic energy is not. Momentum is though 😉

    “As to the ‘tumbling’ round, it’s precisely why I said “in-flight characteristics” rather than ‘aerodynamics’ – because I’m curious how they get it to tumble on impact but remain stable in flight. It’s almost as if I chose my words for their meaning – not bad for someone without a GCSE to their name, eh?”

    Err, if a hollow-point tumbles on impact without hitting something hard it’s gone wrong – it’s supposed to keep going in the same direction so it mushrooms evenly. This is where a lot of the science and R&D comes in.

    And the reason that a proj can be stable in air and not in tissue is that tissue is almost 1000 times denser than air, which is why you get to be stable in one but not the other.

  91. “As NYPD shooters miss the assailant with up to 83% of their shots”: “up to” – a journalistic favourite.

  92. The “less lethal” version of 9mm HP (or 10mm if you are the FBI) is the taser.

    As stated above, anything lower “power” is ineffective and anything mil spec (9mm Para copper jacket) is too dangerous to passers by.

    Mil bodyguards are usually mil police. Not because they are better at it than, say infanteers, but because they can use HP which is a lot safer in bodyguarding rather than combat contexts.

    On the OP, you can’t load live ammo in to our magazines for blank. And then you have the sodding great yellow bitch-to-clean screw thing that goes on the end of the barrel. To stop peeps being hurt by the high speed detritus from the blanks and to make sure that if some wanker shoves in a mag of live, it’s them that gets hurt.

  93. @Nemo, it’s been a long time since my GCSE physics, but I can see fragmenting wasting more energy through heat than flattening.
    Just like it takes rather more energy to snap a paperclip than to bend it.

  94. abacab, I’ve never said the round’s energy is conserved in kinetic form, only that the energy it contains is kinetic and conserved. That’s implicit in asking how much of the energy’s converted to heat.

    And what’s with the “Err” on tumbling rounds? That was a side-topic specifically about the .303 follow-on to Dum-Dum rounds, which you enjoined and now seem to think was about hollow-points. Keep on like this and you’ll fill G2’s hole with the spoil from your own.

    Finally, the tumbling round: you give a fair point of ‘why’ it works, but not ‘how’. And that’s what I’m curious about: offset tip, denser at the rear, etc. How did they achieve the tumble?

  95. NielsR, I completely agree, and addressed the point thus: “the amount of energy converted to heat is insignificant.” What percentage of the round’s energy would you expect/guess to be converted to heat for each type of round?

  96. Well, the .303 Mk. IV and V were in fact hollow points… Mk. III was a JSP.

    When we’re talking about tumbling, we’re mostly talking about rifle rounds, which aerodynamically want to fly base-first (they are base-heavy). They are spun so as to make them fly the “wrong way”, such that in the fluid medium that they are in (air) they’re adequately stabilised. Get this wrong, and they tumble in air (see – shooting 62gn 5.56mm in a 1:14 twist barrel). SInce a soft target can be modelled as a liquid medium with a higher density than air, the required twist to stabilise them gyroscopically is much higher (can’t recall the equation off the top of my head). So they’re understabilised the moment they enter the tissue, and flip over to try to fly base-first, setting up a tumble.

    Handgun bullets are short and fat, so don’t particularly tumble unless they hit bone, and are over-stabilised anyway.

  97. @Nemo Good question, might be trivial compared to total budget. Though any number is waste.

    Some casual googling later, though, I suspect the question is irrelevant to the OP. Provided both shed most of their energy in the first target, the next concern is probably going to be how many bits you want the hospital to have to dig out of your suspect/bystander.

  98. That’s a long and technical way of not answering the question, though generous of you to try. Perhaps if I quoted BiW’s post that started this side-issue:

    “As a further illustration (or perhaps just to muddy the waters [Mission accomplished?]), after expanding ammunition was outlawed in warfare by the Hague Convention, later versions of the .303 round were designed to tumble on impact”

    It’s this specific design alteration that I’m after – it suggests that earlier versions were designed to not tumble, later versions designed to tumble, and the change was physical to the round, not just the labelling. See my point?

  99. BiW, an interesting side point and I’d be very curious to know how they achieved that without affecting the round’s in-flight characteristics.

    By making the projectile very tail-heavy (they packed the point with Al, IIRC). The spin imparted by the rifling kept the projectile stable in flight.

  100. NielsR, if the quoted accuracy rates of American police are reliable, the secondary bits might be your best hope of disabling – or at least annoying – the intended target.

  101. @Nemo, BiW is incorrect – they weren’t *designed* to tumble, it’s merely a function of going from a round-nose to a spitzer (pointed) design for long-range aerodynamic performance. This puts the centre of mass further back in the projectile, increasing the projectile’s “desire” to fly base-first.

    And with the .303 Mk.VII there’s an aluminium or fibre filler in the tip which is often believed to have been intended to make it tumble, this is in fact incorrect – it merely serves to put the C.o.M. further back since this aids accuracy (counter-intuitively).

  102. BiW, a simple solution and in line with what I expected; I didn’t know about the Al, and it’s been fun* getting here.

    * Relative to what I should be doing!

  103. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Nemo: spitzer-pointed bullets yaw on contact because their centre of mass is to the rear of their aerodynamic centre. This means it is not longitudinally stable and must be spin (gyroscopically) stabilised. However in flight, forces on the bullet act through the aerodynamic centre (which is its definition). Moving the COM aft acts like a rudder to keep the nose pointing where you want it. When it decelerates this no longer obtains and there is a large yawing moment which makes the round tumble. The large increase in lethality of .303 rounds after the replacement of the core’s nose with materials lighter than lead was simply fortuitous, since they embodied the wound-causing properties of expanding rounds without falling foul of the Hague convention. Full-calibre rifle bullets can cause really spectacular and grotesque injuries, and often the exit wound appears to bear no relation to the entry wound (you can be shot in the chest and have the round come out of your elbow).

  104. BiCR, that all tallies with my expectations; even your description of odd wound patterns is almost word-for-word what we were told when shooting the 7.62 SLR x decades ago – that and ‘miss the target and you’ll kill a cow in Holland’ (the range was on the Thames estuary and naval gunners are lying bastards who don’t pay their debts).

    I’m just wondering if this thread is the longest on Tim’s site, and if that’s cause for concern. And you got 123 – I merely bookend greatness.

  105. @BiCR,

    I know a chap who was lying prone and caught a 7.62×39 in the shoulder (for those that know, that’s fairly piddly in rifle-ammo terms).

    It came out the back of his knee having gone through a lung.

    He was lucky to survive it.

  106. Ye gods is this still going on?

    I’ve had a re-think; the police should just nuke the site from orbit (only way to be sure)

    That way is definitely safest (that’s the reason for expanding rounds after all), no need to worry about whether you’ve got enough stopping power there.

    Our lads only deserve the best if we’re going to ask them to do this job, tee hee

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