Not Convinced

Truth About Guns has a report on a new type of self-defense ammunition. I’m not convinced it’s going to work out all that well in the field, just because the logic of it doesn’t work for me. I’ve heard what generally stops a gunfight is being able to land hits that shatter bone and penetrate vital organs and tissues. This is hard enough for pistol rounds to do reliably when they are a single, large mass.

Think about an extreme example of this being bird shot. You’d be far better off shooting someone with a slug than with bird shot. You’re probably better off with the bullet staying in tact too. You don’t want to shoot through the target, but there are probably better ways to solve that problem than breaking up the projectile.

22 thoughts on “Not Convinced”

  1. This. I’m a big fan of some of the stories that blog has broken (like the NPR email) but the reception this sort of round should get is one of suspicion and doubt. That it instead it gets praise and awe suggests to me that The Truth About Guns is dangerously close to going down the “gun journalist” trap, where everyone seems beholden to the manufacturers.

  2. ZK,

    The Truth About Guns tells the truth about guns. And ammo. And holsters. Etc. We were not paid for that article, or any other. We call it like we see it.

    As for the T3 ammo’s lethality, we’re contacting a real expert toi check it out. On the face if it, there is much to recommend this concept. We shall see.

  3. If one of the 3 is stopped by clothing, all of the rounds are stopped by clothing?

    Still, it is nice to see somebody researching and trying to improve. 99% of experiments are failures.

    And I want to be the first to tease New Jersey citizens for not being allowed to possess these bullets, should they make it to market.

  4. Mr. Farago,

    Thanks for your response! I hope you’ll let us know what you find.

  5. We call it like we see it.

    What was the penetration like clothed gelatin? What does it do when it encounters bone? How’s the penetration after going through auto glass or sheet metal? How close to point-of-aim was it at 15 yards? 25?

  6. In addition to the obvious concerns about penetration it appears this round would have issues if the bad guy is behind partial cover or a hostage.

    I’m far more interested in my rounds going exactly where I want them to go than increasing their effectiveness. I can always double the effectiveness of any round by putting another one through the target.

  7. Hey Joe. There are lots of variables that can be changed to alter the ammo’s lethality. For example, the spread can be a small circle or a bigger one. And let’s face it: the chances of putting your rounds exactly where you want them to go are relatively small. Cops miss the target more often than they hit it. Never mind hitting it in the right place. With this ammo, you have a better chance of hitting your target that a standard bullet, given that you get three goes at once. And thanks to the Kevlar tether, if one hits, ALL of them hit.

  8. DirtCrashr, this round might be illegal in Florida under 790.31
    (e) “Bolo shell” means any shell that can be fired in a firearm and that expels as projectiles two or more metal balls connected by solid metal wire.

  9. @dustydog, as far as I can tell they wouldn’t be any more illegal in NJ than hollowpoints are (roughly as annoying to possess as a handgun – I’ve got a box or two upstairs in magazines right now that I bought at Dick’s Sporting Goods in-state). Maybe less – the law specifically says hollowpoint or dumdum, and doesn’t seem to cover EMJ or other types of non-HP frangible ammo.

  10. See, but Robert, Tam’s asking the basic questions that credible self-defense ammo manufacturers try to answer upfront. See, for example, your post on Magtech’s new offering.

    We’ve seen with Bolo rounds for shotguns that these sort of projectiles tend to behave like their non-bolo counterparts, And we’ve seen with “Safety Slugs” that frangible handguns rounds tend to be unsuitable to self-defense use. Taken together, it’s hard see how terminal performance would be different than a frangible round. Where the enthusiasm comes from without real performance numbers is what provoked my negative reaction.

    Thanks for the SHOT-show posts in general, though; it’s some of the most thorough coverage I’ve seen.

  11. And let’s face it: the chances of putting your rounds exactly where you want them to go are relatively small. Cops miss the target more often than they hit it.

    The blunt truth of the matter is that most police officers are lousy shots. And if it won’t perform against barriers, then this ammunition would be especially inappropriate for law enforcement use, since police officers are far more likely to need to defeat barriers like car bodies and auto glass than are private citizen CCW toters. This is why none of the various pre-fragmented rounds such as Glaser, Magsafe, or Quick-Shok have ever been widely used as general LE issue.

  12. I may have more to say about this. Originally doing this post, I only had an intuition. I may have more to say if I have more time to think about this and do some research.

  13. I’ll admit that I’m no terminal ballistic expert. Everything I have is just from lots of fancy book learnin’ and pestering coroners and medical examiners and folks who’ve shot a lot of bad guys and/or critters. However, everything I’m seeing here screams “won’t work”.

    I want data. I want to see holes in something other than a paper target. Preferably something squishy; no watermelons or water jugs, please. I want to see a five-shot group at, say, fifteen yards. It doesn’t need to be offhand, or even an actual gun; actually, from a barrel fixture would be ideal.

  14. You want it, you got it. Gel tests and other demos are on their way. We’ll report it as and when.

    I didn’t mean to come across as a booster. When it comes to any new product, I’m from the Show Me state. The T3 ammo was one of only a few truly innovative products at the SHOW show. As such, it piqued my interest.

  15. I would be dollars to donuts that penetration is pretty poor when all three “fragments” hit you and down right piss poor when only one catches you.

  16. Tam is likely correct about the marksmanship. If police marksmanship training is anything like my military experience, they are given basic training, then they qualify. Then at long intervals they are periodically expected to qualify. Not much actual range time. It isn’t a scenario that creates great levels of skill.

  17. The original use of naval chain or bar shot was to destroy a ships RIGGING- Cut enough lines and spars to degrade an opponents maneuverability. They used plain round shot for smashing holes in hulls or attacking shore positions (penetration!)

    I would bet the orientation and relative positions of the 3 fragments is pretty random as they travel. Some high speed video of projectiles in flight along with those gel tests would be nice.

  18. I have long wondered about the whole “over penetration” concern with firearms. I would like someone to point me to a case where someone was shot through and through in the thoracic cavity with a traditional JHP that then went on to kill or wound an innocent bystander.

  19. Caleb,
    IIRC, Phoenix PD killed a woman with a round that first went through a BG, a few years ago. I think she was in the doorway of a store at the time. That was the first one to come to mind.

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