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Kain 09-13-2009 01:24 AM

Clothing matters?
I've read several people mention wanting to carry larger calibers for personal defense in the winter in colder climates to counter act the effects of additional clothing an attacker would likely be wearing. I just got to wondering...does the extra clothing really matter? I mean even a heavy winter parka is mostly just air. With the possible exception of leather it seems to me that most clothing materials would have a negligable effect on ballistics if any. Further more wouldn't you more worry about an attacker being fatter or more muscular than average? Seems physical bulk would have a greater overall impact on slowing a bullet. Has any real testing been done on this topic, or is this just heresay?

IGETEVEN 09-13-2009 02:07 AM

If you have to shoot an attacker within a 8-15 foot radius or closer, in a life threatening defense situation, any caliber of carry weapon, from a .38 to .45 with JHP preferred, and FMJ is acceptable for ammunition, it will stop and detour any attacker, even if he's wearing 2 parkas, muscular or fat. Bullet placement is the key and a double tap, if possible is preferred, in different locations of the body. Preferable center mass, upper chest, neck, and head. Under drug influence, until the threat stops. You want tissue and internal organ damage sustained by separate bullet placement. To achieve this and to function properly under stress, pressure and adrenaline influx, it all boils down to practice, practice, practice and more practice and knowing your carry weapon. Did I mention practice. JMHO and a little real experience. If anyone else knows or has experienced anything else different to the contrary, please share your comments on this subject, mine is not the gospel by any means.


Kain 09-13-2009 02:13 AM

I understand that, but you didn't really answer my question.

Does extra clothing make a difference to ballistics? Or is this just a myth?

Dillinger 09-13-2009 02:27 AM

Well, let me ask you this. Is real world experience enough for you?

The Tacoma PD switched from a .40 cal Glock/Beretta to the .45 ACP 1911 because they were having problems in shoot outs with wannabes in Tacoma.

Tacoma is a seaport, and the have both a heavy wind off the Puget Sound, and the temperature in the winter months drops into the low 30's with wind chill pushing it into the teens....

On several occassions of police reports, prior to the switch, showed that Tacoma PD officers, in shoot outs, had rounds that did not penetrate deep enough to cause fatal wounds, or failed to penetrate through exterior clothing at all.

Tacoma's Hilltop Neighborhood was one of the more "violence" prone sections of Western Washington for many, many years...


New guns for Tacoma
After testing several weapons, officers ready to receive updated tools to serve and protect
By Stacey Burns and Russ Carmack

Ninety years ago, the Colt M-1911 handgun debuted in the U.S. military and quickly gained international appeal because of its quickness, accuracy and reliability.

Now, those same qualities have attracted the Tacoma Police Department to an updated 1911-style weapon as one of two handguns that are replacing the Beretta 96Ds issued to the department's nearly 400 officers.

"We're the first major police department to transition to the 1911 in 50 years," said Sgt. Mark Jenkins, the department's range master and an instrumental player in the selection of the new guns.

The department saw the 1911-style handgun as a lost treasure, ignored by other law enforcement agencies because of its "old-fashioned" image, Jenkins said.

"We found that what had been around for a long time was better," he said. "We are taking a huge step forward into the past."
With FMJ ammo, I do not believe that clothing makes that big of a difference. But with hollowpoints, as soon as you encounter resistance, the round begins to expand.

Food for thought...


Kain 09-13-2009 02:52 AM

If there is scientific data I'd love to see it. (I've been searching for almost an hour and still haven't found anything) But real world experience is signifigant data. I guess I didn't really take the full metal jacket vs hollow point argument into account. But even with that story there are several pontentially fouling variables:

1. New firearms
2. Possibly more training to familiarize with said new firearms
3. More accurate shooting
4. Simple statistical variance
5. Shooting distance

Still a strong argument for clothing stopping a bullet.

Dillinger 09-13-2009 03:00 AM

Well, would the FBI and a US Patent be enough??


In December of 1988, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Firearms Training Unit designed and implemented a special test protocol for evaluating effectiveness of modem ammunition, using various types of bullets. Each cartridge and bullet type submitted for testing was used in eight (8) different test events. All of the tests ultimately entailed the penetration of blocks of 10% ballistic gelatin, with or without intermediate barriers in front of the gelatin. These tests included firing bullets into bare gelatin at a distance of ten (10) feet, and through the following materials placed in front of the gelatin: heavy clothing, sheet steel, wall board (gypsum board), plywood and automobile glass. Tests were also conducted with heavy clothing at twenty (20) yards, and automobile glass at twenty (20) yards.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) does not have a specific requirement for bullet expansion; however, the extent of bullet penetration is a closely controlled parameter. The FBI desires ammunition that penetrates at least 12 inches in 10% ballistic gelatin while not penetrating more than 18 inches. This depth of bullet penetration is desired regardless of what intermediate barriers are encountered by the bullet.

The FBI protocol is the most stringent test protocol ever devised for bullets. Many of the ammunition manufacturers soon discovered that the hollow-point bullets, which they had at that time, produced very poor results in 10% ballistic gelatin after passing through barriers.
US Patent number 6805057

Kain 09-13-2009 03:26 AM

More info, but still not really concrete.

In fact near the end it says that the denim test (the only clothing used) actually caused the hollow point to OVER penetrate due to blocking the hole in the bullet. Though who wears 4 layers of denim is a good question... but I digress. It would seem any clothing would have the same effect. Especially if it were away from the body, thus giving it time to have an effect on the bullet.

So, now I'm more confused than ever.

Dillinger 09-13-2009 03:43 AM

Well, I suppose you could take some hollowpoints to the outdoor range, put some Northface Jackets/Carhardt Jackets on a couple of phonebooks and see what develops....*shrug*

There is a reason gang members took to wearing big, heavy, winter, jackets of their favorite sports team.

I have some data on FBI tests for handguns, but it's late and quite frankly it's been a long day. I have no idea what laptop I have that stuff on, but I will look.

I think the best thing you could do, is find an outdoor range, take a couple of phone books, wrap them in some old clothes and test it for yourself....


rifleman1 09-13-2009 04:01 AM


Originally Posted by Dillinger (Post 158879)

.I think the best thing you could do, is find an outdoor range, take a couple of phone books, wrap them in some old clothes and test it for yourself....


this is great advice

Franciscomv 09-13-2009 04:30 PM

Kain, take a look at some of the articles on The Box O'Truth (The Box O' Truth - Ammo Penetration Testing), while it's not cutting edge scientific research it's quite graffic and enjoyable.

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