The Myth of Energy Transfer

Discussion in 'Semi-Auto Handguns' started by FCross7, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. FCross7

    FCross7 New Member

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    While doing a search for something a bit ago, I came across a wonderful article that points out some flaws in information and research that many have come to believe as facts.

    The basis of the article is energy transfer in handgun bullets, and how it's unimportant.

    Before posting in this thread, I respectfully ask that you read the ENTIRE article first, and be respectful in any posts made.

    I suspect this thread will bring about a good bit of debating, but please keep it civil. Many people will have different opinions, and that's a good thing. Just be mindful of this.

    I don't hope to change everyone's mind on handgun caliber and ammo selection, but I do hope to open some people's minds, and I hope that everyone will come out knowing something they didn't know before.

    Here's the link:

    The Myth of Energy Transfer

    -Fred
     
  2. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    nothing there i really disagree with.

    its also why i choose to use the largest diameter round i can realistically carry. 45acp 230grn. in HP format it will retain enough weight to go the distances if the jacket and core seperate. it will also cause a large hole to occur leading to the biggest chance of usefull fluid leakage to occur the fastest in case there is no expansion.
     

  3. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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  4. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Good article, nothing I disagree with.

    There are basically two ways to stop a person. First, disconnect the brain from the body. Head shot or high spinal cord shot- both EXTREMELY difficult to do with a handgun in a combat setting.

    Second- shut the brain down from lack of blood. Bigger wound cavity= quicker drain down of blood. Have a friend that is a professor of Veterinary Medicine, and a big game hunter. As he expressed it- "You want two holes- one lets blood out, one lets air in."
     
  5. trip286

    trip286 New Member

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    Sorry, don't agree with all of it.
    I'm not a ballistician, but I have a hard time believing that energy transfer has no effect as the article would lead some to believe.

    Blood loss is a major factor, but it is not THE factor.
     
  6. jeepejeep

    jeepejeep New Member

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    Very informative. There are many theories about killing power, stopping power, knock down power, etc. To me the actual reports from the street (and morgue) say it best. I totally agree that no firearm will knock a man off his feet, certainly no handgun caliber. Also people who rely on ballistic gelatin tests are fooling them selves. It is not clothes, tissue, organs and bone. It's useful for comparing bullets against each other in ballistic gel nothing more.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  7. Magnum27

    Magnum27 New Member

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    Interesting info from ONE viewpoint and I don't see any actual data that he even compiled so you can see his own numbers. A tremendous amount of opinions and theories but NO facts. I am sure you could get someone else in his position to give an 180 degree different view. Science matters - this comes across as an expert opinion but there are no facts, details or anything subjective to analyze - just a long opinion piece.
     
  8. FCross7

    FCross7 New Member

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    I believe what he's saying, and I've heard others say it too, that energy transfer has no effect at the velocities handgun bullets are traveling. I don't know if it's because of the amount of energy, it bullet speed affects the speed at which energy travels or something else entirely.

    -Fred
     
  9. thembones

    thembones New Member

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    Interesting...any idea about the loudness of each caliber? I thought the .357 was louder then other calibers, and wouldn't that noise increase the chance of a "psychological stop"?
     
  10. FCross7

    FCross7 New Member

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    The data is what I see as the issue. First, what type of data is best? How do you go about obtaining that data?

    All the author was trying to do was use real world situations and scenarios to show that many other things transfer way more energy to the human body with little to no effect, thus nullifying the argument that energy is important when comparing handgun calibers.

    The author's opinion and mine are similar, in that penetration and, and in that same regard, wound cavity size are EVERYTHING when it comes to incapacitation using a handgun.

    I think those "One shot stop" tests are total bogus nonsense that don't translate to real world situations and scenarios.

    -Fred
     
  11. FCross7

    FCross7 New Member

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    If I got shot, I think my first thought would be, "Holy ****, I just got shot!", and no, "Holy ****, I just got shot by a REALLY loud handgun!".

    It's not so much the sounds or pain or any of that, it's the realization that you were just shot. It's like when you cut yourself with something that's really sharp. It doesn't hurt for a second or two, but you know it's coming.

    -Fred
     
  12. Paladin201

    Paladin201 New Member

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    I'm in total agreement with the article. FBI research has proven that hydrostatic shock is a virtual non factor at normal handgun velocities. It's a simple matter of how much damage the bullet does, and what it does that damage to. A bullet that penetrates 12 inches has a better chance of finding something vital than one that penetrates.
     
  13. trip286

    trip286 New Member

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    This is where I disagree. In the realm of handguns, blood loss and wound cavity may be more important than energy transfer (yeah, probably much more important), but I just can't bring myself to believe that energy transfer is a total non issue.

    Rifles and shotguns were mentioned in the article where armor testing was concerned, and I know for a cold hard fact that three rounds from an AK will knock a man on his *** while wearing a vest with SAPI inserts.

    If a rifle has that effect, I can only think that a handgun will have the same effect, albeit to a lesser extent (admittedly, much, much, much, lesser)
     
  14. FCross7

    FCross7 New Member

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    It may knock him down, but it won't be because of the energy transfer.

    You have to remember: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This means that there is just as much energy going back into the shooter as there is going out with the bullet.

    So unless those 3 shots knock down the person firing the weapon, they're not gonna knock down the person they hit. In fact, some of the energy will be lost in flight, so they hit will have hit with less energy than they transferred into the person firing the rifle.

    -Fred
     
  15. Magnum27

    Magnum27 New Member

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    I should have been more specific - my issue is he offers NO data. He says he has seen it all but never gives any detail. I have managed people and asked them what they think they have seen or done and they give you answer X - then I asked them to actually track it and keep notes and the answer is Y. people often are skewed by a variety of factors. I would like his info MUCH better if he gave details. The only detail he gives is the amount of autopsies he does per day.
     
  16. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Not exactly. The weapon is heavier and traveling at lower velocity. Energy is the result of mass and velocity with velocity being the major player. The energy on the bullet end is much higher than the energy at the shooting end.
     
  17. trip286

    trip286 New Member

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    No, not true. I'm not arguing your understanding of Newton's Laws, but the application of them.

    First, a lot of energy is absorbed by the cycling and the action of an AK. Here is some craziness though, a bolt action 7.62x39 still will not transfer enough energy to knock the shooter down...which means that a sufficient amount of energy is absorbed by the weight of the gun itself.

    Second, when rifle rounds hit, there is a lot of energy transferred into the armor, probably much more than is transferred to the shooter upon firing, this energy, especially 3 subsequent rounds, IS enough to knock a man down, I know this because I happen to be the one who ended up staring up at the sky in the middle of a firefight on the outskirts of Fallujah.
     
  18. MrWray

    MrWray New Member

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    One of my best friends is marine no longer serving,he also served in desert storm. He told me that during a firefight he was running from cover,crossing an alley to another building. He said that it happened fast but mid way across he was suddening swept off his feet and landed on his back. He knew that he had taken a bullet somewhere and then felt his right leg getting wet and said that he thought that he was bleeding out. One of his squad mates pulled him into cover and accessed the injury. What had happened was, an AK round had hit him in his canteen and it was water that he was feeling run down his leg. The bullet never punctured his body. I know that "knock down power" doesnt exist BUT, from his story he didnt know that he had been hit until he was on the ground,and he described it like his feet were "swept" out from under him...What caused him to go down like this in the nature that he described?
     
  19. mcb

    mcb New Member

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    There are many "experts" on both sides.

    During WWII many GIs traded there M1 Carbines for 1911s despite inferior range and accuracy. There are many stories of enemy soldiers taking multiple 30 carbine hits and not going down. There are also many stories of enemy soldiers being dropped in their tracks by 45acp rounds.

    There are a lot of debates about handgun stopping power. We certainly are not going to solve it here. To protect me or my family I want the most effective round available. My first choice is a 12gauge 00 buck. If I'm using a handgun I want the one that's going to do the most damage. Personally I opt for a 357 mag. Whether you call it stopping power or simply the ability to do so much damage you take the man out of the fight there are clear differences in calibers. Otherwise we'd all have 22lrs only.

    There's always going to be the person that says "what if you encounter a methed up zombie on pcp that can take two to the chest and keep coming". If that's the case you want the most firepower available.
     
  20. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    Ive got cats as pets. One weighs 4lbs 1 ounce the other weighs 13.5lbs. Neither is capable of knocking me over when im standing still expecting it. Ive seen the 4lb cat knock my wife over while she was walking by, jumping out and attacking her leg playing.

    The difference is unexpected energy transferred to the target. When humans move your expecting things to happen a certain way. Any unexpected interruption to that movement upsets your balance and down you go. Thats why you see soldiers get knocked over by a bullet that hasnt got enough energy to do it. Its why you see a pass reciever get knocked over by accidental unexpected contact catching a pass but can get hit full on by three guys and keep going.

    Its not the bullet directly knocking the person over its the extra bit of energy introduced in an unexpected way to that person's delicate balance of motion.

    Can a bullet knock someone over?? Yes and No. There was a guy at the turn of the centurythat did a vaudville act catching cannonballs in his stomach. Ive seen people get knocked over by thrown baseballs from children yet batters who get hit by 100mph pitches don't. So yes bullets can do it but not solely by direct energy transfer. I equate it to getting tripped or a shock reaction to an enexpected event.

    In a war zone people are expecting to get shot. And programing by tv and movies isyou get shot you fall down. Deer dont weigh as much as people do. Look atslow motion vids of deer getting shot with a 30-06 or rifle larger than a ak47. They dont get knocked over ever. They either jump away long after the bullet hits in relative time. Or they drop dead due to the bullet hitting the off switch. They drop straight down. Deer havent been programmed on what to do when a bullet hits

    We have all seen endless videos of ballistics gel blocks getting shot they all weigh less than a person yet they barely move when shot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012