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The magic number (bullet penetration)

This is a discussion on The magic number (bullet penetration) within the XDTalk Chatter Box forums, part of the XD Talk category; Why is 12 inches considered the magic number for BULLET penetration when 3 inches is the magic number for KNIFE penetration? If a knife can ...

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Old 09-13-2010, 07:23 PM   #1
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The magic number (bullet penetration)

Why is 12 inches considered the magic number for BULLET penetration when 3 inches is the magic number for KNIFE penetration? If a knife can stab an organ 3 inches in, a bullet can hit the same organ 3 inches in.

I was contemplating this because of some flak I'm catching for using #4 shot in my 12 ga for HD. I chose #4 due to less over-penetration into adjacent apt rooms (I don't want to be a liability/statistic/on evening news). In ballistics tests #4 shot penetrates from 6-10 inches. That's enough to put a lot of pellets into the lungs, heart, liver, etc.
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:26 PM   #2
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a knife doesn't get slowed down by clothes/bone it has a driving force behind it.

a lot of those 12" bullets don't actually go 12" in a person. and if your talking about bleeding you need an exit wound for them to bleed out.

If your worried about overpenetration an ar15 has more takedown potential than a 9mm and goes through less walls, thats why the military and SWAT teams use it.

if you want shotgun. #4 birdshot probably won't cut it. maybe for a first round but if they are high you have to break them down. I know many in apartments that have single 0 buckshot or BB but #4 is way too light.
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:05 PM   #3
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Boy, I'd hate to take a round of #4 shot close in. That being said, I have #4 buck for my shottie (somewhere). I still prefer a good ole .45. I also have a 6.8 SPC but I'd have to know something was up to get it out of the case in time.
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:18 PM   #4
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I keep #7 in mine (i think)

It puts baseball size holes in 2x6's at 10 feet... id imagine it'd lay a hurtin on someone.

get a saiga 12 with a 20 or 40 round drum mag & fill it full of slug's!!!!
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:25 PM   #5
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You have to have an exit wound to bleed out? (Are you talking GSW or knife wound?)

I guess when I was an EMT, my instructors had it all wrong!

I thought all it took was an entry wound!

I keep 000 in my shotgun for HD, but I live in a house, not an apt.
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:33 PM   #6
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The longest distance I'd be shooting is down my hallway out towards the front door. It's about 10 yards max. Even with #4 shot, I can't imagine it not stopping or killing someone. I don't care about exit wounds or bleeding out, cuz that takes time. I just want the threat stopped. Whether or not he's dead or dies doesn't matter.

But I still find it ironic that it's 3" for a knife and 12" for a bullet.
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:31 PM   #7
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It's 12" of penetration into ballistics gel.

Penetrating the skin is equivalent to around 3" alone.

Shooting through the average adult forearm is equal to around 9-10".
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:34 PM   #8
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Knife wounds don't need to go through arms first.

Bullets do.

Anyone who thinks that in a real life event that their assailant will be standing with their arms to the side, like a silhouette target, is living in a dream world.
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:45 PM   #9
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Why 12"? Dunno, maybe the FBI measured the distance the failed heart shot in the Miami shootout went and added 3" for good measure?
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:54 PM   #10
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The FBI did do tests. They concluded that 12" was the optimal penetration distance for a bullet because no matter what angle you shoot a person's torso from, you will penetrate to a vital organ, even if it's from the most obtuse angle imaginable.

I would think that there are plenty of meth heads and druggies out there whose torsos arent even 8 inches thick. You shoot someone like that from the front, you better bet it's going through. But, no matter the angle from which you shoot, it should (supposedly) hit a vital organ.
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