I am a firm believer in being a student.
I remember my grandpa telling me when I was 9 years old that:
“If you are not learning something every day son, you are doing yourself a grave injustice and are well on your way to becoming a FOOL!”
The CO, in order to function at maximum capacity, needs to be a student of many things also in order to survive. One of the main ones being Firearms and Ballistics. But going beyond just the facts you might find in the ballistics tables of the Shooters Bible are the sorted tales of the unpredictable behavior of bullets fired in training and combat.
We all have heard stories about richochets, skips, bounces and amazing bullet penetration through various objects and mediums. But I think for the CO to really become a TRUE Rifleman, Shootist or if you prefer the overly verbose nom de guerre; “Practitioner of the Firearm Arts”, they have to be able, with great certainty, to separate URBAN MYTH/ “GUN SHOP” BULLSHIT from REALITY.
This is a subject that for the CO, can serve him equally well either offensively or defensively. Knowing what (to a certain degree) materials or medium a bullet can or cannot penetrate can help both keep the CO alive (through cover) and kill their enemies easier (shooting through concealment). An eon ago, when I started collecting Curio and Relic Firearms, a friend of mine directed me to a fellow Texans web site that he thought I might enjoy; The Box O’ Truth. Upon visiting it however, I soon found out that C&R Weapons was just one of the many topics covered; the main emphasis was ammo penetration testing..very cool discovery!
Since the Box’O Truth is what I consider one of the best REFERENCE websites on the web for ammo penetration, I will leave it to you to peruse their extensive files, and draw your own conclusions about bullet penetration myth and reality. But, I would urge you to donate a few dollars in the process; Don and his Crew at the Box spend a lot of their own time and own money to build the extensive reference site that you and me enjoy every day, let’s help em’ out!
I did want to go a little deeper on a couple of materials I think relevant to the CO regarding penetration before moving on from this subject, namely, materials the CO will typically be taking cover behind and/or shooting through during a skirmish; Sheetrock and Vehicle Doors & Glass.
I have used the B.O.T extensive library for my findings, but also included some personal experiences to help the CO draw their own conclusions.
Since sheetrock is used in just about every type of building construction, and most of us have it in our houses, it is a practical material to start with. To make this evaluation easy for you, it SUCKS as far as stopping bullets! B.O.T. tested both 5/8″ and 1/2″ Sheetrock. To answer a common question I hear a lot in training: “Isn’t it true that most all walls in a standard home are insulated? Wouldn’t that make a difference in penetration?” Answer: Only EXTERIOR walls are insulated typically, but, NO, as a general rule, it did not make a difference in the test. The B.O.T boys proved this fact also…see HERE.
The guys also tested Shotgun loads, and the results were similar. Boil it all down and you come up with the same conclusion: Sheetrock SUCKS for Cover!
There is a duality here for the CO. Knowing the above information, The CO definitely needs to train HOW to shoot an intruder (inside a structure) and subtract and/or takeaway the threat of over-penetration. Besides switching to frangible ammo (which we will discuss in a future article), some simple baseline tactics involve knowing your background and changing the shooter’s position prior to the shot. Secondly, armed with the same information along with an in-depth study of how the CO’s particular firearms and defense ammo behave through sheetrock, the CO can now take a shot THROUGH sheetrock with confidence against an intruder, if need be.
A quick note about shooting through sheetrock. Personal Experience has taught me several things on this subject:
Remember your Background! The Number 1 Rule in Firearms Safety, Period!! What is behind the wall you are shooting through (beside the bad guy?) What is behind the room the bad guy is in? If you are working with a team or family members are still present in the house, where are they?
Shoot more than one round..in fact, I would say shoot at least five to six. Bear in mind you are shooting blind, so this is essentially “Recon by Fire”; after you have shot, gauge how effective the rounds were; if you hear movement or if you take return fire, obviously, KEEP SHOOTING! (Typically, a large thud or groan/scream is a good sign you hit your target).
Aim where you want to hit. It has been my experience that sheetrock does not change the trajectory of a bullet that much if any, hollow points included (As the B.O.T confirms).