Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Pressure Wave Theory

The level of exaggeration, ad hominem attack, and other rhetorical fallacies in these critical reviews far exceeds the boundaries of sober and rational discourse that characterize modern peer-reviewed scientific literature. Even in areas rife with pseudo-science (such as nutritional supplements, psychic phenomena, global warming, the creation/evolution debate), the tenor of the peer-reviewed scientific literature is remarkably more restrained and sound in its reasoning.

Having followed Michael Courtney's work for the past several years, it's good to see that he's finally begun publishing some of the results from his pressure-wave theory. This is a no-nonsense professional who has endured far more than his share of the slings and arrows of those whose pet-calibers have been trounced.

In summation, a bullet generating a larger pressure wave has more of an impact on immediate incapacitation than one creating a lesser wave. Pressure wave is another way of saying hydrostatic shock, something poo-poo'd because among other things, including frontal area impact and penetration, the .40 S&W has been dubbed by some to be one of the single most effective handgun calibers in existence and this means, gulp, even better than the 230 grain .45 ACP.

The science is interesting, the real-world results potentially as important if not more so than anything else done in recent years with regards to determining stopping power.

Because of this, I link with great reluctance to a site owned and operated by Dean Speir. A buffoon of the highest order, but even a broken clock is correct twice a day.

One of the things I hope this does, is to perhaps shift the focus from designing bullets that begin their expansion at a depth of 2" and less, to ones that do not mushroom until at least 4" of penetration has been achieved. For years I've asked why this could not be done and was told by more "experts" than I can remember, that it wouldn't make any difference. I want a round that holds onto its velocity deeper than 2 inches. I want to continue to generate a pressure wave, and THEN open the sucker up to twice its size. Time and again, the people who've actually used firearms to dispatch human targets have been dismissed in favor of backyard gello junkies. Gelatin testing of ANY order is just that. A fancy garage-level "experiment" that has little scientific value, save for examining what a bullet does when impacting gelatin. It CAN be a useful tool, but remains but one piece of an enormous puzzle and the "standards" of repeatability are laughable.

As a somewhat compelling aside to: ON THE OTHER HAND, I've included a picture of an X-ray of a man who was shot in the buttocks at close range with a Glaser safety slug. Glasers, as well as birdshot fired from a 12 gauge, penetrate ballistic gelatin to the tune of 4-5 inches. and it does appear that in this case the gel did its job of predicting quite well. Please let that be a lesson to any and all who are tempted to follow the horrid advice of those who tout the efficacy of birdshot for self-defense.

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