Saturday, June 30, 2007

We Get Letters

"Doesn't the pressure wave theory solely rely upon light and fast bullets and if so do you personally see yourself switching...?"

In handgun calibers, the generation of a pressure wave...aka hydrostatic shock...does more often occur when a relatively lightweight round exceeds certain velocity standards.

For hunting and gelatin shooting and watermelon plinking, pressure wave is important. In the real world it is but one variable when determining the cessation of hostilities. Can't shoot an assailant then follow the blood trail a couple hundred yards to finish him off quite as easily as a deer. When using velocity alone as the primary killing factor, things just happen to get in the way that can and will cause the bullet to shed enough velocity to severely impede its terminal performance. A light bullet deflects far more readily than a heavier one, and when the murder-window is as small as it is with handgun speeds this can be quite the bother.

A 3000 fps .308 or 30-06 round can shed more than half its speed and still impact with enough oomph to generate a pressure wave. A 1400 fps round hits a wrist or a forearm and there goes the impetus.

And remember, gelatin penetration simulates a simulation in that it closely resembles skinned hog meat that closely resembles human tissue. Merely piercing the skin can take 2" of penetration off the total a bullet is designed to yield, and exiting the skin is even worse as it can be as tough as penetrating 4" of gelatin.

To be safe, take the following as an example; If a particular round has been shown to penetrate 12" of gelatin, remember that when entering and exiting something like an arm or even a hand, subtract 6" from that number to arrive at how deeply embedded the bullet will go, ASSUMING it does not hit ANY bone along the way. This is far more critical when discussing lighter weight rounds, as heavier ones employ MOMENTUM to continue penetrating long after their smaller brethren have called it quits.

It is the destruction of tissue that kills. As plain and simple as that. A bullet can use a pressure wave to destroy, or it can use it's mushrooming capabilities to destroy, it can use sheer weight, or in the best case scenario all of the above.

All things being equal, a 135 grain bullet traveling at 1400 fps will create a greater pressure wave than the same round cranking along at 1200 fps. When using such lightweight rounds, it is therefore advisable to select the faster over the slower.

Not that any of this is new. Sounds a lot like common sense, doesn't it. What the Pressure Wave Theory does is help to explain it all. Always bear in mind the following:

Gelatin testing does not take into consideration skin or bone.
Lighter projectiles rely upon speed to kill and anything diminishing the speed diminishes the ability to kill.
Shooting a game animal from ambush is NOT the same as defending oneself against an armed assailant.
The diameter of the bullet and its ability to penetrate remains as important as ever.
Learning to take head shots makes the entire discussion moot. Anything of .32 caliber or above will put an immediate halt to the proceedings, no ifs, ands, or buts. Failing that, keep moving, seek cover and/or concealment, and shoot to slide lock.
If you are not shooting you should be moving. And vice versa.
If the gun you bring to a gunfight is not of a caliber beginning with "4", it better be .357.
ALWAYS bear in mind that handguns are called sidearms for a very good reason. Since WE can't prance around with rifles its the only game in town so remember to be a much better shot with a pistol because you'll need the additional accuracy.
Hesitation kills. The bad guy WILL shoot you so don't wait until you feel the ventilation.

There are about a scazillion more so don't fret over any one thing such as Pressure Wave Theory. It's a piece to the puzzle, nothing more. Carry the biggest caliber you've learned to be accurate with and pressure wave, schmessure wave.

Just as all guns are loaded, everyone is a potential threat. The wife and kids aside of course. Don't even ask about the mother-in-law.

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