Brass Fetcher Ballistic Testing
Findings Applicable to:
Findings Applicable to:
Summary of Findings
- ↠ Plated 000 buckshot provides the greatest probability of incapacitation of the tested ammunition types in bare gelatin due to its ability to penetrate to the FBI optimum depth of 14.0-16.0 inches.
- ↠ Plated 000 buckshot was negatively-effected to a significant extent by the intervening barrier of FBI Heavy Clothing and penetrated to unsatisfactory depths in this barrier event.
- ↠ Lightweight projectiles (Winchester BB shot and Federal #4 bird shot) at 410 Bore handgun velocities fail to penetrate deeply enough to incapacitate a determined attacker.
- ↠ Hornady product 86238 features a 41-caliber FTX bullet that did not spin-stabilize in the tested firearm. This failure to stabilize and the subsequent failures to expand left the bullet tumbling at widely-varying penetration depths in the block. Bullets designed to wound by tumbling tumble at a narrow range of penetration depths over a wide range of impact velocities – the Hornady 41-caliber FTX wounds by fortunate happenstance in this instance.
- ↠ The Winchester stacked-disk approach is conceptually sound and makes maximum usage of the shot volume available inside of a 2.5” shotshell. Penetration was reduced below acceptable depth by the low sectional density of each disk.
Summary of Data
The Federal Premium Personal Defense 000 buckshot 4 pellets and Hornady Critical Defense 41-caliber FTX over two 35-caliber lead balls were shot at a distance of 7 feet muzzle-to-gelatin block.
The Federal Premium Personal Defense 7/16 ounce #4 birdshot and Winchester PDX1 Defender 3 Disks over ¼ ounce BB shot loads were reduced to 3.5 feet distance from the block to fit all shots on the 6x6 inch gelatin block face.
A handgun firing multiple projectiles per trigger pull has merit in that it increases hit probability during a deadly-force encounter, which has historically been a difficult problem to solve. This quality finds limitation in the low kinetic energy that is inherent to a practical and concealable handgun – the target is still the same regardless of weapon type and the same terminal performance that is required of a single-projectile handgun is required of a large shotgun as it is required of a handgun shooting 410 bore shotgun shells.
In the case of a hit from a single projectile (from a 000 buckshot load as we recommend), it must be considered that each pellet will travel at 723 ft/sec and have a weight of 62gr. This gives each pellet a kinetic energy of 72 ft-lbf. For reference, a 32 Auto 60gr JHP travels at 970 ft/sec which gives this projectile a kinetic energy of 125 ft-lbf.
The utilization of birdshot loads present the intriguing possibility of targeting an opponents eyes as a means of incapacitation. While physically damaging an opponents visual system will give the defender great advantage if maneuver is possible, it will do nothing to stop an attacker who already has a physical hold on you. The human eye will be damaged by a 0.172” steel sphere at 246 ft/sec – there is significant cause for concern that sunglasses and eyeglasses could be capable of retarding the velocity of a birdshot pellet to below its respective eye penetration V50 and rendering the shot ineffective.