29 Mar 99

This from a gunsmith friend of mine offshore:

“Stainless barrels are the most frequently damaged ones over here. I’ve seen premium-grade barrels, from major US manufacturers, crack at the lower, lug area (1911 Colt). This is odd since all were fitted by reputable, local smiths who knew what they were doing. Curiously, I’ve never seen this cracking with carbon-steel tubes. Perhaps there is some truth to Will Schuemann’s thesis that stainless does not make for good barrel steel.”

From a police officer friend in the Midwest:

“I first demonstrated shooting the side windows (1985 Pontiac Bonneville) at a sixty-degree angle to the glass with the handgun bullets (9mm hard ball, 9mm Federal Hydra-shok, 40 S&W Federal FMJ, and Hydra-shok, .357Mg Federal Hydra-shok, 357Sig Federal Hydra-shok, .45ACP hardball, .45ACP 185gr Cor-Bon, and .400 Cor-Bon).

Although the side windows sometimes broke, none of the bullets penetrated to the interior of the vehicle. In most cases, the window didn’t even break. None of the bullets penetrated through the windshield when fired at a similar angle. There were several “tears” in the windshield with holes evident, but no penetration to the interior.

Manikins were placed in the front and rear seats. At a ninety-degree angle to the door panels, few of the handgun bullets penetrated to the interior, with either the front or the rear doors. The .357Sig and the 400 Cor-Bon penetrated most often, making round, penetrating holes in the manikins. Some of the other bullets penetrated through the door at times, but the marks they made in the manikins were irregular and small. It was obviously just small pieces of bullet, which would cause no significant damage.

Twelve-gauge buckshot (both nine and twelve-pellet loads) failed to penetrate any of the doors at all. A foster slug fired at the rear door penetrated nicely through the door and lodged in the door opposite to where we were shooting. Another slug, fired at the front door did not penetrate at all. I suspect it hit the interior side beam.

With regard to rifle rounds, the 223 penetrated to the interior about half the time, but only when fired at ninety-degree angle, and, even then, were badly broken up when they came through to the interior. ‘Wounds’ on the manikins were mostly just spatter didn’t look very serious. None made it through both doors. The 30-Soviet round easily penetrated the door, the manikin, and left a large bulge on the exterior of the opposite side door. The .308Win effortlessly penetrated through and through, both doors and the manikin.

Thus, if you need to stop someone hiding in a car or on the other side of a car, you had better have a .308 or bigger!”

In my experience, the foregoing applies only to cars in the USA. South African cars and those in many other countries are not nearly as resistant to bullet penetration.

” ‘Vigilance’ means maintaining the highest level of alertness. ‘Foresight’ means seldom having to experience that which hasn’t been contemplated in advance. If foresight has never imagined what vigilance detects, the line between luck and competence blurs, and you touch base with your own personal deity! On the other hand, if you have foreseen your problem and recognized it soon
enough to implement a plan, you’re in a good spot to make a ‘straight A’ response to the test.”
Phinneas Sprague.