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dihnen
March 17, 2011, 09:39 PM
I recently moved into a condominium, and share walls with other condos on two sides, while a third side is a wall between my unit and a common hallway. I worry about firing a shot at an intruder and having it go through one of these common walls (either because I missed or because it went through the intruder). I have a Glock 21 (.45) and a Glock 17 (9mm), both with jacketed hollow points.

My question is, is there a safer round to use in this situation? Or should I consider less lethal alternatives like pepper spray?

Your thoughts are much appreciated!

TXAZ
March 18, 2011, 12:00 AM
Welcome to TFL.
Depending upon the building codes where you live, you may have 1" of sheet rock between you and the kid next door, or you may have 1" of sheet rock and an 8" block wall. I've seen both, which could have a bearing on your decision.

So..... if penetration into adjacent space is a major concern, you may want to consider frangible ammo. Pricier than most, it may be a reasonable alternative, but I'd try it on a couple of sheets of sheet rock first to know what to expect. I'd also try to identify the wall construction.

Conversely, if you need an excuse for another weapon, a Taurus Judge with a .410 shell with bird shot may be worth a look if you don't want to go the frangible route. Without knowing what the walls are constructed of, any advice will only be a guess.

Good luck.

ChileVerde1
March 18, 2011, 01:05 AM
Over-penetration and shoot or don't shoot are all part of the dynamics of use of lethal force. Though, I wouldn't suggest 7.62 fmj's, you cannot substitute frangible ammo for any good quality pistol round and sound judgment. In other words if frangible were the liability free answer to over-penetration or casualties from errant rounds then every SWAT, SRT, etc... would have magazines loaded with them for every warrant served in an apartment complex. I've worked with a lot of them and they don't. Matter of fact, most of what I see now are M4 type weapons loaded with 64gr soft point (LEO Ammo) and either .45acp or .40SW. You just have to calculate what's around and use sound judgment.

Wildalaska
March 18, 2011, 01:36 AM
Condo defense? Lot of square feet to clear.:cool:

Don't you have a secured entry:rolleyes:

Wildtry.38wadcuttersoutofa4inchmodel10Alaska ™©2002-2011

BigBob3006
March 18, 2011, 01:45 AM
dihnen,

May I suggest a 20 gauge shotgun with a light load of very small shot, or a dog. You are limited to power level. If you get a load capable of being mortal, it is also going to be mortal to someone for three or four apartment away. So you're limited to discouraging them instead. you can always make your third shell potent if the bad guy decides to fight. The load I'm referring to was intended to shoot pest in large grain silo and still not poke holes in the sheet metal buildings. :)

NWPilgrim
March 18, 2011, 02:06 AM
It seems common sense that any ammo capable of RELIABLY penetrating enough into a perpetrator, perhaps heavily clothed, is also capable of penetration inch or more of drywall. Some ammo is designed to be frangible, but I question if they only penetrate sufficiently under ideal conditions and are at risk of failing to under less than ideal conditions.

I agree you should get to know the construction of all your condo walls, floors and ceiling. Then consider the most likely directions of shooting in possible threat scenarios. Probably not many directions to worry about: someone busting through front door, shooting from your bedroom into hallway, etc. Then see if any of those directions can be made safer with reinforcements such as heavy bookshelves, metal wall decoration, etc. The reinforcements may not prevent total penetration but could some reduction in velocity and range past your walls.

On the other hand, you don't want a cartridge or ammo known for over penetration such as FMJ, heavy loaded magnums, etc. Hollowpoints often plug up when encountering barriers such as drywall and act like FMJ anyway. But a soft lead tip HP might deform more on barriers yet still penetrate clothing and flesh enough. Perhaps a .38 Special loaded with lead hollowpoints? In fact, one of my nightstand guns is a .38 S&W loaded with Federal Nyclad 125 gr. ammo. Nyclad is a soft lead bullet clad in thin nylon jacket/coating.

In the end, you have to weigh the risk of NOT defending yourself effectively against the risk of injury to others through unintentional misses. And take what precautions you can through planning and preparation of the condo and your reactions. You can reduce the risks of over penetration, but not eliminate the risk totally if you use a reasonably effective cartridge.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 18, 2011, 08:52 AM
I worry about firing a shot at an intruder and having it go through one of these common walls (either because I missed or because it went through the intruder). I have a Glock 21 (.45) and a Glock 17 (9mm), both with jacketed hollow points.

Well, the good news is that if you don't miss and you get a good upper torso hit, there is a minimal chance that a modern hollowpoint from either caliber will still pose a serious threat to someone on the other side of the wall.

The bad news is that if you do miss, a modern hollowpoint round in either caliber is going to penetrate more than once typical interior wall (i.e. a 1/2" piece of sheetrock with no insulation followed by another 1/2" of sheet rock).

So the number one thing you can do to alleviate your problem is not miss. Unfortunately, even among those who train, this doesn't always happen once it is a real shootout; but there is no question that training is a major, major part of solving this problem.

The next point to understand is that a firearm is lethal force. A lot depends on your state law; but typically, you can only use it if there is a reasonable, immediate fear of death or serious injury.

Your best chance to immediately end such a threat (http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/index.htm) is to physiologically force their body to shut down by putting a bullet in a large, blood-bearing organ or hitting their central nervous system. Unfortunately, any round that is capable of doing this, is also capable of penetrating multiple typical interior walls.

You can use loads that penetrate less. The problem with this is these loads may not penetrate deeply enough to physiologically force an attacker to stop what he is doing; but at the same time, they can still kill. So you are still bound to treat them as lethal force legally; but they are less likely to be effective.

Finally, if you do choose to use loads that have limited penetration in a typical interior wall, you have to accept that if your intruder also has a firearm, he will be able to shoot through a great deal of your home; but you will not. He will have cover. You will have concealment. You are going to have to weigh whether that possibility is a greater threat to bystanders than having a more effective load in your firearm.

At the end of the day, you have to give careful consideration to what solution works best for you. There just aren't any real easy answers here.

If you do decide to go with a firearm and use a load that meets FBI criteria, you need to give some thought to how you can arrange your home to better deal with this. Can you place furniture to channel movement into an area with a safe backstop? Can you "reinforce" common walls with bookcases, TVs, appliances, etc?

psyfly
March 18, 2011, 09:06 AM
First, I do not consider myself an authority in this matter.

I work about 200 miles from my home and spend a lot of nights in an apartment.

For quick access I have a Ruger Security Six loaded with .38spl wadcutters.

If I have a little more time, I have a 20 ga coach gun under the bed with #4 turkey loads.

Too many variables to eliminate danger to neighbors; just minimize risk. However, I have yet to hear of or read about an injury resulting from the situation we are talking about managing (essentially, accidental injury via wall penetration in SD situation).

Best,

Will

Old Grump
March 18, 2011, 09:08 AM
Now the 12 gauge 3" magnum guys will scream but a pump action 20 gauge, reduced or regular field loads out of 2 3/4" shells and #4 shot will ruin a boogermans day.

It will still go through a wall but wont have much punch left after it does. hi viz rear and front sights on the barrel and chopped somewhere between 18"-20".

No it won't blow that satisfying hole through the boogerman the chest that the chest thumpers want but a face full of shot is going to make him reconsider his choice of occupation and his location, a load of #4 in the groin doubles him over with pain and a good likelihood of taking him out of the gene pool. Your intent is to stop an attack and render an invader incapable of hurting you or your family without killing the neighbors dog or his TV or him. No perfect solution but this is the one I chose.

Alaska444
March 18, 2011, 01:37 PM
We are buying a condo with one common wall, really a duplex instead of a condo, but it is treated as a condo by the assoiciation. I like the idea of 20 ga with birdshot. In close quarters, that is still a whole lot of lead doing the job.

markj
March 18, 2011, 03:08 PM
May I suggest a 20 gauge shotgun with a light load of very small shot, or a dog.

Must be a small dog to fit into a 20 ga :)

MTT TL
March 19, 2011, 07:38 AM
Conversely, if you need an excuse for another weapon, a Taurus Judge with a .410 shell with bird shot may be worth a look if you don't want to go the frangible route.

:eek:

Yeah, um, you might want to try that out first on a target. .410 out of that short barrel will not even penetrate thick cardboard at 25 feet, much less clothes and skin. Try it yourself, I have.


Your best chance to immediately end such a threat is to physiologically force their body to shut down by putting a bullet in a large, blood-bearing organ or hitting their central nervous system. Unfortunately, any round that is capable of doing this, is also capable of penetrating multiple typical interior walls.

You can use loads that penetrate less. The problem with this is these loads may not penetrate deeply enough to physiologically force an attacker to stop what he is doing; but at the same time, they can still kill. So you are still bound to treat them as lethal force legally; but they are less likely to be effective.

Finally, if you do choose to use loads that have limited penetration in a typical interior wall, you have to accept that if your intruder also has a firearm, he will be able to shoot through a great deal of your home; but you will not. He will have cover. You will have concealment. You are going to have to weigh whether that possibility is a greater threat to bystanders than having a more effective load in your firearm.

At the end of the day, you have to give careful consideration to what solution works best for you. There just aren't any real easy answers here.

QFT.

I will add however that the odds of hitting someone unintentionally outside of your condo with a couple of well placed shots are very much against it. Were you in a conventional home the odds of hitting one of your neighbors is extremely low.

Part of it has to do with the function of the number of your neighbors in a 360 degree arc from you and the number that are actually in range. Should you fire lots of shots in a seemingly random pattern (as you see people do in many movies) then the odds start to go against you.

Glenn Dee
March 19, 2011, 09:10 AM
I'll go with Old Grump

The 20 ga shotgun is in my opinion the best option. I also live in an apartment. Well see you guys later... going shopping for a 20 ga buh-buy

Glenn D.

Wyosmith
March 19, 2011, 09:42 AM
Yes I agree with some of the posters above
A shotgun with a load of #7 1/2 or #8 shot is deadly at close range, but the penetration of the charge is very limited after it strikes anything solid.
A 20 Ga with a full cylinder "choke' is going to be the best option for you.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 19, 2011, 10:38 AM
I've got a file of news clippings of people shot with birdshot at room length distances who survived just fine and continued to be functional. They include stories like:

90+ year old man shoots himself in abdomen at contact distance while cleaning. Decides to wrap it up and go to sleep. Wakes up and it is really hurting, so he goes to the hospital.

13yr old girl gets shot in the back of the head with 12ga #6 from across the patio. She survives by running away.

Bad guy gets shot in the face with #6 high brass from at across the room distance and is blinded in one eye. He kills the person who shot him and drives 2 hours to his hometown where he is persuaded to go to the hospital.

Those are the more memorable ones; but by no means all of them. Any projectile has to penetrate to physiologically stop someone. If it doesn't, you may still convince them to change their mind; but you need to have a realistic understanding that no firearm is a death ray or a guaranteed stop.

bighead46
March 19, 2011, 12:03 PM
What is the most likely scenario you will face? Most home invasions don't occur while you are sitting in the livingroom watchingTV. The more likely scenario is that it is later at night and you are in your bedroom. Keep your bedroom door closed, in fact a locked bedroom door is just another level of safety, few perps are going to try to knock down the door. Keep a hall light on and keep your bedroom dark- they can't see you and you can see them.
Get on the far side of the bed, call the cops, tell them you are in your bedroom with a firearm and what your name is- so they can call out when they get there.
Now if you have to shoot.
1. The perps broke into your place.
2. They know you are in your bedroom- tell them you're armed and to leave.
3. You told them you called the cops.
4. They break down your locked bedroom door anyway.
5. At that point you know you are dealing with a really bad situation- fire away. A long barrelled pistol helps you to hit the perps- IMHO.
6. If you miss- what is beyond your position and the door to your bedroom? Usually this is an angled shot and a stray bullet will go into a neighbor's livingroom/ bathroom, etc- a place where at a late night hour ought to be empty.

g.willikers
March 19, 2011, 03:20 PM
If there's no one living above you, shooting from a low position might be a consideration.
Misses and over penetrations would go into the ceiling and roof.
If this is the case, you could practice dropping to one knee while firing.

Old Grump
March 19, 2011, 04:01 PM
Bartholomew Roberts, there are some missing details like what gauge shotgun. and load did the old man use and why was it loaded when he was cleaning it, story is fishy.

The 2 that got hit with #6 shot were at room distance, I am talking about #4 shot at contact distance with bad guy, more likely 10' than 30'. The others were shot once and ran. Running is good and I would like to see the bad guy show me his back as he leaves my house, garage, lawn whatever. The faster he goes the better for me. He will be easy to find when the police go to the nearest pellet picking facility, ie. ER. If he doesn't leave then another shot or 2 or 3 will most certainly make him rethink his present location and choice of occupation.
http://img585.imageshack.us/img585/4504/afterno4birdshot.th.jpg (http://img585.imageshack.us/i/afterno4birdshot.jpg/)

This is a Mepps gas bottle, it's pretty heavy gauge steel. Shot with that Fiocchi field load 2 3/3" shotshell you see alongside it. 10 yards with #4 shot and it was crunched in to nearly half of its diameter with 4 pellets actually penetrating. Going to be a pretty tough boogerman that will be as bullet proof as that gas can.

JohnKSa
March 19, 2011, 04:11 PM
I recently moved into a condominium, and share walls with other condos on two sides, while a third side is a wall between my unit and a common hallway. I worry about firing a shot at an intruder and having it go through one of these common walls (either because I missed or because it went through the intruder). I have a Glock 21 (.45) and a Glock 17 (9mm), both with jacketed hollow points.Is the intruder similarly concerned with your neighbors' safety? If he is not then I suggest the best round you can use is the one that makes HIM stop shooting as quickly as possible.

The fewer rounds fired, the safer the good guys will be. So the safest round you can use is the one that ends the shooting from both sides the quickest.

John Eastwood
March 20, 2011, 01:27 PM
My 590 Mariner 12gauge. Load it up with the first 1 or 2 as non-lethal rubber pellets. Next 7 rounds...the good stuff (I use #4 and #6).

http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa132/appalachianaction/Mossberg.jpg

microman
March 20, 2011, 01:38 PM
Or should I consider less lethal alternatives like pepper spray?

http://www.iammo.com/images/product/large/S-47058-FHP01.jpg

Found this Sabre Red Home Defense Model


One blast stops multiple attackers :D
Effective up to 25' away
Proven Sabre Red formula



Your Price (each): $49.99

MLeake
March 20, 2011, 01:54 PM
... you'll find that one of the safest rounds to use, with regard to NOT penetrating multiple interior walls, is 5.56mm (as long as you avoid the rounds specifically designed for penetration).

Standard 5.56mm from a carbine or rifle will typically come apart when it hits a wall, losing almost all its energy.

It penetrates less layers of drywall than a shot pattern will (assuming the shot pattern is still relatively tight).

So, if I were worried about a duplex or condo environment, I'd probably go with a reflex-sight equipped AR.

MTT TL
March 20, 2011, 02:40 PM
... you'll find that one of the safest rounds to use, with regard to NOT penetrating multiple interior walls, is 5.56mm (as long as you avoid the rounds specifically designed for penetration).

Standard 5.56mm from a carbine or rifle will typically come apart when it hits a wall, losing almost all its energy.

It penetrates less layers of drywall than a shot pattern will (assuming the shot pattern is still relatively tight).

So, if I were worried about a duplex or condo environment, I'd probably go with a reflex-sight equipped AR.

This is quite sound advice. Fragmenting round in 5.56 are commonly available at Wal-mart too, if you want to take the extra step of caution but will still be more effective against an intruder than birdshot due to hydrostatic shock. The shorter barrel, lighter weight, higher ammo capacity of an AR gives it a huge advantage over a shotgun, and the power levels are much better than nearly all handguns. Rubber bullets and bear spray are likely not going to be particularly effective in stopping a home invasion.

markj
March 21, 2011, 02:18 PM
If you do decide on a 20 ga and you do decide on using bird shot, try to use number 2 shot. It is big and meant for geese, means deep penetration.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 22, 2011, 01:10 PM
Load it up with the first 1 or 2 as non-lethal rubber pellets.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=445382

.wheelgunner.
March 22, 2011, 08:04 PM
May I suggest a 20 gauge shotgun with a light load of very small shot, or a dog.

Must be a small dog to fit into a 20 ga

That's too funny.