Originally posted by LockedBreechThe only real objective standards of evidence we have for round effectiveness right now are the FBI and IWBA gel and barrier tests, which show that the .380 ACP performs a lot like a standard pressure .38 Special, a round that has done the job for many years. Not ideal, but not ineffective.
That's if you want to forget that the FBI has had 4 significant ammunition failures in the past 30 years. The first was at the "Miami Shootout" and it wasn't because a .38 Special to the face failed to stop the fight. It was because of an underpentrating 115 gr. SilverTip that caused a wound that was deemed unsurvivable later, but at the actual time of the gunfight, the perp did survive long enough to kill additional FBI agents with the SilverTip lodged just short of his heart. There have been a number of cases where LE officers used full power .41 and .44 Magnum rounds that because of their excessive energy, overpenetrated and didn't expand failing to stop the perp.
And speaking of the IWBA, it's best known member, Martin Fackler, convinced the FBI after the "Miami Shootout" that the solution was a subsonic 147 gr. JHP in 9mm, with many LE agencies following suit, with the result being little expansion and overpenetration to the point that innocent bystanders had been struck by bullets that had completely penetrated through their intended target. Fackler followed that up with the recommendation of the 10mm "Lite" that was also subsonic, penetrated deeply but with little expansion. It was deemed a failure. Then the .40 S&W came along and this time Fackler convinced the FBI to use a 165 gr. "Medium Velocity" load that performed as bad or worse than the 10mm "Lite". He still preaches penetration after shot placement with the same old subsonic theme except that we now have better technology bullets that will expand better at subsonic velocity. Then there's doc GKRoberts recommending things like the most effective load for defense with a .44 Magnum is a 300 gr. XTP that's designed for deep penetration in large game with controlled expansion. The third musketeer is Duncan MacPherson who states that 18" is the desired
maximum penetration in gelatin and that might work, in GELATIN. I can provide a link if anyone wants to read the actual statement from Roberts where he also quotes MacPherson right here:http://www.ar15.com/ammo/project/Sel..._FAQ/index.htm
The tests that the FBI uses today were actually copied from the Texas DPS when they selected their current service autos and cartridge. The DPS had a long and distinguished history using the .357 Magnum and in particular, the 125 gr. JHP since its inception. The DPS testing occurred before the wave of new bullet technology and bonded bullets. Only 2 cartridges passed all of the barrier tests with satisfactory penetration and expansion into ballistic gel. 1. the cartridge they adopted, the 125 gr. JHP in .357 SIG. 2. A 147 gr. JHP in 9mm rated +P+ that delivered around 1175 FPS from the SIG/Sauer P-226. The 9mm +P+ round was dropped from consideration only because of the possible bad press that might be associated with a +P+ label on their ammunition. No subsonic round passed the tests and neither the .40 S&W or the .45 ACP rounds they used passed the tests. The DPS has had very few issues in using either the 125 gr. JHP in .357 Magnum or the SIG. What do these rounds have in common that they deem so desirable? They both provide penetration even after barriers and still expanded reliably and provide a minimum of 500 Ft/Lbs of KE into their target. In the past 150 years, no one has had more gun fighting experience than the DPS/Texas Rangers with the recent exception of the US Border Patrol. In the findings of M&S's research, they concluded pretty much the same thing and their biggest detractor has been Martin Fackler who's never had a plausible explanation for the 125 gr. .357 Magnum's outstanding street record. There is far better research being conducted today than theories like bleed-out where you can be killed while waiting. This will also shed some light on Martin Fackler's feud with M&S if you have any basic concept of physics:http://www.btgresearch.org/wb.htm
As far as the 9mm case only being 2mms longer than the .380's, it also develops 35,000 PSI for standard pressure ammo with a 38,500 PSI max. for the better 124 gr. +P loads. The max. pressure rating for the .380 is 21,500 PSI and none of the major ammo makers load anywhere close to it. For that you'll need boutique loads from companies like CorBon, Underwood, Double-Tap or Buffalo Bore with some of them wearing a +P label.