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Old April 9, 2015, 09:43 AM   #1
Andrew Wiggin
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What happens when you press a gun into an attacker's body?

I've heard people say that when a handgun is fired against a person's body, that the expanding gases seriously complicate the wound. I tested the theory with a S&W 638.


Link to video of test







Spoiler:










BB: 586.5 fps, 3.2"

Impact velocity: approximately 900 fps
Penetration: 14.1"
Retained weight: 134.5gr
Max expansion: 0.554"
Min expansion: 0.426"


It definitely tore up the clothing pretty well and added a lot of powder particles to the wound, but it doesn't look like the wound is any worse than normal.

Would the results be different with a magnum? What about a rifle or shotgun? Were there just not enough gasses from the .38 spl to be a factor?
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Old April 9, 2015, 10:09 AM   #2
KyJim
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The entry point of a contact/near contact gunshot wound (without intervening clothing) appears differently than those further away. And a shot touching and through clothing effects how the entry wound to the body itself looks. This is often important forensic information when investigating deaths by gunshot.
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Old April 9, 2015, 10:14 AM   #3
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A very interesting test, for sure.
The force of the bullet would expected to be about the same as if the gun was the usual self defense distance of say 3 to 5 yards.
But additional damage from the muzzle blast, flame and powder burns could be expected to add to the misery.
And the bigger the blast, probably the worse it would be.
Just guesstimating, of course.
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Old April 9, 2015, 10:30 AM   #4
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I think burned and unburned powder, and bits of cloth, would be pretty bad things to clean out of a wound.
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Old April 9, 2015, 10:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
What happens when you press a gun into an attacker's body?
A: It depends on the gun. Some semiautos can be held out of battery when muzzle is pressed against someone/thing.

Quote:
I tested the theory with a S&W 638.
Not a theory. Observed results for centuries is not a theory.

Quote:
And a shot touching and through clothing effects how the entry wound to the body itself looks. This is often important forensic information when investigating deaths by gunshot.
Entirely true, and something that hopefully all modern ME's know, but even in this day and age, incorrect conclusions are still made, and do get into the official reports.
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Old April 9, 2015, 11:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Some semiautos can be held out of battery when muzzle is pressed against someone/thing.
True.
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Old April 9, 2015, 12:37 PM   #7
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Pieces of clothing carried into wounds were often more deadly than the bullets themselves because of germs and infections.
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Old April 9, 2015, 12:51 PM   #8
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My COP 357 would just bore some holes.
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Old April 9, 2015, 03:53 PM   #9
Doc TH
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gwhillikers is right. The expanding gasses at contact distance will increase tissue damage significantly. Just look at some autopsy photo's.
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Old April 9, 2015, 04:13 PM   #10
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I really hope, for your sake, that the
BG never gets that close! That's a
Bad storm rising.
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Old April 9, 2015, 04:54 PM   #11
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There are a great many variables when dealing with wounds from a contact shot, things such as point of the contact shot, bare skin, clothing and how heavy, soft tissue or hard (like the skull), angle of muzzle ect.. Characteristically a contact shot will carry (for want of a better phrase)most of the stuff other than just the bullet into the wound usually leaving a soot mark from the powder burn and residue, and on bare skin there is often an imprint of the muzzle left. Contact wound often do not look as bad on the surface as do near standoff wounds do due to lack of clear area for the gasses and residue to spread over a wider external area.
(If you need pictures I'm sure you can find them online somewhere. I still have some of my old textbooks with them but have no desire to post them.)
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Old April 9, 2015, 05:20 PM   #12
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Not a theory. Observed results for centuries is not a theory.
That's correct, but they can't make money unless you look at the video
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Old April 9, 2015, 06:30 PM   #13
Andrew Wiggin
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The "observed results" appear to have been exaggerated, based on the test results. While out is fairly well known that contact gunshot wounds can result in complications due to the gases, that effect seems to be dependent on the amount of gases (obviously). Claims that a .38 snubby will inflate a guy's belly appear to be absolutely incorrect.


As for YouTube revenue, there seems to be a perception out there that posting a video makes the bucks roll in. I spend about 8 hours on each test, when everything is said and done and I have spent a fair amount of money on the gelatin, fuel, ammo, and I even bought a camera just for the purpose. For all that, I earned about a hundred dollars over the course of a year. That means that doing this COSTS me money. I do it because I enjoy it and because I think it is useful and entertaining. If you don't like it or you suspect my motives, I recommend that you refrain from bumping my threads.
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Old April 9, 2015, 08:07 PM   #14
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For all that, I earned about a hundred dollars over the course of a year. That means that doing this COSTS me money.
The videos will keep bringing in money as long as they stay on the site attracting viewers

Quote:
If you don't like it or you suspect my motives, I recommend that you refrain from bumping my threads.
I don't care one way or the other
It's simply a statement of fact that Youtube generates revenue, which is why many like to share them
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Old April 9, 2015, 08:27 PM   #15
Andrew Wiggin
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Yeah, man. In ten years or so I might even break even.
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Old April 10, 2015, 02:44 AM   #16
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I really hope, for your sake, that the
BG never gets that close! That's a
Bad storm rising.
I agree...it begs the question: Why would anyone attempt to employ that tactic? It seems like an ingenious solution to a none existent problem.
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Old April 10, 2015, 10:00 AM   #17
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Quote:
it begs the question: Why would anyone attempt to employ that tactic?
Why? desperation comes to mind as a reason.

And in such a desperate situation, it may not be the worst tactic to use. It may even be the only one available.

Pressing the muzzle against your attacker's body, assuming you have a gun that will fire when you do this, is the ONE method that ensures you will not miss.

It does NOT guarantee you will hit something vital, but the odds are good, and face it, if you are in that situation, you really cannot wait for a better shot.

The most likely situation where one would shove the gun against an attacker is when you are down, and they are on top of you, trying to blend your head into the pavement, or some other life threatening violence.

I'm sure there are other scenarios, but this one comes to mind first. And, they do happen. The Zimmerman case is one recently well publicized example (for political reasons) but there have been numerous other somewhat similar sitations over the years, and there will be some in the future, count on that.

A couple years before the Zimmerman case, opposite end of the country (Seattle) a CPL holder was drinking his coffee at an outdoor café table, when he was (blindsided) attacked knocked to the ground and was being beaten until he was able to draw and fire. The attacker (who was killed) turned out to be a homeless man, and no reason for the attack was ever determined.

Now, I have no idea if the muzzle was pressed against the attacker in these situations, but these are the kind of situations where I would do that, if it were me. I am 100% confident that my Colt snubnose .38 would fire with the muzzle pushed against an attackers body. In that exact situation, my 1911 might not.
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Old April 10, 2015, 10:23 AM   #18
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44 AMP, Nevertheless, the issue central to this thread is not that it is a viable tactic or not, the O.P. was concerned as to the possible increased wounding effect which implies some merit as a tactic.

Also, if employed as a tactic, I can but wonder about its use against a person with a black belt in one of the martial arts.

Further, if the discussion here establishes that it increases stopping power significantly, would it encourage some to attempt such? A purely academic discussion can result in encouraging someone to attempt a dubious action.
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Old April 10, 2015, 10:30 AM   #19
Andrew Wiggin
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I think that many people have a preconceived notion of what a fight will be like.


One should try to avoid trouble if at all possible. You should be aware of your surroundings and take actions to avoid a confrontation before it starts. If you're doing a good job at this, it is likely that if you ever actually do need your gun, it will be because you were attacked without warning. By the time you clear leather, you have already been punched, stabbed, or hit with a brick and there is a sweaty pile of bad guy on top of you.
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Old April 10, 2015, 10:39 AM   #20
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44 AMP, Nevertheless, the issue central to this thread is not that it is a viable tactic or not, the O.P. was concerned as to the possible increased wounding effect which implies some merit as a tactic.
I didn't see any"implications" at all

I just saw discussion about what happens when a gun is discharged while in contact with flesh.

No one even remotely suggested it should be tried intentionally
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Old April 10, 2015, 02:04 PM   #21
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Maybe if my life depended on it, but otherwise I'm not a big fan of firing any weapon with the barrel obstructed.
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Old April 10, 2015, 02:36 PM   #22
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Charlie Askins described a belly gun as one "You press against an opponent's belly and pull the trigger." I would think you would achieve deeper penetration since the bullet is at peak velocity.
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Old April 10, 2015, 03:02 PM   #23
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Clearly this causes more damage but the damage is either superficial, in that it affects the skin layers and outer tissues, or it occurs in the form of wound complications well after the event.

The value of this manouevre would be, as mentioned, guaranteeing a hit when danger is most imminent, but other than that, these ancilliary traumas would not affect the outcome of the attack.

The contact shot either stopped the attack or it didn't.
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Old April 10, 2015, 03:13 PM   #24
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Might I suggest that discussion of the damage done by gas, powder, etc., is pretty academic, with the bullet being sort of "BTW". The muzzle blast from a contact wound, except in the head*, would not be as significant as the wound from the bullet, as shown by contact wounds inflicted by blank cartridges. As to the powder gas inflating the stomach, I think that effect, if any, would not last more than an instant. (Admittedly, in the cases of GSW to the stomach I have personally seen, the victim was in no condition to ask for a bi-carb.)

*In a contact wound to the head, large parts of the skull will be blown into the brain, causing lethal damage, even when a blank cartridge is used.

Jim
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Old April 10, 2015, 03:46 PM   #25
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If your self defense plan is to close with your attacker for a contact shot ..... that a bad plan, on so many levels, Legal being just one of them.

"Yes, Yer Honer, he pulled a knife and said he was going to kill me ....."

" ....... so you pulled your gun and charged him, is that right?"

So many of the personal defense classes teach "Create Distance", "Get Off the X", "Be a Moving Target" ......

Hoping, or even speculating, that a contact wound would be more hurtfull to an attacker is so far down the list of legitimate self defense priorities as to be laughable ...... there are far more important things to worry about.
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