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Old July 4, 2013, 11:35 PM   #1
deb98126
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Glock .40 and body damage

Can anyone tell me--does a .40 caliber Glock have the firing power to blow off half of a person's face? I'm a writer and one of my characters shoots a terrorist in the face with a Glock. Is the scenario factual?

Thanks!

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Old July 4, 2013, 11:45 PM   #2
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Interesting question. I am not a ballistics expert, but I am going to say no.

I think what you'll see if you shoot someone in the head with a .40 is going to be a .40 caliber sized entrance hole and a somewhat larger exit hole (especially if there are hollowpoints that will expand well in that medium). You'll probably also see spiderweb type fragments as the impact would probably crack the skull. You might even see some collapsing of the skull if enough breaks, but I think that sounds a little extravagant.

It also depends where in the head. Top of the head, would be less likely, I would think. If it goes in the front and exits at the base of the skull or the dent just above it, I imagine you would see some pretty spectacular shattering.


What would take off half a person's face, I would imagine, would be a shotgun blast or a rifle maybe 7.62 or above. A 5.56 might but I see it being more like a needle and having a small wound channel.

This is all fiction of course so I hope I never have to find out.
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Old July 4, 2013, 11:47 PM   #3
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There's nothing special about Glocks, so any handgun chambered in .40S&W that is roughly comparable in terms of barrel length would be similarly capable.

To answer the question about damage is difficult. An expanding round could do significant damage depending on a lot of variables, and a large facial wound would probably elicit a more visceral/subjective response than a coldly accurate/objective assessment from most people. I guess what I'm saying is that there's the potential for there to be enough damage that the average joe might make a comment that suggests half the person's face was blown off, but it wouldn't be a medically accurate assessment.

So how would such a wound be caused? Entry wounds are typically not very impressive. Generally you get a caliber sized hole (0.4 inches in diameter, in this case) and not much more. An exit wound from an expanding round, or from a round that is exiting the skull or through a bone could be much larger due to the expansion of the bullet and secondary projectiles caused by the displaced bone. The extent of the damage could be pretty grisly in some circumstances.

I would expect that if damage from a pistol round might be exaggeratedly characterized as "blowing off half a person's face", it would most likely be the result of a bullet exiting on that side of the face. Perhaps a side-to-side wound, or an exit wound from a bullet that entered from the back. It's also possible that a bullet that hit from the front at an angle and glanced off the facial bones or teeth and exited to the side could create an ugly but probably superficial wound.

One other thing. A .40 caliber Glock would likely be a civilian weapon--one used by law enforcement (FBI/police/DEA/etc.) or by a private citizen. I'm not aware of any militaries that issue Glocks in that caliber. So if your terrorist is being shot by a soldier, you'll need to explain why he would have a gun/caliber combination that's not typically issued to military personnel.

By the way, thanks for checking--you can't imagine how irritating it is to read ridiculous things about firearms in otherwise good stories.
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Old July 4, 2013, 11:53 PM   #4
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Range, type of ammunition...

Depending on the range & type of ammunition, it could be possible for a .40S&W caliber bullet to do severe damage to a human face.
Id suggest you include the use of frangible or pre-fragmented handgun round like a MagSafe SWAT, DRT or Glaser Safety Slug(silver).
Other authors like Richard Marcinko; www.DickMarcinko.com & Steven Hunter: I, Sniper, Point of Impact have scenes where a character used a MagSafe load or Glaser Safety Slug.

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PS another great screenwriter/research forum is www.ScriptSales.com .
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Old July 5, 2013, 12:06 AM   #5
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Also important for you as a writer is where in the
face the round hits. A shot from the side into the
Zygoma could cause a very large facial wound.
Have seen those types of wounds when working
in the ER.
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Old July 5, 2013, 01:15 AM   #6
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Thank you Carne, Clyde, John and Dakota. Good information and helps me a lot.
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Old July 5, 2013, 01:48 AM   #7
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One last question. If one was shot with alternating bullets in a Glock --solid lead then hollow point with lead shot--would that blow of a person's face?

Thanks.
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Old July 5, 2013, 02:17 AM   #8
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no and alternating ammo is a stupid idea. It can cause feeding issues. Solids are referred to as FMJ not lead shot.

Can't shoot lead in glocks!
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Old July 5, 2013, 02:45 AM   #9
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Potentially yes and no. Me thinks you are REALLY excited about blowing off a fictional character's face. There are advantages to FMJ, and advantages to hollow points, but you know what the pros and cons are. With mixed loads, you're gambling every time. Doesn't seem to make sense to me.
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Old July 5, 2013, 03:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
deb98126 posted
One last question. If one was shot with alternating bullets in a Glock --solid lead then hollow point with lead shot--would that blow of a person's face?
The answer is almost certainly "no", but I'm a little confused with the question. "Hollow point with lead shot"? Are you talking about some of those specialty rounds like the Glaser ammo that is supposed to be awesome but hasn't actually proven to be better or more reliable than normal hollow-points? And it's very hard to find lead-bullet ammo for semi-auto calibers; those are mostly only used by hand-loaders who make their own super-cheap range ammo. And alternating lead and hollow-point ammo would only mean every other shot was less effective and damaging than the other. Trust me when I say that if you have your character in the book use anything but JHPs (copper-jacketed hollow-points) your scene will scream "unrealistic" to anyone who knows anything about firearms.

Traditional modern hollow-point ammo is what police use, civilians use, and has proven to be the most reliable and effective in terms of stopping a threat. Books and movies always act like there are better, more effective rounds out there that only the government and bad guys use, but there aren't. The military uses full-metal jacket ammo (FMJ), but only because the Hague Convention forbids them from using more effective hollow-point ammo.

Here's some good rules to use in the scenes in your book: Guns don't knock people down or make them fly back, and they almost always cause a lot less visible damage than you think they will.

Quote:
JohnKSa posted
One other thing. A .40 caliber Glock would likely be a civilian weapon--one used by law enforcement (FBI/police/DEA/etc.) or by a private citizen. I'm not aware of any militaries that issue Glocks in that caliber. So if your terrorist is being shot by a soldier, you'll need to explain why he would have a gun/caliber combination that's not typically issued to military personnel.
I've heard that many special forces units have been known to use Glocks, and specifically Delta Force uses Glock 22s, but I have no first-hand knowledge of that.
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Old July 5, 2013, 03:21 AM   #11
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OP, here's a good reference for you: Go on YouTube and watch the Zapruder video of JFK getting shot. He gets hit in the head with a rifle round that has about six times the energy of a .40 S&W, and he just loses a small chunk of his head. I find it very hard to imagine how anyone could lose half their face from getting shot with a normal handgun round. Like Dakota said, if they get shot in the face, they'll have a small hole in their face, and a somewhat larger exit hole in the back of their head.
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Old July 5, 2013, 05:36 AM   #12
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...specifically Delta Force uses Glock 22s, but I have no first-hand knowledge of that.
Interesting. I hadn't heard that, but you are correct--there do seem to be rumors to that effect.
Quote:
One last question. If one was shot with alternating bullets in a Glock --solid lead then hollow point with lead shot--would that blow of a person's face?
Alternating rounds wouldn't have any special effect, but a LOT of shots could do nearly anything. I've seen a tree cut down with pistol fire, but it took some time and more than just a couple of magazines full of rounds.

If it's critical to the plot that the terrorist's face get blown off or half blown off by a shot from the front and realism is a concern, a shotgun would probably be the best bet.
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Old July 5, 2013, 11:34 AM   #13
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Glock 21 .45acp; Killing Bin Laden....

I don't know how or where the "SF uses Glock .40s" started.
To my limited knowledge, a few "spec-ops" units did use Glock sidearms.
The Glock 21 .45acp. This was detailed in the non-fiction book; Killing Bin Laden, by a former member of the US Army Delta Force(also called CAG or Combat Applications Group).
Glocks in different calibers were in use by the ISA, SEALs, SAD(the covert para-military section of the CIA), SOCOM, etc but the model 22 .40S&W was not a standard issue anywhere I ever read or heard of(other than gun forums).

FWIW; tier one special operations forces have, by SOP, a lot of leeway in terms of weapons & sidearms. Most use the M11 9mmNATO the 1911a1 .45acp or the Glock 21 .45acp. Many get custom or prototype weapons too.
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Old July 5, 2013, 12:04 PM   #14
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As writing and accuracy are not synonymous you can make it do anything you want.

I just read a Punk Steam book that had a buy hand carrying a Civil War era Galling gun into battle (weight alone is impossible and as it was hand crank...... I just pretended it was like the rest of the implausible stuff and accepted it)

Have fun as the in depth folks are going to pick it apart for all sorts of other reasons and a minor faux paux on guns is not going to make the least bit of difference.

note: its virtually impossible to get a really accurate book that deals with anything technical as there are too many expert fields you cross these days and you can spend a lifetime gettign it right and not get a book out. Just the way it is.
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Old July 5, 2013, 01:15 PM   #15
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Glock .40 and body damage

12 ga with buck shot at 10ft maybe. I can't see it as probable with much of anything else. Anything is possible though and I wouldn't stop reading a good book for an error of such. Let us know when it comes out.
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Old July 5, 2013, 01:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
One last question. If one was shot with alternating bullets in a Glock --solid lead then hollow point with lead shot--would that blow of a person's face?

Thanks.
I take it you have no idea of wounds created by handgun rounds. If you are writing fiction then a .40 will blow your face of if you are writing about reality than no. As for the above question are you joking or for real.
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Old July 5, 2013, 03:22 PM   #17
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manta49, Deb is somebody who's just now beginning the learning curve. No need for sarcasm.

Nobody was ever born an expert anything. I sure don't pretend to know it all, and I've been shooting for some seventy-three years.
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Old July 5, 2013, 03:25 PM   #18
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Well said !!
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Old July 5, 2013, 03:51 PM   #19
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Nobody was ever born an expert anything. I sure don't pretend to know it all, and I've been shooting for some seventy-three years
I don't see its as sarcasm I was serious it was the first thing that came into my mind its being honest not sarcastic. I don't know everything but I know enough not to believe what I see in the movies. PS I am not even sure what is meant by blowing someone's face of their nose mouth all their face blown off as in a explosion doesn't make sense to me.

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Old July 5, 2013, 04:49 PM   #20
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Fiction writers have vivid imaginations. Every now and then it's sorta nice to have one try to stay within reason, to stay in touch with reality.

I've killed some four dozen deer with a high-powered rifle. I thus have a wee tad of difficulty in believing that a handgun will knock some guy flying away from the shooter. However, our friends in Hollywood...

So when somebody shows up admitting a lack of knowledge, I figure it's wise to be politely helpful.

Handguns? I shot a jackrabbit with a .45ACP hardball. Ten yards. Sideways, through the middle. He didn't move at all. Just sat there, looking sad. After about a minute he finally laid over on his side, in "I quit" mode.

Makes me all happified when folks try to stay in touch with reality in their stories.
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Old July 5, 2013, 05:14 PM   #21
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Handguns? I shot a jackrabbit with a .45ACP hardball. Ten yards. Sideways, through the middle. He didn't move at all. Just sat there, looking sad. After about a minute he finally laid over on his side, in "I quit" mode.
I find that hard to believe the rabbit would have exploded and if shot with a .45.
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Old July 5, 2013, 05:23 PM   #22
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FWIW, I've seen some people alternate HP and FMJ in their Glock - in this case, an older lady whose gun was probably loaded by her son, a SF operative of some sort. I've never met the son, so I haven't had the chance to question the reasoning.
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Old July 5, 2013, 06:53 PM   #23
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In my .45ACP I prefer the "flying trashcan" sort of bullet. However, "in case of in case" I have sometimes had the top round of the mag be hardball. But I've never had a feeding problem. It's just a wee dab of defense against Mr. Murphy. Deliberately alternating rounds has never crossed my mind, for close to fifty years, now.
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Old July 5, 2013, 11:14 PM   #24
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Last GSW to the face that I came across had more damage from the maggots then the gun shot. If you want an answer go to the the range and shoot a target at 5 yds, 3 yds and then point blank. You will see heavy damage the closer you get. Severe tissue damage will occur from the muzzle blast as you can see from the target example. You can use the depiction in the novel but you may have to move the characters closer together.

As to the rabbit reference I shot a rabid raccoon at less than 5 yds with a 357 sig three times. The first shot he didn't flinch and kept walking, the second the same and the third he turned and ran away and was never located. All three rounds were in the chest. Win Ranger sxt.
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Old July 5, 2013, 11:35 PM   #25
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If you want this story to be realistic (at meast from a physics standpoint) then perhaps have ypu character that does the shooting have a much larger caliber handgun..if it is something powerful enough to be able to believe it would do that kind of damage well you cant beat the 500 magnum but that is not a realitic choice combat weapon by any means a desert eagle may be the next step down in. 50ae but even that may be pushing it..but hey at the end of the day its your story and god knows there have been more unbeliable things in other books or movies than that so why not.
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