View Full Version : Winter Clothing: Effect on Ammo Penetration & Deflection

December 8, 2007, 02:30 PM
I live in an area that the question arises: winters routinely see lows in the teens and sometimes below to "0", and I ccw when I am outside at night, which I am more than some. Typical winter clothing would be parkas, heavy scarves, sweatshirts/sweaters underneath. Course, if it gets real, real cold, then I stay with my furnace. But I am ccwing in the teens at times outside.

What effect does this clothing have on a bullet in terms of penetration, deforming, deflection etc. I ccw in 3 calibers: snub with standard .38 Special, a 4" .357 magum, and a full-size .45 semi-auto, in my case a GAP, equivalent to .45 ACP in power.
So, these are my focus.

Unfortunately, in winter the easiest ccw is the snub in outside coat pocket, and this is the weakest round, though I will be using two Buffalo Bore heavy styles, .38 Specials that have speeds at around 840 fps, one a hardened wadcutter that hits on the flatside, like a cookie cutter (no expansion as it already is somewhat expanded) and one style a full and soft lead that deforms significantly on the hit. Both "expand" but are not hp, avoiding the problems of non-expansion of hps in .38 Special out of a snub.

Any info on this general question?

Hard Ball
December 8, 2007, 04:39 PM
Heay multiple layes of clothing may cause the nose cavit of a JHP bullet to plug resulting in little or no bullet expansion.If this happens you are really firing FMJs.

December 8, 2007, 09:01 PM
The FBI, DOJ, or somebody posted some results of this kind of testing on the net some years ago. It seems that some bullets did better than others. I seem to recall Speer Gold Dots and Remington Golden Sabers beating the snot out of nearly all the Winchester and CCI test offerings. But yeah, I too have heard about the hollow points filling up with cloth and acting like fmj's.

December 8, 2007, 09:06 PM
This is related to it somewhat. http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot36.htm

December 8, 2007, 11:22 PM
I would not worry with a .357, .40 or a .45. I carry a .357 snubbie alot and i never worry about a problem with penetration. I shoot 158grn hydrashoks in winter and never worry. In my .40 i carry 180's in the winter and again no worries

T. O'Heir
December 10, 2007, 05:45 PM
No parka, heavy scarf or sweatshirt/sweater will stop a bullet.
"...lows in the teens and sometimes below to "0"..." What would you do if it ever got cold? Start by changing the lube you use in your firearm and the ammo. Cold weather effects both. You should learn to shoot with gloves on too.

December 11, 2007, 02:53 PM
All the testing I've seen (FBI, RCMP, etc) shows bullets penetrating more, not less, through heavy winter clothing, even from .38 snubbies.

2 inch 38/4 layers of denim:

Fed Nyclad 125 17/.41
Fed 110 PDHS 13.7/.44
CorBon 125 +P 16/.25 inches/.41 caliber
CB 110 +P DPX 14/.61
Fed 158 +P SWCHP 21.5/.36
Rem 125 +P GS 13.5/.62
Speer 135 +P GD 14.7/.53

Some report no expansion through denim, but then they all penetrate enough (at least 12 inches).

December 12, 2007, 08:25 PM
when you look at ammunition tests on sites such as 'box of truth', and see bullets traveling through multiple boards, or gallons of water, it points out that 3/4 inch of clothing is not going to stop much.

December 13, 2007, 12:44 PM
No parka, heavy scarf or sweatshirt/sweater will stop a bullet.

That's both true and not true. A single layer of any textile will not stop a bullet. However, almost all bullet-stopping technology is based upon multiple layers of thin material.

Heh. The very oldest body armor? Silk. Layers and layers of thin silk. And yes, it did work -- marginally -- against the earliest firearms.

So the answer to the OP's question is, "It depends." It depends upon how many layers the assailant is wearing, and what those layers are constructed of. It depends whether your hollowpoint gets clogged immediately (thus penetrating more than it otherwise would) or opens up (thus penetrating less). It depends whether your bullet cuts sharply through the material or not. It depends upon distance, upon angles, upon bullet weight and speed, upon nose shape, upon a whole host of other factors.

Lots of variables here. But it's untrue to say, flatly, that multiple layers of heavy winter clothing cannot affect bullet performance. It most certainly can.


December 13, 2007, 01:00 PM
I can tell you that a t-shirt, long underwear, 3 sweatshirts, and a surplus Army field jacket w insulated liner, 150 pound bad guy, same stuff on opposite side did NOT stop a 125 +P JHP from a snubbie in at least one shooting I know of. Found under field jacket on far side w some minor deformation after penetrating everything in between. ;)

Will lots of thick clothes affect bullet performance? Yes. Will it stop a bullet? Veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery unlikely.

Teeth have stopped bullets too, but I wouldn't consider my dazzling smile protection... ;)

warrior poet
December 13, 2007, 07:12 PM
Basically, for the temperatures you're talking, I wouldn't worry a bit. Your summer load would work fine. But you need to practice with gloves too. See how hard it becomes to work your weapon in those nice, thick, warm gloves.
In extreme cold, like Norway or Barrow, Alaska (been to both... brrrr), temperature has a far greater effect. The cold slows down the powder burn inside the bullet giving a lower muzzle velocity, leading to erratic groups. It'll still do the job, but your "group" looks like a shotgun pattern. Plus all the arctic clothing make weapon control an issue too. But you're not shooting at -50, so don't worry too much.

December 15, 2007, 07:22 PM
...try it yerself'...get the ammo you wanna' use and shoot it through whatever clothing you want...make sure to put it on something appropriate and use a safe background, 'cause I betcha' it's gonna' penetrate...;)