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Old September 26, 2012, 12:06 AM   #78
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 20,809
...The person could be moving at 1000fps
Right now, I'm either stationary, moving at about 1300fps, or 95,000fps or 700,000fps. It all depends on which reference plane I choose.
Perhaps something of an oversimplification, but as stated in In Defense of Self and Others...
I've read Urey's paper and the quote is reproduced correctly. The problem is that Urey is wrong. He was on the right track, but he got carried away and overstated his case.

It's one thing to say that kinetic energy/temporary cavity are not a reliable wounding mechanisms in handgun terminal ballistics, it's another entirely to take the next step and say that they do not wound. The former is debatable and dependent upon the energy levels and types of tissue involved. The latter is demonstrably false. Temporary cavity, which is accepted to be directly related to energy, CAN wound, it just hasn't been shown to wound reliably at the energy levels commonly encountered in self-defense handguns. At typical handgun levels, to date, it has only been demonstrated that it can cause significant wounding if inelastic tissues are involved, but in those cases it can not only cause wounding, it can cause catastrophic wounding.

As far as his statement that kinetic energy does not wound, that's simply nonsensical from a scientific standpoint. Kinetic energy is the potential of a moving projectile to do work. Damage to the target medium is, at least to some extent, related to the work done on the target medium by the projectile and therefore is, in some way (which may be very complex and difficult to determine) related to the kinetic energy.

I don't have enough context from MacPherson's quote to know exactly what point he was trying to make. It is certainly true, as has been stated by others, that attempting to fully analyze the terminal ballistics problem using only kinetic energy (or any other single parameter) is impossible due to the complexity of the problem, however, that is not sufficient justification to completely dismiss kinetic energy as a factor in the overall problem.

Just to be clear, I'm not claiming that kinetic energy is the most important factor in ballistics--not by any means. I'm just saying that the fact that it's not the most important factor, or the fact that it can't/doesn't tell the whole story doesn't change the fact that it is certainly part of understanding terminal ballistics and that it provides useful insight into the problem.
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