The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: General Handgun Forum

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 29, 2006, 05:07 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: October 13, 2005
Posts: 452
Can a .22 mag or .17mag pierce armour?

Out of a rifle of course.

I ask because of the 5.7 fn being able to do so and with it being essentially a .22 with a rifle bullet design. Out of a pistol it generates 2100 fps or so with a 28 grain weight projectile and the .22 mag out of a rifle generates 1900 fps or so with a 40 grain I believe.

The necked down .17 with the .22 mag case is not far off from the German 4.8mm projectile fired from the MP-7.

Could either of these pierce armour?
Love&Hate12 is offline  
Old September 29, 2006, 05:11 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: September 25, 2005
Location: Philadelphia suburbs
Posts: 394
No. Not even close. The .17 HMR will fragment almost instantly, and the .22 mag just doesn't have enough punch. The FN 5.7 uses steel core ammo. With regular "civilian" ammo a.k.a. V-max bullets, the 5.7 is useless except for varmints, hence "V" max.
si vis pacem, parabellum
dave0520 is offline  
Old September 29, 2006, 05:18 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: April 11, 2006
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 3,403
One word answer: No.
skeeter1 is offline  
Old September 29, 2006, 06:23 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: October 13, 2005
Posts: 452
Okay, cool.

But what about a .22 mag with the right bullet like the 5.7 uses for armour penetration?

The steel core.
Love&Hate12 is offline  
Old September 30, 2006, 03:07 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: October 30, 2001
Posts: 146
depends on the velocity of the 22mag....

out of a rifle , no problem, for a standard vest (pistol rated). Out of a pistol....Well....probably not.....but as it packs roughly the same energy as
standard .38's in a much smaller profile (read highly penetrative) I certainly
wouldn't volunteer to be the one to test it.

Just curious though why would you want to.....

Last edited by 115grfmj; September 30, 2006 at 03:07 PM. Reason: add
115grfmj is offline  
Old September 30, 2006, 04:36 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: September 25, 2005
Location: Philadelphia suburbs
Posts: 394
Love&Hate, I'm not sure if the .22 mag would have enough velocity to get a steel core bullet moving fast enough to defeat armor. Maybe if you put a saboted .17 caliber hardened steel bullet in the 30 grain range at max velocity it would probably do the job, but that's a BIG no-no.
si vis pacem, parabellum
dave0520 is offline  
Old September 30, 2006, 09:30 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: October 13, 2005
Posts: 452
Well maybe I just ought to try them out on some old helmets and vests I have.

Just bored and wondering
Love&Hate12 is offline  
Old September 30, 2006, 10:53 PM   #8
Junior member
Join Date: April 21, 2006
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 2,450
If you loaded a hardened steel or tungsten flechette in a sabot and worked up some sort of +P+ .22 mag load with it... maybe.

L&H, if you have a few spare vests laying around, why don't you let me make you an offer to take one off your hands before you destory them in wacky experiments. I have been having a heck of a time finding one at a decent price.
oldbillthundercheif is offline  
Old September 30, 2006, 11:16 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: June 19, 2005
Posts: 838
It is irresponsible to discuss what rounds will or will not penetrate a vest. It should not be allowed here and the moderators should put an end to it. Any future posts should not be allowed either.

I'm sure our law enforcement friends would appreciated it.
BobK is offline  
Old September 30, 2006, 11:52 PM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: October 13, 2005
Posts: 452
Oh these vests are junked out old 60's stuff, but thanks for the gesture.
Love&Hate12 is offline  
Old October 1, 2006, 12:42 AM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: November 18, 1998
Location: NE OH, USA
Posts: 3,198
It is irresponsible to discuss what rounds will or will not penetrate a vest.
Here is the problem with that. There are unsubstantiated claims of what will penetrate even the highest (non-plated) levels of body armor. IMO, if information dispelling these unaccuracies go unchallenged or discounted, they will become "fact". (e.g., Black Talons, PTFE coatings, etc.)
- Ron V.
hksigwalther is offline  
Old October 1, 2006, 01:36 AM   #12
44 AMP
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 17,360
Armor penteration

In the gun/armor race, the gun always wins. Armor may take a temporary lead, but in the end, the gun always wins. This is true with tanks, and why we don't build fortresses anymore. I would imagine that it applies to a certain extent with body armor.

Will round "x" defeat armor? Well, yes and no, depending on exactly what kind of armor you are talking about. A "rated" vest? 1/2" armor plate? the turret of an M1 tank? Just depends on exactly what you are talking about.

I recall an incident in the late 60s or early 70s, where a State patrol spent quite a bit of money on "bulletproof" vests. They would stop .38, .357, 9mm, .45, etc. Turns out that they would not stop a .22. State agency much embarrassed.

Vest technology has improved alot since then, but the idea of a "bulletproof" vest is a pipedream. There is ALWAYS something out there that will penetrate it. You can make them proof against some things, but not everything.

I disagree with those who say the subject should not be discussed at all. I think that it should not be discussed in specifics, such as "Acme vest stock#1234 penetrated by caliber xxx, barrel length xxx, bullet xxx" etc. But general discussion should be tolerated. Free speech vs public safety, where to draw the line? My opinion is the press already drew the line (and promptly jumped over it) with their (innaccurate) tirades against "cop killer bullets". This is old news, but the major result was to raise general awareness of the police wearing vests.

These same people, in the age of terrorism, go to great lengths to show everyone just where on the Golden Gate bridge to place explosives! Compared to efforts like this, I think a general discussion about vests and penetration should not be proscribed.

After all, a bullet proof vest can also be penetrated by an icepick wielded by an enthusiastic middle schooler. Or any rifle legal for deer hunting, and some that aren't. This is not news, nor is it unknown to anyone even remotly interested in the subject.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old October 1, 2006, 01:42 AM   #13
Junior member
Join Date: September 22, 2006
Posts: 454
I'm sure our law enforcement friends would also like to know as well...
ITEOTWAWKI is offline  
Old October 1, 2006, 04:25 AM   #14
Senior Member
Join Date: March 21, 2006
Posts: 943
Chances are good that both rounds will penetrate soft armor. According to one of the Secret Service agents whose job was to help design the armor for presidential vehicles .22 are hard to stop (in soft Kevlar). Especially if they are high velocity. The three most important factors are: bullet shape, bullet composition and velocity. Kevlar does not do the best job on pointed objects bullets or otherwise because they tend to push the fibers apart. We used to shoot threat level II vests with all kinds of rounds and anything out of a sub-gun or rifle/carbine (even pistol caliber) would penetrate either completely or far enough for the vest to be ineffective.
Lurper is offline  
Old October 1, 2006, 09:33 AM   #15
Junior member
Join Date: September 6, 2005
Location: Ocean Shores, WA
Posts: 1,052
Penetrate armor?? Don't know. I do know that my indoor range doesn't allow the .17 HMR. It does something to the angle plate that isn't wanted.

deadin is offline  
Old October 1, 2006, 11:31 AM   #16
Senior Member
Join Date: August 4, 2005
Posts: 2,017
.17 HMR is capable of a bit more than they're being given credit for here. I occasionally do round penetration tests, and they're one hot little round. The .17 HMR will zip right through the 20 layer test packet that stops my .40SW cold in 3 layers. I would be very worried about current-use vests stopping the .17 HMR with what I've seen it penetrate.

Front--showing .17 HMR hits.

Back--showing .17 HRM pass-throughs

.40 SW hit--bullet 'dropped' back in the hole for visual purposes.

Bulge being pushed back out to show how little actual penetration into the kevlar the .40 SW achieved---only the top three layers were penetrated, then a little stress immediatly below those.

Just FYI, these small test packs will absorb a full magazine + of .40 SW without penetration, meaning lots of close proximity hits and/or stacking hits. But the .17 HMR goes right through, and comes apart within 3" of the backing medium (which in this case was just a box of top-coat drywall mud--you can see it splattered all over the back of the packet where the .17 went through). I'll redo this with geletin backing later for better penetration accuracy.
"Why is is called Common Sense when it seems so few actually possess it?"

Guns only have two enemies: Rust and Politicians.

Last edited by Rangefinder; October 1, 2006 at 11:34 AM. Reason: photo issues
Rangefinder is offline  
Old October 2, 2006, 02:21 PM   #17
Junior member
Join Date: April 21, 2006
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 2,450
Yowza! Those are some interesting results.

What bullet-type were you using that zipped through all that kevlar?
oldbillthundercheif is offline  
Old October 2, 2006, 02:37 PM   #18
Junior member
Join Date: September 22, 2006
Posts: 454
I wonder how destructive that lil .17hmr round would be after going through all that kevlar. Especially out of a snubby.
ITEOTWAWKI is offline  
Old October 2, 2006, 03:19 PM   #19
Senior Member
Join Date: August 4, 2005
Posts: 2,017
That's a 17 grain Federal V-Shok hollowpoint from a NEF 20" barrel. As to the damage beyond the kevlar, I'll have to do some further testing for that---perminent cavity, temporary cavity, fragmentation disbursal, penetration depth, etc. That will come later, and I'll post it when I have it. Out of a snubby, you could likely expect pretty similar results. You'll get a noticible drop in MV, as one would expect, but it's still going to rank above 2000 fps I'd venture to guess. Don't have a snubby in .17 HMR, so can't test it. I should add that the range was 100 yds---muzzle to kevlar on the .17 HMR, not point-blank by any means. The .40SW, however, WAS point-blank (less than 3 yds).
"Why is is called Common Sense when it seems so few actually possess it?"

Guns only have two enemies: Rust and Politicians.

Last edited by Rangefinder; October 2, 2006 at 07:32 PM.
Rangefinder is offline  
Old October 2, 2006, 04:48 PM   #20
Junior member
Join Date: April 21, 2006
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 2,450
A hollowpoint did that at 100yds? Wow.
oldbillthundercheif is offline  
Old October 2, 2006, 05:49 PM   #21
Senior Member
Join Date: November 27, 2005
Posts: 1,319
I think a .22mag could do the same thing if not even better, it may be 1mm fatter but it weighs more than twice as much as the 17hmr, that should result in more SD.

Its not a suprise that the 17hmr defeats body armor, the ammunition of the military H&K pistol and the new PDW feature the 4.6x30mm, its designed for vehicle crews to defeat light armor with a small lightweight sub-gun.

*Edit* Is it the 4,6x30 or the 4,6x33?

BTEW, here you can see a 4,6x33mm AP round fired in ballistic gelatine, pretty impressive for a 4mm projectile.
Moloch is offline  
Old October 3, 2006, 10:06 AM   #22
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 9,333
interesting thread... but not necessarily unexpected results, considering the fiberous nature of the kevlar, & the "pointyness" of the 17... & I would expect the same results out of a 17 snubbie, or the 22 mag... course a ceramic plate would surely stop either...BTW pulling bullets & reseating "other" rifle bullets on a rim fire cartridge sounds dicy at best...BTW #2... I'd sure hate to get hit with a 22 Hornet out of my Raging Hornet revolver, which could probably have "other" bullets loaded in that cartridge

I've been thinking of converting a 30 carbine rifle to 25 Tok ( yes I know the gas operated recoil system will need a little massaging ), for use as a companion rifle to my CZ -52... that or rebarring a short action bolt rifle... just mentioning this here, as seems the 25 Tok always gets brought up when discussing ammo to defeat vests... what are your guy's thoughts on a 25 Tok rifle ???
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old October 4, 2006, 08:56 AM   #23
Senior Member
Join Date: April 23, 2006
Posts: 114
You have to define the armor, are we talking Brady bunch standards of cardboard or better , or military standards for what is armor?
krieger11b is offline  
Old June 28, 2012, 03:24 PM   #24
Junior Member
Join Date: June 28, 2012
Posts: 1
Will a .22 mag penetrate a standard ballistic vest?

An interesting analysis:

Ballistic Vest Live Fire Test

In this post I show an illustrated test of a PASGT ballistic vest against many different threats. There are several of these tests on the web but none that I have come across have brought to bear a full range of cartridges. I decided to step up and set things straight.

This post is in direct response to this particular news article called "Tracking Bullets" that is full of inaccuracies. There are many news articles like this that just leave me shaking my head. Journalists who don't know any better think they're on to something, but they just end up placing erroneous statements on the air that negatively affect the public's opinion of things like firearms and gun shows. Bureaucrats like Ted Kennedy push legislation to ban things like the non-existent "cop killer" and “Teflon coated” bullets based on bad information or media hysteria, and this is sometimes based on the idea that any cartridge that can penetrate police officers body armor is "armor piercing."

This test is to show how absurd that train of thought is. Keep the results of this test in mind when someone tries to tell you that they are not trying to ban your hunting rifle, they just want to ban these "cop killer bullets" that they say poses a danger to law enforcement.

Up front I am going to address the ethics of performing this test. This PASGT vest is similar in design and protective qualities as police body armor, and this test is to see what will defeat these types of vests and what won't. However, this information is already pretty well known by those who are familiar with firearms and is widely available on the web. Further, the consequences of a ban on ammunition capable of body armor penetration would be devastating to every hunter or shooter in this country based on my results. It is certain that this protective vest went above and beyond the levels of protection that was intended in its design and I believe that this test does not exploit weaknesses in personal body armor, nor will it endanger lives.

The surplus PASGT vest that I used is approximately 12 years old. It is designed to stop fragmentation and small threats like 9mm rounds from a pistol. As you can see, the collar and shoulder pads have been removed. Body armor has to be wrapped around something firm with a little give in order to spread the impact of the projectile out enough to stop it with no penetration. In real world environments this would be the body of the individual wearing the vest, but that was not an option for this test so I had to come up with something else.

To enable the vest to work, I made two impact panels. An impact panel was made using a phonebook wrapped with two polar fleece shirts to make it firm but flexible. Two of these impact panels were placed together inside a polar fleece shirt, using T-shirts in between to keep them separated. The whole thing was then covered with a T-shirt and finally a blue laundry bag to keep it all together as a firm but flexible impact bag. This impact bag was not intended to simulate human tissue; it was merely a way to give the vest something to impact against. For the purposes of the test, if a bullet or projectile penetrated the vest would be considered potentially fatal.

So I have this "bullet proof" vest, something to put inside of it to enable it to function properly, what else do I need?

"Guns. Lots of guns." - Neo, from the movie The Matrix.

Below are the types of firearms used, the numbers correspond with the cartridges pictured:

1 & 2 - Winchester Model 70 Black Shadow chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum

3 - AMD-65 chambered in 7.62x39mm

4 - DPMS Panther Lite 16 chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO

5 - Ruger Super Blackhawk with 7 1/2" barrel chambered in .44 Remington Magnum

6 - Springfield Armory 1911A1 V-10 Ultra-Compact chambered in .45 ACP

7 - Taurus Model 85 Ultra-Light chambered in .38 Special

8 - Glock 17 chambered in 9mm Luger

9 - Walther model PPK chambered in "7.65mm" which is European for .32 Auto

10 - Marlin Model 925M chambered in .22 Magnum

11 & 12 - Mossberg 500 12 Gauge with a 20" rifled slug barrel

13 - CVA Firebolt 209 Magnum .45 caliber with 110 grain powder capacity

14 - Ruger Police Six with 4" barrel chambered in .357 Magnum

15 & 16 - PSE Thunderbolt compound bow set at 62 lbs.

** - Ruger 10-22 pictured at left was not used in this test

The cartridges/projectiles fired/flung by these weapons:

Below is the list of cartridges pictured in Figure 2 that were fired in the firearms pictured in Figure 1. To the right of each cartridge is an unfired bullet; to the right of that is a fired bullet that was recovered during the test from the impact bag. The fired 7.62x39mm and .45 caliber muzzle loader bullets were not recovered. I tried to use commonly available factory ammunition where possible but some ammunition I did not have on hand. Most of this ammunition can be purchased at your local Wal-Mart. Some of the ammunition fired during this test includes hand loads, none of which were loaded "hot," and represent velocities and ballistics that are equivalent to standard factory ammunition.

Here are the cartridges fired:

1 - .300 Winchester Magnum hand load with a 180 grain Barnes XLC bullet and 70.5 grains of IMR-4350. Muzzle velocity approximately 2,900 feet per second (FPS)

2 - .300 Winchester Magnum hand load with a 165 grain Nosler Partition bullet and 72.5 grains of IMR-4350. Muzzle velocity approximately 3,100 fps

3 - 7.62x39 firing factory Wolf 122 grain full metal jacket (FMJ). Muzzle velocity 2396 fps

4 - .223 Remington firing factory Federal 50 grain Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP). Muzzle velocity approximately 3,200 fps

5 - .44 Remington Magnum hand load with a 240 grain HP/XTP and 10 grains of Alliant Unique pistol powder. Muzzle velocity approximately 1,300 fps

6 - .45 ACP factory Winchester White Box Personal Defense 230 grain JHP. Muzzle velocity 880 fps

7 - .38 Special factory Winchester White Box Personal Defense 125 grain JHP. Muzzle velocity 945 fps

8 - 9mm Luger factory Remington UMC 115 grain JHP. Muzzle velocity 1,155 fps

9 - .32 Automatic factory Remington UMC 71 grain Metal Case (MC). Muzzle velocity 905 fps

10 - .22 Winchester Magnum factory CCI Maxi-Mag 40 grain JHP. Muzzle velocity 1,875 fps

11 - 12 Gauge factory Winchester Super-X 2 3/4 inch, 1 oz. rifled slug. Muzzle velocity 1,600 fps

12 - 12 Gauge factory Hornady SST 2 3/4 inch, 300 grain sabot slug. Muzzle velocity 2,000 fps

13 - .45 caliber muzzle loader. Hornady 200 grain 40 caliber SST-ML sabot. Muzzle velocity approximately 2,000+ fps

14 - .357 Magnum factory Federal Premium Personal Defense 130 grain Hydra-Shok JHP. Muzzle velocity 1,410 fps

15 - Crimson Talon broadhead, 100 grains on an Easton Carbon Epic arrow

16 - Rocky Mountain Snyper 2-blade, 100 grains on an Easton Carbon Epic arrow

Now that we have the specifics, let's move on to some shooting. The shooting part took 3 days including the vest setup, shooting, and documenting the results with over 320 pictures. The below results are not in the order that they were fired, and are listed by using the numbered illustrations in Figures 1 and 2. Distance from the shooter to the front of the vest was between 10 – 12 feet.

1 - Winchester Model 70 in .300 Winchester Magnum (WinMag). In the top ten most popular cartridges since its creation in 1963, the .300 WinMag is used for virtually all big game in North America. The Model 70 is amongst the most popular and successful rifles ever made and are owned by millions of sportsman throughout the US. The Model 70 was used extensively by US snipers in Vietnam and is still used today by law enforcement snipers.

Cartridge number 1 is the 180 grain Barnes XLC bullet that is blue in color. Before anyone wets their britches, the blue stuff is a "dry film coating" that is designed to reduce bore fouling. This coating also reduces velocity by 11%, but makes the bore a snap to clean. This is not the dreaded "Teflon" coating that so many people erroneously believe "lubricates" the shot-hole and makes it "armor piercing." Teflon was initially used on hard bullets like bronze that wear out the rifle bore quickly. These hard bullets were coated with Teflon to prevent bore wear, and later they became popular because they prevented fouling in rifle bores that fired traditional copper bullets. Again, Teflon coating on bullets has nothing to do with penetration and is pretty much obsolete.

This particular bullet is designed for hunting large game animals and provides deep penetration with controlled expansion. I'm pretty sure that this round will penetrate the vest. The Barnes XLC penetrated in the front and out the back of the vest and the bullet was never recovered. Entrance hole: Exit hole:

Out of curiosity I tied the vest behind a tree about as big around as my leg and fired at the tree, just to see if it would make it through.

The Barnes XLC went through the tree and penetrated the front of the vest!

The fully expanded bullet was recovered about two thirds of the way inside if the impact bag and can be seen in Figure 2, cartridge 1.

2 - The Model 70 firing the 165 grain Nosler Partition, long considered the bullet to which all others are measured. This hunting bullet is also designed for deep penetration with controlled expansion. The bullet struck the vest in the center where two layers of Kevlar overlap.

The bullet penetrated these two layers and the impact bag and stopped in the back of the vest.

Had the bullet struck the front of the vest where it did not overlap it would have certainly penetrated clean through the vest. Keep in mind that this is a standard hunting rifle and cartridge that you can purchase at Wal-Mart.

3 - The AMD-65 is a carbine type rifle firing the 7.62x39mm cartridge. The bullet, being 7.62mm, is the same diameter as the .300 Winchester Magnum, but is not as long or heavy and lacks the extra power that the .300 WinMag provides. The rifle "looks" like an AK-47, but it is in fact just a semi-auto "look alike" rifle that shares some similarities, like being called “high powered” by the media. It is about as powerful as your great-grand-pappy’s .30-.30 that hangs by a nail on the wall over the mantle.

The 7.62x39mm had to be fired twice. The first round penetrated the vest and skewed downward and into the ground after it hit the impact bag. I had a feeling that it had enough oomph to go all the way through considering this particular cartridge had a FMJ bullet that is not designed to expand, but is designed only for penetration. I was right.

4 - DPMS Panther Lite 16 firing a .223 Remington cartridge made by Federal cartridge company. The 5.56x45mm NATO is the cartridge that the US military uses in the M16/M4 and is virtually identical to the .223 Remington, with the same external dimensions. They can be fired in the same gun with the same chamber and produce the same ballistics. The main difference between the two is that the 5.56x45mm NATO has a slightly thicker case.

As can be expected, the fast moving hollowpoint bullet penetrated into the vest and was stopped inside of the impact bag. The bullet was recovered in little teeny pieces.
Impact -
Penetration -
Bullet fragments -

5 - Ruger Super Blackhawk firing the mighty .44 Magnum. This single action revolver is no longer “the most powerful handgun in the world,” but it is popular for hunting and target shooting. With the 7 1/2 inch barrel this gun is not designed for carry; it is designed to squeeze all of the power out of the cartridge. A longer barrel allows more room for the powder to burn, thus giving it more velocity. A longer sight radius is also a plus. This vest is not designed to stop this cartridge but I figured I would give it a try.
Bullet stopped:

The vest stopped the .44 Magnum cold. Truly above and beyond what it was intended for, stopping this round puts it in the NIJ level IIIA territory.

6 - Springfield Armory 1911A1 firing the .45 ACP. The 1911 is a design that is almost a century old and is one of the most popular firearms ever made. Cutting its teeth on the battlefields of WWI, it is still in use by our military in a limited capacity, but is extremely popular in the US by citizens who carry it as a defensive pistol. It is also widely used in competition where its light trigger pull and legendary reliability give it an edge over the competition. The .45 ACP is a street and combat proven cartridge that provides plenty of power with the advantage of shoot ability. How did the vest stand up?
Bullet stopped:

The 230 grain bullet is almost as large as the .44 Magnum but the vest had no problem stopping it.

7 - Taurus 85 firing the .38 Special. Snubby revolvers like this have been around for centuries. They are designed to be small, light, and concealable. The .38 Special round that it fires has been around since the 1902. Frequently and erroneously referred to as a "Saturday night special," the snubby .38 Special is the gun and cartridge most used in homicides in the US, but way more often it rides comfortably in the pockets of the defensive minded citizen to prevent homicides. Did the vest stop this little beast?
Bullet in vest:

Sure did. Not all that impressive huh?

8 - Glock 17 firing the 9mm Luger cartridge. Although not the first, this gun helped bring about the era of the high capacity "plastic" pistol. Absolutely reliable, this pistol withstands very high round counts and is found in nightstands and holsters worldwide. The 9mm has been around for over a century and is the most popular handgun cartridge around. The 9mm FMJ rounds used by our military bring this cartridge much disdain, but with modern expanding bullets it is a solid performer that will continue to protect for years to come. The 9mm is known for incredible penetration with light and fast FMJ rounds, but those do not do much damage. I decided to shoot the vest with run-of-the-mill hollowpoints that are very common today. Here are the results:
Bullet stopped:

The vest had no problems with this round. On to the next one.

9 - This is a post-war Walther PPK chambered for the .32 Auto which was the weapon of choice for James Bond for many years. This used to be a standard round for many European law enforcement officers but has fallen by the wayside since the 9mm became so popular. Today the .32 Auto is considered too underpowered for everyday carry. Of note is that the .32 Auto bullet is just a smidgen larger in diameter than the 7.62x39mm and .300 WinMag. Did the vest have any problems with this baby?
Bullet stopped:

No problem. Now to try the smallest cartridge in the test.

10 - The Marlin 925M chambered in the little .22 Magnum. This bolt action rifle is affordable and reliable. Used to shoot tin cans or kill small critters, the .22 Magnum gives better performance than the standard .22 long rifle. It was introduced in 1959 and serves as the only rimfire cartridge introduced in the 20th century. It is also the only rimfire used in this test. How did the smallest cartridge tested do against a vest that stopped a .44 Magnum?

The little Magnum not only penetrated the vest, it went through the impact bag and struck the back of the vest hard enough to leave a copper mark on the fabric! How do you explain that? This round is for shooting squirrels and it penetrated the vest? Do you think we should ban this round because of this? Now we're seeing the results that I suspected.

11 - Mossberg 500 pump action shotgun firing 1 oz. rifled slugs. It doesn't get any more basic then this folks. This shotgun is in the hands of untold numbers of our service men in Iraq right now. That's right; it is a weapon of war just like many shotguns before it. It is also the beloved shotgun of tens of millions of hunters nationwide and used to take game that feeds untold numbers of people year round. This gun is inexpensive and solidly built. The 1 oz. slug can be used for a variety of different tasks and is used to kill the most dangerous and deadly game animals in the world, to include enemies of this nation. Does it penetrate the vest? Let's find out.

It did not penetrate the Kevlar, but the slug pushed the front of the vest almost through to the back side. The Kevlar panels in the back of the vest ripped loose and tore through the phonebook! This was the last round fired at the vest for obvious reasons. I had a suspicion that this heavy hitter should wait until last.

12 - Mossberg 500 firing the Hornady SST slug. This slug is a copper jacketed sabot designed to give hunters a little more range out of their shotguns by making it perform similar to a rifle. How did it do?

This slug had no problem going through the vest. Would that make it "armor piercing?" Should it be banned? Before you answer, check out the next participant of the test…

13 - The CVA Firebolt 209 Magnum firing a .45 caliber bullet. This muzzle loading rifle is as primitive as firearms get. It is pretty much just a steel tube with a hole at one end wrapped in a plastic stock. To load this rifle you first pour black powder down the barrel and then ram a bullet down until it seats against the powder. An ignition cap, in this case a 209 shotgun primer, is then placed in front of the bolt or hammer and you're loaded. Black powder is gunpowder that is made by mixing charcoal, saltpeter, and sulfur. Gunpowder originated in China sometime in the 9th century. This is the same technology used during the American Revolution and the American Civil War. It can't possibly pierce the Kevlar vest can it?

Think again! 300+ year old technology penetrated a vest that had no problem stopping a .44 Magnum! We should ban it right? For the children! I mean it is "armor piercing" and all. Next!

14 - The Ruger Police Six chambered in the .357 Magnum. This gun and cartridge, as its name implies, was carried by our nation’s law enforcement and armed citizens for over 50 years and is still in the holsters of millions of good citizens today. Firing at somewhat high velocity for a handgun, the .357 Magnum has serious street credentials for racking up a high number of one-shot stops against a threat. I was not sure if it would go through or not.

I did not get a picture of the bullet lodged in the vest but it was stopped. Going back to my post about body armor and checking the NIJ chart shows that a police vest that stops the faster .357 Magnum is rated as Level II. Pretty good for a surplus vest! Now we’re done shooting firearms and it’s time to bring out the bow and arrow.

15 - A PSE compound bow firing a Crimson Talon broadhead. I'm sure "Crimson Talon" brings spasms to some of the more hoplophobic who may read this post. I know it "sounds" deadly because we have heard that frightening "talon" word before, Eh? Courtesy of The Gun Zone:

"Perhaps a prayer can stop a Black Talon." But a pocketbook probably will not. The bullet is designed to unsheathe its claws once inside the victim's body and tear it to pieces."

Super deadly and all that typical sensationalized yellow journalism, and now these are CRIMSON! Anyways, I was more than convinced that a broadhead would go clean through the vest. I've seen broadheads fired through 5 gallon buckets filled with sand that had no problems stopping a .44 Magnum. Here is the skinny.
Inside the vest:

Stopped cold. The sound it made when it hit was sickening. As you can see it did slightly penetrate but the wound sustained by the wearer would be superficial. Next up is an expanding broadhead!

16 - The PSE bow shooting the Rocky Mountain Snyper 2-bladed expanding broadhead! That sounds like alot of deadliness! The arrow speed is around 300 fps. How did this one do?

I call this one inconclusive. The arrow did penetrate about four inches but it hit almost directly in the shot-hole from the .223 Remington. The blades did have to deploy and cut a 2 ½ inch path through the Kevlar which is no easy task, but I still think it's inconclusive. I believe that a field point or a 2 – 3 bladed cutting point broadhead would have no problems. Time will tell.

So that's all of the weapons I fired at the body armor. This test confirmed much of what I already knew; "bullet proof" vests are not bullet proof, they are bullet resistant and they are only designed to stop handgun bullets, not rifle bullets. The muzzle loader verified that. To bring my point home, here is a picture of the .44 Magnum, which the vest stopped, next to the .22 Magnum, which the vest did not:

A picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s a quick review:

.300 Winchester Magnum, both – Penetrated
7.62x39mm -------------------------– Penetrated
.223 Remington –-------------------- Penetrated
.44 Magnum ------------------------– Stopped
.45 ACP –------------------------------ Stopped
.38 Special –--------------------------- Stopped
9mm ---------------------------------– Stopped
.32 Auto –----------------------------- Stopped
.22 Magnum –------------------------ Penetrated
12 Gauge slug, 1 oz ----------------– Stopped
12 Gauge slug, Hornady SST -----– Penetrated
.45 Caliber muzzle Loader --------– Penetrated
.357 Magnum -----------------------– Stopped
Crimson Talon broadhead --------– Stopped
Rocky Mountain broadhead ------– Inconclusive

Out of 16 projectiles; 6 penetrated, 9 were stopped, and 1 was inconclusive. No handgun rounds pierced the vest. All rifles pierced the vest. I will have to re-visit the bow and arrow some day to get some better data.
Too bad the vest was totally destroyed by the 1 oz slug or I would fire more stuff at it. Up until that last shot the vest was still in good enough shape to provide lots of protection from incoming rounds. Maybe I will find another vest at a good price and do more testing. I hope this test is useful to someone and helps educate those who need it. For anyone else I hope it was entertaining!
Posted by CTone
twistyseaway is offline  
Old June 29, 2012, 08:06 AM   #25
Senior Member
Join Date: May 27, 2004
Posts: 2,745
Penetration is largely determined by sectional density and velocity. Equivalently, it's momentum and cross-sectional area. The same underlying relationship of three variables is there either way: (mass * velocity)/area, OR, (mass/area) * velocity.

So what you're seeing is, fatter, lower velocity bullets have lower penetrating potential (even if they have lots of foot-lb of energy, like the .44 Magnum).

It's the same reason the icepick mentioned goes through, and why it's helpful to use a skinny hardened core (narrow to begin with, and won't increase cross sectional area on impact) in advanced projectiles.
“Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think.”
Niels Bohr

Last edited by CarbineCaleb; June 29, 2012 at 08:17 AM.
CarbineCaleb is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:57 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.11873 seconds with 7 queries