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Old February 2, 2001, 08:10 PM   #1
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Once upon a time, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued its agents revolvers chambered in .38 Special and .357 Magnum. The G-men always got the bad guy, gas was cheap, and life was good. Then a plague of Miami Vice was visited upon the land, pastels became popular, no one wondered how clean cops could afford houseboats and Ferraris, and the large-capacity autopistol was unleashed upon the earth. Gleaning their data from researching the armament of criminals upon the television screen, law enforcement distributed the new "Wondernines" far and wide. "Lo," said the FBI "the military will soon issue 9mm, and so doth the LAPD. We shall do likewise". Happiness ruled briefly in the halls of the J. Edgar Hoover building, until a fiasco occurred in the streets of Miami. The bad guys did not die instantly from the 9mm, and so it must be replaced. Consulting their memories of kindergarten, they recalled that the next number beyond "9" was "10". 10mm, then, should be the size of the new round. 10mm pistols were procured, but lo! there was a problem. The 10mm had received a mightily fearsome reputation in myth and legend:
"I watched as veteran gunwriter Walt Rauch palmed the 10mm and began shooting. Only a couple of rounds later his shooting gloves came out." -"Jim Grover"
"10mm, too, is not only uncontrollable with full power loads..." -Chuck Taylor
And the trainee agents were sore afraid. So the FBI, in its munificence, removed some powder from the case, that its trainees would not fear their sidearms. Then did Winchester and The Pistolmaker Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken note that, with that powder gone, the case could be made shorter, and thus was born the .40 auto. And the FBI did adopt it, and found it good. Yet still did some trainee agents flinch, and did whine piteously about the noise that emanated from their pistols. So the FBI, in its mercy, did develop a 165gr reduced recoil load of the .40, to assuage its trainees hearts.

Now though, some worry: if trainees still fear their guns, will they have to return to the 9mm they scorned lo those many years ago? Or will Ciener receive a large order for Glock .22lr conversion units?

The future remains cloudy.

[Edited by Tamara on 02-02-2001 at 08:34 PM]
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Old February 2, 2001, 08:41 PM   #2
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Gee, lets see 9, 9, 8 yeah! Oh no, that's smaller. Let's try again, Ok, 9, 9, yeah, I Got it, 10, its 10!! . . .
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Old February 2, 2001, 08:56 PM   #3
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Pretty good! But FBI-FTU SAIC John Hall handloaded the first reduced velocity 10mm rounds (fired from his own personal Colt Delta Elite) and found it better produced the terminal performance FBI was seeking, better than existing 9mm, .45 ACP and 10mm.

10mm Fed Lite was developed because, at the time, it demonstrated superior wound ballistics. The cartridge wasn't developed because trainees and agents couldn't handle full power loads. That's a myth.

I don't know the history behind the 165gr Federal Hydrashok medium velocity load, whether FBI chose it to reduce recoil or chose it because of its terminal performance. It performs at 100 percent of the FBI's desired criteria.
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Old February 2, 2001, 09:31 PM   #4
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You left out the Tommy Gun and the 45.. but it was still funny.

And apparently all those guns were too much for Dana Scully in the first season where she carried a Sig 230, very unlike the character of Claireese Starling who packs 'a well worn government model .45 with skateboard tape on the grips'

I just thought of a new thread...
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Old February 2, 2001, 09:41 PM   #5
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Hi Cap nines?

Didn't they use 1911s in Miami Vice? BTW, I used to not wear socks in my shoes and go days without shaving.... Oh yeah I was only 10 at the time
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Old February 2, 2001, 09:42 PM   #6
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actually, the story goes, the reduced 10mm or 10mm lite/FBI was developed from a reduced handload. when the FBI was testing the 10mm many of the tests showed over penetration, excessive recoil (more a function of bullet weight and design) and gun battering. one of the FBI's testing personell suggested that while the bore diameter effectively split the difference between the 9mm and the .45, two of the major competetors in the testing, that a easier to handle, effective round might be a reduced power 10mm. as i read the story, this gentleman picked up a set of 10mm dies and handloaded the first 10mm lites the FBI labs tested. performance remained within the FBI's specs with less recoil and more controlability. the FBI requested a run of 10mm lite ammo to test and the 10mm FBI lite load was born. as we know, S&W saw the potential in a shorter 10mm round that would work in a 9mm platform and still meet the FBI criteria.
so we got a .40/10mm catridge that gave the high performance .45 ACP ammo a good run and blew away most of the 9mm+P+ loads. sure the reciol was snappy, but there is no free lunch. a pretty slick piece of marketing, engineering and good common sense. a real big chunk of the American law enforcement and civilian gun users agree. i will be the first to admit the 10mm is the more versatile cartridge (from deer hunting to self defense) but it will not fit a 9mm frame and that is is biggest downfall. the 9mm frame guns are so comfortable to carry and easy to conceal.
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Old February 2, 2001, 09:47 PM   #7
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.38 Special on a .44 ("N") frame loaded with 158 grain LNSWCs -- seemed to work well for several generations of FBI SAs. Thanks for you post.

[Edited by RWK on 02-03-2001 at 09:03 AM]
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Old February 2, 2001, 09:48 PM   #8
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Shawn Dodson,

I know, although it's always baffled me how a 180gr projectile at 950-1050 fps supposedly has superior terminal ballistics to the identical bullet travelling at 1100-1200 fps. Go figure.

The myth, however (which may have had as much to do with battered 1076's as it did terminal ballistics) serves the purposes of the story better: they've come full circle. The reduced recoil 165gr .40's work no better than most modern 124gr +P and 147gr 9mm's in published tests. I think the FBI's institutional pride is more a factor in these things than they'd like to admit.

This may be the same pride that says "It was the ammo, not our tactics or training or freak bad luck" and moves from 9 to 10. The pride that says "The same weight bullet moving slower has better wound ballistics, our hiring and training practices are sound" and goes from 10 to .40. And the pride that says "Lighter bullets penetrate just as deep as heavier bullets of the same diameter moving at the same speed. We still don't have any problems with our hiring or training policies". Yup, I think there may be more institutional pride here than the official history would let on.

But we all know what will get blamed, should more agents fall.
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Old February 2, 2001, 10:45 PM   #9
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The FTU tested full-power 10x25mm in one of their earliest tests. On March 14, 1989, the Norma 170gr JHP was fired from a Colt Delta Elite (SA Hall's?). The 40rd test protocol averages were:

Velocity: 1358fps
% Weight Retention: 87.5%
Penetration: 18.44"
Expansion: 0.562"
Success Rate: 100% (No rounds penetrated less than 12")

It gave the highest 'Wound Value' and 'Wound Efficiency' of all of the loadings tested in 1989. Only one other loading, the Federal Hydrashok 158gr .357 Magnum, equaled the 100% Success Rate. (A few years later, the FTU changed the 'Wound Value' calculation such that one test of the Federal Hydrashok 230gr .45 ACP edged out the Norma load.)

In bold and enlarged text, the Norma test was annotated with the following warning on 5 of 7 pages:

CAUTION: Velocities, pressures and recoil are extreme, vary greatly, and damage weapons with extended use. Control for multiple shots extremely difficult.
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Old February 2, 2001, 11:19 PM   #10
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I just love the 10mm round! It can do anything that I ask of it on the low pressure end and on the high pressure end of its loading combinations. If only Tamara had been an FBI agent at the time it was introduced to the FBI. They might have kept it.
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Old February 3, 2001, 12:45 AM   #11
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Funny - I personally know an Agent that carries a Colt Detective's Special...
Go Figure.
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Old February 3, 2001, 12:57 AM   #12
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Guys, very little uniformity at FBI; it was always when, who what you knew.
Could I mention the time J. Edgar made an arrest and not one SA present had cuffs?
Old February 3, 2001, 06:27 AM   #13
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HAHAHA funny thread.

I think I'm going to develop a 12mm, just for the heck of it.
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Old February 3, 2001, 08:16 AM   #14
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No boby happened to think about just telling everybody that couldn't handle recoil or noise there services were no longer required. Make it a requirement that they have to be able to shoot the firearm issued. Stop all the changing around and hunting for the ideal calibre to satisfy everybody. Ladies and gentlemen it isn't out there. Pick one, use it and quit fooling around. Becides there are other talents much more needed. First they really need the talent to find the bad guy before anything else.
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Old February 3, 2001, 12:34 PM   #15
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In the pilot episode of Miami Vice, Sonny used a Sig-Sauer P220 in .45 caliber. During the first two seasons, he used a Bren 10 which was a stainless steel 10mm. After the 3rd season, he used S&W's (I believe 645). Don Johnson also carried a Detonics CombatMaster .45 as a backup.
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Old February 3, 2001, 12:59 PM   #16
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Ah, the myths of Gundom!

With Tamara one of the chief bards!

The response to the Miami debacle was a typical government "Coverass operation" in which everything was blamed except the culpability of the dumbas$ agents, who of course, in the fine tradition of J. Edgar Hoover could do no wrong. Hence, the blame was on the inanimate object, something that couldn't speak up in its own defense, the 9. I found it interesting that the agents had 12 gauge pumps and at least one used one to incapacitate the main BG but that issue was never brought up. The 9 took the fall. The 10 as Tamara said was rejected because of wimpy FBI agents and trainees, NOT because a lower velocity version had superior ballistics! That is an urban legend if I ever heard one! Great posts!
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Old February 3, 2001, 01:08 PM   #17
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Tamara, nice post!
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Old February 3, 2001, 02:21 PM   #18
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Tamara- I liked your post. To be fair to the FBI though...wasn't it a shootout between FBI agents and a couple bank robbers in which the FBI agents were underguned and came out badly that led to the search for a weapon that would be more effective than the .38 Special ? The event was heavily publicized and was made into a movie that I recall seeing on TV. The blonde actor from Starskie & Hutch played one of the bad guys. (If memory serves right, I think the real shootout actually occurred in Miamt. So maybe Miami Vice isn't ridiculous in all aspects.) I think the search for a better round/gun came after the tragic deaths of a couple of the good guys. Arnie
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Old February 3, 2001, 04:28 PM   #19
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If I recall correctly a 38 is what ended the ordeal in Miami. A wounded agent or officer pulled his backup j-frame and ran up to the drivers side door emptying it into the last BG.
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Old February 3, 2001, 08:12 PM   #20
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I forgot which Clint Eastwood movie it was but a qoute went something like "When a man with a pistol meets a man with a rifle, the man with the pistol dies".

FBI should have used better tactics. 2 mini 14's versus pistols in a parking lot is a bad idea, and when you actually planned the arrest and chose an open parking lot where the BG's have cover and you don't is just not real bright. Of course 99.9% of the time people give up without a fight, maybe they got lazy or arrogant.

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Old February 3, 2001, 08:57 PM   #21
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Agent Mirales actually used an FBI-issue S&W Model 13 with the issue Winchester 158-gr. +P LSWC to finish the unpleasantness in Miami.

Glock4Ever, in addition to what ArmySon has told you, Tubbs carried an S&W Model 49 Bodyguard in .38 Spl.

I almost bought one of those at a show today. The only gun in the show even worth looking at.
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Old February 3, 2001, 09:21 PM   #22
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...wrote "It's always baffled me how a 180 gr. projectile at 950-1050 fps supposedly has superior terminal ballistics to the identical bullet travelling at 1100-1200 fps."

In short it's because the FBI did not use the temporary stretch cavity in its calculations because too many of its "experts" did not understand its significance to incapacition or wounding value.
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Old February 3, 2001, 11:26 PM   #23
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>I forgot which Clint Eastwood movie it was but a qoute >went something like "When a man with a pistol meets a man >with a rifle, the man with the pistol dies".

This brings up a question I've often had. Why don't the agents, or cops in general, carry big-caliber carbines? Even with an old Winchester, they could own everything out to 100 yards or more. Some BG with baggy pants shooting his semi auto sideways would be cut down in seconds with one or two shots. No filling the air with dangerous lead. No concerns about body armor or BG's fighting on with a bunch of little 9mm slugs in them. And the price is right! I understand the limitations of scoped hunting rifles, but what could they possibly have against keeping a few carbines in the squad car?
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Old February 3, 2001, 11:33 PM   #24
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11.43mm Cartridge

The answer to the problem is very simple. All FBI agents should carry pistols chambered for the 11.43mm pistol cartridge which is known for its stopping power.
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Old February 4, 2001, 12:11 AM   #25
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GRH: I had the same idea. I was thinking that a Model 94 .30-30 Trapper would be infinitely superior to anything the officer on the beat carries. So I asked a cop, actually I asked the cop why, if he had a 12 gauge shotgun, he didn't carry it every time he got out of the car. The answer is very simple. It ties up your hands. You can't struggle with someone, you can't handcuff anyone, you can't engage in a foot chase because you can't climb fences or walls..... I also think that the police administration realizes that the average Joe would be uncomfortable if the local police were walking around with rifles. Why, I don't know, but I am sure that enters into it.
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