Category Archive: Rifle

Announcing Basic Long Gun Safety and Responsibility

Due to the popularity of our Basic Handgun course we figured there might be a lot of people interested a similar class that covers rifles and shotguns.

Basic Long Gun Safety and Responsibility
In this class, you will learn to handle rifles and shotguns safely, load and unload them properly, shoot accurately, understand the laws concerning their use and ownership, and make a more informed decision as to whether you want to own a firearm. Click here to read more »

Selecting Equipment

Over the next couple of weeks I will make a series of posts related to equipment. For many, this is our favorite topic and what we spend the majority of our time focused on. For those of us that are serious about training for a violent confrontation, whether military, law enforcement, or a private citizen, we must realize that WHAT we use is not nearly as important as how and when we use it.

What we find in our courses is that equipment related problems slow down the pace of training and make learning more difficult. Many students spent much of their time on the line fighting their equipment rather than learning. One of the benefits of a formal training course is that you get to work out the kinks in your equipment selection. You will learn quickly if your gear sucks. Unfortunately, you may spend the rest of your time fighting equipment rather than learning to fight bad guys. Click here to read more »

M4 Stopping Power

Some of the current debate about the effectiveness of the M4 is swirling around the “stopping power” of the cartridge and the reliability of the weapon system. Digging through my archives, I found some comments from John Holschen regarding the effectiveness of the cartridge:
The stopping power “problem” is based on the misconception that there exists a hand-held firearm which can instantly terminate hostile behavior (reliably and repeatedly). Click here to read more »

Gelatin Studies and real world performance.

The shooting press and ammunition manufacturers talk a lot about gelatin studies and how they relate to defensive shooting. Greg Hamilton weighs in on the topic:

The main problem with the gelatin studies is that gelatin only is calibrated for pig muscle for depth of penetration. Not anything else. We can assume human muscle and pig muscle are similar enough that the is basically the same. After that all bets are off. The biggest problem is we shoot people in the chests, chests are mostly NOT muscle tissue. The measurements where the FBI came up with the magic 12-14″ are of the chest to transverse the goodies.

I wouldn’t shoot people with more than a 55 HP unless I was also trying to solve some other problem like distance at the same time.

Even though the street data is horribly collected, it is still data, and the best performers as “stoppers” on the street have been rounds that penetrate 8-10″ of ballistic gelatin. The FBI set 12-14 as a magic number and then went on to find rounds that go 12-14″ of muscle not 12-14″ of chest, which is the target they are concerned with getting through.

The 5.56 round with best real world results in the USA is a 55 HP, but in gelatin tests it only goes 10″ at most, yet it produces more “1 shot stops” than anything out there. Because it doesn’t penetrate far enough in gelatin people are discarding it but it has the highest DRT rate.

I wouldn’t shoot people with more than a 55 HP unless I was also trying to solve some other problem like distance at the same time.

Terminal Rifle Ballistics.

Greg Hamilton recently posted the following to the email list regarding the terminal ballistics of rifle bullets at different velocities.

With rifle bullets you have:

1) A velocity at which a given bullet will fragment.
2) A velocity where it is stable through tissue but not going fast enough to fragment.
3) A velocity where it is so slow it is very unstable.

All three depend greatly on what the bullet is going through specifically, how far it travels, how many different mediums it passes through, spin rate, etc. It is number 2 that is most affected by these factors.

Many bullets when traveling at subsonic velocities will turn over, but not break as the bullet construction is too strong.

Many 5.56 bullets when they get down in the low 2000fps range have weak wounding (don’t fool yourself into thinking anything as weak as .22LR) but there will be a lower velocity where the bullet will become unstable very quickly and turn over producing more wounding then if it was going faster and did not turn over. The 300 whisper 220gr subsonic is an example of this, the bullet becomes unstable almost instantly when it enters tissue and really rips stuff up in a non-intuitive way.

There is also a velocity where the bullet will turn over and then break and one where it will not (once again, this depends on a lot of factors) the perfect subsonic round will become instantly unstable, turn over and break into fragments. Many bullets when traveling at subsonic velocities will turn over, but not break as the bullet construction is too strong. I’m sure low velocity 5.56 would do the same, but I have never shot the subsonic stuff into any living thing so I can’t tell you.