The machine gun has been a major force multiplier in infantry combat. Unfortunately many unit leaders do not know how to employ assets like Snipers, Machine Guns, and Indirect fire effectively.
The rise of portable belt fed machine guns pretty much eliminated the tactic of the mass human wave attack. This also allowed for smaller elements to suppress the enemy with fire so other elements could flank.
It drives me nuts when I hear people say that machine guns have no practical use. Besides being fun they are also a cornerstone of modern infantry tactics.
It is a dangerous world out there, and as uncomfortable as it is to think about, the current state of the country means not every one is armed to step up to defend the most helpless among us. With that in mind and the recent atrocities, we decided to do some testing on something often suggested as a means for children to protect themselves in case the unthinkable happens and no one is around with a gun that could otherwise stop the threat.
You may have heard or read about the idea of kids using a book bag as a means to trying to stop a round from an active shooter. I have even read some talking about bags lined with soft armor. After my tests last year of seeing what common rounds would do inside a house, and the difficulty or even rifle rounds penetrating books and some tests shown on Best Defense years ago by Rob Pincus, I can attest to the ability of books to stop about any rifle round.
For the test, we filled a pack with some real text books. from a relatives left over college semester. and some magazines to simulate a note book of just paper. Nothing else was added, not soft armor, or plates sewn in to give it any more help to stop a round. This was meant to see how it would do if books and some nylon was all you had.
Rounds used were 5.56 in M193 and M855, 9mm using NATO ball and .45ACP ball as well as 12 gauge 00 buck, slugs and the ever popular ( though absurd) birdshot. Five rounds of each got fired into the bag to see how it would penetrate. We could not set the Q target against the bag without knocking it down or tearing it every shot, so we settled on setting it a few inches away. The test was not meant to show any blunt trauma, just penetration. Again, for those who will complain.. this was not scientific, nor does it prove anything as a hard fact, thought we feel it is useful and gives plenty to think about.
First up. was 9mm ball, NATO pressure ammo, Fired from about twenty feet, as if the victim was running away. We later found even contact shots had the same result. the 9mm failed to penetrate beyond a few inches of book and barely moves the bag.
One manages about 3 inches, but most stopped inside the book. We fired another five rounds of 9mm to the same result. Those that did not stop in the books deflected at harmless angles. We both expected better performance since the hotter 9mm load is often touted as being a decent round for penetration.
Next up was the .45ACP 230 grain ball ammo. Shot from the same distance
Same results from the 45 with just a little deeper penetration into the books but with more damage to the books by this point. The bag did flop and move more violently, and for a second we thought one may have gotten through, but, once again, nothing got anywhere close.
Above you can see the results of the .45ACP ball rounds on the books. Several 45 ball rounds were found in the books with almost no deformation.
Next up was the 5.56 fired from standard 16 inch Colt 6920 with 1/7 twist barrel from the same distance as the pistols.
To my absolute not surprise at all. Nothing got even close. Equally ineffective was the M855 round. Both rounds fragmented inside the books and nothing big enough to even speak or was recovered once we started to sift through the remains of the bag and books.
Next we fired the 12 Gauge with the 00 Buck. Looking at the pictures with no back ground it may look impressive, but the pictures out of context tell a lie. The dead center hit was from one of the pellets going high and missing the books in the bag. Sure this would happen in real life, but the point was to see what would make it through books being used as protection. Obviously a head shot would render it all a wasted effort, but that is not the point of this test. The other “hits” resulted from deflection. The buck hit the books, flattened and deformed and went around and out the sides. There was no real penetration. I am not really sure how to label this in contest of the test since none of the made it though the protective layer of books proper, but hits did get on paper. Something to think about, and it may be a fluke because of the harder book covers and thickness, Obviously there is not real way to predict anything a round will do after it hits anything other than air.
Next up was the punishing police slugs from the 12 gauge. five rounds from the same distance as the rifle and pistol. Nothing at all on paper. The bag sure looked like it felt it though. Damage to the body even from the slugs not making a hit would be significant in my unlearned medical opinion. But I suppose it still beats getting a 12 gauge slug through the back.
Lastly was every moron’s favorite home defense shot gun round. Birdshot. Nothing even got mush past the nylon bag, but as soon as the shot hit the hard cover book, they all deflected. lost most of its energy and followed the inside of the bag around an came out the other side, I guess you could call it a “hit”, though the pellets did not even go all the way through the cardboard, and did not even do much to the books. The shot did scatter everywhere once hitting the harder books and then deflecting. Since it did not penetrate even the soft cardboard, I have no idea what it would look like on a human. My guess is the skin would be broken and some bleeding and pain, but not enough to kill a grown person, though it would still be terrible on a kid. Of course the further away the person got from the shooter, the even more useless the bird shot would become. Another 20 feet and maybe safety glasses would be all you needed after a shot to the books and bag, but still its something to consider.
After testing the pistols and rifle rounds again at contact distance and seeing the same results, I took the books apart and we sifted through the remains out of being curious. The closer fired 45 rounds seem to deformed a bit but not much, no fragmentation to be sure. Even less from most of the 9mm, I believe most of the damage to both was from fired rounds hitting already embedded buck shot or other bullets. The lead buck and slugs became blobs of every shape and size with the 00 buck flattening out but still looking in some what original condition while the slugs looked to have suffered great damage.
Could you use a bag full or books for a last ditch protection? Absolutely. If you had nothing else and got caught in the open, you sure could do worse, Children should be taught to try to use the bags for cover, maybe even being coached to snatch a loose one up and wear one on the front and back while trying to make an escape if possible if it was not so heavy it impeded speed.. Stack books behind a door or desk being used to hide, turning it into cover would also be a great idea. The ideas are many and I will leaver that to the people more qualified than I am to advice you on your kids protection. But, just like strategically placed books and shelves in the home to protect you from gun fire, the books in a pack will do the same if it came to that.
Article submitted by Mark Hatfield.
Eyes, Hands, and Handguns.
This could be about shooters with poor uncorrected eyesight, it’s not. It could be about shooters who are cross-eye dominant, it’s not, though it will touch on both of those concerns. If you shoot only for sport, competition, hunting, or fun, then you don’t need to read this either. But if you train for serious social purposes…
Fifty years or so ago a fellow named John created a cut in my right eyebrow. He used three rapid jabs with the sharp edged ring on his hand, a Boy Scout ring no less. Being not much of a fighter then, and hopefully somewhat better now, the fight ended then. He may have actually been trying to destroy my eye but that didn’t occur to me at the time. Anyway, later back at my home, standing at the bathroom sink looking at myself in the mirror, one half of my face was completely covered with blood. I started cleaning from the bottom up, I kept looking for the wound, a grievous one of course it had to be. I was surprised when I found it in the eyebrow.
Cuts to the face may bleed a lot, some ‘knife fighters’ even advocate a slash to the forehead to create bleeding to blind the opponent. While the wisdom or not of this move is not discussed here it is true that our eyesight is easily affected. My eyesight has many times been affected by my own sweat or chemicals in the air which made me tear, often burning tears. Smoke from smoke grenades sometimes was worse than tear gas. Common household cleaners used in a small room can be affect the eyes as well as the lungs. In years past, for reasons I never discovered, some heating systems could cause me to have serious tearing and burning of the eyes.
Never forget, there is also the old trick of throwing sand, bleach, lye, and other nasty things into eyes. Even soda or lemonade be a problem. Remember, the person who answers the door or approaches you ‘innocently’ holding a coffee cup or soft drink cup may not be so innocent as they appear. Think of how much even an eyelash on your eye is so disturbing.
While constantly wearing some form of eyeglasses, prescription or protective, does help a lot, that is not the point, the point here is…can you shoot with the other eye?
Most people who train shooting for defensive purposes, hopefully, will train to be able to use either hand. While one might prefer to shoot using both hands at the same time, the serious shooter needs to be able to use only one, either one, and should work seriously at this. BUT (And a big BUT this is) though you may practice to be able to use either hand, can you use either eye?
The hands and arms are very likely to be injured if you take incoming fire, after all, they are out there in front of your face and body but the eyes are also easily disturbed. You may train to be able to shoot with either hand equally or near equally well but do you always use the same eye? Aligning the gun to the eye and even just to the face can be very different than what you are so accustom to. You may get a big shock the first time you try it. Your performance will not be the same, you may find it difficult to align the gun with the target for ‘non-sighted’ fire let alone trying to align the sights. This might be an ‘eye opener’ that your skills are really less than you thought.
Try these drills, some slow fire and some acquiring the target and getting off a shot quickly.
Right hand, right eye.
Right hand, left eye.
Left hand, right eye.
Left hand, left eye.
Most shooters will quickly notice that the drills where the hand and eye do not ‘match’ are the most difficult. The good news is that improvement comes quickly. While such drills need not be done at every practice session, they should be done more than just ‘once in a while’.
For those of us who always wear prescription eyeglasses or contacts, sometimes TAKE THEM OFF, put on clear protective glasses and shoot with no correction for bad eyesight. Even sometimes do it in connection with the ‘hand/eye’ drills. (If you are at a public range or other people are shooting, face AWAY from other shooters and not down range while changing glasses)
At close contact, when being hit or grabbed, often one of the first things which happens is that the wearer of eyeglasses loses them, Can you shoot without yours? I should ask instead ‘Can you hit without yours?
Even doing a little bit of these drills can can cause significant improvement, even more important is learning exactly what your limitations are. Don’t wait for a gun fight to find out. Consider if you have to explain to a judge and jury why you shot at someone when you couldn’t see very well. It’s better to not just have the skills, but to be able to accurately explain that you knew just what you could and could not do.