12 gauge magnum slug penetration

This is a discussion on 12 gauge magnum slug penetration within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Will a 3'' magnum slug penetrate body armor? Don't worry, I'm not planning on going on a rampage or anything....

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Thread: 12 gauge magnum slug penetration

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array rammerjammer's Avatar
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    Question 12 gauge magnum slug penetration

    Will a 3'' magnum slug penetrate body armor?

    Don't worry, I'm not planning on going on a rampage or anything.

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  3. #2
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    If it's soft body armor at close range, it's going to be an ouchie day in any case...

    According to what I can find (and manufacturers claims), IIIA vests are rated to stop (that is, prevent penetration of) 12 guage rifled slugs, but I can't find much info on 3" magnum slugs specifically. There are a number of documented "saves" by vests vs. the 12G slug, and in many cases the shootee suffered no more than a bruise, but I know for a fact that I wouldn't want to be the test subject against a 3" magnum.
    Last edited by OPFOR; March 9th, 2011 at 09:35 AM.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array paaiyan's Avatar
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    What kind of vest?
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    WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.

  5. #4
    Ex Member Array JOHNSMITH's Avatar
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    I don't know whether it would actually penetrate, but even if it doesn't, it would definitely create some significant blunt force trauma.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array paaiyan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul34 View Post
    I don't know whether it would actually penetrate, but even if it doesn't, it would definitely create some significant blunt force trauma.
    Definitely a point. Penetration or not, getting hit with a 12 gauge slug would really suck.
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  7. #6
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    This might help.




    Protection Levels

    1 .22 Magnum 40 gr. JHP (1209 FPS / 369 MPS)
    2 .32 ACP 60 gr. Silvertip JHP (936 FPS / 285 MPS)
    3 .380 ACP 95 gr. FMC (902 FPS / 275 MPS)
    4 .38 Special 125 gr. Nyclad SWHP (1009 FPS / 308 MPS)
    5 .38 Special +P 110 gr. JHP (1049 FPS / 320 MPS)
    6 .38 Special +P 140 gr. JHP (869 FPS / 265 MPS)
    7 9mm 124 gr. FMC (1173 FPS / 358 MPS)*
    8 9mm 125 gr. JSP (1121 FPS / 342 MPS)
    9 9mm 147 gr. Black Talon (1010 FPS / 308 MPS)
    10 9mm 147 gr. Golden Saber (1083 FPS / 330 MPS)
    11 9mm 147 gr. Hydra Shok (1011 FPS / 308 MPS)
    12 .357 Magnum 158 gr. JSP (1308 FPS / 399 MPS)*
    13 .357 Magnum 110 gr. JHP (1292 FPS / 394 MPS)
    14 .357 Magnum 125 gr. JHP (1335 FPS / 407 MPS)
    15 .40 Caliber 180 gr. FMJTC (992 FPS / 302 MPS)
    16 .40 Caliber 170 gr. FMJTC (1095 FPS / 334 MPS)
    17 10mm 155 gr. FMJTC (1024 FPS / 312 MPS)
    18 10mm 170 gr. JHP (1137 FPS / 347 MPS)
    19 .41 Magnum 210 gr. LSWC (1141 FPS / 348 MPS)
    20 .44 Magnum 240 gr. LFP (1017 FPS / 310 MPS)
    21 .45 Long Colt 250 gr. LRN (778 FPS / 237 MPS)
    22 .45 ACP 230 gr. FMJ (826 FPS / 252 MPS)
    23 12 ga. 00 Buck (9 pellet) (1063 FPS / 324 MPS)
    24 9mm 124 gr. FMJ (1215 FPS / 370 MPS)*
    25 9mm 115 gr. Silvertip JHP (1252 FPS / 382 MPS)
    26 9mm 124 gr. Starfire JHP (1174 FPS / 358 MPS)
    27 .357 Magnum 158 gr. JSP (1453 FPS / 443 MPS)*
    28 .357 Magnum 145 gr. Silvertip JHP (1371 FPS / 418 MPS)
    29 .357 Magnum 125 gr. JHP (1428 FPS / 435 MPS)
    30 10 mm 175 gr. Silvertip JHP (1246 FPS / 380 MPS)
    31 .41 Magnum 210 gr. JSP (1322 FPS / 403 MPS)
    32 .44 Magnum 240 gr. SJHP (1270 FPS / 387 MPS)
    33 9mm 124 gr. FMJ (1440 FPS / 439 MPS)*
    34 9mm 115 gr. FMJ Israeli (1499 FPS / 457 MPS)
    35 9mm 123 gr. FMJ Geco (1372 FPS / 418 MPS)
    36 9mm 124 gr. FMJ Cavim (1259 FPS / 384 MPS)
    37 .44 Magnum 240 gr. LSWC (1448 FPS / 441 MPS)*
    38 .44 Magnum 240 gr. HSP (1320 FPS / 402 MPS)
    39 12 ga. 1 oz. Rifled Slug (1290 FPS / 393 MPS)
    40 12 ga. 1 oz. Rifle Slug (1254 FPS / 382 MPS)

    * NIJ certification round when used in concert with the NFCAS sternum plate.
    Bullet Abbreviations

    The following standard abbreviations are used to designate types of bullets or projectiles contained in the rounds tested.
    FMC/J-Full Metal Case/ Full metal Jacket
    FMJTC-Full Metal Jacket Truncated Cone
    HSP-Hollow Soft Point
    LRB-Lead Round Ball
    LRN- Lead Round Nose
    LSWC-Lead Semi-Wadcutter
    JHP- Jacketed Hollow Point
    JSP- Jacketed Soft Point
    LFP- Lead Flat Point
    SJHP- Semi-Jacketed Hollow Point
    SWHP- Semi-Wadcutter Hollow Point
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  8. #7
    Distinguished Member Array alachner's Avatar
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    I think that the only shotgun round that will penetrate body armor is a 12 Gauge Flechette round.
    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's ridiculous... If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid for?" [Clint Smith - Thunder Ranch]

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array paaiyan's Avatar
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    Not according to that graphic up there. According to that a slug will penetrate anything below IIIA.
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  10. #9
    Member Array crabbys44's Avatar
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    We conducted a LOT of testing of 12 gauge slugs versus body armor.

    We placed a Level 2 vest (no trauma plate) on a sandbag with a panel covering both sides. The slug penetrated the chest panel, traveled through the sandbag, and exited through the back panel.

    We also tested it against cars, which was our primary concern. These were older cars that actually had metal panels on them. The slug was the ONLY round to consistently penetrate through the door into the passenger area. The windshield didn't deflect the slug at all. Cinder blocks were completely penetrated through and through (these were regular cinder blocks, not filled ones).

    We tested the slug against 00 buck, 5.56 (AR platform), 9mm MP5, 10mm, .45, & .44 magnum handguns.

    And we could shoot 3" groups out to 75 yards. Couldn't test out to 100 yards, the range was too small.
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  11. #10
    Member Array gschoelles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rammerjammer View Post
    Will a 3'' magnum slug penetrate body armor?

    Don't worry, I'm not planning on going on a rampage or anything.
    Probably not, but would probably still shut down the heart, cause massive internal hemorrhaging and kill.

  12. #11
    Member Array gschoelles's Avatar
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    3" groups a 75 yards? Wowser, those damn 3" mags loosen my teeth with each shot and I can barley bring it back on target. You are awesome!

    Quote Originally Posted by crabbys44 View Post
    We conducted a LOT of testing of 12 gauge slugs versus body armor.

    We placed a Level 2 vest (no trauma plate) on a sandbag with a panel covering both sides. The slug penetrated the chest panel, traveled through the sandbag, and exited through the back panel.

    We also tested it against cars, which was our primary concern. These were older cars that actually had metal panels on them. The slug was the ONLY round to consistently penetrate through the door into the passenger area. The windshield didn't deflect the slug at all. Cinder blocks were completely penetrated through and through (these were regular cinder blocks, not filled ones).

    We tested the slug against 00 buck, 5.56 (AR platform), 9mm MP5, 10mm, .45, & .44 magnum handguns.

    And we could shoot 3" groups out to 75 yards. Couldn't test out to 100 yards, the range was too small.

  13. #12
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    Indeed... Shooting slugs out of my/our 14"bbl, cylinder bore Rem 870s, POA/POI was off by approximately 10 feet at 50 yards, and grouping was an exercise in futility (considering I had to offset-aim two targets over to get on the paper of my target at all...) After a few days of that, I gave up and accepted that anything beyond 25 yds with this particular set up was...impractical.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gschoelles View Post
    Probably not, but would probably still shut down the heart, cause massive internal hemorrhaging and kill.
    I'm going with this one(and I'm not an expert). I did stay at a holiday inn express... JK.. I do remember watching a vid of just such a test once. They had put a IIIA vest over both molded ballistics gelatin body with skeleton and a modeling clay version. In both instances the slugs failed to penetrate the vest, but the force alone was enough to cause severe and probably fatal damage. When striking the clay version it left a cavity the size of a watermelon behind the POI on the vest in the clay. The hole stopped just inside what would be the spine. Needless to say you can imagine what your internal organs would look like in such an instance. Ballistics gelatin was just about as bad as well as skeletal bone breakage. Basically the dummies were dead and then some.
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

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  15. #14
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    packin (and others) - You bet your bottom dollar that the potential to cause life-threatening injuries exists even without penetration when we're talking about something with as much energy as a 12 guage slug, but there are several documented cases of people being shot with said slugs while wearing soft body armor and not only surviving, but suffering only relatively minor injuries. Could a hit right on your sternum kill you? You bet. Is a certainty? Certainly not... But I'm sure not volunteering!

    As an aside, this is yet another reason I prefer a (relatively) short barreled AR (or similar) for HD under most circumstances. The 5.56N WILL penetrate any soft vest, without question, while penetrating LESS through common household walls etc.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  16. #15
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    In 2008 I had heard that the FBI had lost at least two agents in the last 5(ish) years while wearing level 3+ vests. The vests defeated the round but the agents were killed by the round deflecting (or splashing) off of the trauma plate and through the bottom of the chin/throat area. This info came from my (former) neighbor who is a special agent and FBI sniper. He was not pleased with the newly issued gear circa 2007/2008. So even if the vest does "win" it can still be fatal.

    He also had a beautiful Pre-1964 Model 70 in .308 that averaged .4 inch groups. The FBI issued him a new HS Precision rifle that was twice as heavy as his model 70. They made him turn in the Winchester and destroyed it. :( He even offered to buy it outright but they wouldn't let him...What a bummer. That rifle was pretty!
    It is surely true that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. Nor can you make them grateful for your efforts.

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