Bad: They're wearing body armor. Good: it doesn't always work

This is a discussion on Bad: They're wearing body armor. Good: it doesn't always work within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Originally Posted by wdbailey Go measure the diameter of your knee, go measure your head. compare the two. Knees move around a lot more than ...

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Thread: Bad: They're wearing body armor. Good: it doesn't always work

  1. #46
    Senior Member Array Okemo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wdbailey View Post
    Go measure the diameter of your knee, go measure your head.

    compare the two.

    Knees move around a lot more than heads do and there's two of them.

    The femurs up to the pelvic girdle make a marginally acceptable target if that's all you've got to take a shot at.

    Don't take tactical advice from television shows!

    This always makes me think of the times that a LEO has to shoot somebody. There are often people who say "Couldn't he just have 'winged' him?" OR "Couldn't he just have shot the gun out of the bad guys hand...did he have to kill him?"

    Gotta love it.
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  3. #47
    Member Array BritishAgent's Avatar
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    Would any of you consider lubricating your rounds (ie. melted nylon) in order to circumvent armor? Are there any legal issues with it, collateral effects of hitting someone without armor?

    Sounds like a better solution than aiming for kneecaps or pulling off an accurate Moz under duress, but I'll be honest I've never tried it and don't know much about it other than a general "how-to" from a Marine friend a while back.
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  4. #48
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    If the guys are using serious armor (Level 4) unless you have a .50 BMG you are not going to defeat it. Level III will stop NATO Ball ammo and Level 4 will stop 30.06 armor piercing. For less than $200 I can get a level 4 plate to slip into my vest carrier.
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  5. #49
    Member Array Eaglebeak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BritishAgent View Post
    Bingo. "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

    If the recoil from the shotgun can't throw the shooter backwards on his ass and/or incapacitate him, then the projectile(s) fired from said weapon can't do it to the target either.

    Newton: 1, Hollywood: 0

    Newton's laws of physics are correct in that "every action will generate an equal and opposite reaction". However, that law taken out of context is pure fantasy and totally illogical when suggesting the shooter of any firearm is going to feel the same applied force as that applied to the BG taking the bullet (or buckshot load) because there are many other laws of physics which come into play - primarily, mass/inertia ratios (both inertia of rest & inertia of motion) of objects between the force being generated. If the equal/opposite reaction alone were true, then the 519 ft/lbs of muzzle energy from a relatively meager .45ACP+p round would also be applied to your hand (most likely immediately dislocating the thumb, breaking the wrist in a number of places, and fracturing one or both bones in the forearm).

    The other major physics laws which apply to "recoil" of any firearm are: (1) any object's "inertia of rest" will oppose any applied force to suddenly move that object with an opposing force that is directly proportional to the mass (weight) of the object at rest, and (2) any object's "inertia of motion" will oppose any applied force to suddenly stop that object with an opposing force that is directly proportional to the mass (weight) of the object in motion.

    My fully loaded Colt 1911 .45ACP weighs about 52 ounces (22,732 grains) which makes it weigh 94 times as much as the 200 grain "Gold Dot +p" round I shoot. Since the 200-grain bullet and 22,732-grain pistol are both objects at rest when the gunpowder suddenly generates a massive applied force between them, the much heavier mass/inertia of the pistol proportionally opposes the much smaller mass/inertia of the bullet so that my hand only feels 1/94 of the total applied force as "recoil" while the much lighter bullet goes flying away carrying the lion's share of the applied energy (to deliver with its "inertia of motion" upon the target's "inertia of rest").

    For a simple rule-of-thumb comparison, 1/94 of the 518 ft/lbs energy means my hand feels a sudden "recoil" force of about 6 ft/lbs which will increase just a little with each round fired since the pistol will get just a tiny bit lighter in weight with each successive shot. An instant whack from 6 ft/lbs of applied force into the shooter's hand is only mild recoil by most standards. However, considering my pump shottie, it has a fully loaded weight of 62,951-grains and shoots a 3" magnum, 12-pellet, 00-buckshot round with a load weight of 646-grains @ 1290fps and a muzzle energy of 2386 ft/lbs. Proportional weight difference of shottie and load is X97; and I can guarantee the resulting instant whack of around 25 ft/lbs of recoil is very noticeable on the shoulder (or both hands in the case of my dual pistol grip). The mass/inertia aspect is easiest to "feel" in recoil difference when using the exact same round in a heavy gun or a very light gun.

    I will still stand behind the original statement that a close-range load of 00-buckshot into any level of soft body armor is going to put the victim down, and the blunt-force trauma delivered to the body will generate enough short-term physical shock to incapacitate the shootee long enough for the shooter to place a second load somewhere other than center-mass covered by the armor.

    Granted, nobody taking a 12ga. load of buckshot is going to do any Hollywood-style back-flips or be blown through a saloon window (back to the mass/inertia laws of physics); but, totally disregarding the non-penetration and mild shock-absorbing aspect of body armor, anyone taking almost 2400 ft/lbs of energy in an area less than tennis-ball diameter (at about 20 feet) is going to be much worse than taking the hardest punch that Muhammad Ali or Joe Frazier could ever drive into one's chest or belly. Even though metal plating in the latest body armor will spread the force over a much wider area, anyone who can remain standing, keep moving forward, or even be able to think straight after taking a hit like that is simply not human.

  6. #50
    Member Array socal2310's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BritishAgent View Post
    Would any of you consider lubricating your rounds (ie. melted nylon) in order to circumvent armor? Are there any legal issues with it, collateral effects of hitting someone without armor?

    Sounds like a better solution than aiming for kneecaps or pulling off an accurate Moz under duress, but I'll be honest I've never tried it and don't know much about it other than a general "how-to" from a Marine friend a while back.
    Contrary to popular (sensationalist media) myth. AP bullets are not coated in order to aid target penetration, but to reduce barrel wear. AP rounds are much tougher on barrels than standard lead core rounds.

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  7. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eaglebeak View Post
    Newton's laws of physics are correct in that "every action will generate an equal and opposite reaction". However, that law taken out of context is pure fantasy and totally illogical when suggesting the shooter of any firearm is going to feel the same applied force as that applied to the BG taking the bullet (or buckshot load) because there are many other laws of physics which come into play - primarily, mass/inertia ratios (both inertia of rest & inertia of motion) of objects between the force being generated. If the equal/opposite reaction alone were true, then the 519 ft/lbs of muzzle energy from a relatively meager .45ACP+p round would also be applied to your hand (most likely immediately dislocating the thumb, breaking the wrist in a number of places, and fracturing one or both bones in the forearm).

    The other major physics laws which apply to "recoil" of any firearm are: (1) any object's "inertia of rest" will oppose any applied force to suddenly move that object with an opposing force that is directly proportional to the mass (weight) of the object at rest, and (2) any object's "inertia of motion" will oppose any applied force to suddenly stop that object with an opposing force that is directly proportional to the mass (weight) of the object in motion.

    ...
    Agreed. I have a few additions.

    The original poster asked about using a carbine, which would transmit all the force of recoil to his shoulder, with no wrist or elbow or shoulder flexing to absorb and dissipate the recoil.

    When a bullet strikes a human body the bullet does not transfer all its energy into the human body along a vector parallel with the bullet's flight. Instead, the bullet (if from a handgun) transfers much of its energy into forming the temporary stretch cavity and into forming the permanent crush cavity. There are many videos on YouTube of calibrated ballistic gelatin blocks being shot with handgun bullets and leaping (laterally) up into the air off the table upon which the gelatin block is resting.

    In other cases a non-expanding, non-tumbling bullet simply zips right through a human body, leaving on a 1-caliber-diameter penetrating wound. In this case the bullet transfers very little of its energy to the human target.

    The important factor to consider is Conservation of Linear Momentum. If we assume that a bullet could and would transfer all of its momentum to the human target (mass consisting of the mass of the human target plus the mass of the bullet) we then have compare that total target mass to the mass of the human shooter plus the handgun (total mass consisting of the human shooter's mass plus the handgun's mass). If the bullet has enough momentum to transfer its momentum to the human target and apply enough force to knock the human target over backward, launching the same bullet would have enough momentum to knock the human carbine shooter over backward too. If we are worried about the mass of the carbine taking up some of the force of the recoil (and we are), then we can just assume for the sake of the thought experiment that the human target is a bit heavier (fatter) than the human shooter, by the mass of the carbine. So the human target and the human shooter (including carbine) have the same mass. If there is enough momentum to knock one over from decelerating the bullet there is enough momentum to knock the other over from accelerating the bullet.

    We are probably getting into the Freshman Physics far too deeply for most readers.

  8. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    If the guys are using serious armor (Level 4) unless you have a .50 BMG you are not going to defeat it. Level III will stop NATO Ball ammo and Level 4 will stop 30.06 armor piercing. For less than $200 I can get a level 4 plate to slip into my vest carrier.
    Do you have any recorded cases of bad guys using Level III armor other than the famous Hollywood bank robbers? I am not aware of any, but I have not been tracking the issue?

    Asked the other way around, what level body armor have bad guys been using when committing crimes while wearing soft body armor? Citations?

  9. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Okemo View Post
    This always makes me think of the times that a LEO has to shoot somebody. There are often people who say "Couldn't he just have 'winged' him?" OR "Couldn't he just have shot the gun out of the bad guys hand...did he have to kill him?"

    Gotta love it.
    I have gotten sick enough of that that these days I put on my goggles, hand them my AirSoft, take out my rubber training knife, and ask them to demonstrate how they would shoot me in the knee before I carved their tripes out (in a respectfully simulated fashion, of course). No takers so far.

  10. #54
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    ...However, that law taken out of context is pure fantasy and totally illogical when suggesting the shooter of any firearm is going to feel the same applied force as that applied to the BG taking the bullet...
    So it's still the same amount of force is it not? Just that the increased surface area of the weapon (compared to the round) coupled with its mass (and possibly a recoil repurposing system) redistributes some of that accelerating force. As well the force of the round is reduced by air resistance during its flight.

    Sorry I'm just trying to do the tl;dr version regardless of my loove of physics. :p

    If I recall correctly, the Nazis used corpses of their victims to test such theories by stringing them up and hitting them with various forms of ammunition. The bodies either barely moved or were blown apart, depending on caliber, but none of them "flew" anywhere.
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  11. #55
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcclarke View Post
    Do you have any recorded cases of bad guys using Level III armor other than the famous Hollywood bank robbers? I am not aware of any, but I have not been tracking the issue?

    Asked the other way around, what level body armor have bad guys been using when committing crimes while wearing soft body armor? Citations?
    We have had a couple of incidents here in the Houston area where some BG's (possibly cartel members) were wearing what resembled the heavy tactical (worn over the uniform type) vests. Unfortunately the media doesn't report the specific relevent (to us) information. They could just have picked up the carrier on ebay and stuffed it with bed sheets. We had some guys arrested just the other day that "raided" a townhouse in a pricier part of town. They were wearing authentic HPD jackets, but I did not catch if they were vearing vests as well.

    Part of the issue is that as this stuff is legally available to almost anyone in the U.S. and there is so much portrayal in the media that bad guys (who want to go home too) have started to realize that it is relatively cheap insurance. For less than I paid for my concealable vest you can get a stand alone level III or IV rated plate and a carrier for it.
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  12. #56
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    For those that have not seen it here is a U.S. Marine wearing body armor hit by a sniper round in Iraq in 2005. I can't say for certain which weapon fired the round but if it was an AK-47 it has a muzzle energy of 1500-1800 ft/lbs depending on the particular round. If it was an SVD (7.62x54r) we are talking about 2600 ft/lbs of muzzle energy. That is about 4% more than a 12ga slug. If you want to compensate those figures for range call it 100yds and knock about a third off. But also note that the rifled slug loses about one fifth of it's energy in the first 25 yards and half by the time you get to 100 yards
    U.S Soldier gets shot by a sniper and lives *Footage*! - YouTube

    As to the physics involved, note that this was basically a static target as opposed to one advancing toward the shooter. I can't say if he was pumped on adrenaline at the time or not, but this looks more like a chronic stress situation as opposed to an accute stress situation for him.
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  13. #57
    Member Array Eaglebeak's Avatar
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    The movie clip of the soldier taking a hit is exactly the point I have tried to make since I've witnessed same (and I'm sure the shooter didn't go down like that from firing his weapon - LOL).

    As mentioned before, taking a hit from that much force will generally put one down immediately even though there's no penetration. Additionally, modern combat armor has a significantly more shock absorbing ability than most soft body armor worn on the streets; and the soldier still went down from the sudden whack (and no, he wasn't dropping to firing position either).

    In a self-defense scenario, seeing any movement after they go down and are momentarily stunned, that would be the critical time to immediatly think "body armor" and send one or more additional rounds into non-armored areas until the threat is stopped.

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