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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This thread asked an interesting question regarding home defense or as in a safe room:
http://www.defensivecarry.com/forum...handgun-round-will-penetrate.html#post2691490

The "Box O Truth" guy did one similar but he shot through separated pieces of drywall, the OP of the thread above asked the question regarding multiple stacked (or layered) pieces. No air gaps.

It just happens that I had some scrap 1/2 inch pieces and cut some up in squares and stacked them together as if they were a deck of cards. I had a total of 17 pieces, which would measure about 8 1/2 inches thick total. Also note that due to odd drywall scrap sizes the top two pieces were not used in the test for the .22, .380, or the 9mm

The first picture shows the "entrance wounds" on the drywall from 5 different pistol calibers:
.22, Federal long rifle, 40 grain solid nose
.380, Remington, 95 grain FMJ RN
9mm, Winchester range/practice ammo, 115 grain FMJ RN
.40, Winchester range/practice ammo, 165 grain FMJ FN
.45, Winchester range/practice ammo, 230 grain FMJ RN

I like all of ya'll just fine, but I'm not shootin up my good stuff for this test :rofl:
Note, I shot the .40 twice, it was a bit too close to the edge and I fired a second shot deeper in the stack to be sure.

The second picture are the "exit wounds" to the drywall.
The 9mm zipped through 15 pieces (remember it started at the third piece of the stack. It went fairly deep in the moist soft dirt, I didn't bother in digging it out.
Both .40's zipped through the full 17 piece stack and deep into the dirt below, I was especially impressed.

The third picture reveals what was found within the stack.
The .45 was found embedded in the 15th piece. BTW the bullet looked rather undamaged/undeformed
The .22 and .380 were both embedded in the 12th piece, the .380 almost made it to the 13th piece.

I don't know how many pieces you'd need to completely stop the .40? Layering a safe room with drywall might require 20-30 layers! It would be pretty resistant to fire, but not so much to gunfire. Plywood or OSB would likely be a lot better, but I would sandwich it in between drywall to make it more fire resistant.

In conclusion there are a lot of building materials that one could choose from and the level of efficiency and price of them will vary as well. I'm not advocating anything in particular, I just enjoy an impromptu test occasionally, I actually have an old thread here, where we shot a cast iron bathtub with various calibers. That's some tough stuff !!!
 

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Interesting photos and results. Pictures always make these kinds of posts that much better. I can think of much better things than 9" of drywall to stop a bullet, but ballistics tests are always fun anyway.

What length barrel was used for each caliber? I'd be interested to see if a different length barrel changed the results any (ie 3" vs 5")
 

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...these two threads have taught this old man a thing or three about what's enough to stop something...thanks for your research...
 

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For a safe room, I think there are better choices than a whole stack of sheetrock... ppkheat just validated that.

I did some quick calculations and lining two 8'x8' walls with 1/4 inch cold-rolled steel would run about $2500 for materials, but would offer better protection from bullets than 8 inches of dry wall. It would also be a lot lighter for supporting structure.

If someone is really curious, they could research "bullet resistant materials" and find a wealth of info on useful stuff to use for a safe room.
 

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It would be interesting to see how much a bullet can penetrate a mattress. As my bedroom is my safe room and I would most likely be using my mattress as cover or concealment depending on how much a bullet will penetrate.
 

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I saw a test where someone built a dummy wall and filled the hollow space with sand. they decided that a 2x6 wall filled with sand was pretty good protection at a reasonable price. I believe they also had 1/2" ply on the inside to attach shelving too. It stopped the pistol rounds and shattered the high velocity ones. DR
 

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I had a buddy who owned a check cashing service, he built the wall that divided employees from customers out of 2x4's that were stacked together the 3.5" way with 1/2" plywood and 1/2" drywall on the inside and the outside making the wall 5.5" thick. When it was all finished you couldn't tell that it was a fortified wall. It's been a while back so I can't recall what he shot at the wall to check for penetration. Sounds like another test for someone out there.
 

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next to my work my buddy has his own granite business (makes granite counter tops for bathrooms kitchens) and we cut the sink holes out for him with our water jet and i take the cutout pieces out and shoot them, standard size sink varys but 1 3/4 to 2 inch thinck granite and measures 2 feet 9" x 2 feet will hold up to like 6 or 7 shots from glock 23 40cal target ammo standing about 7 yards away, the smaller rounded pieces say like 1'x1' i shot like 20-30 rounds with 40 cal and 9mm and it never broke. i was surprised how tough granite pieces are.
 

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Good info! It gives me some further ideas.
 

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Very good information and a great thought provoking post.

I have two safe rooms. One has gun safes in it. The oter is a 14 X 8 walk-in closet that has been converted to being a room for ammo, shooting accessories and use as a room in case of storm, home invasion or whatever. It is a normal rom with sheetrock walls but I overlayed the sheetrock with 5/8 inch exterior plywood and then another payer of 1/2 inch sheetrock. It has a double dead bolt lock on the solid core door that cannot be kicked in since it opens outward.

Every house needs to have a safe room for a multitude of reasons and the OP of this thread did a great service in bringing this out.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Very good information and a great thought provoking post.
Thanks, it was actually "fun" to do, I wish I had more time to do stuff like that. I might do some more tests every now and then? How about a test to see how many layers of "drawers" it would take to stop a .40? :rofl:

It has a double dead bolt lock on the solid core door that cannot be kicked in since it opens outward..
How about the hinge pins on that door, are they accessible to being knocked out?

Every house needs to have a safe room for a multitude of reasons and the OP of this thread did a great service in bringing this out.
I built my house in the mid-80's and I wish that "safe rooms" would have come to my mind back then. They would make a good spot to head during a storm, panic, and a great place to store "important stuff". Any safe room ought to have some multiple layers of sheetrock to help it in a fire as well. Thanks again.
 

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Of those that made it through, it would be interesting to know the exiting velocity. I wonder if cement board would add more resistance. It is more dense, but not sure that equates to slowing the bullet more.

That fiberglass posted by onacoma looks nice...probably have to double up sheets and overlap unless there is another way to reinforce the seams. I may have to check those out.

I am not only interested in such walls for intruders...actually more so for tornadoes. We have a basement, but you can still come out looking like you hid in a blender.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Of those that made it through, it would be interesting to know the exiting velocity. I wonder if cement board would add more resistance. It is more dense, but not sure that equates to slowing the bullet more.
In hindsight I wish I'd put a 1/2 piece of plywood on the bottom, I think penetrating it or not would have been pretty revealing. Hmmm, might just have to put it all back together and try it with a 9mm and .40? ROAD TRIP !!!!!
 

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I hear of an ODA guy my last deployment who built a false wall of sorts and placed sand bags between the two pieces of drywall after his wife was shot by the BG while hiding out of sight. He said the BG shot and missed him and the bullet went through the wall. He said its about 4 feet high and 5 feet long in their closet. I'm sure something could be fabricated for pretty cheap that would give some ballistic protection to a safe room.
 

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Straw Bale buildings besides enjoying excellent insulative properties (R-50) are also very effective against small arms. Many years ago in an issue of Back Woods Home Magazine a man tested a portion of a strawbale wall. Common handgun calibers such as 22, 38, 357, 44 and 45 were fired at the wall. NONE penetrated the test wall. The test wall was 18 inches thick plus 1/2" of stucco on both sides of wall. The wall also had 30.06 rounds fired into it. No 30.06 rounds PENETRATED.
 

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Sandbags have been used for years to stop bullets. Also remember that while it may not be practical in a safe room, the angle of impact also has a lot to do with penetration. That's the reason they make tanks that have an aerodynamic look to them. It's not for fuel economy, but for deflection. If you have to hide behind something, hide behind something that has an angle which will deflect it up and away instead of trying to block it.

I'd also suggest stopping by your local range and talking with them about ideas for a back stop and what theirs will and will not stop.
 
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