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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A select few of you may remember these floating around the internet about 15 years ago, Army & Springfield conducted a penetration test on the GI issue helmet at the time. They shot it at various distances with a 9mm, 45ACP, .38S&W:

9mm would penetrate the helmet up to 120 - 130 yards.

45ACP would penetrate the helmet up to 30 yards.


At the risk of starting another caliber war, any insight or details on this are welcome.

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Interesting.... Yet it means nothing....

A 7.62X25 Tokarev round will run circles around the 9mm in penetration.

That does NOT make it a superior combat round.
And who is using 7.62X25 in today's world ??

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I'm looking a the muzzle energy of 7.62x25, the higher energy figures are very similar to 9x19 +P/+P+, it can go up to around 300 fps faster than the hot 9mm loads. I can see 7.62 being better at distance shooting and maybe it will penetrate better at distance, but we don't typically see the calling for penetration at a distance using pistol rounds.
 

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As @banger said, interesting... but means nothing.
This was not an apples-to-apples test of either similar bullet weights at varying velocity or similar velocities for varying bullet weights.
Doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that weight, speed, and diameter change the performance of projectiles.
We had the .38 Super cartridge available to us at that time, with performance superior to the 9x19. I never did understand why the U.S. Got ignored it- and chose to use foreign ammo for comparison.
 

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357 Sig FMJ would do well in the helmet perforation contest.


In before anybody posted reply about being attacked by a helmet.
That's just it- in 1948- when this study was published- the handgun options for a military setting were very limited.
Today? There are so many cartridges that would pass the helmet penetration test that the bean counters wouldn't be able to make a choice.
 

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I remember an old Vietnam Vet talking to me one time about how he was disappointed with the penetrating power of .45 in combat, and decided to use a 9mm. It was either a S&W Model 39 or a Hi Power, I can't remember which. I thought it was interesting, though if limited to FMJ I wouldn't pick 9mm over .45.

Not sure why anyone would be trying to penetrate a helmet at 30 yards, let alone 130 yards. I don't see how it's applicable to the way sidearms are used.
 

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Not sure why anyone would be trying to penetrate a helmet at 30 yards, let alone 130 yards. I don't see how it's applicable to the way sidearms are used.
Ok, pick any hard barrier then, doesn't have to be a helmet.

How is that applicable? Well for one thing, law enforcement. .45 ACP has always been a problematic hard barrier penetrator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok, pick any hard barrier then, doesn't have to be a helmet.

Get it?
Maybe he's thinking civilian where shooting through barriers such as windshields is rare, in LE and MIL however, much more common.
 
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#1. A helmet represents a hard barrier. It may also be the only shot you have as someone gets their body down and only the head is sticking up. But odds are they were look for standard medium to test against and the surplus helmets were a good starting point. Maybe they went on to plaster walls, cinder blocks...
#2. 9mm vs. 45ACP isn't just about sidearms. Remember at the time they were also the sub machine guns. I think they messed up and not doing that test and including the M1/M2 Carbine in 30carbine.
#3. I never understood why they made and ISSUED AP ammo for M1/M2 carbine, 30-06, 308, 5.56, but not 9mm and 45ACP. I mean if you are issuing FMJ shouldnt it be AP?

As far as effectiveness in the field...
Let's go back to shot placement, shot placement, shot placement. I don't think you can win a war on the differences between 9mm and 45ACP.
 

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Based on the accuracy during police shootings (not snipers), very few officers should be taking a pistol shot over 30 yards.

Conclusion: Therefore, if police (or civilians) are shooting pistol caliber ammo from 1948, each and every one would be effective in 99% of circumstances.
 

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At close range with a pistol, it might not be a big deal. At longer range with a submachine gun I would prefer 9mm or 7.62 Tokarev.
 

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Ok, pick any hard barrier then, doesn't have to be a helmet.

How is that applicable? Well for one thing, law enforcement. .45 ACP has always been a problematic hard barrier penetrator.
If you look at the results of FBI testing, there are certain barriers where .45 ACP does better with penetration in cases where mass is more advantageous against certain barriers vs speed. These include automobile windshield glass and bone.

Mass beats glass (and bone), velocity beats metal and wood.

In any case, in 9mm, .40, and .45 all have many bonded expanding ammunition available that will do a fine job against any of the barriers in the FBI protocol.
 

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LOL... excellent response.

That truly made me laugh.

Thank you...

BTW, the character displayed in that photo, was an actor named Arte Johnson who portrayed that character on "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" in the 1960's many times.

His tag line was (with a German accent)... Veeeeery interestinggg...
 
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