Thursday, April 14, 2016

Stopping A Bullet

What will stop a handgun bullet in the average home? Not an interior wall. Not a standard
exterior wall unless it is made from solid brick. Not the couch, not the TV, not the front door.
A two-to-three-foot thick stack of phone books, positioned with the books’’ faces toward the shooter, would stop a bullet. For convenience, you could place these phone books inside a cardboard box, to be pulled out when dry firing and put away out of sight at other times. Or you could cover the box with a decorative tablecloth, removing it for dry fire and replacing it afterward.
A brick fireplace would stop a bullet —— but stand back and watch your angles. There is a ricochet potential.
The cement wall in your basement would stop a bullet (ditto ricochet potential).
A very crowded bookshelf, with no airspace between books, would stop a bullet if you fire from the long end. Do not dry fire straight into the spines of the books. Instead, aim at the side of the bookcase, so an unexpected bullet would travel the entire width of the bookshelf before coming to rest somewhere between the pages.
A bullet-resistant vest, hung on the wall, would stop a bullet.
A Safe Direction practice pad, while expensive, can be a real godsend for people who must travel and who need a lightweight, easily portable safe backstop.

A five-gallon bucket of sand would stop a bullet. This could be disguised inside a decorative basket, with a fake houseplant such as a Fichus tree plunked inside the sand bucket. Such a contraption is a handy place to point your firearm when you must load, unload, or disassemble it (especially in the case of Glocks and other designs which require you to pull the trigger during the disassembly process).

Fibers: Wood sucks at stopping bullets. Woven Kevlar works great. Fiberglass is so-so. Several layers of fiberglass with the right epoxy can be great!
Stone and liquid stone known as concrete work great! They are not very portable. They have thickness issues. “Baby” stones like pea gravel or sand have their place. Ceramics also fit here.
Metals: These are great for the thickness. A hard steel works best, a Soft steel comes next, Aluminum is next (Hard and soft are blurred), and then copper. Consider large electrical transformers being shot. They are layered in copper windings and mild steel. They soak up a lot of bullets even from high powered rifles.
Layers can stop more than a single thickness of the same thickness. Or four 1/16″ thick sheets can stop more than a single 1/4″ sheet. Some of the layers may be breached, but the over all thickness will not. It may be hard for somebody to work with a thick layer of steel, but not smaller layers. It normally takes between a 1/4″ to a 1/2″ of steel to stop a bullet or 3/8″ to 3/4″ of Aluminum. Something like a metal target need to be a solid layer, the same with an active backstop. However something like a safe room or dry fire station can use layers.
Stones are great to break up bullets. Something like a patio block or even bathroom tile can break up bullets. The problem is that they often break up as well as the bullet. You may want to set them or glue them to some sort of backer like plywood to help hold them together.
Wood and other fibers: Wood is the most common and easiest for most people to work with. It will not stop bullets. Tests of layered wood as much as three 3/4″ sheets of plywood and bullets fly through it. That is thicker than most wall studs by 50%. Here is why it is VERY useful. It soaks up shrapnel like a sponge. You can use it to help prevent bounce back. Now, if you were to glue some 1/8″ sheets of steel between those layers of plywood, then you really might have something.

Why choose a 9mm over something larger? Several simple reasons.
Guns hold more 9mms than they do larger calibers, and the 9mm recoils less than either the .40 or .45. So the guns hold more ammo and recoil less; if modern ammo makes it perform just as well as the larger calibers, why not carry a 9mm?
It’s been said that “Big bullets let in a lot of air and let out a lot of blood.” While bullet technology hasn’t increased at the same pace as, say, cell phone technology, the bullets of today are far different from those of 20 years ago. Bore size no longer equals performance.

Remember these things if bullets ever start flying. Cover is few and far between. An engine block, maybe wheel hubs and axles together, solid blocks, bricks, or concrete. Steel is good but of course thickness is the issue. 18” of dirt or sand. Don’t be fooled by movies or TV. Plus you need to know your backstop when dry firing or shooting.
Be safe!

Semper Paratus
Check 6