*Ballistic Issues*
By: NYC-M4
17 February 2004

So you are walking in the mall parking lot with your Family, all of a sudden you hear gun shots.

You grab your spouse and kids and get behind a vehicle for safety, this is a valid reaction BUT is it the right one?

You are in your local family restaurant, again shots ring out (you must live in a neighborhood worse than mine LOL)you and your family hit the floor and you being the all knowing Survival oriented person that you are flip your table over to shield your family. Are you safe?

I bring these scenarios up because these are the most likely scenarios I could think of without a Ramboesque blood and guts story. The point is, do you really know what objects/material are ballistically sound? A lot of us don't, so I figured I will tell you what I found out in a fun yet eye opening study I took part in. My colleagues and I were appointed the task of shooting everything from Cars, to household appliances including street objects such as Mail boxes, street lamps, fire hydrants, etc. As well as personal objects like Kevlar helmets, portable radios and firearms.

Before I get into the objects let me just say that any cover is better than no cover and this is just an FYI post from MY experiences, as to what I witnessed and participated in.

Most cars these days are made of plastic, 9mm pistol rounds will go through a car/truck door and depending on the car may go completely through.

Rifle fire 223 and 7.62X39 ate through vehicles like a hot knife through butter. Including wheels/rims of cars. Truck rims were a lot better but 7.62X39 rds did penetrate them. We found the only place that was pretty sound was behind the engine block, but even this place was a small place to provide adequate cover and restrict you field of view causing you to "suck up" to cover.

Refrigerators- are just big Styrofoam coolers pistol as well as rifle went straight through. Washing machines-Rounds from rifle and pistol straight through BUT if machine was turned on its side the motor did offer better but not safer ballistic resistance.

Dish washers- Same an washing machines.

TVs- this was cool. We shot 4 different brands of TVs and found most deflected the initial two rounds from a 9mm pistol when firing at the screen from 15 yards. The TV offered the best ballistic cover in the whole household item experiment. By the way we found that Zenith was the winner in the TV test so if you are planning to have a gunfight in your living room soon get a Zenith LOL.

Furniture -(couches, love seats, EZ chairs)- Right through. Dining room tables- Unless you inherited your Grandmas old Oak table most wouldn't stop spit. And the Oak table we did shoot wouldn't stop rifle fire at all.

Bath tubs- Again if you are planning a gun fight in your bath room please get a cast iron one and I guess you would have to fight from inside the tub or turn it over like a Turtle shell. Ditto Toilets, they shatter.

Street Items
Mail Boxes- Stopped some 9mm pistol rounds, rifle went right through.

Metal light poles- deflected most 9mm pistol rds and some 223 rounds but 223 did penetrate.

Fire Hydrant- deflected almost anything but unless you are an elf it isn't a good piece of cover (again any cover is better than no cover)

Personal Items
Kevlar (K pot) Helmet deflected most 9mm pistol rds at 7 yds but I'm sure the operator wearing the helmet would surely have a fractured skull after the first hit unless his suspension system was enhanced. Rifle fire at 25 yds surprised us some 223 rds went right through while others were either stopped in the helmet or deflected, same went for 7.62X39

Portable radio- We used a Motorola Saber it deflected 2 rds of 9mm at 7 yds then the radio broke apart. radio #2 deflected initial rifle round but second penetrated.

In conclusion: Choose your cover wisely, don't let TV mentality set in there is a big difference between Cover and Concealment. Cover protects you, Concealment hides you BUT if you are concealed behind a wall and I know you are there you aren't concealed you are obscured therefore I can shoot through the wall (Get it?) Vehicles try to get in front of the headlights and use the FULL length of the car/truck. In your house- look around and check out the objects around you and ask yourself if you trust that object to stop a bullet, if not work on options. Kevlar helmets are not Bullet Proof they are bullet resistant don't get Superman syndrome because you have a K Pot. And last but not least try not to get involved in any gunfights at all if you can help it and die of old age like I plan on. BE SAFE ALL!

All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright © 1996 - 2004 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.