Saturday, November 15, 2008

Guns, Roses, and Armor-Piercing Ammunition

by Peter W. Wickham, Jr.
AKA The Ol' Grey Ghost

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;..." Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.
While doing research for a recent column I had occasion to visit a page at the Violence Policy Center (VPC) where I found this little tidbit:

"Military surplus armor-piercing (AP)...ammunition for .50 sniper rifles is widely and readily available. Although Congress has banned the manufacture of some armor-piercing ammunition, those restrictions apply only to handgun ammunition. The existing ban on armor-piercing ammunition should be updated and expanded to cover all AP...ammunition. This would most effectively be accomplished through the promulgation of a performance standard in which ammunition is tested for its ability to penetrate bullet-resistant vests, ballistic glass, and armor, as opposed to the existing standard based on the bullet's content." Emphasis in original
This new "performance standard" that the VPC advocates turns the history of modern ammunition on its head. Man invented the bullet to penetrate flesh and bone. The "Other Man" invented armor to stop the bullet from penetrating his flesh and bone. The first Man then adjusted the metallurgical make-up of his bullet and increased its velocity in order to penetrate the armor created by the Other Man and then penetrate flesh and bone and the AP round was invented. The VPC calls for banning AP rounds not because of the efforts of the manufacturers of ammunition but on the lack of effort on the part of the makers of armor.

Bullet-resistant vests, for instance, come in several levels of protection. When I graduated from the Police Academy, my wife and mother got together and bought me a modular concealable vest system that consisted of a carrier that was made like a mesh-material athletic shirt (read tank top) and two panels made of 9-layers of Kevlar wrapped in a flexible rubber to keep them water resistant. This vest was rated at Level 1+ which is hardly used anymore but at the time was the most we could afford and was best suited for hot Texas summers. Level 1+ provided me protection from those rounds fired from the most easily concealable of handguns: The .22LR, .25ACP, .380ACP, and the time-honored .38 Special.

The manufacturer of the vest also listed that it would defeat shots of 12 gauge Birdshot and the .44 S&W Special round I carried in my S&W Model 29revolver and the .45ACP round I carried in my S&W Model 645 auto-pistol.

Now the manufacturer did not list all the rounds that could defeat this vest since it is safe to assume anything more powerful than the rounds already listed could and would penetrate this level of armor. That would include just about any rifle cartridge, including popular hunting rounds like the venerable .30-06 Springfield and .30-30 Winchester, and shotgun rounds like 12 gauge Buckshot and Rifled Slugs.

This would also include just about any handgun round that has the word "magnum" in its name such as the .22, the .357, the .41, and the .44 (and any new cartridge known to generate more ballistic energy than these).

Strangely enough this also includes the diminutive 9mm Luger cartridge. I'm sure many people who have ever entered the 9mm vs. .45 debate wouldn't even begin to consider the 9mm Luger as an AP round but due to its higher velocity it is capable of defeating a Level 1+ bullet-resistant vest. And if a round is capable of defeating a vest, then by the definition the VPC recommends, that round would be considered Armor-Piercing and they want it banned.

When the VPC, and those benevolent government officials who listen to them, call for a ban on something we know they are only speaking a half-truth. As I have pointed out before any ban they call for does not apply to government employees. Even the ban on AP handgun ammunition mentioned in the VPC article allows for the government to use such rounds if it feels they are necessary. When they call for a ban, they are only talking about a ban on private ownership by "We the People" and with the ban they call for in this instance, they are talking about disarming the American people by just changing "what's in a name." We cannot and shall not allow that to happen..."

* all photographs of ammunition are borrowed from the website

For further reading I would like to recommend Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, which is just as much a treatise on political intrigue and human psychology as it is a "love story."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Armor piercing bullets have been referred to in the media as "cop killers."

* As of 1998, no law enforcement officer has ever been killed because an armor-piercing bullet defeated a bulletproof vest.

* In October of 1996, Bill Clinton met with the widow of Police Officer Jerome Harrison Seaberry. Later that day at a political event, Clinton stated:

“I still think we ought to ban those bullets that are built only for one purpose, to pierce the bullet-proof vests that our police officers wear. I don't see why we need those things out there. Let me tell you, we just started this program two years ago, as I said, when I signed the Crime Bill in 1994. Today, I met with the first -- the family of the first one of the police officers hired under our Crime Bill, killed in the line of duty. I met here in Louisiana, in Lake Charles I met with that officer's widow and two beautiful, beautiful young sons. And I thought to myself, you know, if people like these folks here are going to put their lives on the line for us, the least we can do is tell them if they put on a bullet-proof vest, it will protect them from being killed. That's the least we can do for them.”

* Officer Seaberry was killed in a car crash. No guns or bullets were involved.

how can you ban a bullet that has never comited the crime it was named for? and how can you run a campain to ban these bullest on the account that a cop died in a car crash? the goverment just dos not want us to fight back against the bullet proof vests the army uses if they try to take control