Saturday, July 09, 2016

Cop Killer Jacket?

NYPD checking ammo after knife wielder’s jacket stops cops’ bullets | New York Post:
(May 19, 2016)
Four of the shots that cops fired at a madman waving a knife in Midtown failed to penetrate his jacket — which was not bulletproof — and the NYPD will now check the weapons for malfunction, law enforcement sources told The Post. “The bullets we have may be defective and that’s very disturbing,” one source said. “When we fire our weapons, we want to make damn sure that our bullets hit our target — neutralizing our target.”
That's odd, isn't it?  Maybe the NYPD should interview the 'madman' and get the name of his tailor?
That tailor could make a fortune!

Actually, Lucky Gunner ran a test last year, which they called "The Heavy Clothing Test".   They found that even light clothing might offer significant protection from pistol caliber bullets:

The heavy clothing test simulates a scenario in which the target is wearing four layers of clothing: two cotton shirts, fleece, and denim. The FBI uses this standard not because it’s common for people to actually wear that exact clothing, but because they are common clothing materials, and when combined they represent something close to a worst case scenario for a bullet.
Clothing can present a challenge for some hollow point loads because the opening in the bullet can become clogged with clothing material and fail to expand once it reaches living tissue. This failure to expand gives the bullet a lower probability of striking a vital area, and also leads to the potential for over-penetration. Expanding bullets lose velocity quickly and are more likely to stay inside the target, but a hollow point that fails to expand can maintain enough energy to exit the target and potentially harm bystanders.
We used the same type of fabric specified in the FBI heavy clothing test, which calls for the following:
  1. cotton t-shirt material (approximately 5.25 ounces per yard, 48 threads per inch)
  1. cotton shirt material (approximately 3.5 ounces per yard, 80 threads per inch)
  1. Malden Mills Polartec 200 fleece
  1. cotton denim (approximately 14.4 ounces per yard, 50 threads per inch)
The four layers of fabric were stacked together and placed against the front of the gelatin block, secured with clothes pins to a bar suspended above the test block

What they discovered surprised them:  even a 'cotton t-shirt' offered some (and in some ways significant) resistance to penetration, especially by a hollow-point bullet.    Not that any of the ammunition tested failed to penetrate, but their tests showed that penetration of the body cavity, wound channels and expansion of the bullets were all affected by the cloth which which the 'target' (ballistic gel) was 'protected'.

Which is interesting, but still doesn't answer the question of WHY the NYPD's bullets did not (according to the article) even penetrate the clothing!

The cops are blaming "the bullets", by which one assumes they're talking about the ammunition, not necessarily the bullets themselves.  And they might have something there.

How often to they fire to qualify?  How often do they replace their ammuition .. you know, the stuff they actually load in their pistols?  

It's true that ammunition deteriorates over time; and gunpowder deteriorates quicker, if exposed to air and moisture.  

To suggest that these cops were carrying ammunition so old that even factory ammunition would lose effectiveness is ... well, mind-boggling.

I don't know what the NYPD Commissioner of Police is going to do about that, but he might take a few 'first steps' just in case:

(1)  Every cop on the force turns in his current ammunition ... or better yet, is required to shoot it on the practice range, and their scores are recorded;
(2) Every cop on the force is issued brand new ammunition;
(3) Every cop on the force is required to qualify twice a year, using his issued ammunition (ALL OF IT!) and is then issued new, fresh ammunition.
(4) The 'issued ammunition', as soon as it is purchased, is tested (random sample) for penetration of ballistic gel under various items of clothing, and also material such as cardboard, wallboard, and glass.

Because the cops on the beat might very well be correct .... there may be something wrong with their "bullets".   It may simply be that the ammunition is not expended in practice and has not been replaced in years.

Nah .. I don't really believe that.  It takes a long time for sealed ammunition to deteriorate to the point where it won't penetrate a denim jacket!   And police are required to qualify with their issued sidearm annually; surely they use their issued ammunition, and are then issued fresh ammunition.

I'm not about to suggest that the cops gunfire didn't actually hit the target.  That assumes that the cops can't hit what they aim at .. and that would be just silly!

Everybody know, police are the only ones qualified to engage criminals in gunfights, because cops are so well trained and stuff.

.Civilians are the people we don't trust to handle a firearm in a gunfight.  (Except for Criminals, of course!   They always have the best guns, best gear, fresh ammo and they practice ALL THE TIME!)


Anonymous said...

Did you ever try to hit a target using a lightweight pistol with a NY-2 trigger? Reportedly the NY-2 trigger runs from 10-12 pounds pull.

Archer said...

I've heard the horror stories of NYPD pistols. According to some sources, a few officers are literally carrying around rusty guns, because they never remove them from their holsters, even for cleaning.

They also carry JHP ammo, but are issued a box of FMJ for practice/qualification (one box of 50 per year). That would imply they ARE shooting fresh ammo for practice/qualification, but carrying old ammo on the beat.

Your solution would make more sense: make them shoot their carry ammo during practice/qualification, and then issue fresh new carry ammo. NYPD officers have the choice of a couple different "approved" pistols (approved because they have the same caliber and mag capacity), and all carry the same standard amount of ammo (IIRC, 37 rounds - 3 mags of 12 + one chambered - which makes it easier for the bean counters to assess the number of shots fired under stress). Not budget-breaking to replace annually, even shooting JHPs in practice, especially if they can negotiate a bulk purchase contract for a single round/caliber combination for the whole department.