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Old 01-09-2014, 11:11 AM   #1
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Texas DPS: From .357 SIG to S&W 9mm

Texas DPS Dropping SIG for S&W M&P - The Firearm Blog

The Texas DPS will arm and equip new patrol officers with Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm pistols. More bullets, better individual fit, less recoil, faster recovery shot-to-shot, lighter weight are all cited as reasons. Left unsaid is probably developments in 9mm ammunition that addressed the failings of the caliber in police use, particularly around motor vehicles, which is what DPS typically faces in shooting incidents.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:31 AM   #2
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That could be the case. A number of L.E agencies are switching back to 9mm, and that leaves me wondering if they have finally recongised what I, and a lot of others were saying when it first come out - that the FBI ammunition study was a blame game with ammunition taking the fall for the loss of life during the Miami Shootout.
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Old 02-02-2014, 06:35 PM   #3
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Just thinking back about how many posts, articles, books, and even tapes I have viewed over the past 30 years about the relative inadequacy of the 9mm (and .38 special, of course) versus the up and coming calibers from .45 ACP, to .40 S&W, to .357 Sig. How many forests have been felled to publish these arguments! And ammo technology has undone them all?!?
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:37 PM   #4
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No Mate, ammo technology hasn't undone them all. They were hollow arguments from the start. The truth is, those arguments, at least to my thinking, were little more than attempts (or at least justifying attempts) after an equipment (ammunition, gun) solution to a performance (shooter, marksmanship) problem. Otherwise, again to my thinking, 9X19 mm and .38 Spl. would have been made as obsolete by "vastly superior" cartridges in the same way as DVD and Blue Ray have made VCR tapes.
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Old 02-03-2014, 02:37 PM   #5
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I believe those early 9MM rounds were different than what we have today. While I'm not a law enforcement officer, and never was, I am in my mid-50's and remember many of the arguments made at the time.

I believe the 9MM round taking the blame in the Miami FBI shootout was the Winchester Silvertip in 115gr. Silvertips in that era (and for the most part still are, though they have been improved) were lightweight, high speed, shallow penetrators. The popular ballistic theory at the time was "energy dump". You wanted all the energy of the round expended in the target. Penetration was not that big of a deal. Any round that passed through the target was a loss of energy into the target and therefore not desired. Bullet makers responded with high velocity, shallow penetrators like the Silvertip.

After the Miami shootout, there was an increased emphasis on the importance of penetration. Rounds with more penetration became more popular. The 10MM became popular, the .40S&W was created, and the .45Auto came back in vogue, and was also aided when the magazine capacity limitations came into effect here in the US.

However, in the ensuing years, the typical 9MM bullet design also changed. Controlled expansion became the preference rather than rapid expansion. Controlled expansion bullets penetrate deeper than the old rapid expanding bullets. Not only did the 9MM bullet design change, but the weight of the most common defense bullets went up. In the early years of hollow point rounds, the 115gr bullets were the most popular, and there even were rounds like the SuperVel and other in the 90gr range. Now, I believe the most common defensive weight is 124gr, not counting the lightweight all copper rounds. Even if they didn't improve the bullets function, just going to the heavier weight would give more penetration.

I think the current crop of 9MM ammo in what are typically heavier weights, and with more controlled expansion, are much better rounds than what were being used back in the early 1980's.
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Old 02-03-2014, 04:31 PM   #6
 
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Relative Incapacitation Index...the Winchester Silvertip did exactly what it was designed to do under the protocol then...10 inches and stop...the RII was what dictated that...

jtq...you have it...more penetration and the FBI protocol of today is what came from that infamous shootout...

Lots of positives came from that as well as much bluster...blame was laid at the feet of many things and 'improvements' were made...some really were and some were bandaids for real problems...some of which are that we are human and act differently than others would have us act...

So I'm not blaming the agents involved...I mean outside of the actual shootout...

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Old 02-03-2014, 08:19 PM   #7
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I'm not saying ammunition hasn't improved in the last 30 years. It has, and it has been across the entire calibre spectrum.

I'll offer a little history here. We can go back as far as we like and we will see attempts to better understand wounding effects, dynamics, physics, etc., and use it to improve ammunition performance. The introduction of the Minie ball is but one example. The (biased - some say "rigged") Hatcher ballistics studies are another example.

In our time, we can look back at the time jtq cites, the days of Super-Vel, the super velocity, low mass (high speed, light weight) bullets. The thinking of the day was, as stated above, to drive a light weight bullet as fast as possible using Kinetic Energy to create as much tissue damage as possible.

Time and experience proved that it was not the great answer after all. Then too, a better understanding of what a bullet actually does offered insights for better bullet design. With that, the ammunition manufacturers began offering more reliably expanding bullets, etc. These included not only the cartridges most of us are familiar with from the past 20 odd years, but the exotics that were usually only available to law enforcement or government entities.

As a side note here I still have a box of 9X19 mm ammunition from the late Hi-vel/Lt-wt era that has light, hollow pure copper projectiles. The concept was that, upon firing the bullet would shed the lighter plastic plug that allowed reliable feeding and the (soft) pure copper bullet would penetrate any barrier/target and turn itself into a "donut" and dump its energy in the target.

The point is, ammunition improvements have made all calibres better performers - at least in theory. So, there hasn't been some unique improvement for the 9 mm (or any other calibre for that matter) that somehow didn't translate to .45 ACP, .40 S&W, etc. - and this has been true in the past as well. This is one of the reasons why I said the a lot of the Calibre Wars rhetoric was and is unfounded.
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Old 02-04-2014, 01:01 AM   #8
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I think this is a wise choice by my Texas brethren. I've always been of the opinion that the carpenter matters more than the hammer. Now, admittedly there have been times when I've preffered a bigger hammer but I can't really point to any logical reasoning for that. The state of handgun ammunition seems to indicate a pretty level playing field amongst the various service calibers. So if the 9mm provides for cost savings and increased proficiency than I say rock on verily Texas DPS. When I started most of us carried big steel boat anchors with "Magnum" stamped on the barrel. However, that was a different day and a different breed. We didn't have most of the issues of gender and physicality we do today, and lack of performance was dealt with far more harshly. Sometimes a smaller hammer serves the biger picture better than a ten pound sledge.

Having had just a smidgen of experience with handgun bullet performance in relation to automobiles, the only conclusion I've drawn is they all do sucketh mightily. Even rifle rounds like the .223 leave a lot to be desired. 9mm, .40, .45. whatever. You'd better assume it won't work and have a Plan B. If you get that elusive immediate stoppage great, but it pays to be a pessimist in this case. You'd also better be as good with your hardware as you can possibly be, so the percentages are in your favor.
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Old 11-07-2015, 10:26 AM   #9
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Since my agency changed from .357 wheelguns to the 645, and subsequently the 4506, I have loved the .45 cartridge. I still carry it in a CS 45. I never liked the 9mm, but what is strange is that I like the 9mm kurtz (.380) in a backup pistol. I was raised in TX and will always consider it my home.
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Old 11-07-2015, 10:51 AM   #10
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A hit with anything is better than a loud miss.
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