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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i was wondering what do forensic pathologists use
for self defense. since they see a lot of gun shot
wounds.like what would martin fackler or DeMaio
use for defense ? i dont think anyone of them say
what they would use. just thought it would be interesting
if anyone knew.
 

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I already replied to your question this morning over on Warrior Talk, but I hope you don't mind if I repeat myself over here for the discussion on this forum.

A nationally recognized expert that my office used on a case carried a SIG-Sauer P230 (or 232 ??? ) in .380 with FMJs (he was the only pathologist I've talked carry guns with). He felt that the gun was sufficiently precise that he'd be able to hit "the good stuff," and the FMJs would allow him to penetrate down deep enough to damage that good stuff.

Obviously, I don't have anything approaching his level of familiarity with the internal structures of the human body. I found his choice to be very informative, however, and it definitely got me thinking about the hundred+ OMI reports I've read on handgun killings. And I've talked handgun wounds with probably almost a dozen pathologists over the last 15 years. Here's what I've learned.

Hitting the right part is the big deal with handguns, not bullet channel width (hate to tell the hardcore .45 guys this, but I've had a nationally recognized pathology expert tell me that he couldn't tell the wound channel of a .40 from a .45 from a 9mm - FMJs or JHPs) or energy transmission. So, precise accuracy and adequate penetration are the most important considerations for me. After reflecting upon the number of guys I've seen who required several shots before they stopped, I think that the ability to do fast follow-up shots is also important.

I've definitely changed what I carry since talking to this guy (no, I didn't run out and get a .380! ;) ). Randy45, this is a great idea for a thread - I'd like to hear what others here who work with OMI docs report.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In my humble opinion ;) I think the two methods that lead to stopping power are cutting and breaking. A bullet that strikes a vital bone and penetrates enough to break it will stop an opponent from moving, but not necessarily from fighting. A bullet that cuts vital tissue will stop an opponent. Most of the time. Sometimes. Perhaps.

The trick is to hit what is vital. A piece of vital tissue is the brain, for example. The spinal column is another good piece of vital tissue surrounded by thin bones. I think an expanding hollowpoint has a greater chance of cutting tissues than simply moving them aside as the bullet passes by (as a full metal jacket might). A round nose FMJ round is designed to feed reliably and pass smoothly over metal surfaces. At handgun velocities, it might be more inclined to pass smoothly over and past tissues, as well. By its very shape, it is designed to take the path of least resistance, moving fluidly across various surfaces.

At rifle velocities and shotgun calibers, this seems to make less of a difference, since a rifle bullet can cause tissue damage via energy transfer and may also disintegrate into a bunch of sharp little cutting pieces, and a shotgun slug is so large that it has, by nature of its diameter, a better chance of hitting something vital than a smaller handgun round, especially if it expands in tissue.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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I'm not a pathologist, whatever, and I didn't stay in a Holiday Inn last night. But if you study Fackler's work it seems he favors the large permanent cavity wound profile most, in handguns. He seems to say the best calibers that produce that are the heavy, slow ones, like .45acp. Which fits in with the street results of Marshall&Sanow.
In rifles he seems to favor the Russian AK-74 types that wound without all the fragmenting that the AR-types produce.

og
I think you have misinterpreted what Dr. Fackler says in this article. "Without all the fragmenting that the AR-types produce"??? No, he points out that fragmenting is a primary wounding mechanism. From the article: "The nondeforming rifle bullet of the AK-74 (Fig 6) causes a large temporary cavity which can cause marked disruption in some tissue (liver), but has far less effect in others (muscle, lung, bowel wall) (9). A similar temporary cavity such as that produced by the M-16 (Fig 2), stretching tissue that has been riddled by bullet fragments, causes a much larger permanent cavity by detaching tissue segments between the fragment paths. Thus projectile fragmentation can turn the energy used in temporary cavitation into a truly destructive force because it is focused on areas weakened by fragment paths rather than being absorbed evenly by the tissue mass. The synergy between projectile fragmentation and cavitation can greatly increase the damage done by a given amount of kinetic energy." [emphasis added -- ba]

Other articles by Dr. Fackler can be found at:
http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=16&t=164814
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Interesting topic!

I bet pathologists carry 9 mm, .357 Sig, .40 S&W, .45 acp, .38 special, even 380 fmj, as Erich said.

Whatever they carry, I bet they know exactly why they've chosen a specific caliber and platform; I bet their reasons are based on hard peer-reviewed science; and I'd wager that's the biggest difference between a pathologist and some other folks.

But then I'm just betting...
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I bet, in the end, that they'll all say that a shot that would kill with a .45 JHP would probably kill with a .380 FMJ.

I believe that we, as shooters, have some of the most unreasonable expectations on the planet. We want pistols that hit like rifles hit, and rifles that hit like shotguns hit at five feet.

The fact of the matter is that the human body is a VERY resiliant structure. It is chock-full of redundancy, (think of how many important organs you have two of) shock absorption, (see if you can find a place, other than your head or ribcage, that is not at least slightly elastic), and even armor (the two aforementioned areas are not elastic, but they are known to often deflect bullets.) Our bodies contain a GREAT deal more blood than is absolutely necessary for their survival, which allows us to live long enough for surprisingly severe wounds to heal. They can withstand phenomenal stresses, and function with a percentage of their tissue damaged or destroyed that would render a man-made machine, like an automobile, completely useless.

Bottom line: we are not that easy to kill. unless we suffer severe damage to one or two major organs, we will continue to function, even in a dying state, for astonishing periods of time. Most of us have seen deer, and other large mammals, that were shot through the heart -- with high-powered rifles, no less -- live for astonishing periods of time, despite their lack of a functioning circulatory system. Why should we expect anything different from a human?

Depending on some magic gun that you payed too much for to instantaneously eliminate the threat of a human attacker is foolish, and will cost you, dearly.

You are the weapon. The gun is a supplement. Fight better than your enemy, and you will win. Carrying the same caliber as a pathologist will not guarantee that you don't become the subject of one of his reports.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
just looking at it from a different angle. since there is so much diverse opinions on caliber
and equipment. we all know placement is the most important factor.maybe a heavy walking
cane would stop faster. thanks for all the suggestions.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, I'm just saying that caliber discussion is great and all, but this one really seems destined to end in a battle over "stopping power," if it is allowed to go on, and those usually turn into shouting matches.

Now, if the question was what loads do forensic pathologists carry, it might get interesting. Seeing what they think works best, within a caliber, might open up some doors for people that already use that particular caliber. However, I must warn against trumping the fact that a pathologist uses a specific caliber as proof that this caliber is "best" or that it is "better than" or even that it is "good." There's probably at least one forensic pathologist in this world that carries a .25, and while I, personally, think that the .25 is a good round, because it is, in fact, a round, which goes into a gun, which is a good thing to have, no matter how small, I must warn you that the average Joe is not ready to accept the idea of a .25 being a "good," or, for that matter, just an "okay" round.

After all, the P230, .380- packing pathologist mentioned earlier probably picked that gun for more reasons than just some deeply-bred sense of love for the .380. It was probably as much a function of concealability, ergonomics, and perhaps some loyalty to SIG as a brand, as it was a function of the gun's caliber, that made him choose it. In other words, he probably picked that gun because he liked the gun, itself, rather than because he liked its caliber.

Sound farfetched? Not really. How many of you guys, here, carry 9mm Hi-Powers, as much because you love the Hi-Power, as because you believe in the 9mm round? This is not, by the way, to say that you don't genuinely believe in that round, or that it is a poor choice. I like 9mm, myself. I like .45 slightly better, but I'm not going to cry if 9mm is all I have available. It's more than enough round to do the job, if used properly.

Or take, for instance, the mind-boggling number of 1911s that currently see daily carry. Let's be honest, for the size and weight, there are guns that make more logical sense for CCWs. For instance, a Glock 30 holds three more rounds, in a smaller and lighter, if somewhat wider, package. However, 1911s are still going to see daily carry, for years to come, and in large numbers, too. Why? People like them -- and there's nothing wrong with that.

Carry what you like. If you can get it in a caliber you like, then carry it in that caliber, to boot! Whatever you do, above all, just carry A GUN!!
 

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Good points, all. (And, as someone who sometimes carries a heavy walking cane, they're certainly nothing to sneer at! :) )

Just a follow-up on the pathologist. Based on our conversation, I believe he specifically chose the .380 FMJ because he wanted precisely that level of power and penetration in the cartridge. (Heaven knows I've seen a lot of shootings with .380 FMJs: they sometimes completely penetrate a human body, but not often. Based on the shootings I've seen, I really doubt they'd be much danger to bystanders after penetrating a human body. They do seem to have sufficient power to penetrate to the aorta/spine/brain if properly aimed.) I believe he chose the SIG-Sauer as a precision instrument of some reknown for accuracy and function. (And, if I had to pick a .380 for accuracy and function, I couldn't think of a better one.) He did not in any way seem to be a "gun guy" or even particularly interested in the gun except as a machine engineered to do what he wanted it to do.

Thinking about this makes me think I really need to look at Gray's Anatomy [ http://www.bartleby.com/107/ ] and to spend time shooting into accurate human-shaped targets at close range.



 

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Chubbypigeon, in humorous moments (something I have a lot of) I call these overexpectations you mention a symptom of "The Noisy Cricket" syndrome. Remember the little pistol first issued to Will Smith's character in Men In Black?

Too many folks seem to want a lot of things out of a relatively small (in some cases tiny) package. Reliability, tremendous stopping power, easy concealability, controllability, target grade accuracy, etc.

Hope I'm adding to, not drifting this thread's theme.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hmm. Well, I know a number of pathologists. Most of them are gentle people who care about minute details, and have little or no interest in fighting. There are a few warriors in the medical arts, and specialty is, for the most part, irrelevant. Martin Fackler is a surgeon. Gary Roberts is a maxillofacial surgeon. I am an emergency physician. I know others who are orthopedists, urologists, and so on.

Medical specialty has little to do with being a warrior. A pathologist who bases his or her choice of weapon upon what s/he sees on the necropsy table is more likely to be armed with a large bludgeon or edged weapon, since more homicides are committed with these than with firearms.

What the pathologists carry is irrelevant. Sorry, but that's my take on it.
 
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