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Tactical Briefs (Volume 2, Number 9)
Federal Gold Medal .223 Remington Match 69gr BTHP GM223M
In the June issue of TACTICAL BRIEFS, we listed several .223 Remington cartridges tested by IWBA member Dr. Gary Roberts. One load recommended for law enforcement use by Roberts was the Federal 69gr JHP 223M cartridge. However the 223M load was discontinued and replaced by Federal with a cartridge that is presently designated as the GM223M Gold Medal Match load. We were hesitant to recommend the GM223M cartridge because we were unsure if it demonstrated the same terminal performance as the older 233M load. We were unwilling to assume that the GM223M load was the same cartridge as the older 223M load, but with a new product number.
Dr. Roberts contacted us and informed us that he'd performed limited preliminary testing of the Federal GM223M load, and its terminal performance appeared identical to the older 223M load.
The Federal GM223M load uses the Sierra 69gr MatchKing boat-tail hollowpoint bullet, propelled at a published velocity of 3000 fps. In Roberts' Wound Ballistics Review article (Volume 3, Number 4, pp. 16-28, 1998), he tested the 223M load using a Colt Sporter AR15A2 with a 16-inch, 1:7 twist rate barrel. The average velocity of the 223M bullet was measured by Roberts at 2646 fps.
An Inexpensive Target Stand You Can Build In A Few Minutes
How many times have you visited an outdoor shooting range and been forced to shoot at 25-yards because that's where the range supplied target hangers are located? However if shooting range rules allow, you can build your own wooden target stands that permit you to place targets as close as contact distance to your shooting position.
The cost to build a wooden target stand is less than $10, and can take less than 15 minutes to assemble (depending on your skill). The materials and equipment you'll need are:
- One (1) 2x4 stud, 8-feet long (approximately $3)
- Two (2) 1x2 boards, 8-feet long (approximately $1 each)
- Eight (8) 3¼-inch 12d galvanized box nails (less than $1 total if purchased from the bulk nail bin)
- Four (4) 2-inch 6d galvanized box nails (optional if brace is installed) (less than $1 total if purchased from the bulk nail bin)
- Claw hammer
- Measuring tape or yard stick
- Masking or duct tape
Many hardware stores/lumber yards will cut the 2x4 stud into 2-ft long sections if you ask. Some stores will perform this service for free, others will charge a fee. The advantage of this service is the cuts will be square because the hardware store will probably make them with a radial arm saw.
You can also ask the hardware store/lumber yard to trim your 1x2s to 5½-ft long. You can then have one of the 30-inch residue boards trimmed to 27-inches long if you want to install a brace. (Advice: Save the short 3-inch piece of 1x2 to use as a spacer. See figure 2 for more information). By having the store cut your boards to length, all you'll have to do is nail the pieces together when you get home. (Plus you don't have to figure out a method for transporting 8-ft long boards in your car from the lumber yard to your home).
It's said a picture is worth a thousand words. The photos and captions below should provide sufficient guidance for assembling your own target stand. Happy shooting!
Figures 1 through 4. Click on thumbnail for greater detail.
Unassembled target stand components. If you have your 8-ft. long 2x4 stud cut into four 2-ft. long sections by the hardware store, all you'll need to assemble your target stand assembly is eight 3¼-inch 12d (twelve penny) galvanized box nails, a measuring tape and a claw hammer. If you want to build a sturdier target stand, an optional 27-inch 1x2 brace can be added to the basic assembly with four 2-inch 6d box nails.
Assembly advice: Measure all 2x4s and use the two that are closest to the same length for the cross beams.
Assembled basic target stand. To ensure you obtain the proper ¾-inch gap between the two cross beams, sandwich small pieces of 1x2 board between the ends of the cross beams and secure them in place by wrapping tape around the beams. Nail the stabilizer legs to the cross beams with the eight 12d box nails. Before you nail the second cross beam in place, make sure you press the cross beams tightly against the 1x2 spacer while you hammer.
Target stand with optional 27-inch 1x2 brace installed on one end. The brace is nailed to the top of the 2x4s using four 6d box nails.
It works! Homemade target stand shown in use with a standard IPSC cardboard target. The IPSC target is stapled to two 5½-ft long 1x2 boards, which are then inserted into the ¾-inch gap between the two cross beams. If the target wiggles, you can shim the 1x2's by wrapping masking tape around their ends until they fit snugly between the cross beams. On breezy days, you can better stabilize the target by filling a couple of 1-gallon zip-lock plastic freezer bags full of dirt or sand and place them on the target stand for ballast. If the stand is used on uneven ground, rocks can be used as shims to stabilize and level it.
Total cost of this target stand, including the two 5½-ft long 1x2 boards, is approximately $6.00. Total time to assemble was less than 15 minutes.
IPSC cardboard targets can be ordered from Law Enforcement Targets at a cost of .52¢ each, plus shipping & handling.
Product Review: Magpul Tactical Reloading Adapters For 5.56mm/.223 Remington Magazines
If you're in military combat arms or a law enforcement tactical officer, and you've modified your 5.56mm/.223 magazines by adding para-cord loops or O.D. green/duct tape tabs to the bottoms of your magazines to facilitate ease of removal from the magazine carrier, you should check out a new product called Magpul.
The Magpul is a thermoplastic adapter that installs on the base of a 5.56mm/.223 rifle magazine. It has a semi-rigid flexible finger loop, which has a textured gripping surface that provides unsurpassed speed and controllability during high stress speed reloads.
According to the marketing literature, the Magpul was developed by Richard Fitzpatrick, a former Recon sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. Its design allows all the advantages of field expedient para-cord and duct tape modifications with the following added benefits:
- Semi-rigid finger loop allows for greater speed in magazine removal from magazine carrier and subsequent 180-degree turn for insertion in the rifle.
- Easy installation and removal, which can be accomplished in 30 seconds.
- Repeated precise placement of finger loop allows for subconscious re-enforcement training.
- Allows for consistent, quick magazine changes after only minimal training.
- Stepped and scooped finger entry allows for touch identification of magazine.
- Finger loop acts as shock absorber to protect magazine from damage when dropped from rifle.
- Base silences magazines when stored next to each other in pouch.
- Recessed rough texturing provides positive gripping surface under slippery or wet conditions.
Our product review found all these claims to have merit. The Magpul appears to be a well thought-out design, and it's of quality manufacture. The thermoplastic material feels like a firm rubber, which allows for positive control of the magazine. Cost is about $3 each.
For more information, click here to visit the Magpul web site.
Emotional Fainting: An Involuntary Psycho-physiological Mechanism of Collapse
The unexplained magic of "energy transfer" is usually credited when a person immediately collapses unconscious after being shot in the torso with a handgun bullet. How else could someone be so quickly and decisively incapacitated, especially when the bullet didn't damage central nervous system organs, and the speed in which incapacitation took place precludes incapacitation by blood loss?
If you're a bullet company, you want people to believe that your product possesses unique powers to make bad guys instantly collapse. Energy transfer is popular belief, and you're going to tell your customers what they want to hear, despite the fact that there's no evidence whatsoever to support your claims or your customers' beliefs. If that's what the majority of your customers want to believe, then you're going to tell them that your bullets transfer more energy, and they do it faster and better than any other brand.
But if energy transfer isn't a mechanism of incapacitation, what is it that causes people to immediately collapse unconscious when other factors are ruled out?
In the last issue of Wound Ballistics Review, Fackler tackles this difficult question.¹ He identifies and describes a psycho-physiological mechanism of unconscious collapse called Emotional Fainting.
Fackler refers to Guyton2, and describes Emotional Fainting as "...[a] physiological mechanism, with an psychological cause, known as neurogenic shock more specifically a type of neurogenic shock called 'Emotional Fainting'." Fackler explains:
"Strong emotions (such as fear) can cause widespread dilation of the body's blood vessels. These vessels have muscle fibers in their walls to allow them to constrict or dilate and thus vary blood flow as needed (in response to heat or cold, for example). The vessels are usually kept semi-constricted, but in Emotional Fainting, nerve impulses from the sympathetic nervous system can cause them to dilate completely. When this happens, the vascular capacity increases substantially and the blood available can no longer fill it. If the person is upright when this happens, gravity pulls the available blood into the legs and lower torso, starving the brain and causing the incapacitation."
"...the effects of Emotional Fainting, or some gradation of psychologically caused incapacitation (the gamut from surrender to Emotional Fainting), are either totally or partially responsible for much more of the observed reaction from bullet hits than is recognized. The practical result of this misinterpretation of the causes of reactions to being shot is overwhelming confounding effect on any attempt to compare efficacy of various bullets by observing, recording, and comparing the reactions of those hit."
Although Emotional Fainting appears to be a significant incapacitation mechanism, there's no evidence to suggest that any bullet characteristic (energy transfer, for example) triggers this reaction. While anecdotal reports of shootings seem to suggest that high-energy bullets are more effective in producing rapid incapacitation, these reports are tainted by the emotional bias of popular belief, which exaggerates stories that support the belief and suppresses those that do not.
Emotional Fainting is an unpredictable reaction and it is therefore unreliable. It is least likely to occur in people who are chemically intoxicated, psychotic, emotionally disturbed or acting with a single-minded determination to cause as much harm as possible before being stopped. It is probably most likely to occur in someone who is mentally unprepared to be shot or shot at.
Fackler, Martin L., M.D.: "Incapacitation Time." Wound Ballistics Review 4(1), Spring 1999; 4-8.
- Guyton AC. Textbook of Medical Physiology, Eighth Ed., Philadelphia, PA. WB Saunders, 1992, p. 269.
Terminal Performance Evaluation of Personal Defense Ammunition: Our Testing, Reporting and Recommendation Methods
We're in the midst of performing terminal performance tests of an extensive sampling of personal defense ammunition. Our test methodology follows IWBA Handgun Ammunition Specification protocol, which prescribes two test events:
Test event 1: Bare gelatin.
Test event 2: Gelatin covered by four layers of heavy denim cloth.
We test five cartridges in each test event.
Several major ammunition manufacturers are assisting our efforts by providing us with samples of their personal defense ammunition.
Glock, Inc., has been kind enough to loan us handguns. This allows us to test ammunition using standardized handgun models.
Reporting of Test Data
Testing ammunition with ordnance gelatin is a very expensive endeavor. While we'd like to make our test data available to everyone for free, we decided to use two different methods for reporting our findings. Subscribers and readers of our E-zine, FIREARMSTACTICAL, will receive detailed test data, as follows (example data is fictitious):
|.40 S&W Remington
165gr Golden Saber JHP
Product Number XXXX, Lot Number XXXX
|Test Date: 9/14/99|
|Test Weapon: Glock 23, 4.0" bbl||Click here to view photos of recovered bullets|
|Bare Gelatin||Denim Covered Gelatin|
|Gelatin Calibration: 8.3cm @ 592 fps||Gelatin Calibration: 8.4cm @ 601 fps|
*Data corrected to performance expected in standard ordnance gelatin (calibration 8.5cm @ 590 fps), if applicable.
Whereas readers of TACTICAL BRIEFS will receive limited, but useful, information. The following rating system will be used to report ammunition test results on our web site:
Unsatisfactory - average bullet penetration is less than 9-inches.
Marginal - average bullet penetration is between 9- and 12- inches.
Optimal - average bullet penetration is between 12- and 16-inches.
Satisfactory - average bullet penetration is greater than 16-inches.
Our test results will be reported in TACTICAL BRIEFS using the following format (example data is fictitious):
.40 S&W Remington 165gr Golden Saber JHP
|Test Weapon: Glock 23||Bare
|10 rd Avg. Velocity: 1022 fps|
Our Recommendations for Selecting Personal Defense Ammunition
We receive several E-mails each day from readers who ask us to provide recommendations for personal defense ammunition. We STRONGLY encourage you to choose ammunition that meets the recommendations of the IWBA Handgun Ammunition Specification Supplement. Briefly, the IWBA recommends using ammunition that demonstrates the following terminal performance:
Bare Gelatin - Average bullet penetration between 12½- and 14-inches. (See section 6.1.2 of the Specification Supplement for details.)
Denim Covered Gelatin - Average bullet penetration between 13- and 16-inches. (See section 6.2.2 of the Specification Supplement for details.)
A JHP bullet that demonstrates this level of penetration performance will also demonstrate reliable expansion performance. The Specification Supplement provides detailed rationale behind these penetration performance criteria. Readers are advised to consult the following sections and paragraphs of the Specification Supplement:
- Sections 6.0 through 6.2.2
- "Comments on Hard Barriers"
- "Comments on Expanded JHP Bullet Diameter"
Based on our understanding of handgun bullet terminal performance, wounding effect and wound effectiveness, we feel the IWBA's terminal performance philosophy is sensible.
From now on, readers who seek our recommendations or opinions for choosing personal defense ammunition will be referred to the IWBA Handgun Ammunition Specification Supplement and encouraged to choose ammunition based on the IWBA's recommendations.
Book Review: The Basics of Pistol Shooting. NRA Publications; 129 pages, 1991.
Regardless of whether you're a beginning or experienced shooter, this book has something for everybody. It contains a wealth of information, and will answer any lingering questions you might have about handgun shooting using easy to understand language. It describes the differences between single-action and double-action mechanisms, handgun parts nomenclature, the definitions of misfire, hangfire and squib loads, pistol cartridge history and much more. It's loaded with photographs and illustrations that show everything from the cross section of a barrel to show how caliber is determined, and the lands and grooves that comprise the bore's rifling, to photographs of shooting technique details.
Perhaps the most valuable part of the book is Appendix D, Common Shooting Errors. Appendix D contains eight illustrations of bullseye targets that permit you to diagnose shooting errors which cause bullets to go everywhere but the X-ring. This information is priceless to a shooter who's frustrated with his/her shooting performance, and can't understand the reasons why. All marksmanship problems can be traced directly back to errors in performing basic techniques, regardless of whether you're a new shooter, a novice or you have years of shooting experience. Appendix D helps you to determine which particular error is responsible for your poor performance. Each illustration is accompanied with a detailed explanation of the cause.
The Basics of Pistol Shooting covers both revolver and semiautomatic pistols. At a cost of $5.00, this book is a genuine bargain. It can be ordered from the NRA by clicking on the link below. After the page is loaded, you'll find The Basics of Pistol Shooting about three-quarters the way down the page.
Click here to order The Basics of Pistol Shooting
Remington 870P Pump-action and 11-87P Semiautomatic Police Shotguns
We're frequently queried by private citizens who're interested in purchasing a Remington 870P or 11-87P shotgun for home defense use. The two most frequently asked questions are:
Are there any federal or state laws, or any restrictions by Remington, that prohibit or prevent a law abiding private citizen from purchasing and possessing a Remington 870P or 11-87P Police shotgun?
What factory options are available?
As far as we know there are no current federal or state laws, nor any limitations imposed by Remington, which restrict sales of these shotguns to law enforcement or government agencies. These shotguns can be ordered by law abiding private citizens through any federally licensed gun dealer.
Remington's Law Enforcement/Government catalog shows that the 870P and 11-87P are available in different factory equipped versions. The tables below list the configurations that can be ordered. Although the 870P is available in different barrel lengths, we listed only the shotguns that come equipped with an 18-inch barrel. All 11-87P shotguns are equipped with an 18-inch barrel only.
Unless otherwise noted, all 870P shotguns have a magazine capacity of four shotshells. A separate magazine extension can be purchased either from the factory or aftermarket sources, to bring total magazine capacity to seven shotshells.
(Note: Although the 870 Express Home Defense shotgun, product number 5549, is constructed so that it won't accept a magazine extension, one can be easily installed by a competent gunsmith. The 870 Express HD is not part of the 870P product line.)
|Remington 870P (Police) Pump-Action Shotguns|
|Tritium Bead Rifle||Parkerized||---|
|Remington 11-87P (Police) Semiautomatic 12 Gauge Shotguns|
|Ghost Ring||Parkerized||7 Shot
Scientific Misconduct by Physician Propagandists: A Perspective on Gun Violence
by Martin L. Fackler, MD
Editor's note: In this article, Dr. Fackler shows that he's equally as intolerant of gun control junk-science as he is of wound ballistics junk-science. We thought many of you would appreciate the opportunity to read his opinions about fraudulent gun violence research.
Click here to read Dr. Fackler's article
Delivering you informative multimedia essays about the "battlefield problem-solving" tactical aspects of armed self-defense.
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