Ribs and chicken? Sounds like a barbecue, not an ammo showdown! But, yes, it’s an ammo test – not really one I wanted to conduct, but one that I felt I had to do to (hopefully) clear up some misconceptions among the ammo-test-watching community . . .
In my prior tests of the G2 R.I.P. ammo (Part I and Part II), I got results that were quite comparable to what other independent testers got. But my conclusions and opinions of the round are quite different from what the company claims, and it caused some confusion and disagreement. Of course, being that this is the Internet, confusion and disagreement are inevitable. Even knowing that, though, I thought I should try to clarify the situation.
What confusion am I talking about? Well, I showed in my testing that the R.I.P.’s fragments (aka “trocars”) break off and form separate wound channels, just like G2 says they will. I also demonstrated that they penetrate about 3.5” to 4” into ballistic gel – just like other tests have shown.
Apparently people think that looks really impressive. I am underwhelmed. So where it apparently got controversial is when I said that those fragments would result in probably only a nasty flesh wound, but not much more than that. And I said that they wouldn’t likely penetrate deeply in the body, and almost certainly wouldn’t be shredding anyone’s internal organs, regardless of what the company claims. But some commenters seem quite certain that I’m wrong on that, and that 3.5” to 4” of penetration should put the trocars firmly in the middle of the heart and lungs and should be a tremendously devastating wounding mechanism that would, indeed, shred internal organs. I’d like to clear that up, because I think it’s important that people making decisions on their ammo should be working with the most complete set of information possible.
I can see the logic in how they reach this conclusion – after all, if you stick a ruler up against the side of your chest and measure 4” deep, you’ll find that yeah, your heart and vitals are easily within 4” of the front of your chest (unless you’re extremely heavy or perhaps astonishingly muscular). I’m relatively average, and this is what a ruler along the side of my chest would look like:
But here’s the key element that some people don’t seem to be factoring in:
Four inches of penetration in ballistic gel, is not the same as four inches of penetration through a chest!
Just because a bullet or a fragment penetrates 4” in gel, doesn’t mean it’ll go that far in a body! In fact, there’s a good chance it may not even break the skin! Ballistic gel is not a body, and it’s not intended to simulate a body, and 4” of penetration in gel doesn’t mean 4” of penetration in a body. To demonstrate that, I went and shot a variety of low-power projectiles to show just what kind of rounds can penetrate 3.5” to 4” through ballistic gel.
In the video you’ll see me demonstrate the following projectiles:
a BB from a BB gun…
a CCI pest-control shotshell, made to be used against rats and snakes, easily penetrates 3.5” to 4”, with some pellets even reaching 5”.
And birdshot from a Taurus Judge (Public Defender, with the 2” barrel), which well exceeds 4” of penetration (and that still doesn’t make birdshot from a handgun suitable for personal defense against a human attacker!)
If that’s not enough to convince you that 4” of penetration is No Big Deal, then this last test might put the icing on the cake – as I easily pushed my finger through 4” of ballistic gel.
Now, none of those projectiles could be classified as “manstoppers” or something that would “take out all your internal organs.” I think anyone with any experience would agree that they’re all likely to cause flesh wounds (well, except for the finger) but not much more than that, and none of them is likely to penetrate deeply and disrupt the vital organs. At all. Especially the finger.
So what does this have to do with chickens? I’m getting to that. While I believe that the trocars are not likely to be any more damaging than birdshot, G2 Research (in an attempt to show how devastating their bullet design was) decided to employ it against a chicken. A chicken. A four-pound bird. And, surprise surprise, it was utterly devastating on the poor chicken – just like birdshot would be.
I actually think G2 Research was clever in their choice of target (a little chicken), because it would be ideal for their R.I.P. round, because a chicken is only a few inches thick, so the trocars might actually be able to contribute to some damage. They used an expensive slow-mo camera and got some rather dramatic footage of the bullet bursting forth from the poor chicken. So I strung up three chickens, side by side, and shot them. I used a G2 R.I.P. round from a 6.02” barrel, for maximum power and disruption, to make the most dramatic footage I could and to attempt to replicate the results they got (which, I think I did reasonably well). Then, to put it in context, I shot the second chicken from the exact same gun, but this time using a conventional hollowpoint (a 124-grain +P Gold Dot). Entertainingly, it produced nearly identical results to the G2 R.I.P. round in terms of overall destruction and exit wound! Finally, I shot the third chicken with a round that’s made for the job – birdshot, from a Taurus Judge. The resulting wound was horrific, it blew a quarter of the chicken away, but didn’t provide much in the way of an exit wound.
So yes, the G2 R.I.P. would be effective against a chicken. Of course, so would a Gold Dot. But does anyone seriously think that effectiveness against a four-pound bird, would equate to effectiveness against a 200-pound human attacker? Really?
To address that question, I went to the next level. How can you test how effective it would be against a human? There is no way to actually accurately simulate shooting a human body, and there’s no facility where you can go test ammo on convicted pedophiles or anything like that, so I did the best I could at coming up with a simulation that might bear some vague semblance of accuracy. I attempted to create an analogue of a human body, for bullet penetration purposes. I took some pork ribs (bones only, removed the meat from them) and embedded them in the front of a couple of gel blocks, a couple of inches from the front. I then covered the block with a layer of pig skin, and then covered the whole thing with four layers of denim. This was to simulate a torso: initially the bullet will encounter the denim, then punch through the skin, then 2” of gel that simulate a couple of inches of fat & muscle on the chest, then it will hit a wall of ribs, and finally burst through them into a block of soft tissue inside the “ribcage”.
The gun for this test was a Springfield XD in 9mm, mounted on a machine rest so I could precisely aim it and guarantee a hit on the ribs. I know that sometimes people put a whole rack of ribs in gel, but to me that makes no sense – leaving the meat attached means that there’s a good chance that the bullet will hit between the ribs, and – what’s the point of that? If you want to test how the bullet performs against ribs, you should make certain that your bullet hits a rib. I took every effort to ensure that in these tests, the bullets would definitely hit a bone square on.
I then shot a G2 R.I.P. round into the “simulated torso”, and I had a duplicate “simulated torso” gel block that I shot a Gold Dot 9mm 124gr +P round into.
The results were that the trocars sheared off and largely impacted on the surface of the ribs, although a couple of them did slip past and ended up just inside the ribs. The base of the R.I.P. bullet smashed through a rib and penetrated to 12.25”, which is quite respectable. But the “trocar” petals really contributed pretty much nothing to the overall wound, other than making a bigger superficial flesh wound in front of the ribs.
At the point of impact, the ribs were 2” deep in the gel. They’re about 1.5” deep at the top, but they “floated” a little inwards as the gel cooled so they became slightly angled. Even so, they were no more than 2” deep, which is within the window established as suitable by the Canadian Police Research Centre in their studies of ribs in gel.
As for the Gold Dot, it also punched right through the ribs, expanded, and continued penetrating to 17”.
The ribs were a little further in; at the point of impact for the Gold Dot the ribs were 2.5” from the front of the block. It expanded as designed, created a six-inch long expansion cavity from 1” to 7”, and came to rest at 17”.
I examined the bones thoroughly from the G2 R.I.P. shot. I recovered five trocars, and I observed absolutely no damage to the ribs from any trocar. The rib that was hit by the bullet was shattered, of course, but there was no additional damage to any of the other ribs.
My conclusions at this point are that the “trocars” stand little chance of doing any real damage to a person’s vital organs. The vital organs are, largely, all encased within the ribcage, and the trocars show little ability to actually damage, break, or penetrate ribs. They may possibly slip between ribs, but in this test even the trocars that were found on the inside of the ribs, were found extremely close to the ribcage. They wouldn’t have gone far and they wouldn’t have done much in the way of damage.
Which leads me to conclude that the deep-penetrating base is really the only real, substantial wounding factor that you can reliably count on, with the G2 R.I.P. round. And it does penetrate well, and, with proper shot placement, it could indeed cause an incapacitating hit even after hitting ribs. But – so would a Gold Dot, and the Gold Dot weighs two and a half times as much as the R.I.P. base does, and it expands to a much larger diameter, and it penetrates deeper.
Above is a photo of the two bullets that I recovered from this test. Wouldn’t you want the bigger, heavier, deeper-penetrating bullet? The FBI specifies an acceptable range of 12” to 18” of penetration, with a preference for as close to 18” as they can get. (remember, that’s penetration through gel, not penetration through a body – we all know that no humans are 18” thick! Well, a few are, but not in general…)
And, as long as we’re considering different types of ammo, and comparing the G2 R.I.P.’s base against other bullets, how would it compare against a Federal Premium 147-grain HST in 9mm?
Now, to be clear, this isn’t a ribs-to-ribs comparison. This HST in this photo did not penetrate ribs; it was recovered from a conventional 4-layer-denim test. So it’s possible that it might not expand quite that large if it’d encountered a rib first, although I doubt it would have made much of a difference – the Gold Dot is 95% the same size as Gold Dots taken from a rib-less denim-covered gel test. And the G2 R.I.P. base is always going to be the same size, since it’s a solid slug and it doesn’t expand regardless of what barriers it encounters. So I think the above comparison is a reasonably accurate example of what you can expect to get.
The point is – the base of the G2 R.I.P. is a good penetrator, but if you’re carrying a 9mm round, you can get much more from a conventional bullet than from the R.I.P.’s base. So the only thing the G2 R.I.P. is bringing to the party is the “trocars,” and – frankly, I don’t see where they bring much value.
Now, one further point of discussion that isn’t brought up much, but really should be: what about having to shoot through an arm? I don’t think a lot of people understand this; they seem to think that when we discuss “shooting through an intervening arm” we’re talking about someone holding their hand up in front of them (maybe in a defensive posture?) But that’s not it at all. Look at this picture for an example of what I’m talking about:
In that shot, I stuck a target on my chest to show where the vital organs are. You can see that as I “point a gun at you”, the arms obscure and block the target. If someone’s pointing a gun at you, you may very well have to shoot through their arms to reach the chest (and, hopefully, the vital organs). This is a common scenario, and law enforcement ammo specifications take this into account (which is why the FBI specifies a bare minimum of 12” of penetration capability, and why they prefer up to 18”). The question then becomes: what will happen if you have to make that shot with an R.I.P. round? The trocars will split off in the forearm, doing little more than making a flesh wound, and the base will probably break through and may hit the chest. In this scenario, the trocars will almost certainly be of little use. And, in this scenario, I think you can clearly see how you’d be much better off with that big giant HST or that big Gold Dot that penetrates 17”, instead of the little R.I.P. base.
Now, I can give you an alternate scenario where the G2 R.I.P. trocars might be superbly effective – if you had to shoot someone in the throat, for example. In that case, they might split off and hit the arteries or windpipe and cause substantial damage. But, as demonstrated in the chicken shots, the Gold Dot will likely create a similar amount of damage, so … to me, it comes down to whether you have a round that can perform in all scenarios, or only in a few. And to me, the choice is clear.
I hope that I have adequately explained how I came to those conclusions, and cleared up some of the confusion in the process. I don’t care what decision you come to, it’s your life and your gun and your choice. I just hope that I’ve clarified things enough that you can make that choice based on facts and on observed performance, rather than on over-the-top marketing.