Commenting on RF’s post about fashion model and gun knowledge supporter Hannah Ferguson, TTAG reader Silphy said she’s thinking of upgrading to 10mm. Reason being? She runs security for an armored truck and transports large quantities of cash, and is looking to up her ballistic advantage from a .38 Special wheelgun. Ideally, she’d like to move to something that will penetrate body armor.
I mentioned that I’d put 10mm Auto’s armor-piercing ability to a quick test while I was on the range, and the results of that can be seen in the video above. Spoiler alert…
IIIA is rated to stop up to .44 Magnum, and 10mm ain’t .44 Magnum. 180 grain FMJ and 220 Hard Cast Lead Flat Nose from Underwood failed to penetrate. Weren’t even close, I don’t believe.
Now, it’s possible that something like the Underwood-loaded 115 grain Xtreme Defender, with its solid copper Lehigh Defense projectile doing 1,700 feet per second, would penetrate. But I still doubt it. I’ll purchase a box and test it, though, if y’all think its chances are good enough.
There’s no real secret to body armor penetration. It’s basically a recipe of high velocity and a slippery projectile that isn’t apt to deform. From a handgun, this typically means small calibers pushed really fast, like 5.7×28. Calibers that break 2,000 fps and are skinny and pointy, making a path through the kevlar weave instead of smashing into it.
To be completely clear here, hollow points are not “cop killer” bullets, despite what “they” want us to believe. For any given caliber, a hollow point is literally the single least likely bullet design to penetrate body armor.
This can present a bit of a catch-22 for someone like Silphy, though, looking to defend an armored truck from an attacker(s) who may or may not be wearing armor.
Hollow points are the best, safest choice for non-armored defense as they are less likely to overpenetrate, less likely to ricochet, and more likely to stop a threat as rapidly as possible. This is why every law enforcement organization in the country uses them. Safety.
But they won’t penetrate armor.
On the other hand, a round made to penetrate armor is more likely to overpenetrate through a non-armored target, likely to ricochet, and probably less likely to cause rapid incapacitation. Bottom line: firing armor-piercing handgun rounds in defense of an armored truck in public poses a greater risk to the public, and is likely less effective against non-armored targets.
I’d probably stick with Tom in Georgia’s suggestion in his reply to Silphy: Mozambique Drill. For me, I’d carry a full-size 9mm with Federal HSTs. Assuming, of course, that I was specifically restricted to carrying only a handgun. What say you?