AK-47 magazine 7.62x39
Dan Z. for TTAG
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We had just walked into the middle of a Fedayeen bank robbery.

I headed for the side of a building and walked quickly towards where the explosion had gone off. 

‘Northern Ireland all over again,’ I thought. As I lifted my radio mic to my mouth to report the incident, one of the most horrific sights I have ever witnessed unfolded in front of me.

The street had been full of civilians and passing cars, and as the bank doors were sent flying across the street, the local population had rushed towards what they thought would be all their birthdays come at once.

As they drew near to the now wide-open bank, the guards inside, eager to protect any possible bounty for themselves, opened fire with a number of weapons on the crowd.

Men, women and children leapt from the back of passing vehicles. Some were shot before they hit the ground. Others were still sitting where they had been when the explosion went off, slumped dead, as bullets hit their faces and chests.

I could see women dressed in black burkas, head to toe, being hit by bullets which made their clothes dance up and spit out dust like a rug hung on a washing line being beaten with a stick.

At least 15 people were hit and surely more. My contact report went something like: ‘S**t. Hello Zero, this is Whiskey 2-3 Bravo. Contact, 100 metres rear of Sheraton Hotel. People being shot and…’

I never got to finish.

The whole world stopped as if a pause button had been pressed so it could get its breath back. All I knew was something had smashed into my chest.

I was just about to put my left heel to the floor as I walked forward but was rocked back on it. The world had gone mute. 

There were no sounds, just a sense of a mild electric shock running through my body accompanied by a buzzing after-shock that lasted the smallest fraction of a second.

What followed probably lasted for no more than 60 seconds but takes half an hour to tell due to the billion sensations that went through my mind and body.

Still standing, I looked at my left breast, which seemed to be the epicentre of whatever the f*** had just hit me. There was no blood and the first thought that went through my head was that I had been hit by a riot-type plastic bullet.

Noises from the outside world began to fill my ears again. I thought: ‘Well I’m not standing here to be hit by something else.’

Quite nonchalantly, I turned and walked 10 metres to my rear and sat down in an alcove which formed the corner of the junction where I had been standing.

I still had no idea that I had just had most of the contents of my left lung blown out of the back of me at approximately 1,000kph by a 7.62mm AK-47 round, leaving a hole the size of the rim on a pint glass, just below my shoulder blade. 

The round had missed my front body armour plate and had lodged in the rear one.

Apparently, my heart had been missed by half an inch, but right then I just figured something had hit me in the chest and at worst I had broken a rib.

You’ve been shot, you silly b*****d. But, I argued with myself, there’s no blood! I don’t feel like I’ve been shot! In fact, I feel quite good, a little tired maybe. What if I haven’t been shot and I tell everyone on the net I have? I’ll look a right tw*t!

I got on the radio and said: ‘Hello Zero, this is Whiskey 2-3 Bravo, I think I’ve been shot. Over.’ No Reply. ‘Hello Zero, it’s Bob, I’ve been shot.’

I found I hadn’t got the breath to say it again and I was getting interrupted on the net by others reporting in and clogging up the airwaves. Zero hadn’t heard me but L/Cpl Simon Campbell had and he constructively butted in. 

‘Shut the f*** up and get off the net, Bob’s been shot. Bob’s been shot.’

I was all alone. The whole of my section was across the street about 20 metres away. I remember thinking that I was about to start panicking. If I panicked, I’d go into shock and if I went into shock, then I was dead.

— Lance Sergeant Bob Giles in What it feels like to be shot in the chest by a 7.62mm bullet from an AK-47, travelling at 1,000kph

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    • The first word is often cut off on communications systems even when they claim first syllable detection. Not all systems transmit a constant RF ‘spike’ to avoid detection or freq-hop.

      I’ve heard people say worse things than ‘hello’ while being shot or blown to bits.

      • The things I have heard over comms during those events will haunt me forever. “There is a lot of blood” etc etc. They stick with me more than the things I saw, right along the smells. Burning metal. But I was making a sarcastic remark to how calm using the word “hello” seems in this context.

      • Agreed. Pretty much the reason why the word “Mayday” is repeated three times at the beginning of an emergency broadcast, to ensure the word gets out and is understood by a recipient who will give the rest of the message his/her clear attention.

        • Yea, same reason you say designators twice. Like “dust off, dust off” or “26 this is 27, 26 you copy?”. You have to remain calm and speak clearly, using breaks if needed. But Cato is just trying to shit on my party cuz he doesn’t like me and doesn’t understand /s


      • “The first word is often cut off on communications systems even when they claim first syllable detection.”

        The VOX (voice-triggered transmit) is never fast enough. I’d hear things like people say a quick “Ahhh…” and then what the wanted to say to make sure the whole message got through…

  1. Sounds like a lotta bullsh!t to me… Not buy the veracity of this one.. But it’s the Brit Daily Mail, so one shouldn’t expect too much…

  2. I’m not saying he’s lying , but surely that must have been a 9 mm that hit him, because I heard the president say they would blow your lungs out.

    • Probably a .22 then.
      NOBODY can survive anything more. It’s science.
      *Fires two shots in the air

      • Yup. And if legend guides us, we know that if it had been a 6.5 CM, his entire body would have been sent into another dimension, and the story we read above would have been written by his ghost.

    • “I’m not saying he’s lying , but surely that must have been a 9 mm that hit him, because I heard the president say they would blow your lungs out.”

      well, the AK round did not blow his lungs out. he said

      “I still had no idea that I had just had most of the contents of my left lung blown out of the back of me at approximately 1,000kph by a 7.62mm AK-47 round”

      in other words, the air content left his left lung. that happens when the lung is pierced by anything no matter what speed its traveling.

      its common in severe car accidents with chest pierced injuries from car parts or objects in the car and sometimes glass, about 60,000 annually.

  3. Better to get shot for Iraq than Afghanistan. There’s still a chance Iraq will have a period of time as something greater than a complete shit show.

  4. Coulda said just about anything in the moment. I don’t swear. Khmer Rouge or NVA (who knows) tickled me so much one day that I let out a real string. It just came flooding outa my pie hole. Wish I had written it down, it musta been poetic. Turned the air around me blue. But not on the radio…

    • We all did not have comms back in the day. Or night vision. It was a different world.

      The smells are what stayed with me.

      • I can verify a massive body injury doesn’t hurt, at first.

        But when it does… 🙁

      • So what is the moral of the story? 1) See See…No one needs an AK47. (Never mind an Oath To Protect and Defend The Constitution of The United States from Enemies both foriegn and domestic…Allegiance has shifted to BAWN and so should yours.)

        2) You do need an AK47 to stop a perp who is armed with a firearm or a perp who fully intends to smash your head in with a brick, bat, hammer, feet, fists or slice you into pieces with a knife or run over you with a motor vehicle, etc.

        The article says nothing most adults familiar with sickness, injury and death don’t already know. However with all the underhanded sneaky Gun Control running around it prompts one to question motive. I mean the writer did not say, I got shot by an AK47 and now I own two, etc.

  5. theres a clint smith quote out there
    about ballistic plates
    something along the lines of
    theyre only useful
    if youre going up against someone
    thats good enough to hit you center mass
    or something like that

  6. Mr. Giles’ story seems to have an overabundance of detail and drama–and pretty fantastic details and drama at that. In fact, it comes across as an article intended to convince people that AK-47 rifles are evil-incarnate which means that we should, of course, ban them.

    I do not know if Mr. Giles was actually a mercenary or military serviceman over in the Middle East–or if someone wounded him over there if he was indeed over there. If he was over there and someone wounded him, I do not find his description of his wound–nor his survival–to be credible.

    • he describes all this carnage and multiple rounds hitting people.. but then he is obviously standing out in the open, and says he, the very symbol of ‘authority’ and highly visible target, only gets hit once in this, according to him, basically withering AK 47 fire?

    • As I stated above, I do not find his description of his wound nor his survival to be credible. Here is Mr. Giles’ own words:

      I still had no idea that I had just had most of the contents of my left lung blown out of the back of me at approximately 1,000kph by a 7.62mm AK-47 round, leaving a hole the size of the rim on a pint glass, just below my shoulder blade.

      The round had missed my front body armour plate and had lodged in the rear one.

      First of all, if a gunshot wound blew out most of the contents of your left lung, I do not believe that you would be able to speak anything much beyond a whisper. And yet he describes multiple attempts to speak into his radio and communicate his status.

      Second, by far-and-away the most commonly available ammunition is full-metal jacket spitzer bullets and those will not typically “blow out most of the contents of your left lung” and leave an exit wound that is about three-inches in diameter.

      Third, Mr. Giles states that the bullet missed his front armor plate and lodged into his back armor plate. If that bullet exited his body with an armor plate in that path, how did that result in a 3-inch diameter exit wound and most of his lung blown out at over 900 feet-per-second (which equals 1,000 km/h)?

      Finally, that bullet path had to travel diagonally across his body if it missed his front plate, missed his heart by 1/2 inch, and embedded into his back armor plate. That means the bullet would have exited VERY close to his spinal column. With the horrific exit wound that he described, I have to think that bullet would have created/imparted enough of a shock-wave to his spinal column to overload his brain and cause him to immediately go unconscious. And, having virtually destroyed his left lung in that process, he should have bled out and died in less than 60 seconds. (I have seen this multiple times with white-tailed deer.)

      Put all of that together and I do not believe Mr. Giles story.

      • I am also baffled at Mr. Giles’ mixing of Imperial and metric units.

        Mr. Giles mentions the following in metric units:
        “100 metres rear of”
        “10 metres to my rear”
        “1,000kph by a 7.62mm AK-47 round”
        “about 20 metres away”

        And yet he refers to the bullet missing his heart in Imperial units:
        “by half an inch”

        This is certainly not conclusive of course. It does cast additional doubt on the accuracy/authenticity of Mr. Giles’ story.

        • I will say from personal experience that when I was lying in the roadway late one night and I noticed my lower leg was flopped over and bent in a way a lower leg doesn’t usually bend, that you notice all kinds of things around you in surprising clarity.

          But folks experience major trauma differently. I found his story to be perfectly credible…

        • Mixing units isn’t that uncommon for Brits. Just look at their road signs (see link below). Bridge heights and vehicle dimensions in meters (or both) but distances along the roadway in miles and yards isn’t unheard of.

          A mix is less common in other Commonwealth countries but still more common than you might think.

          And it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. Americans tend to speak in inches, yards and miles but the military uses metric.


        • Clay Martin once wrote he had seen many enemy combatants shot with the 5.56 and “walk it off”. He went on to say he never saw one of his guys shot by an AK 7.62 “walk it off”.

      • the “contents” is the air that left his lung. common in lung piercing injuries.

        its common in severe car accidents with chest pierced injuries from car parts or objects in the car and sometimes glass, about 60,000 annually.

    • if its a gun control article
      its a bad one
      he was hit in the chest by one
      and lived long enough
      to write an article about it

    • Will Dabbs, MD who writes for various gun magazines spent at least two tours in the sandbox as a surgeon at forward medical units. It was his opinion, having treated numerous wounds caused by 7.62×39 and 5.56×45 rounds that if he had a choice he would rather be shot by the 5.56 than the 7.62 round. Not much of a choice but having treated wounds by those rounds it was his observation that the 7.62 created more damage. As a non-expert, I would say that at a minimum, the entry hole will be bigger and if the round tumbles, the wound track will be bigger. In the instance under discussion, bigger is most definitely not better.

  7. I am rally glad his armour kept that round from getting farther down range, somebody could have gotten hurt for real. Hope you are doing OK.

    I know this is a bit off topic, but it is related and important. I would love to see an article or two on the number of times a bullet resistant vest actually stops a round. Considering the 36% of the body it gives protection to there is a lot of real estate that can make you just as dead as if you were hit in the chest. I have tried to pull data from the government to see how much safer vest make you but can’t get any numbers. Seems most bad guys don’t have training and a center mass shoot would be more accidental or really lucky for them. And my guess if a bad guy does have training they would think to aim to the gut or shoulders and up. I read about a lot of cops hit anywhere else and paying the ultimate cost. Vests are better than nothing but I think they might give a lot of folks a false sense of protection.

    • MissedMe,

      How truly beneficial are ballistic vests? I believe that you mostly answered your own question when you said, “Vests are better than nothing but I think they might give a lot of folks a false sense of protection.

      The fact of the matter is that bullet wounds which miss the ballistic vest and hit the torso anyway–as well as bullet wounds NOT in the torso–can be fatal. A serious wound to any major artery such as your carotid artery, brachial artery, and femoral artery–all of which are NOT in your torso–can easily cause death in less than two minutes. Of course a bullet wound which misses your vest and yet still enters your torso near your shoulder area can be fatal.

      Bottom line:
      Life is fragile and precarious–any day or moment could be your last for thousands of different reasons. Plan accordingly.

      • Your comments are spot on. I guess the point I was trying to make is given all of the valuable real estate that is left unprotected. I very much would like to see data published on the number of shootings where, let’s say, a cop had on a vest and the rounds fired hit the vest vs. other body part. The vest manufactures are clearly not interested in providing this data because it might point out that despite the considerable money spent on their vests and even thought then may work as advertised, the odd of surviving a shoot out may not me markedly improved.

        I was thinking THeTruthAboutGuns might be better able to ferret out this data so others can make a more informed purchase or at least make one knowing the relative risk of getting shot where the vest isn’t.

        Thank you for your reply.

      • I doubt such data exists in any useful and available manner, not because it’s something anyone wants to hide but because it’s nearly impossible for most people to capture in a meaningful way. There are simply too many variables, often including improper use or ill fitment of equipment, lack of training etc etc.

        Where data is more likely to be available, you’d be most likely to find it in places where you have serious gunfighters and a lot of money to back them up just because they run this experiment more than anyone else and also know how to eliminate variables that other people may or may not consider. That’s generally going to be places that won’t share their own, private dataset with John Q. Public.

        So you have to extrapolate from what you can see and then attempt to apply that knowledge, unquantified because what’s the fuckin’ point, to the situation you’re trying to deal with.

        Realistically, this is a pseudo-statistics game based primarily on trade-offs which mean that the best you can do is calculate a wide range and doing that probably isn’t worth the time. It’s faster and basically just as accurate to say that this is not about all the places you could be hit that would be lethal. It’s about the capacity to rationally cover areas that are most likely to be fatal and which have a relatively high hit radio and do so with the least reduction in functional capacity.

        This is going to be purely relative and there are failure modes in all directions. Optimizing in any one direction too far reduces survivability in an observable way which may or may not be quantifiable but is certainly real.

        Quantifying the number of people who shit their pants, froze and got killed via inaction when they got shot in the face while wearing armor Type X doesn’t really tell you anything about Type X armor. It tells you that freezing in a gunfight and letting yourself get shot in the face is a bad idea.

      • My first case in the Marine Corps involved a bunch of Marines who had snuck booze into the quarters. They were goofing around with a service .45. Somebody triggered it and it hit another Marine in his butt cheek. Everybody laughed at it until the Marine fell unconscious and somebody noticed there was an awful lot of blood. By the time the duty corpsman got there the Marine was dead. The round ruptured his femoral artery and he bled out very quickly. It seemed all too hilarious until it suddenly was not.

    • Someone I know who was in Afghanistan was killed when a bullet hit him in his armpit area. Lots of fat arteries in areas like that, that require joint flexibility…

    • Most effective in breaching situations where the guys in front will be moving into a hail of bullets at close range. Narrower cone of fire means more likely for the armor to catch all the hits.

      On an open battlefield where 4 MoA is standard battle rifle accuracy, shots that actually impact center mass are the outliers.

  8. @Jethro Actial:

    Wuz president of local Vet’s Chapter years ago when a guy younger than us came up to me after the meeting. He said he wanted to join our”club”.
    I courteously asked him “where were you?” meaning “where in Viet Nam did you enjoy your time over there?”
    He started rattling off a list of towns, cities and burghs even a geographer would have trouble remembering. I don’t know what orifice he used to inhale, cause towns kept spilling outa his mouth.
    I had to interrupt his well-rehearsed performance, and got nose to nose with him.
    “WHATTUDITSMELLIKE?” I aksed him.
    and he put his tail between his legs and slunked off.
    (Hopefully no Possums were hurt or shaded by my crass slunking remark).

  9. This guy’s either one of the luckiest people alive on the planet that day or there’s a touch of exaggeration/loose language to this story.

    Which doesn’t mean the exaggeration is his. He could be simply relaying exaggeration he got from other people, like maybe a surgeon talking themselves up or simply failing to really operationally define terms like “hole”.

  10. Ballistic vests function well within their limitations. I wore one religiously for over 20 years. I was shot at and missed a few times and shit at and hit much more often. Strapping that vest on was a constant reminder that I wasn’t bulletproof. All in all, that is a good thing to keep in mind when going in harm’s way.

    • Been shot and it was a 9mm. Hit a bone and shattered the bone, still have pieces of the jacket and core in me.
      Was no fun and took a long time to recover.

      • A Marine I was stationed with had been hit with mortar shrapnel in ’52 or ’53 during the Korean fun and games. In ’58 pieces of the shrapnel were still working their way to the surface of his skin. He reported that the first day he didn’t feel any pain. That might have been the morphine shots the corpsman gave him. He did say quite emphatically that the next day he REALLY felt the pain. A cop I worked with was shot in the calf of his leg. He said he didn’t feel much pain but it burned. Another guy I worked with while fooling around on the Italian Peninsula during WWII was shot in the back. He said he though somebody had hit him. It wasn’t until somebody said, “Hey, Andy, you’re bleeding” that he realized he had been shot. A marine shot in the chest at bad breath distance uttered the famous, “You shot me you son of a bitch.” The slug glanced off his breastbone went around his ribs between his ribs and his skin, exited under his armpit, exited through the wall of the guard shack, penetrated the skin of an adjacent Quonset hut, providing early reveille for the staff NCOs sleeping in said Q hut, passed through the plywood partitions inside the Q hut and exited the skin on the opposite side of the Q hut. The duty corpsman put a bandaid on the entry wound, a bandaid on the exit wound and sent him back to duty, however the sergeant of the guard and the OOD had some other things for the shootee and the shooter to occupy their time. A sailor got involved in a fight he should have avoided. He was shot with a .38 one inch below the left nipple. Same treatment as the Marine sentry, bandaid fore and aft. When lead flies one just never knows where it will end up and what the results will be. Another Marine shot himself in the thigh with his duty .45. The slug went in his outer thigh, twisted through his knee joint and exited his inner calf. Docs told him he would walk like Chester on Gunsmoke for the rest of his life. The knee joint was utterly destroyed and unrepairable. I had an interesting job in the Marine Corps.

  11. Didn’t they get the message? It’s a woke world now, we are suppose to be getting stories from the poor Fedayeen who was shot and terribly wounded.

  12. A 7.62 round shot out of an ak-47 or an SKS assault rifle can easily go thru a car engine and I shot a 7.62 round thru a telephone pole twice…that man should thank the guy upstairs every nite that he is alive..TheKelly B. 7.62 round ( bullet) is almost 4 inches long…

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