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As posted yesterday by VUPDblue at FiringLane.com:

"Car Doors..Update 2.0"
TheFiringLine Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: General Handgun Forum
Yesterday, 09:49 PM

Well, I finally got to the range with my Caprice Door (click here for recent thread) and did a little testing. First lets outline the testing specs:

The door was attached to a sturdy wooden frame at an elevation of 15", and placed at a distance of 12 feet from the shooter.



Behind the door was placed the Chronograph to record the velocities of any bullets that penetrated through both sides (outer door skin and inner door skin) of the door. Behind the Chrony was placed boxes full of compressed burlap to capture (hopefully) any bullets that would be chrony'd.



All Bullets were chrony'd beforehand in 3 shot groups at 12 feet for each load and the average of the three was recorded to determine velocity before impact.

Most of my hypotheses were proven correct, however I did discover some interesting bullet behavior. Lets look at some of the effects, shal we..?

Here is the front of the door after testing.



And here is the back of the door after testing. Note the largest 'exit wound' just low and left of center.



The above mentioned exit wound was caused by the .44mag (240gr JHP)striking and breaking one of the window motor gearsand then pushing said gear through the back of the door. The interesting thing is that EVERY OTHER CALIBER failed to penetrate after it struck the same gear. At no point did the .22lr penetrate both sides of the door, no matter what weapon fired the round (rifle or pistol).

Here is a closeup of the .44mag hole(s): Note in the background the perfectly shaped entrance hole.



Every other caliber tested (9mm, .38, .357, .40, .45, .357sig, .223, 30-06, .30carbine) penetrated both sides with all ammunition tested.
Ammunition indeed, and here is the lineup of ammunition used:
9mm-147gr ball, 147gr Federal Hi-Shok
.38spl- 158gr semi wadcutter, 129gr Hydra Shok
.357mag- 125gr JSP, 125gr Gold Dot
.40- 180gr JFP, 165gr Gold Dot
.357sig- 125gr JHP, 125gr Gold Dot
.45- 230gr Ball, 230gr Hydra Shok
.22lr- 38gr Federal HP, 40gr Federal RN
All Centerfire Rifle was Milsurp Ball

Most interesting to me was the behavior of the 'defense style' bullets after penetration. Every single bullet behaved opposite of how it was designed to. The HP's caved in on themselves and then compacted to form a mushroom. The Hydra-Shok's all experienced jacket separation after penetrating the first layer. Other than the Hydra Shoks, everything else retained most of its weight.



The mushroomed bullets striking a human target that may have been behind the door would behave much different than they were intended.
Here are a couple of shots of the shooter (me) and the weapons...









I know everyone said that car doors are not good cover, and I knew that they weren't. I just wanted to do a little field work and see what actually happens. Great fun to boot! Anyhow, the weapons used were: US&S 1911,Colt King Cobra 4", Glock 22, Glock 31, Walther p22, Beretta 92fs, S&W 629 83/8", S&W J frame 2", CZ AR-15 .22lr conversion, M1 Garand, IBM .30 Carbine, Bushmaster M-4gery.

The OP continued with a follow on posting...

The .38 was a S&W Chiefs Special with 2" bbl, and the .357 was a Colt King Cobra with a 4" bbl.

Here is some rough info on the exit velocities:

9mm ball 147gr- 1114 before and 1022 after
9mm 147gr Hi Shok- 946 before 730 after
.38 158gr SWC- 700 before 280 after
.38 129gr Hydra Shok- 781 before 532 after
.357 125gr JSP- 1005 before, 749 after
.357 125gr Gold Dot- 1333 before, 993 after
.40 180gr JFP- 950 before, 854 after
.40 165gr Gold Dot- 1065 before, 735 after
.357sig 125gr JHP- 1412 before, 1213 after
.357sig 125gr Gold Dot- 1410 before, 1122 after
.45- 230gr Ball- 844before, 710 after
.45- 230gr Hydra Shok- 869 Before, 615 After

No chrony data avail for the .44mag but the factory loads were supposed to be close to 1700fps with a 240gr JHP.

Thanks for the interest, guys. I really enjoy doing this kind of research and I am happy to be able to share it with everyone at TFL. Next up will hopefully be windshields, and then ballistic gelatin.

Feel free to ask any more questions.

-Nick

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=213488
CN: This should be common sense but TV & movies can over ride that.
Car doors and the body in general are largely hollow sheathing of very thin sheet metal offering effectively zero protection from even low powered rounds. An automobile provides concealmen at best but should not be considered to be hard cover. Do not run to a car for cover or use your door as a firing position shield against opposing fire.

- Janq
 

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do police cruisers have some sort of added defence built into doors? every time i see that video of the bank robery in LA, i see cops taking cover behind cars and just car doors.
 

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Good post!

If you've never taken a car door apart, it is extremely flimsy. I knew a guy who had an old car and did "carjacker defense" training in it from the driver's seat. He said you don't know how hard it is to draw and point shoot through a door till you try it. :)
 

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its essentially 2 ply aluminum. some cars, like my subaru have crossing steel tube frame inside the door. i doubt some of those smaller pistol rounds would penitrate that entire structure. but the ratio of 2 ply aluminum surface area to area with the frame is very small.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Nose Nuggets said:
do police cruisers have some sort of added defence built into doors? every time i see that video of the bank robery in LA, i see cops taking cover behind cars and just car doors.
No, they do not.
Patrolman crusier doors are no better or enhanced than the door on your own personal vehicle.

- Janq
 

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I thought police were trained to take cover behind the front QP of vehicles & utilize the engine block as cover, but I might just be thinking of the hardy boys or something...
 

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only mortal said:
I thought police were trained to take cover behind the front QP of vehicles & utilize the engine block as cover, but I might just be thinking of the hardy boys or something...
your right the front quarter panel of a car is good protection becuase the engine block will stop it
 

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Interior and exterior walls of most homes won’t stop most rounds either. Low density trees like pines against a rifle are also no-nos for protection. I have put many rounds of 7.62x39 FMJ through pines larger than 2’ in diameter. I’m not sure how much better a hardwood like an oak would do. I never tried that experiment.
 
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