Quote of the day—Special Agent Urey W. Patrick

Kinetic energy does not wound. Temporary cavity does not wound. The much discussed “shock” of bullet impact is a fable and “knock down” power is a myth. The critical element is penetration. The bullet must pass through the large, blood bearing organs and be of sufficient diameter to promote rapid bleeding. Penetration less than 12 inches is too little, and, in the words of two of the participants in the 1987 Wound Ballistics Workshop, “too little penetration will get you killed.”

Given desirable and reliable penetration, the only way to increase bullet effectiveness is to increase the severity of the wound by increasing the size of hole made by the bullet. Any bullet which will not penetrate through vital organs from less than optimal angles is not acceptable. Of those that will penetrate, the edge is always with the bigger bullet.

Special Agent Urey W. Patrick
July 14, 1989
U.S. Department of Justice
Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness
Firearms Training Unit
FBI Academy
Quantico, Virginia
[I really need to write my post on “Energy is irrelevant” someday soon. The most recent incentive was this. Like Sebastian, I’m not convinced. The ammo doesn’t make any claims in regards to energy but I can’t imagine any of the claimed benefits outweigh the penetration and accuracy issues that are not talked about.—Joe]


4 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Special Agent Urey W. Patrick

  1. No, AntiCitizenOne, this is a knife war. It means that any knife blade of 12 inches or less is perfectly “safe”.

    The more I hunt, the more I believe you can throw out most of the numbers and assertions, and just go by experience and personal preference, then learn to place bullets where they need to be placed. Some knowledge of anatomy is required, as is doing a little bit of an autopsy on the animal, after having been there and knowing what happened after it was shot, but those things are less discussed. Maybe it’s too simple and leaves less room for the all-important controversy.

    Selling gun magazines, getting hits on a web site, or selling new and “better” guns by convincing gun owners that their current guns are inadequate, are examples of another type of goal that comes readily into play in this arena.

    Want more traffic? Just post the title; “Seventeen Reasons Why The 1911 Sucks” or “Why the .30-06 is Not and Never Was, Worth a Damn” and there you are. Try it, Joe, and watch the hit count.

    Then there are the Special Agents for the U.S. Department of Justice who need to justify their continuing paychecks – quite a separate issue from the question; “What’s the best caliber?” or “Does it really matter all that freaking much?”. Those questions must never be settled, else a lot of people will be looking for something productive to do.

  2. I recall when I was helping a lady friend buy her first piece. She seemed to have an instinctive understanding of wound ballistics. When the clerk asked her what kind of ammo she wanted with that, she came back with “What kind makes the biggest holes?”

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