FBI Change to 9mm as best round?

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    • #108399
      • #108400
        Joe (G.W.N.S.)

          Back in 1986 the FBI was involved in a shootout in Miami, this shootout ended with two dead and five wounded out of eight FBI Agents.

          The two bank robbery suspects were killed after a prolonged gunfight.

          Here is the best available report IMHO:

          25 Years After The FBI Firefight: The Late-Emerging

          Ultimately the FBI blamed their firearms as underpowered and that they were outgunned (out trained maybe more accurate). The suspects were shooting something like 1000 to 2000 rounds a week training if I remember right.

          So they decided on the 10 mm as the new FBI standard, but of couse it was too hot a round for most Agents so they eventually went .40 S&W.

          Of course even this is more than many can handle so we are back to the 9 mm.

          The article Palmetto linked even mentions “Shot placement is paramount and law enforcement officers on average strike an adversary with only 20 – 30 percent of the shots fired during a shooting incident.”

          Of course the 9 mm, particularly with modern JHP’s is more than adequate, assuming of course they can actually hit the target.

          What I find amusing is as the FBI goes back to 9 mm’s the Army in it’s “infinite wisdom” (heavy sarcasm) wants a larger more effective caliber, with less recoil, more accuracy, and adjustable for small hands! :wacko:

          Barring a major technology break through, they may as well be asking for “Phased Plasma Rifle in a 40 Watt Range” (with Arnold’s Terminator accent). If I am being generous it may happen someday, but I doubt in this decade.

          Thoughts on this?

          It’s probably a good decision when you consider the relative lack of continuing training for most Agents.

        • #108401
          Brian from Georgia

            One thing is for certain. The Miami and North Hollywood shootouts proved the old adage:

            Your pistol is what you use to fight your way to your rifle which you should have had with you to begin with.

          • #108402

              Brian has been on fire lately. That’s as close to it as you’re gonna get.

            • #108403

                edit: another surprise reading one of my comments, which of course isn’ by me….

                Back in 1985 going through infantry school I remember a talk with an old time vietnam vet who was absolutely honest with soldiers who asked intelligent questions

                We were discussing terminal effectiveness and wounds. He stated as has been repeatedly proven, hit a large bone with a bullet and you will dramatically effect their performance

                Miss bone or heavy muscle and you will have to hit your target 3-7 times in some cases in order to stop them.

                Fast forward 25 years and Im in a pathology class at the UofA

                I asked the forensic pathologist about identifying wound channels and calibers

                He stated in absolutes. There is no detectable difference in handgun wound channels. Common handgun calibers are uniformly poor wound producers and modern HP ammunition makes recovering the bullet the only way to determine what caliber killed the person.

                He further went on to say the data is skewed because he only saw dead people, the ones who live screw up the stats terribly because humans tend to live through things like trauma

                What I took away from his semester

                Shoot a good bullet, in a caliber you can deliver accurate multiple shots out of a firearm, which will continue to work when your fine motor skills have crapped out and shoot them until they stop.

                9, 40, 10mm, 45 is all masturbation done by people who have zero forensic background and are just repeating the gunshop stories

              • #108404

                  I always been of the 9mm mindset myself.

                  There are two ways of approaching the ballistic problem:

                  a) What is the most effective caliber I can still carry and still afford to train with?


                  b) What is most affordable in training burden and carry burden that will still be effective on target?

                  These different approaches go into all sorts of things.

                  In WW2 approach a) produced the King Tiger, while approach b) produced the Panther which is generally accepted to be the most modern tank of the war.

                  Approach b) in handgunning produces 9mm as carry ammo for handgun.
                  Not only is it cheaper to stack and train with but its lighter recoil makes it easier to train with reduces flinching and will possibly even lead to better shot placement as a result

                  I agree with approach b) for this and most other (rifle) problem sets.
                  So most my handguns now are 9mm.

                • #108405

                    All this tends to prove the practical, common sense:

                    Proficiency (training) trumps caliber.

                    Added to which, capacity (rounds before reload and rounds able to be carried) is more meaningful than round size.

                    Added to which, round availability, commonality of rounds, is a larger consideration for self-supplying personnel than for personnel who have a fully funded supply train.

                  • #108406

                      Interesting data on GSW in the US. The link lists several studies and gives synopsis of same.

                      Placement AND multiple hits count. Single GSW in an urban environment has survival rate > 80% (predominantly due to trauma system). Even GSW to head has ~ 50% survival rate (these I’ve witnessed, including .357)


                    • #108407

                        and adjustable for small hands

                        That’s the key fact when you slice away all the bovine scat. I saw this a long time ago when we carried .357 mag revolvers in the BP. They were just bringing women into the Patrol and they couldn’t handle the full power 125 grain loads.

                      • #108408

                          Regarding the Infamous Miami shootout:

                          Unfortunately for the FBI, they were ill prepared (poor use of intel) despite knowing that the two men they pursued had a history of using rifles and shotguns during the course of their crime spree. They also knew of their propensity to unleash violence without any hesitation whether it was deemed necessary/appropriate or not. This knowledge alone should have motivated them to be better armed 24/7. There was a 14 man team working and attempting to close in upon them rapidly if contact was made. Add to the mix their backgrounds, both trained in the US Army, one was an MP, the other a former Ranger, served with the 101st Airborne and a combat vet. Plus they practiced as noted above. It would seem from the description of that fateful day, the two killers, especially Platt, assumed an offensive rather than defensive nature in the encounter which I am sure caused great consternation to the team members.

                        • #108409
                          Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                            Plus they practiced as noted above.

                            Depending on which reports you put more faith in they each fired between 1,000 to 2,000 rounds (conservative low estimate) a week!

                          • #108410

                              Practice makes perfect as they say, assuming of course you are practicing relevant drills, scenarios, etc. However, mindset and prior background experience and training is what was the major force of this particular duo. And, again, the agents and whoever was in charge of this unit never thought about the firearms, behavioral pattern these guys were exhibiting/using. Only one of the good guys had a shotgun. The rest sidearms. You said:

                              “outgunned (out trained maybe more accurate)”

                              Maybe so. Probably too much complacency on the part of the agent in charge and complacency by his subordinates trusting his faulty judgement. Lots of mistakes. All this speaks to internal communication, and policy that would never be aired in public. Hopefully they have corrected these issues. Still, one must be able to hit their intended target quickly and lethally, the presumed topic of this thread. The entire action speaks to the final determination of events, human will and perseverance, exhibited on both sides.

                            • #108411
                              First Sergeant

                                I cover some of the lessons learned from Miami during the DHC.

                                hellokitty, sam brady and myself have had several conversations about this.

                                Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                Je ne regrette rien
                                In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                              • #108412

                                  The S&W 459 that was used to shoot I believe Platt was stocked with Winchester Silvertips. Just FYI.

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