The second test round would be the very popular 9mm Parabellum. It's essentially a .38-caliber-sized bullet, but flying along at a higher velocity and with more muzzle energy — about 338 ft.-lbs. in this case. The round I used was a 115-grain, full-metal-jacket bullet fired from a 4-inch-barrel Glock 19 pistol. I fired three rounds to the upper right quadrant of the bag to see whether multiple hits to the same spot would penetrate the bag. FTI says a stiff plastic insert made of Kydex thermoplastic was used to keep the bag from rolling over when shot. If you're afraid an edge will bend in, it doesn't, thanks to the stiff insert and fairly stiff Kevlar too.
The results from the higher-energy rounds? Like the .38 Special, pretty meh, just slightly more movement.
Next, I moved up to the mighty .44 Magnum. Yes, the most powerful movie handgun in the world. It's so powerful that it'll blow your laptop clean off your desk. Do you feel lucky, punk?
For the .44 Magnum, I used a 240-grain, hollow-point bullet fired out of a Smith & Wesson Model 29 with an 8\-inch barrel — yes, Dirty Harry's revolver of choice. The bullet I used makes about 900 ft.-lbs. of energy at the muzzle, or almost three times the energy of the 9mm round.
I worried the wooden coat rack might be damaged from the impact of the bullet, but firing the mighty .44 Magnum dead center into the middle of the bag and practically on top of the wooden support produced as little observable movement as the 9mm round.
What? Where's the Hammer-of-Thor impact I expected? The movies lied to me.
My final test round would use a 12-gauge shotgun. Like the .44 Magnum, there's a lot of misconceptions about the shotgun. Shotguns fire multiple pellets, typically in different sizes. Most people think that when you squeeze the trigger, the pellets spread out immediately into a giant cloud and move forward. They actually will stay in a small cluster. How large that cloud gets is called the spread, and it depends on a lot of different factors. Because I wanted to put as much energy into one tiny spot as possible, I used Federal LE13300 buckshot in our Remington 870 shotgun. The shell was designed for police use and features a special design that holds the eight pellets together in the air longer. This minimizes the risk that pellets will spread out and strike innocent bystanders. At the eight yards' distance of the MTS, all eight .33-caliber pellets would strike in roughly a one-inch zone with more energy than even the .44 Magnum.
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