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Old 02-16-2013, 16:25   #1
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10mm 155gr TMJ vs. Level 3A Kevlar

A few months back I shot an Underwood 155gr TMJ at a 10" AR500 target and it left a small dimple. No other round has done that including Underwood 220gr hardcast. Prior to that I thought just about any pistol round should be safe to shoot at this hardened steel without damaging except maybe .500 sw.

That got me curious about how this round would perform vs. level 3A kevlar.

The L3A panel is taped to the front of a cereal box stuffed with some red tissue paper and newspaper. Under the panel there is a flattened piece of sheet lead. I wanted to use the sheet lead to measure the depth of any extrusion on the back side of the panel but it just put a wide hole in it as you can see.

Taped up Kevlar panel before shot:

The 10 Ring


You may want to fast forward a bit after the shot to see the examination.

The cereal boxes are about 2.5" thick. Even though the bullet didn't penetrate the Kevlar, the total depth of that extrusion is 3". The hole in the sheet lead is just under 3" wide.

Bullet diameter after the shot is 5/8".

The 10 Ring

The 10 Ring

The 10 Ring

If you see any problem with my method then let me know. I've seen kevlar shot where they just hung it from a clip and I don't think that's a good test because the vest has too much room to swing, way more than if it was actually being worn. I've also seen kevlar tests where it is set right against a piece of wood and that seems too far the other way because no one's body is that hard. I tried to go somewhere in the middle and make a firm backing but not too firm.

What do you think? I don't own a vest and likely never will so I'm really not sure how much room there is between the panel and the wearers body.

Here is a video of the bullet removal, not too exciting, once again you may want to fast forward.

Distance: 4 yards
Glock 29 KKM barrel
Underwood 155gr TMJ
1500 fps (advertised, didn't have a chrono)

edit: fixed the bullet removal vid

Last edited by G29SFWTF; 02-17-2013 at 21:42..
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Old 02-16-2013, 17:07   #2
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Roma Plastilina No.1 oil-based modeling clay is the standard backing for testing purposes.
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Old 02-16-2013, 17:45   #3
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Old 02-17-2013, 15:30   #4
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Interdasting. Thanks for the test. That looks like significant back face deformation. Ouch. Now I'm interested to see what a 135 gr would do at about 1500 fps.

Your methodology ought to be pretty good but the proper method is to use a clay backer.
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Old 02-17-2013, 15:44   #5
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That'll leave an owie.

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Old 02-17-2013, 17:39   #6
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Yeah will probably use Roma clay if I do another.

The 135gr would be intresting but since it's not bonded I thought the Kevlar might resist it pretty well even though it's moving so fast.
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Old 02-18-2013, 18:08   #7
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Originally Posted by G29SFWTF View Post
The 135gr would be intresting but since it's not bonded I thought the Kevlar might resist it pretty well even though it's moving so fast.
Hollow points don't penetrate as well so the increase in speed will probably be offset by its quicker expansion.

If you want to be able to shoot through Kevlar, try a lower rated armor, a longer barrel, or 9x25 Dillon.
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Old 02-18-2013, 19:37   #8
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My main goal was to find the best performing 10mm round against the highest level of soft armor for use in my G29 carry. There have been at least 3 shootings where the bad guy had armor, Tyler TX, CO theater, and Oregon mall shooting. I keep some 155gr TMJ's in my magazine and they cycle very reliably next to the 155gr XTP HP.

I didn't think the TMJ would penetrate level IIIA completely but wanted a round that would punch a little deeper than a 155gr XTP HP. The TMJ pretty much did that so I'm satisfied. I'd love to try the 9x25 someday though. I might get a conversion barrel once the firearms frenzy dies down.
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Old 02-18-2013, 21:16   #9
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FWIW, and I could be wrong, but I think the CO theater and OR mall shooters both had load-bearing vests, but not armor...I don't know about the TX one.
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Old 02-18-2013, 22:14   #10
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I'd say with the results pictured above, a couple good COM hits ought to slow the guy down enough for you you get a good head shot. That's if those first two hits didn't put him down from sheer blunt force trauma. That'd be like getting poked in the chest with a Buick.
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Last edited by Opie 1 Kenopie; 02-19-2013 at 20:48..
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Old 02-18-2013, 22:24   #11
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Although not immediately fatal, that would put a lot of folks out of a fight for quite long while... 3" deep conical ? The shock can tear organs.
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Old 02-19-2013, 23:20   #12
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Even without a chrono, the velocity seems in the ballpark.
I've chrono'd my 155 gr handload which is loaded with Vhit N350, out of the G29 it's moving about 1425 fps, & out of my G20, it's running about 1475 +/-.
So the velocity posted has got to be close.

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