Needless to say this was not convincing.
In all honesty, I don't care what handgun caliber you want to defend yourself with. They ALL suck. However, I did see an opportunity to do a little practical testing of my chosen carry calibers: 9mm, .45ACP, and .38 Special.
I started with my primary defensive ammunition, Winchester Ranger 127gr. 9mm JHP +P+. I was very impressed with the results.
Bearing in mind that no test short of firing a particular round into a particular attacker under particular circumstances will determine if it is truly adequate I decided on the best test I could easily put together. I decided a approximately 5.5# bone in pork shoulder that I would wrap in an old sweater to simulate an attacker's clothing would be an adequate test medium and I fired one round from my Glock 17 through it from about three yards.
The round completely penetrated the meat, making a neat entry hole and a nasty exit wound before lodging in the the sweater material after exiting. I fired it into the pork shoulder along its longest diagonal, around 8" (also roughly the depth of my chest). The round struck the large bone inside and kept going. Using the entry wound as a starting point I cut up and along the length of the bullet path to get a look inside.
Wound channel seen from entry to exit.
Wound channel from above. Notice the white bone fragments from the shattered bone. Also, the dark red masses towards the center are also bone and bone fragments.
As you can see from the pictures the bullet destroyed both meat and bone along its path. It hit the large bone almost in the center of the meat, shattered it, and kept on going until it exited the meat. The damage is, to me anyway, impressive. So, let's take a look at the bullet itself to see if it functioned as designed.
Look, I made a flower.
As you can see the 127 grain JHP petaled open just as designed and held its shape even after passing through bone and tissue. I have no doubts that this would have a devastating effect on an attacker if proper shot placement were achieved and that effect would only be multiplied with more shots if they were necessary. Most self defense training emphasizes multiple shots because the 'one shot stop,' though it happens, is rare and can not be counted on where your life is on the line so everything you see here could be expected to multiplied in the body of an attacker without the danger of over-penetration.
Top left is the bullet right after shooting before being cleaned up.
After seeing how this round performed I have no doubts about it's ability to save my life as long as I do my job and place my shots correctly. I really had no doubts before. All of the rounds I will be testing have been putting people in the dirt for around a century in their various iterations. Taking the time to actually fire into flesh and bone and see the results really brings it home though and gives you a real world example you can touch and feel.
I hope you've found this informative, or at least interesting. I certainly have and I look forward to repeating this exercise with my other defensive ammunition.
Next up, .38 Special.