Ballistics for writers

Published by captain kate in the blog captain kate's blog. Views: 134

Ok, ballistics (the science of projectile flight) of firearms and their impact of injuries comes down to four factors: size of shell, impact force, solid projectile or hollow point. Distance standing from a person when firing will affect speed also, because a projectile's highest rate of speed comes from the first 10-20 feet from the muzzle.

Time to cover the projectile. Each bullet is listed as a size, which is known at it's caliber. A 9mm bullet is actually 9.01mm in diameter, so you get the idea. The larger the number, the more stopping power. And they run in downwards size:
.40 (10mm is essentially the same)
.380 (there are several derivatives of these)

then you have:

Damage to the human body also is determined by whether a full metal jacket (FMJ) round is used of a jacketed hollow point( JHP). A FMJ is a solid projectile, sometimes called a 'slug' in slang. This is the the metal tip of a cartridge. A JHP is a different design. The projectile has a hollow center, with the metal around it in a ring. What happens when they're fired is the projectile, without getting all over scientific, turns inside out. The edges turn into barbs and hooks, which dig into the flesh when tearing into a body. There are calls from Doctors, with good cause, to make JHP's illegal due to the bodily damage it causes.

And firearms can, sometimes, use more then one size of round. Some of the .38 pistols can fire a .357 round in them, which can confuse someone just writing a basic fiction book. My recommendation: keep to the simple.

Firearm makers are numerous, and there plenty you find on a crime scene.

Sig Saur

They tend to be the most prevalent to be found.
One last thought: the 9mm you'll find on crime scenes 9.9 out of 10 times is the 9MM Ruger round.

Ballistics is a tough thing to explain, so this also is very simplistic-but it's enough to make a realistic novel. I hope it helps.
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