Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hornady TAPS

A small controversy has developed over something I said, and while it's no big, I thought it ought to be cleared up. Here's what I said, in OUTDOOR LIFE:

I know what you're thinking—those little .22-inch-diameter bullets zipping right through walls—but ammunition technology has kept pace with the evolution of firearms. There are a host of low-penetration 5.56mm/.223 rounds for law-enforcement use and civilian self-defense, including my own choice, Hornady 55-grain TAPs.

Here's a short summary of the controversy from regular commenter James at Hell in a Handbasket:

Mr. Bane says that TAP bullets are low penetration, while this article on PoliceOne.com by Jeff Chudwin refers to them as barrier penetrators! The author even says that soft point bullets are necessary for reduced penetration, not the "Hornaday TAP barrier penetrator".

Who is right, Mr. Bane or Mr. Chudwin? I don't know for sure, but one of them has to be wrong. Whoever it is, their advice might just get someone killed when the load they chose on their recommendation doesn't perform as expected.
Here's my reply from H in a H:

It's not conflicting info...Hornady makes a whole LINE of TAP ammo, with different intended uses for the various offerrings. The 55-gr TAPS are designed for higher fragmentation and lower penetration. At least, that's what the Hornady reps told me, that's how the ammo is marketed and that's what several top SWAT and military trainers have told me.

Hornady has been marketing a less-penetrative 5.56 tactical round for at least 5 years.

RE: Rifles/carbines as self-defense options in urban scenarios...never said that one size fits all. I do think that most people don't have the slightest idea of how penetrative a specific cartridge actually is. A few years back, I did some penetration tests on various 9mm ammo though standard wall-type material that scared the crap out of me.

Bill Murphy makes a point in his GUNSITE shotgun class that all types of buckshot are much more penetrative than many people think (and moreso than many handgun and some rifle rounds)...and buckshot often gets recommended as a good "urban" self-defense load!

Here's the pop quiz...for an apartment dweller, is the best option a 9mm Glock, a Marlin Camp Carbine in .40 S&W, a 12-gauge Remington 870 or a Taurus "Judge" loaded with .410 shot?

The answer is "maybe"...can't answer without more info...the experience and skill level of the apartment dweller, the construction of the apartment itself, the threat level, the ammo, etc. If I was ramping someone up from zero, I'd go for the revolver; I'd probably end up with a "progressive" cylinder loading something like shot (#4); shot (#4); followed by 3 .45 Colt; Glaser Safety Slugs. Not ideal, but enough to get you through the night.

Everyone's situation is different, a point I have emphasized again and again.

Recommending firearms and/or ammunition is an inexact science. There are indeed substantial differences between credible people in many, many areas. Let me give you a "blunt trauma" example — the .30 Carbine cartridge out of an M1 Carbine...I have been told in excruciating detail by credible — credible being defined as people who used the round and the firearm in the field — LEOs and military that the .30 Carbine is a wildly overpenetrative largely ineffective round. I have also been told by equally credible LEOs and military that the .30 Carbine is the pure-D Hammer of Thor. In effect, both sides are correct — bullet performance is ultimately a chaos system, a singularity in which actual performance is based on quite literally thousands of individual factors, from the nature of shootee's clothing to his or her mental state at the time of the shooting. That means that simulated bullet performance is exactly that — simulated.

I base my personal self-defense decisions on both my own experience, testing and evaluations and the experiences, testings and evaluations of people I respect. I do my best to open my decision-making processes to my viewers and to my readers (and I suppose with my podcasts to my "hearers"). Unfortunately, I have no "revealed truths," no marble tablets brought down from the mountain. I can tell you want I like, what I use and why. Beyond that, you have to make your own decisions.

I am acutely aware that that I am talking about issues of life and death. I routinely get "you're going to get someone killed, you irresponsible fool" notes from people who either dislike things I like, like things I don't or just don't agree with me. I have already received viciously offensive emails based on James' imminently reasonable post on this blog (and his posted question on my blog), which I hope I have answered fairly. Not your fault, James!!!!! Just comes with the territory. My personal favorite is the one who said he would have posted his remarks on my blog, but couldn't find it. I guess my marketing needs work...although I did type "GOOGLE," then "MICHAEL BANE BLOG" and, well, there I was...in 18 of 20 of the first Google entries...darn...I was hoping for a grand slam!

Keep up the great work, James, and I appreciate your occasional comments on my blog!

Your friend,

Michael Bane

9 comments:

John said...

Well said Michael.

Ultimately the consumer makes the choice and is responsible for that choice.

Ya pay's your money and ya takes your chances.

Anonymous said...

Michael,

I have lots of respect for both you and Jeff. You’re both on the side of improving the art we practice.

There are so much contradictory test results on bullet / rifle / target coming from good people who report data without an agenda. It's impossible to eliminate the variables, so differing results are expected.

I tend to take technical information from sales reps with a grain of salt unless they are willing to demonstrate it on the range. Mike Shovel (sp?) of Corbon is someone who I have seen do just that on a number of occasions.

I worry a lot more on how the bullet will perform on the target than on what will happen if I miss.
My rules of engagement do not allow me to try and shoot at targets I can not see: to shoot through drywall at a goblin behind a wall. Realistically I will not be shooting at moving vehicles. I'm more of the end the fight, then deal with the consequences, kind of guy.

After years of believing that a shotgun was the best CQ weapon system I must reluctantly admit the AR/AK platforms have some real advantage in this arena. I use an AR with an Aim Point optic and 55 grain ammo. Others may find another system to their liking and more power to them.

Keep up the good work.

Ratcatcher55

HKL said...

"Ultimately the consumer makes the choice".

Well yes, but we do look for knowledge and information. It helps if there is clarity. And it was appreciated to get that clarity. It helps in ultimately making that choice. That way we don't take so many chances.

Your point was...???

John said...

I agree.

Essentially that it is up to the consumer to make and bear responsibility for their decision. Everyone's situation will vary and each person will have to decide what is right for themselves and their situation. There is a lot of information available and it's up to the consumer to decide what is best for their own situation.

Michael Bane said...

My point?

"A stitch in time saves nine."

"You never know what's on rail for the lizard."

"Red sky in morning; sailors take warning."

"Never have unprotected sex.,"

mb

Michael Bane said...

My point?

"A stitch in time saves nine."

"You never know what's on rail for the lizard."

"Red sky in morning; sailors take warning."

"Never have unprotected sex.,"

mb

Anonymous said...

read in shotgun news just this evening about Hornady TAP. There is a "barrier penetrating" ammo type from that line, supposedly designed for use in nuclear plant defense, and totally different than their high-frag type.

Anonymous said...

Michael, what do your cheribums say about Blackstone in the Gun Business???

I am "Wall and Broad" kinda guy and would like to have your Seraphim confirm the rumor......

HKL said...

Yes, John, you didn't have to explain. There is a lot of information out there. And again it helps if we can get clarity. Which we did. That's what it is all about.

We are getting away from the real issue here. Bane was clear, he specified the 55 grain TAPs. PoliceOne did not specifiy, and he is one one who really needs to be informed of his lack of clarity. Of course apparently only members can give input on his site. As the War On Gus puts it, they are the "only ones".

The matter has been clarified for all of us except PoliceOne. So we've about worn this one out.