Getting shot by any bullet sucks. Let's not get too much tunnel vision here; NO bullet is "weak" and every kind can kill. If I may, I'd like to add a medical perspective on this. It's one thing to argue the weakness of a round, but anyone who has real life experience with gunshot wounds knows that, either shooting someone or treating them, GSWs have some very odd, and conception-shattering aspects to it. If I have to say one thing about the GSW's I've dealt with (which are numerous, and will continue to be), it's that you can never assume anything about the person's condition just by where the hole is in their body.
As it's been said; shot placement is paramount with any type of ammo. Regardless of the size or type of the round being fired, it never replaces skill and placement.
That said, perfect shot placement does not assure a kill. The path a bullet takes when entering the body can, and often is, vastly askew from a simple straight line. Add in longer distance hits, where you're technically "dropping" the bullet onto the target, and what area of the body you hit vs. what internal damage is done does not always match up.
Shot placement is really about two things; maximum likelyhood of hitting the target (ie, center mass) matched with maximized destruction of potential vital organs before bullet path deviation (which will happen). As for the latter, this is where training for head shots comes into play... it's the greatest likelyhood of GSW mortality (read below). Medically speaking, the mozambique/failure/2+1 drill has the single best potential for mortality.
Someone mentioned the CNS and center mass as needed for kills. This is kinda right and wrong. CNS is a broad term, really. Getting shot in the spine offers a high degree of "kill factor", sure, but I'd say it offers a higher degree of life with spinal damage (paralysis, motor-sensory deficit, etc). If you're speaking of CNS as a kill shot, it should really be focused on brain tissue. I haven't seen many people survive a GSW to the head, especially when their brain matter is falling out in front of you (makes your gloves sticky, too). They may still have pulses and some system activity, but I'd have to say that, of those I've seen shot in the head, 100% have died. Either dead on scene, dead when they reach/start treatment at an ER, code & die in the OR, or actually make it to a neuro ICU and die up there hours or a day or two later. I HAVE seen a handful of people continuing on with their lives with spinal damage, having suffered a GSW to the CNS system. But, just because I say I've seen 100% die, doesn't mean everyone does. A simple google search will pull up one of these "incredible but true" stories of people surviving typically fatal wounds. A nurse I know treated a guy who was shot in the head, and the bullet travelled around his skull, under the skin and soft tissue, and exited out of his neck, with only that tissue damage done. The guy was sleeping when he was shot and didn't even realize it until his friend woke him up on the cough and said he was bleeding.
Targeting center of mass has only a single primary purpose-- it's the best chance of actually hitting the target. It does not assure a kill or even stopping a threat, especially with chemical factors on board, either natural (adrenaline) or synthetic (PCP). This is well known. I've also seen people shot and drive/walk themselves to an ER. The variables with GSWs are numerous.
I don't have cold hard stats in front of me, but I'd argue that exsanguination ("bleeding out") probably accounts for most of the mortality associated with gunshot wounds. All you need to do is open up a major vessel, especially arterial, and your mortality factor has just jumped considerably, perhaps 100%. These vessels run through the entire body. Severing the ulnar or radial artery in the wrist can kill in about 10 minutes. Severing the central arteries, like the carotid, aorta, subclavian (shoulder area) or femoral (thigh) can kill you in 5 minutes or less. Hell, you don't even need bullet... a knife can do this, so why not a .22 and certainly why not a 5.56? It doesn't take much.
Here's another way to look at the "weak" debate...
Any thug on the street can kill someone with a lowly .22 through pure dumb luck just emptying the magazine at someone (seen it). It can also deflect of heavy clothing and bone.
A cop can double tap, maybe multiple times with a 9mm or a .40, hitting center of mass, and still have to deal with an aggressor on PCP coming at them, or fleeing (a Philly SWAT officer once told me of shooting a guy multiple times in the torso and having him run for blocks before finally collapsing. I've fought with people on PCP and can believe it... it's a scary fucking drug that completely lives up to the stories everyone's heard). Yet it can also shatter bone and kill very easily too.
A solider can hit a target with a 5.56 round at close range, and due to over penetration, miss vital organs, leaving the target just as hostile as before he was shot (a current popular argument against the 5.56. Both inside and out of military circles). One of the children who was shot during this hostage exercise was hit in the heart, almost certainly a center of mass hit, and didn't die. Despite this, the 5.56 has decades of proven combat effectiveness in neutralizing a hostile and removing them from the fight, either by making them a casulty or outright killing them.
So, what does this say about any round being "weak"?
The point here is this-- before actually questioning whether a bullet is "weak", remember what can happen with ANY penetrating trauma to the body, regardless of the size or strength of what's inflicting the insult.
Any bullet can kill, but the body can also survive perfect shot placement and center of mass through infinite variables.
"Four things greater than all things are,—
Women and Horses and Power and War."
Read: I'm not your doctor
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