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Miami Massacre and 9mm


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  • Miami Massacre and 9mm

    WHOOPS! My colleague started a thread at the same time! PLEASE SEE:
    The Miami Shootout - Setting the Record Straight

    - - -

    This discussion starts from different opinions about the implications of the Miami Massacre (the infamous shootout in which many fine Federal officers lost their lives) and what I perceive is the overly vaunted efficacy of the 9mm and other smaller bore rounds for law enforcement use.

    A friendly disagreement on these items started on another thread in the "Firearms" subtopic.

    Here is my take:
    Sanow's writings have indeed been found to be questionable in various areas. I believe that his tables, for instance, show a shot-to-drop ratio (or whatever they call it; haven't looked it up recently) of over 100% for some calibers, which apparently is not explained by two people being dropped with one bullet, for instance.

    Yet if you look at the tables and check with other agencies that track the efficacy of certain rounds, and use Sanow's work as at least an indicator, you are still left with many shootings in which the 9mm fails to adequately penetrate a small barrier when a hollow point or fragmenting bullet is used, and other instances throughout the country where the 9mm did not effectively put a stop to the assailant's antisocial advances.

    Simplistically, I have followed police shootings in the Fresno area (where I worked for 12 years as a deputy sheriff, CSI, detective and then undercover officer), with both the Fresno PD and the Fresno County SO (one of my four LE employers).

    Our rangemasters have also tracked these shootings. When our two agencies were led down that primrose path to the 9mm (with heavy input from the FBI Training Division), we started to have more police involved shootings during the same period of time, apparently because of the increase in violent criminal behavior of that era - about the time that Congress passed the Omnibus Crime Bill. At that time, extremely violent street and prison gangs started to flourish in that community. Fresno started to rise on the charts as having the most homicides per capita in the U.S., on certain months, and it has remained a pretty violent city since that time. The sleepy agricultural area changed into a haven for narcotics and gangs due to a number of reasons that have already been beat to death here.

    As shootings increased, we eventually moved to the .45 and .40 caliber handguns. Immediately following this change, I saw many one-shot stops, to put it euphemistically. At one time I was tracking the numbers. I foolishly threw away my data as I moved to the DMV Bureau of Investigations, and I didn't use databases as extensively as I do now. But I would submit that, just based upon my experience alone, I would say that the 9mm can't hold a candle to the .40 or the .45; and the numbers whether flawed or not, show the same thing in the Sanow tables and elsewhere.

    Our training on the Miami Massacre took place more than once at our local police academy (Advanced Officer Training, required each year along with other updates throughout the year). My memory may be flawed, since it has been several years since I worked for an SO, but I seem to recall that the FBI immediately started looking for a replacement for the very caliber that they talked many police agencies into - the 9mm - immediately after the shooting. I will look up the articles on the Internet; but right now - am I wrong or right on this last issue? And if I am right, and you put heavy stock in the FBI, how can you defend the 9mm as a first line of police defense when there are over much superior rounds available?
    Last edited by JohndeFresno; 08-19-2005, 03:02 PM.

  • #2

    Actually, the FBI declared the 10mm the new best round for law enforcement. Prior to the 9mm, it was the .357 magnum. Platz and Maddox, the 2 bg's in Miami, were actually clinically dead when they shot the officers. the driver actually had half of his heart blown out before he shot 3 of the agents. Gunwriters always refer to stopping power, but the other factors known as ' relative time of useful conciousness' kick in. We now train to expect a minimum of 10 seconds before considering a subject "down."
    "If all else fails, stop using all else!"


    • #3
      Jerry, good point - I honestly forgot that the 10mm was first, but some of the FBI Agents complained that they could not handle the recoil effectively, and there were penetration issues, and so the excellent .40 came about.

      The .357 had indeed been a wise choice, which I remember switching to in the 70's as a young officer. After that, it seems that the quality of info from their Training Division varied, as evidenced by the ill-advised move to 9mm. Please cut and paste this post to the other thread; that's where I'm going. We both started threads for the same subject, so I'm abandoning this one.


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