What are the effects to a bullet of passing through thick clothing before hitting a bad guy? Will that stop or slow down bullets considerably? Will it clog-up hollow points and prevent them from expanding?

We have several inches of cloth clamped to a cardboard holder in the Box O' Truth, just to keep it together.

Then, a milk jug of water to catch the rounds that exit. Then three pine backer boards, in case the jug doesn't stop the round.


The cloth includes 2 layers of blue jean material and then several layers of terry cloth towels.

I realize that there would be an almost infinite number of variables, this is just a common example of thick clothing.

First, a .22 LR from a pistol.

I shot a CCI Minimag HP.

It went through the clothing and through the water jug and embedded itself into the first pine board.

I dug around the bullet to help you see it.

It did not expand, but was slightly sideways in the board.


Then the mighty .32 ACP from my Keltec P-32.

Tman caught me in full recoil.

Just kidding. There was very little recoil.

We shot a Federal Hydrashock.


The round went through the clothing and water jug and was in the first pine board.

I dug it out to see it better.

As you can see, it did not open up at all.

This was puzzling, as we have shot water jugs before with this round and they expanded perfectly.

This is it.

This is it.​

How about a 9mm JHP.

I used a 115 grain JHP out of a Beretta 92FS.

It went through the clothing, water, 3 pine boards, and somewhere beyond.

We were unable to recover the bullet.


We then realized that we needed something to stop any bullet that went through the BoT.

We then added a solid cement block in case any other rounds went through all the pine boards.

It was solid cement.


Then the .45 ACP JHP.

I used a Black Talon I had.


It went through the clothing and water jug, and two pine boards.

It was found laying on the bottom of the box, un-expanded, but crushed slightly sideways.

You will also notice a piece of green cloth that it drug through the water jug with itself.


Then the .357 S&W Magnum, 158 grain JHP.

A nice pic of the mighty .357 Mag at work.

A nice pic of the mighty .357 Mag at work.​

The bullet went through the entire set-up and was found on the bottom of the box after the last board.

Damage to the bullet was mostly sideways.

It did not expand very well.

This is it.

This is it.​

Rumors had it that the .30 Carbine had problems penetrating the thick clothing of the North Koreans during the Korean War.

Let's see what happens.


The bullet, a military Ball, went through the entire box set-up, blew up the water jug, and flattened itself out against the solid concrete block, knocking out a big chunk of cement.


Then the favorite of AR15.com, the AR15 (what else?).

Using XM-193.


And what a fine job it did.

This is the first pine board.

Notice the hole by the bullet tip.

It was traveling sideways.


We felt that we needed some "control" rounds to compare with the first results.

We shot the .357 Mag again, without the clothing in front of the jug.

Notice the prefectly mushroomed bullet on the left that was recovered, as compared to the first one on the right.

Big difference in performance.


We tried the .45ACP again, without the clothing.

I included this photo as it is pretty neat.

The pistol is in recoil, the slide is coming back, the bullet is in route to the target, but has not hit the jug yet.

That bullet is in the air somewhere between the pistol and the jug.


Notice the Federal Hydrashock on the right, perfectly mushroomed, compared to the poorly expanded bullet on the left.

Big difference.

This is the result.

This is the result.​

Lastly, a round of Corbon 9mm into the clean jug.


This is all we could find of the bullet after the water jug.


Lessons learned:

  1. As Forrest Gump said, "You never know what your going to get." We were surprised by the difference the clothing made in the pistol rounds performance. It sure seemed to make a big difference in whether the bullets expanded or not.
    Conclusion: Heavy layers of clothing can prevent Jacket Hollow Points (JHP) from expanding.
  2. The clothing didn't seem to be much of a factor for rifle rounds.
  3. If the North Koreans seemed uneffected by the .30 Carbine rounds, they were probably not being hit. Because clothing won't stop a 30 Carbine.
Thanks to Tman for taking the pictures and for donating his best pair of blue jeans for the tests.