Monday, December 15, 2008

Don't try this at home or on the range - a 9 is not the same as a 9.

Shooting for a Darwin award:

He's darn lucky the pistol didn't a) blow apart into pieces ripping his hand into shreds and/or b) send the slide flying off the frame, ripping back toward him at high velocity.

It's a testament to the design strength and quality of the Hungarian FEG PA-63 pistol that he got away with it that time, the next time he may be far less lucky.

Here's why there's a major problem with this clip, and why you should never do this:

The 9x18 and 9x19 are completely different cartridges

The 9x18 Makarov is designed to work in blowback pistols, ie the action is kept shut by the weight of the slide and spring until the pressure drives it open.

The 9x19 (otherwise called the 9mm Luger, 9mm parabellum, or 9mm NATO) is designed to work in recoil operated firearms, where the action is locked together until fired when at a certain point under recoil the parts unlock and separate with the slide moving backwards to eject the case and reload the barrel.

So why is this a problem?
Simple -- it's the pressure difference.

The pressure the 9x18 Makarov generates when fired is about 23,200 psi.
The pressure the 9x19 Luger generates when fired is about 35,000 psi.

The PA-63 is a blowback pistol designed for the 9x18 Makarov, it is not designed to take the pressure from a 9x19 Luger, a cartridge designed to be used in recoil operated firearms.

You'll notice the action when this fellow loads the pistol with the 9x19 does not even fully close, leaving the brass exposed. This is known as firing a gun out of battery and it is a great way to blow the pistol up, likely inflicting serious injury on the hand holding it as well. When the bullet does not properly fit, it's a signal that it's time to quit.

There are lots of 9mm cartridges out there, and while they often sound alike, they are not interchangeable. (Yes the Soviets did design the 9x18 Makarov pistol to fire the 9x17 aka .380 ACP in exigent circumstances, but its not going to be very accurate, and the 9x17 is a lower pressure cartridge than the 9x18, and just because it can doesn't mean you should, the Soviets have a much lower value assigned to their troops than you hopefully assign to yourself). 9x17, 9x18, 9x19, 9x21, 9x23 are all different with very different operating pressures and even bullet sizes. Do not interchange them and do not put a high pressure round in a pistol designed for low pressure blowback operation.

Never force a cartridge into a firearm's chamber. Use only the same caliber the gun is designed for (and marked for on the slide). If it doesn't fit it's time to quit. If brass is still showing when the cartridge is loaded something is wrong - stop, do not squeeze the trigger, unload and figure out why its not working properly, the hand you save will be your own.


Scott said...

This is certainly one of the stupidest firearm-related videos I have ever seen. Right up there with giving a .50AE Desert Eagle to a slightly built first-time shooter. Or the antics of "Bubba" over at Lagniappes Lair.

Murphy's Law said...

Karma will be that pot-metal aluminum frame blowing apart and either shattering his hand or leaving him with a slide embedded in his face.

Why do I think that the doofus who did that is some sort of whack-job militia member?

Aaron said...

On the upside the aluminum frame is pretty strong on the PA63, apparently its an alloy with a hint of titanium. Not a bad gun for the price, nut its not supposed to be abused that way.

Unfortunately the video doesn't show the stress the gun is under due to firing the higher pressure rounds - any bets on how long it takes for slide and frame cracks to occur if they haven't alreay? Not to mention given the slide is whacking against the barrel mount due to the increased recoil I expect it will snap off if he keeps that up.