Thursday, December 19, 2019

Bullet Penetration of Walls

Some information I've found on this topic:
  • "Masonry Walls That Resist Bullet Penetration" (PDF)--Clay Brick Association of Canada. This paper details the results of tests done by researchers with Canadian Masonry Research Institute, the University of Alberta, and the RMCP. The article describes the construction of the various test walls, the results, and offers some concluding remarks. From the latter:
The results of this project were somewhat unexpected. The ability of a .22 Long Rifle bullet to easily travel completely through the corner of a typically constructed vinyl sided house was as unforeseen as the clay and concrete brick walls stopping all but the bullet with the greatest velocity. Standard 13 mm or 19 mm stucco finishing does not significantly reduce life-threatening situations for people inside or outside a wall that is subjected to most centerfire bullet impacts. This danger increases with the velocity and energy of the bullet fired. A person struck by one of these projectiles would be at risk of serious bodily injury or death. Secondary projectiles (wood, lathe, stucco, etc.) produced by a bullet travelling through one of these walls would also present a risk to a person. Walls finished with either a clay brick, concrete brick, or Tindlestone veneer prevented all but the .50 Browning from completely penetrating the wall assembly. The ability of the both the high strength (70 MPa) and low strength (17.5 MPa) clay brick walls to prevent bullet penetration was very similar. However, the localized behaviour of high and low strength bricks was substantially different. Upon impact, the low strength brick was turned into powder in the localized region of the bullet impact. 


  1. A friend and I did some informal bullet penetration testing on a brick pump house he was going to demolish. While the bricks initially stopped most of the bullets we tried, the mortar between the bricks was very weak and didn't stop much of anything. The typical wood frame home with a brick veneer offers better protection than a home with vinyl siding, but it is definitely not bullet proof unless additional effort is put into reinforcing the walls to make them bullet resistant.

    1. I've seen videos of tests against brick before, but no one ever aims at the mortar, so good to know. Thank you.


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