Claims Carhartt Jacket Stopped NYPD Bullets Were False

Remember the New York Post article which claimed that the Carhartt jacket worn by an armed suspect shot by the NYPD stopped four bullets from penetrating?

NYPD checking ammo after knife wielder’s jacket stops cops’ bullets

Four of the shots that cops fired at a madman waving a knife in Midtown failed to penetrate his jacket — which was not bulletproof — and the NYPD will now check the weapons for malfunction, law enforcement sources told The Post.

“The bullets we have may be defective and that’s very disturbing,” one source said. “When we fire our weapons, we want to make damn sure that our bullets hit our target — neutralizing our target.”

A sergeant and an officer fired a total of nine rounds at 46-year-old Garry Conrad on Wednesday, with one of the shots killing the depressed Broadway stagehand who refused to drop the blade at West 49th Street and Eighth Avenue.

We immediately invoked the “My Cousin Vinny” rule, and then explained what most likely really happened.

There’s a great and profane line from the movie My Cousin Vinny that sums up this story perfectly.

Unless they’ve changed things very recently, the NYPD issues Speer’s 124-grain Gold Dot hollow-point +P load in their approved duty handguns. It is one of the most proven loads in law enforcement and civilian self defense shootings.

Here’s what happens when you fire this load into ballistics gelatin, through four layers of heavy denim. This test does a fair job of what you might expect the bullet to due in human tissue after hitting a heavy coat.

Lucky Gunner Labs has also done a nearly identical test (results shown below).

Lucky Gunner Test of Speer Gold Dot 124-grain +P 9mm ammo.
Lucky Gunner Test of Speer Gold Dot 124-grain +P 9mm ammo.

Both of these tests followed FBI ammunition testing protocols, where they fire through four layers of heavy denim, very similar to the material you’ll find in a Carhartt jacket.

There is simply no way that the story reported by the Post is true. A 9mm bullet moving at over 1,200 feet per second isn’t going to be slowed, much less stopped, by anything less than soft body armor.

The laws of physics don’t change in New York City, so what really happened?

Odds are hovering right around 100% that Mr. Conrad was shot in one part of his torso, the bullets pass through his body and expanded as they are designed to do, had just enough energy to punch through the skin on the opposite side of his body, and then was stopped as it hit the back side of the jacket.

Today, the NY Daily News confirmed that that is precisely what happened.

The bullets cops fired at an unhinged, knife-waving stagehand in a deadly off-Broadway confrontation last month were not defective — as one report had erroneously suggested, police said Thursday.

On May 18, an NYPD sergeant and an officer fired nine shots at Garry Conrad, after the enraged man approached three cops with an 8-inch blade on Eighth Ave. and 49th St. Conrad did not survive.

Another outlet’s erroneous report suggested two bullets didn’t penetrate Conrad’s non-bullet-proof Carhartt jacket, but Inspector Emanuel Katranakis on Thursday reiterated what police told the Daily News at the time.

“The ammunition and the projectiles functioned as designed,” Katranakis said.

The bullets did not penetrate the back of Conrad’s jacket.

“There was not enough energy to perforate the rear articles of clothing. This is not the first time. This is a common occurrence,” Katranakis said.

The moral of the story? Never trust the media’s claims about firearms, and take claims from “law enforcement sources” with a grain of salt the size of an iceberg.

Odds are that neither the journalist nor the police bureaucrat leaking the information knows anything at all about guns.