Relative incapacitation contributions of pressure wave and wound channel in the Marshall and Sanow data set
The Marshall and Sanow data set is the largest and most comprehensive data set available quantifying handgun bullet effectiveness in humans. This article presents an empirical model for relative incapacitation probability in humans hit in the thoracic cavity by handgun bullets. The model is constructed by employing the hypothesis that the wound channel and ballistic pressure wave effects each have an associated independent probability of incapacitation. Combining models for these two independent probabilities using the elementary rules of probability and performing a least-squares fit to the Marshall and Sanow data provides an empirical model with only two adjustable parameters for modeling bullet effectiveness with a standard error of 5.6% and a correlation coefficient R = 0.939. This supports the hypothesis that wound channel and pressure wave effects are independent (within the experimental error), and it also allows assignment of the relative contribution of each effect for a given handgun load. This model also gives the expected limiting behavior in the cases of very small and very large variables (wound channel and pressure wave), as well as for incapacitation by rifle and shotgun projectiles.