Shooting Cars with a .357 Magnum

Shooting Cars

It’s not too often that I get to shoot up a car, but it has happened a few times in my career. What is really rare is getting to shoot up a nice, clean car, and being the only one shooting it. I had this opportunity about a year ago as part of a military exercise I was working on. I can’t get into too much detail, but there was a requirement for a shot-up car and I was lucky enough to be asked to fulfill the requirement. This isn’t one of those articles about shooting cars filled with gelatin blocks and there aren’t any  real insights to be gained here – just some fun pictures!

The gun: my 4″ 686-3.
The ammo: Speer 125-grain Gold Dots, the full-throttle .357 version.
The car: Isuzu Rodeo, year model unknown.

Shooting Cars: STring 1

Most of the shots were directed through the driver’s side doors.

Shooting Cars

All of the rounds made it through the interior door panel, though not all are visible in this photo.

Shooting Cars

Four of the six rounds directed at the driver’s door also penetrated the driver’s seat. I wouldn’t want to have been sitting here – door panels are NOT ballistic protection. Those would have been solid upper-leg and/or pelvis hits.

Shooting Cars

Only one of these rounds was recovered. It was stopped cold by the B-pillar. It fell out when I opened the door.

Shooting Cars

The bullet recovered from the B-pillar. This thing is smashed to pieces.

Shooting Cars

For what it’s worth, somehow the driver’s door still functioned perfectly after being perforated six times.

Shooting Cars: STring 2

I also fired a few through the rear driver’s side door. This round passed through the door, then transited the entire rear seat. The bullet was embedded in the far side door panel.

Shooting Cars

The recovered bullet actually exhibited pretty good expansion, considering. It also stayed (mostly) in one piece. I assume the expansion occurred while passing through the foam of the seat, but there’s no real way to know.

Shooting Cars

Shooting Cars: STring 3

Wanting to shoot a little glass, I fired one shot through the rear, driver’s side window.  I aimed at one of the headrests and somewhat surprisingly, actually hit it.

Shooting Cars

As expected, the round sailed through the headrest and out the passenger’s side rear window.

Shooting Cars

Shooting Cars: The Bottom Line

Like I said, there probably isn’t any new data to be gleaned from this little range trip, but it sure was fun! Sadly I didn’t get to test to see if the Mighty .357 would really “crack an engine block” because this car had to drive away from the range. I hope you enjoyed seeing some .357s put up against auto body and glass, instead of the same old boring nine-mil and five-five-six, and I can say this: if you’re in a car that’s getting shot, get to driving or get to shooting back cause it ain’t stopping bullets!

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Author: Justin

Justin Carroll is a former MARSOC Marine and veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Leaving service after eight years in the U.S. Marines, Justin continues his involvement with a variety of government agencies to this day. Justin began in late 2016 with an simple idea: provide an source of high-quality information for revolver enthusiasts.

3 thoughts on “Shooting Cars with a .357 Magnum”

  1. Good stuff, buddy. Doors are a game of odds. You might get lucky and get a pass through, or you might hit a motor, a window gear, or a door latch mechanism and run out of steam. It all depends on how much fun Murphy wants to have with you today.

    As you already know, for most duty handgun rounds, a side window is no significant obstacle, and your shot will track pretty true. Windshields are a different story, and your point of impact will definitely change based on the compound angle of impact through fresh glass. Best thing here is to poke a hole, and put more rounds through it.

    In some parts of the world, that Isuzu Rodeo probably would have looked funny if it didn’t have holes in it already!

  2. Say Justin, that’s a kool and informative article. Liked it very much. One never knows what may happen in a self defense situation now days. Many of the older retired generation, like myself, have returned to the revolver due to the ease of carry, loading and comfortable grips.
    Thank you for your service and the informative articles. God bless and Carry On!

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