I've been working on using the concepts and theories of injury science to gain insights into striking and kicking techniques taught in the martial arts or used in violence generally that would facilitate their study in a practical way. I came across this situation which I thought I'd share.
Injury is defined as the exposure to energy in excess of the tissues tolerance levels. In the case of impacts with moving bodies and objects, kinetic energy is the form of energy that is of interest.
A moving body or object possesses kinetic energy. On impact, when a force is applied, that kinetic energy may be transferred to the impacted body or object causing a change in motion or shape of that body or object. A change in shape refers to deformation, and in the case of a body, if the tissues are deformed beyond their tolerance limits an injury is produced.
If the moving body or object that impacts another body or object continues its motion after impact, not all of its kinetic energy has been transferred to the impacted body or object. For instance, a glancing blow or an exiting bullet is continuing its motion and has not transferred all of its kinetic energy to the target. This reduces the risk of injury or the severity of the injury.
The Hague Convention of 1899 prohibits the use of ammunition on the battlefield which is designed to increase the severity of injury or suffering of the wounded. The full metal jacket bullet is commonly used by the military in compliance with the Hague Convention prohibition. It is a bullet whose lead core is encased in a hard metal which resists deformation and fragmentation on impact. Stewart (2005) explains that this type of bullet will often completely pass through the body of the targeted person 'which means that they do not transfer all of their high energy into the tissues' (Stewart 2005: 188).
On the other hand, domestic law enforcement agencies tend to use bullets which expand on impact. Two reasons for this choice of ammunition are often given, both of which revolve around the tendency of this type of bullet to remain in the body of the targeted person. Firstly, it lessens the risk to innocent bystanders of being injured by an exiting bullet. Secondly, all of the kinetic energy is transferred to the tissues of the targeted person which 'cause such severe wounds that anybody shot by these bullets would be immediately incapacitated' (Gunn 193).
Interestingly, I have read that certain law enforcement agencies are adopting the use of full metal jacket bullets because they are considered more humane.
Standard military issue full metal jacket bullets are designed to reduce the severity of injury or suffering of a wounded combatant in a war zone. Standard domestic law enforcement issue soft nose jacket bullets are designed to cause severe wounds which incapacitate a civilian subject immediately. Am I alone is seeing the irony in this?