CMRI Ballistics Report – Resistance of Exterior Walls to High Velocity Projectiles

This paper contains the findings of an experimental evaluation on the behavior of common exterior wall assemblies found in residential construction when impacted by bullets fired from a wide variety of firearms of different caliber. Three basic types of exterior wall finises were evaluated: stucco, vinyl siding, and masonry. All the walls were constructed in wood frame, with the exception of one wall, which was constructed using 140mm hollow concrete blocks as the back-up system. The findings of the study have demonstrated that a bullet fired from a .22 caliber firearm, a relatively small and readily available firearm, can consecutively penetrate two walls constructed in wood frame and vinyl siding. Walls constructed with a 90 mm masonry veneer however are effective in stopping bullets fired from a 9mm submachine gun. These preliminary findings are intended to assist both engineers and architects in choosing the appropriate wall materials for structures where gun fire may occur.

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