Texas man loses gunfight to armadillo

Armadillos are a mammal that is native to South America. These days, the small animals can be found as far north as Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

They’re often hit by vehicles because they tend to jump in the air when startled.

Armadillos have a tough shell, and their name means “little armored ones” in Spanish.

Clay R. probably wishes he knew what “armadillo” stood for. You see, Clay lives in Cass County, which is in east Texas.

One day, around three in the morning Clay was trying to get rid of an armadillo that had been hanging out in his yard.

So, he shot at the armadillo several times. But one of the bullets he fired hit the shell of the animal and ricocheted back and hit him in the face.

According to the Cass County Sheriff, the bullet hit him in the jaw.

“His wife was in the house. He went outside and took his .38 revolver and shot three times at the armadillo.”

Clay was airlifted to a hospital where his jaw was wired shut.

The armadillo was not found. It was unclear whether the animal was injured.

Obviously, you should think twice before shooting an animal that has a hard exterior shell.

Especially with a curved shape, it’s easy for a bullet to hit and ricochet in weird angles – as Clay found out the hard way.

Plus, you shouldn’t assume the bullet will be strong enough to stop an “armored” animal just because it’s on the smaller side.

And it’s not like he used a .22 to shoot the armadillo. The .38 caliber Clay used is a popular round that many folks carry for self-defense.

But this raises one of the key issues when choosing a caliber and a type of ammunition for your self-defense firearms – stopping power.

“Stopping power” is generally used to describe the bullet’s ability to incapacitate a threat.

So, here are some factors that contribute to a round’s stopping power and why you should carefully choose your self-defense ammunition.


The bullet caliber is the diameter of the projectile. This is calculated in millimeters or hundreds of an inch.

A 9mm is 0.35 inches in diameter. A .45 caliber is 0.45 in diameter. So, a 9mm is 1/10th of an inch smaller.

A lot of shooters feel that a larger caliber will have more stopping power.

As you can see, the difference is a small fraction that plays a role in the bullet’s ability, but caliber size alone does not mean one bullet has more stopping power over another.


A bullet’s mass is how heavy the projectile is. The mass is measured in grains.

A 9mm bullet will usually be in the low 100s-grain. A .45 caliber will typically be over 200 grains.

A general rule of thumb is that a lighter bullet will penetrate less, and a heavier bullet will penetrate more.

For self-defense, I wouldn’t use a bullet that is less than 115 grams.

Also, when looking at self-defense ammo and training ammo I would choose bullets that have similar weights.


The ammo velocity is the speed at which the bullet leaves the end of the barrel. This is calculated in feet per second.

For pistols, most bullet velocity is between 900 and 1300 feet per second. Rifle rounds are closer to 3,000 feet per second.

Choosing the perfect velocity is tricky. On one hand, you want a bullet that will hit the target with speed.

On the other hand, too much velocity means that the bullet passes through the target and doesn’t do as much damage.

Unfortunately, Hollywood makes the average person think that getting shot will send the bad guy flying ten feet in the air.

This is far from reality.

There is no magic formula to calculate a bullet’s stopping power. But the factors above play a big role in a round’s ability to stop a threat.

In the final analysis, you should choose a bullet with a caliber, mass, and velocity that you are comfortable and accurate shooting.

That will be the bullet with the best stopping power for you.

Along with the ammunition that suits your situation and shooting style best, you’ll want to consider particular accessories for your self-defense firearm.

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