Woman Hit By Bullet Ricocheting Off Armadillo, Proof of 9mm Inferiority?

wistv.com – Columbia, South Carolina

A Georgia woman was hit by a 9mm projectile that ricochet off the back of an armadillo on Sunday, local media reports.

“Just the circumstances, just all the way around, the whole situation was unusual,” Investigator Bill Smith, Lee county Sheriff’s Office, told WISTV.

Apparently, the woman’s son-in-law, 54-year-old Larry McElroy, shot and killed an armadillo with his 9mm pistol. However, the bullet didn’t stop when it hit the varmint, it careened off, hit a fence, passed through the back door of the victim’s mobile home, into a recliner and then into the woman’s back.

The woman, 74-year-old Carol Johnson, was not gravely wounded.

“She was walking around on her own power and talking,” said Smith. “It didn’t appear to be too severe. They took her to Phoebe North [hospital].”

Police say that McElroy was 100 yards away when he fired the gun. They also had advice for would-be armadillo hunters.

“I really think if they’re going to shoot at varmints and whatnot, maybe use a shotgun.. with a spread pattern with a lot less range,” Smith said.

Perhaps instead of the 9mm, McElroy should have used .45 ACP. Just saying 🙂

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 39 comments… add one }
  • BRUCE P MARSTON February 1, 2018, 6:51 pm


  • Norm Fishler October 6, 2017, 11:12 am

    Besides humans, armadillos are the only other species on planet earth that can contract leprosy. EAT IT? Are you outta yer mind?

  • Larry Koehn April 22, 2015, 9:48 am

    Being a professional armadillo hunter the conclusion of this article is BS. First the armadillo is dead which means the bullet penetrated through the armadillo and killed it and the ricochet occurred after. I have shot these things with with guns from a 12 ga. to a 22 and they are tough and die hard but that shell is not hard enough to stop a bullet, not even a 22 short.

  • Magnum April 21, 2015, 5:14 pm

    Shotgun would have been the better choice for that varmint . I’m sure the shooter will be thing about that misshape for a long time . Thankfully that pore lady wasn’t hurt to bad .

  • pete April 20, 2015, 5:00 pm

    Not much of a story here. The bullet went through a little animal and was not finished travelling. The shooter was not careful about what was beyond the target and very possibly used too much gun for the job. It’s probably not an example of anything more than incompetence or at least very bad luck.

  • petru sova April 20, 2015, 4:42 pm

    One thing I forgot to mention that in 1945 the U.S. Military finally got around to testing the .45acp against the 9mm and found that the full metal jacketed military load of the 45acp bounced off of a helmet at a scant 35 yards while the 9mm penetrated it at an astonishing 125 yards. See the story in the book “The Ingles Diamond”.

  • Mac Hayes April 20, 2015, 2:33 pm

    100 yards, with a pistol? The police spokesperson doesn’t sound too experienced in estimating distance, or that shooter was one heck of a marksman. I wouldn’t think the 9mm would have enough energy, at that range, to do all that ricocheting. Or was it 100 yards to the lady’s chair?

  • TJ April 20, 2015, 2:25 pm

    Anybody eat it? or it get away?

  • mach37 April 20, 2015, 1:55 pm

    Not mentioned: was that a 9mm FMJ bullet? Seems to me a hollow-point of some kind would not have done so much bouncing around.

  • max hoyle April 20, 2015, 1:22 pm

    Does this qualify as a smart gun or smart ammo? haha

  • David April 20, 2015, 1:05 pm

    Where are people getting Trailer from? The lady lives in a house seen on the video. South Carolina, shooting and armadillo automatically equals trailer?

  • jim elting April 20, 2015, 12:45 pm

    Pure bullshit if dillo was hit good enough to die it sure as shit wasn’t richochet.

  • Pete April 20, 2015, 12:06 pm

    More then likely the idiot was shooting multiple rounds and one missed, hit a rock and then ricocheted into her. BTW, Armadillos are not lizards, nor does their name mean that. The name means “little armored one”, not “armored lizard”.

  • D Hicks April 20, 2015, 10:44 am

    Armored Lizard= Armadillo.One thing not mentioned is the armadillo’s growing numbers.I think there is more shooting to the story also.I have shot different things with my 9 m/m and always shoot twice. We have Armadillos here in Arkansas, and they’re not hard to kill,with the right caliber and 9 m/m works.Armadillos are a pest that get into,and eat about everything.

  • Mick Dodge April 20, 2015, 10:31 am

    Thatel learn them armidallo hugging ole ladies not te be fritter-nising with no animules.

  • Kurt April 20, 2015, 9:54 am

    Wasn’t this an episode of Archer?

  • Chief April 20, 2015, 9:53 am

    The part that was left out was the guy was using a glock 17 with a 33 round mag and emptied it on the dillo who happened to be already dead on pavement .They failed to report the other 32 elderly women that were nicked as well by ricocheting super bullets and the 150 feet of fence line the bullets destroyed as well as a car explosion .

  • Thomas Fowler April 20, 2015, 9:18 am

    One of the best hunts ever came around by chance in Texas…Dad had a .38 special, and I had a .45, 1911; we somehow wandered into a bunch of armadillos, and it was the wild west for quite a while. The .45 proved to be fantastic round, rolling the ‘dillos quickly and humanely. No glancing off the Texas Turkeys, either. The .38 Special was effective too…158 grain bullet, Keith style…we experienced no ricochets. The heavier bullet than the 9mm probably helped make the difference, as well as the SWC shape. Anyone else experience this?

  • Merrill Galer April 20, 2015, 9:11 am

    I think the shot that hit the woman inside her trailer came from a second shooter over behind a grassy knoll. Merrill

  • AZArchangel55 April 20, 2015, 8:58 am

    Everyone knows you need to use LAP (Light Armor Piercing) rounds on the “Armoredillos”!! LOL

  • Petru Sova April 20, 2015, 8:33 am

    I think the title of this article is prejudiced right from the start. Why would a 45 acp have been superior in this situation. Obviously the projectile passed through the soft part of the animals body and glanced off of something hard which sent it on its way into the trailer. This had nothing to do with caliber i.e. 9mm v/s 45 acp as any projectile can pass through soft tissue and then glance off of something solid like a rock. We do not know what type of ammo he was using but I am willing to bet it was a full metal jacketed bullet. If it had been an expanding type of bullet the 9mm would have been more likely to expand due to its higher velocity and less likely to glance off of a rock as it would have flew to pieces as opposed to the much slower moving .45acp which would have been less likely to expand in soft tissue because of its lower velocity before it hit the rock and glanced off.

    Now lets assume the 9mm and 45 acp were full metal jacketed bullets. Then the .45 acp with its wider frontal area and lower velocity would have been less likely to penetrate the trailer door and also go through the chair proving that in combat when a soldier was using full metal jacketed bullets the 9mm with more penetration is superior and in civilian use the 9mm with higher velocity would have been more likely to expand and more likely to penetrate deeper into the body.

    Now we can see that the original title referring to the 9mm as inferior proves to be exactly the opposite in the use of both styles of bullets i.e. full metal jacketed or expanding bullet.

  • L Cvaendish April 20, 2015, 7:35 am

    Please look up the recent FBI stats…some 9mm rounds as good and better than 40 or 45…FBI going BACK to 9 after the failed 10mm experiment. Easier to control…put more rounds on target…guns hold more rounds…
    Just have to pick the right ammo…cheaper is not better.

  • Pete April 20, 2015, 7:23 am

    Hmmm 100 yards 9mm pass thru fence trailer and chair? So after the sharp shooting hunter got his target said bullet travelled how much further? Hmmm and critter did expire? That’s one great performing round. Must have been one of those super deluxe +ppp+wild cat radar seekers I heard about from Nancy Pelosi.
    and btw 1 of 4 known rules states be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.

    • Mike S April 21, 2015, 9:28 am

      I seem to recall another “magic bullet” story back in the early ’60s………..

  • Alfonso A. Rodriguez April 20, 2015, 7:03 am

    I have heard of freak accidents involving firearms before and this one qualifies if it happened the way described. It seems that the shooter was using FMJ ammo, maybe Russian ammo at that with the stronger steel jacket. I am a fan of the .45 ACP but the comment does not make any sense. More people have been killed with the 9mm than with the 45 and they are about the same age (9mm is from 1903). If anything the 9mm has a tendency to over penetrate more than the 45ACP in their run of the mill basic offerings (115gr FMJ at 1200 FPS and 230gr FMJ at 810 to 850 fps.). So killing the varmint with the 45 would only give a lesser chance of ricochet due to the slower velocity. Still, I think it is rather improbable the way it happened but the lady should feel lucky that she was not hit in the head. Bringing into question the 9mm competence as a result of this incident is as Mr Spock would say: “illogical” and “fascinating” (meaning BULLSHIT in plain colloquial English). Just saying.

  • John Evans April 20, 2015, 6:46 am

    What an idiotic and foolish argument.
    Lets keep circulating articles that involve some idiot and give anti-gunners a reason to ban 9mm or restrict handguns.
    Rather than say 9mm is inferior to 45, lets say this author has inferior capacity than other online writers.

    • MF April 20, 2015, 10:44 am

      Completely agree. Dumb.

  • James Stewart April 20, 2015, 4:48 am

    It is more likely this was from a different shot than the one that penetrated the Dillo. I suspect another shot ricocheted.

  • Michael E. Hensley April 20, 2015, 4:15 am

    This does sound to be a strange story.
    100 yards for a 9MM to kill a hard shell animal, go through a fence, a trailer door, through a recliner and into ones back.
    I wish my 9MM’s were that good

    • Rick April 20, 2015, 10:17 am

      Thea again, Maybe is was no accident. Mother in law ?

  • BRASS April 20, 2015, 4:01 am

    Dumb question, the bullet ricocheted off the armadillo, then off a fence, passed through a door, passed through a recliner and into the woman’s neck. If anything it proves the reputation the 9MM has for over penetration. I suspect if in fact the bullet actually ricocheted off an armadillo, it was a combination of poor shot placement and high velocity putting the bullet into the hard shell armor of the animal at a shallow angle which consumed no or little energy as it did not penetrate and continued on, much like skipping one off a rock.
    You can’t fault the caliber for shooter error. More people are killed with 9MM in the US every day than any other caliber.

    • mach37 April 20, 2015, 2:03 pm

      More people killed by 9mm than 45 because there are far more 9mm’s in circulation. Gotta think in percentages.

    • mike ehrig August 18, 2015, 6:33 pm

      recheck that….my last check showed more people killed by a .22 than any other round in the u.s. of course, its frequently used for suicides too.

  • IT April 20, 2015, 2:50 am

    .45 did not penetrate a butt in BassPro accident , so what?

  • Jim Bryant April 15, 2015, 11:37 pm

    If it killed the armadillo then apparently it DID penetrate the shell, which blows holes in the “should have used a .45” story. However, I call bullshit on the whole story. If it went through an armadillo, one would think it would have had a somewhat downward trajectory which would be unlikely to ricochet off a fence, through a door of a mobile home, etc. Especially a 100 yards away.

    • e holder April 20, 2015, 5:35 am

      I say it’s more likely he was drunk and shooting his nine toward the trailer.

    • EDOGZ818 April 20, 2015, 6:47 am

      Maybe it hit a rock after passing through the armadillo?

      Either-way, through a fence, a door, a chair and then into the neck, 100yrds away, AFTER killing TARGET is penetration like a MuddaChuchaka!

  • Al April 15, 2015, 5:54 pm

    If you DO kill an armadillo, don’t eat or handle it. They’re known to carry leprosy.

    • Willie April 26, 2015, 3:36 am

      so is the old lady a candidate for leprosy now?

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