Flat-nosed vs Round-nosed FMJ's for self-defense.


September 22, 2005, 11:18 AM
Can you give me some pros and cons for using FN vs RN FMJ bullets for self-defense purposes -- particularily in a Kel-Tec P-3AT (.380 ACP)?

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September 22, 2005, 11:59 AM
Bobo- a .380 bullet doesn't have a lot of "oomph" when it hits a BG, so the flat nose won't exactly stun him. The .380 bullet will do its damage by penetrating as far as possible into the body, hopefully severing some vessels and/or major nerves along the way. A round nose will penetrate a little farther than a flat nose- so round is the choice.


R.H. Lee
September 22, 2005, 12:08 PM
The .380 is easy to control and place shots accurately. Practice 'Mozambique' drills (two-a controlled pair or double tap- in the chest and one in the head) on a silhouette target until you consistently hit where you want. Make sure the pistol functions reliably every time and don't worry about the shape of the bullet.

September 22, 2005, 12:34 PM
Would you gentlemen recommend using FMJ bullets over HPs in my P232? I currently carry Gold Dots.

September 22, 2005, 01:26 PM
Flat nosed bullets are better for three reasons.

The center of mass is further forward than roundnose FMJ, so the chance of the bullet "tumbling" is reduced (though 95 gr .380 bullets are short enough that they're not likely to tumble anyway).

The flat meplat is considerably more efficient at crushing tissue than a roundnose, so the hole is bigger.

The relatively sharp edges of the meplat are more likely to "catch" than the smooth, round edges of a roundnose, so a flatnose that hits the skull (or a rib or other bone) at an angle is more likely to penetrate than a roundnose.

The only .380 hollowpoints I'm aware of which reliably expand and still penetrate more than 9" are Gold Dots (11") and Hornady XTP (11"). I'd say it's a tossup between one of those and FMJ.

September 22, 2005, 02:46 PM
A rock would be better than FMJ's out of a .380. Silvertips, if they shoot well enough in your pistol.

September 22, 2005, 08:47 PM
I agree with ChuckB. I don't know which one would penetrate the most though. I'd go with the RN because it might feed better than a FN.

Major Beer
September 22, 2005, 10:44 PM
why not get a Kel Tec in 9mm?

compact with more power

Vitamin G
September 22, 2005, 11:00 PM
I'm interested in the "flat nose vs. Round nose" argument...

from a .45acp perspective...

September 22, 2005, 11:13 PM
Flat nosed bullets are surprisingly good penetrators, and they tend to make a bigger hole as well. If your gun will feed them, I think they're the better choice.

September 23, 2005, 12:12 AM
Exactly! I'd be really worried about properly feeding the flatnoses. What good can they do if they choke the gun?

I agree that with the relatively weak .380, anything that helps penetration is good, so that is another reason to go with the roundnoses.

September 23, 2005, 12:27 AM
I shoot flat-nosed FN FMJs in my P-32. Good penetration, and leave a bigger wound cavity than RNs. RNs tend to plow flesh aside, and have been known to push blood vessels aside rather than pierce them. Flat-noses perform more like wadcutters, cutting a hole that will cause quicker incapacity.

September 23, 2005, 01:07 AM
Get the new Corbon 380DPX round and you will be ok Their is a Test posted here my Stephen A Camp worth the read.

September 23, 2005, 09:25 AM
Two guys named Thompson and LaGuardia shot all kinds of tissued things with flatnose and roundnose bullets and the .455 manstopper bullet which looked like a big, fat .45 caliber hollowbase wadcutter that was reverse loaded.
Their conclusion was the flatnose bullets outperformed everything else in living tissue, especially if the caliber was of .4 or larger.
All this happy testing took place near on eighty years ago and not much has changed since then.

By the way, the top of the bullet, be it round or flat is called the metplat.

Ever wonder why the light charge hollowbase wadcutter .38 Special load was developed?
It would fit in old .38 Long Colt revolver chambers and the hollowbase would upset the bullet enough to fill the generous bore dimensions of those old Colt double action revolvers and allow them to shoot with a modicum of accuracy.
It was also extremely accurate and powerful in the .38 long Colt chambered S&W Military and Police revolver.
A 90 year old gun crank told me that bit of history and it makes more sense than any other reason that has been put forth.
He claimed that the hollowbase load was the first real .38 'Special' load, the 'Special' load was intended to improve the performance of the original .38 Long Colt load, which it did, and an engineer at Smith and Wesson got the bright idea to load 158 grain bullets in the longer special case, pump the powder charge and velocity up to get 900 feet per second instead of 765 feet per second and lengthen the chamber of the S&W Military/Police revolver to accomodate them.
Some refinements had to be made to the gun because the pressure was higher than the engineer expected but all worked out and now you know,,,,the rest of the story.

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