45 acp for sd, Ball or jhp? Why?


September 27, 2005, 10:59 PM
I would imagine a ball 230 would penetrate better than a JHP. I have been thinking, if both are the same 230 grains, why not just alternate every other round for sd carry? I haven't yet tried to test fire either ammo type yet since I just bought it.
Winchester ball and UMC JHP is what I intend to mix. Any thoughts? I'm sure the Sig will feed either equally well.

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Zak Smith
September 27, 2005, 11:07 PM
Premium defense loads will perform better than FMJ in virtually all situations.

Try http://www.firearmstactical.com for info

September 28, 2005, 08:52 AM
SOME 1911-A1 style weapons are...well 'persnickety' about what ammo they get fed, so the owner may not have a choice.

Rem 230-Gr Golden Sabres work in all of my .45's, so no issue for me.

September 28, 2005, 08:55 AM
FMJ feeds every time. IMO, you don't need hp's- the bullet doesn't need to expand- its a .45!

September 28, 2005, 09:08 AM
If you can guarantee a lawyer won't nail your shorts to the judges bench, plain cast lead Round Nose Lead or Truncated Flat Nose Lead bullets moving at 800 to 900 feet per second are extremely effective in .45acp and there is less chance of overpenetration than Ball or JHP.
The drawback/advantage, lead bullets are smokey in confined areas, this can work to your advantage if you utilize proper tactics.
This can work against you if you don't practice, don't master tactics, and are prone to missing and throwing wild shots while getting the job done.

September 28, 2005, 09:13 AM
Rule 1 of gunfighting: "Have a gun!"

Corollary to Rule 1: Gun must go "BANG"!"

If your .45 has proven reliable with JHPs, they do (or may) offer increased terminal performance. I'm more comfortable with FMJ for feeding reliability.

Now, the one area where I question any real increase in terminal effectiveness of the JHPs over comparable FMJs is when fired from a sub-compact (3" barrel). You're unlikely to get any expansion at the reduced velocity, and the FMJ is unlikely to completely penetrate the torso, anyway.

Some argue the flat impact surface of the JHP offers better performance. Hmmm . . . I'm not convinced there's a real difference, here. My increased confidence level in the FMJ make it my choice, regardless.

Now, when I carry a .36 bore weapon, I carry HPs. As in soft lead HPs. Since I shoot them through a .38 Special snubbie, I lose nothing in reliability, and just may gain a bit downrange. . .

September 28, 2005, 10:56 AM
I will use hollowpoints in my .45acp pistols with a 5 inch barrel. However once you step down to the Commander,Officer ACP and especially the Defender length barrels you frequently won't have enough velocity to open up a lot the hollowpoints out there on the market. I wish it was easier to find Federals EFMJ (Expanding Full Metal Jacket)ammo. With that stuff it does not matter how short the barrel is it flattens out nicely. You also don't have the feed issues. Tim

September 28, 2005, 01:25 PM
Sometimes penetration is a bad thing. If you're in a wood house with relatively thin walls or shoot towards a door/window, a .45 FMJ will go right through, ending up who knows where. If said bullet hits somebody or their car, you're responsible.
"...the bullet doesn't need to expand- its a .45!..." No handgun bullet will provide 100% reliable one shot stops. Even a .45.
"...Winchester ball and UMC JHP is what I intend to mix..." You'll likely end up with different accuracy and POI if you mix brands and bullet type. Use the ammo that shoots best in your pistol.

September 28, 2005, 01:49 PM
I've purchased the Federal EFMJ from Natchezz. Somtimes they have it, sometimes they don't.

September 28, 2005, 01:54 PM
First of all, why in sam hell would anyone ever carry any gun if it's ammo sensitive? Hell you better all fix those picky guns before you carry them. My 1911's can roll with JHPs, why can't yours? :rolleyes:

If you can't fix that 1911, then you know what to get. This:


Or this:


Second, ball ammo was designed for battle field combat.

Most civilians will only need 12" pentration to stop a threat. Why risk a shot going through the target into a wall and out of the house.

Using ball ammo for self defense seems to break one of the gun safety rules of having a round go to the unknown.

Self defense grade JHPs are what our police agencies carry and we should too. so should I go next door and tell my FBI special agents to carry ball in their Sig P220s? :confused:

Now if you are out hunting and need some SD rounds for bears, cougars and the two-legged animals, ball is fine.

But for indoors or in a car, JHP.

You local defense attorney. :evil:

Creeping Incrementalism
September 28, 2005, 07:52 PM

230 grain 45 FMJ's have about 25 inches (65cm) of penetration in ballistic gelatin. 9mm Luger FMJ is about the same, by the way. Does anyone have any data on lighter weight FMJ's?

But the thing is, something like 80% of shots fired by police miss anyway, so if an over penetrating round is your concern, the logically you would determine that firing anything is too dangerous! I don't understand why this is so rarely brought up. In addition, unless you're on a train, the chances of you hitting a bystander are so small versus the certainty you or someone else are going to be killed or maimed, that I say fears of over penetration are exaggerated.

I thought that because of the felony murder rule (or something else), that anyone killed during a crime is the liability of the person committing the crime, even if they don't do the actual killing. For instance, in various Armed Citizen columns, I've read of a pair or criminals attempting to mug someone, who shoots and kills one bad guy, and the surviving one is charged with murder. But I'm sure this varies state to state.

Anyway, FMJ's are cheap, and since shot placement is more important than the bullet, and if ammo cost is a constraining factor, I think practicing a lot more with and carrying FMJ's would be a good idea.

September 28, 2005, 08:44 PM
I getting my data from the several officers from different LEAs at the local police range.

Real shootings.

September 28, 2005, 09:00 PM
Agree with Duncan they gotta go bang if not
go with "or this"

Rich K
September 28, 2005, 11:16 PM
My Kimber and my Colt are both loaded with 230 gr Gold Dots.No FTF or FTE.Goes bang every time.

Creeping Incrementalism
September 29, 2005, 12:21 AM
I get the same with Wolf, in terms of reliability. And with FMJ's, you don't have to worry about whether or not the bullet expands, which is what you're paying for with that Speer ammo. So the question is, is the increased price of the ammo worth it? Or maybe it isn't so bad to get good with the cheap stuff, and then shoot just enough of the expensive stuff to find out how its different.

Although I did buy a batch of Silverbear 200gr. HP where 1 shot in ten doesn’t have enough oomph to cycle my G21, which is sad considering CCI .45 auto shot shells will cycle it.

September 29, 2005, 08:18 AM
my thoughts: yes, a .45 caliber hole is fairly big however, a .45 which expands is larger. i have always carried jhp in every handgun i've carried, except when camping. i'm kind of primitive in my bullet selection as well. i pick the heaviest standard bullet for that caliber i.e. 230gr in .45 acp. my reasoning is that if a 230gr fmj fails to expand, it's still a 230gr bullet, if it does expand, well that's alot of tissue damage. i realize the heavier bullets are slower and therefore less likely to expand but modern jhp bullets expand at pretty low velocities as long as they don't get plugged by fibers. which brings me to my other point: i finally went to the efmj bullets for my glock model 23 after looking at the box of truth test of different types of jhp through clothing. i think the efmj or corbon's poweball is probably the best way to go.

September 29, 2005, 01:09 PM
I'm a huge proponent for FMJ for the 1911.

-Reliability in any autoloader is paramount. Even if it's a minimal gain, it's a worthwhile investment. With most pistols, I doubt, no matter what it's loaded with, that 1 shot will do it unless the CNS is hit.

-The penetration factor between FMJs and HPs is pretty negligable for all intensive purposes: both will go through sheetrock, plywood, torsos etc., etc. at combat distances.

-One of the great benefits of FMJ, especially for us SHTF folk: FMJ will work for any pistol it's designed for, so long as the pistol itself is spec. HPs have to be tested in each pistol and tailored, usually, for that pistol. I can use FMJs as a better barter tool as well as arming friends with more confidence that THEIR guns will go bang every time.

-No deformation (and possible reliability issues) from loading and unloading

This is why revolvers still shine to this day: high reliability with ANY ammo type.

I carry 230 FMJ Federal Goldmatch in my 1911. Very accurate and the company takes a little more time to roll those puppies. I practice with Federal FMJ Eagles. No guessing what my defensive ammo will do, in drills or defense. They both respond the same way: same recoil impulse, same flash, same cycling, same everything; one (the Goldmatch FMJs) just has tighter tolerances.


September 29, 2005, 01:16 PM
I'd like to add that I feel folks put way, way too much stock in their bullet type.I feel JHPs can give a false and very dangerous sense of confidence which will make one shoot once/twice instead of continue shooting till that threat drops/stops.

The choices are:
-Hedge your bet a smidge with more tissue disruption
-Hedge your bet a smidge with more reliability

With a pistol, reliability. With a revolver, tissue disruption.

Ken Rainey
September 29, 2005, 03:57 PM
One of the benefits of the standard 230 grain .45 ball ammo is that it doesn't overpenetrate with a solid torso hit and if it does make it thru, then it's usually found close by not thru the wall and down the street. With a marginal hit, the HP ammo will keep on going as much as the FMJ will.

Hard core proponents of hollow point ammo might consider this possibility; If you miss the bad guy with a HP and hit an innocent with it, have you just increased your chances of doing more damage to an innocent person?? Always being aware of your "targets" background is the key no matter what ammo you use....there's the tactic of kneeling and firing at an upward angle in a close combat situation when there may be innocents behind your intended target and it is absolutely necessary that you fire to protect yourself or someone else.

Other possible benefits of HP (and flat nosed/wad cutter style) ammo is that it is less likely to richochet off hard surfaces and that it's edge may hook into a bone instead of sliding past it. Of course, reliable function is paramount to all else, next, is having a bullet that will penetrate deep enough to damage a vital organ or spine with proper shot placement.

I presently have Ranger T 230 grain ammo as my in gun load backed up with a magazine of 230 grain FMJ but I would consider myself sufficiently armed with just the FMJ or even my favorite "target" load using a 200 grain LSWC bullet or even a 230 grain LRN bullet. Using the most accurate ammo that will work in your pistol and that has the ability to penetrate sufficiently should be the first requirement of your ammunition....always consider extra expansion as just that...extra, there are no guarantees.

September 29, 2005, 07:15 PM
All ammo can overpenetrate or miss but a 230gr FMJ 45acp not exitig a torso? I'd say it would so more often than not. I thought it could penetrate up to 26" of soft tissue.

Friend of my dads got his house shot at with 45 ball,it went through 3 walls. Not very scientific but food for thought. Maybe someone with actual gunshot work being seen regularly can comment on how often 45 ball seems to exit. I only ever met one guy shot with a 45acp and it was a shoulder shot with a LRN. Did a lot of damage though.

Ken Rainey
September 29, 2005, 08:25 PM
Moonclip, More often than not with a torso shot, especially an upper torso shot - which I should have said - bone will be struck. Also, skin is very elastic and tough and can stretch a good bit and not break, one reason bullets have been found on the "other" side just under the skin. The 26 inches of penetration is in gelatin and doesn't account for the skin which I have read is equivilent to 4 inches of tissue.

The heavy, slow .45 uses a lot of it's momentum during it's journey from one side of the body thru the muscle, bones and tissue and organs and then the skin on the other side. Of course, it's all dependent on a lot of variables such as clothing and objects in pockets, etc. and on the particular path thru the body that it takes - if no bones or heavy muscles are struck or if the "shootee" is real thin, then it has that much more energy left to use for penetration and thus can go farther - but will still be pretty well spent and maybe just lodge in a wall or whatever, I remember one report where a .45 FMJ was found lying on the ground behind the perp who was shot with it.

There's always variables to each shooting circumstance, but the standard .45 ball rd isn't the "body over penetrator" that a lot of people believe it to be. Now, the round nosed, smaller, faster 9mm and .357 magnum bullets seem to be a different story.

When your Dad's friend's house got shot and it went thru 3 walls, were these sheet rock walls or paneling and with no studs being hit or what??


September 29, 2005, 08:43 PM
Yeah,I also don't really like jello results as it doesn't take in to account bones and such and tissue varies in composition,a heart is diff than lungs and liver and such.

Measure your own torso though, I'm about 5'11"-6foot and 235lbs, somewhat overweight obviously but some muscle too, and I think I'm only about 12" thick on my torso. I'd say a 45ball round has a good chance of exiting my torso, let alone a smaller man. Of course, as mentioned, 9x19 is really a good penetrator. An unusual though too, but if forced to shoot a woman, I wonder if breasts, especially on the larger size can compromise penetration in to the vitals.

Please no jokes, I'm being serious here.

The "wall" guy, I think it was mostly a lucky shot,I bet no studs or especially pipes were hit. I once read an interesting account though.

Vietnam, base being overrun, Green Beret providing mortar fire and such from a trench with many mortar rounds in it. Typically small scrawny Viet jumps in to pit with AK. A Green Beret is well trained, he realizes a 45acp he was armed with would surely overpenetrate this man and possibly detonate the mortar rounds.

He had the presence of mind to draw his Randall combat knife and use that to take out the NVA.

September 30, 2005, 06:48 AM
well, i'm a member of the glock cult. reliability? sure, i don't have to worry if my old, fragile and decrepit antique will deign to cycle the ammunition i selected. haven't found a round yet that won't work. i kid, mostly. i do test the ammunition to be certain but i know for a fact that it will work, no matter what the bullet construction - as long as it's jacketed, of course. don't get me wrong, i own two 1911s even carried each for a while but after a while the big ol' sobs just weren't as fun to lug around any more.

September 30, 2005, 09:51 AM
Guess what I put in my Glocks...

FMJ- usually federal military contract. I don't like surprises that I could have had control over.

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