Who carries/uses FMJ or other solid rounds?


Cousin Mike
July 1, 2006, 11:06 AM
I've recently been considering switching from JHP's to FMJ/TMJ's for home defense. Frankly, I'm not worried about overpenetration in my apartment, and for that matter I'm inclined to say I'm not too concerned about it on the street in a carry situation. Everything I've read recently seems to be of the opinion that concerns of overpenetration and hitting an unintended target are more phobic than founded. Are we thinking more about PC than SD as shooters?

Besides, I'd much rather my loads overpenetrate than underpenetrate (or not penetrate at all :what:! ) I also like the way FMJ performs against barriers, but my main reason for this consideration is that FMJ seems to perform a lot more reliably in human targets than JHP's. FMJ's do better against bone, which seems to me to be very important. We all know our favorite hollow-point loads do very well in ballistic gel, but the human body is a very different creature, and hollow points doing very strange things in the human body has been very well-documented. Hardball, on the other hand, almost always seems to perform the same.

What I want to know from my fellow pistoleros here, is what do you carry and why? Can someone convince me to stay with JHP's? Does anyone here see things from my same perspective? Let me know what you think, I'd appreciate it!

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July 1, 2006, 11:22 AM
I carry Federal Expanding Full Metal Jacket (EFMJ) in my .45 autos. The bullet is shaped like a flat point FMJ, but expands upon impact on the enemy.

The FMJ solves a problem that hollowpoint ammo can have - getting the cavity plugged with jacket/clothing material, which can interfere with or prevent expansion.

To be fair, I read one review of EFMJ that claimed the projectiles fail to expand about 20% of the time - but they did not say what test medium they were using. This is the first I have read anywhere regarding EFMJ failing to expand.

Another good bullet design is the Pow-R-ball, made by Corbon. It is a hollowpoint design, with a polymer ball inserted into the cavity. This gives the nose of the bullet a profile like 230g. ball ammo. Upon target impact, the polymer ball is forced backwards, causing the bullet to expand.

Prior to changing to EFMJ, I had carried Federal Hydrashok; these rounds are good performers as far as expansion, and the center post in the HP cavity keeps the cavity from becoming plugged before the bullet can expand.

July 1, 2006, 11:28 AM
I carry Federal Expanding Full Metal Jacket (EFMJ) in my .45 autos. The bullet is shaped like a flat point FMJ, but expands upon impact on the enemy.

The FMJ solves a problem that hollowpoint ammo can have - getting the cavity plugged with jacket/clothing material, which can interfere with or prevent expansion.

Quoted for truth.

July 1, 2006, 12:15 PM
I see you've got 2 .45s, a .357 Sig and a 9mm. I wouldn't expect FMJ in .45 to do badly, it worked well in two World Wars. 9mm would probably be OK if you stick to non +P loads.

The .357 SIG i would be worried about, because you're pushing it to 1400FPS anyways, and a FMJ is going to go in and out really fast and do little to stop the target. Might as well use that extra velocity to help guarantee a JHP will expand.

July 1, 2006, 12:36 PM
I'd rather transfer the majority of the rounds energy into its target. That's what the JHP offers over the FMJ.

Overpenetration is an issue in a dwelling especially if you have kids sleeping in the room to the left or right. That's why every family should have an evacuation/self defense plan in the house. An area where everyone can retreat to behind the defender of the house per sey. You might want to be worried about the neighbors to the left/right above/below you in the apartment since they most likely are not a part of your self defense plan.

Besides, if my JHP gets clogged with material it pretty much becomes a FMJ anyway.;)

Opinions vary a great deal on this subject for sure. If you can't tell, I prefer JHP's over FMJ for self defense. That is as long as its a caliber over .380. For .32 or .380 I'd rather have FMJ's for deeper penetration since they are on the lower end of the FPS/FPE scale.

July 1, 2006, 12:57 PM
It's not about energy transfer
It's not about making sure your round penetrates enough
It's not about making sure you don't overpenetrate

Modern JHP ammunition, like that offered by Speer, Winchester (especially their ranger line), and Federal; are made to STOP your target as effectively as a pistol can (and pistols are not all that great at stopping people). Sure FMJ's perfrom more reliably, they performs reliably WORSE than well designed JHP's. And yes, you may not get as good of expansion or penetration when you use JHP's, but look at a human skeleton. You will see that the ribs don't even take up 1/3 of the upper torso area, so that concern is not very significant.

These Modern JHP's reliably expand from 1.5 to 2 times initial bullet diameter. While reliably penetrating 12 inches or more in human flesh simulant. The reason for them is to Stop an aggressor as quickly as possible. While expanding and penetrating, JHP's significantly increase the amount of cut and damaged tissue. Which equates to quicker physiological stopping of your assailent(s)

It's about stopping the badguy as fast as you can so you are less likely to get injured or killed. Of course...FMJ's are cheap, but is your life worth the price of a few boxes of ammo?

Don't take this as a flame, but consider the facts I've said. Also, check out this link, it's a godsend as to carry ammo information http://www.tacticalforums.com/cgi-bin/tacticalubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=78;t=000964

Old Fuff
July 1, 2006, 01:27 PM
The Old Fuff ofen carried ball - especially in a big-bore pistol. Being unable to predict under what circumstances trouble might occur, overpenetration is better then not enough, and ball tends to feed better.

Those in the medical profession often tell us that they can't tell from the wound channel if the bullet was big or medium sized, solid or hollow-point, until they recover it. A temporary cavity caused by a handgun bullet doesn't seem to make much difference, as it does in rifles. "Energy dump" doesn't match a big hole that goes both in and out. Ultimately it is bullet placement that makes the difference, but that requires marksmanship under stress.

July 1, 2006, 01:29 PM
I carry fmj in .380 and lower, lswchp in .38spl, 9mm and up is all JHP. 9mm has sufficient penetration with an expanded jhp but the bullet expands nearly twice its normal size. I want that wide wound.

July 1, 2006, 01:30 PM
If I'm not mistaken, both Col. Jeff Cooper and Clint Smith both say that the 230 gr FMJ in the old .45 is the 'bee's knees'.

Cousin Mike
July 1, 2006, 01:44 PM
I can understand using a JHP round, being that these things can move anywhere from 1200-14something fps. or faster. I think that the velocity on that round alone will break a bone quite easily, JHP, FMJ or whatever.

With the .45 or 9mm, I like the idea of a bullet that will plow straight through ribs or the chestplate and keep on going, rather than fragment or lose it's momentum, as JHP's have been noted to do occasionally. I'm basing this on material I've read, as most of us are, but my main concern in the human body is bone. I would think a hardball round would break through bone a helluva lot easier than a hollow point round. mcooper, I can appreciate your point of view, and I didn't take your post as a flame. If you could though, can you (or anyone else for thast matter) elaborate as to how FMJ performs consistantly worse than JHP in that regard?

I appreciate everyones input and opinions. Thanks all.

July 1, 2006, 01:50 PM

there are some numbers for "one shot stops" using some JHP loads. One shot stops are a lie when trying to figure out what one bullet will do to one person. However, they shine when comparing different types of loads to another, which are in the same caliber. I'll try and get you some more info.

Here is a link I turned up on a quick google search that compares fmj vs. jhp...for 45 at least: http://www.abaris.net/info/ballistics/handgun-stopping-power.htm

July 1, 2006, 04:01 PM
Very subjective topic.

I remember carrying JHP .380 as a summer gun, until I had a very peculiar moment when I had to deal (non-violently, thankfully) with a guy that was 350+ lbs. Needles to say, I started to worry about underpenetration. Ball ammo in a .380 isn't a bad choice, IMO.

For my 9mm, I carry one or two rounds of 115gr corbon followed by a few 124gr bonded jacket corbon, the rest are ball. The idea here is that in a close up confrontation the 115gr has great performance, but after the second shot people are probably taking cover. The 124gr bonded jacket was designed to go thorough auto glass - look around you on a typical day, autos are a prime candidate for cover.

For .357 I carry JHP Hydrashock. Enough power to mitigate underpenetration worries and only 5 shots means no need to mix ammo.

July 1, 2006, 06:03 PM
I have no qualms at all about carrying hardball in .45ACP and very few with 9MM. Stops with a pistol is not guaranteed regardless of what rounds you use. Center mass is where the vital organs are, not in the arms, legs and other non vital places where many people seem to shoot other people.:(

July 1, 2006, 06:33 PM
I carry FMJ in my Makarov.

July 1, 2006, 08:19 PM
I think you have more to worry about with misses than overpenetration. But with modern JHP ammunition or FMJ, putting it on target is the most important thing. I even saw on the FBI Tactical website a test where the 9mm FMJ actually tumbles after entry. That's gotta do some damage.

July 1, 2006, 08:32 PM
I carry FMJ in my Makarov.

X 2. I usually carry the LVE/Big Bear 92 grain FMJ in my 9x18 Mak.

Working Man
July 1, 2006, 08:41 PM
One mag of each. My CCW is loaded with JHP my extra mag has FMJ.
In the event that I have to concern myself with better penetration its good
to have the right tool for the job.

July 1, 2006, 09:30 PM
Had to carry FMJ in the military and seen how poor the 9mm M-882 round does in real life during the first Gulf war. I will not use it outside of range use for my personal uses or when I have no other choice when on duty. :barf:

July 1, 2006, 10:34 PM
In .45, 230 grn. swc, copper plated, not jacketed. I've seen what it does to a wild boar at 30-40yds.

FWIW, I was shot in the right elbow about 30 years ago, .380 fmj. It hit on the front of the radius and followed the skin around to the point of the elbow and poked a perfectly round exit wound. Hurt a lot, not enough to stop me from returning fire.

It doesn't pay to shoot a lefty in the right arm:D

July 2, 2006, 12:40 AM
I am seriously thinking of switching from 9mm and 40 S&W to .45 ACP. If I do the switch, I am going to leave HP behind and only use FMJ. I am thinking exactly along your lines, I want to crush through bone and penetrate to a vital.

July 2, 2006, 02:20 AM
As much as I like 45ACP, I have a Glock 17 9MM loaded with 124gr+P Gold Dots (1250fps) as a bedside weapon and on the street I carry either a Glock 32 357 Sig loaded with 125gr Gold Dots (1400-1450fps) and/or a S&W J Frame 342 loaded with 110gr +P Corbon DPX (1100fps).

I have become a believer in high velocity and sharp edged hollow points to insure bullets follow their intended path. I have read many reports of low velocity, heavy FMJ rounds following ribs, scalps etc around their intended path. This is more a problem with FMJ 45ACP than 9MM FMJ. The old fashioned slow, soft lead bullets have less tendency to do this. High velocity hollow point bullets seem more likely to penetrate through ribs, bones and other impediments and go where intended. JMHO

Added: If you really want to "crush through bone and penetrate". You need something like a hard cast, flat nose bullet of maximum weight and velocity. Also expect an exit wound with significant remaining velocity.

July 2, 2006, 03:29 AM
One of the few rounds that everybody seems to respect is the FBI load in 38 special, a +P lead hollowpoint semi wadcutter. Contrast that with the reputation of the RN lead 38 special, the "widow maker", the all lead equivelent of ball ammo.

The universal use of hollowpoint ammo by police departments in this country must have a reason and it's more than marketing by the ammo companies. They produce ammo to a specification developed by the FBI.

There is only one advantage to using ball ammo and that is feed reliability.

July 2, 2006, 03:37 AM
Well, I have either FMJ from Fiocchi or S&B, or S&B SP-s. Currently I'm carrying softpoints, as these are the best I can get (since the JHP-s are illegal). These should hurt a bit and same time penetrate pretty good.

July 2, 2006, 03:58 AM
I suspect that if this thread was in the revolvers or general handguns section replies would be vastly different. I like 158 gr LSWCs in 38 & 357, but I also like cheap 124gr lead for handloading practice rounds in my Hi-Power. Heavier hard cast lead is nice for hunting with a wheelgun or heavy auto like a 10mm. If I were carrying hard cast lead in a Glock 20, with proper bbl, for hunting I wouldn't be worried about using it for SD.

July 2, 2006, 01:18 PM
If I'm not mistaken, both Col. Jeff Cooper and Clint Smith both say that the 230 gr FMJ in the old .45 is the 'bee's knees'.
I'd rather have a 7 or 8 round 1911 magazine full of .45ACP hardball than I would a 9mm 100 round magazine full of hardball...

But then, we have the option of a 1911 full of Hydrashok HP, Ranger HP, or Corbon HP, unlike our soldiers who have to carry ball ammo.

How about a Glock 21 or a Springfield XD, both in .45ACP with 13+1 capacity, stuffed to the gills with high performance HP ammo? That seems like the best bet! (Apologies to all 1911 junkies, myself included).

July 2, 2006, 04:27 PM
I carry hardball in my Kimber from time to time. Not really worried about over penetration as much as not enough penetration with some hp loads.

July 2, 2006, 10:45 PM
I shoot FMJ all the time. Cheaper. But I have the HP's, 1 box, for the ready. That's what they are designed for, nez pa?

I sure don't think I would go deer hunting with FMJ's unless I was in to big time tracking! Or course I know that would be illegal and wouldn't do it, but I think you get my point.

July 2, 2006, 11:20 PM
I only have one caliber that I'd consider carrying FMJ, 9x18 Makarov. I carry that if I'm carrying the Makarov, but I only carry that gun when I'm out and about without much background.


Cousin Mike
July 3, 2006, 04:11 PM
What originally got me thinking about this whole thing was an incident I heard about earlier this year when it was still cold outside.Lots of local officers here in Columbus have/carry/use Sig P220's/P245's, as there's never a shortage of these models traded in at local gunstores. Apparently a local officer was forced to deploy his .45 caliber weapon and fire on a bad guy for whatever reason. Not surprising news around here. Apparently he stopped whatever crime was in progress with one shot, but the victim survived. Upon further inspection after being taken to the hospital in handcuffs, etc., not only was the guy alive, but he hadn't even really been shot. The JHP .45 round had completely stopped within the mans clothing before it even broke skin. Broke a couple of ribs, left one hell of a bruise and it obviously hurt like hell... bad enough for him to stop fighting because he thought he was shot. Which is good for the officer, but I don't know if I want to bet on having his same luck, God forbid I ever find myself in his situation.

Of course, this whole story could be a load, but considering my source, I doubt it. I have a few leather coats that are extremely heavy, so I could really see how such a thing could happen given the way people dress up here in the winter. You can definitely count on having to penetrate several layers of clothing if you find yourself in an outdoor encounter up here in the colder months.

If there's one thing that I truly disagree with, it's mcoopers point that "it's not about making sure your round penetrates enough." (not picking on you buddy, but this is JMHO) - I believe that penetration is essential. Vital organs are usually protected by bone, and at the very least a few inches of muscle, fat, skin, etc. Penetration is the difference between a superficial wound, which enables the BG to keep fighting if he's determined... and a hit to the central nervous system which will win the fight for you instantly. You can't hit the spinal cord, heart, lungs, liver or other vital organs if your cartridge gets stuck somewhere in the ribs, skin, or especially clothes. More penetration = more crushed tissue, which bleeds more. More blood loss = quicker incapacitation. As said previously on this board, .45ACP in FMJ has been working pretty well for the past 100 years or so. Excuse my sense of humor, but I have to wonder... how much talk of energy deposit, expansion, and "Magical XYZ Brand" Super-Death-ray bullets came into play back then?

When you count local stories like that, with the well-documented facts of the things JHP does sometime in the human body (like shedding the jacket and penetrating less than 3" into the target, fragmentation, failures to penetrate and/or expand), it's enough to make you think. Recent bullet technology is a wonderful thing, and I'm sure it will get better with time. But, I would prefer a more accurate testing medium be used than a cube of ballistic gelatin for testing something as important as pistol-caliber defense ammunition. I just don't know if I can trust that a hunk of mixed metals flying at 800-1400 fps will perform the same in a moving, live human body as it will in a big block of stationary Jell-O.

I like Working Man's idea of one magazine of each, or maybe even mixed magazines. I've heard that called "ghetto" and everything else, but maybe there's an advantage to this one. Double-tap, and if the first one didn't do the job, the second one will :D

Just thinking out loud, but I appreciate the input from every side. I'd also like to hear more about these semi wadcutter rounds.

July 3, 2006, 05:58 PM
The JHP .45 round had completely stopped within the mans clothing before it even broke skin. Broke a couple of ribs, left one hell of a bruise and it obviously hurt like hell..

I'd say that guy has used up his supply of luck.

July 3, 2006, 07:30 PM
not claiming to be an expert, but...

What does your local Sheriff's Department use? Local PD, Highway Patrol? Any idea (or reports on) their success rate?

I don't know of anyone who uses FMJ unless they:
--are in the military (Hague Convention)
--are in NJ (stupid state laws)

As to a JHP failing to penetrate, I have seen no evidence that under any conditon, a JHP would do anything other than act like an FMJ (at worst). A clogged JHP will act like an FMJ; an unclogged JHP will expand. Given that both travel 830 fps or so, both have the same energy. What would be the difference in penetration between an unexpanded JHP and a FMJ (cost aside)?

Cousin Mike
July 3, 2006, 10:07 PM
As to a JHP failing to penetrate, I have seen no evidence that under any conditon, a JHP would do anything other than act like an FMJ (at worst).

Neither had I (well, not anything more recent than the Miami shootout), until my local police story - which, I admit, could be nothing but local folklore. But it made me think nonetheless. Also, I've read posts recently in another forum by a mortician - who seemed to be of the opinion that FMJ was more effective in human targets, especially against bone. I found it hard to argue with his logic, given the nature of his work. My thinking, obviously, is that penetration trumps expansion - which is probably why I own two .45's - the old "9mm may expand but .45 doesn't shrink" argument.

What I do seem to hear a lot is the opinion that expansion may, in and of itself, inhibit penetration. As said before, I'd rather overpenetrate than not get far enough into the target. And the thought of an exit wound doesn't necessarily bother me either. 2 holes bleed more, which is never bad in my opinion. Hit a BG in the midsection, bullet embeds in the ribs or sternum, and stops short of a major organ? He might keep fighting.

Bullet plows through the chestplate, hits a lung, the heart, or the spinal cord on the way through the other side? I can't imagine that too many people are going to keep standing after recieving a wound like that.

Funny though, since starting this thread, I've made sure I have one magazine of Winchester FMJ/ Speer Lawman TMJ ready for each gun I own, as well as a magazine of Gold Dots for my .45Autos, and Winchester Rangers for my .357 Sig.

July 3, 2006, 10:37 PM
Old Fuff in post #7 expresses my sentiments.

Not going to worry about it personally. As I have fired a minimum of 200 rds including all carry magazines for semi -autos with a variety of ammo to choose from that is reliable (feeds/extracts) and I know the POA/POI of said rounds and have shot windshields, thru vehicle doors (from exterior to interior and interior to exterior, and other situations one may encounter in real life.

Slugs, settled on slugs for shotguns for MY needs as well.

Now what others may need and choose? I guess that is up to their training, testing and environment.

July 3, 2006, 10:48 PM
I started questioning the effectiveness of using an expanding HP for penetration before I read the "stories from the morgue". His stories only confirmed the theory I was forming in my own mind. The following is one of the theories I have devoloped of why a 230 gr. FMJ .45 ACP is a better defense round than a 230 gr. HP .45 ACP: A HP should be in the process of expanding before it reaches bone. Lets say a .45 HP has expanded to .55 before it reaches the ribs. This bullet's front surface is now essentially a flat soft piece of lead with a .55 diameter which may be easily deflected when it hits a bone. The more the bullet expands before it hits a bone, the larger the lead flat surface will be that strikes the bone. The bullets chances of deflecting may increase proportionately with the increase of the diameter of the flat soft lead surface. I think a bullet with a ROUND HARD STEEL surface like a FMJ has a better chance of crushing a bone and penetrating to a vital than a bullet with a larger surace area which is essentially a FLAT piece of SOFT LEAD. I do not pretend to be knowledgeable about physics. Also, please excuse my poor grammar.

July 3, 2006, 11:01 PM
I would also like to add that a FMJ has more sectional density, which is extremely important in determining penetration, right before it hits a bone than an expanding flat piece of lead which is continiously losing sectional density.

July 4, 2006, 01:37 AM
With a .45acp under 25 yards I think a good COM shot, a 230gr Ball round is going to do enough dammage, I use Corbon +p JHP, Hydro-Shock 230gr JHP and Ball, depending on whats going on, I keep 3 mags loaded, most likely the first round out of either of my .45's will be a Corbon +p, which will produce a good hole.

My 9mm stays loaded with Nato 124gr ball M882, I don't trust any JHP to be reliable in the Berreta 92FS

July 4, 2006, 05:59 AM
It's easy to discount the effectiveness of the ribcage, but it's not wise to do so. I prefer a big bullet that will penetrate to effective depths - .45 FMJ. A .45 doesn't need to expand, in my opinion, and doing so only hinders its ability to bore through clothing, muscle and bone.

July 6, 2006, 01:41 AM
nothing but 230 gr JHPs for me, (.45) 124+p (9mm) and 155 JHP (.40) 200 JHP (10)

Longue Carabine
July 6, 2006, 01:33 PM
At work, I carry 165 gr BHA EXJHP in the pistol, one extra mag of EXJHP, and one extra mag of 180 gr BHA FMJ - just in case.

July 6, 2006, 02:18 PM
On the rare occasions that I Carry my AMT .45 DAO Backup, it is stoked with hardball.

July 6, 2006, 02:25 PM
The way that I see it, if my 230 grain 45 cal hollow point doesn't expand, then its still a 230 grain, 45 cal slug moving at the same speed (probably faster) as your hard ball.

I have a friend that alternates FMJ and HP's in the mag of his carry gun. I never understood this kind of logic. Anyone else know someone who does this?

the naked prophet
July 6, 2006, 03:09 PM
From what I've read, a JHP bullet is more likely to break through bone than be deflected. Especially in the case of a rib. For one thing, a rib is nearly on the surface - there's almost no flesh to induce expansion before it hits. Look at all the gelatin tests - there is no expansion before 3-4 inches in most cases.

What I've read suggests that the JHP bullet "bites" into the bone, and breaks through (or for smaller calibers, stops) whereas a rounded FMJ will glance off. I've read (mostly here on THR) about 9mm and .45 FMJ bouncing of skulls when they didn't hit at at a perfect 90 degree angle. After it's expanded, yes, it's larger. However, the operative issue here is that it's slower after it expands, because it's had more drag as it passes through the flesh on the way to the bone. If I swing a 1 lb hammer at a bone, it's gonna have nearly the same effect whether the face is 0.55 inches wide or 0.45 inches wide. Until the tip is pointy enough that you start to get cutting effects, the width isn't going to make much of a difference.

The question is, do you have a JHP which penetrates deep enough (as an indication of retained energy in the stopping medium) to break a bone after it passes through some flesh? If it's moving too slow when it hits a bone...

I can definitely see the argument for .45 FMJ. In a 9mm, no, there is too much to be lost in terms of effectiveness. My opinion only.

July 6, 2006, 03:33 PM
unless you reload,FMJ ammo tends to be of the cheap crap varity, while most HP's such a hydra shocks, rangers, XTP's, etc, are loaded with premium componets. I know that Federal uses a powder that reduces muzzle flash. And speaking of powder, the HP's usualy are more consistant with charge weights, thus resulting in more accurate sceond, third, etc shots. These HP's usualy have plated or coated cases to help feeding. They are also usualy well water-proofed. For thoes who dont reload, this is also something to consider. Almost every ammo company produces premium ammo loaded with a HP. How many companies load premium FMJ?

July 6, 2006, 04:20 PM
Freddymac...My best friend also alternates HP and FMJ in his carry gun.The logic is that if the HP doesnt penetrate the cover that a BG might take the FMJ has a better chance. This came about after he was fired on by a guy in a car. He didnt return fire because they were to far away by the time he drew his weapon, but it made him think about his HP ability to penetrate auto body/glass.

Cousin Mike
July 6, 2006, 07:25 PM
I can definitely see the argument for .45 FMJ. In a 9mm, no, there is too much to be lost in terms of effectiveness. My opinion only.

I can definitely understand the way of thinking here. However, even with a 9mm, if you need to penetrate a barrier of some sort in order to hit your target (car door, furniture, etc.), I would imagine FMJ rounds could be more effective.

FMJ ammo tends to be of the cheap crap varity

This is something that has been brought up a couple of times - frankly, the price of HD/SD ammo is no object. My only concern is that my rounds do the job I ask of them when the SHTF. Kill the bad guy, weather he's in a car, behind glass, hiding behind a door, a chair, a table, or wearing several layers of heavy winter clothing.

JHP's are great, and there's no question of their devastating effects on the human body when they perform as design intended... but every weapon/ammunition design has an Achilles' heel. Despite the fact that they have sometimes done less than intended damage, I've never heard of FMJ getting clogged with clothing and failing to penetrate a human target, or shedding it's jacket and failing to penetrate further than 3" into a target. I'm sure FMJ plows through more skulls and ribs than it bounces off of.

I've read (mostly here on THR) about 9mm and .45 FMJ bouncing of skulls when they didn't hit at at a perfect 90 degree angle.

I've read a lot of that myself. I've never read it about 9mm or .45 though, it always seems to be some mousegun round involved in those stories. I personally know someone who was shot several times in the face, with hardball ammo, and survived. He was shot with a .25 - not even worth bringing up here if you ask me. I'd be willing to bet that those stories, although horrifying, probably are not even worth considering in terms of percentages if we stick to the major defensive calibers (.355+). Maybe, for arguments sake, say that happens 1 in 1000 times, which is probably a very liberal estimate. Every JHP review I've ever read had between 10-30% failures to expand, which seems to be the only reason to consider JHP ammunition. 1 in 10 is a much higher failure rate.

I have JHP rounds in my home for self defense. What I am now doing is making sure I have a magazine or two of hardball ready to go for each pistol as well. I got a .357 and 9mm because of a similar logic. The .45 is a great round, and does well against the unprotected human body - but it doesn't penetrate barriers as well as a 9mm or .357 does. I love the .45, but it's not the right tool for every job. Neither is the JHP round, IMHO.

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