Does anyone NOT use expensive hollowpoint ammo in their defensive handguns?


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October 4, 2007, 09:59 PM
Anyone just use FMJ or something else completely?

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October 4, 2007, 10:21 PM
I don't think it makes that big of difference,I'm a placement guy.but what the heck I spend so much money on guns of course I want to spend money on premium SD ammo.

I know you'll have many of our members chime in soon who use .45 ball and .38 wadcutters.

October 4, 2007, 10:24 PM
.45 hardball. My pistol was built to run on it, that's what I use.

October 4, 2007, 10:27 PM
Sometimes uber$$$ hydroshocks, sometimes cheap hollowpoint, softpoint, sometimes ball. Depends on what's lying around when I reload the pistol. The less powerful the round, the more likely I am to make sure it's got good ammo. The .38 always gets hydroshocks, the 9mm usually does but sometimes just ball. The .45 has ball in it right now. Speedloaders & spare mags usually have ball.

tasco 74
October 4, 2007, 10:28 PM
the only handgun i have is my model 27 and i'd use federal 158 gr. jsps for defense if i need to... i've shot these into wet clay and recovered them to check how the mushroomed.. they did very well thank you..

M2 Carbine
October 4, 2007, 10:31 PM
In some guns I use factory HP and in some I use hand-loads, whichever is the best load I have on hand.

At the price of factory ammo now days I don't plan on buying any for the foreseeable future.

October 4, 2007, 10:31 PM
I shy away from the expensive, hyped up, super duper mankiller ammo.

Shot placement is King, penetration is Queen. Everything else is Angels dancing in the wind.

Deer Hunter
October 4, 2007, 10:36 PM
Federal HSTs are 16 dollars for a box of 50. That's what I use.

October 4, 2007, 10:43 PM
White Box hard ball
It's what I practice with I don't want to have to wonder how different the performance is of ammo that is too expensive for me to practice with enough to know for sure

Old Fuff
October 4, 2007, 10:48 PM
The Old Fuff got over being a super-bullet junkie decades ago after meeting people with real world experience who didn't lose any sleep over ammunition concerns. They had different opinions about guns and cartridges, but they all agreed about the importance of bullet placement. They were also excellent marksman, who could do what they did very quickly. :scrutiny: ;)

October 4, 2007, 10:50 PM
I shoot and carry .380's so I go with Fiocchi FMJ's. They're one of the hotter ball ammo and not priced too bad. Will be reloading soon.

Kevin in Pa

October 4, 2007, 10:52 PM
Speer Gold dot for me.. Not too pricey ..

October 4, 2007, 10:53 PM
I use 125 gr HP Remington 38spl +P's in my 442. I doubt I will every use the gun for self defense. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to carry the thing except when I am working in suspect areas. Do I feel better having access to it all the time, you bet. Must be the reason then.

October 4, 2007, 10:56 PM
I use premium brands JHPs, but more like $25 for 50 rather than $20 for 20. That way I can afford to practice with that ammo. I shoot Remington 158gr LSWCHP in .38 Special and 125gr semi-JHP in .357 (though I'm thinking about going to a heavier bullet there).

October 4, 2007, 11:02 PM
I'm worth the extra cost of CorBon or Gold Dot.

Only expect to need it once in my life, so its not a big annual cost.

October 4, 2007, 11:12 PM
I go with FMJ. It's not worth the extra $40 for the HP .50 bmg anymore

Dan Forrester
October 4, 2007, 11:12 PM
Glock 17 and FiocchI 147 grain FMJ.


October 4, 2007, 11:25 PM
Depends on what I want to accomplish, defense from two legged threats, or other.

I typically carry a good JHP, I prefer the standard XTP.

DoubleTap also makes good ammo and for the same price you get 50 instead of 20 rounds.

October 4, 2007, 11:33 PM
I keep JHP on hand for defense purposes, and practice mainly with FMJ. Whenever I rotate the JHP rounds out for newer ammo (every 8-12 months) I shoot the old stuff.

Federal +p+ for defense
WWB for practice

October 4, 2007, 11:34 PM
My initial response would be...How much is you life worth?

But in all fairness I carry Golden Sabres on the recommendation of my HGP instructor.

These are what my local sherrifs office carries...this way if I am forced to use it some idiot medic chasing lawyer cant say I was using Super duper armor piercing cop killer man stoppers. Nope I use the same thing the cops do.

October 4, 2007, 11:40 PM
Strictly hardball. My "Home Gun" is a 1911, and that's what it was designed to work with. Hollowpoints work fine too - but like others, I'm more for placement than bullet type.

October 4, 2007, 11:43 PM
For semis, I currently stick to hardball, as money is tight. Hardball from a decent manufacturer should function properly. HP rounds may not feed properly - and the high price of some of 'em preclude extensive trying-out to make sure they feed properly.
For my revolver, now, I have what I think is supposed to be the latest & greatest Federal 158gr .357 hollowpoint load. Not from any particular reason, just because it was the only HP load I found that was somewhat reasonably priced (the Winchester or Remington JHPs were a pretty good price, but they were in bulk). Since bullet shape means nothing to a revolver, I don't have to worry about feeding issues.

October 4, 2007, 11:53 PM
I'm really surprised that no one's mentioned any of the JHP offerings in the WWB or Remington 100 round boxes.

You can get 9mm, .40 and .45 ACP JHP's in WWB for a couple bucks more than you pay for ball. Same goes for Remington's 100 packs, I've bought 230 grain JHP's in .45, 125grain SJHP's in 357 and .38 Special +P and seen 9mm 115 grain JHP's cheaper than ball at times!

You can pay the premium price for the hotshot bullet du jour if you want, but there are less expensive and almost as effective options out there.

October 4, 2007, 11:55 PM
As far as I'm concerned, for humans, any old chunk o' lead will do.

October 5, 2007, 12:04 AM
I use cast bullets. Almost exclusively for pistols.

October 5, 2007, 12:12 AM
I keep JHP on hand for defense purposes, and practice mainly with FMJ. Whenever I rotate the JHP rounds out for newer ammo (every 8-12 months) I shoot the old stuff.

That is exactly what I do as well.

October 5, 2007, 12:14 AM
I keep JHP on hand for defense purposes, and practice mainly with FMJ. Whenever I rotate the JHP rounds out for newer ammo (every 8-12 months) I shoot the old stuff.

That is exactly what I do as well.

October 5, 2007, 12:25 AM
I'm kinda surprised at the number of people that are pretty lackadaisical about their defensive ammo. Yes, shot placement is important, but the chances of me shooting a threat are pretty darn slim, and if I have to, I sure want to have ammo that's going to get the job done right. If a slightly larger, slightly deeper, slightly more damaging bullet wound could mean the difference between the bad guy stopped or me dead, by damn I'm going to load the best ammo for the job.

It's Winchester SXT (Black Talons) for me.

October 5, 2007, 12:25 AM
Don't you have to worry about over penetration with fmj?? I use glasers with my first two shots then golden sabers or ranger for the rest in my 9mm and 40 s&w

October 5, 2007, 12:35 AM
I use specially machined lathe-formed hand-loaded 50BMGs for home defense. :neener:

No, seriously, it's mostly Ranger T's for my home defense gun, which I guess count as 'expensive hollowpoint ammo' at nearly $1 a round.

October 5, 2007, 12:45 AM
Self Defense:

1. Running
2. If option 1 fails, harsh and threatening language
3. FMJ
4. Butt end of pistol
5. Sincere prayer

The Lone Haranguer
October 5, 2007, 12:47 AM
I do use JHP bullets for carry/defense and generic FMJ for practice. I may not necessarily use the latest, greatest, most expensive JHPs, however. I am rather fond of the Federal "Classic" and WWB JHPs.

October 5, 2007, 12:47 AM
Old Fuff's post number 10 , I can relate to. ;)

October 5, 2007, 01:02 AM
I too keep the hydra shocks load when my gun is left at home. All though i believe placement is keep, expansion seems to help a little bit too.. i keep it loaded with the best rounds i can find. but my wife might be in the situation to use the gun, and i don't care if she kills the person as long as he/she is not comming after her any more.

In my carry. 230gr FMJ's in .45 ACP.

October 5, 2007, 01:12 AM
I don't carry a gun. In my HD gun (a S&W model 15, sometimes switched out for a Ruger Security Six) I use hand loaded 158 grain swaged LSWC HP's. I pratice with them some, but I mostly practice with the 158 grain cast bullets loaded with the same powder charge.

October 5, 2007, 01:29 AM
I like the Leadhead Hardcast bullets in the same
weight and approx. same velocity as JHPs so they
will be close to same P.O.A. The Leadhead hard
cast are a dime or more a bullet cheaper and this
is for
.357 Mag.( 158 gr.)
.45 ACP / .45 Auto Rim ( 200 gr. or 225 gr. )
.400 CorBon. ( 155 gr. )

Main thing is to know where the
bullet is going,

If I wanted to rent a THompson I'd buy
the cheap 230 gr. FMJ

October 5, 2007, 01:40 AM
What ever they give me.

October 5, 2007, 01:47 AM
Wadcutters in my .38 snubbies, or whatever else is lying around when I load up. Lacadasical? Yeah, but I'm a pretty good shot. And wads just help me get back on target quicker, with less recoil and noise. Same load I practice with, no surprises.

October 5, 2007, 01:59 AM
Can't have Hollow Points in NJ. Go figure.

October 5, 2007, 02:11 AM
I'm kinda surprised at the number of people that are pretty lackadaisical about their defensive ammo.

I dunno that I'd use the word "lackadaisical" to describe .45 ACP slugs flying towards an attacker, no matter what shape they may happen to take. I have no problem with hollow points - I just believe in using the right ammo in the gun I shoot. As far as the 1911 goes, that's hardball. I don't care what modern tweaks have been made, the pistol was designed for hardball, period.

And besides - there is plenty of evidence out there of various brands of hollowpoint rounds filling up with clothing material or what-have-you and not expanding, or just plain not working properly for whatever reason. With hardball, you have a .45 caliber (or whatever caliber you're working with) hole, every time. That's good enough for me.

October 5, 2007, 02:32 AM
I'm kinda surprised at the number of people that are pretty lackadaisical about their defensive ammo.

No. As Old Fuff said in his post 10...

I had Mentors & Elders. Ladies and Gents that had BTDT and survived.
MASH nurse, killed with hardball from a Gov't 45 when the enemy decided to come visit.

Another, in another Country, Preferred 32ACP FMJ, again he survived and others took a dirt nap.

Cops, when I coming up, shot qualification out to 50 yards , not feet, yards.

I get bigger, and am working in the Main OR.
One patient stuck a .357 revolver in his mouth and pulled the trigger on a .357 loading, and lived.

Another patient had been shot 14 times. He lived.
Still we did not know what all he had been shot with, until we got into him and officers investigated the scene. Ammunitions ran from 32ACP, .380ACP, 9mm, .45ACP, .38spl , .357 .
The two most life threatening wounds, the .32ACP FMJ and .380 FMJ because of where they were "placed".

Hey even the fella shot with a standard load of Nine Pellet 00 buck lived.

No magic guns, no magic ammo. Shot Placement, and Lady Luck is just about it. Oh and being real darn quick about it. ;)

October 5, 2007, 03:09 AM
I use inexpensive S&B FMJ in my .45acp and 9mm and .380acp. I use Wolf FMJ in my makarov. I would use Wolf in all of them except the steel casings are hard on extractors. Makarovs can handle it and the extractors are cheap and easy to replace anyhow. I don't risk it on my American made pistols.

October 5, 2007, 03:24 AM
Nope. The FMJs and cast SWCs are strictly for the range. When it's my butt (or a family members butt) on the line, I reach for the most expensive ammo I can get my hands on. My personal favorites are Winchester Silvertips and Hornady XTPs. When it comes to SD/HD, I'm not about to cheap out on ammo.

Old Fuff
October 5, 2007, 08:24 AM

The Old Fuff and others that don't happen to use current-cult ammunition aren't necessarily tightwads, and I can say that with certainty when it comes to me. We aren’t foolish either. I could post a fair sized list of honest-to-goodness 20th century gunfighters who didn’t need some kind of magic bullet to feel warm and fuzzy.

What protect me and mine is marksmanship, and the knowledge of where to place the bullet where it will do whatever it’s supposed to do. In discussions with emergency room surgeons I’ve been told that they can’t tell what kind of a bullet made a wound (other then it was big or small) until they recover the slug. More so, it’s not unusual for someone who has been hit by (so called) high performance ammunition in a non-vital area to make it to the emergency room under there own power.

Rather then bullet expansion I worry more about penetration – not too much but too little. To disable an assailant who is in the process of trying to end your life, or that of someone else, you have to be able to reach that particular vital organ the will instantly stop the attack, and to do this you may have to get through some light barrier material or heavy bone or muscle. In handguns with concealable barrel lengths effective hollow-point bullets are usually lighter weight so that they can be driven at higher velocities required for expansion. Further they are designed to limit penetration – which is what I don’t want.

You can pick whatever you want, but if others and I pick something else it’s for good reasons, not because we are too cheap to buy a box of ammunition.

October 5, 2007, 09:05 AM
I could never afford the top shelf ammo. I use WWB JHP from Walmart 147 grain 9mm and 230 grain .45. If they open up great if not it's still a heavy round, which seems to me to be the best.

October 5, 2007, 09:11 AM
I use FMJ only in my P3AT. In .380 you are better off with deeper penetration rather than expansion with less penetration.

October 5, 2007, 09:22 AM
I use Rem JHP's in my hand guns. Wal-Mart 100 round boxes, not that expensive but they run thru them pretty good and are bad guy accurate.

October 5, 2007, 09:28 AM
You can pick whatever you want, but if others and I pick something else it’s for good reasons, not because we are too cheap to buy a box of ammunition.
there are more reasons I use good SD ammo than just bullet design.most use nickel plated cases which don't tarnish which may cause feeding issues.they also seal the primers and some even seal the bullet.many use flash suppressed powder(shoot some remmi umc 115 jhp and then shoot 124+p golden sabers,the GS are a bigger bullet going faster yet have less muzzle flash).I agree that bullet placement is more important which is why I choose the best ammo that performs well both function and accuracy.JMHO YMMV

October 5, 2007, 09:29 AM
I love how everyone become a ballistics criminologist in threads like these. I usually wait several pages before chiming in. :)

Consider these facts.

1. Consider the climate where you live. Look at how people dress. Colder cliimates generate more layers of clothing, hence the requirement for greater penetration.

2. Examine the barrel length and caliber of your weapon. Velocity output is important for said penetration , expansion, and bullet weight retention requirements. Choose your ammunition accordingly.

3. Overpenetration can happen with any ammunition choice you make. Make sure you identify your target with 100% certainty. Apartments, adjacent housing, and densly populated areas carry more risk, but there is no such thing as 100% risk free. Know your target and whats beyond.

4. Your grandfather did plenty well with a full wadcutter and his Smith and Wesson police issue. Not much has changed. Shot placement still rules the day, marketing gimmicks don't

5. If you enjoy spending $50 on a box of defensive frangible ammunition, then join the United States Marshalls and get them for free.

October 5, 2007, 09:52 AM
My daily carry -
.40 - Gold Dots, Golden Sabres, and Hydrashoks depending on what's laying around

.45 - Gold Dots, WWB FMJ. Won't use hydrashoks in .45

Home defence - 00 Buck !

October 5, 2007, 09:52 AM
Several of the above posters speaks volumes in what they have said.

Many folk have their "pet peeves" as well as their "pet loads" for what ever purpose.

From seeing what others have been through and also having "seen the elephant," shot placement is of major importance but shot placement with a bullet designed for its intended purpose does signficantly add to the "go home at the end of the shift" factor exponentially.

A well placed shot that is through and through with little or no damage is not as effective as a well placed shot with major trauma.

I have seen FMJ's act the same as an ice pick, right through with little tissue damage and more important no impact on the "target" to slow the "target" down or stop the "target.".

There is NO magic bullet.

Every miss has an unintended victim attached to it. So the two go together. I know you have heard the saying that "you cannot miss fast enough" or "a slow hit beats a 10 fast misses anyday."

From watching others and my own personal experience, I would recommend to practice regularly and carry a round designed for its intended purpose.

Hope this helps. Just some thoughts.

October 5, 2007, 10:46 AM
Plenty of folks have been killed in war and in peacetime with FMJs before hollowpoints were ever in vogue.

sm has it about right - shot placement and Lady Luck are all you can count on when the chips are down, no matter the round or caliber used. If you fire and the threat keeps comin' - well, that's why man invented the repeating firearm.

If the time ever comes I need one, I'm going to be a lot more concerned about getting ahold of a gun - any gun - fast than what said gun is stoked with; more concerned with rounds on target than what those rounds may be.

Whether I have a super-duper Magnum loaded with hollowpoints or a .380 with FMJs, my ability to put accurate fire on the bad guy before the bad guy puts accurate fire on me is the most integral factor to my going home with all my vital signs intact.

sm has another saying - software, not hardware.

October 5, 2007, 11:02 AM
I use hollowpoints, but not expensive. I reload. The only gun I'd carry FMJ in might be a .32. Even in .380, I'm more comfortable with a 90 grain Hornady XTP JHP. I want tissue destruction. I wouldn't THINK about hunting with FMJ, why should I bet my life on one?

The Bushmaster
October 5, 2007, 11:34 AM
Federal Hydra-Shoks...This what the sherrif uses in my county and I fugure if it's good enough for him it's good enough for me and it will help to keep me out of trouble it the SHTF...

October 5, 2007, 11:37 AM
I practice with FMJ but have either Speer Gold Dot or Federal Hydra Shok for SD.

October 5, 2007, 11:38 AM
9mm, Remington 115gr JHP, WalMart valu-pak. Works well.
38Spl, Winchester +p 158gr LSWCHP. Excellent stuff, but very pricey.
I reload all practice ammo.

October 5, 2007, 11:50 AM
my S&W 642, S&W 64, Ruger GP100, and Marlin 1894C get fed with Winchester WWB Personal Defense 125 gr sjhp .38 spl +p for home defense/ccw; my Ruger GP100 gets CCI Blazer 158 gr jhp .357 magnum when wearing around the hunting camp; my Marlin 1894C gets Federal American Eagle 158 gr sp .357 magnum for camp defense and ?deer hunting?; my Ruger GP100 gets Federal American Eagle 158 gr sp .357 magnum when worn during deer hunting season; I will get the Remington UMC 125 gr jhp .38 spl +p when the Winchester stuff isn't available

my dad's S&W 642 & 686 get Winchester WWB Personal Defense 125 gr jhp .38 spl +p for home defense/ccw;

addendum: new toy and ammo combos...

Uberti Cattleman 'Hombre' .45LC 1873 Colt SAA replica gets fed with CCI Blazer (aluminum case) 200 gr Gold Dot jhp .45LC for camp house/cabin defense & Winchester 'Cowboy load' 250 gr lead flat point .45LC for outdoor defense around hunting camp

once I get a stash to test & have on hand of Remington Express 225 gr lead semiwadcutter .45LC for outdoor use, I will relegate the Winchester cowboy loads to practice; the Remingtons move quicker and will transfer more energy into whatever is attacking

October 5, 2007, 11:53 AM
I use whatever I feel is best. It is your life after all. For me it either Win Ranger T or Double Tap GD

October 5, 2007, 12:04 PM
Any good hollow point that feeds 100% in my pistol. It is Speer Gold Dots in my .45 ACP right now & Winchester Rangers in my .40 S&W. It has been Golden Sabers and XTP's before. Next time it will be whatever is cheapest that I know will work in my gun and I believe to be a quailty round. :)

October 5, 2007, 12:08 PM
"penetration is Queen"

Which of course explains why 9mm ball is so impressive:rolleyes:

I don't think good quality hollowpoint ammo is that much more expensive than good quality fmj

October 5, 2007, 12:14 PM
So pretty much we have agreed that the best ammunition is the one that is there when you need it, stops the bad guy before he stops you, and feeds reliably in your pistol. Ok, makes sense.

October 5, 2007, 12:22 PM
For self defense, I like the not so fancy heavy stuff..

45ACP: 230grn WWB hardball..

9mm: 147grn WWB JHP

J-frame: Remington/Winchester 158grn+P LSWCHP.

October 5, 2007, 12:25 PM
If you want to become a "ballistic criminologist" a good reference is the NATO "Emergency War Surgery". I have the 1988 ed.

The .45 ACP ball is an icepick in soft tissue.

Tumbling bullets do more damage than ones that don't. The .45 is one of the few that don't; .357 mag SP doesn't either

Fragmenting bullets do tremendous damage

Tumbling, fragmenting bullets, e.g. M193 can cause tremendous damage for their size. I've read some debate about ranges at which the bullet tumbles but the NATO book says tumbling is always present. It states that bullet fragmentation is what does the terrible damage and that at ranges in excess of 180 meters there is no fragmentation. Most effective at 80 meters or less.

The drawing of #4 buckshot projectile path in flesh is frightening . I'm going to get some #4 buckshot for my 12 ga.

Library Guy
October 5, 2007, 12:25 PM
People worry a great deal about what a bullet does and does not do in tissue. But if youíre going to worry, there are other things to worry about first.

Reliability- The gun/ammo combo has to go bang. It has to go bang every time the trigger is pulled.

Shot placement- You have to hit the target. You have to hit it where it counts. Perhaps more than once.

Tactics- You must make sure the bad guys arenít doing the same to you or your loved ones.

If I ever master the above, Iíll start my search for the perfect bullet.

Ghost Walker
October 5, 2007, 12:37 PM
I, sometimes, carry, 'cheap hardball' in my 45; but, in addition to naughty people who might be wearing winter clothing, I've also got to worry about other things like: curious bears, loose buffaloes, and my neighbor who insists on keeping four large guard dogs inside his very small cottage. :uhoh:

October 5, 2007, 12:50 PM
I carry a .32ACP pistol, so I use FMJ for maximum penetration.

Vern Humphrey
October 5, 2007, 12:52 PM
I don't really see where expense comes into it - I buy enough of my carry load to ensure the gun is reliable and reasonably accurate, then develop a handload with cast bullets that shoots to the same point of aim. I shoot up my carry ammo a little bit at a time -- to ensure I have fresh ammo -- but it isn't a great expense.

October 5, 2007, 12:55 PM
I use hollowpoints, but not expensive ones. WWB JHPs are in mine. Silver bear for the Makarov.

October 5, 2007, 01:34 PM
I've switched over to Winchester white box 147gr. 9x19mm from Walmart. It's cheap, accurate and 100% reliable out of my Glock 19 and gets high marks from Box 'O Truth(?) for both penetration and expansion. In fact, it gets higher marks than some stuff twice the price or more.

texas bulldog
October 5, 2007, 01:55 PM
I'm really surprised that no one's mentioned any of the JHP offerings in the WWB or Remington 100 round boxes.

i'll give that a +1. i'm of the opinion that the BG won't really be able to tell the difference between WWB and corbon/speer/whatever super duper ammo. yes, i'm sure there is a marginal performance difference. but since i wouldn't want to take a WWB .357 JHP in the chest, i figure nobody else does either. same for remington UMC...whichever one is the better buy.

not saying i'll never use a more premium ammo for carry, but right now it's not a high priority.

October 5, 2007, 02:29 PM
No Disrespect Intended or Implied.

I am just a dumb Southern Boy, I am nobody, never been "anybody" and don't want to be "somebody".
All I can share are my experiences and observations. That is all I can share.

Faults? Yep, I got 'em.

-Reality is, some of this Gun stuff has been debated forever and will continue to be. In a 1955 Field & Stream magazine I have put away, the article is 6mm vs .243 I was born in '55 and this "debate" is still going on 52 years later.

-More folks are NOT being raised around Firearms and Shooting as they used to be. Areas to shoot, legislation, jurisdictions, and being honest , more single parent families - and less quality "family time" , is common now-a-days.

New Folks do not have Quality Input Sources about Guns, ammo, and other Life Matters.
Sad, but true.

Information and Sensory Input is gleaned from TV, Movies, Video Games, Magazines, and Internet.

New folks are "begging", "screaming", "hungry" for information, - that I, and others like me, ...just grew up with.

New folks, latch onto seasoned shooters and forget the marketing hype.
Seasoned Shooters, take a new person under your charge and pass it forward.

Investigate & Verify

Fact. I was either standing right there, I did these things;

-Dedicated 38spl, 158 gr LRN standard velocity.
Colt Detective Special, older one, made in ~ 1929.
Model 36, again a old one.
Two cows, put down , and DRT.

Just the way it is down down on the Ranch. Guys and Gals can tote a Small gun for "property duties" easy. Always been done, still is.

-Winchester 115 gr STHP - yes "that" ctg and bullet design.
Kel-Tec P-11, yes "that" plastic gun.

One shot, Cow went down, and ready for the next step in making steaks.

-Same Kel-Tec P-11, 115 gr CCI Blazer FMJ and again, a cow went down.

-32 cal Revolver, S&W J frame (model number escapes me) still this gun was Carried a LOT when I was coming up.
Spike was hit on the road, Sheriff Deputy arrived first, Game&Fish called and Deputy was to over see until they could arrive.
Lady - took that 32 revolver, and from 5yds placed one shot, of "RN" and Spike out of misery.

--Flip side --

This broke my/our hearts.
Golden Retriever, she had been attacked by rabid raccoons and now rabid <tears> She was neat old girl, and lots of fond memories.
Well she come around, we found her.

This is not easy, but part of the life cycle.

-Reduce load of Win 00 buck, and she kept coming. Aggressive, mean, not a normal GT.
3" 00 buck shot load, and she is still in the fight, and determined to hurt someone. We had run the kids inside, man, this was not a good thing for any of us.
She is running laterally, "Sorry babe" as I slapped the trigger on my SX1 with a Fed standard slug. Head shot, and down at about 18 steps.

-Rabid raccoons.
Glock 26 with +p 115 gr Gold Dots
Springfield 1911 with +p 230 gr Sabers.
Model 10 with "FBI Load", 158 gr LSWC HP

Raccoons, NOT down. Suckers probably did not weigh 40#'s
3 Gun shotgun, Reduce recoil Win Buckshot, and these little suckers are resilient.

Beretta Tomcat [Actually the Alleycat, with factory night sights] Win STHP load and Racoon down.
Tip up the barrel and slip a hardball Fiocchi rd in, and again, Raccoon down.

No absolutes in life.
Granted the keys were : the lady with the Beretta, knows that Beretta Alleycat.
She does not have a weak side lower arm.
She put rounds into where they would "most likely" do the deed, the most effective.

The biggest (if you will) of these raccoons) taken down by a Old Remington 514 single shot .22 rifle, iron sights, shot off hand and .22 short ammo used.

Law says one can hunt raccoons at night with ONLY .22 short , with lights. Legal.
This old boy knows that rifle , he "shines coons" and he placed that .22 short as he knows how to do. Distance about 20 steps.

No disrespect .
Just Life is Life , and some stuff does not always make sense, have any rhythm or reason .


October 5, 2007, 02:50 PM
I use the same stuff that goes bang everytime at the range and hits the target without fail .... why would I change?

Gun control is hitting what you're aiming at ...


October 5, 2007, 02:54 PM
I'd have no problem using Remington UMC JHP in my 9mm. In fact, I did that for a while before I found some Golden Sabers at a good price.

Check DoubleTap ammo for good ammo that's generally cheaper than the big brands.

October 5, 2007, 03:24 PM
When I got the .40S&W semi I was a little surprised at how little the premium stuff cost - 299.00 per case of 1,000 Fed HST, includes TT&L, freight, the whole banana.

That's not a lot higher than WWB FMJ locally with our 8-1/4% sales tax.

So I carry HSTs and practice with HSTs.

I don't have any evidence that HSTs will perform any better than FMJ but I'm betting not many will claim they're worse.

October 5, 2007, 05:03 PM
The most expensive SD ammunition I have is Federal Premium Vital Shok 00 buck with Flite Control wads and copper plated shot. At a buck and a half per shot, they are pricey but worth it. I don't spend my money on fancy-schmancy handgun ammunition.

Many of my handguns that I always keep loaded have rather mundane bullets. The two .45 ACPs have WWB 230-gr JHPs. The .38s and .357s kept for home defense always have 158-gr hard cast SWCs or 173-gr hard cast Keiths that clock around 950-1000 fps. Not very exciting, huh?

A couple of those revolvers even leave home with me on occasion and I don't change up the load they've got in them. A hard Keith bullet can put a helluva thumpin' on anything that walks if it's placed well. That's what I place my trust and confidence in. Kind of old technology, I would say.

October 5, 2007, 05:28 PM
Here in Finland self defensive guns are illegal for civilians. Hp-bullelets only for authorities. You can to have the permit with very good reason. I canīt invent any good reason for my self. ( I have .357 Hornady HP XTP because.....). Usually I use copperplatet resitzed cast bullets with my 9mm Luger and mild loads 357Rem max.

October 5, 2007, 05:40 PM
In the summer I usually load HP's, but in the winter I stagger the magazine FMJ/HP/FMJ/HP....

My reasoning is that in the winter, thick clothing may need to be penetrated, and if the HP doesn't do it, the FMJ will.

I don't use the $$$$ stuff, Plain-Jane Winchester 230gr HP or FMJ.

October 5, 2007, 06:09 PM
Assuming you have 9mm or larger, I 'd sure spend the few extra dollars on a box of jhp's to make the biggest wound you can, it might mean a difference in stopping your attacker in time or not.

October 5, 2007, 06:28 PM
Adding to my post on p.3, I even carry this load in my 2" snub.

You wanna talk about low-tech... here it is. But damn, it works; and oftentimes better than JHPs that cost a dollar apiece.

October 5, 2007, 07:05 PM

*sniff* that is just plumb beautiful ! *sniff* <wipes tear>


October 5, 2007, 08:13 PM
I have the WinClean BEB stuff in my P3AT right now. I haven't scared up any DPX yet. :D

Besides the BEB (Brass Enclosed Base) stuff has an exposed lead flat point and solid jacket everywhere else. I figured it was a good compromise since it would probably expand a bit more than an FMJ, if not as much as a HP.

Marlin 45 carbine
October 5, 2007, 08:58 PM
my .32acp pocket gun I carry all fmj Fiocchi. my .380acp and Mak I load my own - carefully - hot fmj's. My 9mm is same except for the Golden Sabre in chamber, my .45 is fmj. except for Golden Sabre chambered. My 625 is all+P Golden Sabre. I can't figure it's worth arguing about. a fmj may pass thru but it will bleed (and hurt like h#*@) coming out too.
I wish I had time to practice more. I'm doing good to shoot from a bench off a rolled-up sleeping bag rest every 2-3 months.
I figure a lot of profiency is ability to bring the pistol to bear quickly under stress and shoot accurately and likely more than 1 shot - i.e. more than 1 BG involved.
That's why I prefer a mid-sized good handling, fast shooting DA semi-auto. 9mm or 380 with the slide mounted safety. This is for close range or HD. If I was heading into danger and knew it of course take the big boys.

October 6, 2007, 12:01 AM

October 6, 2007, 12:19 AM
Originally posted by SM

*sniff* that is just plumb beautiful ! *sniff* <wipes tear>

Which... the Keiths, the DEWCs, or what I wrote? :)

October 6, 2007, 02:24 AM
Which... the Keiths, the DEWCs, or what I wrote? :)

Yes. :D

October 6, 2007, 03:21 AM
Two words: flying ashtray.

M1 Shooter
October 6, 2007, 06:47 AM
I vary my loads depending on what I'm doing and where I'm at. I live in a small rural community, so my needs differ from someone living in a city. If I'm visiting the "big city" I'll load up with whatever hollowpoints I have handy. Right now my two most carried firearms are my S&W M60 .38 Spl and my Colt Commander .45 Auto. The .38 is pretty much always loaded with 158gr LSWCHP+P no matter what. The .45 is loaded with 230gr Gold Dots in town, but out in the woods it is loaded with either standard 230gr hardball, or a handload consisting of Hornady's 230gr FMJ flat point loaded to hardball specs.

My practice loads are my own reloads. 158gr LSWC for the .38 loaded to standard pressure specs, no sense in beating up my .38 snubby with +P loads for practice, and 230gr LRN for the .45 loaded to duplicate factory hardball ballistics.

October 6, 2007, 09:41 AM
I keep hardball in my Colt 45 and in my G32

October 6, 2007, 09:51 AM
I keep 230g fmj in mine.

October 6, 2007, 10:30 AM
I've been on the range when this timeless and futile debate has come up.

I generally ask one question that silences most participants after they make their preferences known, and state that placement is the key (which of course IS true):


If they say yes, can they prove it?

Sadly, most folks ain't got a clue where different loads shoot to in their favorite SD handguns.

Heck . . . most of 'em out at the range aren't even aware that different loads, bullet weights and makes of the same size weight bullets shoot to different points.

THE MOST BALLYHOOED "SUPER ROUND" AIN'T WORTH A CRAP IF YOU DON'T POSITIVELY KNOW WHERE THE BULLET IS GOING TO HIT AT A SPECIFIC DISTANCE!" . . . this fact . . . and the ability to put that bullet right on target with speed and consistency.

A thug in Atlanta found that out Thursday night after an armed robbery . . . at the end of a high speed chase on I-285 that risked the lives of myself and many others unfortunate to be in that area. Folks that don't know where their bullets are going are at an extreme disadvantage in a stand-up gun fight . . . when facing a person who does.

One less thug who thinks nothing of others is off the street . . . killed with a head shot from a cop who knew how to place his bullet.

October 6, 2007, 10:45 AM
I'm comfortable with my practice loads in .45 ACP, .45 Auto RIm,
.400 CorBon, and .357 Magnum because they are all loaded to similiar
velocities in comparison to more expensive JHPs or other bullets using
Leadhead hard cast SWC bullets The Point Of Aim ( P.O.A.),
and recoil is similiar so there's no adjustment between practice/plinking
vs Defense/Hunting loads.

A full Metal jacket will slip through tissue. Elmer Keith's cast bullet
designs for the most part he settled on the Semi-Wadcutter (SWC) since
jacketed Soft Points or Hollow Points didn't exist as he was
developing his heavy loads in .44 Special, .45 Colt and other cartridges.
The SWC has a truncated cone as it extends out of the case mouth. At
the case mouth his designs has the cone that enlarges as it gains size
toward the case mouth, has a ledge that is perpendicular to the
axis of the center of the bullet. He called this a 'Cutting Edge' in that
when it travels through tissue it doesn't slip through but it cuts tissue
incurring much more damage than a Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) Indeed,
Jeff Cooper in the 1970s when faced with inconsistence performance of
JHPS in the 1970s also settled on a SWC with a 200 gr. weight at
1,000 FPS as a load for his beloved .45 ACP in the 1911.

Leadhead makes SWC with the Trncated Cone and cutting ledge
in the folllowing calibers and bullet weights which happen to be a
good all-around weight for each respective cartridge.

.357 Magnum 158 gr.
.40/10MM 155 gr.
.45 ACP/AR 200 gr.

and they are approx 6.5-7-5 cents each and that's
at least 10 cents in cost less than high perf. JHPs.

In the S & W Revolver in .45 ACP since it has such
narrowand shallow rifling I have purchased the Hornady
200 gr. Truncated Cone FMJ bullets because they get
better accuracy than the Leadhead 200 gr. SWCs. Of
course these will be loaded to similiar velocity. An
alternative practice round through necessity in sarch of
what works in the 625 vs the S&W 1911 I shoot.


October 6, 2007, 11:12 AM
My dept issues .45ACP 230gr Gold Dots, I choose to carry a 357sig and I load it with 125gr Gold Dots. I carry Gold Dots in my off-duty and BUGs as well - .44spl 200gr, 9mm 124gr short barrel. The only odd one is my .380, it is loaded with Triton 95gr +p JHP.

I practice with less expensive ball or lead ammo.

October 6, 2007, 11:43 AM
For range time I use what ever I can get the cheapest weather it is lead or platted bullets. For carry and HD ammo. I use Speer Gold dots.

The only reason I do this is liability. If you shoot someone with a hand load they can and will make you look like you were out to kill someone Effin lawyers. So If you have factory ammo it might look a little better.

October 6, 2007, 01:20 PM
Fiocchi or S&B 115grs FMJs for my HD G17.

October 6, 2007, 03:28 PM
.32 hardball
.45 Hardball or HP

October 6, 2007, 03:41 PM
alternate hardball and hollow points because you can.

October 6, 2007, 08:37 PM
I try to buy a decent box of defensive rounds for each pistol i own, but i'd be lying if i said thats what they were loaded with. Often times, they have my practice ammo/reloads in them. It's a habit i should probably break- but im being realistic. Sure i have some Starfire 230gr nasty JHP for the 45, even have a small box of GD and GS too, but whats in it is 230gr Lead truncated cone bullets cast out of straight wheel weights with a stout charge of unique, cause thats what i shoot the most :/

October 6, 2007, 08:57 PM
My 1911 is finicky about feeding HPs sometimes so it just has some WWB RN.

October 6, 2007, 10:30 PM
Beating a dead horse. Good one!

Glad to see that I am not the only one who uses whatever might be handy.

Hollowpoint isn't much good if you don't hit with it. That's why I have a Mosin-Nagant M44 handy. That bayonet on it is just wonderful for home defense! :evil: :D :neener:

The Doc is out now. :cool:

October 7, 2007, 12:04 AM
Cabela's 158gr lswc 38sp in my 642. I like to carry what I practice with. I have found this ammo to be accurate and have never had a FTF with it so I would say it's dependable.:cool:

Mat, not doormat
October 7, 2007, 04:25 AM
For a long time, I kept meaning to buy enough fancy superbullets to make a proper test in my gun. You know, make sure they work, make sure they hit where they're supposed to, that sort of thing. Really, I did.

Then I started to think, on several levels. I've got 4 1911s that I rotate through for carry. The 1911 platform isn't exactly known for being the best in the world at digesting hollowpoints. That indicates to me, that if I'm gonna carry the things, that I had better make damn sure that they work. It's usually recommended to test any given gun/ammo combo for between 200 and 500 rounds. Extend that to 4 pistols, and you've got 800 to two thousand rounds of "premium self defense," ammo. Last time I looked at the stuff, it was about a buck a round. Two grand for test ammo? When hardball's been doing the job for 96 years? When soft lead's been doing it for 500 years? I think I've got better things to worry about with my two grand.

On another level, I've started rebelling against all the money the gun industry seems to want me to give them. I mean, crikey, I spend a fair amount on guns and ammo, to begin with. But now, they're not content with selling me guns and ammo, and reloading gear, and components. They want to sell me overpriced, useless junk, too. Super ammo, that might not even work as well as ball. Collapsible stocks, that even fully extended are too damn short. What good does that do? Ultra compact new fangled "carry," guns, that are harder to shoot than anything, and not that much easier to carry. Safety devices that foul up the trigger pull.

Oh heck, the list is far too long. Suffice to say, I'll keep my money for as much of the cheapest ammo I can create, so that I can afford to shoot, a lot. That's your best bet, anyhow. You can't buy skill, as much as the gun rags try to tell you otherwise.


Koos Custodiet
October 7, 2007, 05:41 AM

S&Wfan, I agree with what you're saying.


Your laws might differ from state to state, but I do believe the following is generally as true there as it is here. If I shoot a bad guy at any kind of distance where I have to worry about the inch-at-ten-yards difference between where my revolver shoots 158 grain reloads and where my revolver shoots 125gr XTPs, I'm in a lot of trouble.

Basically what I'm saying is that if I end up shooting a BG at more than about ten paces (and I know that ten paces is *very* much too close) I will have a hard time defending my actions in court. And at these kind of distances, different ammo doesn't make that much of a difference...

But as I said, everything you said is true and needs to be considered.

October 7, 2007, 07:45 AM
In rounds like the 9mm, S&W .40, or the .357, I carry the super duper hollow points for defense and ran enough through the guns to make sure they function with said loads. But these rounds have enough velocity to expand fairly reliably. When it comes to my .380 bug or the .45acp, I don't think that they have the velocity to expand reliably and don't worry about hollow points in them.

October 7, 2007, 07:58 AM
I use mostly JHP's in my revolvers and 9mm auto's but I load my Keltec with .380 FMJ. I want reliability and penetration VS iffy expansion.

Combat Controller
October 7, 2007, 03:51 PM
I carry heavy guns for this reason, 10mm, .357, etc. I want to have penetration, and I know I am going to get it. Now, after I have it, I want that sucker to stop. In a .45 I think ball is actually ok, but I carry 200 gr Federal Expanding Jacketed. It feeds in every .45 I own and hits at the same point of aim as my 200 gr handloads. If in the wild, I want a different load, as I will have different requirements, but if I use my .44 mag on anything less than a beefy bruin I am sure it will drop it as well, even if the 300 gr bullet goes right through.

Shot placement is key, but mocking those who use premium ammo is counter productive. First rule is bring a gun, second should be bring enough gun. That dog I shot with six 9mm Winchester Silver Tips and kept running, (that I never found) teaches me that sometimes even six body shots with HP won't do the trick, and FMJ probably would have done even less. I feel that if I had a .357 that day, that dog might have not made it's escape. I am sure it died, but it also suffered.

October 7, 2007, 11:00 PM
Posted by Combat Controller
Shot placement is key. That dog I shot with six 9mm Winchester Silver Tips and kept running, (that I never found) teaches me that sometimes even six body shots with HP won't do the trick

My experience with threatening dogs has been that it is incredibly hard to make CNS hits that immediately stops a vicious dog. If you made several good hits that stopped the dog from further attacking, then you did very well.

Mind you, I am a total dog lover and I hate when it comes to dispatching one. Two dogs sleep within arms reach of me every night so I won't ever go bragging about having to shoot a marauding dog.

But I have done so, though it was not pleasant in the least. When a vicious dog is bobbing and weaving with teeth bared it is pure luck that you can hit one square enough with a handgun to make it count.

October 7, 2007, 11:54 PM
I use FMJ's.

Combat Controller
October 8, 2007, 03:00 AM
I love my dogs too. This one was a vicious wolf hybrid that was feral and on my property in the country. I am thankful that it didn't bite my face off first. The whole story is off topic here, so I will refrain from too many details, but my first shot missed, I had a malf, and was lucky to get back on target and in business when it attacked anyway. Ever since then I have carried enough gun.

Combat Controller
October 8, 2007, 03:01 AM
oops double post...

October 8, 2007, 03:51 AM
havent any of you seen that show on the discovery channel that had a woman that surved THREE .38 bullets to the head, then called 911 and stayed awake the entire time? im willing to bet those bullets werent hollowpoints

Combat Controller
October 8, 2007, 04:06 AM
When I was a kid a woman received seven .45 ACP's to the head from her rapist. She woke up, went to the hospital and later testified. All of them hit her skull and stopped or went around to the back of her head.

You never know what will happen.

October 8, 2007, 02:23 PM
I run remington 115 grain HP's in 2 magazines for my nightstand gun. They are cheap to practice with and I feel if they will do the job. if twenty one rounds wont take them down, I am not betting on super duper ammo doing that much better.

October 8, 2007, 03:29 PM
In my glock I use god dots. It doesn't like cast lead. I don't carry this much.

In all of my revolvers, I use a hard cast WFN 158 grain bullet. It clocks 800 fps from my j-frame.

The load for my 357 pushes this same slug at 1300 from my Ruger speed six and 1450 fps from my six inch Model 19. The same load I have hunted with for years.

I will not worry about what lawyers will try to say about the ammo I use. There has never been a documented case where the bullet used was an issue.

It is either a justified shoot or it isn't. My bullet will not be recovered on the scene anyway. They go all the way through and keep going.

October 9, 2007, 03:14 AM
I've been told so many times to go out and buy those $15 20 round packs of "Defensive Ammo" like Hornady, etc, etc. I bought one box and realized I could never afford to run enough through my pistol to be sure it would always work. I also cringed every time I emptied the carry mag when going to the range.

Now I shoot Winchester White Box FMJ ($15/100) for practice and WWB JHP ($13/50) for practice and carrry. I've shot thousands of rounds of it. Instead of 80 cents/round, I pay 20 cents/round and am 5 times more confident in my ammo. Go for cheap, reliable JHP.

Ragnar Danneskjold
October 9, 2007, 04:30 AM
I also have been meaning to buy enough hydrashocks to test out my Walther with them, but they are just too damn expensive. I have been running hundreds of Magtech FMJs with the flat heads though. I figure a round, though of a substandard design, that I can shoot a whole bunch of and know it works, is better than buying 20-40 superbullets and hoping I don't get a jam.

Elm Creek Smith
October 11, 2007, 10:55 PM
It is either a justified shoot or it isn't.

Generally true.

My bullet will not be recovered on the scene anyway. They go all the way through and keep going.

Problem. Target focus in serious social situation may keep you from seeing someone behind your target. I don't need a "twofer."

The M13 is loaded with Remington 125 grain SJHP .357 Magnums from the Wal*Mart 100 round boxes. The Taurus 85UL is loaded with Winchester 125 grain STHP .38 Special +P. The KelTec P32 is loaded with Wolf 71 grain JHP brass-cased .32 Auto. I shoot enough of them to know where they hit (out to 100 yards with the .357 and the .38. I've never shot the .32 past 25 yards.

Plinking is pretty much what I have on hand.


October 12, 2007, 12:22 AM
Perhaps I have already answered this - I'll go back and re-read
the responses after saying what I use:

In the mid to late 1970s JEff cooper didn't trust the hollowpoints
of that era for the .45 ACP in the 1911. He liked the .45 ACP in a
200 gr. load. He had choices of a SWC cast or Hornady also had a
Truncated ( simililiar flat point tapered cone ) FMJ in 200 gr. at 1,000
FPS. Today I buy Starline brass, and Leadhead hard cast 200 gr.
SWC and load them to 1,025 FPS. I also buy Hornady XTP JHP and just found out CCI/Speer Gold Dot are avial. in 200 gr. I will have them loaded to
1,000 FPS> THe P.O.A. will be nearly identical but the cast bullets will be at least 10 cents ceaper per round and I don't have to adjust for
poofter practice loads.


I do the same in .357 Mag. and .400 Cor-Bon.

and I feel secure having the pracrtice rounds as
good stuff to grab if I'm in a hurry

Going cheap is a dangerous false economy when it

October 12, 2007, 09:04 AM
What's the big deal? You guys say you're more worried about accuracy, tactics, yadda, yadda. You can't train/practice and find a good load at the same time? Modern generation calls it "multitasking", but really, you don't have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time to find a decent hollowpoint load. All it takes is a little range testing. Is range time so precious that you can't go out there a few times with a chronograph and a target and test loads for accuracy and velocity? Some even test in wet newsprint and such, but me, I just rely on a good hollowpoint and if it DON'T open up, I know it'll be no worse than a FMJ anyway.

My hollowpoint loads function, shoot to point of aim, are accurate, I see to that with judicious reloading and testing of loads. I get maximum energy and maximum accuracy from a good load. 6.5 grains of Unique behind a 115 grain Hornady XTP/JHP in 9mm produces 410 ft lbs from a 3" barrel, is 3.5 " at 25 yards accurate from a Kel Tec P11, and shoots dead to point of aim with 100 percent reliability, trust me, I know this. I shoot the flying ashtray in .45ACP, got a target I can post AGAIN if you want, dead on at 25 and a little over 1 inch for five shots from a Ruger P90 and Rugers don't jam. I have fired about 500 rounds of this stuff trouble free in the Ruger. Actually, I've never had that Ruger cough. It's so reliable, it's scary. I've fired a lot of matches with it, never had a cough.

Now, in my revolvers, I've never had a FTF or FTE. I test for accuracy and performance and that's it. I shoot a lot of cast bullets for practice because they're free and shoot quality hollowpoints that work in my guns for carry. Didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what I wanted and, hey, I quite enjoy the process, one of the fun things about handloading. I guess it carries over from my hunting rifles, looking for 1 moa groups and power for deer hunting, elk hunting, whatever. I don't want to lose deer, so I shoot expanding bullets like Nosler BTs and Sierra Game Kings and Barnes X bullets in my hunting rifles. Hunting with FMJ is folly, regardless of what the army uses. You will lose game if you do and the game will suffer before it finally expires, not very sportsmanlike. Now, I don't care to be sportsmanlike to a bad guy, but I do want to stop him in less than 48 hours.

In the mid to late 1970s JEff cooper didn't trust the hollowpoints
of that era for the .45 ACP in the 1911.

I really don't care about Cooper's opinion, but to say that 1911s ain't the most reliable guns on the planet. I had two and got rid of one, one got stolen and I really don't miss it. Neither were reliable with much else, but ball. There are better guns now days, but I won't own a gun that ain't reliable with more than ball, it ain't happening, one of the reasons I like Rugers so much.

October 12, 2007, 10:48 AM
....124 gr +P in my G19.

But for along time I carried WWB JHP 115gr rounds, based on some pretty decent wetpack tests I saw on these bargain basement rounds.

Not sure why I stepped up, figured I just wanted an edge. Plus they run flawlessly in my G19 (does ANYTHING not run well in a Glock :D?)

October 12, 2007, 10:58 AM
Just plain ol' hardball 230RN for the 45 and 95's for the .380.

October 12, 2007, 02:55 PM
sorry if this repeats an earlier post, but I came in late and don't want to read all 5 pages.

A friend is a rural cop who carries FMJ in his off duty weapon as his concern is more along the lines of a BG coming at him in a car. Mas Ayoob made a comment on "guntalk" the other week, where he mentioned the scenario and accurately compared the capacity for destruction in a 3000 lb automobile to that of the ammo carried by even several officers (i.e. cars can be really much more dangerous than a handgun in certain scenarios). He didn't get into a discussion of how to deal with that, but I mention it as it fits with my friend's threat analysis for his particular situation.

the above may not apply for most people, but is an interesting scenario to contemplate.

October 15, 2007, 01:39 PM
I like the guy who told me he used hollow base 148 grain wadcutters loaded backwards in his .38. Supposedly made a heck of a hollowpoint.

Vern Humphrey
October 15, 2007, 01:58 PM
It worked for me in the Colt M357 I took to Viet Nam in '66 -- but in those days, there really were no factory loads beyond solids.

October 15, 2007, 02:01 PM
Vern, you cheated and used "dumb, dumb" bullets???? :D

Vern Humphrey
October 15, 2007, 02:05 PM
Dum-dum bullets, originally developed at Dum-dum Arsenal in India by Captain Bertie Davies around 1890, are jacketed soft points. The reversed hollow-based wadcutters I used would be called hollow points today.

I wonder why someone doesn't make a swaged hollowbase with a gas check on the "nose?"

October 15, 2007, 04:56 PM
depends on type of SD:

out and about and worrying about the 2 legged predator, it's JHP (usually federal hydrashoks... not saying they're the best but they feed 100% reliable in all my guns. don't fix a good thing...)

out and about in the woods (hiking, camping, etc), usually swap the mag for one with FMJ for some of the more tenacious 4 legged beasties. still keep the JHP in the pipe (more outta laziness, i guess) but FMJ after that for increased penetration. (less concerned about overpenetration in woods, too)

As discussed, probably a moot point with good placement.

October 15, 2007, 05:03 PM
When I was a poor college student, sometimes all I had was 45 ACP hardball. You don't have to use expensive hollow points.

October 15, 2007, 05:10 PM
Yep, any ole hard ball will do the job.........

MS .45
October 15, 2007, 05:18 PM
For defense I use mainly hardball in my 1911, Goldensaber in my 9mm and Gold Dots in my .40.

Vern Humphrey
October 15, 2007, 06:17 PM
For defense I use Hydra-shoks in my .45. As mentioned by an earlier poster, they feed as well as hardball and work well. In my Colt DS, I usually carry Winchester 130-grain hollowpoints.

Out and about in the woods, when I'm not carrying a .22 pistol, I carry a revolver -- often a .45 Colt -- and always with cast bullets.

Dave in PA
October 15, 2007, 06:47 PM
Here's my list, different tools and whatnot:

Pocket 22-currently Stingers
380-Winchester Silver Tips
9mm-Winchester Silver Tips or Fed Hydra Shoks in gun, FMJ in spare mag
357 Mag-158 Gr HP
45- Fed Hydra Shoks in gun, FMJ in spare mag
12 Ga-1st shell, #6 field load, remaining, buckshot
m1 carbine-JSP

Never had to draw a weapon except for practice/competition, I had to work on a tractor trailer in a seedy part of town near some dockyards once and was not too discreet about my shoulder holster. The small, growing group of interested 'locals' took note and decided to hang out elsewhere.

I carry a different gun depending on what I am wearing and where I am going.

October 15, 2007, 07:00 PM
can you reallyput a price on your life??? buy good jhps

October 15, 2007, 08:12 PM
I just read every page...and have come to the conclusion that opinions truly are like a-holes....we all have one. I think I'll stick with what I know works in my gun and I suggest you all find out what works in yours and use it.

ken B
October 15, 2007, 09:24 PM
not exactly premium ammo, but Winchester makes hollowpoints in their White Box line...

my 4506 has 230 grain HPs
wifes M64 has 158 +p HP semi-wadcutter
5906 has 147gr JHP

bought a box of 50 rounds for something around $20 each box give or take...and when we were at the range, we shot 30 or so rounds and kept the rest for house loads.

i buy a box of each every year, 'requalify' and shoot up the old and replace

guess I'm too complicated!:neener:

Pat Yates
October 15, 2007, 09:35 PM
Hi All,

Interesting thread. I'm a brand new member, but a longtime lurker. From reading all the prior posts, I think my situation is similar to many of the earlier posters, but some of my solutions are a bit different than those described so far.

For personal defense against two-legged predators or the rare encounter with a feral dog while mountain biking in the desert mountains around me, Iím content with Federalís Expanding Full Metal Jacket ammo in either a 9mm Kahr P9 or a .45 LW Commander. In my guns these feed as reliably as hardball (that is, perfectly), expand about like a hollow point in tissue, and to most people who might see them, theyíre just another FMJ.

When hiking in the Sierras near where I live, I usually carry an SP-101 3Ē with Rem 158 gr semi-jacketed HPs since a mountain lion, or smaller black bear will sometimes want to share ďmyĒ trail for a bit. For what it is worth, with well over a dozen such encounters, most of them quite close, over my fifty-plus years of woods and mountain hiking and biking, Iíve never fired a shot in these situations.

I also hike in Wyoming where Iíve gotten way too close to very large brown bears and moose. In the past Iíve carried a Ruger Alaskan in .454 Casull, in an Alaska Sportsman chest holster, or a 4 ĺĒ Super Blackhawk in .44 Mag in the same rig, Under a loose-fitting shirt it's not blatantly obvious, but for me, it still isn't a tolerable way yet to carry either while backpacking in warm weather. Plus with a full cylinder either is just way too heavy for mountain hiking, for me anyway. So Iím about to take delivery on a S&W 329PD in .44 Mag which will ride in the same chest rig, at least initially.

In the .454s and .44 Mags, for defensive use I load Belt Mountainís ďPunchĒ bullets in 320 gr and 300 gr, respectively, both loaded at the upper end of the recommended ranges for bullets of similar weight. Against something thatís very big, very close and offering to do me serious harm, I donít want expansion of the bullet at all. I want it to penetrate as much muscle as required, in as straight a line as possible, and shatter major bones and penetrate to the CNS if I can do my part in getting it there. Anything less than immediate disruption of the CNS or structural immobilization is going leave me very flat at best.

For those not familiar with it, the Punch bullet is a lead filled, thick-walled machined brass projectile of very robust design, with a wide flat nose with a sharp corner at the edge. That sharp corner is important in minimizing the tendency of any projectile to be deflected on striking a hard surface like a bearís skull or shoulder bones when impacting at an angle. These bullets are a work of art, and unfortunately, priced accordingly. So I practice with less jewel-like, but more affordable cast bullets loaded to the same points of impact.


October 15, 2007, 09:55 PM
Good hollowpoints don't have to be expensive. I have found Federal, Remington, Winchester, Blazer and even Israeli made IMI hollowpoints at reasonable prices. I don't buy the top of the line cartridges for $25/20 round boxes. I think what I have works fine, and you can actually afford to practice with your hollow point ammo.

October 15, 2007, 10:27 PM
Bedside S&W Model 586 is loaded with non-premium hollow-points, (sometimes Federal, sometimes Winchester, sometimes Remington) - it's not many steps to the Mossberg Pump...........

October 16, 2007, 12:04 AM
With all of the good, proven, updated ammo designs available now it's a wonder to me why folks around here would choose second best defensive ammo with which to protect their family & loved ones.

Hydra-Shok's are a 20 year old design - this isn't the 80's anymore, and there are much better ammo choices available for not much more than bulk ammo, like Federal HST, or Winchester Ranger T [updated Black Talons], that wont clog with clothing, and have earned a reputation among law enforcement agencies using the ammo in question as an effective round against badguys.

A box of 50 .45ACP costs around $18-20

If IT ever hits the fan i want all of the advantages that i can possibly get!

October 16, 2007, 01:59 AM
My "combat advisor" suggests nothing but FMJ's for 2 reasons. First example given is that if you miss and you wing an innocent person, you put a little hole in their arm instead of blowing off their arm. Second reason is that a FMJ has a better chance of penetrating a car door than a HP.

Not one to simply do what people tell me (although I do trust my "combat advisor" as much as I trust my ma and pa), I choose to roll with FMJ because FMJ's have fed every single time with zero jams in my weapons, whereas the HP's have not.


October 16, 2007, 02:11 AM
I know a few that use ball & semi wadcutters instead of JHPs. In the right platform these make good choices ;)

October 16, 2007, 02:22 AM
I use cast 9mm. My gun chambers it better than fmj and it hopefully won't over-penetrate as much as fmj and will hopefully fragment and/or expand in any bad guys.

October 16, 2007, 01:02 PM
FMJ in my Baby Eagle, with occasional non-premium HP. I'm still feeling out the proper HP for this pistol so I tend to shoot what I have on hand. I have more suitable defense ammunition for my S&W 67 but, as much as I try, I just don't shoot it as well as my Baby Eagle.

The FMJ is accurate and sure feeding from all 4 magazines so it will stay in the lineup regardless of what HP I decide on.

October 16, 2007, 01:12 PM
In .45, I use Ranger SXT 230 +Ps, but would be using plain-jane WWB JHPs if they were accutate enough in my gun. For some reason, both WWB FMJs and the SXTs shoot to the same point of impact at 25 yards, and both group 2 1/2 to 4" depending on my shooting on that day.

In .380, it's WWB FMJs. I wish I felt comfortable with an expanding bullet, but the penetration is just too wimpy to bet your life on.

October 16, 2007, 02:36 PM
I like Speer Gold Dot, Remington Golden Saber, Hornady XTP, Corbon DPX and Winchester Ranger depending on the caliber, the gun and the prices I can get at the moment. Overall, I think Speer Gold Dots offer the best bang for the buck.

October 16, 2007, 03:26 PM
it's not that expensive if you search,most of the SD ammo I use is $20 per box of 50 for LE surplus.I've also found remmie golden sabers fairly cheap. and have good prices

October 16, 2007, 04:18 PM
I've been around here a while and been in Internet chat groups for many years and all I can say is WOW!

This has been an amazing thread and I have read every word of it. Very little of the typical soap boxing one sees so often in any highly debatable topic. (eg: reloads for SD, HP vs JHP, evean talk of lead through Glocks with no scolding to follow :what: ).

Not that anyone will give a rats a** but I'm proud of you all.

With that said:

In 40 & 45 I typically buy the best HP's I can afford to shoot a lot of for testing. The last 2 boxes are kept for carry.

I am getting ready to load up 1000 230g Hornady XTP's for SD carry in my 45's.

38 & 357's get high end JHP's and enough shooting to test accuracy. I have a few hundred Winchester SJHP bullets I plan to roll into some 357's when I get around to it.

9mm pistols get higher end JHP's at the top of the mag followed by 6-8 WWB's for penetration if extra shots are needed. I may increase that amount in the winter.

My home defense carbine (CX4) is loaded with 9mm +P RNFP mil-surp frangible's (21 of them).

.32 ACP is strictly WWB FMJ's.

I've also been meaning to experiment with some HBWC's flipped over for my 38/357's, just have not gotten around to it and there's a case of 9mm CCI Blazer Aluminum's in JHP that have been waiting to be tested.

So I guess I may be the craziest bastard in this thread as I don't know which end is coming or going.

October 16, 2007, 05:13 PM
First example given is that if you miss and you wing an innocent person, you put a little hole in their arm instead of blowing off their arm. Second reason is that a FMJ has a better chance of penetrating a car door than a HP.

#1 Don't hit innocents

#2 I ain't going to be shooting through cars in any self defense scenario I can think of that's arguable in court.

If you are law enforcement, you might wanna worry about shooting through cars, though I doubt it. The civilian, though, well, I'm interested in stopping an attacker at close range ASAP.

Combat Controller
October 16, 2007, 05:28 PM
Not to put a too fine point on it, but cops are civilians too. We need to correct the mentality that cops are a special class of citizen. As long as the UCMJ is not applied, a civilian they will remain. Fellow citizens as it were.


Jim March
October 20, 2007, 12:25 AM
OK. I haven't heard enough of "it depends on caliber and gun" and I think those factors matter.

Mouseguns: in 22LR, 22Mag and 32ACP, ALL you can hope for is penetration. But in some of these (22Mag in particular) the rounds with the most energy are hollowpoints (CCI Maximag +V/+V-TNT). Where hot hardballs are available (some of the Euro-spec 32ACP is damned hot) you're better off that way. You MUST nail something really important with these calibers to have an effect - some people refer to them as "noseguns" and talk and screwing the barrel right up a goblin's nostril before firing.

"Barely adequate": in 38Spl (esp. from a snubbie), 32Magnum, 9x18Makarov and 380ACP, you can now start to do damage to soft tissues that will have an effect even without a central nervous system hit - in other words, we're approaching "real gun" horsepower. It's even possible to stop a charging dog with this stuff. But in this power range, ammo performance MATTERS. A LOT. Carry the best stuff you can find. In 32Mag, the Georgia Arms 100gr JHP looks good.

In 38+P there's about five rounds I trust: Remmie 158+P lead hollowpoint, Gold Dot 135+P, Winchester Supreme 130+P (weakest of the "adequate" 38s), any of the Gold Dot 125+Ps by Speer or others (second weakest), both of the Buffalo Bore +Ps (158/125 in strong guns only) and at least the 158 standard pressure BuffBore. The 125gr standard pressure BuffBore is also in the running for those recoil-shy. Oh yeah, and most of the Cor-Bon 38+Ps in strong guns only.

That's not a huge list.

9mm: Again I recommend "good stuff". I'm not a semi-auto guy and haven't kept up with the latest. Gold Dot 124gr would be a place to start.

357: Now we've got enough energy on tap that *most* decent hollowpoints will work. You can be a lot less picky...Winchester Silvertips do just fine, fr'instance. Only time to get "picky" is if you're defending against dangerous animals (hot hardcast) or if you want to drop power levels to near 38+P territory with the Remmie Golden Saber or the Speer 135gr 357 "short barrel specialty load".

40S&W: again, most decent hollowpoints work.

45ACP: hardball works fairly well, but I'd still recommend a decent hollowpoint.


So what are MY guns loaded with?

My Charter Undercover 38 is doing "bedside duty" stoked with Speer 135+Ps, mainly because that's what I have on hand.

My carry gun right now is my New Vaq, 357mag, 4.68" tube. The first two rounds are Winchester 158+P plain lead hollowpoints. These are similar to the Remmie but a harder lead compound - they're no good in snubs but work OK out of a 4" or more barrel. They're also very accurate. These are "first at bat" on the assumption that they're unlikely to over-penetrate in an urban area.

I then assume that after the first two shots, bystanders have ducked, so I start flinging the next four: Doubletap 125gr Gold Dots doing over 1,600fps, around 800ft/lbs of "care enough to send the very best". These are freakin' hardcore :).

October 20, 2007, 01:25 AM
"Plenty of folks have been killed in war and in peacetime with FMJs before hollowpoints were ever in vogue."

When people say this, they neglect to mention WHEN that person died. What were the wound circumstances? Has any statistical work been done to catalog that bullet's performance, wound(s) caused, and the result of those wounds? What was the average time from hit to stop? Hit to stop to death?

Did their attack stop immediately? Or did they continue for awhile? Was it just a shooting injury that became infected and they died from complications from infection?

Of course all this applies to all bullets. However, to say the above and use it as a "proof" is a bit misleading and oversimplifies the answer to the question. It neglects to take into account changes in bullet design and construction.

October 20, 2007, 10:40 AM
The military is restricted to FMJ by the rules of war. I'm not. I don't use FMJ to hunt deer, sure ain't going to use it to stop attackers. The only reason I use SWCs in hunting with handguns (other than my .30-30 contender, I use Nosler BTs) is to assure enough penetration. That's not a problem in humans with a major caliber.

October 20, 2007, 10:41 AM
The military is restricted to FMJ by the rules of war.
Our military isn't.

October 20, 2007, 11:33 AM
there are no magic bullets (Oswald used them all up)
A expanding HP round will not always expand or stop an attacker.

There are a few important factors when considering your defensive ammo assuming you already have the gun.
1. Use whatever your gun feeds and ejects reliably if it won't shoot HP well try FMJ or cast, etc.
2. Use the most powerful round you can; for a 9mm try 124grains instead of 115grains.

That's it, the rest is practice and carry more than you think you'll need.

October 20, 2007, 01:13 PM
Nope, I shoot inexpensive hollowpoint reloaded ammunition.

October 20, 2007, 01:25 PM
Two Pistol Packer at thinks alot of the Winchester White Box "Personal Protection" 115 grn. JHPs. They have expanded well in his "wetpack" tests. Some Wally Worlds carry them at reasonable prices. I wrote the manager of mine 'cause they were only stocking the 147 grns and some autoloaders won't cycle those reliably, they are actually bigger than the 9mm Luger specs.
I have a box of Speer Gold Dots but at a buck a bullett I simply can't afford to practice with them. So I'm going to try the White Box and see if it's reliable in my Sigma, which has a much better trigger pull then everyone here seems to think.

October 20, 2007, 02:09 PM
there are no magic bullets (Oswald used them all up)
A expanding HP round will not always expand or stop an attacker.

A hollow point might not always expand, but a FMJ never will. What's the worst case senario with a hollow point, it'll perform like a FMJ???? Now, reliability isn't an issue in revolvers and if you're using a decent gun and not a 1911. Prove your ammo in your gun. I don't even worry about my P90 Ruger. I already know there ain't a load it's not 100 percent with, but I'd test it anyway first before carrying new ammo.

2. Use the most powerful round you can; for a 9mm try 124grains instead of 115grains.

Nah, 115 is my favorite. 1260 fps out of a 3" barrel. That expands hollow points. I shoot the Hornady XTP 115 JHP in 9. The faster it moves, the more sure it will expand, generally speaking. I HATE 147 grain 9mms, overpenetrating, slow, low energy. My 9s work with 115s just fine. My Ruger P85 is sorta like my P90, works with anything. I actually still shoot the flying ashtray in that P90, has NEVER jammed in all those rounds and all these years.

October 20, 2007, 06:05 PM
Nothing fancy, just a Mt. Baldy 255gr. Keith SWC in my 45 Colt.

October 20, 2007, 06:14 PM
I use 165 gr Gold Dots in my P2000. And in my Sig 228 I will use a 147 gr round.

October 23, 2007, 07:05 AM
I put Double Tap in my guns. I figure if I'm going to need it, chances are, it is going to be dark and I won't want a lot of flash. I know that UMC JHPs will work just fine in my guns, but they flash a lot in comparison. In the short barrel 45, that's RNFPs. In the wife's 9mm, that's Gold Dots.

In my reloading tests, I've had the gold dots plug the point and not expand in 230 grainers, they were filled with wood target backing material. Admittedly, these were not the short barrel JHPs. This is unsettling to me in such a "premium" bullet, but it shows how tough this bullet really is. The ones that did expand, expanded fully. Hornaday XTPs, both 180 and 230 flavors, have always expanded. I have never found one not expanded. I have found a couple that had the lead separate from the copper jacket.

I'm not particularly brand loyal as these two Taurus guns my wife and I have eat everything we've ever put through them without issue, FMJ, JHP, SWC and so on, everything. But, we as gun owners have to to admit, most goblins, statistically, do their work at night. So this flash issue probably my biggest concern when considering my carry ammo, not the pill driven by said propellant. It is considered, obviously, but I'm more interested in low flash than the latest uber bullet some gun rag who recieives advertising money from the same company purports as the next greatest thing.

October 23, 2007, 08:02 PM
I have one Springfield 1911-A1 that shoots very accurately with ball ammo. Thats what I feed it. In most of my other defense guns, I carry those expensive premium JHPs. :rolleyes:

October 23, 2007, 08:13 PM
I'm a Speer Dot guy for self-defense ammo. It's not all that expensive, and I feel it's worth it to have decent daily carry ammo. On the other hand, when I go to the range, I switch to cheaper range ammo.

October 23, 2007, 08:32 PM
FMJ for practice and Carry... Reliability is the big factor and my 1911s all shoot FMJ reliably. Shot Placement is paramount and practicing with the exact combo that you carry is important IMO. I want it to go BANG and I want it to go where I aimed.

October 25, 2007, 03:19 AM
I've had mixed emotions about ammo for self defense. My P-14 feeds just about anything I put in it. But I've thought a couple of times, 45acp fmj starts out bigger than most smaller things end up after (if) they expand. And fmj is (possibly?) less likely to "choke up" on heavy clothing. I like CorBon because of its lack of flash. My "felt recoil" says my fiocci is abut as "hot" as some of the super permium stuff. Any "second opinions?"

October 25, 2007, 05:07 AM
FMJ -FP, drilled hole filled with mercury and sealed in with tin or cadle wax.
okay just joking... not worth the job when just a piece of lead will do.

October 27, 2007, 02:19 AM
Several of my revolvers are loaded with cast, especially my .38's. Economical, tear a nice hole for the power used, and you don't feel bad punching pumpkins or beer cans with them. Use the Federal Classic .44 Special semi Wadcutters in my Super Blackhawk, great plinking round and have been pretty effective on everything I've shot with them. Haven't tried a deer yet (always have full house mags when I'm deer hunting) but I would feel pretty confident in them in about any scenario.

October 27, 2007, 09:11 AM
...if I had a self-defense article, it'd probably be loaded with whatever goes bang every time...and of course, the flatter the front with sharp edges would be good too...kinda' like a cookie cutter, but faster...just as long as it barks here and bites down the street, it'll do...

October 27, 2007, 10:29 AM
I just load my clip up with bullets.

October 27, 2007, 03:46 PM
Revolver: soft point or cast lead
Auto: FMJs

October 27, 2007, 06:38 PM
.45 Ball in mine.

Brian Williams
October 27, 2007, 07:38 PM
158gr LSWC or 230gr LRN

October 27, 2007, 07:55 PM
Federal 9mm +P+ 115 Grains Hi Shok JHP And Winchester Ranger SXT 147 Grains.

October 30, 2007, 06:32 PM
You read about trained policemen firing off an entire 17-round clip from point blank range and miss all 17 shots... and you wonder why a bullet's accuracy would matter at all, for civilian self defense purposes. If you are far enough away that it would matter, you should certainly not be shooting, unless you are in a wild west movie-shootout. I would certainly take a high powered hollowpoint over standard pressure ball ammo, even if the group size was a couple inches larger at 21 feet.

November 4, 2007, 01:25 AM
I've heard too much about JHPs failing to expand simply because clothing will fill the cavity.

I've also had feed failures from JHP's deforming even in web gear. No pistol can compensate for deformed JHPs.

Soft points when possible, less chance of deforming and still has enough expansion to stop the threat and stop in a wall.

I am interested if anyone has used frangibles.

November 4, 2007, 02:36 AM
Federal Jacketed hollow points...

November 4, 2007, 08:34 AM
I use expensive FMJ in my .380's. I use expensive HP's in all my other carry handguns.

November 4, 2007, 05:00 PM
Do Not Use FMJ's. They overpenetrate. Use whatever your local cops use. Make sure you shoot a hundred or so to make sure they function reliably in your gun.

November 4, 2007, 07:29 PM
Do Not Use FMJ's. They overpenetrate. Use whatever your local cops use.

ALL FMJ's overpenetrate? :confused:
ALL local cops use the same ammunition/caliber? :confused:
ALL local cops use the right load? :confused:
That's the problem with generalization and blanket statements... makes the post worthless. :banghead:

November 4, 2007, 08:23 PM
I have an idea - how about you just use bullets!

November 4, 2007, 08:26 PM
I use absolutely FREE Gold Dot HPs in my pistol. Free sure is better than expensive.

November 4, 2007, 08:30 PM
Glenn ,

Free is good. I like Free.
Maybe we need a Free vs Not-Free vs Expensive Thread.

November 4, 2007, 09:13 PM
AZ Rebel, Yes. All (over .25 or maybe .32) fmj's overpenetrate. They do very little damage internally, and exit the body, endangering anyone downrange.
No, not all police departments use the same caliber or round. That's why I said to call and ask what your local pd uses. If your local PD uses Rem Golden Sabers, use those... if they use Hydra-Shocks, use those... I said to use what your local Police use so that after the shooting, your local District Attourney can't accuse you of using "questionable" ammo. You use the same ammo as your local cops for the same reasons that they do.... 1, it's effective; 2, it will be an effective round, and not leave the City open to lawsuits due to it's being open to post-shooting lawsuits.
Mr AzRebel, call your local Police Dept and ask. I'll bet that there isn't a police Department anywhere in the entire United States that issues fmj's to their officers! Not one!
You sir, missed most of the point of my posting. Who cares what the Cops are using in Portland Maine if you're involved in a shooting in Portland Oregon? The District Attorney where you live is going to compare you to the Cops where you live. How can he accuse you of using Super Man-Killer ammunition when you defended your life using the same stuff that your local Cops use?
No, not all local PD's use the same stuff. For that matter, there is no ONE RIGHT LOAD.
But yes, sometimes there are good blanket generalizations. And a good one is, DO NOT USE FULL METAL JACKETED AMMO AS DEFENCE AMMO!!!

November 4, 2007, 09:19 PM
Depending on the caliber and the gun, I sometimes use FMJ.

For example, I don't think JHP makes a big difference in terms of expansion in .380 ACP out of my Kel-Tec P3AT, so I carry FMJ in my P3AT b/c penetration is more of a concern for me out of a 2.8" barrel.

With respect to JHP, I actually watched a Dateline or 20/20 where a guy shot and killed a man who attacked him in the woods. The single point that the jury hung up on the most when they sent the law-abiding man who defended himself with a firearm to prison was the fact that he used JHP "cop killer bullets." They interviewed the jurors afterward, and they really hung up on that point.

Clearly, JHP is actually SAFER for everyone else in that it penetrates less and is much less likely to come out the other side of the BG and hit an innocent passerby. But ignorant juries don't know this, and the above-mentioned gentleman's attorney did not mention this either. He made no counter argument to the "cop killer bullets" argument of the prosecution. Just some food for thought.

That said, if your local LEOs carry it, it seems you'd have a pretty easy argument for carrying it.

November 4, 2007, 09:32 PM
People need to go to the box o truth. HP ammo also overpenetrates, just not as much. Use it for improved stopping power not because it will penetrate less. I suggest efmj They feed as reliably as FMJ but expand more often than HP or soft point. clothing won't clog them.

November 4, 2007, 09:40 PM
Your going to get every answer in the book here but personally I carry Federal Premium SD ammo (Hydroshok bullet). But I have run WWB and Rem JHP's with no trouble...45's don't have to expand to work! That's why Big Bores work so well and why I like 45ACP so much!

Texas Colt
November 4, 2007, 09:50 PM
I reload all my practice ammo including JHP practice ammo that duplicates the factory loads. However, my carry ammo is all factory. Speer Gold Dot JHPs in 38 Special +P, 9mm, and 45 ACP.

Cato the Younger
November 5, 2007, 12:00 AM
In my revovlers, and Speer GHDP in my 9mm autoloader. I figure those rounds are reliable, and will work well for their intended purposes- the 38 special load has a long track record.

November 5, 2007, 01:04 AM
"Yes. All (over .25 or maybe .32) fmj's overpenetrate. They do very little damage internally, and exit the body, endangering anyone downrange."

And where, Sir, do you document this "fact"? Or is that an opinion? (Also, please note that you just countered your own statement that "All fmj's overpenetrate!)

No, not all police departments use the same caliber or round. That's why I said to call and ask what your local pd uses.

I believe that there are many enlightened Police Departments that issue or proscribe efficient handguns and ammunition. But there are also many that issue or use weapons and ammunition bought for different reasons then efficiency. To make a blanket statement whatever the local PD use is "effective" is just wrong.

... call your local Police Dept and ask. I'll bet that there isn't a police Department anywhere in the entire United States that issues fmj's to their officers! Not one!

And where, Sir, do you document this "fact"? Or is that another opinion? Even if it was true - does that prove your statement... I hardly think so. Also, do you really think that your local PD knows what ammunition is used by every PD in the US?

You are probably not familiar with a round called the .45ACP which, in it's FMJ version fires a 230 Grain Bullet at 830 Ft/Sec. It was designed by J.M. Browning to be fired in a 1911 Government Model Pistol after the Thompson-Lagarde tests in 1904. This round, because of its large cross section and relatively slow speed, has proven to be an efficient stopping cartridge with the added bonus of feeding reliably in most pistols. The hollowpoint round has never proven to feed as well as hardball and has the added problem that bullets just don't expand repeatably at pistol velocities. There is also the fact that layers of clothing may be detrimental to the hollowpoint bullet's performance.

.45 FMJ Is a viable choice for a defence pistol - you may choose different for your own reasons but to rule it out with a blanket statement is just plain wrong.

November 5, 2007, 01:49 AM
Great Post!


Projectiles do strange things.
Even from shotguns.
It does not matter matter what a gun, barrel, choke, box or ammo says. Nor does it matter what some projectile (pellet, buckshot, slug, or bullet) did/does for someone else from their gun, or in a situation for them.

Too many variables in Life.

Life forms also do not know they are "supposed" to react to a projectile a certain way, and often times they do not.

How many deer get hit with a loading from a rifle and run off?

Too many folks on this Forum, and others, have Experiences. Some are Nurses, Doctors, X-Ray, LEO, Police, EMT, and some have pulled the triggers and some have been the victims.

I personally have seen, when I worked in a OR, the .22 short kill, and the patient live that stuck a 4" .357 revolver in his mouth and pulled the trigger on a .357 load.

The fellow cussing and carrying on having been shot with a 00 buckshot load, and lived.
Another fellow, with best recall 14 gun shot wounds, and we had no idea what he had been shot with, much less type of bullet , until we removed them.
Best recall, loadings were from .380 , 38spl, .357, 9mm and .45ACP, and most were (if not all) FMJ.

Guns are not Magic Talismans, and there is no Holy Grail on gun, platform of gun, ammunition either.

Life is hard.
When it is your time to die, you die.
It does not matter how many hours of training, how much ammunition, how big a gun, or how many guns.

Grim Reaper always wins, eventually.

The trick to this journey called life, is to take prudent steps along this journey to stay safe, and put off arriving at the final destination as long as possible.

November 8, 2007, 03:36 PM

And that would be my Sig P232 SL 380, as I only use 95gr FMJ for range and HD/SD loads.. only.

Based on penetration values vs the same weight in JHP..


November 8, 2007, 05:19 PM
I'm more of a bullet type over bullet placement person myself. That's why I use explsive rounds. As long as I hit within 5 yards of my intended target with these new Federal Tactical High Explosive Ninja Pants Wearing Full Dynamite Jacket Gold Plated rounds, I'll win the day.

November 8, 2007, 05:31 PM
I carry 124gr +P Remington Golden Saber's in my Glock 26, and I put 124gr +P Gold Dot's in my wifes Sig P239. Both rounds are very good but the Gold dots are better at consistent expansion.

I think ball ammo is fine though. Actually, thick clothing can make JHP act just like FMJ. I personally pick the premium stuff because of more reliable primers, not because of expansion.

Oh yea, if you use a barrel less than 4" long, you should use +P if you carry JHP. In short barrels, the +P is necessary to get the bullet up to the proper velocity for good expansion. If you use ball, +P really doesn't matter.

November 8, 2007, 05:42 PM

Are you saying the the fellow who'd been shot 14 times was shot with all 5 of the different calibers you listed? If so, that's incredible. Why did so many people shoot him? I would love to hear that story! It might also be edifying for the rest of us if you tell us where all those wounds were.

Are you a doctor or a nurse?

What happened in the case of the guy who tried to kill himself with the .357? I would like to hear more about these cases.


November 8, 2007, 05:43 PM
Well.... I consider that if you're going to carry, you may as well carry something that's actually lethal, so I do carry factory loaded hollowpoints.

I don't have major favorites, and I shoot/carry quite a few calibers. I rather like the Winchester Silvertips for .44 Special (an underrated pocket caliber if ever there was one) and .45ACP. I don't buy the most expensive premium defense specialty ammo, partly because I do shoot a lot and believe you should shoot what you carry. If I shot only the stuff that comes in boxes of 20 or blisterpacked 6 at a time, I'd be broke in a week. I'm a lot more likely to buy the spendy stuff on pocket calibers I don't like to carry, that is, if the caliber is on the weak side, I just might pay for the top shelf stuff. I could see doing that for my Makarov in .380. But generally, what I carry will launch a .44 or .45 slug, and I guess I'm relying a little on size and energy.

I reload a lot, but I've noticed that even with experience, the factory makes 'em more reliably than I do, and I don't ever want to explain to a jury what an evil person I am for actually manufacturing the ammo I had to use in a fight... so my bottom line is I stick with the name brands I'm comfortable with, buy their better hollowpoints, but I don't buy the specialty stuff.

November 8, 2007, 09:05 PM
I got 400 rds of 115grn JHP from my walmart so thats what I carry. That would be 4 boxes of Remington 100rd @ about $17 per box

November 8, 2007, 11:00 PM
I just use whatever is in my pocket when I load up. Mostly ball and wadcutters, like the second poster said.

November 11, 2007, 07:06 AM
I generally use handloaded FMJ flat-points or wadcutters.

Jeff F
November 11, 2007, 10:59 AM
Carry ammo is not real expensive. .38 spl and .357 mag is Remington umc, 125gr jktd hollow point. Cheep enough that I can practice with it regally and its accurate enough. My .45 acp is loaded with ball. It makes big holes.

November 11, 2007, 11:04 AM
The Old Fuff got over being a super-bullet junkie decades ago after meeting people with real world experience who didn't lose any sleep over ammunition concerns.

+1. Best post in this thread. I feel that the most important thing to have is a service caliber gun loaded with ammunition that is reliable in that particular firearm.

I also prefer to have ammo in my pistols that I can actually practice with. It may not be the ultra-cool high dollar BMW class ammo that makes me look oh, so cool on the gun forums, but I can be certain that I have trained with it enough to put my rounds where they need to be.

All of my pistols, with the exception of my PT145 are loaded with either Remington UMC jhp's or WWB jhp's. The PT145 is loaded with UMC ball ammo because I want to make sure that the bullet coming out of that short .45 barrel penetrates deep enough.

'Course I'm just a backwoods Florida Cracker so I suppose that automatically eliminates any possibility of a coolness rating anyway! :neener:

November 11, 2007, 01:43 PM

+2 then for the second best post reply within this thread..

Ls :)

November 11, 2007, 08:06 PM
In my .38 snub I usually carry h/c wadcutters.

November 11, 2007, 10:13 PM
I've owned autos of various calibres that found some hollow points not to their liking. My 45 is loaded with glasers, My P-11 is loaded with WWB, the backup magazine has Jhps. My Amt back-up would not feed any hollowpoint, even after a ramp job and polish.

November 13, 2007, 03:49 PM
Speer Gold Dots here.

November 13, 2007, 07:49 PM
I use 130 grain hydra-shok in .357 mag. I am all about shot placement but when the stress levels go up, a little hydra-shok action wouldn't hurt. I've seen what these rounds do to flesh and I believe they are worth the extra expense.

November 13, 2007, 08:05 PM
240 grains of hard cast flat nosed lead.

November 16, 2007, 08:01 PM
winchester sxt's, and winchester black talon/rangers when I can find them. White box for casual shooting.

November 17, 2007, 08:04 AM
Lately I don't even carry Hollowpoints. I use .380 FMJ. It always feeds.

November 22, 2007, 03:36 AM
When I used to use a J Frame Smith Model 36, 3"HB, as a back up,
Speer hollow base 148 gr. wadcutters loaded backwards (Base for-
war) with 2.8 grs. of Bullseye:D Low recoil, accurate, and had to hurt
if hit:evil:

November 22, 2007, 06:07 PM
some minor changes since the collection changed a bit:

my S&W 642 gets Winchester White Box Personal Defense 125 gr sjhp .38 spl +p; my Ruger GP100 & Marlin 1894C get CCI Blazer Brass 158 gr jhp .357 magnum when doing 'defensive' duty at the hunting camp; my Glock 21 gets Remington UMC 'Value Pack' 230 gr jhp .45 acp for HD & car HD;

I switch the Ruger & Marlin to Federal American Eagle 158 gr jsp .357 magnum when hunting & deep woods walking; I switch the Glock to whatever 230 fmj .45 acp that I have around when using it for hiking & working around camp closer to hunting season (scouting deeper where the bears roam)

dad uses Winchester WWB Personal Defense 125 gr sjhp .38 spl +p for his S&W 642 and S&W 686 when its not setup for hunting season

November 22, 2007, 09:49 PM
Since you guys are talking about reversed hollow base wadcutters let me ask this. There was an article in a Guns & Ammo magazine around 1987 by Tony Lesce (i think) that featured a DOUBLE hollow base wadcutter bullet. Both ends had a cavity. It showed the expansion at different velocities and it was impressive. Even low velocitiy loads expanded well.

The article had a photo of what looked like a large wooden 38 cartridge with cobwebs all over it showing how dated the round is. Of coarse they went on to show that it is a modern load. I loaned my back issues to a "friend" so he could read about guns and when he moved he thew them away. AAUUUGGG.

I looked every where for those bullets and never found any. I even called Corbin a couple of weeks ago about swaging dies to make them. Over $500.00 to get started. The advantage over the reversed WC is the bullet is better balanced and not as likely to want to swap ends. Anyone remember this?

November 24, 2007, 03:05 PM
180 Grain Winchester SXT's. At $20 for a box of 20, it's a steal when my life of the lives of my loved ones could be in danger.

Just a little food for thought that my CCW instructor suggested to us: when choosing a type of ammo, make sure the box has "For Personal Protection" marked on it. It's helpful for if/when the BG's family tries to sue you. The lawyers will sometimes ask what type of ammo you use. If you can provide the box to them, and it says "For personal protection", then it will make your case much stronger. He also suggested that we never carry hand-loads in our carry weapons, because the lawyers can twist it to make it sound as though you make those bullets for the sole purpose of murdering someone.

Bill B.
November 24, 2007, 10:33 PM
In a 45 ACP .....Hardball!

November 24, 2007, 11:15 PM
I use hydroshocks in my 45. I don't know if they will open up butt I do know that they will not bounce around in my house. Please don't ask how I know.

November 29, 2007, 10:38 PM
i use good to better ammo.

as i am not rich opra, so i can not afford much of the bast stuff.

November 30, 2007, 10:16 PM
I'm going to get flamed... but here goes.

I mostly shoot inexpensive fmj, and occassionally run hp through just to make sure it functions reliably.

In my revolver it's all hps, either .357 mag or .38+P because of sufficient power and penetration.

In my semi-autos, it's generally staggered 2 hp (generally corbon) and 1 fmj with the hp as the first shots. I base this on absolutely no science but instead my desire for optimizing the lead for every situation, -- expansion vs. penetration. This is for human threats. I also run this combo through the pistol to ensure funtional reliability.

In a woods gun I would consider using fmj for 4 legged threats.

December 2, 2007, 05:18 PM
In this day and age I can't believe ANYONE would carry handloads in a CCW gun, unless you live out in the boonies. Then at least you could say you always carry that load for killing coyotes, you weren't planning on shooting anyone, it was what you had with you, etc. But carrying handloads in an Urban situation? Given the legal climate, why would you take that chance? If there is ANYTHING remotely hinky about the circumstances, or a lack of witnesses, and the local prosecutor wants to BBQ your behind, you just gave him a way to make you look like the Antichrist. Lots of lawyers (think Civil Suit here) would love to make a name for themselves (and a third of the award) by getting you sued for millions after you skulked into your basement and concocted a round SO DEADLY the ammo factories don't make anything like it. Think hard-cast bullet VS human skull, and they'll call it a Homemade Cop-Killer bullet. Hiring expert witnesses to explain your actions isn't cheap, and if you'd just used a commercial HP load you wouldn't need to. Just my dos centavos.

Personally, I'm not that bright, but I figger the ammo companies spend several MILLION dollars a year developing defensive ammunition, they probably know what works better than I do. And if a host of local PD's use the same stuff, who can blame me for buying it?

Whatever you do, make sure that when the shooting goes down, you call the cops FIRST. It's the difference between being the victim and the attacker, in the eyes of the police. I was a dispatcher for quite awhile, and I guarantee you, whoever calls it in as the victim puts the burden of proof on the other guy. Another reason to use the best ammo..........if he's dead or comatose, he can't call the cops and lie about what happened, can he?


December 2, 2007, 05:48 PM
I carry 9mm FMJ ONLY because Uncle makes me. If I MUST carry FMJ, I would MUCH rather it were 230 gr .45 acp.

December 2, 2007, 06:52 PM
9mm JHP
.357/38 JHP

December 2, 2007, 07:49 PM
Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel HP. 135gr .357mag.

Sure inexpensive stuff might work as well if I have good shot placement, but then again, I think it'd be pretty dumb to trust my life to the idea that MAYBE the "god quality defensive" ammo won't make a difference.
You wanna try it? It's your life. But not for me.

The only possible reason I could possibly see for wanting to use FMJ is if a)you are legally restricted, or b) you are defending yourself with a small caliber (read .380ACP or less) and want better penetration with FMJ's.
edit to add: another reason to use FMJ is if the only gun that you can use (or are comfortable enough to use) only runs reliably on FMJ.
Jeez, I tried so hard to stay out of this thread, and did a good job until now...ugh.

December 4, 2007, 10:15 PM
Western .38 Special 148 grain WC's, because it's either that or 7.62x25, and I like my neighbors!

Gun Slinger
December 7, 2007, 01:54 PM
I prefer the Hornady 147 gr. JHP TAP/CQ (#90285) loaded in my Glock 17.

At $12.50/box of 25 rounds, $50.00 + tax gets me 100 rounds of high quality, deep penetrating, controlled expansion rounds that are suitable for my particualr SD needs without breaking the bank. As an additional bonus, it has also been exceptionally accurate out of every handgun that I have fired it from, producing match grade accuracy as a rule.

At 50 cents per round, it is actually quite inexpensive when compared to most of the other premium SD offerings available that typically retail for double (and sometimes more) the cost.


December 7, 2007, 03:13 PM
Winchester Ranger 180 gr.

February 11, 2008, 01:05 PM
I use Rainier 135 gr truncated cone plated bullets in my 10mm.

It flattens to over .64" and gets 24" of penetration in water, that's equal to ~ 15" in ballistic gel.

Mike G.

February 11, 2008, 02:36 PM
I use Wal Mart Winchester White Box JHPs because:

It's inexpensive,
I can practice with the same ammo that I carry,
I know my carry ammo is reliable as I shoot it at the range,
I can't practive aim placement with expensive ammo much.

February 13, 2008, 11:21 AM
I use Winchester Ranger, so it can be kinda pricey. Love that new T series. Bullets that can get bigger do their job more effectively, but regular bullets aren't going to get any smaller, either.

February 13, 2008, 11:24 AM
My 1911 was designed for 230 round ball and that is what I use. Many times I actually use my own reloads.

February 13, 2008, 11:26 AM
.45acp in a 1911 230g round nose. WWB from Sprawlmart. Handloads are for competition.

February 13, 2008, 04:02 PM
For my home defense firearm I have 2 magazines loaded with wwb 147gr jhp 9mm and 2 mags holding 124gr fmj. The wwb 147gr aren't screamers but they perform well in the usual tests, and at their worst they still appear to be as good as .38 +p. I would feel alright with just the FMJ if that's all my gun would feed. It's quite accurate from my pistol and can be counted on to make holes in people if necessary. I also keep 158gr semi-wadcutters in my revolver.

February 13, 2008, 08:58 PM
All 45's loaded with Corbon 185+P DPX . Again DPX in 9mm and 380
32 JHP Corbon . 38 spl the old 158 SWCHP's and 44 spl gold dot or silvertips
25auto Ball

February 14, 2008, 01:16 AM
Remington 158gr LSWCHP for me in .38+P for me. Not expensive at all when I bought them.

February 15, 2008, 04:59 PM
In my S&W Model 36 (1962 manufacture) I carry the old "FBI load" 158gr LSWCHP rounds, but in my Series 80 Colt I carry Speer Gold Dots. Go figure.

February 15, 2008, 06:52 PM
I do not use JHP's in pistols for defense (or for any reason, for that matter)

.45 Long Colt - 255 LSWC or 255 RNFP

.45ACP--230 FMJ or 225 lead SWC

.44 Mag - 240 LSWC

.357 - 170 LSWC

.38 Spl - 158 LSWC

February 15, 2008, 10:08 PM
Truncated cone FMJs in my P3-AT, Gold Dots in my .45s.

February 15, 2008, 10:10 PM
I carry hardball in my .45 from time to time.

February 16, 2008, 12:00 AM
I understand the notion of "carrying what I practice with," but isn't over penetration of some concern when it comes to smaller, higher velocity cartridges? 9mm and .38 special would be my biggest concern.

With a Sig p230[2], PPK, or Bersa in .380auto, hardball ammo seems to be acceptable since power is limited, but for a carry/defense weapon, that is the only round I would trust without going with hollow points. I do not want to deal with collateral damage.

February 16, 2008, 09:08 AM
My own un-politically correct casted LSWC target loads. As for factory bullets or ammo I put my $$ elsewhere :what:

February 17, 2008, 06:01 AM
Boolits are boolits, some are fancier and make bigger holes.....but they all make holes.

In my carry guns I buy the Winchester white box "Personal Defense" ammunition - its JHP but fairly cheap. It feeds great in all my guns.

In my "not often carried" guns I just toss some FMJ in and go. I have enough guns I aint about to take them all to the range and run box after box of JHP thru them to insure function.

August 28, 2008, 12:08 AM
44 mag with wide metplat bullets at 1200 feet per second or so. They work on everything else I have tried them on, so why not bad guys? Weight doesn't seem to matter, except ultimate penetration, accuracy seems to be better with 300-310 grain.

August 28, 2008, 04:02 PM
I tend to carry ball ammo in my .45's, but that is for feeding purposes. I do know that Front Sight Training Facility recommends carrying FMJ in .40. The wide meplat allows for a good permanent wound channel, while still giving very good penetration.

August 28, 2008, 06:25 PM
Any reliably-feeding, straight-shooting ammo is fine with me. The price differance out there on ammo is huge. The manufactorers are playing on our insecurity about handling a situation of being attacked well. Since when was a hardball to the head not good enough? WW II was a joke?

August 28, 2008, 09:21 PM
I carry what performs the best yet proves itself reliable.
I carry Federal HST. Works for law enforcement agencies throughout the country, proven expansion, proven in my guns.
While I wouldn't be afraid to use hardball, why would I not use something that will perform better? At $25/50, I don't consider it too expensive to defend my life with.
My life and the lives of my family are worth more to me than a box of Winchester White Box.

August 28, 2008, 09:24 PM
Nope, only Federal or Hornady personal defense rounds for me. I hear Extreme Shock rounds are very effective as well, but they are not cheap.

August 28, 2008, 09:37 PM
I hear Extreme Shock rounds are very effective as wellYou hear wrong. Check out box-o-truth.

The only thing very effective about these is the advertising.

(But the Federal and Hornady are just fine, don't mean to bash ya.)

August 28, 2008, 09:53 PM
For .45 ACP, I have Federal tactical HST 230 gr. +P... expands to a full inch in diameter.

For 9mm, Speer gold dot 124 gr. +P. For .380, either truncated cone FMJ or Cor-Bon DPX.

I simply don't believe that ball will have nearly the same effect as a bullet that expands to ~4x the frontal area. I agree with those who preach shot placement, but in a real defensive situation where people are moving and you're suffering from adrenalin rush, I'm not sure how realistic that is.

So I'll take every advantage I can get... including good ammo. It's not that expensive.

Old School
August 28, 2008, 11:01 PM
Federal HST is only .50 cents per round. Unfortunately, that is not expensive for 45 ammo these days. So, that is my not expensive ammo that IS hollow point and arguably the best defense ammo out there.

August 28, 2008, 11:19 PM
I use WWB 9mm 115gr JHP's. They perform good in my 9mm's, and it's cheap enough that testing and keeping a few mags full won't break the bank. In my Ruger SP101's I keep Federal JHP's.

The reason for the difference is capacity. If one 9mm doesn't do the job I have 16 more rounds to back it up, plus a spare 16rd mag. If one shot in my SP101 doesn't work, I have four shots and a looooonnng reload.

Just my way of thinking.

August 28, 2008, 11:34 PM
I don't. I reload my own hollowpoints and am comfortable with them. They are accurate and cycle well, and I practice enough that I think I can place them well enough to do the job. I would be comfortable with ball ammo as well if I knew I could shoot it well.

August 29, 2008, 09:48 AM
I don't. I prefer to practice a lot with what I carry.
WWB 9mm 115gr FMJ's in my S&W 6946.
Remington 100-pack 88-grain JHP's in my .380's.
Selleir & Bellot FMJ's in my Kel-Tec P-32.
Selleir & Bellot FMJ's in my Beretta 950.


B.D. Turner
August 29, 2008, 10:32 AM
I have carried .45 ACP 230gr ball for years. Until now I thought I was all alone. I like what works the best the most times and ball ammo in my Springfield 1911 thus far has been 100%.

August 30, 2008, 01:25 PM
I carry FMJ, and I shoot pretty much everything from rabbits to deer with FMJ..

August 30, 2008, 01:56 PM
I use ball in my PA-63. 9x18mm Makarov

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