Hollowpoint or Ball?


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CAS700850
May 11, 2011, 10:51 AM
I recently read a debate on another gun board in which two individuals were vigorously debating the proper ammunition for a defensive handgun. One argued that hollowpoints were the best choice, as they gave the best transfer of energy into the target. The second argued that ball was the best choice as it allowed for maximum reliability in the handgun, while also giving maximum penetration in the target. The usual arguments came up along the way...that modern autos are as reliable with hollowpoints as they are with ball, that hollowpoints often fail to perform because the cavity gets plugged with matter, preventing expansion, etc.

My question: assuming functional reliability is not an issue (that you test your handgun with sufficient hollowpoint ammunition to ensure there are no function issues), and assuming there is no legal prohibition against hollowpoint ammunition, what reasons are there for carrying ball ammunition for defensive purposes? My logic has always been that if a hollowpoint expands, great. If it fails to expand, it's now functioning as a ball round. Why not at least give myself the opportunity to have a round expand in the target?

Am I missing something, or is there a flaw in my logic?

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M-Cameron
May 11, 2011, 10:53 AM
do you honestly think your attacker is going to care what type of ammo you use to shoot him with?.....

shootingthebreeze
May 11, 2011, 11:05 AM
I have priced personal defense ammo, and I have come to the conclusion that what I fire at the range, ball (FMJ) is also good enough for personal defense.
Saves a lot of money too.
This conclusion was re-enforced by recycling some personal defense ammo, hollow point expensive ammo at the range-two rounds were sub loads, did not cycle my semi auto-and my firearm was lubed and fuctioning perfectly. Ran some ball ammo after, target, not one was defective. So why spend the high price for "personal defense" ammo?
We used ball ammo for our .45 in the US Army. Good enough for me.

mljdeckard
May 11, 2011, 11:07 AM
I agree with your logic. A hollow point may or may not expand. (They will the vast majority of the time.) A fmj bullet may, under rare circumstances, mushroom and expand too. But not very often. And yes, an attackers point of view might vary greatly if one kind of bullet requires more hits to stop him than another kind.

Having said that, I think the real-world difference may be limited. I think that the wounds created by either kind of bullet are very nasty. But realize that the reason we devote so many resources into designing better pistol bullets is that they all suck. You are trying to milk all possible performance out of a round that is insufficient to stop an attacker. This is why we put so much emphasis on shooting as well as you can and getting as many hits as you can. Your odds of stopping a bad guy go up a LOT with each repeated hit.

I am not concerned with energy transfer. I am concerned with cavity trauma. I want the bullet that will make the biggest hole, thereby increasing the odds that it will hit something critical in the bad guy's body and make him stop what he is doing. Energy transfer has little benefit if any. Any premium defensive hollow-point has enough energy to traverse a human target and expand reliably under most circumstances. I think that the issue of hollow-points failing to expand because they got plugged was mostly invented by Hornady to try to sell their new kind of ammo.

The idea that hollow-points don't work well in autos largely comes from the culture of surplus military guns. When people started shooting competition with the G.I 1911s that came onto the market, they would only feed ball ammo reliably. To make sure that they would feed hollow-points, they needed to be throated. Look at it from the point of view of manufacturers today. How many times do you think they want customers to call them and complain because their 'legacy' model of 1911 won't feed defensive ammo? They will work to make sure that all modern guns feed all types of ammo to avoid CS and PR issues.

TexasRifleman
May 11, 2011, 11:08 AM
My question: what reasons are there for carrying ball ammunition for defensive purposes?

The argument made by many is that they want to carry the same ammunition they practice with and for many folks it's simply too expensive to practice with high end dedicated defensive ammo. It's a valid argument it seems. I don't necessarily do that myself but I can absolutely see why someone would make that decision.

youngda9
May 11, 2011, 11:20 AM
The most effective is HP, Clearly. Find one that is reliable in your firearm if you want the most effective form of SD.

/thread

RaceM
May 11, 2011, 11:32 AM
As has been stated ball is the preferred choice in unmodified military weapons. Its use is required under the Geneva Conventions which ban expanding bullets, so the guns were designed around ball ammo.

That said, regardless of bullet choice shot placement is everything.

mrbro
May 11, 2011, 11:38 AM
Energy transfer is a myth. Penetration and permanent tissue damage are what matters. Expansion helps a small pistol bullet look like a big one. There are 3 things can both sides agree on, bullet placement, bullet placement, and bullet placement.

In order to be effective a bullet has to do as damage as possible to the engine room, control tower, communications channel or support structure. (heart, brain, central nervous system or spinal column).

jon86
May 11, 2011, 11:52 AM
The most effective is HP, Clearly. Find one that is reliable in your firearm if you want the most effective form of SD.

/thread

YES.

Energy transfer is a myth. Penetration and permanent tissue damage are what matters. Expansion helps a small pistol bullet look like a big one.

And yes.

Energy transfer should not even be talked about when speaking of handgun rounds. In a handgun round you want reliability, adequate penetration, and the biggest hole possible.

You want adequate penetration to reach vitals, but it makes sense to use a hollow point so that you keep the risk of overpenetration to a minimum. You want the biggest hole possible in order to create the largest wound. What would create more tissue damage and potentially stop an attacker quicker? A 1.5 foot sewing needle or a 1.5 foot ice pick? This is another reason why using hollow points makes sense, in order to create the biggest hole through the target. Some may argue that if using a 45 caliber you don't NEED hollow points as the 45 is pretty big enough. That may be true, but if JHP feed through your gun, might as well use'em for the reasons already listed.

Smokey in PHX
May 11, 2011, 12:15 PM
All of the above are valid statements. I practice with ball and carry HP that I have verified reliabile functioning many times.

We read about people in public places pulling out a gun and shooting at will. If someone in the group has a concealed gun a lot of lives may be saved. I use HP for its effectiveness and the hope to prevent pass throughs as much as possible.

jon_in_wv
May 11, 2011, 12:19 PM
Ball for practice, and HPs for defense. I've read every argument there is and I haven't seen one argument I think is valid for using ball over HPs for defense. Most advocates for ball will sight the FBI report as their reasoning yet the FBI report advocates HPs and that is what the FBI carries. Go figure.

EDIT: The exception being small calibers that just don't have the speed and weight to expand and penetrate. There is debate over where that line it drawn but for me anything smaller than a .380 will be ball, a lot will say ball is appropriate for the 380 too. Above 380, use HPs.

InkEd
May 11, 2011, 12:21 PM
Find a good HP and carry it. Buy cheap ball and shoot it for practice. It may only be a very slight edge BUT in a life/death scenario I want every edge possible.

geekWithA.45
May 11, 2011, 12:26 PM
Presuming sufficient test for reliability, is there a *good* argument for ball in preference to expanders?

Nope.

I refuse to quibble over $10 difference in the cost of a few mags worth of ammo.

littlerichard
May 11, 2011, 12:34 PM
The most effective ones are those that actually hit the target.

Frank Ettin
May 11, 2011, 12:59 PM
For self defense, I'm going to load my gun with quality, JHP ammunition.

[1] For Practice.

I don't see cost as an issue. I don't think it's necessary to practice with exactly the same ammunition one loads in the gun for self defense. It's sufficient to practice with ammunition that ballistically similar to one's defensive ammunition. (But it is necessary to test the gun with one's self defense ammunition.)

[2] Shot Placement

Yes, shot placement is "king", but here's no reason that one's shot placement should be any different for JHP ammunition compared with ball.

[3] Terminal Ballistics (1)

There were four ways in which shooting an assailant stops the fight:



psychological -- "I'm shot, it hurts, I don't want to get shot any more."



massive blood loss depriving the muscles and brain of oxygen and thus significantly impairing their ability to function



breaking major skeletal support structures



damaging the central nervous system.



Of those, damage to the central nervous system is the quickest, surest and most likely to be fatal. And many times the BG will stop because it hurts, is the least sure and most likely to be hazardous to your own health. But do you really want to count on it? People, both good and bad, have also fought long and hard with serious, and often ultimately fatal wounds. And someone who has massive amounts of adrenalin in his system, like a bad guy under the stress of committing a violent crime might, may not feel much pain from even a serious wound. 


Since adrenalin or drugs can blunt the effects of pain, and people have continued to fight when severely wounded, effectively stopping the fight reasonably quickly will call for causing sufficient damage to render the attacker physiologically incapable of continuing the fight, such as from massive blood loss depriving the muscles and brain of oxygen, major damage to important skeletal support structures or damage to the central nervous system. But the central nervous system is a small target, and important skeletal support structures are also small targets and causing significant enough damage to one can be a somewhat iffy proposition with most handgun rounds.

Thus rely on blood loss depriving the attacker’s brain and muscles of oxygen to stop the fight. The rub is that the effects of blood loss and oxygen deprivation can take some time – during which our attacker will most likely continue to try to hurt us.

The more damage that is caused, the quicker the blood supply to the muscles and brain will be impaired and the more quickly the attacker will lose the physiological ability to press the fight. So we can try to increase the amount and rate of blood loss by (1) making more holes and (2) making bigger holes.

And of course an expanded JHP makes a bigger hole.

[4] Terminal Ballistics (2)

The Marshall and Sanow "stopping power" data is controversial. But looking at the data for .45 ACP, for example, shows some major themes.

All JHPs performed in the 80%+ "one shpt stop" range. No FMJ did better than 62%.

All JHPs when fired from a gun with a 5 inch barrel showed adequate (at least 12 inches) average penetration (except for three -- and those still showed average penetration of more than 11 inches).

All 230 grain JHPs showed adequate average penetration even when fired with a gun having a 4 inch barrel.

[5] JHP Ammunition is the Overwhelming Choice of Law Enforcement Agencies

The most effective ones are those that actually hit the target. If you can't get good hits on target with JHPs, you probably can't do any better with ball. There's no reason you'll be more likely to get better hits with ball than with JHPs.

Loosedhorse
May 11, 2011, 01:13 PM
Thorough post, fiddletown--thanks.

what reasons are there for carrying ball ammunition for defensive purposes?Penetration in smaller calibers. +1 jon in wv.

Penetration is often stressed (with good reason) for SD ammo. Most folks would tell you it's no problem getting adequate penetration with HPs .38 Special, 9mm and higher calibers. But somewhere (.380, .32, or .22) they will tell you you're better off with FMJ, if you're going to carry that caliber at all.

FMJs in the "higher" calibers--maybe especially 9mm--are apt to overpenetrate your target. Some say the danger from such overpenetration to innocents is another "myth," but others take it seriously.

pockets
May 11, 2011, 01:44 PM
As has been stated ball is the preferred choice in unmodified military weapons. Its use is required under the Geneva Conventions which ban expanding bullets, so the guns were designed around ball ammo.
Not to quibble....but....
"The Hague Convention of 1899, Declaration III, prohibits the use in warfare of bullets that easily expand or flatten in the body.
This is often incorrectly believed to be prohibited in the Geneva Conventions, but it significantly predates those conventions, and is in fact a continuance of the St. Petersburg Declaration of 1868, which banned exploding projectiles of less than 400 grams, as well as weapons designed to aggravate injured soldiers or make their death inevitable.
NATO members do not use small arms ammunition that is prohibited by the Hague Convention."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollow-point_bullet
.

cleardiddion
May 11, 2011, 01:46 PM
I carry an FEG PA63 as my ccw and have loaded it up with ball ammunition instead of hollowpoints, even if they're available.

Why?
It's dead set reliable, it's what I practice with, it hits to the point of aim (some brands of HP did not and my pistol has fixed sights), and as others have mentioned penetration. 9x18 is no powerhouse by any means but it surely gets the job done.

The one thing that really changed my decision was my ND from a years back. Basically, shot my bed which had a sleeping bag on top (cheap ikea mattress so it needs it). The load was a 95gr hollowpoint. Now, when I shot, I was all in a panic and was looking for fragments/holes in walls/etc but couldn't seem to find anything so I started looking more closely the point of impact. Followed the line which the bullet was supposed to follow and found it unexpanded and whole enough to possibly reload only about 3in deep in the bag. It's not like I was that far from the bed, I was right next to it at my desk actually. Sure changed my mind about a lot of things that day.

ColtPythonElite
May 11, 2011, 01:52 PM
I worry more about where I hit 'em than what I hit 'em with. My formal training always includes Failure Drill shooting.

geekWithA.45
May 11, 2011, 01:53 PM
Penetration in smaller calibers.

If you're carrying for defensive purposes a round for which penetration is even a question, or for which the difference between HP and ball might conceivably make a critical difference...


Rethink.

Just because "all handgun rounds are inadequate" (Clint Smith's quote, I think?) doesn't mean carrying an inadequate handgun round is a good idea.

"Use enough gun" is a better quote to guide yourself by.

CraigC
May 11, 2011, 03:08 PM
Hardball, even .45ACP, is dismal against flesh. All it does is poke a narrow hole with little tissue disruption. Those who think hardball is a good stopper have obviously never shot a critter with the stuff. It's 2011, use a good bullet.

Manco
May 11, 2011, 03:20 PM
My question: assuming functional reliability is not an issue (that you test your handgun with sufficient hollowpoint ammunition to ensure there are no function issues), and assuming there is no legal prohibition against hollowpoint ammunition, what reasons are there for carrying ball ammunition for defensive purposes?

The key is to get adequate penetration (whatever that might be) first, and then to use the rest of the bullet's energy for expansion. With some calibers and barrel lengths, penetration may be insufficient with the hollow-points currently available on the market, so ball may be a better overall choice in such cases.

My logic has always been that if a hollowpoint expands, great. If it fails to expand, it's now functioning as a ball round. Why not at least give myself the opportunity to have a round expand in the target?

Assuming that you'd get adequate penetration in all cases, that's a valid argument.

do you honestly think your attacker is going to care what type of ammo you use to shoot him with?.....

If he gets scared at the sight of a gun and runs away, then I guess that the type of ammo doesn't matter; in fact, no ammo at all is needed in such cases. If he runs away just because you're shooting at him, then only blanks would be needed (or a cap gun). On the other hand, if he continues to assault you or engages in a gunfight with you, then you'll want to use the most effective type of ammo on him, regardless of what he may think of it (his body may "think" otherwise).

If you're arguing that there is no difference in performance between bullets that behave rather differently in a physical sense, then state your case. Not that I'm saying that the difference is necessarily large, but sometimes even a small difference--an "edge"--can be the deciding factor between life and death in individual cases.

The argument made by many is that they want to carry the same ammunition they practice with and for many folks it's simply too expensive to practice with high end dedicated defensive ammo. It's a valid argument it seems. I don't necessarily do that myself but I can absolutely see why someone would make that decision.

It is a valid argument, although another valid argument is that it makes no difference as long as your practice ammo feels just like your defensive ammo and has practically the same point of impact for the same point of aim. That's one nice thing about .40 S&W, by the way--relatively inexpensive practice ammo that pretty much shoots just like defensive ammo, at least in my experience (.45 ACP is the same way, although practice ammo costs more). With some calibers, there is a noticeable difference between practice and defensive ammo, so some compromises must be made.

regardless of bullet choice shot placement is everything.

But shot placement is nothing without penetration, and greater penetration (up to a full pass-through) offers greater opportunities for shot placement, while expansion sort of does the same by relaxing the precision required (and potentially increasing the rate of blood loss). To say that shot placement is "everything" without extremely important qualifiers is just plain inaccurate.

Ball for practice, and HPs for defense. I've read every argument there is and I haven't seen one argument I think is valid for using ball over HPs for defense. Most advocates for ball will sight the FBI report as their reasoning yet the FBI report advocates HPs and that is what the FBI carries. Go figure.

The FBI issues a specific hollow-point load that gets 19-22 inches of penetration (when shot through clothing), which is just over the 18 inches that they recommend. I suppose that those who favor 18 inches like the FBI does could use their report to support their argument in a wider range of cases than the ones you mentioned later (i.e. smaller, weaker calibers that may underpenetrate with hollow-points).

Heretic
May 11, 2011, 03:45 PM
I shot milkjugs full of water with Hornady critical defense .45. The bullet ripped the jugs completly open and kept right on going. Huge splash! I don't believe penetration is an issue with this round. If the bad guy can stand up to these, he deserves my wallet.
P.S. The ban on expanding bullets by the Hague only applies to the military. I believe there have been a lot of complaints about the lack of stopping power of the 9's issued to our forces lately.

FIVETWOSEVEN
May 11, 2011, 03:55 PM
I don't feel unarmed with ball but I would prefer HP for self defense.

Cop Bob
May 11, 2011, 04:10 PM
Geeze, get the Popcorn ready... again....

HP for social work and hunting...

Ball for practice...

Speed is nice, accuracy is certain...

Time and Time again, it has been proven and shown that proper practice and proper technique will be repeated under stress.. if you are a good INSTINCTIVE shot with a 22 you will hit what you are shooting at with any pistol as long as it, your service gun, has the same pointing characteristics and balance or feel as what you are used to shooting.

I have seen high masters in PPC get into real shootouts and miss at 7 yards.. I have seen officers that could only shoot qualification scores in the mid 80's, but were good practiced instinctive shooters, make quick clean hits in real street shootings..

Proper Practice make Perfect.. and it does not really matter what gun caliber or bullet that you shoot... As far as handling recoil of one type of round over another, when the adreniline starts pumping, you go into "Slow Time".. your instincts and training take over.. you will repeat what you practice.. and bad habits WILL be there...

It does not REALLY matter what you practice with, the important thing is that you practice.. and practice THE RIGHT TECHNIQUES and DO NOT repeat bad habits...

Zanad
May 11, 2011, 04:15 PM
anyone heard of the federal expanding full metal jacket?

Loosedhorse
May 11, 2011, 04:30 PM
Rethink.Thanks, geek--but guess what? I re-thought, and came up with exactly the same answer.But somewhere (.380, .32, or .22) they will tell you you're better off with FMJ, if you're going to carry that caliber at all. [emphasis added]:rolleyes:"Use enough gun"Robert Ruark, speaking on hunting dangerous game. He was not talking about self-defense.

If we're resorting to bromides as advice, how about, "First Rule of Gunfights: Bring a Gun."

Deanimator
May 11, 2011, 07:01 PM
do you honestly think your attacker is going to care what type of ammo you use to shoot him with?.....
No, but the five year old standing behind him will if I get a through and through and hit her too.

My EXCLUSIVE reason for using hollowpoints in EVERY carry gun I own is to do everything I reasonably can to ONLY shoot the person who NEEDS shooting.

In Ohio, I'm immune from suit from an assailant if it's ruled a good shoot. If I shoot through him and hit somebody else, they can sue me all day, every day and twice on Sunday.

I will NEVER carry FMJs unless FORCED to by black letter law.

Taurus 66
May 11, 2011, 07:12 PM
Load your rounds as such - HP first round, ball second round, HP third round, ball fourth round, and so on ... so you will have both ready for action. ;)

gym
May 11, 2011, 07:18 PM
Use Powerball or other ammo with the ball in the hollow tip, if you are concerned. They should feed well in just about any pistol. Hornaday has a new one also, there are more every day.

Manco
May 11, 2011, 09:43 PM
P.S. The ban on expanding bullets by the Hague only applies to the military. I believe there have been a lot of complaints about the lack of stopping power of the 9's issued to our forces lately.

With all due respect to those who serve, I think they'd complain about the stopping power of anything they use, short of the M2 BMG. :) While I think that they need rifle rounds that are significantly more effective at long range, pistol rounds are a secondary concern at best, and any service pistol caliber will be short on true "stopping power" per round, in my opinion (that's why pistols need to be fired rapidly in order to stop, in my view).

anyone heard of the federal expanding full metal jacket?

Yes, and I would categorize it along with hollow-points as expanding ammo for the purposes of this discussion (i.e. the OP's actual question). If feeding reliability is the topic, then it should be just like FMJ.

Use Powerball or other ammo with the ball in the hollow tip, if you are concerned. They should feed well in just about any pistol. Hornaday has a new one also, there are more every day.

It may depend on the caliber, but if you're referring to Hornady's Critical Defense, then these bullets typically just have their cavities filled in (and maybe a tad extra) as opposed to plastic balls that change the bullets' profiles substantially (i.e. giving them an actual ogive).

By the way, another feature of .40 S&W that could be considered an advantage is that even FMJ practice ammo is a good test for hollow-point compatibility because the bullets all have a flat nose (meplat). This implies that guns chambered in this caliber were designed with this sort of bullet profile in mind. I'm not trying to promote the caliber, I just happened to notice a couple of characteristics that are apropos to the topics being discussed.

Weevil
May 11, 2011, 10:51 PM
By the way, another feature of .40 S&W that could be considered an advantage is that even FMJ practice ammo is a good test for hollow-point compatibility because the bullets all have a flat nose (meplat). This implies that guns chambered in this caliber were designed with this sort of bullet profile in mind. I'm not trying to promote the caliber, I just happened to notice a couple of characteristics that are apropos to the topics being discussed.


That is an interesting point.

.40 S&W is "modern" caliber that was born in the hollow-point era and every gun made for this caliber was designed to use HPs. As mentioned even the FMJ has an HP profile.

So the old "better reliability" arguement just doesn't hold water when you're talking about the .40.


Personally I prefer HPs in the service calibers.

Expansion and jagged edges for increased tissue damage and greater wound volume, rather than the straight through ice-pick wounds produced by FMJ. With "modern" state of the art HPs penetration is not an issue as they have been thoroughly tested for proper penetration. Plus the expanded bullet helps prevent over-penetration and even if it does exit the target the expanded slug is far less likely to seriously injure a bystander than the FMJ which blows right through and remains intact.

Then there is the psychological factors of getting shot. HPs are far more likely to get their attention due to the increased wound severity. An expanding bullet that opens up into a little buzzsaw is more likely to be noticed than a hard smooth object blowing right through.

As to reliability I solve that by using "modern" pistols that were designed for use with HPs. Now if you're using some old antique or some military surplus pistol then yeah FMJ is probably your best bet, but any quality pistol built in the last 30 years or so should work just fine with HPs.

I honestly don't see any advantage at all to using FMJ and several downsides.

antiquus
May 11, 2011, 11:11 PM
Depends on the caliber. .380 and Mak, I use ball during the winter, hp in summer. Anything more powerful, use HP because Mr. Overpenetrating Round will get you sued to the point you are living in your car. The military doesn't care about overpenetration, from their point of view the more bodies in the way of the bullet the better, so i wouldn't take my cue from military practice in this.

Remember that police/FBI/Border Patrol choices in calibers are designed to defeat barriers, then penetrate through an arm with sufficient force to penetrate the chest cavity deeply. Even then, they use HP's and are very nervous about overpenetrating rounds.

You might ponder the fact almost all civilian shootings are frontal shots, not through barriers (because if there is a barrier you probably are hiding behind it and want it there) and a shot from front to back, center of mass, will likely not be stopped but much unless it hits a bone or the heart, small target. Very likely it will pass through a lung - mostly air.

Weevil
May 12, 2011, 12:10 AM
Agreed caliber does matter.


.380 and down I use FMJ. The lesser calibers just don't have the power to drive an expanded bullet deep into the vitals. The bullets are just too light and the velocities too low to have the momentum and force needed for proper penetration of an HP.

However in the sevice calibers 9mm Luger and up, their main advantage is the fact that you can use an HP and get good deep penetration. But even with 9mm I like to use a +P round with a mid-range bullet weight.

gym
May 12, 2011, 01:05 AM
try the golden sabre 102 grain HP in your 380, it may change your mind.

Weevil
May 12, 2011, 01:14 AM
Yeah it maybe the best .380 HP there is......


.......but a 9mm +P HP is alway gonna be better. ;)



I will agree though that hollow-point bullet technology has came a long way and there are some good .380 HPs that will get a good penertration but it's still less than 12". The Golden Sabre .380s are only getting about 9.5" of penetration.

http://brassfetcher.com/index_files/Page1628.htm



I'd rather have a t least a 9mm and preferably a +P 9mm for use with HPs.

The 9mm 124 gr GS bullets get about 13" of penetration and the 124gr +P's get about 14.3".

http://www.firearmstactical.com/ammo_data/9mm.htm


Until somebody can get at least 12" of penetration with good expansion from a .380 HP I'll stick with FMJ and at least 9mm for HPs.



That is one nasty looking .380 slug though.

http://brassfetcher.com/index_files/image1653.jpg

I'd sure hate to have that thing grinding through me even if it was only 9"!!! ;)

THplanes
May 12, 2011, 06:50 AM
Golden Loki shows several .380 HP that make 12" and give some expansion.

http://www.goldenloki.com/ammo/gel/380acp/gel380acp.htm

Heretic
May 12, 2011, 12:07 PM
The point I was trying to make is I think the Hague ban on expanding bullets is stupid. The reason we have a military is to kill people and break things. The 5.56 can do real damage at range when loaded with soft or hollow points and I think we should issue them. The 9mm has greatly increased "stopping power" when it expands to .45 cal or so. FMJ is for poking holes in tin cans. It isn't much good for anything else.
Why do we allow our potential enemies to dictate what we can use to defend ourselves from them.

Loosedhorse
May 12, 2011, 12:32 PM
The point I was trying to make is I think the Hague ban on expanding bullets is stupid.Perhaps we should look at the historical reason for the ban before saying that.

It was argued that HP or SP ammo was more likely to produce fatal or amputating wounds than ball ammo, and if we like the idea of efforts (like the Hague or Geneva agreements) toward the curious goal of making war "less inhumane," then banning expanding projectiles makes sense...if they do in fact the percent of casualties who are killed or severely maimed, as opposed to less severely maimed or even just temporarily incapacitated.

The British and Americans who argued against the ban at the Hague did not say that HPs weren't more devastating; in fact it was specifically because they were, and would more quickly stop a charging enemy, that they wanted those bullets kept legal.

Modern strategists like the concept of wounding enemy, given the resources that will be spent in recovering and treating the wounded. Of course, that breaks down with an enemy that is fine with leaving its wounded on the field.

Lots of ways to view this issue, but remember that the "Kill people and break things" argument can be used also to try to legalize chlorine, mustard gas, and biologicals. And the summary execution of POWs, and....

mljdeckard
May 12, 2011, 01:38 PM
And Dean, good HP ammo is just as dangerous to whatever is behind the target as ball is. If it's not likely to completely traverse a human target, I wouldn't carry it.

pioneer461
May 12, 2011, 02:47 PM
Check ammo makers and see how many make FMJ self defense ammo. That would be a clue.

Federal makes something they call Expanding Full Metal Jacket, but the thin jacket only covers a polymer filled HP cavity.

Some flat-earth folks refuse to admit that expanding ammo stops bad guys better than ball ammo. Modern self defense ammo gives you the best of both worlds, penetration AND expansion. Welcome to the 21st Century.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
May 12, 2011, 03:15 PM
My take on this whole subject is, whatever I have in my gun at the time I need it is what is going to be fired, whether it be calm loads in HP or FMJ, or wild loads in HP or FMJ.

My take on it is that I hope I never have to use my weapon to save my life or those around me. If I do have to use it, my opinion is that shot placement will make the biggest difference. The way to ensure good shot placement - even EXCELLENT shot placement - is to shoot, shoot, then shoot some more!

Hopefully, if I ever do need to draw my gun, the gun itself will stop the attack because the attacker does not feel like getting shot that day. Or, the attacker sees my Crimson Trace on his/her nose and realizes he/she better stop right there.

If it comes down to needing to fire my weapon, the last thing I am going to be thinking about is how deep will this bullet go? Short of a T&T shot where others behind him/her may get shot, I don't obsess about what type ammo (JHP, FMJ, etc) I happen to have! For those who state that a hollow point is best for so many reasons, you might as well throw all that out the window if, for some reason, those HP cavities get filled with some kind cloth, clothing, etc and they suddenly act just like a FMJ!

At least if you are using FMJ, non-expanding bullets to start out with, there will be no surprises IF the bullets should fail to mushroom! So, in that respect, the FMJ is - at minimum - reliable in that it should penetrate the same each time (assuming the assailant is not wearing a bullet-proof vest).

Friendly, Don't Fire!
May 12, 2011, 03:20 PM
Hardball, even .45ACP, is dismal against flesh. All it does is poke a narrow hole with little tissue disruption. Those who think hardball is a good stopper have obviously never shot a critter with the stuff. It's 2011, use a good bullet.
Don't rule out crushed and broken bones and their damage as they quickly move out of the way of the FMJ! Of course, if you hit the bad guy in the fleshy part of his body and the bullet goes clear through without hitting any bones, that is a poor shot to begin with, one which I don't believe having HP's or not having HP's will make that much difference.

Now, should the bullet break bone, and the bone fragments need to quickly move out of the way, that is a different story as damage will be done by high-speed (sharp) bone fragments moving QUICKLY away from the wound channel.

Malamute
May 12, 2011, 03:42 PM
Orginally posted by CraigC
Hardball, even .45ACP, is dismal against flesh. All it does is poke a narrow hole with little tissue disruption. Those who think hardball is a good stopper have obviously never shot a critter with the stuff. It's 2011, use a good bullet.


I agree with this comment. Perhaps people really are easier to stop than small game, but having shot hundreds of cottontails, jack rabbits, marmots, etc up to coyotes with various rounds and loads, and opening them up to look at the results, you learn a little about killing things with handguns. Round nose bullets of any sort are horrible stoppers or killers on anything I've shot with them. Semi wadcutters make a huge step up in performance, and hollow points again make a big step up. I believe it's tissue damage rather than energy that kills. Energy may have a bearing on tissue damage, but it isn't the whole story.

Jim Cirillo, in his book "Guns, Bullets and Gunfights" said that he talked to coroners that told him when round nose bullets were used, they couldn't tell the difference between a 32 or a 45 wound. When he started using hot hollow point loads in the 38 spl, they commented "What the He** did you shoot them with?!!" Cirillo was searching for better loads yet, but the difference between round nose loads and hollow points was very dramatic in effect. I'm not the least bit surprised at Cirillos results and conclusions.

Elmer Keith also commented about shooting small game with 45 autos with ball ammo and having them run off. I've had similar experiences.

Yes, bigger is better in many regards, but bullet type and performance make a big difference also. I'd rather carry a 38 spl with good +p hollow point loads than a 45 with round nose loads for a protection gun if that was the only choices. YMMV


As to the idea that hollow points may clog up and not expand, so you may as well use an inferior round right off the bat, because you know it will be inferior, simply doesnt make sense.

Heretic
May 12, 2011, 04:04 PM
Loosedhorse, your point is well taken, but when politics require that our guys are put in harms way armed with a cartridge that is really more suited for varmiting than a battle rifle, any edge is better than none.
Out to 200 yards,the 5.56 is debatable. After 200, worthless.
P.S. ever hear of depleted uranium!

Shadow 7D
May 12, 2011, 04:16 PM
If you are so concerned about shooting what you carry, Magtech and Speer Lawman that design FMJ range ammo to mirror the performance of their SD/HP ammo, it's geared to the LE community, and is more expensive than FMJ plinking ammo, BUT, is a considerable saving on HP ammo.
http://www.ammunitiontogo.com/product_info.php/pName/50rds-40-sw-speer-lawman-155gr-tmj-ammo/cName/40-sw-fmj-ammo

Claude Clay
May 12, 2011, 04:48 PM
Loosedhorse...to paraphrase ball vs hp/sp: dead is dead but a wound by ball is more likely to be fully recoverable than one made by hp/sp. so if you ain't kilted on the battlefield the rest of your life will be less compromised cause of the ball ammo. makes sense.

on home soil i carry ball in winter and hp the 3 other seasons. Power ball may change how those starting out make a decision but for me i am set in my ways: gold dot hp in 9/40/45acp. 38's are black talons and when/if i run out of them--LSWC; 32 & 380 are ball winter and silvertips otherwise.
as always; its what runs in your gun and has you feeling you made the right choice. the latter being only determined following a shooting. so to me its an answer i hope to never have to find out about.

regarding some comments about how it must feel to be shot...i've spoken with many (a mix of 14 or so bg's and bystanders over the course of 40 years ) who have caught 22's, 32's and 9's. the most common comment was: i didn't know i was hit till it was over/ i saw the blood. than it either didn't hurt much, burned and after the adrenalin wore off--it hurt real bad. fewer said it hurt/ burned instantly. a few i knew who got 45's were unable to comment.

Heretic
May 12, 2011, 05:17 PM
Shadow 7D love your quote. Loved Dune

jwr_747
May 12, 2011, 09:05 PM
when the world was a less openly violent place,a pistol shooter named jeff Cooper was ask the FMJ vs JHP question.his reply was 2 to the chest and 2 to the head,the dead guy didn't care which one it was...jwr

Frank Ettin
May 13, 2011, 12:18 AM
when the world was a less openly violent place,a pistol shooter named jeff Cooper was ask the FMJ vs JHP question.his reply was 2 to the chest and 2 to the head,the dead guy didn't care which one it was...Nonetheless, there has been considerable improvement in bullet design, and in general, a quality JHP is the better choice.

Sidd
May 13, 2011, 04:46 AM
I personally recomend HP, BALL can be great for practicing the problem you get can with balls no enough shock it dsnt prduce hydrostatic energy is the HP. Also Ball is nt recomended in a group of many people as it may penetrate and hit some one you did not intend. my advice is to use HP.

Jonah71
May 17, 2011, 11:10 AM
Energy transfer is a myth. Penetration and permanent tissue damage are what matters. Expansion helps a small pistol bullet look like a big one. There are 3 things can both sides agree on, bullet placement, bullet placement, and bullet placement.

In order to be effective a bullet has to do as damage as possible to the engine room, control tower, communications channel or support structure. (heart, brain, central nervous system or spinal column).
This pretty much says it all imo.

Heretic
May 17, 2011, 03:06 PM
Hey Jonah71,I think you forgot to mention bullet placement.

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