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FMJ vs JHP for carry ammo

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by radiotom, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. radiotom

    radiotom Well-Known Member

    What do you guys carry in your pistols? I do 3JHP - 3FMJ - 3JHP - 4FMJ in a Glock 23.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
  2. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member


    You should, only, carry JHPs because FMJ have way too much penetration and end up in someone else besides who you initually shot.

    I hate to flame you (will not really), but that load theory is not rational...
  3. 56hawk

    56hawk Well-Known Member

    JHP in every gun in every situation. Can't see any reason to carry FMJs.
  4. radiotom

    radiotom Well-Known Member

    Body armor.
    Gun fight with cover.
    Druggie who has already taken 3 JHPs.
  5. mdauben

    mdauben Well-Known Member

    There can be a case for FMJ in marginal carry guns (.25, .38 and arguably .380) but I see no reason to carry anything but modern, well designed JHP in anything larger.

    Mozambique Drill, although I have not really seen any evidence that this is a singificant problem in real life crimes faced by most civilians.

    I believe this too is more an issues with police than civilians, but if it worries you about the only real advantage of the .40S&W over the 9mm or .45ACP is that test show it to be supperior at defeating barriers.

    Better aim, rather than FMJ bullets seems the best way to address this. ;)
  6. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Well-Known Member

    A bank robbery involves an infinitesimally slim chance of someone wearing body armor unless you're in Hollywood. A home invasion has an even slimmer chance, but it seems to have happened once or twice if you listen to the internet jabber. Otherwise, there's essentially a zero percent chance, and it may stop an FMJ anyway, or not stop a hollowpoint. Criminals aren't likely to have new, functional armor. Mozambique drill.

    Are you seriously going to shoot through cover? That's a good way of not knowing your target and what's behind it. You're pretty much guaranteed not to hit the threat itself. Besides, JHP almost universally falls into two groups now: ones that are trusted through cover via FBI tests, and ones that mash the nose and become FMJ.

    What is FMJ going to do to a druggy with 3 expanded rounds in him already? Are smaller, mostly-sealed holes going to work any better?

    Bottom line is, unless you're in New Jersey where it's illegal, you need a round that expands.
    If you're facing body armor, you don't need solid .40. You need a rifle.
    If they have cover, you need to find your own and run.
    If someone attacks you full of PCP, six expanding rounds is ten times better than three that expand and three that don't.
  7. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    I prefer FMJ... But I only carry JHP in any environment other than the woods. Why? Because if you ever had to use your gun, you would most likely be in a populated environment. FMJ's tend to pass completely through their targets, and I would hate to end up injuring somebody because of something like that.

    I think you're putting a lot more stock in expansion than you should be.
  8. X-Rap

    X-Rap Well-Known Member

    I believe in a real gunfight it would be so hard to keep track of what round was coming up next that any ammo variants used in the proposed scenario would be proved worthless. It's not like a card game in which your hand is wide open and visible.
    A spare mag would be much more effective in my opinion and if it gets worse than that you better be fighting your way to a carbine or shotgun.
  9. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Well-Known Member

    Hyperbole, yes, but a .40 already penetrates plenty deep enough you don't need more than any JHP delivers.
  10. 2wheels

    2wheels Well-Known Member

    Body armor that will stop a .40S&W JHP will stop a .40S&W FMJ.

    If it were that easy to beat armor, what would be the point of cops wearing it?

    JHPs penetrate cover about as well as FMJ. Worst case scenario, they penetrate the cover but do not expand... But they still penetrate and hit the target. So there's no advantage to FMJ.

    Well designed JHPs should penetrate more than enough, and do more damage than an FMJ, to any druggie threatening you.
  11. Snowdog

    Snowdog Well-Known Member

    What, no tracers? I like to have the first round a frangible, next a light hollowpoint followed by a heavy JHP, then a fmj and finally a tracer so I can see where I'm shooting.

    Just joshing you. I keep it simple and choose an inexpensive-yet-effective JHP, which is XM40HC for me that I was fortunate enough to stock up on at $16/50 a few months ago. I don't think FMJ is going to do substantially better than JHP against body armor. However, I also think any scenario where you're going to encounter thugs in level 2 attire is quite unlikely unless you're a high profile target worth kidnapping or assassinating.

    My understanding is that JHPs facilitate in a more rapid loss of blood and it's that blood loss that incapacitates in most cases. So, regardless if the thug is high, he's no robot and will collapse when the BP drops enough.

    Some prefer FMJ but I'm solidly in the JHP camp as long as the handgun caliber is .35 or greater.
  12. 481

    481 Well-Known Member

    I just load up with a premium JHP and call it good.

    Any situation where I run into someone intent on harming me while clad in soft armor is likely gonna require more than a pistol/one spare magazine to "solve" it.

    In that event, I am running away if I can- otherwise I'll have to "make due" with what I have.
  13. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    JHPs for self defense applications.

    As stated in In Defense of Self and Others... (Patrick, Urey W. and Hall, John C., Carolina Academic Press, 2010, pp. 95-96, italicized emphasis in original, bold emphasis added):

    And for any given caliber, a bullet that expands makes a bigger hole than one that doesn't.
  14. fatcat4620

    fatcat4620 Well-Known Member

    Glock 23 has 13 JHP in it right now. I dont know of anything a fmj would do that a jhp won't in the real world. Now if your hub gun will not feed jhp rounds reliably and you want to load it with 1 jhp in the chamber and fmj in the mag thats fine and the only reson you mix ammo.
  15. josephbw

    josephbw Well-Known Member

    I can only think of 1 instance where I would use FMJ for a defense load. That would be with a .32 acp pistol. There's not enough velocity or mass to get very much expansion with a JHP, so your only hope is a head shot, or to ventilate the perp with a FMJ. :eek:

    BTW, I'm not advocating using a .32 acp round for self defense.
  16. Fishbed77

    Fishbed77 Well-Known Member

    None of these sound like valid reasons to me.

    Body armor.
    If you are shooting at someone with body armor, he's probably a cop and you shouldn't be doing that.

    Gun fight with cover.
    If you are trying to shoot through cover, you can not see your target or what's beyond. You are instantly breaking one of the four rules.

    Also, if you are carrying firearm to defend yourself, you should not be engaging in running gun battles through any kind of cover. The purpose of the firearm should be to get yourself out of a life-threatening situation. Engaging the threat offensively begins to cross the line from self-defense into murder.

    Druggie who has already taken 3 JHPs.
    When shooting defensively, you shoot until the threat has ceased. I can't imagine that an extra round or two of .40S&W FMJ having any benefit over JHP in such a situation.

    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
  17. HDCamel

    HDCamel Well-Known Member

    Depends on the caliber really.

    I think that 9mm, .40 S&W, or .357 Sig pretty much HAVE to be JHP, otherwise they'll just zip right through your target and won't do that much damage.
    Anything less powerful like .380 or maybe 9mm Makarov should probably be FMJ if you want to reach the vitals.
    .45 ACP is a bit of an in-betweener. You can really go either way. I carry FMJ in my 1911 for a variety of reasons, but I would be just about as comfortable with JHPs.

    Just remember, Shot placement > Penetration > Expansion
  18. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    A 9mm FMJ round isn't going to penetrate body armor any better than a 9mm JHP round.

    If you want to use FMJs go for it, but I really have to suggest against alternating FMJ and JHP. If a druggie has already taken 3 JHPs, more JHPs will be better than switching to FMJs. The idea comes more from shotguns, in that some people want to load birdshot then buckshot then slugs. Problem is, by the time you get to the buckshot, if needed, your attacker could easily be on you already.

    Pick a load and stick with it. Personally, for anything 9mm or bigger, I use JHP. Anything less (i.e. .380 ACP or .38 SPL) I'll be going for a FMJ.
  19. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Well-Known Member

    Cover? Cover stops bullets. I suspect you're thinking of light barrier materials (automotive sheetmetal, windshield glass, drywall, plywood, door, etc.). In this case FMJ isn't going to give you ANY advantage over JHP.

    Not necessarily. An armed adversary can be partially concealed behind an opaque barrier (drywall, residential door, car door, raised car hood/trunk) and shooting through the light barrier might be required to get a good, fight-stopping hit.
  20. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    Not necessarily. Anyone with $600 to spend and an Amazon.com account can have body armor.

    One thing to keep in mind is that JHPs use the hydraulic pressure of the water in the body to expand. On light barriers such as drywall or heavy clothing, they will actually clog up and fail to expand. They're not really any less "armor piercing" than FMJs, especially if the FMJ has a high meplat.

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