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FMJ's for carry/defense anyone ?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by okc-zee, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. okc-zee

    okc-zee Well-Known Member

    Lately at the range I've run into quite a few people who are using FMJ's for their carry/defense weapons...I guess price and availability of some stuff can be a factor here...aside from over penetration,I guess it's just as effective as anything else and a lot cheaper as well...I do this in my 380 LCP,but all my other carry/defense weapons have JHP's as a rule...Any thoughts on this ? I'm sure I can stand to learn something here...
  2. gun addict

    gun addict Well-Known Member

    if fmj is just as effective as jhp and softpoints all the police departments would carry them instead. JHP's expension are very much an advantage over FMJ's rounds especially in rounds such as the 9mm

    however in small pistol calibers such as the 380 fmj might be a decent idea due to the fact that most JHP or Softpoint may not reach the 12 inch penetration recommended by the FBI but FMJ 380s might
  3. JEB

    JEB Well-Known Member

    all of my defense guns are loaded with JHP exclusively. my LCP however, is loaded with FMJ simply because i do not reload that caliber yet.

    ^ this
  4. wow6599

    wow6599 Well-Known Member

    FMJ for .380 and .45 ACP.
  5. Ehtereon11B

    Ehtereon11B internet infantryman

    The only weapon I consider carrying FMJ in is my pocket .380 namely because it is picky (stovepipes) with HP and JHP. The only self defense ammo I have found it really likes is Cor-bon Pow R ball.
  6. springer99

    springer99 Well-Known Member

    IMHO, for 380, 9X18 or 32ACP I'd lean towards using FMJ. Anything above that, JHP's definately get my nod. Of course in some areas, NJ for instance, you don't have a choice. HP's of any type are banned for anyone other than police for use outside the home, except when at an approved shooting range. Self defense with HP's for private citizens is a big no-no.
  7. 481

    481 Well-Known Member

    FMJs tend to slip through tissue with little damage and penetrate deeply (as you already noted).

    This thread may be of interest to you since it explores the behavior of FMJs-


    JHPs (if they expand) tend to damage more tissue and are more likely to stop within the body of an attacker if placed COM making them much more preferable for the task. The .380 (and smaller calibers) is a notable exception being better suited to FMJs since expansion of a JHP can limit penetration to an unacceptable amount depending upon the user's specific needs.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  8. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    If the jhp loads avalible cannot make 11" reliability in calibrated gel I use fmj. This pretty much means 380 down including 38 IMO but it has cast lead to fall back on.

    Contrary to much of the ammunition hype these days adequate penatration is vastly more important than expansion.

    Ammunition must be reliable

    Only hits in the right places matter

    And only then when those hits go deep enough to hit the important parts.

    Making a bigger hole ranks behind these three criteria

    posted via that mobile app with the sig lines everyone complains about
  9. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Well-Known Member

    I carry a .380 sometimes, and it's loaded with 90- or 100-grain FMJ to achieve penetration.

    In my .38SPL it's 125-grain JHPs.

    In .40cal it's 165- or 180-grain JHPs.

    In 9mm it'd be 124-grain JHPs if I carried a 9mm.

    In .45ACP it's 230-grain FMJ, again to assure penetration, but if I load it as the house gun it's 230-JHPs.

    For .357MAG I carry 158- or 180-grain JHPs.

    For .44MAG it's 240-grain JHPs, though I just acquired some 180-grain JHPs I'm going to audition.
  10. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    You're sure this isn't just their range/practice ammo? Maybe they're using the cheaper ammo for practice but actually carry JHPs.
  11. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    Really depends on what you're protecting yourself from. For woods carry in bear country the answer could be far different but JHP in 9mm and .45ACP are what I choose.
  12. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    I carry JHP's only. And as for over penetration, FMJ are far more prone to this than JHP's. This is because they aren't designed to expand in the wound cavity like a JHP, this allows them to pass thorugh.

    Being a reloader I often find FMJ bullets to be typically more expensive than JHP's. Although, Gold Dots are a bit spendy, Nosler, Winchester, and XTP JHP's are actually pretty economical in price for reloading, I don't know about factory prices though.

  13. BSA1

    BSA1 Well-Known Member

    Some shooters argue bullet placement is everything.

    Some shooters like deep penetration as the shots may be made at a angle, through cover or material such as glass, or heavy clothing.

    Some shooters realize that velocities from test barrels are higher than with real world guns.

    Some shooters realize JHP cavities plug up and are really just FMJ only at a higher cost.
  14. Fire_Moose

    Fire_Moose Well-Known Member

    I've got my mags loaded about 40/60. JHP on top with fmj on bottom, figure if I get through the JHP, I may need to go thru barriers.
  15. okc-zee

    okc-zee Well-Known Member

    No sir...They made it quite clear ...They use FMJ's for defense as well as practice...Husband and wife team there said they no longer saw the purpose to spend the money on different types of their preferred carry ammo which at times was not available...(these two are long time shooters)...I was a little surprised at how many people there actually agreed and said they did the same in their larger caliber (9mm and up) guns for the same reasons...
  16. Snowdog

    Snowdog Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty much aping the consensus here, but I also use FMJ only in 9x18 and .32acp (Polish P64 and Keltec P32). IMO, JHPs are the cat's meow in the more serious cartridges.
  17. Snowdog

    Snowdog Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty much aping the consensus here, but I also use FMJ only in 9x18 and .32acp (Polish P64 and Keltec P32). IMO, JHPs are the cat's meow in the more serious cartridges.
  18. Cooldill

    Cooldill Well-Known Member

    Carrying FMJs is sometimes not a bad idea in lighter calibers such as .32 ACPs, .380s, .22s and .25s. The reason being is those rounds may not have the energy to reliably expand AND still penetrate the minimum to get the job done. Many would rather have something that can reach the vitals rather than something that will expand but lose penetration to get to them at all.

    However in the standard service calibers today I don't see much of a reason to carry FMJ. Bullet technology has improved a lot. It's not 1970. There are many .45 ACPs and 9mms that will reliably expand and meet at least the 12" minimum FBI penetration requirement.

    Those who are carrying FMJ because it's all they could find or afford, really should have planned better. I keep a sizeable stock of premium JHPs for all of my handguns. I usually buy a few boxes, run a couple to make sure they work in my gun, and save the other couple boxes for a rainy day or carry.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  19. ChCx2744

    ChCx2744 Well-Known Member

    In terms of damage, JHP and SP rounds are going to be more effective, in terms of damaging the target. The only situation I could think of when using FMJ in a defensive role would be due to reliability reasons. My buddy owns an AMT 1911 and I used to own a Commander-sized Colt 1911. Both of these guns had issues with several types of JHPs, specifically the heavier grained bullets; they would, however, function just fine with FMJs. I would have rather carried the FMJs instead of resorting to having to remove metal (I.E. polishing the feed ramps, the base of the ramps or the contact point under the bevel on the roof of the chamber).
  20. GLI45

    GLI45 Well-Known Member

    I have two carry pistols, both 1911s (one officer in 9mm and one commander in .45 ACP) and only use JHP. My wife carries a .380 (Sig P238) and also uses JHP. I was a little concerned about the .380, but ammunition has come a long way. After a great deal of online research I settled on Hornady Critical Defense for her Sig. I was so impressed with the performance I switched to Hornady CD for my pistols. They feed great, have excellent expansion, and very good penetration. And for those concerned about clogging of the JHP cavity, Hornady seems to have the answer with plastic plug in the cavity that prevents clogging and doesn't impede expansion.

    Check out the ballistics tests from tnoutdoors9 on YouTube.

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