As started from another thread about ballistic penetration; https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/penetration-question.837651/ I made a post about my very short and very non-definitive study on ballistics from 2003 - 2008, in the above thread...see page 2 of that thread. I mentioned that I was able to attend a ballistic seminar put on by Dr Gary Roberts, at our annual LE firearms instructor assoc. conference. If I recall correctly, back in 2003 or 4. Here's some of the notes I took, along with some of the hand out notes as well from him that evening; People are often rapidly psychologically incapacitated by minor wounds that are not immediately physiologically incapacitating. Unlike rifle bullets, handgun bullets, regardless of whether they are fired from pistols or SMG’s, generally only disrupt tissue by the crush mechanism. In addition, temporary cavitation from most handgun bullets does not reliably damage tissue and is not usually a significant mechanism of wounding. If handgun bullets do fragment, the bullet fragments are usually found within 1 cm of the permanent cavity; wound severity is usually decreased by the fragmentation since the bullet mass is reduced, causing a smaller permanent crush cavity. Bullet designs like the Silver Tip, Hydra-Shok, and Black Talon were state of the art 20 years ago. Modern ammunition which has been designed for robust expansion against clothing and intermediate barriers is significantly superior to the older designs. The bullets in the Federal Classic and Hydra-shok line are outperformed by other ATK products such as the Federal Tactical and HST, as well as the Speer Gold Dot; likewise Winchester Ranger Talons are far superior to the old Black Talons or civilian SXT's Rather than using larger caliber duty pistols, most people would be better served by issuing a quality 9 mm handgun along with good ammunition, and then spending the majority of their efforts on mandating effective, high quality, ongoing firearms training—a good minimum would be 100 rounds per week of dedicated, objective, monitored and scored training shots. The keys are: -- Invest in competent, thorough initial training and then maintain skills with regular ongoing practice -- Acquire a reliable and durable weapon system. -- Purchase a consistent, robust performing duty load along with a similar practice load in sufficient quantities to allow yourself to maintain and improve their skill. -- Then STOP worrying about the nuances of handgun ammunition terminal performance and focus on training and tactics Handguns chambered in .380 Auto are small, compact, and generally easy to carry. Unfortunately, testing has shown that they offer inadequate performance for self-defense and for law enforcement use whether on duty as a back-up weapon or for off duty carry. The terminal performance of .380 Auto JHP's is often erratic, with inadequate penetration and inconsistent expansion being common problems, while .380 Auto FMJ's offer adequate penetration, but no expansion. All of the .380 Auto JHP loads we have tested, including CorBon, Hornady, Federal, Remington, Speer, and Winchester exhibited inconsistent, unacceptable terminal performance for law enforcement back-up and off duty self-defense use due to inadequate penetration or inadequate expansion. Stick with FMJ for .380 Auto or better yet, don't use it at all. The use of .380 Auto and smaller caliber weapons is really not acceptable for law enforcement use and most savvy agencies prohibit them. While both the .380 Auto and .38 Sp can obviously be lethal; the .38 Sp is more likely to incapacitate an attacker when used in a BUG role. There have been many reports in the scientific literature, by Dr. Fackler and others, recommending the .38 Sp 158 gr +P LSWCHP as offering adequate performance. Please put this in context for the time that these papers were written in the late 1980's and early 1990's--no denim testing was being performed at that time, no robust expanding JHP's, like the Barnes Tac-XP, Federal Tactical & HST, Speer Gold Dot, or Winchester Ranger Talon or Ranger Bonded existed. In the proper historical perspective, the 158 gr +P LSWCHP fired out 3-4" barrel revolvers was one of the best rounds available--and it is still a viable choice, as long as you understand its characteristics. With few exceptions, the vast majority of .38 Sp JHP's fail to expand when fired from 2" barrels in the 4 layer denim test. Many of the lighter JHP's demonstrate overexpansion and insufficient penetration in bare gel testing. Also, the harsher recoil of the +P loads in lightweight J-frames tends to minimize practice efforts and decrease accuracy for many officers. The 158 gr +P LSWCHP offers adequate penetration, however in a 2" revolver the 158gr +P LSWCHP does not reliably expand. If it fails to expand, it will produce less wound trauma than a WC. Target wadcutters offer good penetration, cut tissue efficiently, and have relatively mild recoil. With wadcutters harder alloys and sharper leading edges are the way to go. Wadcutters perform exactly the same in both bare and 4LD covered gel when fired from a 2" J-frame. When faced with too little penetration, as is common with lightweight .38 Sp JHP loads or too much penetration like with the wadcutters, then go with penetration. Agencies around here have used the Winchester 148 gr standard pressure lead target wadcutter (X38SMRP), as well as the Federal (GM38A) version--both work. A sharper edged wadcutter would even be better. Currently the Speer Gold Dot 135 gr +P JHP, Winchester 130 gr bonded +P JHP (RA38B), and loads using the Barnes 110 gr all copper JHP (for ex. in the Corbon DPX loading ) offer the most reliable expansion we have seen from a .38 Sp 2” BUG; the Hornady 110 gr standard pressure and +P Critical Defense loads also offer good performance out of 2" barrel revolvers. The 5.7 pistol as a carry gun is a mistake. There are far more effective weapons and ammunition combinations out there. The new Federal #1 buckshot, 15 pellet, 1100 fps "Flight Control" load (LE132-1B) offers IDEAL terminal performance for LE and self-defense use and is the best option for those who need to use shot shells for such purposes. 223 - Unfortunately, recent LE use and combat operations have once again highlighted terminal performance problems, generally manifested as failures to rapidly incapacitate opponents, during both LE OIS incidents and military combat engagements when M855 is fired from 5.56 mm rifles and carbines, especially those with shorter barrels. The best LE 5.56 mm/.223 loads for intermediate barrier penetration using 1/9 and faster twist barrels are the 5.56 mm Federal 62 gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw (TBBC) bonded JSP (XM556FBIT3) and 5.56 mm Winchester 64 gr solid base bonded JSP (Q3313/RA556B) developed for the FBI, along with the outstanding new Black Hills 5.56 mm 50 gr TSX loading. The Hornady 5.56 mm 55 gr GMX is another acceptable option. Most other acceptable LE barrier blind loadings are at .223 pressures, including the superb, well proven .223 55 & 62 gr Federal bonded JSP Tactical loads (LE223T1 & LE223T3), along with loads using Nosler 60 gr Partition JSP, Remington 62 gr Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded JSP (PRC223R4), .223 Horn 55 gr GMX, and the .223 Speer 64 gr Gold Dot JSP's (and identically constructed Federal 62 gr Fusion JSP and Federal XM223SP1 62gr Bonded JSP).