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Defense anmo vs target ammo for handguns

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Phillip Farney, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. Phillip Farney

    Phillip Farney Member

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    Ok. I know that defense ammo is made to do more damage and from all I have researched on it, I guess it does. Does that mean target ammo won't do serious damage to an attacker? I have seen tests performed where good old ball ammo punches through farther in cases where the hollow point got sort of plugged by outer layer garments like denim. Am I just an old fool to think i am ok using regular target ammo in my firearms for defense. My home defense weapon is .45acp and my carry is 9mm. And yes, both have defensive rounds in them. But am I just being a sucker to marketing to think a couple of target rounds from my 1911 wouldn't be effective enough to get the job done? Someone please straighten me out, even if it means some tough love!
     
  2. Obturation
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    Obturation Contributing Member

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    My only gripe with "target" loads is that they're often inexpensive and not loaded to tight specs, when you spend $1+ each for defensive ammo I expect proper function and consistent tolerances.
     
  3. tubeshooter

    tubeshooter Member

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    All bullets can kill.
    All bets are off.

    It's your life.
    You pay your money and you take your chances.

    As a mod here likes to say... "Make an informed decision".
    Whatever you decide.


    That's about all there really is to say.
     
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  4. NedNederlander

    NedNederlander Member

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    Defensive JHP ammo is also designed to expand hopefully staying contained inside of what was just shot. All bullets will make holes, and some will pass completely through the intended target, so try and be aware of what will be the backstop and sling whatever lead you have available to get the job done.
     
  5. Phillip Farney

    Phillip Farney Member

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    Very good point.
     
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  6. buddyd157

    buddyd157 Member

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    from what i have been told at the range, and from what i have been seeing on the many videos on you tube, you want hollow points for self/home defense, so that the bullet does not pass thru that thug, and maybe into one of your kids bedroom walls, and kills your kid? or maybe your wife?

    you want that hollow point to pretty much stay inside the thug(s). the others will pass thru and........the consequences can be horrific.

    then there is the RIP ammo....look that up for videos.
     
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  7. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    Which works better? A broad head, or a field point?
    Same concept for handgun ammo.
    I don't want to be shot with any of them. But if I have to shoot something. I want to use the most violent option.
     
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  8. Phillip Farney

    Phillip Farney Member

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    Makes perfectly good sense to me, especially if I ever had to use it in my carry gun in public, God forbid.
     
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  9. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    It does not make sense to concern oneself with overpenetration if most of the shots fired miss the target in the first place.
    Prevention of overpenetration is not the primary purpose of hollowpoint bullets that are the basis of most self-defense cartridges.
    Hollowpoint bullets are intended to deform or expand to create a larger wound channel. They do this by both increased frontal area (larger diameter) and a broader, flatter meplat (of the deformed or expanded bullet) versus the smooth, round nose of a full jacket.
    Plugging of the hollowpoint with denim can cause a poorly designed or poorly made hollowpoint bullet to fail to expand. In this case, it acts almost exactly like a full metal jacket bullet. It tends to penetrate more and wound less.
    You're not a sucker to buy hollowpoint ammunition to carry for personal protection. You could be a sucker if you buy "hyper" ammunition that costs a premium for gimmicks.



    Don't buy "hype." Do load quality defensive ammunition.
     
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  10. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

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    With handguns I use lswc almost exclusively. I practice weekly and am comfortable with my shot placement. I believe that's what it all comes down to. Range time and how comfortable you are with something that could save your life.
     
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  11. Phillip Farney

    Phillip Farney Member

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    Agreed. I guess that's the genesis of my question. I also shoot weekly. While shooting, I began to wonder, if I get three quick shots off and put them in your chest in rough a two inch group or less, which I am capable of, does it really matter which round I am using? I practice trying to simulate an attack .... as best you can at a range. One hand, off handed, point of aim, sighting in, withe the rmr, all end up where I intend them to go, or at least very close. So does it really matter? 3 shots in the chest or head from my .45 should do the job hollow point or not.
     
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  12. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

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    Handguns are already marginal performers. I don't want to handicap myself further by using suboptimal ammunition.

    If (God Forbid) I ever have to shoot someone I don't want "should do the job". I want the odds stacked as heavily in my favor as I can possibly get them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
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  13. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

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    I'll admit I am a hypocrite because I do use expanding bullets for all my hunting rifles.

    Whatever gives you an edge.
     
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  14. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    FWIW, militaries are restricted to FMJ, and I can't think of any less-than-lethal armies.
    Another point not mentioned is energy transfer. When a FMJ bullet leave its target, it takes ft/lbs of energy with it. A JHP that stays in a body transfers all its energy to the target.
     
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  15. Zippy_the_slug

    Zippy_the_slug Member

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    IMO it depends on what you are shooting. If I'm using 9mm Makarov for defense I would stick with ball ammo. There are JHP rounds available but I would have concerns about lack of penetration with that round.
     
  16. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I think you're seeking confirmation for the belief you already have: namely that FMJs are good enough.

    A good 9mm hollow point does more tissue damage than a .45acp FMJ. You can load your defensive firearm with whatever you want. But there's a reason Law Enforcement use JHP and not FMJ, and it's not about over penetration. It's about stopping the threat right now. Not in a few minutes, after they beat or stab you to death.

     
  17. Kevin Keith

    Kevin Keith Member

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    Well, Phil I'll just tell ya, I carry 230gr ball in all my 1911s. I also carry 115gr in my 9mm CZ75 clone. I've shot lots, lots I say, of that ball stuff and the "good stuff" and I am very comfortable with my choices. I know what I'm talking about when it comes to shooting in a life or death situation. Either one will serve you well if the situation ever comes up.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
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  18. Theohazard

    Theohazard Member

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    RIP ammo is a gimmick and nobody should ever use it for self defense. It’s just like all the other lightweight, pre-fragmented handgun ammo we’ve seen throughout the last several decades: it tries to re-invent the wheel and fails completely. There’s a reason why all major police departments use regular hollow-points.
     
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  19. Phillip Farney

    Phillip Farney Member

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    No, not seeking confirmation. Of course, I will use what I choose. But, I seriously was interested in the community's viewpoint on this issue. It is pretty much what I expected. Before there were hollow points, ball ammo was just fine. I would contend that I could stop a threat with either ammo choice. I do load hollow point rounds in both my home defense and carry weapons. My thought was, am I doing so because of effective marketing or did I do so because I believe ball ammo to be ineffective? My conclusion is probably marketing. No doubt hollow points are more effective, but is it marginal? On the other hand, why not give myself every advantage possible?
     
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  20. shoobe01

    shoobe01 Member

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    Doc Roberts (Doc GKR) is one of VERY few extremely well informed ballisticians who doesn't work for a government, so shares his info (fairly) freely.

    Here's a bit of ranting about why this matters from him, but most of all his actual list of known-good defensive ammo.
    https://pistol-forum.com/showthread.php?4337-Service-Caliber-Handgun-Duty-and-Self-Defense-Ammo

    This doesn't necessarily mean something not on the list is not good, but often (see Theohazard on the RIP ammo) it is a good hint if it's been out a bit and isn't on the list.

    He doesn't make official distinctions once on the list, but there are a few informal discussions I've read with him and others, and I carry 124gr Gold Dots.
     
  21. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

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    The majority of combat casualties from the Napoleonic wars on were caused by artillery.
     
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  22. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

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    Before the advent of modern preventive medicine losing half your kids before the age of ten to common childhood illnesses was just fine.

    The very fact that hollow point ammunition exists would argue that somebody didn't think ball ammunition was just fine. The Boer Kommandos were using Dum-Dums in 1902.

    Instead of ineffective maybe less effective would be a better term. Which begs the question why would you deliberately choose something that's less effective to defend your life with?

    As you stated why not give yourself every possible advantage?
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
  23. FFGColorado

    FFGColorado Member

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    JHP works great if the thing expands. If the barrel is short(er), the round isn't traveling fast enough or it goes thru a lot of barriers that clog up the hollow point, it'll act just like FMJ. Yes, yes, I know, tests and marketing, and these 'boutique' brands get a lot of grief BUT, as tested, Lehigh/Underwood Xtreme Defender 'tests' very well, compared to JHP tested head to head..out of shorter barrels, thru a lot of barriers. G9 is another type of this.
     
  24. rkittine

    rkittine Member

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    I have always kept 148 Grain Hollow Based wad cutters loaded upside down in my .38 in home pistols. Will expand well when hitting something like flesh, but not go through a wall and kill someone on the other side. Glad that I have never had to shoot in the house and see if my logic is correct.

    Bob
     
  25. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests/
    9mm hollow point that doesn't expand penetrated 26'' of heavy clothed gel.
    45 hollow point that didn't expand penetrated 29'' of heavy clothed gel.
    Several 9mm loads are available that penetrate 12'' - 18'' and consistently expand to .60 or larger
    45 acp 230 HST and Ranger T penetrated over 12'' and expanded .85 - 1''
    The potential for making just a .45 hole in someone trying to kill me versus one about twice as big (.85 - 1'') is not a tough choice.
     
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