FMJ effectiveness

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by kBob, Oct 23, 2021.

  1. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Just read through a closed thread part way before it became more “yah-yah” than informative

    just wanted to mention that there ARE numbers available on one shop stop probabilities with various FMJ pistol bullets based on actual shootings of humans.

    a pair of fellows named Marshall and Sanow looked at hundreds of police reports and compiled data for one shot stops for the types of ammo then available ( about 25+ years ago) and published their data.

    this was the great real shooting numbers verses “gel man” war of the 1990’s.

    I was accused of being a Fackler-ite (gel worshipper) simply because I helped Dr. Fackler question the M&S numbers. I actually rather liked what M&S did and liked to use both the Fackler info and the M&S data which agreed more often than some thought, though there were some glaring differences with some ammo types.

    I recommend doing more research of available information before getting wrapped around the axel and taking “legal” arguements to those sections of THR rather than technical areas.

    Take the High Road and be polite, please.

    -kBob
     
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  2. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    My own experience with small game and roundnose bullets is enough to convince me that they are poor performers in flesh. One story that has always stuck with me was presented by Hamilton Bowen in his revolver book. He'd shot a prairie dog with a 350 grain .50 caliber RN at about 800 fps and the critter ran off. He had to chase it down and finish it off. "You'd think that a half inch hole in a critter the size of a tall beer can would suffice" is how he put it.
     
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  3. Bazoo

    Bazoo Member

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    I'm interested in both studies. I don't suppose you have a link to them? Maybe a book link?
     
  4. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    Ive shot a couple of shaky looking/acting raccoons with 230 grain Hydra Shoks, and had basically the same result. Just rolled them over and they continued on their merry way until I shot them a second time. Had better/quicker/quieter results with a 3' oak grade stake.

    I think the issue here is, people seem to expect one shot movie type results in real life from proven poor people stopping handgun calibers. Personally, I think the placement of any of them is more critical than what kind of bullet you use. That, and quick repetition, is the only sure way to get a good result.

    As long as I had ammo in the mag, I wouldnt be too upset just what it was. As long as you put them where they need to go, I think youll come up with the same result. A good hit with any of them will likely bring the same result, and a poor hit will likely bring the same result.

    Seems to me, the answer here is, improve your "realistic" accuracy and the twitch in your trigger finger. :)
     
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  5. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    FMJ effectiveness doesn't concern me because I aint carrying FMJ - don't have to.
    At least 12'' penetration and consistent expansion is desired which is obtained with HST in 9mm/357Sig/40 or a 10mm 155 XTP.
    I had three of Marshalls books Handgun Stopping Power, Stopping Power, Street Stoppers read them over many times.
    The books were all about one shot stops, interesting, but if somebody trying to kill me they likely getting shot at least twice (default setting).
    Unlikely that any decent trainer would instruct shoot once and wait & see if it stops the attacker.
     
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  6. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    To save cost, my reload mags are often fmj. .40 and .45.

    My 9mm is all jhp. Because fmj is loaded lighter, cheap plinking ammo. Jhp is the only choice with 9mm.
     
  7. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I know the "probabilities" increase with the use of HP, since the damage increases.
     
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  8. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    From what Ive seen, factory FMJ 9mm is loaded to spec. Some of it, like the 124 grain Winchester "NATO" loading, is even at +P levels. Its not really cheap plinking ammo, other than it may cost less because of marketing of the more expensive "self defense" type ammo.
     
  9. Stevel

    Stevel Member

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    Youtubes GarandThumb carries fmj. Not because it's better, but it is what he carries at work and is familiar with it.

    I carry hollowpoint in the gun, though often my backup mag is fmj.
     
  10. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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  11. jstert

    jstert Member

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    i road trip alot, some states place legal restrictions on non fmj ball ammo. my first time shooting any centerfire firearm ocurred in july 1972, when uncle sam gave me plenty of fmj ball ammo gratis. except for 38sp wadcutters in a s&w j frame airweight snubbie, my practice and carry centerfire ammo is all fmj ball ammo. k.i.s.s.
     
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  12. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    That, in a nutshell.
     
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  13. WheelGunMan

    WheelGunMan Member

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    Shot placement is everything.

    This was told to me by a defense attorney who specializes in firearms law. Once you've made the decision to shoot...continue shooting until the threat is abated even if it means emptying your magazine and loading a second magazine into the firearm....THEN STOP shooting.
     
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  14. 1942bull
    • Contributing Member

    1942bull Contributing Member

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    I subscribe to the advice my pistol trainer gave in 1961 in the Corps. I asked him: how many rounds I should fire against an adversary?
    His reply: “Shoot them until they fall down, then go and shoot them one more time closeup.”
    Nasty but effective.
     
  15. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    There's an emphasis on minimum penetration with expansion that I think is based on "FBI protocol." It's actually weighted for handling things which may impede hitting human flesh - car doors, windshields, etc.

    That is why some consider and rarely post that it's really not a valid expression of what a bullet needs to do - its a test of what a bullet has to pass thru to get to a human. In the military its an out in the open discussion of why steel penetrator rounds are necessary: adobe construction, sand bags, metal doors, or even a 6 pak of AK mags in a chest carrier.

    In a much more typical altercation that performance may be more hazardous than we think, as a certain recent firearms discharge shows - the round went thru one person, and then hit another. Twelve inches of penetration minimum, and many times 16-18" is shooting THROUGH the normal human. As demonstrated.

    Thats something FMJ does well accomplishing, and why it remained in the military inventory for so long - it did the job - not because of some peace compact signed decades ago. If anything our JAG wrote that off in the 1980's and we were using open tip match bullets in sniper ammo long before that. The use of hollow point in law enforcement is based on NOT having penetration to excess, which then releases the maximum amount of energy disrupting tissue and causing the agressor to stop their actions.

    I don't put much credence in penetration - in ammo tests I look for 6-14" as that is where most of the impact will occur in a human. If there is something in the way, I'm not worried it will make a difference. Spall and fragments of whatever it is will add to the arguement I'm making against another persons depradations.

    There is another factor - the formerly accepted "three seconds three shots" which was in our conversation ten years ago. There are still very few shots exchanged, if traded at all, and most seem to be out in the open with no concealment behind objects at all. For the most part that points to the FBI protocol being a test of exceptions, not the common rule of thumb. It's an administrative decision to include obstacles in the few times they are impediments. For the most part, more expansive less penetrative bullets will do.

    Shot placement is paramount, if exercised correctly, then shooting to slide lock doesn't seem to be needed. And what is the measure of that - a 5 shot revolver, or an 18 shot duty gun? The first may not be enough, the second may well endanger others as more and more rounds are fired.
     
  16. WheelGunMan

    WheelGunMan Member

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    That one act could get you some serious jail time.
     
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  17. 1942bull
    • Contributing Member

    1942bull Contributing Member

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    I know, but if someone tries to kill me, I am not going to give him a second chance. I’m saw NVA hit the ground wounded and then open fire after they fell. I’ll take my chances with a prosecutor and jury rather than with a person trying to kill me. Just because a person is down does not mean that they cannot kill you.
     
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  18. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    Just because someone is down, doesnt mean they arent a threat. Down or not, if you feel they are, you continue to shoot.
     
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  19. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    This book was the last of the three:
    https://www.amazon.com/Stopping-Power-Practical-Analysis-Ammunition/dp/158160128X

    Spoiler:
    9mm FMJ and 45 acp FMJ had similar "one shot stop" averages around 55-60% as I recall.
    The best 9mm HP bullets were around 90% and the best 45 acp bullets in the low 90's - my generalization.
    Most people (me) would conclude that 90% is preferable to 60% and carry better HP bullets, not factoring "one shot stop" into the decision.
    "Its all about shot placement".
    Yea we know, and given same shot placement some bullets (HP) have better ASAP potential.
     
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  20. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Member

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    No doubt FMJ can be effective but it's not going to be AS effective as a JHP, worse case scenario is the JHP fails to expand and thus acts like a FMJ. If someone only carries FMJ because that's all their gun likes, buy a more reliable gun. If a person carries FMJ because they're cheap, all I can ask them is how much they value their life.
     
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  21. Good Ol' Boy

    Good Ol' Boy Member

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    "How much of your ammo is defensive ammo?"


    "All of it, if need be."
     
  22. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    I would suggest that if you cant make FMJ work, then maybe put more time in with it at the range so its not a problem. If you cant make good hits with FMJ, the pricier stuff isnt likely going to work any better for you. ;)
     
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  23. bdickens

    bdickens Member

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    Why is there still any discussion about this? Its not like the information isn't readily available....
     
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  24. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Load whatever you want to in your firearms.

    Pray you’ll never have to use it. Spending thousands in your civil or criminal defense, even after a good shooting, is never fun. :thumbdown:

    Stay safe.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2021
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  25. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    I don't have much experience shooting anything but paper and steel with fmj's.

    Now I have pretty much stopped using hollow point .22 lr's on game and pests. A solid lead bullet appears to be just as deadly and gives better penetration in larger animals like ground hogs or raccoons, and doesn't damage as much meat in smaller animals like squirrels. Shot placement is key, a gut shot with either ammo type means that creature is going to scurry off.
     
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