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The best self defense ammo and questions about hollow points

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Madjohn, Nov 18, 2008.

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  1. Madjohn

    Madjohn Member

    Nov 7, 2008
    Hey. i was someday getting my ccl but until i do i had a bunch of questions. i know that hollow points are the slandered in stopping power but which one is best. i don't want a guy i shoot in self defense to get back up, i want serious knock down power. i am a huge fan of 9mm ammo and that's probably what my carry gun is gonna be. either that or a Walther ppk in the 380. i also heard a rumor from a freind that shooting someone with hollow points is automatically counted as murder (i don't believe him). so anyone have any input on this.
  2. Armueller2001

    Armueller2001 Member

    Feb 18, 2008
    "i also heard a rumor from a freind that shooting someone with hollow points is automatically counted as murder "

    Shooting someone with hollow points is considered lethal force, same as shooting them with FMJ's. Not necessarily murder.
  3. LAK

    LAK Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    In the context of service pistols and revolvers there is no such thing as "knockdown power" - or "stopping power".

    The only instant physical stop is likely to result from a solid hit to the central nervous system; the brain or upper spine. These generally require penetration as a priority.

    A psychological stop can be caused by a number of factors not necessarily related to the physical destruction of vital tissue.

    In 9x19mm I prefer medium weight controlled exapansion bullets, like the Winchester Ranger 127 grain load.

    You should ensure that your chosen load shoots reliably and with sufficient accuracy in your pistol.


  4. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

    Dec 28, 2002
  5. Firethorn

    Firethorn Member

    Feb 27, 2004
    LAK, I have to disagree a bit.

    There are actual studies out there that give 'stopping rates' for various service calibers. The one shot stop study, for example. Which basically concluded that bigger & faster was better - and hollow points gave smaller, but high velocity, bullets a larger advantage than they gave big & slow ones.

    A handgun isn't going to knock anybody down who wasn't already going down by momentum transfer, no. And knockdown power isn't even really a reality even with the near mythical .50BMG.

    Madjohn, there's been enough studies and arguments here and elsewhere that the real advice is pretty simple. Go for the most reliable, accurate and comfortable for you firearm and ammo combination, preferably in a 'major power' - the .40, .45, and higher velocity 9mm. A moderate hollow point, especially for the relatively high velocity 9mm.

    As for the murder comment - a lawyer might try this in a court room. Any competent defense lawyer will promptly point out that hollow points today are pretty much standard issue with police departments across the world, is he trying to say the police load up to commit murder?

    My dad even came across a study once that suggested FMJ has a higher fatality rate - because people shooting it end up shooting the BG another time or two to stop him, and the resulting damage from an extra couple rounds tends to kill the BGs vsfewer hollowpoints that leave fewer, if a little bigger, holes for the BG to bleed out of before the docs patch him up.
  6. Phil DeGraves

    Phil DeGraves Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Maybe in NJ where it is against the law for subjects to possess hollow point ammo.

    Hollow points when they work properly simply allow a projectile of a certain diameter increase the size of their wound channel. A larger wound channel is more likely to intersect with something vital inside the body. Expansion, however, reduces penetration. A hit in the eye with a FMC will be just as effective as one with a HP.

    I don't disagree with LAK at all.

    The thing that NONE of those studies address is the user. Proficient shooters are more likely to use more powerful guns. Less proficient shooters tend to use less powerful guns because they are easier to control. When less proficient shooters use powerful guns, you don't get as many one shot stops. When proficient shooters use less powerful guns, they still might get one shot stops.

    Stopping power is ALWAYS about bullet placement above all other factors.
  7. ojibweindian

    ojibweindian Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Union Grove, Alabama
    Those figures are controversial, and there have been many a discussion here at THR concerning them.
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Nov 20, 2006
    Buy any name brand of defense type ammo and then quit worrying about it. They are all effective if you place the shot properly. Practice and be mentally prepared if the situation should arise.

    Learn to observe what is happening around you to help stay out of situations where you may need to defend yourself to increase your odds of not needing to.
  9. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

    Jun 14, 2006
    Morgan County, Alabama
    +1 --but one thing you should do is make sure your semiauto handgun feeds them well. Some semis can "like" certain types or brands of ammo, and not others.
    This involves shooting a few boxes.
  10. RKBABob

    RKBABob Member

    Sep 11, 2007
    Pennsylvania - Where we cling to guns and religion
    Here's 2 links that will teach you plenty.

    The Box-o-Truth


    Hollowpoint ammo is the standard in defensive rounds... don't worry about it unless you live in New Jersey, or if you load up with some gimmicky Super-Evil ammo that advertises itself as being extra-deadly. Remember, you're picking an ammo that will STOP an assailant, not kill him (although that may happen).

    It sounds like you are new to firearms, so I'm going to suggest another link:

    A Cornered Cat

    This last link is to a website written by a female THR member, and is aimed at women... but the info is applicable to anyone, and some of the articles are quite entertaining, too.
  11. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    Ava, Missouri
    Walkalong said it again...To stay out of trouble you first must attempt to avoid trouble...
  12. jakemccoy

    jakemccoy Member

    May 26, 2007
    Northern California
    I'm sorry if this sounds anal, but...

    What exactly is the question (or point) of the original post? I'm not sure what the original poster wants to discuss. Do you want to discuss ammo technology or the legality of shooting someone? These are two completely different topics for two completely different threads. Notice posts #2 and #3. They're answering completely different issues.
  13. SigP229R

    SigP229R Member

    Sep 6, 2008
    North Carolina
    The one thing that I consider with HP's V FMJ's is the fact that a FMJ has a lot more likelyhood of going all the way thru the BG and inadvertently striking someone else whom it is not intended to. That's the reason I am going to consider Frangible the next time I purchaswe SD ammo. There are lots of other guys here and on both this board or Sig forum or S&W Forum with lots more experience than I so, if I am wrong in my assumption of the above I want to be corected. Thanks for the look.
  14. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    Apr 29, 2006
    California - San Francisco Bay Area
    I prefer HPs because, based on my training, they are more likely to be more effective than FMJs. There have been cases in which a prosecutor has made an issue of the defendant (pleading self defense) used JHPs. So the issue may have to be dealt with.

    The most straight forward way of dealing with the issue, in the event of prosecution, would be simply to point out that all police agencies use JHPs. That's something a jury can understand and accept.

    But overall, I think that the advantages JHPs offer on the street make it worthwhile to take the risk that you may have to deal with the issue in the legal aftermath.
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