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TrueNorth 03-11-2011 03:09 AM

FMJ - Pistol Defence Ammo?
Perhaps an old topic, but I think that it's one that is worth revisiting.

Putting aside the argument for a defense shotgun or rifle, for those who consider using a pistol/revolver for home/personal defense what would be a logical defense round?

Feel free to discuss caliber, but I don't want a 9mm vs .45 fight. I'm looking for arguments on FMJ or HP/SP.

While HP will expand as everyone knows, it can also get caught up in clothing and reduce penetration. Slashed up skin is painful but non-lethal, whereas a FMJ won't expand but it will cause deeper damage.

- Consider that FMJ is cheaper and one could also practice with it more.
- Also, consider situations, is FMJ better in the home, but not in a carry gun?

I would consider FMJ as usable a defense round as HP. In a pinch I'd use either. But for low calibers, I'd say FMJ, if the round is more powerful like .45 maybe HP would be able to penetrate deep enough.

and go!

Poink88 03-11-2011 03:16 AM

Check this thread...

Jesse17 03-11-2011 03:23 AM

There's been a couple threads about this lately. The problem with HPs and clothing isn't lack of penetration. When they get clogged with clothing, they tend to not expand and therefore act like a FMJ and over penetrate.

I've been firmly convinced the last few days that HP is the only way to go for a SD rd. That is unless you are worried that you attacker may be wedding kevlar :eek:

JonM 03-11-2011 03:29 AM

Fmj makes a permanent wound channel of whatever caliner it is. Hp if it expands makes a larger channel than its caliber. If it doesn't expand it still makes one of its given caliber.

So you definately want to use hp bullets if you gun cycles them reliabley on the chance they work as designex and give a larger wound channel to.stop.the attacker quicker.

If a hp round doesn't expand it still works like a fmj. There is no reason to use fmj over hp all else equal

loaf_fan 03-11-2011 06:30 AM

You are exactly right. In smaller calibers you might consider the FMJ over the HP. For instance I have several 32 acp's and there is a good comparison on this page:

FMJ vs. HP in 32acp

According to the FBI (See: Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo)

In Self Defense Ammo, you're looking for 2 things.
1) at least 12" of penetration in properly prepared ballistic gelatin/soft tissue, and
2) expand to the largest diameter possible in order to cause the largest possible wound.

If you follow GoldenLoki's geletin/chronograph tests from the first link, you will notice that in every case the FMJ has better penetration. Only 2 of the 9 different hollow points penetrated adequately.

This shows that FMJ meets Rule #1 over the HP. Also you're less likely to have rim lock with this round vs a HP. (see rim lock)

However you will also see that there was no expansion with the FMJ, so it falls short of Rule #2, however you're still getting .306 to .308 inch holes.

Myself I think a properly placed and properly penetrated shot (and lots of them) over an expanded shot that doesn't do much vital damage would be what I'd lean toward, better yet if you can account for rim lock, I'd say mix and match.

NGIB 03-11-2011 08:44 AM

If your gun will reliably feed quality JHP ammo - there's no reason not to use it. As has been stated, even if it doesn't expand you haven't really lost anything over using FMJ ammo. Also note that most defensive ammo is loaded much "hotter" than common "target" FMJ ammo so that is also a factor to consider. What's most important is to thoroughly test the ammo you intend to use in YOUR gun to be assured it cycles reliably. About the only gun I'll carry FMJ in is a 1911 - as it will always create a .45 hole...

danf_fl 03-11-2011 11:24 AM

Under the Geneva convention, military cannot use the anything but FMJ in a declared war.

One thought is if you wound one soldier, it take three soldiers out of the equation (1 wounded and 2 to help him/her). If the wounded soldier gets killed, then leave him/her there and continue fighting.

TrueNorth 03-11-2011 10:41 PM


Originally Posted by Poink88 (Post 462201)

Good link. An interesting read. I'm not totally convinced that the HP is the best as some have stated the feeding issues. Although I'm sure that can be solved by finding the right ammo.

I'm trying to figure if FMJ is useful simply because where I live, HP pistol ammo is HUGELY expensive (like rifle ammo prices) and (especially 9mm) very hard to come by. It's not technically illegal, but the way laws are it has to jump through some legal hoops. Because of the laws, few people buy it, so the stores don't carry it. I could order it in, but it would attract attention, I'm not hiding anything, but why paint a target on my back right? What can I say, up here the police say that there is no reason for anyone to have HP, and so while it's not illegal, they do notice if people buy it.

Strangely enough, I DO find HP .40 s&w around fairly commonly. but that's the only type.

So, while I'll consider ordering HP, does anyone have a particular brand of FMJ that is thought to be useful?

Vikingdad 03-12-2011 02:23 AM

Hornady makes some ammunition that is designed to address the clothing problem and it may also address the feed issue in some guns (but that is a guess on my part) Hornady Manufacturing Company :: Ammunition :: Handgun :: Choose by Product Line :: Critical DefenseŽ

I suppose if you have somebody in the US who could buy it and send it to you that would address the problems of getting it in Canada (also known around here as "America's Hat"). I have done similar things to get items here in California that some companies will not ship here. Believe it or not I bought a BB gun (Roy Rogers edition) form my son a few years ago and they wouldn't ship it to CA! I had it sent to my sister in Washington State and then she sent it to me. Nothing illegal about it but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

Personally I have revolvers loaded with HP's at the bedside (so to speak) and I use FMJ of the same weight for practice. Every six months or so I will burn up my HP's while practicing with the FMJ's to make sure they perform in a similar way and to keep the ammo fresh. I am probably going to cycle out my Federal Premium Personal Defense cartridges in favor of the Hornady Critical Defense ammo pretty soon.

ballfan4141 03-12-2011 03:32 AM

one thing I always wondered was this. if you use a fmj it will penetrate deeper and maybe even go through. wouldnt a bullet that went the whole way though be better because it is a longer wound and the guy will bleed out faster. also with the fmj it could penetrate enough to hit and or go through an organ.

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