Lighter JHP's vs. Heavier JHP's

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by ObsceneJesster, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. ObsceneJesster

    ObsceneJesster New Member

    Sorry if this question has been asked before but I couldn't find anything in the search.

    I always assumed the heavier the bullet the more stopping force it packs. Why do some law enforcement agencies carry lighter JHP's versus there heavier counter part. I know they travel at a higher speed but that doesn't necessarily equate to stopping power.

    What are the advantages of both lighter and heavier JHP's.
  2. rifleman55

    rifleman55 New Member

    Sometimes it's just what a department gets the best deal on.
    I worked for a department that gt less than the best ammo because of price.

    In a larger caliber, I'd rather have a heavier bullet. In self defense work, you want a bullet that will go through heavier winter clothing and still open up when it hits flesh. The new Hornady bullet with the plug in the hollow point tip is darn good ammo.
    They also look at what ammo will not be deflectd by a windsheild or side window if they are smart and has the ability to go through a car door.

    It's tough to find an ammo that does it all, but in a major caliber, .40 and up, I like a heavier bullet, not the heaviest, one in the middle.
    The bullet has to be going fast enough to expand, that's sometimes a result of bullet design.
    John K

  3. spittinfire

    spittinfire Active Member Supporter

    This is a debate that will go on forever.... This is how I look at it. Would you rather stop an 18 wheeler going 20 or a smart car going 60? Both could have the same energy on paper(no I didn't do the math) but which will cause more damage? Which will smash thru your house and keep going? The heavier, slower vehicle.

    I personally use heavier bullet for the same reason. I want something that will smash thru tissue and bone if needed. A lighter bullet may carry the same energy as a heavier bullet but it will also slow faster and it can be knocked off course easier. Having said that, going for the heaviest bullet out there doesn't always make sense either, there is always a compromise.

    All of the above applies only to handguns and self defense. If you want to talk hunting loads or rifles we're getting into a different discussion.
  4. ObsceneJesster

    ObsceneJesster New Member

    Thanks for the info. I use the Winchester PDX1 in .40 180gr for home defense but a friend of mine told me a lighter round like 155gr. would have more stopping power because it's traveling faster. Now I can go tell him to shove his advise up his ***! :D
  5. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    There have been tests done by the FBI and others.
    A lighter bullet loses its kinectic energy faster, reducing the chance of over penetration.
    A lighter JHP will open up more reliably than a heavier.

    Now, would you use a light JHP against a wild animal?
  6. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    I disagree with part of this. Modern JHP bullets are made to expand at the expected velocities. Heavier bullets use things like thinner jackets, larger hollow cavities and more/longer/deeper serrations to allow them to expand at the expected impact velocities. The lighter bullets tend to have thicker jackets and smaller cavities to prevent them from over-expanding.

    The heavier bullet has more momentum and will generally penetrate more deeply while expanding the same amount (or close to the same amount).
  7. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

    I use 185gr Speer Gold dots because I hope that if I do have to shoot it in the house it will provide a little more comfort because it may not go through as many walls as say a 230gr SGD.
  8. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    Robo is correct. I was showing my age and thinking on the older ammo. Sorry.
  9. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    There is a site called Box O Truth. A couple of OPs do a bunch of tests of various guns and calibers. Pretty interesting results, some rather surprising. They do have fun.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011