Generally speaking, would you guys prefer loads that penetrated to maybe 20+" with relatively** moderate damage, or would you prefer loads that penetrated to 12-13" but with more damage? Examples: .223: A heavier hunting bullet that penetrates to 18-20" but with only moderate tissue damage, versus a lighter fragmenting round that penetrates to maybe 11-13". 12g: 00 or 000 buck loads that penetrate around 16-22" in gel with a relative few pellets, versus (perhaps hypothetically) #2-#4 buck loads that only penetrate to 11-13" but with much more wound volume. .380: A non-expanding bullet that will penetrate 20"+ of gel, versus an expanding round that might only penetrate 10-12". .44 magnum: A well-expanding bullet that will penetrate about 22" or so in gel, versus a violently-expanding and even fragmenting bullet that will stop around 12". **I say “relatively” because using the above examples, it isn’t like the difference between the two types of rounds of the same gauge / caliber is going to be huge. As you know, even a direct frontal shot with a 000 load is not going to be particularly ineffective compared to a #4 buck load, heh. Just the same an expanded .380 that penetrates to 11” of flesh isn’t going to be particularly devastating compared to a flat-point load in the same shot. The benefits of the bullets that use their energy quickly in doing damage to shallow depths: In any of these cases, with close-range frontal hits it might make the difference between 10 seconds to incapacitation, and 30 seconds. Or, if only a limb is hit, it might make the difference between the threat maintaining partial function of that extremity (with a deeply-penetrating variation), rather than almost none at all (with a violently expanding / fragmenting load), especially with the larger calibers. The downside to these types of loads: According to my research, perhaps more than half of all recovered bullets from police shootings, specifically bullets that ended up in the vitals, did not go simply through the front of the chest. They came in through arms (i.e. the FBI minimum penetration standard), hands, legs, or simply had to travel angularly through the torso. I am a skinny guy, and when I lift my knee to my chest I can measure 8” of flesh BEFORE the bullet would even enter my torso. Even in my thin chest, there is probably another 1-2” before the bullet would get to my vitals. Take a 200lb guy in the same position, and you add probably 4-6” of flesh between the shin and the heart, compared to me. In short, that means easily 12-14” of flesh to pass through BEFORE the load can even hit the vitals, if an average-sized target is crouched with his knees in front of his torso. Even looking at the basis for the FBI minimum penetration of 12”, one can see that this is really a minimum standard (see below), especially if there is anything at all in the path (like if the forearm were also in the path of the bullet in the below image). Further, add in windshields, car doors, furniture, etc, and one can see that there is indeed a benefit for the ability to penetrate. This has been inspired by my search for a good SD load I could use in my .44. A mild 240gr load will still give good expansion of about .7” or so, but penetrate to around 22” or so of gel (a typical .45 expanded to this diameter might only penetrate 12-13”, for example). Alternatively, I could drive a 180gr bullet at much faster velocities with the same recoil and blast (again, still relatively mild in a 4lb Raging Bull--I can still do 3 shots per second on target at close range with these types of loads). These, according to anecdotes of dozens of deer hunters and a couple of ballistics tests, will have less penetration (probably 12-15” depending on the specific bullet), but will do notably greater damage to tissues within a couple inches of the bullet’s path. Part of me leans toward the lighter bullets at high velocities because they should indeed do more damage at shallower depths. But, the other part of me leans toward the 240gr at more moderate velocities because it is capable of good penetration in a wider variety of scenarios. Plus, I do believe in the benefit of “letting ‘em bleed from both sides,” which the heavier bullet is much more likely to do, heh. To summarize a very long story, generally speaking, which kind of defensive loads do you guys prefer (relatively moderate damage but with deep penetration), or modest penetration with notably greater damage, and why? (As a note, I am not really looking to see everyone’s favorite loads. Rather, in light of the above considerations for tissue damage vs penetration, I’d like to hear which extreme would be preferred for a general defensive load against 2-legged varmints). Thanks!