The Elusive “Best” Personal Defense Ammo

Posted: March 4, 2014 in Self Defense, Shooting
Tags: , , , , , , ,


Over-Penetration-1024x471

I intended to start a series on the best personal defense ammo, but once I dug into that topic I realized there is no such thing. I found a myriad of opinions, countless arguments and occasional facts but solid, undeniable evidence for one specific type of ammo was not to be found. One “expert” contradicts another and us lay readers are left confused and frustrated. Overall, I did manage to reach a few general conclusions:

home_defense_shotgun1. Shotgun for in the house

As I considered over-penetration in a home, the shotgun won hands-down. The debate still rages between birdshot and buckshot, but overall shotgun pellets went through fewer walls then handgun rounds. Regarding rifles, there were completely contradictory statements made about 5.56/.223 ammo and over-penetration/tumbling. Without testing it personally, I’m not comfortable designating it as safer than handguns in the house. However, it was intriguing to see the bullets start tumbling after traveling through just a few “walls.” Overall lesson learned: know your target and what’s beyond it. Anything strong enough to incapacitate a human is strong enough to travel through walls.

2. FMJ’s are best reserved for the range. D7K_4785-1024x678

Full metal jackets are not good rounds for home defense as they punch through the bad guy and walls far too easily. Hollowpoints are preferred for home defense as they are designed to transfer their energy into the tissue of the aggressor and thus are less likely to cause collateral damage upon exiting the body. It must be noted, however, that many hollow points will act like FMJ if they do not impact soft tissue and instead hit a wall. Hollow points can easily fill with drywall and not expand.

3. Hollow Points are Hollow PointsHandgun_gel_comparison

While there are certainly variations between brands, and vociferous defenders of each, the overarching theme was the majority performed similarly. While differences are demonstrable, I do not find the minor differences to be enough to warrant such intense scrutiny. My time is better spent on the range ensuring I can put whichever ammo I choose in the target.

basic-gun-safety-course-for-one-two-or-four-people-13699884504. Short of becoming intimately involved in the testing of various rounds, the best use of my time is to simply choose one of the top 5 hollow points and practice, practice, practice. Studying and analyzing the ballistics of a round is completely useless when you cannot put that round on target. Hours or researching and analyzing 147 vs 124 grain is completely useless if you are only capable of missing the bad guy. I would recommend we spend more time training with quality instructors and less time arguing over ammo.

Conclusion:

While I do believe it is beneficial to understand ballistics and the technicalities of the ammo you have chosen to trust your life with, I am baffled by the intense debate over ammo choices. I say research it until you are fairly knowledgeable on the ammo you need for your gun and then go practice on the range. All these arguments are useless if people spend so much time in the esoteric world of ammo options that they are out of practice when their skills are called upon. A FMJ center mass is better than a 147 gr +P Speer Gold Dot in the wall.

aw

For More Information (in no particular order):

http://www.chuckhawks.com/ammo_by_anonymous.htm

http://www.homedefensegun.net/home-defense-ballistics/

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/theboxotruth.htm

http://www.ar15.com/content/page.html?id=176

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot14.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zhW9E3PDUk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97sjv11yesc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq3RVvL9ZjU

http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/node/7866

http://www.guns.com/2013/02/27/self-defense-inside-the-home-avoiding-over-penetratio/

http://www.ballistics101.com/personal_defense.php

http://www.ar15.com/ammo/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/

http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs10.htm

http://www.ar15.com/ammo/project/Exotic_Ammo_FAQ/index.htm

http://www.brassfetcher.com/OJ%20gunshot%20thread.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAxkVMQHGpE

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob108.html

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob93.html

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob130.html

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Comments
  1. Tommy Harper says:

    Great common sense approach!!! Multiple center mass hits will do!! Thanks again for your time and research Ruth

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