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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On another forum (won't name which), there was a good discussion about what ammo to keep in your defense weapon. A lot of guys were saying they just load their full metal jacket target/range ammo and are perfectly happy with its ability to stop a threat. I personally think that's crazy. I'd much prefer (and I think history would concur) a nice jacketed hollow point for stopping power rather than a bullet whose primary function is to poke holes in paper.

I personally keep my guns loaded with Winchester Black Talons (9mm) except when at the range.

So, what's in your gun???
 

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JHP rounds are designed to expand which can casue more trauma, and the expanded round is less likely to over penatrate. Back when I bought my first handgun, I was advised to use commercial JHP rounds that are common in Law Enforcement.

Corrections made to actually say what I mean. Stuff happens when you don't sleep.
 

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I think you mean hollow points are meant to expand. FMJ are in use by the military (Hague Convention of 1899) specifically because they do NOT overly expand or fragment. This means that the soldier is more likely to be wounded than killed, thereby necessitating removal from the battlefield and the use of other soldiers to do so (utilizing more resources). For more information on the FMJ bullet click here.

FMJ rounds may not over-penetrate however, depending on the round you buy. Most commercial FMJ rounds are designed for range shooting and are not as "hot" of a load as your standard hollow-point (which should not over-penetrate either). I can't get a Winchester White box FMJ to penetrate more than 2 inches of hard wood - they're meant to go through a target, pop-can or watermelon and I don't use them for anything else.

FMJ are NOT common in law enforcement where I live (Salt Lake Area). I routinely talk with LE's at a popular local food establishment - we talk guns and tactics. They all carry hollow points, most use the Federal Hydra-Shok or Speer Gold Dot brands, whichever the force provides. When I talked to them about the Black Talons they all had a worried look on their faces, which is understandable.

The Black Talons got a lot of negative press a few years back (1993) when they were involved in a mass shooting in San Francisco. The bullet soon fell out of favor, and the incident prompted Bill Clinton to sign the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. I didn't know they were even available. There are many bullets out there as good or better than the Black Talon (now slightly redesigned and marketed as the Ranger SXT) and I would use a different bullet just for legal issues. I wouldn't want a lawyer trying to convince a jury that I was the mass murdering type just because of the ammo I used. For more information on the Black Talon, click here.

Once again, just my two cents. If I am wrong on my facts, please correct me, I may be misremembering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hunter said:
FMJ rounds are designed to expand which can casue more trauma
Huh? Almost all FMJ ammo (i.e., anything from Walmart) isn't going to expand unless you hit something real hard like a big bone, right?

On the other hand, the entire purpose of a JHP is expansion and causing trauma, no?

Now in a .38 I'd maybe favor the penetration of a FMJ, but in anything bigger than that, I'm having a hard time understanding any argument for carrying anything but JHP for defense ammo (the only exception might be if you know you're up against body armor or shooting through walls).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
GeneticsDave said:
The Black Talons got a lot of negative press a few years back (1993) when they were involved in a mass shooting in San Francisco. The bullet soon fell out of favor, and the incident prompted Bill Clinton to sign the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. I didn't know they were even available.
They're not available. I got them as hand-me-downs from someone that picked them up shortly after they were taken off the market. And to clarify, they are not illegal - Winchester just doesn't make them due to the bad PR (mostly caused my themselves marketing them as 'man stoppers' and 'one shot stop' bullets.)

GeneticsDave said:
There are many bullets out there as good or better than the Black Talon (now slightly redesigned and marketed as the Ranger SXT) and I would use a different bullet just for legal issues. I wouldn't want a lawyer trying to convince a jury that I was the mass murdering type just because of the ammo I used.
Yeah, I've thought about that. But if I'm looking at stopping power in a hollow point, there are few loads for the 9mm that are better and I'm more concerned about stopping a threat than stopping a lawsuit (which may be a moot point if I don't stop a threat and am dead).
 

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Hunter said:
JHP rounds are designed to expand which can casue more trauma, and the expanded round is less likely to over penatrate. Back when I bought my first handgun, I was advised to use commercial JHP rounds that are common in Law Enforcement.

Corrections made to actually say what I mean. Stuff happens when you don't sleep.
Sorry for the confusion.
 

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Just some thoughts

A JHP is designed to expand and IF it does the major advantage here is that it makes a bigger hole and thus more damage to the BG.

Handgun ammunition is not very fast, I don’t care what caliber or what type. At the velocities attained by handgun ammunition consistent expansion is not guaranteed.

JHP ammunition commonly is plugged by clothing, bone etc. and does not always expand for these reasons.

Excessive expansion in JHP ammunition can cause shallow penetration, which is bad as it is imperative to reach vital organs or the CNS of the BG.

Bottom line on expansion is that if it expands that is usually good, if with the expansion you still have enough penetration to reach vital organs or the CNS.

FMJ ammunition usually has deeper penetration. Some people are afraid of this, fearing that the bullet my exit the BG and hit someone else.

In a nation wide statistical study it was found that 8 out of 10 rounds fired by LE during a gunfight, missed their intended target.

Think about this and ask yourself, how is a round that has passed all the way through some BG, suddenly more dangerous than a round that missed him all to gather?

If you don’t hit the CNS then the only way that the BG is going to be stopped quickly is through blood loss. Big holes from big bullets or expanded JHP’s make for a lot of blood loss, but also 2 holes are better than one. If the bullet passes through the bad guy then he has 2 holes to bleed out from.

If you have a large bore handgun such as a .45 ACP, then the holes you make in a BG even with FMJ, are probably going to be bigger than those you make with say a 9 mm, with any kind of ammo. If that hole goes through and through, that’s even better.

If your auto loader only feeds FMJ, then that is what you should carry in it. You want to get deep enough in the BG to stop him, that is the primary objective, right after shot placement. Next you want to make as big as hole as possible and 2 if possible,

FMJ or JHP, shoot what you think will do the best job for you, all things considered, that’s what I do. I have carried FMJ in my .45 ACP and my .357 Magnum, but I currently carry 230 grain JHP in my .45 ACP and 158 grain JHP in my .357 Magnum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Tarzan1888-

What an awesome explanation!!! That totally makes sense now. I've heard both sides of this discussion and you have explained them so that I can now understand why people are on both sides.

I guess I just need to do some more research and decide for myself. For now, my JHP are staying in my magazines because all of my FMJ is cheap Walmart ball ammo (mostly winchester white box).
 

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apollosmith said:
I guess I just need to do some more research and decide for myself. For now, my JHP are staying in my magazines because all of my FMJ is cheap Walmart ball ammo (mostly winchester white box).
Don't worry about WWB. It is good ammo. You can't compare penetration in wood to penetration in human tissue.

As far as the JHP that you have that is great too, as long as it always feeds.

If you have never found it, there is a site that has done a lot of real world penetration tests, it is http://www.theboxotruth.com/ go there and spend some time and learn.

The main reason I carry JHP is if it doesn't expand, then no great loss, but if it does then all the better. I go with the heavy loads to insure penetration.

good Luck.

Tarzan
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I just had a good talk with my brother about this. He's a police officer. He says they almost entirely favor hollow points because one big hole with a lot of blunt force is almost always better than two small holes. But more important is shot placement - a tiny hole is going to do the trick if it's in the right spot and a huge hole will only piss the BG off if it's in the wrong spot.

In some of the best and most witty advice I've received in a while, he says, "It's like sex - placement, penetration, and diameter are what counts."
 

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I like the Hornady TAP ammo for my XD45 Compact. They are rated as +P ammo and are more accurate than any other manufacturer ammo I have found (and a dollar or two cheaper to boot!).
 

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tapehoser said:
I like the Hornady TAP ammo for my XD45 Compact. They are rated as +P ammo and are more accurate than any other manufacturer ammo I have found (and a dollar or two cheaper to boot!).
I also carry the XD45 compact and have wanted to shoot TAP for a while now. I have only read about it and it sounds like quality ammo.
 

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Most gun reviews that I read from Guns and Ammo or other similar publications generally try several types of ammo in the new weapon. Hornady generally has the tightest groups....at least in about 90% of the reviews that I read, they do.
 

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I did a little test awhile ago...I was out shooting some old bowling pins with some assault rifles, and when we were almost ready to go I shot a few rounds with my XD9sc, I had it loaded with FMJ and I couldn't get a round to go in the bowling pin...it just bounced off, one round cracked the plastic. But i wasn't brave enough to keep shooting (didn’t want to catch any splater/ shrapnel) So I loaded up my Federal Hydra-shok and was quite pleased with the results. First shot went right in…small hole but it did expand a great deal. I was able to dig the bullet out to see the damage in the hard wood. The only thing I could recognize as a bullet was parts of the copper jacket and a few chuncks of led. The fact that the JHP round was a hotter round than the FMJ probably helped, but I think it was moistly dew to the design of the hollow point. So that’s what I like to carry JHP :D
 

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Last weekend I tried an experiment. I wanted to check on penetration, and recover a fired hollow point to use as a part of my concealed firearms permit classes. For a variety of reasons, and after 6 months of research, I have switched from carrying a Colt Government Mark IV .45 ACP to using a Glock Model 19, a 9mm. Again, after much research I am using the Winchester Ranger SXT, the RA9TA round, in the 9mm. These 127 grain +P+ bullets go 1250 feet per second from a 4 inch barrel. A week ago I tried shooting into 3 one-gallon milk jugs filled with water. The Ranger went through them and I couldn't recover an expended bullet. On Saturday I soaked a bunch of phone books in the bath tub, then took them to the pistol range and Duct taped them together. From 10 feet I fired two RA9TA rounds into the lower left and right quarters of the phone books. Checking after each shot, I found the bullets hadn't exited the 4 phone books. Then I fired a practice round into the top third of the phone books. It was a 115 grain full metal jacket (FMJ), factory remanufactured, and sold through Cabella's in bulk. I have found them to be extremely accurate and reliable (3/16 inch, three-shot group at 25 feet). When I examined the phone books I found the FMJ bullet had punched right through and out the back.

Here's the point. The previous posting is correct. The Geneva Convention requires that military rounds be FMJ. That has some tactical advantage in war, as a wounded combatant takes three out of combat for a time, the person wounded and the two needed to carry him to help. I come from a law enforcement background and my family is still active in policy work. I know of no law enforcement agency that uses FMJ. There are two reasons for this. Law enforcement (and personal defense) often occurs in a cluttered environment, with a concern about what is beyond your target. A bullet that strikes a suspect, which then passes through, can be a danger to persons or things behind the suspect. The second reason is that a bullet that expends all of its energy in the target is better for stopping an aggressor's actions than a bullet that uses only a portion of its energy.

Back to the phone books. The two hollow point bullets were found in the books, at pages 3,262 and 3,186. This means they passed through the front and back covers of several books, and an average of 1,612 pieces of paper. Both bullets were expanded to about .60 caliber, and retained almost 100% of their weight (the bonded core worked, there was no separation). Tests I have read using ballatic gel indicate penetration of 12 to 14 inches, after having passed through denim, wall board, and auto glass.

Now to the "black talon." When I did the Utah Police Academy in 1974 we had to do a research paper. My subject was the police sidearm and ammunition. At that time, with what was available, I concluded that a reliable (and not all are) semi-automatic pistol was preferred. I also determined that the size of the wound channel and the "stopping power" were related, the bigger the better. I concluded a 1911 type pistol in .45 calliber was the best. At that time, a Smith and Wesson revolver in .38 or .357 was the standard. It is only in the past year I have been able to convince myself a 9mm with modern ammunition is appropriate. Not best, but appropriate. I have a 5 page paper that summarizes my recent thinking on that. As was stated correctly in a previous posting, the black talon is no longer available as black talon. The black part came from a lubrication put on the casing and bullet that gave it a blackened color. It is now marketed as SXT or Ranger. The bullet has a reverse cone hollow point design that expands leaving six very sharp, pointed hooks. When a bullet passes through tissue, it expands around the bullet and then collapses after the bullet is gone, leaving minimal damage. The nerve and blood vessels move to the side as the bullet passes through. If this weren't the case, then medical catheters would create a lot more tissue damage when they are employed. When Mr. Fakler helped Winchester develop this bullet, the hooks were designed to prevent some of this, as the hooks nick the tissues as it passes through. This creates more damage, hence more bleeding, hence less time before the brain starves for oxygen and the threat can no longer function to harm you and the ones you love. As was stated by Sgt. Jim Bryant, SLCPD retired, in a posting on DenfenseTech.org:

"There are 2 and only 2 factors involved in stopping an aggressor by gunfire. "Knock-down power" is a farce.

"The first factor is psychological. If the bad guy has the proper mind set, he will keep fighting until he is physically unable to do so. If not, he will fall down and/or quit when shot.

"The second factor is physiological. When his brain quits sending signals to his body enabling him to fight, he will stop being dangerous. That happens (a) when his central nervous system is damaged by a brain or spine shot, or (b) when sufficient blood loss has occurred to shut his brain down due to oxygen deprivation...that can take a while.

"The central nervous system is a small target. We should plan on blood loss as the fight stopper. Blood loss is accomplished by the most and/or biggest bleeding wounds inflicted. Makes no difference what the caliber is - there's only a tenth of an inch difference in diameter between a 9mm and a .45. SHOT PLACEMENT IS EVERYTHING!! SHOOT UNTIL HE GOES DOWN!!!"
 

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Road Kind,

WHAT AN EXCELLENT POST!!! Thank You so much for the detail! If you have more info. like this, please don't hesitate to post it.

I especially liked reading your explanations of the empirical research you conducted. Loved that stuff!

For years, in the military, all the gun-nut types always said how us packing the Berretta 9mm was ridiculous and didn't have "stopping power". My argument was always that it was more than sufficient given that we were standing standard sentry duty and weren't protecting ultra-super-duper-mega-uber-classified stuff (of course I know once you reach TS there's technically no classification higher than that, but you get my point); in other words, we weren't standing duty over something that an ultra-efficient SpecOps team would risk raiding via brute-force.

And in my newly-acquired civilian life I have maintained the same position. I argue that a well-functioning 9mm is more than sufficient for self-defense since my most-likely assailant will not be a hardened international crime-syndicated ex-SpecOps warrior-type. He will be a typical thug from a typical bad side of town who once he realizes he's shot will panic and retreat in some manner.

Besides, 9mm's are generally more easily concealed than the larger "stopping-power" types... and the element of surprise is a HUGE tactical advantage!

That's my logic.

But I very much enjoyed reading empirical data that demonstrates some truth to my logic. Thanks again!
 

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huh... that's interesting... ok, well, time to show my general lack of knowledge in this realm, but here goes...

I checked out the gelatin testing site... it's pretty kewl... I looked at the 9mm luger tests, particularly the Federal 105gr FMJ, which is what I use at the range, compared against the two tests on the Speer GD 124gr JHP... I don't understand why the GD's are penetrating so much further than the FMJ... shouldn't it be the other way around???
 
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