I Met Someone Today Who Uses Target Ammo (FMJ) As Carry Ammo, So Yea, They’re Out There


I was taken aback during a conversation with someone I had just met, after we learned that each of us carries a firearm. For the purposes of this story, we’ll call him Don.

Don is a 30-something financial adviser with a well-kept beard and an infectious personality. We began to talk after he had overheard me talking to another person in line at the coffee shop. Long story short, we both have the same client. “Oh yes, she is a delight to work with! I’ve known her for years!”, he said. As both of us are friends with the coffee shop owner, he quickly introduced us to each other.

Somehow, our conversation turned to firearms.

Before we knew it, were were talking about our EDC’s and even the type of ammo we carry. As our conversation evolved, he said flat out, “I carry FMJ ammo in my Shield 9mm because it’s cheaper than the fancy hollow points and will likely get the job done.”

So many things immediately began to run through my mind, like the world was going to end if he ever had to pull the trigger in self-defense. What happens if he has to do that one day, and what would the repercussions be that could come from using target ammo for self-defense. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t want to be the one in a courtroom trying to explain certain situations.

For anyone new to firearms that doesn’t know the difference between FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) and JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point), here it is in a photograph:


Basically what will happen if you shoot someone in self-defense with FMJ is this: That bullet is going to go straight through your target and continue on to whatever may be behind it. If it’s a wall, it could go right through that as well and keep going.


Instead, if you use a JHP round for self-defense, the bullet is designed to open up upon impact in order to expand. This expansion creates a wound cavity and will also slow the round down so that it’s likely not to continue beyond your target with much force, if it makes it out at all.

One of the most dangerous things that can happen if using FMJ for self defense, is hitting another person that happens to be beyond your target. With FMJ rounds, many are definitely capable of going through multiple people.

Here is a picture showing various FMJ bullets after impact. In this example, they were fired at (and through) phone books:

FMJPhoto Credit:

Now let’s take a look at what a JHP bullet will do after it’s impacted the intended target. The example below shows various rounds after being fired into ballistic gel:

image002Photo Credit:

It’s obvious from the photos above that JHP bullets are meant to do damage to the intended target and based on the way they expand, are less likely to continue on and potentially endanger another life past the intended target.

Another thing to think about is stopping power. There is more stopping power in a JHP bullet since it’s expanding upon impact, literally tearing flesh and organs. This is the purpose of these rounds and what they are designed to do; to stop a threat from advancing. If you were to instead use FMJ, the wound channel created would be much smaller compared to the former. That threat could still be very much headed in your direction even after a few shots.

Moving on to Don’s comment on price, I’m not quite sure if he was joking. Truth be told, there is a ton of self-defense ammo that’s comparable in price to FMJ, it’s just a matter of finding it. One great place to find self-defense ammo in bulk and on the cheap is Freedom Munitions. I personally train with what I carry, and it all comes from FM. This is the exact ammo that I use for both range and carry.

Without sounding like a know-it-all, I poked around a bit to try and figure out how long Don has been around firearms. It turns out it’s been about a year, and he has been carrying for roughly half that time. Somehow, he neglected to do research into the different kinds of ammo available, and what is appropriate — and not appropriate — for carry.

We spoke some more about the differences between the types of ammo outlined above, and he acknowledged hearing of JHP but didn’t think much of it when shopping around. He basically picked up a few boxes of cheap target ammo, threw some in his Shield 9mm, and started carrying it around.

What it all boils down to is putting in the time to research the different options available, and find out what makes sense for different applications. Carrying a firearm is one of those things that requires this time and dedication to learn all that you can, and train properly.

I hope that Don comes over to the world of proper self-defense ammo, and I hope that he never has to use it.

Categories: Beginners Guide, General
About Brandon Curtis | View all posts by Brandon Curtis

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady…

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady 165 gr FTX Critical Defense rounds, and rides comfortably in an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 holster.

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  • Joseph Alves

    What if you’re shooting through a bullet proof vest? Wouldn’t fmj be more appropriate in that situation?

    • Archer Pothoff

      A bullet proof vest if it is class 3a will stop a FMJ easily. If you look at the classifications and rating on a vest you will find the HP actually require a higher class vest than a FMJ. A 2A will stop a 9mm FMJ but takes a 3 or 3A to stop the JHP

      • Slvrwrx

        Most level II body armor will stop common service rounds (9, 40, 45). HP or FMJ. Level III is considered hard armor and that stops many rifle threats and all sub calibers. IIIA is soft and stops the exotic higher velocity loadings, and or magnum loads.

        The JHPs are typically loaded hotter than FMJ practice ammo, so they have the ability to penetrate more. HPs because of the Dense Kevlar will typically plug up, and somewhat mushroom out acting against penetration of the vest.

      • Gman

        yes maybe, but it will knock them down and maybe break thru

    • woss

      How many armed robbers have you run across wearing a bullet proof vest…… Gee-whiz.

      • Jim Pelzel

        Now adays if I was robbing something I would wear one never know whos got a weapon. As fire as a lot of trigger happy mofo’s out there I might start wearing one to the grocergy store

      • Joseph Alves

        It was just a technical question. Gee-whiz.

    • Shawn Primus

      Anything is possible, but the odds of anyone here running up against someone who’s wearing a bulletproof vest or body armor are EXTREMELY slim. In the even it does happen and the first couple rounds don’t do the job, I’m more than comfortable putting shots on whatever body part isn’t exposed to stop the threat.

  • Jason Deckman

    For $30 I can get a 100-round box of Winchester White. Sorry, I’m not with you on target practice with hollow-points. However, I’m with you on the comparison of over-penetration versus expansion.

    • Jorge Anthony Companioni

      Agreed. 9mm target ammo is back to $11-$13 per box of 50. The FM rounds in the author’s link are $19 for 50…that will add up fast.

  • woss

    If you want to do a comparison why don’t you do it accurately? Phone books and ballistic gel are hardly the same. The integrity of your comparison went right out the window and you could’ve avoided that……Too bad.

    • Russ W.

      Common sense tells you a FMJ will retain it’s shape and have less of a wound channel the a JHP and travel through the intended target. The Winchester Ranger will have a much larger wound channel with a greater chance of hitting a vital organ, as well as less chance of over penetration. Quit being lazy do a quick search on youtube, there are plenty of ballistic gel tests on just about every round (well most popular rounds).

    • Tj

      He’s simply pointing out something as soft as ballistic gel(flesh) makes a jhp expand as such and something as thick and hard as a phone book has no expansion effect on a fmj.

    • KyutaSyuko

      The thing you forget to realize is that Ballistic Gel is softer and easier to travel through than a phone book. The FMJ went through phone books while the JHP (assumedly) stopped in the Ballistic Gel.

      • JOLUCIEN

        It didn’t go through the phone book. What he fired was a .45-ACP and a 9mm – FMJ-round. That only penetrates about 1/3 into a phone book. look it up on youtube.

    • woss hater

      such a nitpicker. Use your own brain. It was a simple article, if you want qualified and quantified research go look elsewhere.


      HERE, HERE – Exactly what I was thinking. If you fire a FMJ round into sand, guess what, it will mushroom similar to a JHP. I carry FMJ .40 because it is a flat nose round and will flatten more (expand) and still give the penetration i am looking for.

      • Curtis Cox

        12 to 18 inches would have traveled through a person, you only need about 2 to 3 inches of penetration to get to and destroy the heart , the Japanese used fmj rounds to go through our guys so not to kill them but make some one run out to help them so they could shoot at them also . The responsible thing to do is use jhp in concealed carry …

        • JOLUCIEN

          Well you need to keep in mind that 12-18 inches is the FBI rating for 10% ballistic-gel, not human tissue and bone. I should clarify though that I technically use JHP rounds in the top of my Mag and that the ball ammo (JSP or FMJ) is only carried at the bottom of the mag. I do that so if for some reason the JHP rounds don’t penetrate deep enough, I have something that will at the bottom of the mag. Half the time, I carry a .357 mag with JHP in a 6-inch GP100 so hollow-points only in that, but not that it matters either way at 1600fps.

  • Misty Shakleford

    My self defense round is definitely a JHP.

  • Slvrwrx

    Most people have a mindset that 400-500 rounds of your flavor of JHP needs to be run through a gun before you can consider it to be reliable. With modern firearms, if they typically run well out of the box, conventional JHP designs don’t have a problem. I may run a box or two of my flavor of JHP through my gun, and if I don’t have a problem, I call it good.
    A big thing on price, is to stop buying 20 rd boxes of JHPs from the store. Get on or SGAammo, and buy the 50rd LEO boxes for the same price as you pay for the 20rds from Gander Mountain/LGS. Speer Gold Dots, Ranger T, Federal HST, are all very well proven JHP designs..

  • Dfargo

    Brandon, you are delusional. You should really read a little before you run your mouth and embarrass yourself.

    Read that, let it sink in, then explain to me again the amount of knockdown power you think your hand gun has. Hollow point or not. Hollow points are fine and they are appropriate for use in self defense weapons but they expand VERY LITTLE in human tissue or ballistics gel. All the special ammo in the world will not do you any good at the speeds achieved by hand guns. A phone book doesnt really qualify now does it, heck people have used those for armor. Seriously, you know dick. Dont give people advice on what ammo to use.

  • joe bloe

    I saw a good demo of this on youtube, sorry not looking it up. When clothing is put over the ballistic gelatin (real world) the material filled in the HP and most of the bullets didn’t expand, or expand properly.

    • Ray Houthuysen

      This result varies by brand. I stick to Federal HST. In 9mm I go with 124 gr.

  • Norm Barnard

    I carry FMJ’s staggered halfway down the magazine. Winter clothing can have some stopping power on HP’s. There’s a method.

    • Gman

      amen bro.and fat a_s mother F_ckers too

    • SoCalCop

      Actually, in one study that I read, even hollow points can over penetrate. Case in point, your assailant is wearing heavy clothing, and you shoot him. Because of the spinning action of the round, bullets snag and gather clothing fibers which wind around the bullet and prevent the bullet from expanding. Granted, it’s unusual, but it has happened.

  • Dfargo

    Just so you all know, the author is deleting posts when they do not agree with him.

    • Tha Amish One

      Well fuck that guy then.

    • Actually, we just got back to the office and are about to APPROVE any moderated comments. If you posted a link in your comment, it’s automatically flagged for moderation to prevent spam. Patience is a virtue.

    • Your comments have been approved after being automatically flagged by the system. We’ll accept an apology in any manner you see fit.

    • Gman

      he’s an idiot,probably a gov ass,does’nt want people to have a vest penetrator bullet.

      • Steve

        Obviously you didn’t see what he said, ABOVE what you posted…

  • Dfargo

    Hey brandon, why dont you put the link to that study back up i posted from the federal “acronym” agencies thats shows that most everything your saying in this article is el toro caca?

    • Your comments has been approved after being automatically flagged because it contained a link.

  • Tha Amish One

    I think the authors holster cost more than my pistol.

    • Nobody

      Alien gear holsters are very affordable. I have two. Together they cost me about 80 dollars shipped

  • Toby Cochran

    Doesn’t matter what you shoot it matters where you hit on the target period… Shot placement is the only key… Vital organs (ie lungs and heart) or head shots. and everything should be doubletaps

  • Bryan Richards

    lol ye olde stopping power myth, that is usually when i stop taking a self proclaimed expert seriously. he’s more experienced than the 1 year guy… but he should take his own advice in some respects.

    • Angel Dresdner

      Finally someone with some sense

  • doggie23

    Having taken care of bullet wounds with either HP or FMJ, the authors argument doesn’t comply with reality. Bullets do weird things, they bounce, go strange directions after hitting dissimilar matter. High velocity rounds are much more predictable. I’ve seen FMJ and JHP bullets exit the body and reenter the leg. I’ve seen one go in and out the thigh, in and out the leg and in and out the foot..same round..Hollow point..

  • rich

    OK i carry a pocket pistol .380 that is the only gun i use fmj in as self defense rounds my .45 xdm in my truck is hp and my wife;s .9mm is also hp my 32 whit hp’s in a fled test i did had 2 of 4 rounds stopped by a leather biker jacket 4 of 4 fmj made it thro so only fmj for my pocket pistol ….rich

    • Ray Houthuysen

      Fiochi Extrema XTP 380 Auto has been proven to pass penetration and expansion standards when fired in short barrel 380 pocket guns. I would Not use HPs in a .32, but then I wouldn’t use a .32 for SD.

  • Jim

    I won’t get into the 9mm vs .45 thing here but in NC if you shoot someone with a HP or frangible round, no matter how much they are trying to hurt you, the charge will be 1st degree murder. I don’t have the $150 necessary to fight that. With FMJ or sort points you will be charged with 2nd degree murder. Of course every case is different but castle doctrine or not you are on the short end if you defend yourself in this state.

    • Ray Houthuysen

      Sounds like BS

      • Grits.N.Jowls

        No it’s not. New Jersey makes a big deal about hollow points in guns. Stupid law but it is their law.

        • Ray Houthuysen

          NC is short for North Carolina, not New Jersey. I call BS on Charges in NC being based on the style of ammo used.

  • Jim

    Jerk deleted my post based on factual state law. Beware of this article.

    • Actually, we just got back to the office and are about to APPROVE any moderated comments. Your comment was automatically flagged by the system. We have nothing to do with it.

  • SoCalCop

    This is really a nonissue for me. Is over penetration a problem? It could be. But so could missing the bad guy you’re shooting at. Which is why you always check what’s behind the bad guy before you engage him with a firearm. One thing to understand about ammunition; it’s not stopping power that a person should be interested in, it’s penetration. A round must be able to penetrate the body 12 to 18 inches to be able to get to vital organs. If it doesn’t, it’s not a good self defense round. Put another way, given the choice between a .45 ACP Silver Tip round, and 240 gr ball ammo, I will opt for the ball ammo because the ball ammo will satisfy the required 12 to 18 inch penetration. Should it over penetrate, there’s really no danger of hitting someone else because I would have picked the proper background to avoid hitting innocents.
    For those of you that need me to qualify my experience, I was a police officer for 20 years, and a U.S. Army Military Policeman before that.

    • Ian Joseph Bennett

      I’m pretty sure I’m barely 12 inches thick. For the average person, 8 inches would be sufficient to hit any vital organ. Unless you’re shooting a 400lb man in the belly, 18 inches of penetration is overkill. And also, you’re saying that you don’t care about overpenetration because you’d choose a good background to avoid hitting anything you don’t intend on hitting? Since when do you get to choose what is behind someone who is coming at you with a gun and endangering you or your family? I’m sorry, but if someone is coming at me with a gun pointed at me, I’m going to take the shot. We’d all love to have a 2ft thick concrete wall behind our target, but that’s just not how it works. If anyone knew that, I would think a police officer of 20 years would…

      • Jordan Leonard

        I agree with SoCal. If you have ever been trained you’ll know what PID is. If you just pull and blast you’re *probably* going to jail. But it’s all circumstantial. If you’re trained and you know what you’re doing youre more than likely going to make a good decision based on the situation. But saying every shot lands on target, that’s also a perfect world senario, say you miss your target and hit a bystander if you didn’t use PID. What’s your difference between jhp and fmj then?

        • Jeff A

          Someone please explain to me what PID means. I have been shooting a long time and have no idea. Thank you in advance

          • Priscilla Farmer

            Positive Identification at a Distance

          • Jeff A

            Thank you very much Priscilla, I truly appreciate that.

        • TFlorida2

          ‘If you’re trained and you know what you’re doing youre more than likely going to make a good decision based on the situation’

          It’s highly unlikely that the average gun owner is trained to handle a situation which might require them firing a weapon to defend themselves. First, there’s no standard way a threat can occur so it’s very difficult to know in advance how you should act. Second where the threat occurs and what the surrounding area and crowd is like also will widely vary. Third go to any shooting range and watch people walk around holding a gun with their finger on the trigger, load a weapon while its pointed at someone else, or just look at all the bullet holes in the walls near your shooting stall. Concealed weapons courses are a joke regarding handgun safety.
          It’s easy to write that a trained person from the general population of gun owners can handle a situation requiring defending themselves with a handgun, but the untold number of possible scenarios requiring using a gun to defend yourself, plus the lack of consistent situational training by the general public, means it’s all just fancy talk. The vast majority of handgun owners aren’t prepared to check their background, think of possible repercussions after firing, etc. while a threat is occurring. They’ll just point and shoot.

      • SoCalCop

        The 12 to 18 inches is the benchmark Dr. Martin Fackler (LTC U.S. Army Retired) placed on ammunition. In fact he said, that 8 to 10 inches wasn’t enough. What you’re failing to consider is clothing or other barriers that could inhibit penetration. You are also neglecting a well placed shot laterally in the torso, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

        One thing to note about Dr. Fackler, he was the Army Surgeon, and expert when dealing with soft tissue injuries, that wrote numerous peer reviewed papers, and literally invented 10% ordnance gelitin. He was also the go to guy that the Feds in Glenco Ga spoke to.

        One case that he studied was the 1986 FBI shootout between FBI agents and two men, Michael Platt and William Matix. In that shootout, two FBI agents were killed, and five wounded. When I spoke with Dr. Fackler about this incident, he placed the blame on the Silver Tip rounds that the FBI was issuing at the time. Now for the evidence that backs the 12 to 18 inch standard.
        During the shootout, Platt was struck in the torso. Platt eventually bled out but not before killing agents Dove, Grogan, and seriously injuring another agent. In my conversation with Dr. Fackler, he told me that the round that struck Platt in the torso was on a tragectory straight to the heart, however it stopped short. Had the bullet been able to penetrate the necessary 12 to 18 inches, Platt would have bled out within ten seconds. So contrary to what you may think, the physical evidence says otherwise.
        Lastly I’ll touch on your comment about cover. I won’t argue that all scenarios will result in the perfect backdrop to shoot the badguy; that would be ludicrous to say the least. However, in a shooting situation, endangering innocent bystanders can be mitigated. Having said that, if a person thinks that they will hit their attacker with every round, and over penetration is a bigger issue than missing, you’re seriously fooling yourself.

        • clay

          again, 12-18″ in gel

          • SoCalCop

            Yes, 10% ordnance gel. It simulates muscle tissue. To simulate a real scenario, dr. Fackler covered the gel with pig skin which is like human skin. He then covered that with clothing.

        • BA Baracus

          You are correct Platt was a dead man walking, it just boiled down to lethality versus incapacitation. Which fueled the FBIs adoption of the 10mm.

          • WARIII

            Which they do not use.

        • Nathanial Hoge

          Then you run into the fact that he was making these considerations without considering collateral damage. War ammo is different from civilian ammo. Just saying…

          • SoCalCop

            If you’re talking about my comment about Dr fackler and his bullet tests, he tested all types and configurations of ammunition, including ball ammo. Interestingly enough, .45 ball ammo, when removed from a human body, was simply removed from underneath the skin. In other words, if it wasn’t for the skin and it’s elasticity, the round would have over penetrated the body. But that’s not really the point. In a shooting situation, there’s concern that even the best hollowpoint, guaranteed to not overpenetrate, will still hurt or kill an innocent person, if a person misses their intended target.

      • Trevor Hoagland

        um clarification here the 12 to 18 inches begins with the outer clothing…….

    • I’mBaaaatmaaaan!

      I agree with you. I have carried with both types. I often wonder about using JHP in respect to what the prosecuting attorney would say in court after using a firearm for self defense. “Why were you using these MAN KILLER bullets if you didn’t intend to kill the person” ” These bullets are designed to KILL” etc., etc. I think it would be easier to defend the use of a bullet intended to use against a paper target. I think It would also be easier to defend the use of a standard hunting rifle in defense of your family during a home invasion than it would be to explain using an AR type rifle.

      • SoCalCop

        Lawyers are notorious for their hyperbole, and you’re right, given the right prosecutor, they might use that approach. But, in all fairness, when you consider that law enforcement uses hollow points as their standard issue ammunition, it’s pretty simple to refute that you used that type of ammunition because you wanted to kill your opponent. Any attorney worth their weight could easily slam the door on that argument. The same goes for laser sights.

        Of course this isn’t about the pros and cons of using hollow points, it’s about using full metal jacket rounds, also referred to as ball ammo instead of hollow points. Since ball ammo was the standard issue in the Army, and hollow points were strictly forbidden, in my experience it really doesn’t matter what a person uses.

        As a matter of maintaing my integrity, I do have to say that I made an error. This conversation prompted me to dig through my old notes, and I erred when I said that a round must penetrate the body 12 to 18 inches. Actually, Dr. Fackler’s criteria for an effective round is that it penetrate a block of 10% ordnance gelatin the prescribed 12 to 18 inches. Anything less than that is insufficient.

        • Tim Turner

          Probably important to discuss the difference between military tactics and civilian defense.

          The ideal military formation is a coordinated group forming a closing arc on a single target. That target is usually hardened with body armor, sandbags, or an armored vehicle. There is usually no one behind your enemy, and if there is, you probably want to kill them too because they’re probably more enemy. You also want to attempt to outflank your opponent, so you’re more likely to approach from the side.

          A civilian defense stance is usually one-to-one, or the receiving end of a closing arc. You’re usually fighting full-front soft targets coming straight at you with no body armor. You’re also more likely to be interspersed with other innocents, and therefore you do care about what’s behind them and certainly don’t want to shoot them by accident.

          i.e. Military tactics favor penetration over stopping power. Civilian defense favors stopping power of penetration.

          I might naively think that military also typically carries a bigger gun caliber with a greater focus on overall firepower rather than comfort and concealment. So a military weapon might in fact have both penetration and stopping power with larger FMJ ammo because it is a man-size gun instead of the pocket pistol you carry for a night out on the town. I might think that, however I would be more inclined to think that the military is limited for political and treaty reasons, rather than functionality.

          My two cents on it.

          • SoCalCop

            While all of that is true, it’s irrelevant to the conversation. As a military policeman, I operated under the same circumstances as any other law enforcement officer. In the 70’s I carried a 1911, for those that may not know, that was the standard .45 caliber side arm at the time, and the same handgun preferred by some civilians that carry concealed today. So in a shooting situation, I needed to be as aware as anyone else of my surroundings. In a combat situation, the circumstances would be different. However, even in urban warfare, where you’re fighting the enemy house to house, we were taught that mitigating civilian casualties is important.

        • Roger Rabbit

          You need to go to YouTube and review some ammo test videos there.
          Shootingthebull410 comes to mind. He uses the IBWA/FBI standards for
          testing. His test would settle (and many others test) for/against use
          FMJ/JHP. Just about ANY modern JHP will give the required 12 – 18
          penatration while also doing much more damage compared to JMP and the
          least likely to exit a target and hit others. The test also clearly show
          that FMJ almost always do just that, over penetrate and exit the target

          • SoCalCop

            I won’t argue that. What I’ve said all along is that it’s really a moot point when compared to a person completely missing their target.

          • Hog Lander

            Can you talk about what FMJ do after missing the target vs JHP? Also, explain the technology or superpower that allows you to see through total opacity.

          • SoCalCop

            It seems rather ridiculous to talk about a round over penetrating the body of your attacker when there are real world examples of people shooting and completely missing the person in the first place. Some people for one reason or the other seem to forget that once a round is fired, it’s going, and there’s no calling it back. That means one of two things, it’s going to keep going until it hits something, whether that’s an object or a person, or it will keep going until it runs out of energy. The former is more likely than the latter.

          • Hog Lander

            Are you high or on drugs? Can you talk about what a FMJ does after missing the target vs a JHP? Also, explain the technology or superpower that allows you to see through total opacity.”

          • Hog Lander

            Man, people like you worry our country. Have you seen the news?

          • SoCalCop

            You’re making no sense. I’m thinking that’s due in part to your attempt at sarcasm, the other, i’m not really sure.

            So do this; stop, take a breath, gather your thoughts, form a cogent and logical thought without sarcasm this time, and then ask me your question again.

        • OldNYFirefighter

          During WWII the Japanese used small caliber FMj bullets with the idea that a wounded soldier need at least two other people to care for him. It doesn’t take anyone to take care of a dead soldier. Taking those other soldiers out of combat was their intention. A low velocity small cal FMJ punches a hole & unless it hits a major organ or large blood vessel probably won’t kill the victim.

          • SoCalCop

            Murphy’s law dictates, “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong”.

            Having said that, When the 5.56mm round was developed, and accepted as the standard combat rifle round of the U.S. military that same logic was considered. But, would you be okay with a person shooting at a violent attacker if your family was behind the violent attacker?

          • Angel Dresdner

            The Japanese chose to do this because what they believed the outcome would be… not because it is scientific fact. Irrelevant reference.

      • Ray Houthuysen

        I challenge you to find a conviction solely based on bullet type. A shoot is either good (legally justified) or it isn’t.

        • SoCalCop

          Agreed. But then there is the civil liability as well. A person has to be cognizant of both aspects of law if they intend to carry a firearm.

    • Insider10

      Agreed. Those are my sentiments as well.

    • Jim Pelzel

      12 to 18 inches?? I am a large guy and I am only 18 inches front to back

      • dangerdoc

        How thick are your arms? If someone is pointing a weapon at you the shot may need to obliquely transverse the arm before getting to the torso, depending on the angle, that can easily be 8 inches of meat before entering the torso.

        • Jim Pelzel

          We gonna nit pik this,,you know exactly what i was getting at so quit acting like a bozo. How thick is your head

    • Jim Pelzel

      a 6 inch knife blade will reach organs

      • SoCalCop

        Yep, it will. But you don’t plan on taking a knife to a gunfight , do you?

        • Jim Pelzel

          miss my point exactly Not even gonna try to explain it to you But I will so why would a bullet have to travel 8 to 12 inches to hit an organ if a knife can do it in 6 do you need a picture drawn also

          • SoCalCop

            Oh I got your point, if I ever have to stab someone with a knife, I would stab just underneath the Xiphoid Process, or I’d go for the third intercostal space on the left side of the thoracic cavity. That will damage the left atria, and ventrical, and the person will bleed out in 10 seconds or less.
            Having said that, did you read the post where I corrected my error after reading my notes from over 20 years ago?

          • OldNYFirefighter

            Actually a breast bone is pretty tough & can cut penetration regardless of JHP or FMJ, but frontal 6″ is more than enough to be fatal, but not necessarily instantly. Crack or meth & they probably won’t stop or drop until they have bled out.

        • Jessica McArthur

          I just learned more about this issue reading you comment(s) than the article. Thanks for your detailed explanation!

          • SoCalCop

            My pleasure.

    • Chuck Haggard

      SoCal, you are completely out of touch with reality if you think you can always pick your background in the middle of a criminal assault. 9mm FMJ bullets, as an example, are clearly capable of penetrating two or three people in a row, or going through your bad guy and still travelling hundreds of yards downrange.

      • SoCalCop

        Sure if it’s a 7.62×39, .50 BMG, 30-06. But as I said before, overpenetration is the least of your problems if you shoot at and miss the badguy.
        Let me put this another way, I mentioned Dr Fackler as my highly educated source when talking about various types of self defense ammunition, so let me expand on my conversation I had with him. One annecdote he told to me was of an autopsy he witnessed of a man shot and killed with .45 caliber ball ammo. according to Dr Fackler, the round over penetrated but did not completely exit the body. It was literally stopped by the skin as it exited the body. During the autopsy, they cut into the skin and removed the bullets as they rested just under the skin. Dr. Facklers comment was that the elasticity of the skin was an important factor.
        As a police officer, three points were drilled into my head throughout my career, and during officer survival training, cover, concealment, and what was behind your target. As I said, there may be that time when everything goes to hell very fast, and you have to make very fast decisions, but that’s why a police officer learns to read the environment as he goes into a situation. Psychologists that deal with law enforcement regularly have told me that the average person would be viewed as overly paranoid if they had the mindset of a police officer. But as a police officer, I kept my head on a swivel, and paid close attention to everything in my environment. Typically, the average person goes about their day essentially with blinders on and oblivious to their surroundings. And that’s what makes people easy targets.
        One point to note, officer survival wasn’t just about surviving on the street, it was also about surviving in the courts where you have to explain your actions while armchair quarterbacks second guess your actions. I hope no one here ever has to experience that.

        • Chuck Haggard

          I’m currently at 28 years in LE, I have a bit of a base of experience. I’ll stand by my statement, anyone who thinks they can always pick their backdrop in the middle of a critical incident is delusional.

          I am well aware of Dr. Fackler’s work, I talked to him several times and was a long time member of the IWBA.

          • SoCalCop

            You also have that blanket of immunity where you can shoot with confidence, charge the badguy with murder if you shoot and kill an innocent person, and have someone else pay the damages, if you’re sued in court. The civilians here don’t have that luxury. And I wonder if you would be so cocky if that was taken from you. But again, even if a person uses the latest and greatest hollow point round, staying in the body cavity is a moot point if they miss their not so static target.
            Survival is one thing, endangering innocents to survive is simply careless.

          • Chuck Haggard

            Your comment is patently ridiculous. I said nothing of the sort, nothing.
            My observation, in support of CCW folks and cops using well chosen expanding ammunition to minimize overpenetration and ricochet concerns clearly indicates otherwise.
            I in no way have blanket immunity as an LEO, and you stating otherwise shows you have zero real world grasp of criminal and civil law.

          • SoCalCop

            Actually, I live in one of the most litigious states in the union. I don’t know where you’re from, nor do I care, but the fact of the matter is I do have the experience and have had to deal with REAL shoot or don’t shoot situations. Admittedly, I have been away from law enforcement since 2001, so there may be things that I’m missing, but I doubt it. I still have close ties to active law enforcement and I still live in Southern California.

          • pman5k

            Many fail to realize a thoracic cavity shot between ribs is equal to 2-4 inches ordnance gelatin as is seen by exit wounds in close range frontal shots to the chest. The big issue there is bone, which is not to difficult to penetrate but can cause deviation of bullet path (extremely so in solid copper projectiles). Basically your bullet is just starting to expand after passing through most of the chest and if you missed ribs going in you’re likely to hit some going out.

            The 12″ rule is for worst case shooting angle…. ie through shoulder downward into vitals….

            Glass is the hardest barrier to defeat… but situations requiring shooting through glass are far and few between.

          • Saulo C Calderon

            Of course… when you ignore that the context of the article is comparing FMJ vs JHP effects under the presumption that you have ACTUALLY hit your target… that is all good speculation.
            Like Chuck above said… it is delusional to presume you can always pick your backdrop in the middle of a critical dynamic incident. If you happen to hit your target… the difference between the two types of round becomes obvious.
            Try shooting an assailant with his back against a thin wall or door with FMJ, and somehow predict who might you hit or not behind that wall.
            Of course that only applies to those without the supernatural powers you seem to have. I would be interested in hearing about how to acquire those sometime.

          • SoCalCop

            In a perfect world, you will hit your target 100% of the time. Unfortunately we live in the reality that it is a statistical fact that you won’t hit your target 100% of the time, so you have to rely on keeping your head on a swivel and being aware of your suroundings.

          • SoCalCop

            And I stand by my position because it’s backed by empirical evidence.

          • Paul Revered

            The empirical evidence used by the NYPD suggested the opposite. They switched from ball to HP precisely because they were causing so much damage due to over penetration especially with those missed shots you keep bringing up. Those fmj’s were passing through walls etc. and wounding innocents to such an alarming degree they had to change their ammunition policy completely. This is just one example of many. SAYING you are right because you think you have good evidence doesn’t actually make it so. The fact is that the evidence has overwhelmingly supported using ammunition designed to expand or that is frangible in order to ensure not only greater effectiveness on targets but also to reduce the dangers posed by over penetration of “ball” type projectiles.

          • SoCalCop

            That’s interesting. Do you have a web address to refer me to so that I can read the report? I enjoy reading and gaining knowledge.

          • Paul Revered

            Feel free to type the words and search for any knowledge you really want. That way any source you have is of your own choosing. Or just educate yourself on the physics involved. Facts support expanding or frangible bullets to minimize damage caused by penetrating too many things and hitting unintended targets. It’s about as basic as understanding that having an accident in a car traveling at 30 mph is much less damaging to everything involved that the same car accident occurring at 80 mph. We don’t need exhaustive studies to understand this any more than we need them to see that over penetration or penetration of unintended targets presents a greater danger to a greater number of people.

          • SoCalCop

            Okay, you just said, “Frangible” versus hollowpoint. Big difference. Frangibles are designed to essentially vaporize. They’ve been around for at least 20+ years, so I have read information on those, and ALL of the reliable sources I’ve read said that while they will stop when they hit a solid object, they don’t provide adequate penetration to satisfy the 12 to 18 inch penetration into ordnance gelatin that Dr Fackler said a round must attain. In fact he said that if he had his way, they would be illegal because they give a false sense of security.

            So, if you please, provide your source so that I can read it because I read about these rounds 20 years ago.

            One last thing, I have shot hollowpoints through cinder blocks, plywood, and metal 55 gallon drums. So overpenetration is possible with hollowpoint ammunition.

          • Nathanial Hoge

            Are you familiar with concussive and kinetic damage? If not, PLEASE shut up. You are making my brain bleed. A frangible round that makes entry then I stantly vaporizes will instantly deliver all of its stored up kinetic energy in a concussive wave throughout the body. Just because you don’t tear a hole in something, doesn’t mean you don’t mess it up. Try running a big air bubble through a high speed/output water pump. I’m leaving this thread. If I read one more retarded reference to your single source of “exhaustive” research, I may through my phone. You have won the idiot of the day award.

          • SoCalCop

            I’m pretty sure you’re a big fan of “knock down power”, so it’s no surprise that you would go down that road. However, you fail to recognize that while there is a transference of kinetic energy, there are incidents of people surviving multiple hits because the bullets failed to hit vital organs. I’m sure that brain bleed you are referring to is your inability to grasp that concept, so bye.

          • SoCalCop

            What do you thing about the NIJ rating system, and frangible ammunition ? Do you agree or disagree with dr. Fackler?

          • Chuck Haggard

            Being a student of Dr. Fackler, and Dr. Roberts, I strongly agree with their research.
            Frangible/fragmenting handgun ammunition is a very poor idea for , and has been proven to be so for a couple of decades now.

          • SoCalCop

            And yet people still use it because they believe like you do that you can’t pick what’s behind the bad guy when they decide to shoot. That reasoning comes from a person who hasn’t practiced good defensive tactics. So here’s a scenario, if a member of your family was behind the bad guy, when they decided to engage you, what would you do?

          • Chuck Haggard

            Alter my angle if fire and take the shot that I need to take.

            People picking stupid ammo because they don’t understand real word ballistics doesn’t change the problem.

          • SoCalCop

            Hammering someone for using ball ammo versus hollowpoints doesn’t eliminate the fact that it’s a non issue when most rounds will probably miss their mark anyway. And that’s coming from a person who has 147gr. 9mm Remington ammo in their magazines.

          • dittoheadadt

            “…anyone who thinks they can always pick their backdrop in the middle of a critical incident is delusional.”

            Please identify who in this thread thinks that. Because it sounds like a straw man.

          • Saulo C Calderon

            I believe that is the point that SoCalCop was insisting on being able to achieve 100% of the time. Read his initial comments and you see why someone will interpret that.

        • OldNYFirefighter

          At ten feet I guarantee a FMJ is going to over penetrate a human with most type of clothing. At distances farther than that the FMJ has a penetration advantage over a JHP because a JHP slows down quicker than a FMJ. I have done my own testing over a twenty year time period & found some types of clothing will also slow down a JHP faster than a FMJ & prevent deeper penetration. I have come to the conclusion there is no perfect round because of perp clothing type, winter/summer conditions & muscular & fat people. I alternate rounds one JHP, one FMJ, another JHP, another FMJ & onward. In stressful situations, unless it is ten feet or under, it is easy to miss a moving target & even easier in the dark. In researching police shoot outs, I have found only about 50% of the LEO’s bullets found their target & even less for stopping or fatal wounds. Someone high on crack or meth often don’t feel pain & that is why some of the bad guys look like Swiss cheese. It is also why civilians think it is overkill on the part of the officers. I have been shooting for over 60 years, including black powder, so I let my experience tell me not to expect one type of bullet is correct for all situations. That is why I stagger my magazines with JHP & FMJ. If the first one doesn’t penetrate far enough, the next one will. The secret is still hit the target with every round, but that only happens at the target range. I have a fond respect for all you present & past LEO’s. You do a dangerous job & like firefighters get badmouthed when things don’t go as planned. I thank all of you for your service! Oh FYI I once killed two deer with one bullet. A JHP went through the heart, out of that deer & killed the other buck 5′ on the other side of him. I didn’t even see the second deer drop. Surprised the heck out of me, but we ate venison all winter, lol!

        • Nathanial Hoge

          So, you are saying that shooting, hitting your target, and hitting anything behind it, as well as going through several targets if you miss is preferable to a round that stops in the first target? You are making your position more and more tenuous as you go…

          • SoCalCop

            Nope, I didn’t say that at all.

        • Saulo C Calderon

          The factors you mention are drilled into everyone who has received proper and thorough firearm training… however…

          It is a bit pretentious to say that in every threat scenario a person can encounter, circumstances will be so that you will have the time to evaluate what’s behind the target, before getting overwhelmed or killed by the attacker.

          Even elite hostage rescue units have at times wounded or killed hostages unintentionally in the process of a dynamic entry against armed hostiles.

          Dynamic situations where violence come upon you suddenly (especially in public settings) and without much time for preparation favor the use of JHP ammunition over FMJ.

          Most quality JHP have both the right level of both penetration and expansion to do the job better than FMJ.

          • SoCalCop

            Geez, how many times do I have to repeat myself? Hollow points are great, I keep them in my firearms, but the best hollow point is not going to do what it’s intended to do if it fails to hit the intended target. That is the real issue.

            I know this may come as a surprise to you 100% shooters, but even in training where there’s no stress, and a person is simply required to put rounds on the target, people miss the silhouette, and in some cases, the entire paper. Now what do you think is going to happen when they, or for that matter YOU are under stress and in a real life and death shooting? At that point, hollow point versus ball ammo will be a moot point. Just hitting your attacker will be the trick. So what do you do? You train and plan, and learn to evaluate your surroundings everywhere you go. When you carry a firearm, you are always in condition yellow, never in condition green, or worse yet, condition white. And that’s what separates cops from the average concealed carrier. Cops are constantly in condition yellow. The ones that are shot and killed are the ones that were in condition green. That’s called complacency.

            So here’s an exercise for those of you who think I’m full of crap. In fact, this is an exercise I was required to perform when I attended the FBI SWAT training at Ft. Lewis, Washington way back in 1977. This will show you what kind of shooter you are when under stress. If you have the area to do it, sprint 100 yards, and then engage your target at 10 yards, 7 yards, and 10 feet. Once you have fired all of your rounds from one magazine, or, as the case may be, from your revolver, count your rounds and see how many missed. That’s how many potential innocent people you may have hit if you are not constantly evaluating your situation when you carry a firearm.

          • Saulo C Calderon

            Don’t need to get defensive my friend… or condescending with your “you 100% shooters”, whatever that means in a police officer’s mind.

            You seem to presume (incorrectly) that the audience here does not include individuals with enough military or law enforcement training and tactical experience on how to handle firearms, or make tactical decisions while shooting under tressful situations .

            Sorry to be so blunt, but please spare me the unnecessary analogy on stress drills since I have designed multiple stress training scenarios for LEO and private foreign security personnel.

            You can save as well your references to “Jeff Cooper’s
            Combat Mindset Color Code”, as if this concept was something foreign to us. To presume you are walking on such a higher level of situational awareness than we ( was what that again?… “100% shooters”) do not know anything about… or professionally teach!… is quite pretentious my friend.

            Tell you the truth, I met and trained civilians with more situational awareness and etter instincts than the average LEO “tactical operator” more times than I can count.

            None of the knowledge OR experience you proclaim above is exclusive to you pal… and it only shows that you are dismissing input by presuming to be “more informed”. The fact is that when it comes to a JHP and FMJ, the designs account for intended specifics purposes, mission parameters, levels of training, Rules of Engagement, and even budget constraints.

            The point of differentiation is mute ONLY when you do not know or can’t account for all of that. Feel free to tell yourself otherwise though… we are all entitled to our own realities from time to time.

          • SoCalCop

            Not getting defensive at all. I just thought I was dealing with a rookie that has a reading comprehension problem. I still do, but at least now I know you know how to surf the internet.

            Well done.

          • Saulo C Calderon

            So not defensive… just plain condescending. I must have ruffled some feathers for you to now resort to name calling. He, h e.

            Is that the best your ego can do to respond to the argument of a “rookie” with 24 years of military experience, along with more time studying combat theory and instructing on combat mindset than you had receiving training as a cop?

            Unlike you I didn’t learn combat awareness training from Google. I learned to be combat aware as an 22 yrs old Army combat medic in South America. Then I got to teach cops like you so they could survive when they are not trying to brag about their training on the internet.

            Too bad humility is not a transferable skill in every case. I will do what everyone else is doing and just ignore your naive points.

          • SoCalCop


          • Angel Dresdner

            Both of you can spare us any of your “combat knowledge” unless you’ve ever been in an actual life or death situation. All I hear are people talking about their theories based on something they read. Let me hear from someone with actual experience over you theorists any day. PS Saulo, I stopped reading anything you’ve posted after I realized that you can’t even type in correct English. “You are” is contracted to “you’re”, not “your”, and it’s a “moot” point, “mute” is a button on my television remote that silences it… which coincidentally, I wish someone would do to you, you sound like an idiot.

        • TFlorida2

          People have to take what you right with a grain of salt. Your just anybody writing a comment. We have no idea if you were a police officer. Remember that anyone can be whoever they want in these public forums.

          • SoCalCop

            You’re right, and you shouldn’t take everything you read as gospel. So do a google search of Martin Fackler, and compare what he and the FBI says, and then compare it to what I’ve written.

            The bottom line to my posts is to get people to think, not just regurgitate what someone else writes.

            This article laughs at someone that uses ball ammo as a self defense round because of the potential for overpenetration. My response is, if you actually get into a situation where you actually have to fire your weapon, it will make little difference if you are using ball ammo or ollowpoints, since there it is very likely that you will miss.

      • Jim Pelzel

        if you don’t know whats behond your target your not supposed to fire your weapon That’s what they say I am not agreeing 100%

      • Trevor Hoagland

        personally i would bet against a 9mm going clear thru 2 or more people, maybe 1 and penetrating the second but there isnt enough muzzle velocity to go thru 2 people

        • Chuck Haggard

          Then you would bet incorrectly sir. I have in fact worked a shooting in which 9mm FMJs went though two people and kept going. Another in which 9mm FMJ bullets went through the door of a Toyota pick-up truck, through the torso of the shooting victim sideways, and then exited the the truck through the passenger side door. 9mm FMJ bullets routinely penetrate 26-36 inches in FBI spec ballistic gelatin, the disparity being if the bullet tumbles or not. Yaw significantly decreases the amount of penetration, but 26 inches in gel is still clearly enough to go completely through two people.

    • clay

      It should penetrate 12-18″ in ballistic gel, not a body. VERY important distinction.

      • SoCalCop

        Yes. Did you read the correction, I made?

        • clay

          no, where was it? I didn’t read every post. Did you edit the original?

          • SoCalCop

            Nope, made the correction in a different post.

    • 191145

      Well socalcop, I may have judged you to soon. after reading more of your posts, I can understand what your saying. I apologize for the opinion remark. After years of carrying HP ammo, I may have to make some adjustments. Maybe HP in warmer months and FMJ in colder months.

    • Hog Lander

      California Penal Code Section 538d

      • SoCalCop

        California Penal Code Section 830.1

        At first I thought, “Not another one of these guys”. Then I thought, okay, I’ll play, and initially threw out some of my training. Then I thought, no, let’s just have fun. So, PORAC. How about 11550 H&S. Deuce (aka 23152 CVC). HUA.

        So are we reduced to throwing out penal code sections to validate a person’s legitimacy?

        Here’s one, 95B10. Have fun. :-)

    • T.S.

      How is it you think you “would have picked the proper background” while engaging a bad guy? That’s kind of an arrogant attitude, don’t ya think?

      • SoCalCop

        I would have picked prudent over arrogant but whatever.

    • Brian Bayley

      So you’re telling everyone that you want penetration, not stopping power, because penetration will hit the heart and that as long as you always check the background while someone is pointing a gun at you, overpenatration is a non-issue. I’m not an expert by any stretch but that sounds like BS, even if doctor Fackler says otherwise, maybe doctors shouldn’t be giving advice after the fact? Dr. Fackler sounds like a bookworm not a self defense expert. I’m just sayin…

      • SoCalCop

        You should probably take a remedial reading course and concentrate on reading comprehension because that’s not what I said at all.
        What I did say is that for a round of ammunition to be a good self defense round, it must penetrate 10% ordnance gelatin 12 to 18 inches. That in fact is the criteria established by Dr Fackler, and that the FBI uses to determine the effectivness of a round. Knock down power is a bogus criteria established by the NIJ. Since knock down power is exactly what it means, and does not take into consideration permanent tissue damage or disruption of vital organs, like the heart, as far as I’m concerned, it gives a person a false sense of security.

        Now about overpenetration. The article scoffs at a person who is using ball ammo as a self defense round. The premise is that ball ammo will over penetrate. My position is that it is a non issue when you consider that a person will miss their attacker with one or more rounds should that person have to actually fire the weapon in self defense. In the event that happens, it’s probably prudent to know where your rounds are going and what’s behind the attacker. That’s something that was pounded into my head during the basic academy I attended 30+ years ago, and during every officer survival class I took during my law enforcement career.
        As for Dr. Fackler’s experience, he’s been shooting since he was a kid, and retired as a Colonel in the U.S. Army. Hardly my idea of a bookworm.

      • Angel Dresdner

        “stopping power” is a regurgitated marketing term that has no real world value. Anyone that uses this term automatically flags themselves as having no real world experience.

    • WARIII

      If you have a bystander directly behind the bad guy coming at you with a 12 inch knife(perp is 15 ft away) and you shot perp with fmj (in civil life) and it penetratess perp it WILL hit bystander and YOU will be responsible!! Bullets designe to disrup and cause large wound channels are the only kind to use fot your s and others safety.

      • SoCalCop

        You are right, to a point. But, as I’ve said numerous times, overpenetration is a moot point if you miss your attacker. Now, you have a bullet either moving until it runs out of energy, and falls harmlessly to the ground, or it stops because it strikes an object. If it’s an inanimate object…well, it’s an object. But if you shoot at your attacker, and miss, which is worse, a round that overpenetrates, or a round that misses entirely?

    • Jeff Kline

      I agree and you are well trained and (should be) continually practicing enough that if a situation arises that your “cool” is always maintained and along with that your ability to target well no matter what kind of rounds are in your mag.

    • Livenextralarge

      You sir are typical of 25% percent in your profession. An idiot! Take a high school physics class and learn the basic concept of speed/mass/weight and diameter. It all matters. It all transfers over to the intended object. Lastly, as stated by others…. One often and I mean very often is NOT going to have the luxury of choice for your emergent shooting solution background. It’s shoot or be shot.

      • SoCalCop

        Oh, gotta love the professor that thinks he’s just so smart and tries to hammer a person with a gotcha.

        But seriously professor, if you are referring to the penetration of a bullet into 10% ordnance gelatin, there is documented evidence that different bullets of the same caliber will have different results. But please, gather your thoughts, take a deep breath, and be a little more detailed and less cryptic in your response.
        Let me lastly add, if you get into a shooting (may God help us all if you do), and you pull the trigger out of self preservation, and with no regard for those around you, first and foremost, you are no better than your attacker and increase the chances that an innocent bystander will be injured or killed. Secondly, if you shoot, miss your intended target, and hit an innocent person, you will be sued by that person if they live, or by their family members. Claiming that you were defending yourself from an attack won’t cut it. Lastly, it’s bad enough that a person would put you into a situation where you have to use deadly force. The result of having to shoot someone can have traumatic results. But if you don’t check what’s beyond your intended target, and kill an innocent person, can you live with that?
        You may be able to blow it off as mere collateral damage while protecting yourself, but I’m reasonably sure that the general public won’t be so willing to let it go. And that’s where the courts get their jurors from.

        • TxDPS1353

          SoCalCop- you can’t fix stupid. Livenextralarge, the professor (obviously not a professional with a firearm by any stretch however), has never stopped and thought about how he would feel the day after taking an innocent person’s life, or taking a parent’s child from them by accident due to lack of training. SHOOT OR BE SHOT TO HELL WITH EVERYONE ELSE AROUND ME is his motto. Forget all the liability, forget the civil/criminal. As professionals, we know it is all about being able to lay your head down on a pillow after an event KNOWING that you trained as much as you could have trained, did what you needed to do to the best of your abilities, and that the outcome of your situation was the best that it absolutely could have been with the circumstances you were presented. Law Enforcement, Military, Ballistics Expert, Ammunition Engineer, Doctor, or someone that believes that with the right to carry comes the responsibility to be as “professional” as possible… can be as “professional” as you need to be if you put in the time and effort. A person’s title does not matter.

    • Nathanial Hoge

      Not to be calling you a liar or anything, but you are either a liar, or an idiot…

      • SoCalCop

        There is a third possibility, i’m right and you’re ignorant.

        Yep, that’s the most accurate explanation.

    • eaks52

      Just wondering how you can chose the backdrop in a situation like that. Do you ask the person to move to better spot?

      • SoCalCop

        Well the first thing is to not be caught unaware. The next thing is to know your surroundings. Thirdly, if you can’t exit the area, you position yourself so that you have the advantage. An analogy I think about is pepper spray in a windstorm. Think about it.

    • Dave

      Yep. In a DGU, you are FAR more likely to miss the target entirely than you are to hit ’em. Worries about a through and through are ridiculous.

      That’s not to say I don’t carry JHP. I do. But not to prevent the specter of ‘over penetration’.

  • Charles King

    depending on the scenario FMJ is fine for self defense, why.. myself and many of my colleagues in the military, swear by also speculating on the trajectory of a 9mm bullet jacketed or hollow point after it hits a target like a mammalian body is anyone’s guess. obvious the hollow point is preferable, because of surface area (stopping power) but an FMJ 9mm or .40 round after hitting sternum, heart and spine has a good chance of not leaving the targets body.
    also understand that a .40 jacketed hollow point moves at an approximate rate of 985 ft per second, and in many cases could penetrate all the way through the body if not hit center mass.
    ballistic science is not all statistics and absolutes, it’s variable to many different conditions and writing an article trying to “black and white” the outcomes and effects of physics is just funny. I’m a professional, and I carry my first magazine with hollow points, my second and third are FMJ… why? because I didn’t Google this shit and want everyone to think I’m smart, but because I am pretty sure I’m going to save money on bullets while l provided myself cover fire with my second and third magazine. and part of your decision process to pull the trigger should always incorporate your environment and what’s going on around you. I am telling you that a jacketed hollow point does not guarantee or safeguard against casualty.. in addition to this, ballistic gel and phone books are not a good comparison as they are freaking completely different down to a molecular level. they react differently to trauma, and the phone book does no recede like ballistic gel either.

  • ZB

    I’d rather have a magazine full of FMJ than an empty magazine.

  • Gman

    BS, If your in Bear country and carry a 9mm,.40 cal etc… your better off w/ a penetrating ammo,if the guys ur shooting at have kevlar veats on ,ur better off w/ FMJ,Hello.

    • Shawn Primus

      That happen a lot where you’re from?

    • Blimper

      If you’re in bear country, and you’re carrying anything less powerful than a magnum cartridge, you deserve whatever happens to you. I bought a Desert Eagle in .50AE for precisely this reason.

  • Shawn Primus

    I agree with the comments about running a hundred or so rounds of your preferred JHP throgh your EDC to make sure they’re compatible and CARRYING that exclusively. Nothing says you can’t run FMJ all day at the range, but I can’t think of any handgun ammo that will cost you more than the legal fees should you over-penetrate with FMJs and hit an innocent.

    Are FMJs guaranteed to go through your attacker? No.
    Are JHPs guaranteed to NOT go through your attacker? No.
    But you can bet you’ll have a much easier time defending yourself in court when you’ve carried the right ammo instead of trying to save a few bucks.

    • Ray Houthuysen

      Agree 100%. I buy online in boxes of 50. I shoot 200 fmj rounds and 100 jhp before considering a weapon ready for carry or home SD. I’ve had two Sigs and a Glock need warranty work right out of the box. This came out during my shake down of the weapon.

    • Angel Dresdner

      This is all speculation not based on reality. Real legal proceedings are about why did you shoot, were you competent enough to do so… Not what bullets did you have in your gun.

  • Randy Jones

    All my defense mags have alternating FMJ and JHP. You never know when you need to be shooting though something. You don’t want it to stop in an object when you would prefer it to travel though and hit your target.

  • Steven Cantwell

    Don’t forget Polly tipped rounds like the ??hornidy critical defense??. Feeds better then hollow points and expands more uniformly in different materials

  • Jayd041

    One can do some damage with .22 shorts.

  • Jayd041

    one can do some damage with .22 rimfire shorts.

  • Randy Gulley

    Rather than label fmj rounds as target rounds, a more proper label would be battle rounds. Hollow points are banned by the Geneva Convention for war, so most every battle round is fmj.
    While its true that fmj is generally significantly cheaper than hp. Choosing it because it’s cheaper for a carry round is a bit ridiculous, as he wasn’t shooting that ammo at practice anyway.
    Other than wadcutters or “light loads” I really wouldn’t label most any ammo as a target round.

  • M Weniger

    I carry both I keep my EDC loaded with jhp and one spare mag of jhp and one spare of fmj. I train with all my ammo on a regular basis.

  • Old Chicago

    I guess I’ll throw in my 2 cents. I carry a 9mm with 18 rounds of JHP but I also carry an additional mag of 18 FMJ in case I have to go for full penetration. For those times when you need to go through a car windshield or other object in a self defense mode.

    • Ray Houthuysen

      Suggest loading Hornady Critical Duty 135 gr P+ You aren’t going to have time to unchamber and switch mags. You do carry a round in the chamber, right? Everyone else, get Federal HST 124 gr for your 9mm.

  • Insider10

    Nice plug for Freedom munitions.

  • Tyler Driver

    Awesome short read on hollowpoints vs. FMJ. I knew this already but great job explaining it with ease. But, we all know hollowpoint or FMJ pistols are pretty crappy manstoppers. I want my AR as fast as possible and 1911 on my hip.

  • Chuck Haggard

    I respectfully submit that if one is going to worry about having expanding ammunition for personal defense use they might do a bit more research than picking an old tech JHP not known for expanding all that well.

  • Jay Hanig

    Do 9mm hollow points even open reliably? And while we’re on the subject: One thing I can say about FMJ rounds, they function reliably in my weapon. I’m not sure hollow points will.

  • Jim Maerk

    Just a blah blah article from a “I’m so much smarter than anyone else” person. Just be thankful people carry and get off your high horse.

  • EnufAlready

    Of course, you could be in one of those states that ban HP rounds for carry (the very few folks who get to carry in Jersystan, for example). Apparently, the clueless pols don’t understand that in the process of plugging your thug, you could also pop 5-year old Cathy in the next block.

  • David L Campbell Jr.

    Whoever wrote this article must one of those liberal retards that pushes gun measures without have any actual knowledge of firearms.

  • Terry Shull

    Our local chief of police stagers his mags with hollow point then fmj and so on due to failure of the hollow points to penetrate , this is not a isolated occurrence either I personally know several officers that practice this method of carry

  • Jeff

    Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch said he carries FMJ as his defensive ammo.

  • timbucktoo

    Too much extra time on their hands, this one.

  • ozzallos .

    So what’s wrong the flat meplate bullet in the first picture again? It’s a good mix of penetration and hydrostatic cross section. It’ll certainly penetrate BARRIERS more competently. I know people who load the first few rounds as HP and the remaining mag as solid FMJ as their tactical doctrine. Some alternate the entire mag.

    Being an armchair commando or even “an avid firearm enthusiast” doesn’t automatically make you right.

  • John Hoegemann

    If I shoot at anyone, with either,…they’re dead. If it becomes life or death……

  • Another problem is if you have a pistol that doesn’t feed FMJ well. You could end up going BANG, BANG, click, then have to slap and rack to clear.

  • MrApple

    An FMJ is better than a pointy stick but for me I’ll stick with Federal HST or Speer Gold Dots.

  • Sianmink

    Thankfully, a lot of the bad guys have the same feelings about the matter, because they, like Don, are not gun people.

  • Scottie La Botte

    So if your so worried about penetration the get a gun that shoot 7.65×25. It will all by itself blow through most thing including some body armors. (Check it you will find the Chinese made there armor to stand up to it.) Now the problem with the round is, it blows right through a target so fast that it doesn’t realize it is hit. 9 mm hardball blows through targets really and guess what the same effect. That is why we wanted a big slow bullet. The 45 acp hit the target and dumps much more kinetic energy to the target. Causing an ouch at least. The military wants a new gun. They give all kinds of reasons but what it comes down to is the damn doesn’t cause enough ouch when it hits. Many special units have replace their 9mm with guess the 1911 in 45 acp. Now the who idea of a hollow point is to dump as much kinetic energy into the target as possible. The more dumped energy the more surrounding damage. So instead of blowing through, it shock wave crushes lungs and disrupts the heart beat. You worry about penetration most people are not wearing extreme cold weather chinese coats. Yes it was them not the Koreans that could stand up against the 30 carbine. SO you can use your hardball me i am going to carry hollow points. Honestly at 15 yrd or less I don’t see clothing stopping them.

  • MSgt

    .45 ACP 230 GR FMJFP penetrates very well and mushrooms nicely. Ball ammo stays on the range.

  • 10mm

    Just use a 10mm then both will go through and he or her be DEAD

  • Martin Ennor

    What about the fact that premium ammo manufacturers (hollow point makers like speer, hornady, federal) seal thier defensive ammo…ie primers and bullet base from water….could you fall into a puddle with your bargain practice ammo that isnt waterproof?…raining heavily?….inadvertently take a swim?..what about oil leaking onto your primers from your firing pin hole? Is fmj practice ammo sealed from that? Premium defensive hollow points are…..what about nickel plating the casings? Ever wonder why premium defensive hollow points have nickel plated casings? BECAUSE IT DOESNT CORRODE LIKE BRASS CASINGS DO! Brass, when subjected to warm salty climates (your warm body sweating on it as you carry it.) Will corrode and the casing walls will not slide past eachother in the magazine or slide.into the chamber….sometimes can fuse together in the magazine..Nickel also forms a slicker surface so the ammo feeds more reliably….so what would you bet your life on? Practice ammo (fmj) is just that…practice ammo….it is made by the ammo companies in bulk with the cheapest components possible….(particularly powder) if you broke open a box of winchester white box from 6 months ago and broke one open today..pulled the bullets and looked at the powder I GUARANTEE youll find different powders in them….why? Because they ran out of brand X and found brand Y for cheaper….they can do that because its meant to be PRACTICE AMMO…now do the same with federal or hornady premuim hollow points….im willing to bet they are the same powder….why? Because thier projectile has to meet a consistent performance standard ( of accuracy and velocity) and the way to do that is to use the same propellant… id rather pay a little more for a reliable.. welll made… accurate…waterproof…consistent round that I KNOW will go bang every time…and keep the fmj to paper punching and steel ringing… your life worth 2$ per round?…mine is….federal HST in every one of my pistols….

  • Tony Filipeli

    So how many times is the author going to report the same old stuff? Come on this becomes a moot point—some people prefer FMJ vs HP—not a huge issue in the grand scheme of things—it is called education–however, repeating the same story with different words and a “different” person each time become boring.

  • Dan Moore

    I carry hollow points for EDC but have thousands of ball ammo in case of extended SHTF scenario. $24.95 – $30.00 for a box of 25 hollow points or $14.00 – $19.00 for a box of 50 ball ammo. (prices approximate)

  • Dave

    How much is this a stopping power vs killing power argument
    I myself want stopping power if I kill a “bad guy” while stopping him too bad but I am not out to kill him at least with the first round

  • Larry DeMassimo

    So many what ifs . 300 lbs, 105lbs ? Cold weather hot weather. So many different tools for so many jobs. Research and find a medium. I always say i wish I had a crystal ball. But I only have BALL ammo at the range.

  • Captain Chaos

    JHP are more expensive, but just practice with a few and carry the rest.

  • sy212

    When I trained for my Master Firearms Certification we would train with retired Navy Seals. They all agreed that FMJ was the way to go, it cycles properly in your gun (and after 25 years in law enforcement that’s ALL that counts) and if you shoot .45 as I do, it’s a big dumb bullet that packs a punch. Couple that with a good grouping (just kidding) couple that with a nice spread and you have stopped your threat. The only thing I carry hollow points in is my revolvers.

  • mike

    45 ball ammo was good enough to kill japs in ww2. works fine today as well.

  • Sgt_Stacker12

    Well to tell you the truth… I mean he’s carrying a 9mm with virtually no recoil while yes it may take more then one bullet to stop him as long as he knows how to fire his gun he’ll be okay, not to mention getting shot by anything hurts, I sincerely doubt after getting shot once by ANYTHING the other person is going to get the idea.

  • Publius Ceasar

    Some of us carry firearms that don’t feed JHP reliably. My AMT Hardballer .45 is dead-on nuts accurate, but jams on every 4th or 5th JHP (factory ammo) while I can fire FMJ all day long without a jam. Something about the geometry of the feed ramp is my estimation. I’ve had 2 gunsmiths twiddle with it, but nothing has done more than reduce the frequency of jams. My typical carry is Glaser’s and since they have the same jacket geometry of an FMJ, they feed reliably and solve the problem of over-penetration.

  • Jerry Fang

    Screw larger caliber. Shoot badguys with .22lr its more lethal then larger caliber. Empty a full mag in his stomach, it will tumble and hitting all his vital organs. Entry wound, no exit wound.

  • Chris Blaesing

    I really don’t see a problem with fmj. Most people that conceal carry have either .380 or 9mm. So say you went up to 124 grain 9mm you will definitely take down the target. Just don’t be stupid when it comes to firing your weapon. Now something larger say .45 acp well that could cause some more difficulties.
    For home defense of course I keep a loaded mag of federal hallows by my bed stand. But if for some reason I have to say use a different gun and fmj is all I can get to at the time, well I’m not really concerned about the wall at that moment.

  • David Hineline

    So he chooses the same ammunition as US military. If you believe those hollow points actually expand like that except in test medial you fully bought the hype. Yes I carry a hollow point also.

  • Grits.N.Jowls

    Maybe it will and maybe it won’t. The majority of us on this board have never shot anyone in self defense. The FMJ vs hollowpoint argument is just marketing for me. I carry FMJs in my Glock 17 daily. Up close it’s not going to matter, IMO.

  • Alen Mikic

    We’re talking handgun calibers here not .50BMG! If 9mm went trough person and than trough wall we wouldn’t need rifle calibers. As for the stopping power you hit the right place and they will stop! Sure JHP is better for self defense than FMJ. But if you use FMJ it’s not end of the world! It’s much more important to work on your skills and mindset than to be obsessed with ammo type. Another thing is what if you shoot a person wearing body armor? How effective if hollow point then?

  • Keithw75

    I carry alternating FMJ and HP rounds in my .40. The one time I had my gun pulled, and was worried I would have to use it, I was in my truck. My bullets would have had to go through the door, and into a very large man wearing many layers of clothing.

    In my state you are protected from criminal, and civil penalties for hitting a bystanders during a self defense scenario.

  • Patrick

    First of all don’t care for it when people call a full metal jacket a “target round” or a “practice round”, that’s pretty naive and you sound like a salesman. Truth is, we can all pick what round we want for what purpose, we are our own commission. I’ve been a gun owner for 14 years and I’ve been interested in and studied ballistics for at least 15 years. There are reasons not to carry hollow points. Sure most of them work relatively well these days when fired into ballistic gelatin which has no bone to simulate a sternum or ribcage, and no air gaps to simulate passing through lungs, no rubber band like material to stimulate some of the arteries etc, and it’s always a straight on frontal shot… Which is why they say divide the penetration result by half essentially, but how exact is that? Not very. Energy dumping is a myth, handguns don’t have enough energy for a person being hit with one to know the difference between 300 and 400 foot pounds, the only thing that works is actually hitting something that will stop him in his tracks (ie the back of his head or somewhere causing enough blood loss that he’ll be dead within 30seconds) or him losing the will to ffight be it if he’s hit or not and wherever it is. As far as I know two holes entrance and exit cause more blood loss than one, particularly if the bullet exits sideways. Speaking of which, if you actually look at gel tests for say the same caliber, same bullet weight, but one full metal jacket and one premium hollow point, it’s different for sure, but you’d be hard pressed to predict which one will actually do better in a real life scenario. The hollow point will start expanding and creating a temporary cavity about 2inches in which may last for between two and six inches which is where all the most severe damage is going to occur, the full metal jacket will start to turn on its side anywhere from 4to 8 inches in and create it’s own stretch cavity until it’s completely backward or it exits. Either one can be perfect in an individual circumstance. Over penetrating is one of the biggest bs marketing schemes I’ve ever heard of, yes it is possible that your bullet could go through a person and into another, but it’s very unlikely, in fact I’ve never seen a verified incident of that happening with a full on torso shot with a handgun. Most people get out of the way when they hear gunfire, and police officers for example only hit their target 14% of the time, so you’re much more likely to miss and hit an innocent person than you are to hit the bad guy and have the bullet sail through to hit and seriously injure or kill another person. Full metal jackets almost always have better barrier penetration and people tend to take cover or already be behind something when lead is flying their way, they also tend to move odd directions and you are very likely to hit them in the arm or shoulder or side of their torso which means the bullet is going to have to penetrate perhaps more than you realize… An upraised arm at a slight angle, you might actually have to pass through 7 or 8inches of arm before the bullet even gets to the torso. Penetration is far and away the most important wounding effect you have with a handgun. Ideally you’d like a frontal shot where the bullet penetrates skin, muscle, sternum, lungs, heart and reaches the spinal column to either pass through it, break it or break the spinal cord witch will drop the person as soon as the bullet gets there no matter what caliber or how much it expanded if at all. The handgun I would grab first if I knew I needed to fight would be my M9 loaded with NATO ball ammunition, I know exactly what to expect of it, it’s accurate, reliable, has 16 rounds that will fire and will penetrate enough.

  • Grits.N.Jowls

    Nobody in the real world knows or cares about this distinction. Plus the military uses FMJ as the standard issue.

  • Maximiliano Dobler

    I am not over 18 or anything, but just to ask:
    In my country any bullet that deforms on impact on a soft surface (flesh, for the sake of realism) is illegal (God knows why). So, in that situation, what would you do?

  • Erik

    So just my random thoughts even thouguh I know this is an older posting now. I think fmj are fine for self defense. But not by themselves. Say you carry a 9mm single stack pistol. It hold 7 rounds, now load 4 fmj’s and top it off with 3 jhp’s. The jhp’s are for home defense or something where as the fmj’s are for punching through car doors or windshields. Carry 2 spare mags. And load each for different situations. Sure odds are you’d never need to do a tactical reload and slam a mag of elk’s in there to shoot that guy running you down in his truck. But hey shit happens. Or maybe you need to shoot through your own car door into a carjacker sneakily to get the jump on him as he holds you up. Hell maybe some robber bought cheap body armor and your jhp’s just break ribs and bruise him. Stun him good sure……but the fmjs may penetrate. And a penetrating fmj is better than an absorbed jhp. (Granted any good body armor will stop both.) Just my thoughts though. I’d always shoot jhp’s first but sometimes I’d like the option of an fmj or high penetration bullet.

  • g

    An exit wound is another hole to bleed from. FMJ ammo is fine for personal protection.


    They both kill you


    I have seen a case where the cops shot at some Dirt Bag 20-something times before he went down. When they did the autopsy they found 10 or so of the rounds (180gr .40cal and 70gr. .223) only penetrated 1 inch. The reason was that the JHP opened prematurely since the criminal was wearing thick clothing.

    I think when it comes to .40 (having a flat nose) – you can expect some expansion from a FMJ (I have tested this and seen expansion). This seems to be the case for .45 as well. I am a big believer in practicing with what you carry.

    Also keep in mind – there isn’t 1 recorded case that I have found (and I have looked) of a hand gun over-penetrating a human target and going through them and into an person behind them. Not saying it has never happened, I have just not been able to find 1 instance. If you carry something .40 or bigger, it would be wise to load some FMJ into your mag in case the JHP’s you have loaded at the top of the mag don’t do it.

  • Shann Ell

    great article….we were trying to figure out the difference for hunting. We somehow had a FMJ bullet when the game warden checked our weapons….we would not want to hurt anyone out there by our game or our target so I am very glad to find this article. ad glad to get that guy straightened out about his concealed weapon and FMJ…..sounds dangerous!

  • Buckhunter

    Well you learned me something today …. Thank you for sharing this knowledge. It will be better equipped with a safer bullet.

  • MIKE

    FMJ’s feed more reliably than hollow point projectiles when loaded into semiautomatic pistols. Some hollow point designs do not expand at the velocities produced by concealed carry length barrels. Your article is a blanket statement about CCW ammunition choice when in reality it is based on your LEO background with a duty sidearm. Not everyone carries a Glock concealed. FMJ works for some people. I would feel more comfortable with a weapon that feeds FMJ nearly 100% of the time than the latest wide-mouth, ballistic tipped, wonder bullet that turns my self-defense weapon into a jam-o-matic.

  • Blake

    I started getting some freedom munitions ammo for a while, but i had some problems. A round sorta exploded in my gun and almost damaged it, luckily it was ok. It was wierd. There were a few other problems, so i wont get it anymorr. I just shoot whatever the 100 round value packs from walmart are, and carry winchester ranger 124+p.

  • andolini

    If you are most likely to shoot against carjackers and enemies hidden behind something, the JHP’s will be useless.

  • seamansm

    I have concealed carry since I was 21, now 59 and through those years I have never carried anything but a JHP round. I currently carry a 45 ACP with 230 GR JHP Hornady rounds. Someone using FMJ rounds in basically an untrained amateur!

  • Tread

    I totally agree. There’s no excuse for having the wrong ammunition for the wrong situation, even if it’s to save a few bucks. Compared to an innocent bystander’s life, it’s a drop in the bucket. A true financial advisor takes a good time researching the best financial strategies that will reduce his or her clients financial risk (regardless of savings). He should have done the same due diligence as CWP holder, it is his responsibility to ensure safety. Otherwise he shouldn’t even own a firearm, and carry pepper spray or a stun gun instead.

  • DL

    At the risk of being lambasted, i’ll tell you, I often carry ball ammunition. Not because I want to, but because I have had several good service grade weapons jam far to often when I would use hollow points. I would hate for the gun to jam when I need it most. I would appreciate any good advice that could be offered, as I would like to carry hollowpoints.

  • Jay Derpenson

    Well I’m Belgian and our cops carry 9mm FMJ but we never had any problem of collateral damages.
    But I totally understand your logic, if it doesnt stop in what im shooting it will stop in something i dont want to shoot.

    For me the main problem are not the amo or the gun, its the training.
    A well trained guy carrying a 12gauge will do less collateral damage than a dumbass with a walterPPK

  • jmatt

    What if the intended target/subject is wearing lots of clothing, leather,etc. Won’t a jhp open too soon?

  • Blake

    And has anyone traveled to New Jersey? Hollow point ammunition is a felony. So sometimes FMJ is required to comply with the local laws.

  • Skyler Enger

    Military here and still serving… Gita love the ball ammo and ap 5.56 rounds. Ap was for Vic’s and ball for soft targets. A 5.56 round fps is Ruffly double most hand guns and over penetration of soft targets is never an issue with ball rounds. So I’m not concerned about 40cal FMJ over penitration. Example Situation: drive by shooting. FMJ or hollow points for the defense? My experienced opinion hollow points suck due to the lack of versatility and cost.

  • You should be glad that in your country people can carry JHP. In Czech Republic every one want to carry JHP but we can’t as it is forbidden by law. We all know how stupid this paragraph is but we can only disagree and live with it. So don’t be mad that someone carry FMJ, end of the day it is his decision and his responsibility.

    Also one note to “stopping power” this is only side effect of so called “stopping effect” which is intended, higher “stopping power” or otherwise “higher wound effect” is not. Stopping effect means that upon impact as bullet expands is rapidly slowing down, transferring all it’s energy to the target. So stopping effect is bullet’s ability to stop shortly upon impact, causing damage only to intended target and minimising collateral damage. Very important feature of JHP bullets is also it’s lower or no bounce from hard surfaces, which makes it less dangerous in a city or inside buildings and further lowering chance of collateral damage.

    That being said. Intention to use JHP should always be it’s safety features and not that it causes more damage to whatever target you will ever have to shoot. Because if you ever have to shoot other human, your intention should be to stop that threat, not shoot to kill.

  • SE

    Great article. I thought similar to “Don” but now know better and why.

  • jamesbaker11

    Dumb argument, really. The perp you shoot with a JHP will sue because you used a bullet designed to kill, rather than common target rounds. If your fight becomes protracted and all you have is JHP, then the perp is going to continue to fire at you from behind a light barrier in a convenience store and your rounds won’t penetrate the barrier. I’m not giving advice, but I carry a JHP in the chamber and the remainder of the rounds in the magazine are ball, because ball will not jam as frequently as JHP and it allows penetration for a protracted fight.