OMG! Cop Killer Bullets! They’re BACK! OMG!

Let’s pick up the‘s story of an armed turnstile jumper in the middle of the article. “When the cops checked out the bulge, they found a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson. Toting a concealed weapon is bad enough, cops said. But Sanabria’s alleged turnstile blunder was even worse because the weapon was loaded with notorious hollow-point bullets. The bullets are designed to expand upon impact and do greater damage to an intended target than full-metal-jacket bullets. ‘A hollow-point spreads out and tears up tissue and muscle, and it’s much more likely to stop you,’ a police official said . . .

He added that some law-enforcement agencies use hollow-point bullets because they lose power on first impact and there is less danger that a fragment will continue on its way and hurt someone else.

“Most civilians don’t carry hollow-points because they are more expensive,” said Kenneth Cooper, a certified New York state firearms and use-of-force instructor.

“Most people use bottom-basement ammunition,” he added.

The bottom line, Della Fave said, is “hollow-point bullets are designed to do great damage.”

As opposed to . . . ? [h/t to BLAMMO]


  1. avatar Joe Grine says:

    I’m curious to know what type of ammo TTAG readers use in their carry guns: I would have assumed that 99% of folks carry hollow points or something other than Plain Jane Ball. I’m not familiar with any Police departments that carry Ball is their duty guns.

    1. avatar Ian says:

      I personally carry Hornady Critical Defense. Everyone I know who carries concealed carries some sort of hollowpoint round.

        1. avatar Rob says:

          Nope +P 🙂

      1. avatar Evan says:

        Unless they live in NJ, of course.

      2. avatar Eric says:

        Critical Duty in the bigger guns I carry in the winter.

    2. avatar Jared says:

      230 gr Remington Golden Sabre JHP .45 – HK USP (Home)

      124 gr Speer Gold Dot GDHP 9mm – Glock 19. (Cooler weather carry)

      90 gr Buffalo Bore +P JHP .380 – Sig P238HD (Summer/pocket carry)

      I got three different brands to test them all out. I’ve heard alot of good things about all of them, and for me they have proven to be accurate and reliable so far.

    3. avatar Mark N. says:

      Winchester PDX1 bonded at the current time, 230 gr JHP. I’ve used Magtechs. If I had my druthers, I’d probably carry 200 grain for higher velocity, buy hps in 185 or 200 are hard to find. I have seen but not tried the solid copper 165 gr HPs-now those are REALLY pricey, but what little I’ve read about then is pretty impressive for consistent expansion and weight retention.

      1. avatar Ropingdown says:

        Solid copper CorBon 165 grain +P .45 is what I carry. I assume you’re talking .45ACP? I buy them online for about the same as other quality JHP.

        1. avatar Ropingdown says:

          Uh, the 165’s are not solid copper, only my second choice 185’s are. Same brand. And I pay 40% more for the solid copper. No wonder it’s my second choice and I don’t have any in the safe… Does that make me a ‘bottom basement’ shooter? Maybe.

        2. avatar Mark N. says:

          I think the ones I was looking at were Wilson’s, and they were over $2 a pop. Then again, anything with Wilson’s name on it runs a pretty penny. And I remember they were 165 gr because I’d never seen a .45 that light before.

      1. avatar PWolf says:


    4. avatar Rube says:

      Nope. He’s right. I use bottom basement bullets – whatever the hell those are.

      1. avatar Ropingdown says:

        I’ve always heard “bargain basement”, not “bottom basement.” It’s as if NY doesn’t have internet….

        1. avatar racer88 says:

          True… “bottom basement” is redundant…. kinda like “hot water heater.” 😉

        2. avatar savaze says:

          I always heard it as either “bottom shelf” or “bargain basement.” Maybe he was listening to a lot of Brian Regan ( and was starting to mix his phrases too…

        3. avatar Scott D. says:

          Loves me some Brian Regan.

      2. avatar Justin says:

        If Russian Ammo is bargain basement ammo. What is worse?
        I’ve never seen North Korean ammo for sale anywhere

        1. avatar Chris Dumm says:

          You can find some real junk ammo in the back pages of Shotgun News. Persian, Egyptian, Inuit, Uruguayan, and ‘found inside a mattress in a Sheboygan transient hotel.’

    5. avatar Gophernator says:

      Hornady or Win PDX.

      I’ll shoot 20 rounds of my carry ammo and about 200 rounds of FMJ when I practice.

    6. avatar Derek says:

      Buffal Bore 180 grain JHP for the Glock 20, Hornady Critical Defense for the LC9 and TAP FPD for the XD40SC.

      So what and where exactly is this super-duper ammo that makes Buffalo Bore and Hornady JHP seem like “bottom-basement ammuniton.”?

    7. avatar John says:

      9mm Federal HST

    8. avatar Justin says:

      40cal Hornady XTP for now in my H&K P30s
      9mm ammo is a mix of HPs in my Browning HP
      I have 100 rounds of Cheaper Federal HPs
      40 rounds of Winchester Black Talon
      20 rounds of Golden Sabres

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        Ah, Black Talons, the original “kop killer” bullet, rumored to be teflon coated to enable them to penetrate body armor (a lie), they were swiftly banned. I wonder if NJ’s HP ban stems from that debacle. The irony is that essentially the same bullet is still being produced and sold to this day, just under a different name and without the black coating.

    9. avatar Barb says:

      Black Talons in my sig sauer p220 .45 when in public. and a bullet that looks like shotgun pellets when I am in the bush for snake ammo. I’m terrified of snakes. And a reload cartrige in my rifles unless I’m competing.

  2. avatar racer88 says:

    I hate getting my nose rubbed in ***t. After reading that article, I feel really bad that I can’t afford “notorious” hollow points. I’m ashamed I’ve been buying and using “bottom basement” ammo. Even if I could afford “notorious” hollow points, gawrsh-darnit, they’re sold out everywhere! Anyone know where I can get some “Notorious” hollow points??? They must be in high demand!

    My “bottom basement” ammo includes:

    Gold Dot- check!
    Federal HST – check!
    Winchester Ranger T – check!
    Hornady TAP – check!
    Federal Gold Medal Match – check!

    Notorious???? Dammit… I can’t find ANY anywhere! 😉

    And, this guy is a CERTIFIED firearms instructor. Where did he get this “certification?” Cracker Jack box? Seriously?

    1. avatar Ropingdown says:

      If you can get certified there, that’s probably where he got certified.

    2. avatar Justin says:

      I have 2 boxes of those old notorious bullets
      Winchester Black Talon 9mm JHPs

  3. avatar Sanchanim says:

    Minor correction.
    If I am correct, cop killer bullets are referring to armor piercing rounds, which are illegal for civilian use I believe. They would penetrate a Kevlar vest and is all bad.
    First off Hollow Points are not illegal. In fact if you own a gun for home protection I feel they are a great idea. You can use standard “duty” rounds for hitting paper targets, but within the confines of a residence they are much safer. If you don’t hit the intruder square in the chest or some other major body mass, and the bullet exits with any type of velocity the last thing you want is for it to go straight through a soft wall and hit someone on the other side.
    There are also fragmenting rounds, I am probably referring to this wrong, but they look like a standard round except they fragment upon impact. I believe they are compressed copper and some sort of epoxy. I don’t think they provide the stopping power of a hollow point though.
    I know some folks who put the first round as a varmint round. Looks like a bullet but the tip is plastic loaded with essentially shotgun like pellets. The idea is unless you are really good, your first shot is going to go wild. The varmint round won’t hurt anyone. The next rounds are all hollow point, and you should be dialed in on target and not go wild.
    Also a hollow point if it hits a Kevlar vest should stop it. The energy transferred should be the same as a duty round since mass, and speed are similar so both would hurt like hell.

    1. avatar TTACer says:

      I believe hollow points are illegal in Jersey, maybe other places too.

      1. avatar Gunner442 says:

        Hollow points are legal in Jersey, buy them all the time…No problem using them for home defense ( concealed carry no such thing unless LEO or very well connected) No problem transporting them to the range for use during target practice. Gun laws are complete BS here, but we can have hollow points.

        1. avatar TTACer says:

          Weird, I thought that was one of those things that could get you jail time if your plane diverted to Newark.

    2. avatar racer88 says:

      I believe the author (NY Post) is intentionally re-appropriating the term “cop killer” (that USED to refer to armor piercing or the evil “black talons”) to common hollow points. This is no different than the misuse of “assault weapon” and using the term “automatic” to describe semi-autos.

      No doubt, the media and anti-gun politicians intentionally use inflammatory language to brainwash the sheeple. I recently had someone comment to me about someone owning a particular rifle… “He had an AK-47!! (OMG! OMG!)” He didn’t believe me when I explained that it functions exactly like any common semi-auto hunting rifle.

      He retorted, “But it’s not for hunting. It’s an assault rifle!”

      Actually, it’s a sporting rifle. Its appearance doesn’t make it any more deadly than cosmetic modifications to a car that make it LOOK faster.

      He still wasn’t buying it. After all, how could I (a gun enthusiast) know more than the media that has fed him this BS?

      1. avatar Ropingdown says:

        It’s New York. He just got confused. JHP in NY is not “cop killer” but rather “killer cop” bullets.

    3. avatar mmasse says:

      It’s perfectly legal to possess, purchase, sell or shoot armor piercing ammunition. It’s not legal to manufacture or import armor piercing ammunition.

  4. avatar 2Wheels says:

    Any poll or thread I’ve seen asking law abiding citizens what they carry in their defensive handguns results in the overwhelming majority claiming they carry some sort of JHP or one of those fancy rounds like Glasers. The rare few who do carry FMJ in a lot of cases cite reliability (or penetration concerns in “mousegun” calibers), not cost as their reason for choosing FMJ.

    I bet a lot of criminals use “bottom basement” ammo (probably FMJ) because they really don’t give a dang. And to be fair, I doubt this guy sees a lot of law abiding citizens carrying since he’s from NY…

  5. avatar John D says:

    .380 – Hornady Critical Defense, 90 gr
    9 mm – Speer Gold Dot +p, 124 gr
    .40 S&W – Winchester Super-X Silvertip, 155 gr
    .45 – Speer Gold Dot, 230 gr

  6. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    Hollow points are safer(I’m not counting the person being shot) than ball ammo because they are less likely to over penatrate and hit an innocent bystander. If you shoot someone at close distance with 45 ball ammo, there’s a pretty good chance that the bullet could exit the bad guy and hit another person. The police use hollow points because it allows them enough firepower to take down the perp while not endangering innocent citizens.

  7. avatar "Dr."Dave says:

    Yeah, I’ll stick to my bottom basement Corbon DPX ammo.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    For self defense, I use notorious bullets exclusively. Hornady Rip Their Guts Out brand is my favorite in the new .9mm caliber. They expand from the size of a pinprick to as as big around as a Royal Doulton dinner plate. For target practice, non-notorious ammo is better and cheaper. Winchester Fluffy Bunny in the white box works very really well and children appreciate the pretty packaging. Every once in a while, just for giggles, I enjoy shooting couple of rounds of Exploding Cop Killer Mega Death bullets, but they’re very expensive.

    1. avatar John says:

      I think you are funnin’ us Ralph 🙂

      Bad guys face getting shot with Federal HST 9mm and/or 45ACP. Targets get shot with “Any Old Brand” FMJ or frangible.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        I think you are funnin’ us Ralph

        You know me too well.

      2. avatar Mike in NC says:

        He certainly is funnin’ us! Everyone knows the expansion of the dreaded .9mm round is best compared to a WEDGWOOD dinner plate!

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Mike in NC, I appreciate that you know Wedgwood has only one “e.”

    2. avatar Tom says:

      I like Fluffy Bunny ammo best. Caddy Shack Groundhog rounds are great as well.
      For serious work, I use Darth Vader brand ammo. Use the Force!

  9. avatar Stephen says:

    Is ALL of NY completely full of S*IT, or just the 99%. Which is it.

    And yes, HP in all our pistols.


    1. avatar Rob says:

      No just most of NYC please don’t group upstate NY with the rest of the libs. We hunt we shoot and depending on the county we can carry concealed

      1. avatar Darren says:

        I think you’re funnin’ us with this comment, but for those just tuning in…

        The teflon was just to keep the brass & steel bullet from tearing up the barrel. The KTW was just so hard that it wouldn’t deform on kevlar, and it just sailed right through. Nothing magical, just physics, and the same idea behind every other armor-piercing bullet.

  10. avatar BLAMMO says:

    This propaganda will never work. Everybody already knows that Teflon is the only thing that can penetrate body armor.

  11. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    Look there are a whole bunch of meme’s that float around the gun culture. Not just the wider society. If you hang out at the gun club you probably have heard a number of them. And a whole bunch of them are anti gun or just plain stupid. Just cause some cop or anyone else says they are “a certified” instructor don’t mean jack squat. How about these for grins:

    1 Yes the whole thing about the SCARY, VERY SCARY dum dum bullets.
    2 The “can shoot down an airplane” thing.
    3 get ready for this one….you shouldn’t carry a gun in a place that sells alcohol.
    4 Even worser…you should NEVER drink any alcohol and carry or be around a gun.
    5 If you do drink, even the tiniest littlest bity bit of alcohol, you have to surrender to the BG. You should just agree to die at the hands of the BG cause you drank something.
    6 You have to worry nite and day about over penetration of walls.
    7 You need to carry multiple guns all the time even when taking a dump in your own bathroom.
    8 You have to carry an AK in your car with thousands of rounds of ammo. (I actually got kicked off a board cause I dared to suggest that such an idea was nuts)
    9 You absolutely must have thousands of dollars of training before you CCW.
    10 Even though ball ammo has accounted for 100’s of thousands of dead Germans and Japanese and Koreans and Chinese and Vietnamese over the last 100 years, it is blasphemy to say you carry or use ball ammo for any defensive purposes.
    11 Very young children should never touch any gun. They could go off.
    12 All guns have to be locked up in a 2000 dollar safe. Put your guns in a closet or the corner of your bedroom, HA YOU SHOULD BE ARRESTED ! They could go off ! or a child could touch them or be near them and they could go off !

    Need I go on? I am sure that others can think of even more of these inane statements, views, purported facts.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Do you mean that I’ve been following all twelve rules for nothing?

      Oh cwap.

    2. avatar Tom says:

      4 Even worser…you should NEVER drink any alcohol and carry or be around a gun.
      That might actually have some merit. Alcohol does not mix well with cars and speedboats either.

  12. avatar steve says:

    Speer gold dots, hornady, magtech or corbon self defa ammmo. Ive nvr carried fmj.

  13. avatar William says:

    .40 S&W Winchester PDX1… if they are good enough for the FBI, then they sure work for me.

    1. avatar Ropingdown says:

      That’s what I said about 10 mm. The bastards keep changing things.

  14. avatar Frank H says:

    So I live in the Socialist Republic of New Jersey, and the guy who owns the gun shop where I do most of my business has advised me that, while possessing hollow-points in not a crime in SRNJ, you are far more vulnerable should the Estate of the Perpetrator bring a wrongful death lawsuit (presumably after breaking into your home and threatening your safety and that of your family).

    So I use FMJ.

  15. avatar Sam says:

    What the hell is “bottom-basement ammunition?” Does he mean FMJ?

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Who knows what he means? He’s been given a mantle of credibility by being cited as a source by the NYC media, which means he’s an “expert” and people who actually a) know something and b) use correct terminology aren’t.

  16. avatar Steve says:

    The best part is the article saying both that ” some law-enforcement agencies use hollow-point bullets because they lose power on first impact and there is less danger that a fragment will continue on its way and hurt someone else,” and that HPs are notorious cop-killers.

    So, a cop carrying JHPs does so only out of concern for the well-being of the general public, but clearly, a civilian carrying the same round only wants to cause as much carnage as possible.

    (Incidentally, I carry the Win. PDX, as does the FBI. I guess their reasons for using that round are more virtuous than mine by default, for some reason).

    1. avatar MadDawg J says:

      +1 It’s safer for cops, but evil for civilians? Say what?

  17. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    The original “cop killer” bullets pimped by the anti-gun establishment (which includes almost all of the NYC media, their lunatic mayor and many others who style themselves as ‘intellectuals’) was the KTW bullet, which was developed by law enforcement to go through a) car doors and b) penetrate hard, oblique-angle surfaces (like a windshield). The infamous “teflon coating that helps it penetrate ballistic vests” was actually applied to the projectile to cause the bullet to rotate to a greater penetration angle upon hitting an oblique angle surface, much as the “beeswax on the arrow tip” idea used by archers in the face of plate armor in European history.

    The nonsense, pablum, twaddle and hysterical BS believed about firearms by people in NYC, especially those in the media, is a source of endless amusement to me. This is just another nugget on the mountain of misinformation and urban folklore from them.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      NYC is my old home town. I was born there, went to Law School there, and lived there for the first 35 years of my life. If you think that folks in NYC are ignorant about firearms, all I can say is that you don’t know the half of it. When it comes to firearms, they’re total morons.

      1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

        How dare you refer to those imbeciles as morons!

  18. avatar APBTFan says:

    Fiocchi Extrema 230 gr. XTP hollow points for me. Nickel cases, made in USA and only $30 per 50. They shoot great out of my carry piece and for the price I can afford to shoot more of them. Having shot XTP’s for many years I trust them implicitly. Everything else is strictly handloads.

    The argument that hollow points are ok for cops but not citizens is a load of crap. Same with magazine capacity. A DGU for a private citizen absolutely warrants high performance ammo and full capacity mags especially when backup isn’t a radio call away. Patching through to 911 then getting help sent takes far more precious time.

  19. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    I can’t believe I’m the first person to jump on the fact that he was carrying a S&W Smegma. These seem to be one of The Official Handguns of IGOTD ™.

    Seriously, IGOTDs, if you want an inexpensive and solid and reliable 9mm that’s way too chunky to conceal well and has a mediocre trigger pull, get a Ruger P-series. They’re even uglier than the Smegma, but they’re also cheaper and they work a lot better. If none of that sways you, they’ll also spare you the derision of your armed betters.

    1. avatar Tom says:

      I actually have some respect for the Ruger P series.

      1. avatar APBTFan says:

        I do too. Owned a couple and see them as the T-34 of the semi-auto pistol world.

        1. avatar Chris Dumm says:

          I’ve got a P-95 and it’s earned my respect as a solid, no-frills firearm.

          It may not be the first gun I reach for, but it will be probably be the last gun I’ll ever sell.

  20. avatar Randon Loeb says:

    I recently did an informal survey of appellate legal cases where courts examined whether the prosecution’s use of the term “cop-killer” bullets, or eliciting testimony as to the function of hollow points was prejudicial. Generally speaking, it seems like judges don’t mind letting the jury hear those kinds of things. Unfortunately, it seems like this is something that law abiding citizens have to consider in their defensive ammo decisions.

    I will hopefully have time to write up my findings soon.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Outstanding, brother Loeb. I’ll be visiting your website often.

    2. avatar APBTFan says:

      Looking forward to it. Site bookmarked.

  21. avatar Ron says:

    .32 ACP = Winchester 71 gr. TC
    .38 Spc = Corbon DPX 110 gr. +P
    .357 Mag = Federal 125 gr. JHP
    9mm =Speer Gold Dot 124 gr. +P
    .40 S&W = Speer Gold Dot 155 gr. and 180 gr.
    .45 ACP = Speer Gold Dot 230 gr.

    1. avatar TTACer says:

      That is some “bottom basement ammunition” right there you cheap bastard.

      1. avatar Ron says:

        Geeze TTACer you don’t have to be so nasty!
        I was going to buy the Buffalo Bore .32 +P.
        I swear I was. But the Winchester gets equal penetration and crush cavity at half the price. And lately things haven’t been going so good.

        The wife wants a new car.
        The orthodontist keeps saying the kids need braces.
        The drawbridge only works half of the time. Last week I couldn’t get to work three (3) days.
        And now the moat is drying up!
        Which, as you can imagine, really has the crocks pissed.
        I not worried about the family. Those crocks know not to bite the hand that feeds them.
        But Castle Doctrine Insurance says if one more serf gets eaten they will drop my policy.
        You know they are the only ones left who still insure evil gun owners. So I HAVE GOT to get that moat filled asap.

        But I promise on the lives of my wife and kids, if you will back off just a little, I will never again buy any cheap ass .32ACP ammo.

  22. avatar koolaidguzzler says:

    Gents, you’re picking on the New York POST. It’s little different than getting lathered up about the National Enquirer.

    1. avatar racer88 says:

      That’s true of any rag coming out of NY. 🙂

  23. avatar Aharon says:

    “Cop Killer Bullets” I understand are defined as bullets than can penetrate an armored vest unlike many (not all?) other bullets. I think the NY Post simply did the usual bad job of investigative reporting cutting and pasting what makes little sense to anyone who knows guns yet provides endless entertainment to others.
    In Oregon, the general consensus of unofficial legal advice that I’ve been given is to use HP and definitely not FMJ in an actual HD/SD situation.

  24. avatar Aharon says:

    BTW, I think I’ve seen Ken Cooper in some movie though I don’t recall if he was a good guy or a bad guy. What do you think?

    1. avatar liquidflorian says:

      So is he the reason NYPD Glocks have 20lb triggers?

  25. avatar Scott says:

    Am I the only reader of TTAG that uses Double Tap Ammo? WTF?

    1. avatar IndyEric says:


  26. avatar cameron says:

    “Most civilians don’t carry hollow-points because they are more expensive.”

    Well, someone is out of touch.

  27. avatar Bob Evans says:

    ‘A hollow-point … [is]… much more likely to stop you [or, in an SD situation, the BG]’

    Uhhhmmm …isn’t that kinda what we’re going for here, Skippy? I certainly don’t want to tickle a BG until he cries “uncle” and stops what he’s doing.

    “He added that some law-enforcement agencies use hollow-point bullets because they lose power on first impact and there is less danger that a fragment will continue on its way and hurt someone else.”

    LEO’s use hollow points because they’re concerned about the safety of innocent by-standers. Such an ammo choice is portrayed as responsible. Civilians use hollow points …because they’re concerned about the safety of innocent by-standers??? Of course not, they just wanna kill cops.

    Yeah, there’s no bias in that reporting. :/

  28. avatar ken cooper says:

    The reporter in this article misquoted my comments:
    * There has NEVER been a police officer killed by a “cop killer” round fired from a handgun – Unless of course, you are watching a hollywood movie. Complete fantasy.
    This is an attempt to revive a dead issue from a decade past – to sell pappers.
    * I opined that Badguys use “Bargin Basement” rounds – they have little access to proper controlled expansion rounds, and care little about over penetration harming innocents.
    ken ccooper

  29. Ken has a good reply posted at
    The reporter is anti-gun and has no idea what she is talking about. They should print a correction stating that it is legal to own hollow point ammo in NY and the ALL police use hollow point ammo. (I have an idea for a great article she can write based on her knowledge; Are Cops using Cop Killer bullets?) That hollow point ammo can not penetrate the standard vest worn buy the police.

  30. avatar jim says:

    This is total BS. Hollow points are not cop killer bullets. The hooplaphobia on guns is so great now that any BS is taken as true. No one who knows anything about a gun will carry FMJ bullets in a carry gun. They are more expensive but you buy 20 or so HP rounds and use them in your carry mag. I use bullets I have loaded myself. They are golden saber bullets 115 grain made by remington and use my own load of power pistol powder. Its crap like this that is driving people to hoard up.

  31. avatar JOE says:


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