fmj range ammunition ammo
Dan Z for TTAG
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Don’t use range ammo as self-defense ammo. There are a number of good reasons why it’s a bad idea.

Range ammunition — meaning full metal jacket or fragmenting ammunition in center fire rifles and pistol, target or bird shot in shotguns — is a generally poor self-defense ammunition choice. Not that there aren’t good uses for it (ie the range, the dove field), but ammunition is a tool and you should use the right tool for the job.

9mm range ammunition ammo fmj
9mm range ammunition (Dan Z for TTAG)

The typical civilian uses a handgun for concealed carry and/or home defense. Perhaps that’s buttressed by a long gun for home defense and/or a trunk gun. That’s typically a shotgun or AR-platform (or maybe AK-platform) semi-automatic rifle. It has been recommended forever not to use range ammo for a practical gun and there are a number of reasons for that.

Center fire range ammunition (pistols, rifles) will dramatically over-penetrate (go through) the target, which is problematic in an urban or suburban environment. Target load shot shells may do little depending on the circumstances. In short, target ammo will either hit the bad guy and proceed to hit something (or someone) else, or won’t do enough to the bad guy to stop the threat.

Self-defense ammunition either fragments inside a fleshy target or expands, dumping its energy into an attacker and coming to a stop. That way, it tends not to go through the bad guy and then through a wall into someone else, maybe a family member.

Expanded hollow point. (Rickochet at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
This is why it’s recommended that you load any self-defense firearm, such as a concealed carry gun or home defense handgun or rifle, with expanding ammunition and a shotgun with either buckshot or slugs.

Police figured this out more than 70 years ago when they switched to semi-wadcutter hollow points in their .38 Special and .357 Magnum revolvers and jacketed hollow points in semi-automatic duty pistols. They’ve been using buckshot since pretty much the end of the 19th century in shotguns, for the same reason.

A .357 Magnum semi-jacketed flat top, old-school self-defense (and hunting) ammo. (Malis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Okay, so why would anyone think using range ammo is a good idea?

Some might observe that the military uses FMJ rounds. For a start, much of that dates back to the Hague Convention on the use of expanding ammunition in warfare that took place in the 19th century.

Also, militaries deal in lead in volume. Hundreds of thousands of rounds are expended per enemy killed. Our armed forces also happen to be switching to Speer Gold Dot G2 hollow point 9mm ammunition (which the FBI uses) for pistols as lack of stopping power was a common complaint among personnel who had to use their M9 loaded with 124-gr +P FMJ NATO ammunition, even with the extra zing.

Civilian-involved shootings are over in seconds, with only a few shots fired in almost all instances. Thus, militaries using hardball is almost immaterial if someone wanted to bring it up.

There’s also the idea that “something is better than nothing.” While that’s prima facie true, in the real world you don’t need to shoot more than a few rounds of your self-defense ammunition here and there to check function, zero and point of impact in your carry gun.

Winchester white box hollow points and Remington UMC hollow points are pretty cheap, and will work.

My preferred carry load – Winchester PDX-1 9mm 147-gr. JHP – is $22 for a box of 20. I buy a box or two per year, and generally have a few rounds left over from the previous box at all times. Should I cycle it out more often? Probably, but the point is you don’t need to shoot carry ammunition that much.

One box of JHP or two per year is not that expensive. (Iceman7840 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Other brands, such as Hornady Critical Defense, Speer Gold Dot, Federal’s Hydra Shok, Hydra Shok Deep and HST brands, Remington Golden Saber and SIG SAUER’s V-Crown are all excellent, widely available and aren’t THAT expensive. You really can just buy a box a year and be fine.

Another scenario is people who carry a small-caliber pistol, such as .25 ACP, .32 ACP or .380. The idea goes something like this: the smaller bullet isn’t as powerful as a larger round, won’t over-penetrate as dramatically and hollow point ammunition doesn’t perform as well as, say, 9mm, .38 Special, .357 Magnum or .40 S&W hollow points.

First, .25 ACP, .32 ACP and .380 will still go through flesh like crap through a goose. Secondly, the market has an absolute GLUT of compact 9mm pistols if size is the issue, plenty of them are downright pleasant to shoot and you can always get reduced-recoil loads. Lastly, why would you carry a gun in a caliber known for being less effective when you can get something else?

Look, guns and bullets are tools, and you should buy tools that are known to work. I don’t think that NASCAR teams get their tools at Harbor Freight. Granted, Harbor Freight has some decent stuff and good prices, but that’s beside the point.

Two world wars…that we’re tired of hearing about. (Jan Hrdonka en:User:Hrd10 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Then we come to the topic of .45 ACP. You don’t hear this one too much anymore as the myths about .45 ACP (and .45 Colt) are falling away in the fullness of time, but occasionally someone likes to bring up either the world wars or the Moro tribesmen.

The .45 Colt and .45 ACP rounds use a projectile that’s almost half an inch wide. (0.452 inches.) That’s a big hole. If all you can do is punch a hole in something (which is what range ammo does) then a bigger hole is better than a small one. Additionally, over penetration is the last thing a person cares about on the battlefield.

Not that over-penetration doesn’t occur with hollow point ammunition; the FBI’s Handgun Wounding And Effectiveness Report (PDF) reports about 30 percent of hollow points fail to expand in the target. However, over penetration in the home or on the street with one or two rounds is better than with every round fire.

As to shotguns, here we have the opposite problem regarding range ammo. Range ammo actually UNDER performs in a self-defense scenario.

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Clayton Lenhardt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Part of the ability of a projectile to penetrate a fleshy target and do fatal damage is down to the mass of the projectile (velocity and ballistic coefficient too) and the shot in target loads is very light. While it is propelled out of the barrel at high speed, velocity (and therefore momentum and energy) is lost rapidly as each individual pellet is too small to retain sufficient momentum on its own.

shotgun shell shot size

Human flesh doesn’t tear nearly as easily as brittle clay targets or thin bird flesh. A bunch of tiny pellets may arrive with hostile intentions but without the oomph to do anything about it.

In fact, TTAG wrote about shotgun penetration way back in 2010. Ballistic gel tests done by ShotgunWorld found that #8 birdshot barely penetrated five inches of ballistic gelatin overall, and only created a stretch cavity (meaning tissue crushed by the impact) in the first three inches.

Switching to a heavy #2 express load doubled the effects (length of stretch cavity and overall penetration), but sizing up to Remington Express 00 buckshot lengthened the stretch cavity to a full 14 inches and overall penetration to 21 inches.

The aforementioned FBI standard for ammunition performance is 12 to 18 inches of penetration in ballistic gel. In other words, the criteria set by experts in what ammunition needs to do in order to reliably stop a bad guy basically mandate that buckshot (#4 or larger) or a slug be used in a self-defense shotgun. If you aim correctly, spread is not really an issue; again, most self-defense shootings occur at close range and buckshot will only spread an inch or two if that.

So, to sum up…handgun or rifle range ammo will tend to go through an attacker, which is dangerous. There also aren’t really any excuses for using it for self-defense purposes. Anything short of self-defense ammunition in a shotgun risks failure to stop the threat, which is a problem if you only have three rounds.

Anything you’d like to add? Got to the end of the article and realized you just lost the game? Sound off in the comments!

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  1. These crack me up. How many home invasions do you know of ?
    I love firearms , i own 10mm , 45acp , 9mm , 22, 12 gauge.
    Home invasions that i hear about are drug dealers who are getting broken into by people trying to get drugs. Not someone trying to steal my tv. Everyone is paranoid as hell !
    Stop listening to social media as they only post what they want you to believe , not really what happened. But hurry ammo shortage !!!!!

    • Well my new gat won’t chamber hollowpoint’s. I swapped it out with a barrel from my 6 year old gat. Works perfectly now. My old gat will run range ammo until I can get the old barrel to run HP. It is what it is. I’ve got 4 more gats that run just fine🙄

      • I *just* had this conversation with a newbie I took with me to the range yesterday for his first time shooting handguns. One of the boxes of FMJ target ammo we went through experienced three short-cycles with the compact gun he was trying. I explained that sometimes standard ammo may not always be loaded with enough power in its powder (for a variety of reasons) to reliably force back the slide to full extension, which is needed to eject the spent casing and permit the next cartridge to be pushed as the slide returns forward into battery. I explained that ammo designed for EDC is typically loaded to produce a bit more power because the slide absolutely must work completely if your life is being threatened. There are additional reasons for +P type ammo, of course, but improved cycling is a certain benefit.

        Once he experienced those three FTE’s for himself, he understood the concept.

    • A family member of mine was broke into.

      This isn’t paranoia.

      The idea that Trump will turn this country into a dictatorship…THAT is paranoia.

      • HA! Amen to that! We were “home invaded” and the matter was dealt with on the spot, something I had hoped to get thru life not having to do.

      • Hey Kevin, apparently you’ll feel just fine with your 10 round mag going up against the five bangers that just kicked your door in. Oh, by the way they have giggle switch glocks with 31 round sticks. The cops that show up in 25 minutes to put your stupid ass in a body bag feel undergunned with an M4 with 30, 40, maybe 60 round mags. But you’re dead, so who’s left that gives a fuck?

        • I’m quite happen the intercity diversity crowd of morons has “gluck switches”. As stupid as on any individual firearm (Including a M1/M16). = can’t shoot straight/control aim your fire. Hold the thing sideways with some silly hyphenated American _____ switch. Then spray with no pray. Useless ghetto scum.

    • What an ignorant post, Kevin.

      There are many thousands of home break ins and home invasions every year. You don’t have to believe us. Just be unarmed when they come a knockin’ at YOUR place. Go ahead, it’s okay with us!

      • who exactly is us ?
        I’m not saying that break ins don’t happen.
        The whole when the 5 bangers bust your door in. A little over the top , unless you have something like drugs or gang issues , then you get what you deserve. I have guns in a safe by the bed , plus a rotty and shepherd. Whatever is in the pistol at the time is what they get if it comes down to it. Don’t get butthurt. Everyone has a opinion.

        • Go look up the term “rip crew.” Gang members now do home invasions in groups of up to a dozen. Sometimes it’s to rob someone they think is a drug dealer. Sometimes it isn’t.

  2. I got the same issue with a new CZ, amazing accuracy (makes me look good) but acts up with HP boolets. Grrr

  3. Hollow points in 9mm Luger and larger -FMJ in anything smaller. JHP in smaller calibers is just a BAD idea -inconsistent expansion and underpenetration are not your friends in a defensive situation.

    The reality is with the modern concealed carry revolution many, if not most, people carry smaller deep-concealable guns in .380, 9x18mm, 32 ACP and even .25 auto or .22 rimfire. JHP and the new monolithic fluted ammo is the way to go in those concealable carry pieces that are comfortable to carry every day every where in shorts and shirtsleeves -at least that is the case down here in Florida. You Yankees who live in the great frozen north and wear parkas everywhere can carry the firearms that can handle expanding projectiles.

    • They can do that if they want to but what’s the point? All that does is make it so no more females get into it in the first place.

      • Progressives have proven beyond a doubt that men and women are not the same. All a 10th rate male athlete has to do to set records and take the gold is declare himself a women.

        I thought conservatives were the ones trying to hold women back?

      • Every weekend I do the timekeeping and measuring for my son’s age group in little athletics. His group has merged with male and female athletes. Most of the time the sprint heats are separated by gender. In the 200m sprints most of the boys finished in 27 seconds. The best girl, who is a state level sprinter, finished in 29 seconds.

        In throwing events, the boys are using heavier implements (Discus, B: 1.5kg versus G: 1.0 kg, Shotput: B:5kg G:3kg, Javelin B:700g G:500g), and with a few exceptions the boys still out-throw the girls. The exception is a girl who’s mother is a throwing coach.

        • I have yet to hear it pointed out that in competitive swimming, until about 7 or 8th grade, the girls will beat the boys of the same age. EVERY time for similar training level. After that the lads start producing testosterone and it’s no contest.

    • There are no “trans” women. There are only confused guys pretending to be women, for whatever reason. They HAVE NO dignity and should be called out and hooted in derision, not treated with kid gloves.

  4. “Range ammunition”… Give me a break…

    If I’m in need of self defense, be it with a firearm, I couldn’t care less if it is loaded with “range ammunition” or otherwise as long as it is locked and loaded!

    • Use what it’s loaded with. The question is…Why load it with FMJ when HP’s can be had? NOT when ‘in the heat of battle’ but as a matter of preparation. Have at one firearm already loaded.

    • I know someone who tried to hunt with Sierra Match Kings. I warned him they are designed to punch paper at long ranges so their performance on game is going to be inconsistent. He shot 2 pigs where the bullets expanded. And lots more there they didn’t.

      And other person was using varmint bullets from a .243. They shot great groups on paper but their performance on pigs wasn’t good. They didn’t penetrate far and made cratering wounds on the skin.

      My 8mm round-nose soft-points on the other hand knocked down everything they hit.

    • There is “range ammo” and there is “range ammo.” In 5.56x45mm NATO, good old 55 grain M193 Ball, like you can get from Winchester in the white “range ammo” box, has always worked pretty well. If you believe Dr. Fackler, at velocities of 2700 feet per second and up it always tumbles and fragments in ballistic gelatin, with significant attendant soft tissue damage. Down to about 2500, give or take, it always tumbles but sometimes fragments and sometimes doesn’t.

      Note that while it varies from manufacturer and manufacture and from batch to batch, even from an 11.5″ shorty M193 is still usually above 2700, sometimes well above. From a 16″ or 20″ barrel it’s a beast. Even M855 steel core with the green tip isn’t half bad at close range IF you use it in something with a barrel long enough to let it get enough velocity. I never heard of problems with M855 failing to yaw and fragment in soft tissue until they started using it from M4s and 11.5″ Colt XM177s. M855 out of a 14.5″ M4 is iffy, especially past powder-burn range, but from a 20″ it is nasty.

      I don’t turn my nose up at FMJ pistol ammo, either. Over the course of the 20th Century 9mm FMJ killed an awful lot of people. 7.62x25mm Tokarev FMJ killed a lot of people too. If you are using a firearm that will work reliably with hollowpoints–there was a time within living memory when wartime production 1911s, surplus P38s and Lugers, and old-style Hi-Powers with the internal extractor and the feedramp with the hump in it were cheap, common “shooters” instead of rare collectors’ items, and function with anything but ball ammo was not a given–then hollowpoints are probably a little better under most circumstances, so long as you don’t have to, for example, shoot through an automobile windshield. If I have to choose between a pistol loaded with FMJ and relying on harsh language, I have already made my choice.

  5. It never occurred to me to use range ammo in the first place for self defense. That is why it is called “range ammo.”
    I do try to make my “range ammo” as close to my “self defense” ammo in terms of bullet weight and fps for the close to the “self defense” ammo experience of recoil, muzzle flash.

  6. If your seeing fewer discussions about .45acp/LC, it’s likely for few young people going for 1911’s. Younger generations are gravitating towards 9mm. I would hardly dicribe it as ‘the fullness of time’. Those that used 1911’s in overseas war (for real) are less likely to embrace smart phones too. This isn’t about what’s better or not. This is about generational thinking and changes in technology.

    Personally, the idea of NATO determining ammo usage is something I’ve always thought was highly inappropriate. For several reasons.

    Sure, NASCAR teams don’t shop at Harbor Freight. That much is absolutely true. But most people are not part of NASCAR as a driver, racing team, or anything else. Most people are not driving race cars on race tracks. The comparison is apples to oranges with this. It makes no sense paying a grand for a tool that you can get for $200 that will get the job done when your only going to use it once or twice. If you just want better quality tools then fine. SnapOn tools do tend to last longer going through rougher treatment then their cheaper counterparts. But what’s the point for the typical teenagers first wrench set? If you can afford guns in the two grand range then that’s great. But not everyone can (or should). That’s not to mention that fact that most racing teams use compressed air tools. Why should I spend tons of money on high quality air tools when I don’t even have a compressor?

    As to the point of the article, FMJ should be used primarily at the range and for general practice and plinking. HP’s and otherwise expanding bullets should be used for self defense.

    • prndll:
      “Why should I spend tons of money on high quality air tools when I don’t even have a compressor?”


    • OK, I was PD-trained to carry an hp in the spout, and fmj top of the magazine, then hp, fmj, hp… like that for the whole magazine. Reason was, we were a rural force in a mtn state, often a long ways from back-up.. large predators need penetration into vitals. Vehicles need penetration- hence the mix of hp and fmj. I have done this for years now in all my 9mm pistols.

  7. For years I used Federal 9BPLE (115 +p+) until it became unobtanium. New go -to is IMI 9mm 124 black which they list as +p but is a little hotter, I think it’s their UZI carbine load., last order of (3) 1000 round cases came out to $.48/ round, only a little under twice as much as the cheapest 124 Blazer.

    • Apples and oranges, as bple is a 115gr load. Fortunately, I still have a large remainder of 10 ,000 rounds picked up direct from Federal’s plant in Anoka, Mn. and I’ll only admit it was under 20 cents per round. I’d bet that any Israili sourced ammo is near impossible to find right now, but have heard that the 124gr load you indicated is a VERY effective low priced round… a number of the high volume shooters at our range shoot it and walk away from the empties, claiming they can’t ( or at least previously couldn’t ) reload it nearly as cheaply as they could buy it for.

  8. I admit that all my carry ammo is considered “defense” ammo. Usually it is JHP, Hydra Shok or Talon, and EFMJ rounds. I am not above carrying my lead handloads as well. I never worry about those expanding correctly. Are some better than others? Yes. Does it really mater? In the heat of the moment I am not so sure. IF I carried on duty and am more likely to used my firearm them I would carry Talons or Lehigh. A lot of DGU instances use more than just a few rounds. Some people empty the mag as adrenaline is hard to deal with. Anything is better than none so carry what you can, just carry.

    • “I am not above carrying my lead handloads as well.”

      It bothers me to see advice or testimonials that would lead someone to believe that hand-loads are a viable defense round. I won’t argue the effectiveness of the round. Most hand-loaders are in it because they want exacting standards. The issue is, in court afterward when some liberal prosecutor with political dreams (or ambulance chaser) decides to continue the assault, only moving the venue to a court of law. If you loaded the rounds they can accuse you of wising to intentionally cause more pain and suffering, or not knowing what you’re doing so the defendant (or plaintiff) was caused undue harm. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It’s best to stick to something that the experts endorse.

      With that said; use what you got! (This is directed at the noobs, Old AF, I’m pretty sure you get it, just didn’t get the statement fully qualified.) If the only thing at hand is what you loaded for your next range trip, by all means, save your life. Deal with the idiots later.

      • “The issue is, in court afterward when some liberal prosecutor with political dreams (or ambulance chaser) decides to continue the assault, only moving the venue to a court of law.”

        Know the legal ‘lay-of-the-land’ where you carry.

        I’m good-to-go with pretty much whatever I want to carry where I live, where you are, ‘your miles may vary’…

        • It’s not bad here either. (One of the reasons I live here.) That was for all the folks who don’t live in such a place.

          Considering the legal aftermath is a big teaching point of many well respected trainers. I try to listen and learn to minimize the pain of learning from my mistakes.

      • I would agree with you to a point for the average newbie. All my EDC handloads are published loads and happen to be very accurate on targets, so far. At least up till now the lower cost of handloading means more practice time with my carry loads. I also have extensive data on my loads. Where I live most lawyers I know tell me the load does not matter much on average handguns. If I carried my .41 mag as an EDC then loading might be more of an issue.

      • Why my state police, who have Winchester installed machinery to reload used brass, ALWAYS use factory ammunition when on duty. The reloads are ONLY used for training.

  9. When it comes to long guns, I tend towards ammo that will take a deer down. Or a 110grn Varmageddon. But I do not have to worry about over penetration or shooting the neighbor.

  10. As depicted in the article’s photo, Black Talon in 45 a.c.p., the beginning and end of “self-defense ammo”.

  11. Good news for Texas, noted intellectual heavyweight (obvious sarcasm) Sheila Jackson-Lee *lost* her election :

    • The vote count in a city of 2 million shows people will not show up to vote for democRats. The winning votes do show some democRats are not as deranged as other democRats.

      • Debbie, this was Donk-on-Donk action.

        Both candidates are (D), thus all 197,453 votes cast for the top 2 finishers went to a (D).

    • Now that she’s handled an AR at least she shouldn’t have an issue with the moving boxes!! 😂

  12. biden has wrecked a once affluent country. Ammo is hard to get and folks are having trouble paying their bills. FMJ may be all they can afford or get.

    • hhhmmm
      Do I get the $1,000 gun and 500 rounds of ammo or the $400 gun and 200 rounds of HP ammo?

      If your at that level of decision making then FMJ is NOT the way to go. But there is also a point where It’s 2 boxes of FMJ for $15 each or one box of HP’s for $25. It still makes more sense to NOT buy FMJ. All of this is why you buy a little at a time over time and not wait till the last second.

  13. Is that really a load of BBB in the pic of 3 shells and payloads? It looks more like 7.5s compared to the #4 Buck, if that one is even labeled correctly. Also, what load of 00 Buck has 26 pellets?

  14. This is why it’s recommended that you load any self-defense firearm, such as a concealed carry gun or home defense handgun or rifle, with expanding ammunition and a shotgun with either buckshot or slugs.

    Because slugs definitely don’t over-penetrate. /s

  15. My guess is far more people have been killed by so called range ammo, than all the self defense ammo being carried. Now.

  16. That really depends.
    9mm or alike? Sure, buy a hollow point.
    .22lr or .380? Not ideal for self defense, but if you do, ball ammo will get you to the required penetration of 12 to 18″ of gel.
    Bear country? Hard cast or FMJ bullets, ideally in something bigger like a 10mm or .44mag.
    5.56 from a decent length barrel? Cheap FMJ will squish just like a hollow point but sideways or fragment if you get it up to proper speeds.
    Buy the right ammo for your use case and budget, and make sure the damn ammo is reliable in your gun.

  17. When the SHTF Day arrives one already needs the proper Gun Candy pre-loaded into their firearm. At that point, its much too late to go buy a firearm, let alone go buy some proper self-defense ammo.
    Scenerio: Someone just kicked in your back door…
    If you shoot the bad guy with a FMJ round,… 99% chance you’ll most likely will kill the bad guy under these conditions. The round will go right through him. He’ll bleed out within the hour.
    BUT,… you’ve given the bad guy one hour to run away to get 10 more of his bad guy buddies while he bleeds out. The situation worsens,… Situation Critical! You then got one heckuva gun fight on your hands, your wife and children are in deeper peril, you’ve dug yourself in a hole that you most likely will not get out of.

    OR,… You’ve loaded your firearm with some consistant, powerful, accurate Gold Dot JHP’s…
    One shot, one kill. The bad guy goes down. He’s not getting up, you’ve made the best self-defense Gun Candy decision. (Even if you miss the bad guy’s sweet spot, and rather you have hit him in the arm, that spinning Gold Dot JHP opened up like a circular saw blade that broke loose from the saw… ricocheting around inside him. A well trained JHP could actually exit through the bad guy’s throat or spinal cord). Get after him, sic-em’ Mr. Gold Dot!!

    All is safe now on the homefront threat. You’ve saved the day. Feel good about it. Immediately reload. Carry on.

    • Scenerio: Someone just kicked in your back door…
      I shoot him in the chest with a 350grn 45-70 flat nose.
      How far do you think he will make it with that big of a hole in his heart?

  18. Yeah why would anyone choose to use the ammo they train with regularly and I mean that’s messugah (sarc)?

    For the record cheap training ammo seems to perform pretty well at least according to the shooting statistics provided by the Democrat plantations.

  19. My defensive ammo and my range ammo is the same thing in my carry weapons. And, my hunting ammo and defensive use ammo will be the same in any long guns if it ever comes to that.
    I practice with what I carry. That way I know where the projectile will impact at what range. Lower power range ammo may be accurate, but the heavier, less aerodynamic soft point, or hollow point will have a slightly different point of impact. Heavier bullets drop faster.
    FMJ in an old 1911? If that’s what works best in that particular weapon, use it. My old Hi-power doesn’t like hollow points, but will eat every FMJ round it’s fed. The 1911 I carry will happily digest jacketed soft points or hollow points with the current barrel. The original barrel would only feed properly with solids/FMJ.
    In short, use what your weapon works best with and you can obtain. But, if you choose to carry a sidearm, please, train and carry, and use the best ammo you can get that your weapon will reliably work with. or, the option of a revolver is still viable. A small frame 357 would be a workable choice.
    Lastly, if you want to use whatever cheap, light or underpowered ammo for fun out on the range, please remember to reload with your regular carry ammo when fun time and cleaning is completed.

    • oldmaninAL:
      “A small frame 357 would be a workable choice.”
      For home defense I’ll second that. SP101 Wiley Clapp with 3-inch barrel on the nightstand. For concealed carry, not so much.

  20. Your reply was pre-empted with more zealous jarhead comments just as was expected.
    During my Vietnam War trainings & experiences, several of my jarhead buddies never made it back home. Less talk, more “just woke up” fuzzy vision sleepy head target practice.
    Most jarheads never regularly train on that, but they will always say that they do. Typical zealous Once a Marine, Always a Marine thinking and speaking.

    • Nah.
      I can still out run, out shoot you, even when you were at your prime.
      There were a lot of good men who did not make it back. Dont be a dick and piss on their memories.

  21. In this situation, use whatever is in the gun to defend yourself. Sometimes, absent minded shooters will use their one mag full of JHP’s when they forget to change to ball at the range. Then they end up with a magazine full of range ball ammo for defense until they remember to buy more JHP. At the end of the day, it’s 99.99999999% unlikely the person you are shooting at will ask you what caliber bullet or what type of bullet is flying at them. Most criminals will retreat upon taking return fire. (This also fits the color debate, where people whine about pink guns. Ever heard of someone stopping to laugh at the pink 9mm sending rounds their way?!? Didn’t think so) As to the shotgun, my grandfather had a break in years ago and he had been killing rats around his pond with bird shot. He had left the birdshot in the gun afterwards. When the guy broke in he was taking and carrying buckets full of change out to his car. He was taking them from a room less than 10 feet from where my grandparents were sleeping. My grandfather heard the guy and on his second trip carrying a bucket full of change but two rounds of birdshot in the guys back. He dropped the bucket and ran, not knowing how lucky he was that it was only birdshot. They found him two days later at the hospital suffering from all those little lead pellets in his back and ass. It may not have stopped his life, but it damn sure stopped the invasion and sent the dude into a lightning fast retreat. While I can’t deny JHP would be best, you use what you’ve got. And you make due with it.

  22. “Lastly, why would you carry a gun in a caliber known for being less effective when you can get something else?”

    Careful, some idiot psycho might threaten to shoot you with their little mousegun to prove how effective it is. As we all know, “people don’t want to get hit with this” is and should always be the SOLE criteria for judging the effectiveness of ammunition. It’s why I’ve ditched my .45ACP and switched to carrying a drinking straw and some looseleaf paper to chew up; I mean, nobody wants to get hit with a spitball, so that has to mean it’s a great choice for self-defense, right?

  23. when shotgun world tested number 8 did the gelatin dummy tell them what it felt like or continue to attack?
    An upper body delivery of 1 1/8 oz of bird shot will incapacitate. probably better than a hollow point somewhere else.

  24. I agree, I use #7 or 6 for pheasant hunting and that is what is in my home defense shotty. My hallway is about 17 feet. This is most likely the farthest distance a shooting of a home invader will take place. 12 gauge #7 birdshot at 15 to 17 feet. Game over. I carry FMJ in all my EDC guns because I know they work. Live in a rural area, not worried about over penetration. Your mileage may vary.

  25. OK, I was PD-trained to carry an hp in the spout, and fmj top of the magazine, then hp, fmj, hp… like that for the whole magazine. Reason was, we were a rural force in a mtn state, often a long ways from back-up.. large predators need penetration into vitals. Vehicles need penetration- hence the mix of hp and fmj. I have done this for years now in all my 9mm pistols.

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