+P ammo cartridge casing FMJ grain JHP round

Defensive Ammo

One thing I never ask about in gun forums is ammo recommendations.  Why?  Because the answers you get will be highly subjective in nature, and although there are some guys who want to play as scientists and provide ballistics research articles, charts and other such resources, what it boils down to is this:  there are no humans that are bullet-proof on this earth.  When a bad guy breaks into your home at 2am, more than likely he’s not wearing armor, so shoot what you’re most comfortable with, ammunition-wise.

The suggested choices are JHP (or, jacketed hollow points), though.  This is because JHP is designed to do damage to flesh, but will also be less likely to over-penetrate (ie, go through the targeted body and into another person or object that might contain a person — house or car or other room).  Some people actually prefer FMJ, or full metal jacketed, but unless you know the backdrop, that is a dangerous ammunition to use for self or home defense, as the over-penetration potential will be high.  The danger is that a round could over-penetrate an aggressor and be a danger to others in the house (or even a danger to your neighbor in his or her own home).

The question I would’ve asked on a gun forum is, what type of defensive ammo would you use and why?  This question wouldn’t pertain to ammo brand, but more of what grain bullet would be preferred.  Grain refers to the weight of the projectile, not the amount of powder in the casing.  Some ammo makers use lighter-grain projectiles, as since they weigh less than standard bullets.  For example, standard .45ACP ammo is 230-grain.  I bought 20 rounds of 185-grain .45ACP…while the round might not be hotter (ie, more powerful due to additional powder in the cartridge), the 185-grain round will travel faster than a 230-grain round with the same powder charge, since it weighs less.  As well, the round will fly straighter.  The heavier round will have more penetrating power since it would have more mass than a lighter grain projectile.  There are also heavier non-standard rounds.  For example, standard grain for 9mm is 115-grain and a heavier grain is the 124-grain or 147-grain 9mm round.

To be honest, it won’t matter what type of round you use.  What counts more is shot placement.  In a typical defensive scenario, if you hit center mass 5 times, a bad guy isn’t going to be walking away no matter what type of round you’re using, JHP or FMJ, 115-grain 9mm or 147-grain 9mm.  Even .22LR pistols can kill if shots are accurately placed (I’ve read several articles where people have killed intruders with .22 caliber handguns).

I’ve some +P JHP that I mean to experiment with (bought them from Gander Mountain in both .45ACP and 9mm…I believe it’s Remington).  +P usually means more powder than normal is within the cartridge.  I’m not sure if it is actually needed, but if I decide I want more, I know where to pick it up locally.

I also have that .22TCM 1911.  Many people assume that this gun shoots .22LR.  Uhmmm….no.  This round is a shortened and necked-down .223.  It has a lot of powder and when shot from a 5″ .22TCM 1911, muzzle velocities are well over 2000 feet per second (or FPS).  Commander-sized 1911s will shoot the round a bit slower (a tad under 2000 FPS).  Rock Island Armory also has a .22TCM rifle…when shot through that barrel, the muzzle velocity for this round exceeds 2800 FPS!  The round is JHP, but will still punch through 3/16″ steel with ease (video here).

Several good ammunition articles are here and here.