Report 5: Your Everyday Carry, Part 2 – The Ammunition

In the last report I discussed the gun, the size, type, and caliber. In this report I will discusses the ammunition recommended for personal protection as well as practice.

Everyday carry: For personal protection it is best to carry a good quality personal protection cartridge. These normally have jacketed hollow point (JHP) bullets. The purpose of the hollow point is two-fold. First, the expansion provided by the design of the hollow point creates a much larger wound cavity for considerable damage to soft tissue, thereby giving greater chance of stopping the threat. Remember, the only reason to shoot in the event of an attack is to stop the threat. The purpose to shoot an attacker is NOT to kill. Once your attacker has stopped the attack, whether through retreat, or is down and incapacitated, YOU MUST STOP SHOOTING!

The second purpose for the hollow point design is that the expansion of the bullet causes it to slow down faster, lessening the danger of overshoot (discussed in the last report). One of the most important secondary considerations in a defensive shooting scenario is what is around and beyond your target. It would be a tragedy to save your own life only to have your round go through your attacker and injure or kill an innocent person.

JHP ammunition is just one of a family of frangible ammunition. Frangible ammunition is that in which the projectile is designed to be easily broken or deformed. Another is manufactured by Glaser. This ammunition is called the Glaser Safety Slug. Instead of a solid or hollow point bullet, it uses encapsulated compressed #12 shot. In an informal test, a mock-up of a wall with two pieces of sheetrock were stood up three yards from the shooter with another piece of sheetrock placed two yards behind the first barricade. When the Glaser Safety Slug was shot at the barricade there was massive damage to the front piece of sheetrock but very few pellets penetrated the second piece of sheetrock on the other side of the “wall.” The back piece of sheetrock, two yards behind, received only a very small number of shot pellets with none penetrating. Glaser Safety Slugs, therefore, present a massive shock to the assailant with little to no danger of penetration to endanger innocent persons.

Full metal jacket (FMJ) ammunition should not be carried for personal protection. Due to its construction, it is much less likely to expand and will tend to penetrate the attacker and therefore overshoot is a very real hazard.

Range ammunition: When you go to the range to practice DO NOT use your personal defense ammunition. Personal defense ammunition is normally much more expensive than FMJ due to manufacturing costs. However, if you are carrying, for example, 155 grain JHP ammunition for your personal defense carry ammo, you should use 155 grain FMJ ammo at the range. The recoil and trajectory will be very close to what you will experience with the JHP. And especially you do not want to use Glaser Safety Slugs at the range except to try one or two to see how they feel when you shoot them. Glasers are very pricy, around $2.00/round.

There are numerous manufacturers producing good quality personal defense ammunition. To name a few, Federal, Hornady, Glaser, Winchester, and Corbon, all make premium personal defense ammunition.

Everyday considerations: One way to reduce the cost of practice is to reload your own ammunition. This is a good topic for another report. What you should NOT do is use handloads, reloaded ammunition, for your everyday carry. If you should have to use your gun in a defensive shooting an attorney for the bad guy could use the fact that you are using handloads as a case for accusing you of causing excessive injury to his client. The attorney would surely try to make the case that your handloads were not put together with the appropriate consistency and rigor found in factory manufactured ammunition. This could lay you open to significant civil and criminal charges against you.

One consideration that was covered in your Basic Pistol class is to make sure you are using the right ammunition for the gun. If your gun is a .38 special, do not use +p or +p+ ammunition unless the gun is rated for that class of ammunition.

Choosing personal defense ammunition is a matter of preference and budget. It seems that every CHP holder has an opinion as to what ammunition you should carry. Just as with choosing a gun, you must make the decision what ammunition is right for you. No matter what you choose, it will be of little to no benefit unless you practice and become truly comfortable with it and you gun.

For more information about advanced training options, contact Falcon Personal Security.