That’s right, I’m tackling *that* subject. It’s all coming out here. 9mm vs. .45ACP, FMJ vs. Hollow Point. BATTLE ROYALE! Yes, this is going to be controversial, as this is one of those topics that will always cause an argument and be basically flame bait on any forum, guaranteed. Also, while this is opinion, it’s backed up by a video of a very renown doctor who has worked in trauma situations where he’s seen many a gun shot wound which I believe ANYBODY who intends on carrying or keeping firearms for protection should watch.
Before I even bother saying anything more on the subject, here is the video. It’s long, but worth it.
So, the takeaway here is this- terminal ballistics between handgun calibers and types of bullets is negligible. What’s more important is hitting somewhere vital, thus the important bit on the shooter’s end is picking a platform and cartridge that reliably lets them get as many accurate hits on the target as they can as quickly as possible.
What does this mean to people who want to carry a handgun for self defense? Think less about picking the bullet you think will do the most damage in theory, and concentrate on picking what’s comfortable for you to practice with and carry regularly. It doesn’t matter how high tech or specialized that piece of brass and lead is if you’re not able to get it on target, or not carrying the firearm that delivers them with you because it’s size or weight is uncomfortable.
Additionally, another argument that comes up is of course between FMJ and HP, or other different rounds. Again, per the doctor here, the important thing really is penetrating and damaging vital structures. Another argument that frequently comes up is fear of overpenetration causing injury or death beyond your initial target. As seen in this video, even with FMJ handgun rounds, chances of a center mass hit exiting the target are iffy, but exiting with enough energy to continue doing damage? I’ve searched for a long time on this, but if someone could provide me a single document case of a round overpenetrating a person and striking and injuring someone beyond them, especially through walls as is often the argument, I’ll personally buy you a drink next time you’re in the greater Houston area for opening my eyes to it.
The last takeaway here? Get a shotgun for home defense use, and as always, practice, practice, practice.
I welcome comments to this. Opinions? Please share!
Edit, for further reading, with some very interesting statistics that backup the above opinion, have a look at the numbers and graphics collected and assembled by Greg Ellifritz over at Buckeye Firearms Association.