Am­mu­ni­tion Con­sid­er­a­tions

Home Defender - - Home De­fender -


Home de­fense am­mu­ni­tion must be cho­sen on a ba­sis of re­li­a­bil­ity and car­tridge in­tegrity. The am­mu­ni­tion must al­ways feed in a self-load­ing ac­tion gun. Re­volver loads must have a good crimp to prop­erly cham­ber and main­tain bul­let pull dur­ing fir­ing of heavy re­coil­ing loads. Only af­ter re­li­a­bil­ity is es­tab­lished do we con­sider the per­for­mance of an in­di­vid­ual load­ing.


Wound bal­lis­tics should in­clude a good bal­ance of ex­pan­sion and pen­e­tra­tion. The car­tridge must ex­hibit good accuracy and a min­i­mal muz­zle blast, which is a prod­uct of a full pow­der burn.


While accuracy is im­por­tant, most hand­guns will place all their am­mu­ni­tion in sin­gle ragged bul­let hole at 7 yards. Study­ing wound bal­lis­tics for over three decades, I know that pen­e­tra­tion is the sin­gle most im­por­tant fac­tor for wound po­ten­tial. When a small-cal­iber hand­gun per­forms be­yond ex­pec­ta­tion, it is be­cause of good pen­e­tra­tion. When a big-bore hand­gun fails, it is usu­ally be­cause of poor pen­e­tra­tion or shot place­ment. The pro­jec­tile must pen­e­trate 12-16 inches in wa­ter or bal­lis­tic gelatin to reach the vi­tals and pro­duce blood loss in the body’s pres­sur­ized sys­tem. Ex­pan­sion to 1.5 times bul­let di­am­e­ter is de­sir­able. A round nose lead or full metal jack­eted bul­let sim­ply presses flesh aside or cre­ates a small punc­ture wound. A hollow point or blunt nosed bul­let cuts and ex­cises a larger area, re­sult­ing in more damage.

Too much pen­e­tra­tion isn’t de­sir­able for home de­fense and nei­ther is a bul­let that tends to de­flect from bone or hard sur­faces.

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