By Chuck Papp, Contributing Writer
A lot of people ask the same question after they purchase their first defensive firearm, “So what ammo do I need for this?” That question really depends on how you look at it.
The two main types of bullets today are the full metal jackets (fmj) or hollow-points (hp). Now in a technical sense if you were the bad guy, being hit with a bullet is being hit. How much damage that bullet will or can cause is drastically different. Now let’s be clear on one thing, bullets when they reach their intended target do have a mind of their own and can and sometimes do perform differently then what they were designed to. In theory the fmj is a target or military projectile. The military has been using them for decades upon decades. Now some of the reason is the rules of war, if there really are any in war. The second is the idea if wounded in battle it takes soldiers off the field to attend to that wounded soldier. The fmj projectile though is still a very lethal round when used, so do not in any way dismiss it as not being effective. The only major drawback is that it can and does over penetrate a target due to its solid jacket and core.
The hp projectiles now is what a lot if not all the police, security, and some of the general public will use for defense. The major difference is when the hp hits its intended target the energy will cause it to open and inflict more damage to the target and slowing its forward movement; so it does not over penetrate like the fmj does. The hp bullets do have a wide variety of nicknames given to them to seem more lethal than their name makes them. One of them is the famous “cop killer bullet”, but that’s just a media driven term used to portray something it’s not. A bullet is a bullet. I have yet had someone tell me that one will hurt more than the other.
Choosing one is your preference. Your environment in which you live, how many individuals reside in your residence, the cost and which one will be more reliable in your firearm, are all considerations. Hp bullets are generally twice the price and have less in a box. Hp ammo is generally 20 to 25 rounds in a box, where fmjs are 50 rounds in a box. Some firearms just were designed and work better with fmj than with the hp, but they all will work. A very well-known firearms instructor said when asked the question of what he uses was “Whatever is in my gun at the time.” That pretty much sums it up.