Monday, March 26, 2007

Guns: On Personal Defense Ammunition

James has written a good post about hollowpoint ammunition. I think his observations are excellent, especially with all the misinformation you can get from your local gun store clerk telling you about the latest terrorist-killing frangible superbullet.

In my own view, I think what type of ammunition you load into a firearm used for personal defense makes very little difference, so long as the ammo is reliable. Yes, modern hollowpoints expand pretty consistently, but I don't mind carrying standard FMJ in a handgun if I've verified that four or five hundred rounds can be put downrange with no worries about whether the next round will feed or extract.

Why is this? Handguns, at least in the common defense calibers, aren't very powerful, and almost everyone would agree that many shots may be needed to stop an attacker from harming you or your loved ones. Regardless of what ballistics or wounding theory you adhere to, all the fancy bonded hollowpoints in the world won't make a difference if they won't feed in your gun.

The only real way to make sure this is the case is to shoot your gun, as often as possible. Gun and ammo choice is maybe 5% of the self-defense equation, the other 95% is what's between the ears (an experienced shooter could reasonably defend himself or herself with any decent handgun, in other words). Shooting once a month is pretty much the bottom level of proficiency - if I could shoot daily, I would, but alas, I only get to shoot once a week.

Another thing - all the reputable brands like Speer, Remington, Corbon, etc. are fine choices for defense. Avoid exotic stuff that has pictures of counter-terrorist teams on the label and instead find out what the local police department carries - you can bet it's some run-of-the-mill, easily available jacketed hollowpoint.


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