Top Menu

Why We Use Hollow Point Ammo in Our Carry Guns

I've had quite a few different people ask why I use hollow point ammo instead of regular ball or target ammo for my self-defense purposes. For one, hollow points just work better to stop bad guys.

But, I think I'll take the time to explain each one in better detail to make sure we don't leave anything out.

Hollow Point Ammo:

It is a very common misconception that hollow point ammunition is less humane on an attacker. But in all reality, hollow points actually help to limit the amount of suffering an attacker goes through after he/she has been shot.

The main reason why this is, is because hollow point ammunition is designed to expand upon contact with something made up of a lot of water, like the human body.

Hollow point

Top down view. Hornady .38 special on the left, SIG 9mm on the right.

When the bullet expands, it slows down because the surface area is larger (the diameter of the bullet is bigger).

Because of this, it transfers all of its energy inside the attacker's body, instead of only a partial amount allowing the projectile to pass through the body as FMJ (Fulle Metal Jacket) ammo does. While some think that two holes are better than one (not as in multiple shots on target, but an entry and exit wound), there are only two holes if the round was ineffective at transferring all of its energy into the body–or it's so powerful of a round that there is energy left over.

Also, because the round's diameter increased in size, a couple of things happen:

  1. A larger portion of the attacker's body is damaged, thus incapacitating the human body further.
  2. The chances that a vital organ is hit is far greater with a bigger projectile.

This means that an attacker will stop attacking faster.

Please keep in mind here that it's never our goal to kill someone. Our goal is to stop the attack, or to stop ourselves from being killed. That said, when attackers play stupid games, they win hollow point prizes.

Some things that people usually get wrong in regards to HP ammo, is that they “explode” or are exponentially more dangerous to police and are known as “cop killers.”

Here's the thing, there is ammo designed to break apart, which is known as frangible ammunition. But your average hollow points are designed to stay together in order to create the biggest wound channel.

As far as the term “cop killer” is concerned as they're known in New Jersey where they're illegal, chances of a hollow point penetrating a police officer's body armor are very slim.

Another thing, is the criminals are going to use hollow points regardless because they don't care about the law. All NJ has done is make it harder for good folks to protect themselves.

Many of today's body armor systems are very capable up to .44 magnum. If hit by a rifle round or a very small, fast moving handgun round like the FN 5.7 or .22 TCM, that's a different story.

But, the cop killer statement is largely a myth put out there by people who don't understand guns and gun ballistics.

Ball, FMJ, Target, etc:

Laying down is a 115 grain 9mm reload. Standing up is a .357 Sig S&B round.

Ball ammo, on the other hand, will not expand the same way. There may be some expansion, but for the most part they don't expand.

Because they don't expand, the damage done to the body is totally different. The person will still likely die, but will do so much slower as the attacker bleeds out.

Another downside to this, is that if an attacker is hopped up on any illegal substance, or even their own adrenaline, chances are excellent that the attacker can keep fighting. As you can imagine, this is bad.

Another issue with FMJ or similar target ammo is that, because the rounds don't expand, there isn't as much mass slowing the bullet down.

They can therefore pass through an attacker and keep going. What else will that round hit? An innocent person? A child?

There have been instances where an FMJ bullet passed through an attacker and the wall behind him/her. Because of this, not even people in the next room are 100% in the clear.

Of course, it should go without saying that any misses from any ammo can go through walls. Hollow points are designed to expand upon impact of something wet, like the inside of a human body–not when they hit something hard and dry.

It is for this reason that I use frangible ammo in my dedicated home defense guns.

ball ammo

Top down view. 9mm on the left, .357 Sig on right.

Ball ammo is very good for what you think it is at this point in the article: training. These are a good way of training inexpensively, but it should also be said here that you do need to run your self-defense hollow points through your guns to make sure everything works properly.

While some guns have no issues with any ammo, others do. It's always the BEST idea to try out your chosen self-defense ammo before you carry it. Hopefully it goes without saying that if it doesn't cycle you should not carry it.

I wanna know: Why do YOU carry hollow points in your gun? Tell me in the comments below.

Oh, and this reminds me, should you ever need to defend yourself, it's a good idea to have legal coverage before the fact. Check out our self-defense legal protection comparison chart to evaluate which company works best for your needs. Push this link, or click the below picture, which is the top of our chart:

, , ,

5 Responses to Why We Use Hollow Point Ammo in Our Carry Guns

  1. David May 23, 2019 at 5:51 pm #

    I have Glock 20 Gen for and prefer the Liberty Civil Defense round because it screams at 2400 fps. Who doesn’t like things that go fast? I do seriously prefer the hollow point because I do live in a metropolitan area and our houses are compacted on top of one another. I want stopping power but not so much power that it goes through the walls and endangers my neighbors or any kids playing outside. Also, in a public setting for the same reason. Hopefully, situational awareness keeps me from ever having to draw on anyone. That is a true good guy with a gun attitude.

  2. David May 23, 2019 at 5:57 pm #

    I have Glock 20 Gen four and prefer the Liberty Civil Defense round because it screams at 2400 fps. Who doesn’t like things that go fast? I do seriously prefer the hollow point because I do live in a metropolitan area and our houses are compacted on top of one another. I want stopping power but not so much power that it goes through the walls and endangers my neighbors or any kids playing outside. Also, in a public setting for the same reason. Hopefully, situational awareness keeps me from ever having to draw on anyone. That is a true good guy with a gun attitude.

  3. David May 23, 2019 at 5:57 pm #

    I have Glock 20 Gen four and prefer the Liberty Civil Defense round because it screams at 2400 fps. Who doesn’t like things that go fast? I do seriously prefer the hollow point because I do live in a metropolitan area and our houses are compacted on top of one another. I want stopping power but not so much power that it goes through the walls and endangers my neighbors or any kids playing outside. Also, in a public setting for the same reason. Hopefully, situational awareness keeps me from ever having to draw on anyone. That is a true good guy with a gun attitude.

  4. Rick May 28, 2019 at 6:25 pm #

    Because they’re more effective and safer.

  5. David June 4, 2019 at 8:04 am #

    If I am forced into a life or death struggle I want to hit the bad guy as hard as I can and do sufficient enough damage to end the fight. I don’t want to endanger others. Yes I have USCCA insurance. Risk mitigation is the purpose of insurance. We insure our cars, homes, lives etc. It is just good sense to carry insurance for potential liability suits after a shooting event.

Leave a Reply