Respected bullet manufacturer Barnes Bullets now loads a premium line of self-defense ammo. The all-copper bullet is designed with a large hollow-point cavity to help ensure expansion through a variety of materials, yet still allow penetration deep enough to hit a vital area. Loads are available in .380 ACP, .357 Mag, 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. (<a target=blank href=http://www.barnesbullets.com/ammunition/tac-xpd/>http://www.barnesbullets.com</a>; 435-856-1000)
Black Hills Ammunition has developed a top-notch reputation for the quality of its ammo. The company’s ammunition is so well respected that all branches of the U.S. military currently purchase the Black Hills 5.56mm match load. The company uses high-quality components to make conventional hollow-point loads that are accurate and reliable. There are loads available from Black Hills for many modern centerfire pistol cartridges including the .38 Special, .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. (<a target=blank href=http://www.black-hills.com>http://www.black-hills.com</a>; 605-348-5150)
CorBon uses an all-copper bullet in its DPX line of self-defense ammunition. These rounds offer the benefits of lower recoil associated with light, fast rounds while still giving the shooter deep penetration in tissue. Additionally, the bullets tend to perform well through hard barriers such as auto glass. Loads are available in all of the typical defensive cartridges, plus in many less common calibers including .327 Federal Mag, .32 ACP and .45 GAP. (<a target=blank href=http://www.corbon.com/corboncart/corbon/dpx>http://www.corbon.com</a>; 800-626-7266)
Designed for law enforcement, Federal Premium now sells the HST line of ammunition to the public as the Personal Defense HST. The specially designed bullet resists being plugged by debris while providing excellent penetration and expansion. The nose shape of the bullet helps ensure reliable feeding. These loads are available in .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. (<a target=blank href=http://www.federalpremium.com/products/details/handgun.aspx?id=1015>http://www.federalpremium.com</a>; 800-379-1732)
Taking an entirely different approach to bullet design, Federal Premium uses an expanding FMJ bullet in the Guard Dog line. The bullet has an encapsulated polymer core that compresses and allows for bullet expansion when it strikes the target. The design of the bullet reduces the overpenetration issues often found with conventional hollow points. These rounds are available in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. (<a target=blank href=https://www.federalpremium.com/products/brands/guard_dog.aspx>http://www.federalpremium.com</a>; 800-379-1732)
Specially designed to enhance feeding reliability, the PowR’Ball load uses a round polymer ball in the cavity of a JHP bullet. This helps to ensure proper feeding in handguns that prefer a round-nose bullet design. The polymer ball also helps to control expansion for deeper penetration and consistent performance. These rounds are available in a total of 13 different calibers. (<a target=blank href=http://www.corbon.com/corboncart/glaser/pow-rball>http://www.corbon.com</a>; 800-626-7266)
Critical Defense ammunition was developed to meet the specific needs of personal defense. Hornady uses a polymer-tipped bullet to ensure consistent expansion, even through heavy clothing. Additionally, the company uses special propellants to reduce the muzzle flash. More than 15 caliber options are available, including .22 Mag, 9x18mm Makarov and .44 Special. (<a target=blank href=http://www.hornady.com/store/critical_defense/>http://www.hornady.com</a>; 800-338-3220)
The people who are keeping an AR-15 pistol for home defense need a quality self-defense round. The TAP FPD ammunition uses Hornady’s proven polymer-tipped bullet design to make 55-grain and 75-grain .223 loads that are very reliable and extremely accurate. Low-flash powder, nickel cases and modest recoil all combine to make these rounds an excellent choice. (<a target=blank href=http://www.hornady.com/store/TAP-FPD-handgun>http://www.hornady.com</a>; 800-338-3220)
Designed to cause massive hemorrhaging to rapidly incapacitate an attacker, the Civil Defense ammunition line uses lightweight hollow-point bullets driven to very fast velocities—often more than 2,000 fps from normal handguns. The core of the bullet penetrates deeply, while the petals from the bullet expansion break off and form their own wound channels. Liberty Ammunition loads the ammo in eight of the most popular self-defense handgun calibers. (<a target=blank href=http://libertyammunition.com/product-category/ammo/civil-defense>http://www.libertyammunition.com</a>; 941-567-6178)
The Ultimate Defense Compact ammunition was developed by Remington to provide excellent performance from shorter-barreled handguns. Remington uses brass-jacketed hollow-point bullets, nickel cases and low-flash powder for these cartridges. The ammo is available for the .380 ACP, .38 Special, 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. (<a target=blank href=http://www.remington.com/products/ammunition/handgun/ultimate-defense-compact-handgun.aspx>http://www.remington.com</a>; 800-243-9700)
Few things beat real-world experience, and the Remington Golden Saber is a line of ammo with lots of it. These rounds have been used with great success by law enforcement and armed citizens for many years. The brass-jacketed hollow-point bullets with spiral nose cuts ensure expansion at all velocities. Accuracy is excellent with this ammo, and the case and primer are waterproofed. (<a target=blank href=http://www.remington.com/products/ammunition/handgun/golden-saber-hpj.aspx>http://www.remington.com</a>; 800-243-9700)
A newer entry to the self-defense ammunition market, Elite Performance ammunition is backed by the Sig Sauer name and the company’s engineering know-how. The bullets have a shallow V-shaped hollow point stacked on top of a long, thin hollow point. Combined with the jacket design and a proprietary lead/alloy core, this Sig ammo offers consistent expansion through a variety of barriers. (<a target=blank href=http://www.sigsauer.com/Ammunition/>http://www.sigsauer.com</a>; 866-345-6744)
Speer Gold Dot ammunition has a solid track record of real-world success in law enforcement and self-defense shootings. With more than 30 different loads across 15 calibers, there is a strong chance this ammunition is available for your personal protection handgun. Speer even loads Gold Dot ammo formulated specifically for short-barreled pistols. (<a target=blank href=http://www.speer-ammo.com/products/golddot.aspx>http://www.speer-ammo.com</a>; 800-379-1732)
Winchester Ammunition’s Defender line of ammo enjoys a very good reputation due to its great accuracy and design. The bullets are bonded, meaning the core will not separate from the jacket even when going through hard barriers. The hollow-point design combined with the notched jacket provides for controlled expansion across a range of velocities. (<a target=blank href=http://www.winchester.com/Products/shotshell-ammunition/Innovative/PDX1-Defender-Shotshell/Pages/default.aspx>http://www.winchester.com</a>)
Location is what makes both real estate and bullet placement so valuable. The best-engineered hollow-point bullet zipping along at a hyper velocity is worthless if it doesn’t hit the attacker in a vital location.
Bullet placement is the most important aspect to the elusive thing called stopping power. However, a good-quality expanding bullet that is placed in the right spot tends to be more effective than a full metal jacket (FMJ), or ball, round in the same location. This is because an expanding bullet causes more damage to the attacker’s body, which, in turn, causes more bleeding.
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“Hollow-point ammunition tends to stop an attacker more quickly than full metal jacket bullets because it is designed to increase in diameter when it penetrates soft tissue,” said Paul Carlson of the Safety Solutions Academy. “Bullet expansion causes a larger wound channel and as a result causes more damage than FMJ. In addition, the expansion acts as a parachute that helps keep the bullet inside the threat.”
The quicker the violent attacker can be stopped, the safer it is for you, your family and other innocent bystanders.
Massive blood loss, or hemorrhaging, is generally considered the quickest way, save a hit to the central nervous system, to shut down an attacker.
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In recent decades, research has been done to determine what kind of bullet design can most rapidly stop someone from hurting you. Today, ammunition manufacturers have a better understanding of how bullet design can enhance incapacitation of an attacker. However, like a classic Ford vs. Chevy argument, there is still a great deal of debate regarding what works best.
I believe most experts would agree on the following principles. Bullet placement is the most important aspect of stopping power. To improve the ability to put rounds on target during the stress of a violent encounter, a person needs good quality, realistic training. An expanding bullet that penetrates sufficiently to reach vital organs tends to perform better at stopping an attacker than a bullet that does not expand.
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The self-defense ammo lines in the gallery above are designed to rapidly stop an attacker. Whatever ammo you carry, I strongly recommend shooting a few extra boxes in your self-defense gun to ensure proper function.
For More Information
Black Hills Ammunition
Federal Premium Ammunition
A handgun is great for home defense, but what about upgrading to an AR...
by Jason Hanson / May 27, 2015