Gun ownership is a fundamental American right which many chose to exercise for the protection of their home and family. Picking the right type of ammo is just as important as picking the right firearm.
While there are many different schools of thought in the world of defense weapons and ammo, hollow points are often seen as the gold standard. So, what is it that makes them so popular?
What Type of Firearm Is Best For Self Defense?
Before beginning the conversation on why you might want to use hollow points, it’s important to consider what firearm is best suited for self defense.
Self defense situations are very tense and emotionally charged. According to the FBI, the average shooting occurs at a distance from zero to three yards, over three seconds and typically involves three shots fired.
Using a firearm should always be an absolute last resort - but it is equally important to have it easily accessible for emergencies. For most people, this results in choosing a handgun as their go-to firearm for self defense. Handguns are easy to conceal, transport and access in crisis situations.
Now, some could argue that shotguns or AR platforms are also very adept for self defense use- and they would be absolutely right. Every shooter has their own preferences and there is no right or wrong choice.
However, a pistol has the benefit of being able to go with you wherever you go, whereas shotguns and rifles can be more challenging to access given their size.
Concealed Carry and Self Defense
Concealed carry is a legal right granted in many states to citizens who wish to carry a firearm on their person or in close proximity such as their car in a concealed manner. This position could be a holster, their glove compartment or a purse.
Concealed carry provides gun owners with a sense of security and knowledge that they will be able to protect themselves and others in any situation, anytime. Every state has different laws and regulations on concealed carry, and a few do not allow the average citizen to carry a concealed firearm.
It’s always best to keep up on your state’s regulations regarding if - and how - you can carry concealed.
How Can Hollow Points Make a Difference?
Hollow points are a type of ‘expanding’ bullet which is primarily used for self defense against a human target.
When a gun is fired, the cartridge ejects and sends only the tip of the round, also known as the bullet, down range. A hollow point bullet will have a concave dimple at its tip, allowing it to expand upon impact. If the target is another human, the bullet will expand and send fragments traveling throughout the body cavity. This is ideal for a self defense situation. You want to stop the threat as fast as possible, and a hollow point will do enough damage internally to accomplish that.
In comparison, a full metal jacket round (FMJ) which does not expand and will typically travel right through the body (what is commonly referred to as a ‘through-and-through’) will not stop the target as quickly unless a critical organ is hit.
The other consideration is that because a hollow point bullet fragments upon impact, it is less likely to travel through the body and into an unintended target.
If you were to fire an FMJ round into an individual in a crowded area, there is a chance that the bullet could travel through the target's body and into the person behind them.
In a home defense situation, you will be less likely to shoot through interior drywall and into adjacent rooms using hollow point bullets.
In summary, a hollow point will offer the best physical stopping power while reducing the chance of over-penetration and collateral damage to your surroundings. You can find hollow point variants for most handgun calibers, such as 380 auto and 9mm.
Downsides of Hollow Point Bullets
While hollow point bullets are great ammo for self defense, they are more expensive than typical FMJ rounds. All responsible gun owners should train in a safe manner and as often as they can, which can add up financially when using hollow points.
Some individuals may opt to train with a full metal jacket round but keep their concealed carry loaded with hollow points. Regardless, you cannot put a price on personal safety.
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