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Navigating the Confusing World of Concealed Carry and Personal Defense Rounds

December 19, 2013 Leave a comment

When we are faced with a decision, too many choices can be more confusing than helpful. Should we get option A or option B? What about all the other hyped up combinations of old and new technology?

Ammunition can fall into this category. Image

There are certainly a handful of well-recognized rounds out there, but there are also new rounds coming out every year.  

Ammunition decisions can be a lot like the electronics market. 

There are new, and supposedly better, devices coming out all the time, but sometimes the newest gear isn’t the best.  A return to a proven reliable round is sometimes the best course of action.

In an attack situation, the more tissue damage a bullet causes, the better the bullet is. After all, it is this tissue damage that stops people. We are essentially seeking to do as much damage as possible to their mechanical (bones and muscles), electrical (nerves and brain) and hydraulic (blood) systems which leads to failure of the body.

A high speed round that doesn’t expand can pass right through a person and do very little damage if it misses internal organs. Of course, the same round sent through the brain will result in death most of the time, but the head/brain is a much smaller and moving target and is thus not usually aimed for.

Instead, we focus on the center of mass — the area where the internal organs are carried. Again, we are talking about tissue damage here. Aim too low and we have damaged intestines which might slow a person down after a few minutes, but you probably won’t have the luxury of that wait. However, any shot that results in massive internal bleeding will shut down the body in a very short time.

Clothing is another barrier to consider. Clothes can actually clog the hollow point on some rounds basically turning them into solid points by preventing them from expanding inside tissue. This is why some hollow point rounds have a red plastic tip.

The intention is for the plastic tip to stay on long enough to penetrate through clothing and then push off the bullet once it hits harder tissue and bone, allowing for bullet expansion.

And finally, we have cost. This is another important angle when it comes to selecting ammo that author Mike Boyle speaks to in his article “Hot Shot: A Look at Premium Ammo” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“I would always recommend buying the best ammunition that you can afford. However, you also need to get enough of it to ensure that it will cycle reliably through your pistol. With some of this stuff costing about two bucks a round, that’s a very real consideration. A less costly round with good performance characteristics that you know will run in your pistol is never a bad choice.” (Read more about the best ammunition for your concealed carry weapon here)