Top 10 Self Defense Ammo Picks

Top 10 Self Defense Ammo Picks

With a controversial and opinionated topic like this, I have to include a couple of explanations and disclaimers.

Mike McNett, Founder of DoubleTap Ammunition and Godfather of Boom! prepares even more ballistic gelatin for testing.

Mike McNett, Founder of DoubleTap Ammunition and Godfather of Boom! prepares even more ballistic gelatin for testing.

You do have to be careful about blanket statements when it comes to ammo performance. There are just too many variables. For example, you can’t necessarily say things like “Mega Blaster Yellow Tips” are the best. You might be able to say “Mega Blaster Yellow Tips 9mm 124 grain +P loads are the best!” It may very well be the case that the .40 Smith & Wesson loading of Mega Blaster is not so hot, but maybe the .45 ACP, 9mm and .380 ACP are. You always have to look at the specifics like caliber, bullet weight and gun type. In other words, you need to make sure the specific brand of self defense ammo you choose works in your caliber and in your gun. Some offerings, like a few mentioned here, recognize caliber variables and design accordingly. For example, DoubleTap Ammunition varies projectile types to account for such factors.

Velocity is a really big deal and performance statements always have to be qualified with variables that impact velocity. While a specific .45 ACP self-defense cartridge may work as expected every time from a gun with a 4 or 5 inch barrel, it may not work at all with that micro-compact 1911 with a 1 inch barrel. OK, I’m exaggerating, but in my testing, I’ve found that even a 50 to 100 feet per second velocity reduction can make a great bullet stinky and inconsistent.

With that said, expansion (or perhaps fragmentation) performance weighed heavily in the development of this list. After all self and home defense ammo is intended to stop things quickly.

I’m blending self-defense (concealed carry) and home defense on this list. Just because I feel like it. With that said, let’s get busy.

DoubleTap Defense

I’ve spent a lot of time with founder Mike McNett, the Godfather of Boom!, and know what he puts into ammo development and testing. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Mike buys up 84% of the annual worldwide production of gelatin blocks.

DoubleTap makes a variety of ammo types for various purposes, but for this list, stick to the DoubleTap Defense and DoubleTap Tactical lines. These loads, available in nearly any caliber you want, use either the excellent Barnes TAC all copper bullets or bonded projectiles, depending on the specific load requirements. Like 1911’s? Check out the Mann Load. It uses a 160 grain Barnes TAC bullet moving at over 1,000 feet per second, has great expansion and penetration, but low blast and recoil. If you carry a .380 ACP, consider the 90 grain Bonded Defense offering.

They’re not cheap, but they work. And it is a life and death decision after all.

Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel

Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel is optimized to expand at lower velocities from compact guns.

Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel is optimized to expand at lower velocities from compact guns.

The plethora of compact revolvers and semi-automatics sent the Speer engineers back to the drawing board. Speer Gold Dot ammunition has always been one of my favorite performers in almost any caliber. But, like any ammo, it’s designed with a careful balance of expansion and penetration assuming a specific velocity range. When you fire ammo from a gun with a short barrel, say 3 inches or less, you’re likely to lose as much as 100 feet per second (or more) in velocity. Then that carefully planned balance goes out the window. If you suffer from a short barrel, make sure you use ammo designed for lower velocity.

.223 / 5.56mm Practice Ammo

Well, sort of. For a home defense scenario, standard, full metal jacket 5.56mm ammo is a pretty darn good option. Here’s why. For inside use, over penetration is a potentially serious issue. Pistol rounds, shotgun slugs and buckshot go through walls like tax evaders through Congress. So do many hunting and tactical .223 / 5.56mm projectiles – they’re designed to do that.

On the other hand, small, lightweight, standard full metal jacket 55 grain projectiles tend to fragment and start upsetting when they hit things like drywall. Counter to assumption and common sense, AR-15 type rifles may present less of an over penetration risk than a .38 Special. It’s something to consider for home defense, especially since most guns that use this ammo have 30 round magazines.
Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition 2nd Edition 2014. It’s ON SALE now for a limited time!

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

12 Reasons I Carry A Gun

Call-911-you-dont-need-a-gun

1. A fire extinguisher is a lousy self defense weapon.

No one seems to have an issue with folks keeping a fire extinguisher in the house, right? I mean, people don’t question your paranoia level even though there are fire departments just about everywhere. So I thought about just carrying a fire extinguisher for self defense too. I figured I could foam at least three people in the face before it emptied, and then it becomes an excellent impact weapon. After discovering that finding a concealed holster was near impossible, I gave up.

2. I don’t know when I might need it.

While crime rates continue to fall over the long haul, there’s still plenty of evil behavior to go around. Read any paper and you’ll see that crimes happen all over, not just in “high risk” places. Speaking of high risk places, if I ever thought I was going somewhere I might need to use my gun, you can be darn tootin’ sure I wouldn’t be going there in the first place.

3. Because 186,873.

According to USA Carry, that’s the number of warrants outstanding for felons across the US. They walk among us.

4. An Abrams tank gets horrible gas mileage.

Before you write off this idea, think of the benefits. Although a tank has great offensive weaponry, you probably wouldn’t ever need it. You’re pretty well protected from just about anything other than rust. Just drive it into your garage and be sure to shut the garage door with your clicker before exiting the hatch. Be sure to lower the main gun barrel first.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

 

Try Competitions To Become A More Effective Shooter

Competition shootingThere’s a big difference between good and effective.

If you are involved in shooting purely for recreation and the joy of punching holes in paper or tin cans, then being a good shooter is, well, good enough.

If you intend to use your gun for self or home defense, then you need to think about how to become a more effective shooter.

What’s the difference?

When you’re enjoying a range outing with family and friends, you can be really, really good. Your shots impact where you want and they’re all impressively close together. When it comes time to reload or change magazines, no worries, you can chit chat about that new gun you want while leisurely preparing for the next round of shots. Hurrying or running around while trying to shoot would put a real damper on your ability to make pretty target patterns. You’ve got all day, and when time isn’t a factor, you are one impressive shooter!

That’s good, as long as you aren’t planning to use these “impressive shooter”qualifications for self-defense needs. If you intend to have a gun for personal protection or home defense, then you need to be effective, not just good. You need to safely operate your gun and get shots on target when the conditions are the worst imaginable—exactly the opposite of those fun days at the range.

One way to become a more effective shooter is to introduce a little bit of pressure and stress into your shooting routine. In this issue of First Shots News, Barbara Baird talks about various types of competitive shooting, so I’ll focus on what those competitions can do to make you more effective.

Even though some shooting competitions, like International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) mimic self- or home-defense situations, they won’t help you much with specific defensive tactics. They will, however, help you master core skills that can contribute to your ability to use a gun in a defensive situation. Let’s consider some skills you can improve by shooting competitively.

Read the rest in the National Shooting Sports Foundations First Shots Newsletter!

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

Shooting Myth: Competitive Shooting Will Get You Killed On the Street

Competitive Shooting is not only fun, it can help you build basic skills.

Competitive Shooting is not only fun, it can help you build basic skills.

Why is it that Internet opinions are so binary? Black or white, right or wrong, my way or the highway – it’s kind of like politics in the real world.

  • 45 is the only caliber! Because you only need to shoot once!
  • 9mm is fantastic – if you want to shoot balloons.
  • Competitive shooting skills will get you killed on the street!

As with anything in life, there is rarely all right or all wrong. I tend to think in terms of better, better still, and even more better. Or on the flip side, I like to consider worse, way worse, and worse than Piers Morgan’s ratings.

Listening to Internet arguments about the merits of competitive shooting, one might think that if you practice competition skills, you’ll instantly burst into flames and self-immolate should you find yourself in a self-defense situation.

A few weeks ago, I was watching an episode of Shooting USA with my college-age son and his roommates. We were having a great time – me feeling young, hip and cool, and them looking at their watches every few minutes.

Anyway, this particular Shooting USA episode included coverage of the IDPA Indoor Championships. If you don’t know, IDPA stands for International Defensive Pistol Association. In their words,

IDPA is the use of practical equipment including full charge service ammunition to solve simulated “real world” self-defense scenarios using practical handguns and holsters that are suitable for self-defense use. The main goal is to test the skill and ability of an individual.

In other words, it’s a competition structured to partially mimic potential real-life defensive encounters. In the interest of making competitions fun and stimulating, the “real-life” part tends to get a little stretched now and then.

For example, at the IDPA Indoor National Championships, one stage in particular appeared immensely fun, but just a tad outside the bounds of reality. It was an example of duck hunting gone horribly wrong. The shooter is placed in a duck blind, when suddenly a band of terrorists (or maybe hunting thugs intent on duck-jacking) makes their way across the front of your blind in a tactical rowboat. You have a short window of opportunity to deal with them as the entrance and exit of the “battle boat” are obscured with weeds or some form of aquatic plant life. Oh, there’s a hostage in the boat-jacking scenario that you can’t shoot. No word if that’s supposed to represent Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty.

Your mission, and you WILL accept it as you’re competing in the IDPA Indoor National Championships, is to take out the Duck Commandos as quickly as you can, without shooting Uncle Si, and before the boatload of doom escapes into the weeds.

Lest you think this sounds easy, the Duck Commandos planned in advance and had sniper over watch. When you start perforating the rowboat, the accomplices pop up all over the place from their hides, and you have to take them out too. You have to reload at least once in the process of filling the room with smoke and that delicious powder smell. Yum! I love the smell of what bad and uninformed novelists call cordite in the morning!

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

Shooting Myth: A Laser Will Only Give Away Your Position!

The benefits of surefire aim in low-light conditions and flexibility for shooting from unconventional positions far outweigh any realistic risk of "giving away your position" when using a firearm-mounted laser.

The benefits of surefire aim in low-light conditions and flexibility for shooting from unconventional positions far outweigh any realistic risk of “giving away your position” when using a firearm-mounted laser.

I’ve been a big fan of lasers on handguns for years. At first, this was because they sounded great on paper. After actually running around shooting in the dark at various training events and nocturnal competitions, my “fanboy” meter has maxed out.

But to be really clear, I want to stress that I am talking about gun laser applications for home defense and self-defense. Not door kicking in Afghanistan. Or serving no-knock warrants with the Department of Education’s new SWAT Team. Or anything else “offensive.” See what I did there?

I’ve had all sorts of responses to my discussion on lasers for home defense. One commenter informed me that a laser would clearly show my position and a sniper positioned 600 yards away, who would subsequently easily take me out. I don’t know about you, but I don’t anticipate this event in my home defense scenario—at least until civilization breaks down into a post-apocalyptic battle zone. I’ll take the risk that my burglar has not had the foresight to set up sniper overwatch in the nearest cell tower.

To put the discussion in perspective, let’s walk through a potential home defense scenario. It’s the middle of the night. It’s pitch-dark. You are sound asleep in your bedroom. You are awakened by the sound of crashing glass, which indicates someone has just entered your house. By the time you wake up and figure this out, they are probably already in your house. This is a defensive, not offensive, situation.

Now what? I don’t know about you, but my goal is simple. Get that person and/or their friends out of my house before they cause harm to me and/or my family. If that person happens to get hurt in the process of achieving the goal, then that’s an occupational hazard of breaking into peoples’ homes in the middle of the night. But that’s not my primary goal. Encouraging them to turn tail and leave is far easier for all involved than splashing them all over my new duvet cover.

Pretty simple goal right?

In order to think through my best plan for home defense, I’ll take this goal into consideration first, then apply the most likely scenarios I might encounter. Most likely scenarios. This is where folks get all wrapped around the axle when it comes to using gun-mounted lasers.

Stop and think for minute about the most likely scenario you could encounter in your home. Who is that person that just broke into your house? Is it a team of trained ninja marksman who intend to engage in a cat-and-mouse running shootout in your home, just like on TV? Were you waiting in your laundry room sniper hide anticipating their arrival? Maybe, but not likely. The more likely scenario is that some crackhead is looking to steal your Xbox to fund their next fix. And they woke you up. And they’re already in your house by the time you get your wits about you and get moving.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

While you’re here, why not grab a copy of my free eBook, A Fistful of Shooting Tips? It’ll help make you a better handgun shooter and the envy of your range in no time!

10 Worst Examples of Gun Advice From the Internet

Apparently I’ve taken on a task that is simply not possible without violating several laws of our physical universe – picking only 10 of the worst pieces of shooting advice from across the vast and vacuous expanse known as the internet.

I stopped counting at 32,987,412,318. But no worries, I’ll persevere.

If someone starts talking to you about "knockdown power" they better be talking about one of these.

If someone starts talking to you about “knockdown power” they better be talking about one of these.

Here we go, drum roll please…

1. A weapon light or laser will just give away your position!

If the self-defense scenarios swirling around your brain involve moving ninja fights in the dark that emulate Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon moves, you’re absolutely right!

A weapon light will give away your position, and your tactical pose hanging from the chandelier will be compromised. (Tweet This)

In real life, the benefits of seeing where and / or what you’re shooting at far outweigh any realistic disadvantages of “giving away your position.” One more thing, make it a point to tell the hundreds of thousands of military and law enforcement personnel who mount weapon lights and lasers on their guns specifically for the purpose of fighting in the dark that this is a tactical blunder. What do they know anyway?

2. To defend your home, blast your shotgun through the front door!

We all know that politicians are (self-defined) experts in all things. Some of the best (worst!) gun advice in recent history comes from our very own Vice President. “If you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.” While blasting your shotgun through the door may help you drill a hole for one of those handy peep holes, it won’t help your legal cause in any way, shape or form. Most likely, this strategy will send you straight to jail. Just ask the Virginia Beach man who actually did this when confronted with two armed and masked home invaders. The bad guys escaped, but the Biden disciple was charged with a crime. The “Biden Defense” is just not likely to yield a positive outcome. Come on, we all know politicians are immune from repercussions of bad behavior. It’s an expected part of the job.

3. Don’t use an AR-15 for home defense!

With all this negativity, we should offer some helpful advice: Always keep one hand on the wheel while shooting a tactical rifle from a golf cart.

With all this negativity, we should offer some helpful advice: Always keep one hand on the wheel while shooting a tactical rifle from a golf cart.

You might have heard from internet commandos that a “high-powered” .223 round will go clear through your interior and exterior walls, Margaritaville machine, and most of Montana!

Or maybe that if you torch off a .223 round indoors, the building will explode! (Tweet This)

Actually, most standard AR-15 ammunition will only go through a few pieces of interior drywall with any significant energy. The projectiles are light and traveling extremely fast. This combination results in rapid tumbling and fragmentation when barriers are hit. While there may be other factors in the pro / con debate of using AR-15′s for home defense, over penetration is not one of them – especially when compared to pistol ammunition and buckshot. Of course, exceptions apply if you choose to use ammunition designed to penetrate.

4. You should carry your self-defense gun with the chamber empty.

Unless your self-defense gun is a single-action revolver with a hammer mounted firing pin, that’s almost always bad advice. If you think you can simply keep an eye on things around you so you have plenty of time to draw your gun, and rack the slide, in the event of an attack, try a Tueller drill sometime. It’s enlightening and will quickly relieve you of any security gained by carrying with an empty chamber.

Also, please write Hollywood and tell them to stop racking the slide every time someone is about to fire a gun. It’s a waste of perfectly good pretend ammunition. (Tweet This)

5. I only train for head shots.

Some of the couch commando elite speak of training for head shots to defeat body armor and perhaps save ammunition during these tough economic times. On the range, a cardboard target is pretty darn easy to hit anywhere you like. Now try that while running full speed. Then try that while you and the target are running full speed. Then try it when everyone is running full speed, shouting, and the target is trying to kill you. Enough said.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

The Seven Deadly Sins of Concealed Carry: Not Carrying

Piece be with you! But if it's at home, and not with you, it won't do you a whole lot of good.

Piece be with you! But if it’s at home, and not with you, it won’t do you a whole lot of good.

The fourth deadly sin of concealed carry is… not. Not carrying, that is.

Crazy has roamed the earth for about 65 million years – several decades before Joan Rivers’ first plastic surgery. Consider that we live in a world where  people proudly claim they are “Beliebers“, faux celebrities name their cute babies North West and despotic Korean dictators have family members executed for missing a Black Friday Blu-Ray player sale. The scary part is that the current level of human crazy barely makes the nightly news.

So forgive me if I disagree when people tell me they aren’t carrying for reasons like this:

  • “I’m just running to the store.”
  • “I’ll only be out for a few minutes.”
  • “I won’t need my gun.”
  • “I won’t be in any bad areas.”

It’s an insanity-filled world out there and there is no such thing as a perfectly safe public outing. If you were really able to predict when and where you might be a victim of violent crime, why on earth would you ever be there in the first place, armed or not?

While the cause of spontaneous and violent crazy might be bath salt dessert parties, crystal meth fueled enthusiasm or just plain evil intent, you never know what’s going to happen out there. A quick look at news stories will tell you exactly why you must carry all the time if you carry at all.

The big news is frequency. According to the FBI, a violent crime of some type occurs in the United States every 26 seconds. A murder occurs every 35.4 minutes; a forcible rape every 6.2 minutes and a robbery every 1.5 minutes.

Zombies? Yeah, they’re the rage on TV and shooting accessory products, but I’m talking about the real kind. A Miami man permanently maimed another with just his teeth before being killed by a responding officer. A Texas man attacked friends and neighbors before eating the family dog. Admittedly, the odds of becoming the victim of a zombie attack are similar to Honey Bo Boo editing the Harvard Law Review. But it’s a classic example of the need to expect the unexpected.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Seven Deadly Sins of Concealed Carry: Showing Your Gun Booty

A simple reach can out you when you’re carrying. Here, an inside the waistband holster, or a little more awareness, would have solved the problem.

When it comes to inappropriately showing your gun booty, there are really two different scenarios. One is a legal issue and the other a tactics consideration.

In most states, if you have a concealed carry permit, it’s against the law for your gun to show. It must be invisible to others, or concealed, at all times. That’s the legal issue. The other scenario involves whether your concealment strategy is obvious to people “in the know” or otherwise. For example, gun folks poke a lot of fun at what they call “shoot me first” vests – those bulky photographers vests with more pockets than talk show hosts recently fired from MSNBC. Others insist that fanny packs are a dead giveaway that the wearer is carrying a gun – assuming they’re not trying to win the award for Ultimate Disney Tourist. In these scenarios, your gun is completely invisible, but there are other cues that you’re carrying – at least to people familiar with concealed carry strategy. We won’t get into those discussions here. Instead, let’s focus on ways that you might be showing more than you know.

Bending over

People that sell those industrial back support belts you see at warehouse stores make a living talking about the dangers of bending at the waist to pick things up. People like me derive untold hours of free entertainment trying to spot other concealed carriers when they bend at the waist to help their child, tie shoes or pick up that heads-up penny in the street.

Why? Bending forward at the waist can not only put strain on your back, but on your concealed stealthiness. When carrying anywhere on the waist behind the three or nine o’clock position, the grip of your gun will show a picture perfect imprint as the back of your shirt gets drawn in towards your body.

So what to do? First and foremost, make a habit of bending at the knees – every time. You can also try a holster that is more aggressively canted – one that angles the rear sight forward, thereby minimizing the distance the grip extends to your rear. You can carry a gun with a smaller height, meaning the distance from the bottom of the grip to the top of the slide. Some guns like some Smith & Wesson eSeries 1911s have a rounded butt, which minimizes printing and improves firing hand comfort. A number of the new Walthers (and other models of course) also feature rounded butts. Eliminating a sharp corner at the rear base of your grip makes a surprising difference when it comes to hiding a giveaway imprint.

Reaching for the stars

Remember that scene in the movie Animal House when Donald Sutherland walked into the kitchen wearing nothing but a long cable-knit sweater and reached up high to get a coffee cup? Yeah, I know, that was really disturbing. But it provides a great example of the dangers of over-reaching. So bending forward isn’t the only activity hazardous to your concealment strategy. Depending on the type of holster you use, reaching up, or even forward, can out you.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

 

Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Seven Deadly Sins of Concealed Carry: Using the Wrong Ammo

I had a lot of fun with the “Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting” series a couple of months ago, and hope you did too. I got to thinking about other sins—yeah, I know, thinking can hurt your brain—and it occurred to me that there are plenty of deadly sins when it comes to concealed carry. There are way more than seven, but as “Seven Deadly Sins” is kind of a thing, I’ll pick out seven interesting, and relevant, ones.

Ready? Let’s get started.

If you’ve ever seen a Wallace and Gromit movie, then you know that The Wrong Trousers can get you in a lot of trouble. So can the wrong ammunition. Using inappropriate ammo can ruin not only your life, but someone else’s too.

Good self-defense ammunition comes in all shapes and sizes. The fourth round standing from the left is a 9mm full metal jacket practice round. The one on the far right is a Federal Guard Dog expanding full metal jacket round.

Good self-defense ammunition comes in all shapes and sizes. The fourth round standing from the left is a 9mm full metal jacket practice round. The one on the far right is a Federal Guard Dog expanding full metal jacket round.

Don’t use practice ammo

Good self-defense ammunition is designed to expand, deform, or otherwise slow down when it hits things.

Good self-defense ammunition is designed to expand, deform, or otherwise slow down when it hits things.

I would classify “practice ammo” as anything designed to be frangible (for indoor or steel target shooting) or with a full metal jacket. Don’t get me wrong, practice ammo is not sub-par—it’s just designed for a different purpose than self-defense ammo. You can buy excellent and accurate practice ammo from all the reputable ammo companies. Some of it is designed especially for matches and is exceedingly accurate—with a corresponding price tag.

Good self-defense ammunition is designed to expand, deform, or otherwise slow down when it hits things.

As good as it might be, practice ammo is designed to follow a straightforward sequence of events: go bang. Fly straight. Punch a hole in a piece of paper. Plow into a big dirt, rubber, or steel backstop. Practice ammo is not designed to deform, fragment, or expand when it hits an organic target. While it may still have fatal results, it’s less effective at stopping a determined attacker rapidly.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

Is The AR-15 Appropriate For Home Defense? Part 1: Penetration Issues

To find out how an AR-15 penetrates interior walls, I built some---and then shot 'em up with a bunch of .223 Remington ammo.

To find out how an AR-15 penetrates interior walls, I built some—and then shot ‘em up with a bunch of .223 Remington ammo.

Is an AR-15 appropriate for home defense? That’s a really big question, isn’t it? Way too big a question for a single article to address in adequate detail. So we’ll look at one issue at a time.

First, since AR-15 rifles cause all nature of mainstream media histrionics, we’ll consider the “high-power” issue, which in a practical sense, translates to penetration. If you torch off a .223 Remington or 5.56mm round indoors, will the building explode? Listening to the news, you might think so.

More rational, and less pants-wetting thoughtful consideration yields a different conclusion when we look at penetration specifically. If you shoot an AR-15 inside your home or apartment, and miss your target, will the projectile continue to pass through interior walls, exterior walls, cars, dump trucks, and eventually the nearest ocean before embedding itself deep under the sea floor?

These are curious questions. Being curious, I decided to build some very small walls and shoot them with an AR-15. I shall call them mini-walls.

I shall call them…mini-walls. I built four in total, each with drywall on both sides.

I shall call them…mini-walls. I built four in total, each with drywall on both sides.

When considering home defense options, from strictly a penetration point of view, the basic question is: what will over-penetrate through walls, furniture, and your shiny new Ninja Blender? A heavier and slower pistol round, or a very light and fast rifle round?

The thing about light and fast bullets is that they tend to get upset–specifically, fragment or tumble—when they hit harder things like walls or furniture. Tumbling and fragmenting both result in a very rapid loss of velocity and energy, therefore a lightweight rifle projectile going somewhere around 3,000 feet per second may actually have less unwanted penetration than a pistol round traveling in the 1,000 feet per second range.

Before sharing results, I should present a couple of disclaimers.

  • I suck at construction, so if you are a professional carpenter, just hold your lunch down while looking at the photos of my mini-wall construction efforts. I’m only shooting them to pieces, not putting them in my house.
  • I didn’t paint the walls. This may sound trivial, but several coats of dried paint are hard, and likely to make some difference in the rate that lightweight, high-velocity bullets break apart.
  • The walls are close together. As you’ll see, some of the projectiles started fragmenting pretty quickly. If they had more time to spread out before hitting the next wall, I suspect they would have lost a lot of energy. Think of a shotgun pattern. When the pellets are still “clumped” together at short-range, there’s more penetration than when they spread out to a three-foot pattern a little further out.
  • I’m not a ballistic scientist. I just got curious, decided to do some basic testing, and share what I found. Do with the findings what you will.

With all that said, I looked at two different “interior wall” simulations. In one scenario, I used drywall (Sheetrock) only. I assumed the projectiles only hit drywall material of multiple walls. For the other scenario, I added a piece of 3/8-inch particle board between walls one and two—just to simulate junk inside walls like cross beams, furniture, or any number of other things besides wallboard that may be inside a home. All shooting was done from “indoor” ranges of five yards.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub.com!

Legal Disclosures about articles on My Gun Culture