Whats your Winter Defense Ammo?

Ammo preferences vary from person to person as does underwear style. Boxers or briefs? Hollow points or FMJ? Depending on your application and style of carry the choices can be endless. Add to the mix seasonal wardrobe changes that not only effect your method of weapon concealment but the effectiveness of your ammunition.

Opinion varies even more so…”Why when I was coming up hollow points were the thing. Before them all we had were really big sticks!”- “Well, FMJ is the way for me. I wanna’ be able to punch right through that sucker!” – (insert innocent little voice here) “Cant we all just get along?”

The Problem…

I was talking with Caleb Duncan from ammoforsale.com about the needs of the EDC’r and the challenges posed to hollow point rounds during the winter months. You see, their tips can clog when going through heavy coats and multiple layers of clothing reducing the mushrooming effect and essentially making them perform like FMJ’s. This results in two things…one, is that the bullets full energy is not transmitted into your target and it can over penetrate putting others at risk and two, it  my require more than one shot to take down your assailant bring them closer to harming you and bringing you closer to excessive force. Shoot ‘em once and your ok, shoot’em five times…well now we got a problem!

The Solution…

This is where the soft point round came from. It has the penetrative power of an FMJ but the shock transference and mushrooming of a hollow point. Caleb was kind enough to send me some Sellier & Bellot Soft Point 9mm rounds for testing, I mixed up some ballistics gel and headed to the range!

Let the Story Begin!

First off I would like to thank Officer XXX of the XXX Sheriff’s Dept. for helping with the testing and allowing the use of their range. With out him this test could not have taken place and his help in examining the results was a big help!

So I go to the grocery store to get the ingredients for ballistics gel. Several associates later and after much searching I find what I need. When you ask someone for help they instantly want to know what it is you are doing and start asking questions…

”No, not for jelly. I’m making ballistics gel for bullet testing…” – look of fear-

“no, for ballistics gel, you know like on Myth Busters…” – raised eyebrow-

“Yeah, ok…I’m making jelly.” –“Oh! that’s in isle 12 on the right!”

I got what I needed and head home. Two big soup pots and a plastic tub later I have my gel. It looks right, smells right (think dog vomit) and upon being released from the mold promptly goes “Ker-Splat!” all over the kitchen floor…My ballistics gel had become ballistics Jell-O!! Ok, onto plan “b” phone books and duct tape!

Taking plan ”b”, a pair of donated jeans (thanks Mom!), my Ruger and ammo to the Sheriff’s Dept. I go to the range and commence shooting!! To get a good idea of the effectiveness of the JSP we tested them against a .40cal. Speedball and then for fun, a few .223’s!!

The 9mm SP penetrated to a depth of one and a half phone books with good deformationDSCN1044 and mass retention. Of the six rounds fired, only one had less than optimal expansion. The round to the right expanded to almost twice its size! I found the bullets tended to develop some yaw when transiting the phone books which is understandable considering the medium we were shooting into. I didn’t witness too much tumbling, being mindful of the material and orientation of the round when removed. The rounds were smooth feeding and produced no jams or stovepipes.

 DSCN1045Looking at the .40, penetration was about the same as the 9mm and that’s where it ended. Of course the .40  made a slightly larger hole but they didn’t expand quite as well. The yaw that was seen in the 9mm was also evident in the .40 rounds…but the bullet folded verses expanding or pushing out to one side… The rounds retained most of their mass but one lost it entirely leaving only the copper jacket and some lead fragments.

The 9mm FMJ’s were unrecoverable due to over penetration. They went completely trough the phone books, 1×2”s and into the range’s backstop.

The .223’s were a blast! Quite literally! They tore up those books like there was no tomorrow. All the we could recover were fragments due to the structure of the round combined with the higher muzzle velocities. I was really neat to see the difference between the rifle and pistol rounds and comparing how they work on a target.

Did I fail to mention this was all through four layers of denim in the front?

So what does all that mean?

Looking at the above data and taking into account the material used…I think the Sellier & Bellot SP 9mm would make a good option for winter CCW. It overcame the thick layers of fabric and provided good penetration with effective expansion and displayed properties that I would want in a defensive load. The performance was similar to that of the .40 but without the folding, granted that was probably due to the yaw generated by the material.

From what I saw, I feel that the 9mm JSP would have the power necessary to take down an assailant while reducing, note that I said reducing, the risk of over penetration inherent to the 9mm FMJ rounds. But keep this in mind, with any bullet there is always the chance of over penetration and striking a bystander. Paying attention to your surroundings and using “Force Escalation” concepts will help keep you and others safe.

One thing that is not often discussed is how to stack your mags. In the summer its all JHP’s for me but in winter you need to think about heavier clothing and how you are going to get through it. That’s where the JSP comes in. In the past I would stagger my winter mags…FMJ-FMJ-JHP-JHP-FMJ-FMJ and so on till I reached capacity. Now I set them JSP-JSP-JHP-JHP-JSP-JSP again to capacity. I feel better knowing my chances of the bullet expanding and penetrating to an acceptable depth are raised using the JSPs.

As for ammoforsale.com, after talking with Caleb he said he would get the product out straight away…and he did! A few days later there was a box sitting on my front porch with brass and lead goodness just waiting to be used! I have visited their site on several occasions and find it to be one of the best organized web stores I have ever seen! Don’t even get me started on their huge selection! When I need ammo, this is where I’m going. Thanks Caleb, I will be shopping with you from now on!

Click here to visit ammoforsale.com

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