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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm no expert by any means, but the following is my opinion (I've been carrying and shooting handguns for the last 36 years.... the 45ACP since 1968).

Reliability and Penetration are the top 2 priorities for serious use 45ACP ammo.

Regarding Reliability:
THE most important consideration! Throat, polish and tune gun and magazines all you want (all my Colts are tuned and polished).... sure it increases reliability, but, in the worst case engagement scenarios the gun can become "degraded", contaminated with foreign material (sand/mud), mag lips can get bent from dropping, etc. GI spec. FMJ ammo will always have a better chance of feeding under these less-than-ideal conditions. As a side note, if you choose to carry one of the Colt copies, open up the chamber to proper/original design dimensions! Those tight chambers definitely have a negative effect on combat reliability.

The bullets need to reach the target (vitals of the adversary), and I also want exit wounds to increase blood flow from the body. The problem with most published penetration data is that it leaves the reader with the impression that the "test penetration" is what you can expect during anti-personal use (human penetration). One needs to consider the following:

1) Gelatin penetration is about half of human body penetration on the average (at least that's my conclusion after reviewing real shooting data compared to Jelly tests).

2) Test conditions are different than realistic combat conditions. Can you count on your bullet having just air and only layer of shirt to penetrate before reaching the adversaries body? Real life experience tells me no way. I want the security of knowing my bullets with make it through the worst combination of probable "moderate" obstructions, and still do their job (e.g.; numerous layers of clothing and/or car doors/windows, typical walls/doors and other forms of moderate cover). Obviously concrete walls, body armor, heavy metal plates, etc., are impenetrable, but hey, were talking about a sidearm.

I'd rather be in trouble for the over penetration of my "standard, non-hollowpoint 45 Ammo" than be put down for good because my bullets stopped short of their intended targets. I would argue that a BG that is not stopped from blazing away with his weapon poses much more of a threat to those innocents in the area than any of my bullets that may "over penetrate".

For the above reason, I have no problem with those who choose to carry full weight, 230gr. FMJ ammo for serious use.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Roverman on 2001-07-12 16:54 ]</font>

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On 2001-06-22 16:26, Roverman wrote:
For the above reason, I have no problem with those who choose to carry full weight, 230gr. FMJ ammo for serious use.
The innocent bystanders behind your intended target may!!! :wink:

Not trying to start another war - this one has been discussed to death. Carry what you want - I give up.


For a realistic assesment of 230gr FMJ in the real world see my 06-16 post under "why I carry GI Ball".

I have well over 2,000 shootings with 230gr FMJ ammo and in just under 100 cases 230gr ball actually underpenetrated.

On the other hand, I have tested well over 60 .45acp loadings and both the Speer Gold Dot and Winchester Ranger T offer very good performance equal to and beyond what .45 ball can do.

Hornandy XTP 230gr+P loadings are very close to FMJ penetration numbers offering very, very good performance and a "reduced" risk of excessive downrange secondary target penetration.

Your observations are fairly accurate as I usually find that tissue penetration numbers are 40% less than 10% gelatin.

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How about the 230 gr Hornady Flat Point bullet? Jeff Cooper prefers this load. Although, I don't know of any commercial loadings that are available or how reliably they feed. It would probably have similar penetration to ball, and cut a slightly wider wound channel. I have shot pork shoulders with various ammo, and the holes that ball rounds make tend to close back up on themselves.
Shooting meat with hollowpoints is an eye opening experience. For example, .38 spl 158 lswchp +p rounds barely penetrated 5" and 9mm 147 gr Golden Sabers penetrated just over 4". Both of these loads are said to penetrate around 12" of gelatin.

The Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight by W. French Anderson, MD
has really good autopsy photos and diagrams showing how little the Agent's bullets really penetrated.

The real danger to bystanders are bullets that miss their target altogether, not so much the bullets which overpenetrate.


Please, please,please remember to test your own equipment and please remember that it can be proven that on average bullets penetrate 40% less in real tissue than they do in gelatin.

The flat nose .45acp and .10mm loadings are extremely good penetrators, were I to carry a 1911 style pistol for dangerous game in an semi-open environment I would choose the full power 200gr 10mm truncated nose flat point round.
My choice is not based on the risk of overpenetration of a torso but the risk that I may not be able to place a solid center of mass hit anchored in the torso. It may be that only an arm or side of the face my be available and I know how far that load can penetrate in common building materials and I may not always be sure of who or what is on the other side of the wall or building where I am.

Make no mistake about it underpenetrating handgun bullets will get you killed quickly and no amount of caliber,energy, fragmenting, splintering, expanding balls, plastic nose caps, pre-cut cores, cheap thin skined fragmenting bullets, or velocity can make up for it.
Even a 20mm round that expands to 5" across and only penetrates two inches will fail to damage any vital organs in the chest area and your target is going to be really, really, mad at you and if they are armed with even a letter opener they will probably kill you and then go seek medical attention.

I have overstated the obvious, but I think the point is fairly easy to see.

This is kind of like the X Files, the truth is out there....
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