When it comes to personal defense ammunition, the debate is on regarding whether hollow point bullets are better than full metal jacket (aka FMJ). When considering ammunition for protecting your home and family, there are multiple factors to account for, including the type of neighborhood you live in. You also need to understand the true difference between full metal jacket bullets and hollow point bullets. It is important to note duty pistols are loaded with hollow point bullets. The reason behind this is simple: it’s because hollow point bullets are more effective at hitting attackers with more damage, stopping them in their tracks.
A range of 10 to 14 inches is the average level of penetration from a hollow point. Once a hollow point hits its target, it will expand, whereas a full metal jacket bullet does not. The expansion of the hollow point bullet causes a big hole and the bullet has used at least 95% of its energy. The idea behind the hollow point bullet composition is it hits the attacker with a big punch, transferring the energy of the bullet into the target with minimum liability. If an attacker is hiding behind a window or glass, the hollow will travel through the glass to hit the target. The same applies to walls, but it is true that drywall has been known to clog a hollow point, disabling its ability to expand upon impact.
Full metal jacket bullets definitely have their advantages. One is the level of penetration achieved when firing. For instance, the FBI Load (38 Special) can fully penetrate 18 to 24 inches and go through multiple layers of denim, hitting any vital organs to stop an attacker. Obviously, this is much farther than the penetration the hollow point can achieve. The drawback to the full metal jacket bullet compared to the hollow point is the fact the FMJ does not expand upon impact like the hollow point.
My recommendation is to purchase full metal jacket bullets to practice with and purchase the hollow point bullets for everyday use in your gun.
Practice is key, especially pertaining to personal defense. Be smart and use your common sense, as well as educating yourself so you are a responsible gun owner. You must stay up to date on safety, your guns, and making sure to practice on a regular basis. Only you can ensure your gun is used properly as a tool no matter what type of bullet it contains.