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AMMUNITION FOR THE SELF-DEFENSE FIREARM

AMMUNITION FOR THE SELF-DEFENSE FIREARM

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Published by Burt Gummer
This is a guide to help you select the best ammunition for your defensive firearm. Most of these opinions are based upon the work of Massad Ayoob, Evan Marshall and Ed Sanow, police officers who have extensively studied the issue of firearms, ammunition and stopping power.
This is a guide to help you select the best ammunition for your defensive firearm. Most of these opinions are based upon the work of Massad Ayoob, Evan Marshall and Ed Sanow, police officers who have extensively studied the issue of firearms, ammunition and stopping power.

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Published by: Burt Gummer on Jul 25, 2008
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05/09/2014

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AMMUNITION FOR THE SELF-DEFENSE FIREARM
Opinion by AnonymousPreface by Chuck Hawks
I decided to reproduce this rather long piece here partly because it isclearly the author's desire that it be widely disseminated. Another part isthat it makes interesting reading, and I enjoy a good read as much asanyone. Although the author has some strong opinions, they areinformed opinions, and worthy of careful consideration. Actually, I havean idea about the identity of "Anonymous," which is another reason thispiece appears here, but it is the author's desire to remain anonymous,and in any case I could be wrong, so I have made no attempt to confirmmy suspicion. Enjoy
Ammunition For The Self-Defense Firearm 
INTRODUCTION
This is a guide to help you select the best ammunition for yourdefensive firearm. Most of these opinions are based upon the work ofMassad Ayoob, Evan Marshall and Ed Sanow, police officers who haveextensively studied the issue of firearms, ammunition and stoppingpower. I refer all interested parties to the excellent series by Ayoob ('Inthe Gravest Extreme, 'Stressfire,' 'The Semi-Automatic Pistol in PoliceService and Self-Defense', 'Stressfire II: Advanced Combat Shotgun')and the comprehensive book 'Stopping Power' by Marshall and Sanow.In particular, it cannot be stressed too heavily that all gun owners shouldown a copy of 'In the Gravest Extreme' and re-read it periodically. Onceyou have read it you will understand why. Buy it. (The Ayoob titles- andother items like Cor-Bon ammunition and Spyderco 'Clipit' folding knives- are available mail order ($9.95@ and $3.95 shipping and handling)from "Police Bookshelf," P.O. Box 122, Concord NH 03302; telephone #1-800-624-9049. American Express, VISA, Mastercard, and Discovercards gladly accepted. Order today - you will be grateful.)These three policemen are the world's foremost authorities on choosingammunition for real-world defensive use. Their views are based onexhaustive review of thousands of police and civilian shooting incidents,autopsies, and ballistic tests.
 
Some other authorities rely entirely on the latter (e.g. Dr. Martin Fackler,the FBI Wound Ballistics Lab, the National Institute of Justice BallisticResearch Laboratory) which is insufficient to make reliable predictions.Human beings react differently to being shot than gelatin, goats, orother test media, and bullets that perform spectacular feats in thelaboratory sometimes give mediocre results on the street.A perfect example of this are the silly 1989-90 FBI tests which resultedin the FBI choosing the mediocre 10mm S&W Model 1076 and the 180grain JHP round. For this reason, I have chosen to rely on Ayoob,Marshall, and Sanow when it comes to selecting my ammunition andstrongly advise you do the same. What follows is essentially adistillation of their opinions. I urge you to research the sources listed fora more detailed discussion than is possible here.I cannot stress too heavily that the primary determinant of stoppingpower is BULLET PLACEMENT. A cool, deliberatemarksman with alittle .32 Walther PPK will beat a panicky, inaccurate man with a .357Magnum or $1200 customized .45 auto every time. Whatever firearmand caliber you select, you must practice firing hundreds- thousands -of rounds in realistic defensive scenarios until you can confidently makedisabling hits on your target. Tactics and marksmanship win gunfights -not having the latest 'wonder bullet' in your gun.Unfortunately, I cannot teach you tactics in this short essay, onlyrecommend proven ammunition. You MUST seek out competenttraining in tactics and marksmanship from a qualified instructor in yourarea. In the meanwhile, studying Ayoob's great book 'Stressfire' will getyou off to an excellent start.
Self Defense Ammunition Generally
American ammunition is the best in the world. Stick to Federal, Cor-Bon,Remington, Winchester or CCI (the Big Five) ammunition. Some foreignstuff is pretty good (PMC, IMI-Samson, Fiocci), some foreign stuff isgreat (Dynamit-Nobel, Norma, GECO), some foreign stuff is practice-only junk (e.g. CDM - Mexico, military surplus), but no foreign stuff isanywhere near as good as domestic ammunition when it comes tovanquishing hostile attackers. Buy American.Never use hand-loaded or re-loaded ammunition for self-defense! Youmay encounter some joker who says he can hand-load ammunition so
 
powerful it will knock anything on two legs down for the count, but don'tbuy it. This junk will either misfire or ruin your gun. Use only freshfactory-loaded cartridges, period. There are NO EXCEPTIONS to thisrule: use factory-loaded cartridges only.
Handguns
One should carry only hollowpoint ammunition in a defensive handgun.Hollowpoint ammunition has much better stopping power than full metal jacket or round-nose lead, and stopping power is what you need whenbeing assaulted.The point is not to wound or kill the adversary: the point is to stop him inhis tracks and make him cease attacking you. "Stopping power"(sometimes called "knock-down power") refers to a particular bullet'sability to incapacitate an attacker - the greater that ability, the lesschance that your attacker will be able to continue shooting, stabbing, orbeating you after you have shot him.Handguns are not death-rays; despite what you see in the movies, thevast majority of people shot with handguns survive (over 80%).Handguns are weak compared to rifles and shotguns, and thus youwant every edge you can get. Great ammunition is no more expensivethan mediocre ammunition, so carry the best. Rifles and shotguns havestopping power to spare; handguns do not. Thus you must select yourhandgun load very carefully, and the detail of the handgun ammunitionsection reflects this.Hollowpoint ammunition is NOT more lethal than ball (full metal jacket)ammunition. You may have seen media hype about "killer dum-dumbullets" but this is nonsense. Hollowpoint bullets usually expand andstop in the human body, and thus the attacker absorbs much more ofthe bullet's kinetic energy than if the bullet had merely zipped throughhim and left two small holes. Hollowpoint ammunition is also safer for allparties concerned.* You are safer because your attacker is more likely to be incapacitatedafter one or two shots and thus unable to fire back, stab you, orwhatever. The decreased likelihood of your attacker dying fromhollowpoint bullets saves you the moral and legal complications andexpense you will experience from killing a man.* Innocent bystanders are safer because hollowpoint bullets are less

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Carusomv added this note
A bit outdated with mostly good info. Cross check with other sources first. Virtually all feeding issues can be resolved by a competant gunsmith and usually relate to magazine spring, feed lips, feed ramp or recoil spring. I agree with the Ayoob reccomendations, a must read for gun owners but also include his "Lesson Learned" and others on legal liability in court.
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