This is a discussion on FMJ 45 ACP for Defense? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; My everyday carry gun is a Springfield Micro Compact. Although I have fired different brands of hollow point ammo without any malfunctions, I carry FMJ ...
My everyday carry gun is a Springfield Micro Compact. Although I have fired different brands of hollow point ammo without any malfunctions, I carry FMJ ammo as my defensive rounds. Reason being is that I have heard how 3 inch 1911's sometimes have issues due to the shorter barrel. Like I said I have shot hp's without a problem at all, but I haven't shot enough through this gun that I feel 100% comfortable carrying hollow points, mainly because I can't afford the price of good hp ammo to put 200-400 rounds down range, like I have with FMJ. My question to you guys is do you think FMJ will get the job done should I ever have to defend my life with it? I do consider the over penetration factor also. Do any others here use FMJ as a defense round, and if so what's a good brand to use? Any input is appreciated.
Trust in God and keep your powder dry
"A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source
You will be fine with fmj. The 1911 and ball ammo combo is what gave the 45acp its ''legendary manstopper'' [roll eyes] reputation. If you believed everything the gurus say about self defense requirements in guns/ammo, you will go crazy. But this being the 21st century, the logical fix is the glock/10mm combo.
.45s is one of the rare ammo that I'll be fine with FMJ. However, HP is better.
Glock: G22 .40 S&W and G23 .40 S&W Sig Sauer: P938 9mm Smith and Wesson: Model 437 .38 Spl, Model 65 357 Mag, and Sigma SW9VE 9mm
does it make a hole?.... yes
is it the 3rd worse choice you could make? "others being snake shot and blanks".... yes
Short answer: with several very good JHP alternatives on the market, I would not recommend FMJ as a defensive round for any of my personal carry pistols, in any of the common "carry" pistol calibers except perhaps .380ACP.
While FMJ should be able to penetrate deep enough in a short-bbl .45 ACP pistol, it's hard to imagine that FMJ will have anywhere near the wounding capacity of JHP for the two bullets that otherwise have the same penetration depth. I'd want the JHP every time, at least assuming my pistol ran perfectly in the ammo selected.
I, too, have read caveats about marginal ammunition having the stuffing knocked out of it when moving to shorter barrels. While my experience has mostly been with 9mm, I can say that the top thee or four choices in 9mm ammunition (for penetration, expansion) seem to work wonderfully well in very short-bbl 9mm pistols as well. That's using ammunition designed for 4" bbls but used in pistols with barrels as short as 2.5". There are a few decent short-bbl ammo variants, too. Above 400 ft-lbs and 1200 fps there are several decent choices.Reason being is that I have heard how 3 inch 1911's sometimes have issues due to the shorter barrel.
In .45ACP, I am not so familiar with the ammunition choices. Again, I would be surprised if the top three or four ammo choices didn't perform quite well in pistols with shorter barrels. You won't know unless you find some calibrated tests that have confirmed this, or take some calibrated gel and test it yourself. Above 450 ft-lbs and 1000 fps there are several decent choices.
In .45ACP JHP, consider:
- DoubleTap Bonded Defense, JHP, 185gr, 1225 fps, 616 ft-lbs
- DoubleTap Nosler JHP, 185gr, 1225gr, 616 ft-lbs
- Buffalo Bore 45-185/50, JHP, 185gr, +P, 1180 fps, 590 ft-lbs
- DoubleTap Bonded Defense, JHP, 200gr, 1125 fps, 562 ft-lbs
- CorBon Self Defense, JHP, 185gr, 1150 fps, 543 ft-lbs
- DoubleTap Montana Gold Controlled Expansion, JHP, 230gr, 1014 fps, 521 ft-lbs
- DoubleTap Bonded Defense, JHP, 230gr, 1010 fps, 521 ft-lbs
- DoubleTap Match Grade FMJ, .45ACP, FMJ, 230gr, 1010 fps, 521 ft-lbs (the sole FMJ option I've listed here, for comparison)
- Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection, .45ACP, JHP, 200gr, +P, 1080 fps, 518 ft-lbs
- MagTech Guardian Gold, .45ACP, JHP, 230gr, +P, 1007 fps, 518 ft-lbs
- CorBon Self Defense JHP, .45ACP, JHP, 200gr, 1050 fps, 490 ft-lbs
- Corbon Self Defense JHP, .45ACP, JHP, 230gr, 950 fps, 461 ft-lbs
- Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection, JHP, 185gr, 1050 fps, 453 ft-lbs
Note, Federal does have several choices in "Personal Defense" ammo, though only one exceeds 1100 fps and 450 ft-lbs -- the 165gr EFMJ with 1140 fps and 476 ft-lbs.
As for Brand to select, personally I go by whichever specific ammo performs well in my particular gun. I'm sort of brand agnostic, in that sense. The Speer Gold Dot bullet performs quite well, and a few makers have taken to using the Speer GD bullet in their ammuntion offerings, notably DoubleTap.
My only .45ACP pistol is an STI Shadow, with 3.0" bbl. At 23oz, it is a handful with a full-power .45ACP load such as the hotter DoubleTap, Buffalo Bore or CorBon alternatives. But in this pistol, each is very accurate and hits very hard, doing much more visible damage to a country ham than any 9mm load that I've tried. (Makes a mess, but it's a ~$10 test that I've tried to do with several of my finalist choices for defensive ammo.) While I have never really searched for a short-bbl round for a given pistol, my selections have seemed to perform very well in the shorter guns that I typically have as my carry guns (HK P2000SK w/ 3.3" bbl, Kahr PM9 w/ 3.0" bbl, KelTec PF-9 w/ 3.1" bbl, STI Shadow w/ 3.0" bbl).
nothing wrong with fmj. it has worked in the 45 for many mango seasons.
An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
Red State State of Mind
It depends on what part of an enemy you plan on shooting at, and whether you can hit that target accurately, and do it before your enemy hits you. Based on jhp being out of budget, it seems doubtful you train sufficiently to attain the needed skills to accomplish these tasks, so no, the fmj would not be adequate in this case. So, if fmj isn't going to get the job done for you, and jhp is out of budget, what will you do?
I've done it. I think it's okay. I sure wouldn't want to be shot with it.....
For God, Family and Country!
That's what I carry in my Kimber 3". I would only say that, if you can find any flat nosed FMJ's those would be a slightly better option. They're supposed to have a straighter wound track, hit harder as well as less deflection. Of course the JHP would be the better outa the three, but when you carry the big bores anything that will function reliably will easily get the job done. I mainly carry FMJs for the penetration factor. I carry the 230 gr FMJ and IMO in any bullet configuration, that's a chunk of lead and it will put the BG toes up with little trouble. Another advantage to the FMJs over the JHP. THe pistol will most definitely have a better chance of 100% reliability with the fmjs over the other hollow point rounds. MY suggestion; save a few dollars and research some good JHPs, then pick up two or three boxes of what you like, then hit the range and see if your pistol likes um too. I would imagine the SA is easily capable of running any quality JHP, but the short barrel will limit the rounds velocity, so maybe go to a lighter round like 185gr or maybe a tad bit more. There's a lot of good advice found here so I'm sure someone will recommend a round that should fit you situation, but until then, IMO a couple of 230gr FMJ's placed properly will defend ya just fine. The energy outa the JHP is just gravy on an already potent round.
Congrats on the new SA.
"He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." – Luke 22:36
"If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." – Thomas Jefferson
Let's see, JHP or FMJ...two of them through the heart and lungs...Mmmm, which one? Tough choice, but I'm thinking that either one would ruin a perfectly good parking lot dirtbag's day.
Bigger holes would be nice, but I could go with either...I'm just sayin'...
Being able to pick either one, I'll go with the JHP.
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NRA Life Member
1. shot placement
2. shot placement
3. type of bullet
I've carried a 1911 for over 35 years loaded with JHP ammunition. Never had a problem.
....just my two cents
NRA Life Member ... Marine Corps League Life Member
Freedom has a flavor the protected can never taste...
USMC 8652, 2531, RVN Jun '67, - May 69
Some of my toys....
Don't do it! No one has ever been seriously killed with .45 FMJs!
Of course FMJs work. And they are more liable to break bones then some JHPs. Just make sure they're full power loads, not some range load. I think the superior ability of HPs get way over-hyped.
Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth
I carry federal HST or Ranger T series in my 1911 45 and in a 3.5" bbl,50 rounds can be had for about $27.00 + shipping,one thing about a 45 is it starts out at .452 diameter,a 9mm starts out at .356,a 40 starts out at .401,the 45 has a larger diameter than a 9mm HP that has expanded and pretty close to a 40 that has expanded
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Here's an option if you want the best of both worlds.
I initially had some reservations of how the ultra-light 165-grain .45ACP EFMJ would perform in my Kimber Desert Warrior. To my relief, a few odd magazines cycled just fine. Muzzle velocity of this load was 1042 fps and performance in the gelatin was excellent. The .45ACP EFMJ yielded an average expanded diameter of 0.74 inches and penetrated to a depth of 10.75 inches in the tissue stimulant. From the shorter barrel of the 325 Night Guard, velocity was still 989 fps with slightly greater penetration. Federal EFMJ does indeed fill a niche. Felt recoil of all loads tested was mild and this should enable one to be at their best. Expansion qualities are very good rivaling the best hollowpoint designs. For personal defense, I consider bullet performance through heavy clothing to be very important criteria and Federal’s EFMJ loads delivered every time.
Left to my own designs, I would still select a quality JHP for self-defense. Since retiring from active law enforcement service, however, that’s no longer an option for me. Unfortunately, my home state prohibits carry of hollowpoint ammunition by private citizens. Needless to say, a quality, high performance, non-hollowpoint like a Federal EFMJ holds considerable appeal for me.
And if that old classic pistol just won’t run with hollowpoints, you may want to consider EFMJ ammunition. This innovative offering from Federal just may take that old pistol to a whole new level of performance.
In addition to Personal Defense EFMJ line reviewed herein, Federal also markets some similar offerings for law enforcement. These EFMJ loads feature more traditional bullet weights and should deliver greater tactical penetration.
Don't believe what you hear and only half of what you see!