The "Old-School/New School" Debate of Bullet Performance.
If we all "make nice" we can still hold to our own opinions, have a fun debate here and all learn something as well. This thread is designed to take up where the "Winchester Silver Tip Hollow Points For Self Defense" thread got off-topic.
I'm not overly enamored with the wonders of bullet expansion in handguns. I also am old-fashioned enough to see little real need for bullet jackets in moderately powered self-defense revolver rounds like the .38 Special, .44 Special, .45 ACP (as used in revolvers), or .45 Colt. Expansion is nice gravy if it occurs but it really isn't worth agonizing over the finer points of expansion characteristics of the various self-defense bullets offered. Far too much splitting of hairs is devoted to relative bullet terminal ballistics performance.
Jackets have application in semi-automatic pistol cartridges but in my view the jacket has more to do with reliable feeding/function than it does with enhancing terminal ballistics unless it is used to actually control expansion. A soft lead bullet expands quite well when not contained in a copper jacket.
Only speaking for myself but I won't be compelled to agree that any of the various charts, tests, jello-shooting clips, FBI requirements, or "expert" quotes that are endlessly offered, are proof that a certain projectile choice is superior or that other projectiles are inferior. Some who write up tests may claim "scientific background" for their work but empirical studies based on shooting "properly prepared ballistic gelatin" still tip toe around the fringes of reality which is shooting assailants while desiring the best stops possible.
Take everything purported to answer all questions, from FBI requirements, to cavities in "blue jean covered jello," to pontificating forum members, with a huge dose of salt. Just because someone or some test says its so doesn't make it so. If one feels the need to take comfort in all such information that's out there then fine but don't attempt to bind it on others as gospel truth. Man is a free moral agent and, just as he may with religion, he may pick his poison with regards to self-defense ammunition.
I'll confess to being no expert either and freely agree that I know less about current expanding jacketed bullets than most. I can't relate all these tests back to my own experiences so they have little meaning. My observations are connected more with hunting or control of feral animals or varmints. Good hits work best no matter what style bullet is used and enhanced bullet performance characteristics are poor substitutes for bad hits. Surely we can all agree on that.