.45 FMJ For Self Defense? (Two Scenarios)

.45 FMJ For Self Defense? (Two Scenarios)

This is a discussion on .45 FMJ For Self Defense? (Two Scenarios) within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Since we all know the .45ACP is the only self defense caliber that has ever killed anyone ...it got me thinking: is FMJ a good ...

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Thread: .45 FMJ For Self Defense? (Two Scenarios)

  1. #1
    Ex Member Array MJB_17's Avatar
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    .45 FMJ For Self Defense? (Two Scenarios)

    Since we all know the .45ACP is the only self defense caliber that has ever killed anyone ...it got me thinking: is FMJ a good or at least reasonable choice for SD use in the two following circumstances?

    1) When you don't have ready access to a proven JHP round. Right now, I have no .45 JHPs and no LGSs do either. I want to carry my new .45 tomorrow but all I have a 230gr FMJ ball ammo (WWB). Normally, I would never consider FMJ for SD use, but .45 I think differently given the proven stopping power on the battlefield. Carry .45 with FMJ until either I acquire some JHPs (if possible) tomorrow or my order gets here next week or carry 9mm or 357 Sig?

    2) Keep a mag full of FMJ in the vehicle as a reload for a worst case scenario in which I would actually need more than 11rd that I have in the gun. I generally carry a spare mag for all my guns that I CC in the car for this exact reason. I usually EDC a Glock 9mm and have a 15rd and 33rd mag in the car all the time (not in the gun, I'm not crazy), a spare 12rd of .45 FMJ seems like a good idea. This would especially be true for 1911 users, but applies to really any low capacity gun (my 24/7 is 10+1, still pretty low). I just can't help but think of the Tyler (TX) courthouse shooting in 2005 in which a CHL with a 1911 tried to stop a gunman with an AK, he fired all 8 rounds and the guy, missed all 8, then was shot dead by the guy with the AK (who later was killed by police). FMJ would help with the .45s problems with penetrating things like car doors and glass, which are highly likely obstacles in a SD scenario since most occur in/around cars (this is largely why few state police agencies use .45 and many are adopting 357 Sig).

    Obviously, JHP is the preferred choice, but I think FMJ has it's place when in .45ACP (or similar, such as 10mm)...discuss.


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    VIP Member Array Ghost1958's Avatar
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    I have speer gold dot LE in my 40 cal at present but to be honest Im just as comfortable with fmj in 40 cal and up in a semi auto. Actually Im considering going to "all ball" on stocked ammo and edc ammo as well. Its cheaper, itll do the job in 40 cal and up as well as exotic JHP if you do your part. Not knocking JHP. I do use em. But fmj will get it done also.
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    VIP Member Array maxwell97's Avatar
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    Personally, in case 1, I'd say you're always better off loading the ammo you have than waiting for the perfect round to be in stock. A .45, or even a 9mm, loaded with fmj beats the hell out of having an unloaded gun, and is fairly effective, though obviously hp is a much better choice. Even a .22 gives you a fighting chance - just a substantially smaller chance. That said, if you have access to 9mm hollowpoints, it's probably better to go with the 9mm.

    If you believe in one-shot stop percentages, from what I've seen, 9mm fmj is in the 50% range, .45 fmj in the high 60% range, and good hp in either in the mid-90% range. Some people don't care for such data, but I think it has a place in answering a question like this.

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    VIP Member Array Kennydale's Avatar
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    I have Hornady Critical Defense .40S&W-JHP 175 Gr in as my main carry (9+1 magazine) the spare has Winchester-FMJ 180Gr in the 15 round spare.

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    In .45, FMJ is plenty good medicine with a good track record. There are all sorts of reasons why JHP are better for defensive purposes, but if FMJ is all you have than I wouldn't hesitate to go armed with that load.

    Remember the first rule of gunfighting is "have a gun." After that, it's pretty much splitting hairs.
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    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    I don't see why anyone would think 230gr FMJ in .45acp is anything less than adequate. Even at full expansion, 9mm JHP may not reach the same diameter of a .45acp FMJ deformation when striking its target. So wound channel would be sufficient, penetration would likely be sufficient and there are many a dead German and Japanese soldier to prove it.
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    VIP Member Array Phaedrus's Avatar
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    I'd really rather not use ball for defense but it's better than nothing.
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    Ball ammo worked perfectly good at killing until these new fangdangeld "expanding" bullits came up. Then ball ammo just suddenly stopped working, scientists are still trying to solve this problem.
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    VIP Member Array blitzburgh's Avatar
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    I'm currently out of JHP for my .45, so you know what's sitting in it for now...


    Yup, FMJ.
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    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    FMJs in just about any caliber will work perfectly fine, but I'd give consideration to at least two factors while using ball/FMJ. One being the backstop as over penetration is going to be a factor in the larger calibers. The second and most important would be shot placement/targeting. As stated above; many a soul has passed due to ball, and I mean "ball" rounds before the JHP came on the market.
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    My LGS had .45 ACP SD ammo in stock on Friday. I think it was Federal HST. I am not affiliated with them in any way other than being a customer.

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    Modern JHP > Ball.
    Ball > empty gun.

    Not a tough choice.
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    Every time I load a .45 I find myself saying "Damn, these are big bullets!"

    I would be perfectly comfortable totin' a .45 with FMJ's. Those are some big bullets!
    MJB_17 and okiegunguy like this.
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    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

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    Senior Member Array Weeg's Avatar
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    1. Does your gun "digest" it?


    2. Are you able to get constent shot placements?

  15. #15
    Ex Member Array MJB_17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    Every time I load a .45 I find myself saying "Damn, these are big bullets!"

    I would be perfectly comfortable totin' a .45 with FMJ's. Those are some big bullets!
    When I look at 9mm, 357 Sig and 45ACP I think (in order) they're saying: " I'm average, I pump zee iron ja?, mm those donuts looks tasty"...I think of .45 as like the Miranda Lamber of calibers, not exactly slim but plenty to enjoy...

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