As a civilian and not an LEO my preferences for defensive handgun ammo are:
9 mm and above = all JHP.
.380 = a mix of JHP and FMJ.
.25 and .32 = FMJ
This is a discussion on alternating hp and fmj in the magazine within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; As a civilian and not an LEO my preferences for defensive handgun ammo are: 9 mm and above = all JHP. .380 = a mix ...
As a civilian and not an LEO my preferences for defensive handgun ammo are:
9 mm and above = all JHP.
.380 = a mix of JHP and FMJ.
.25 and .32 = FMJ
Here a story for ya...From what I understand, often not easy for even a LEO to justify shooting the fleeing vehicle as well.
A few Summers ago, one of our Deputy Sergeants was in the process of laying out a spike strip on the highway for a suspected bank robber that had run from the PO and was engaged in a high speed chase.While he was laying it out, that vehicle approached and purposely went around the strip almost hitting him, and he drew and fired one shot from his Glock 21 striking low in the drivers side door. As luck would have it, that shot (Rem. Golden Saber) penetrated the door, struck the guy in his left leg and shattered the bone just above his ankle. He crashed his vehicle about 1/4 mile down the road where he was then apprehended.
If I hadn't seen it, I probably wouldn't have believed it. That was the luckiest shot I ever heard of especially because the HP penetrated the door with enough force to break the guys leg, but it happened.
Anyhow, he got the complimentary 2 days off with pay for the shooting and was cleared and even commended for his quick action...and luck.
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That goes for little imperfections on the barrel ramp, the magazine feed lips, the surface of the sear, the edges of the bullet itself, and so on. On that basis, alone, I'd bet it could be statistically shown in a study that mixed FMJ/JHP/FMJ/JHP would end up being less reliable.
Almost certainly, such mix-and-match is done for presumed terminal ballistics purposes, ignoring any impact on reliability.
With that said, if you're going to alternate the rounds, I'd recommend using the same bullet weight so that POI is the same.
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In my Makarov .380 carry a mag of Haydroshocks, with a spare Mag of FMJ's. I do not mix in a mag.
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First, consistency of performance is a red-herring here. While +/- 3" at 50m might be a big deal to some people, I will suggest that at SD ranges it is a non-issue. I suspect that ballistic performance and POA/POI offset between JHP and FMJ is not significantly different at 10m and in.
Secondly, we should be more concerned with the liability of missing than with the possible liability of over-penetration. If it is acceptable to have a full secondary magazine loaded with nothing but FMJ, then I must ask the question why it would not also be acceptable to alternate right from the get-go so as to avoid having to think about whether or not a magazine change is needed prior to engaging?
A 230gr. FMJ travelling at around 850fps will get at most about 25" of penetration in ballistic gelatin. However, there are several things that gelatin does not replicate: bone, muscle, elastic and non-elastic tissue, or clothing. Additionally, a projectile needs somewhere between 200-300 fps to penetrate skin. This is a sliding scale that takes into account the surface area of the projectile and the strength of the skin, however it does not account for layers of clothing. All of these things negatively affect how deeply the round penetrates, and consequently it is arguable as to whether a round that exits the target and hits something else willl even have the strength to peneatrate skin given it's greatly reduced speed and increased surface area once it deforms.
Now, it stands to reason that a miss is a miss, and we are exposed to that liability regardless of the round we choose to use. That's an entirely different thread.
Now that the two major arguments against the FMJ have been addressed, now let's look at a few things that support their use.
For starters, let us establish that we stand a very real probability of sub-optimal hits (i.e. anything at an angle rather than straight-on). Add to that the fact that skin - on the exit side - has the resistance of 4" of muscle tissue and we start to see that the original test of 25" in gelatin is perhaps a great deal smaller in reality. Now, factor in that all of the really good stuff is buried deep within the body (about 10-14") and we begin to realize that in order to be consistently effective we need to have a round that can still reach that far after having gone through any clothing layers, through an arm, back through clothing layers, into the thickest part of the torso, and through approximately 10" of elastic tissue. That's not including any bones along the way. Sub-optimal hits.
Let us also establish that just as we cannot realistically expect ourselves to remember which type of round from an alternating magazine is in the chamber at any given moment, it is likewise unrealistic to expect to have prior knowledge of what our round will have to travel through after we decide to engage.
Will a JHP be sufficient? Possibly.
Do we want to have to worry about changing magazines in order to use the round that we want vs. what's already loaded? I will suggest that the answer is no.
Additionally, all of these examples have used ballistic data for the 230gr .45 FMJ. I do not think that I have to argue that more weight, lower velocity is what gives us more penetration. However, since many people carry .40, 9mm, and even .32 ACP - and it stands to reason that these lighter rounds (from about 55gr .32ACP to a 124gr 9x19) will travel faster. Specifically, from 1000fps-1400fps.
Consequently these rounds will have significantly less penetration than the heavier 230gr FMJ.
What does it mean? In my opinion, it simply means that there may be enough reason to alternate between FMJ and JHP in the lighter rounds specifically because the heavier rounds have a greater chance of hitting the important parts that are buried deep within the body cavity.
Another important aspect of terminal ballistics are wounding factors. There are only two ways for someone to die from gunshot wounds, and as you're a CAR guy this should be familiar material: (1) excessive loss of blood pressure and (2) immediate cessation of the thought process.
Given what we now know about the nature of the temporary cavity (i.e. it's a cavity, therefore no significant wounding of elastic tissue occurs within it) it remains that the most effective wounding factor of a projectile is its ability to crush tissue in it's direct path. The more tissue a projectile crushes, the more effective it is. Consequently the argument can be made that the deeper a projectile penetrates the more effective it is in terms of its ability to wound.
Since the myth of "stopping power" has finally been debunked, it stands to reason that we choose a round (or combination of rounds) designed to bring about the desired effect (stopping the threat) in a most expeditious manner - unfortunately this often means death. There is more than enough empirical evidence to suggest that the human body can withstand an extreme amount of abuse and still function. In fact, there is sufficient empirical evidence to support that a dedicated individual can still remain both functional and a continued threat even after receiving fatal, non-survivable wounds.
To me, the implication is clear: use whatever method available to address the threat, even if it means shooting until the threat is dead; and in order to decrease the exposure to continued threat, it may be prudent to arm oneself with a combination of rounds that will allow them to respond to a wide variety of situations without having to worry about which magazine they have loaded, about which type of reload to do, or about which load for which situation to carry on any given day.
Anything that distracts from being able to react to a situation needs to be evaluated for efficiency and purpose and either discarded or justified. Those that advocate carrying different rounds in different magazines, or decry different rounds as nothing but a liability and/or danger, should take this opportunity to come to terms with why they really feel as they do and back up their ideas with as much fact as possible.
As always, my opinion is worth what you paid for it. To me, it's not as important that people decide one way or the other as it is that people understand exactly why they have chosen.
I would suggest that there would be no reliability issues that would not be identified through normal familiarization fire in the first place. For example, if we fire 1,000 rounds of a certain type we should be able to determine how reliable that cartridge is in our particular weapon with some degree of accuracy. My opinion is that performance would not differ greatly (from a percentage standpoint) once we decide to begin alternating.
This, of course, assumes that appropriate measures have been taken to ensure consistent performance of things like magazine springs and followers, etc - especially since we'd be testing the rounds and the action and not the magazines themselves.
Hotguns sorry for the delay but i just checked back on the thread . You said " Actually it is standard procedure for my S.O. to carry an extra mag loaded with FMJ. " . This IMHO is entirely different from a dual load in a mag . I allways ( with dept knowledge and approval ) would tuck away an extra mag of fmj for any auto , or some solids for revolver . Understand tho this was extra ammo and not on the duty belt loadout . a mag or a half dozen rounds in a pocket isnt a real problem to carry and keeps the " other " rounds recongisably seperate from " normal duty rounds " . IMHO full patch ammo will both feed different in an auto , and shoot to a different POA/POI . the POA/POI is easy enough to deal with for a reload if not for every other round . I have seen " mixed mags " induce stoppages in autos tho so i do not consider it an option other than on the range burning up excess or outdated ammo . Today i still have a mag of ball in my left front pants pocket for impromptu plinking on the ranch , and for extra penitration if needed to resolve an issue .
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Thanks for the reply. We are very much on the same page wrt to terminal ballistics and it looks like we share several sources of information as well.
My question (and ultimately the heart of the matter) is, what is the point of alternating ammo in the magazine? I don't believe there's anything really detrimental (functionally, mechanically, legally, etc...) but I also see no real advantage for doing so.
I understand the point you are making regarding a less than optimal hit and the bullet's failure to reach a 'critical area', but this is something that can (and does) happen with either bullet type. Regardless of which type you turn loose, there's no guarantee that it will work.
I would bet that for every case where a HP failed and a FMJ round "would have done the job" you can find a case where a FMJ didn't work and "a HP would have done the job". The problem is, we don't know which is which until after the coroner finishes his job.
I would also add that if you want to shoot hardball go for it, I will stick with modern JHP. Will it expand? Will it get the penetration I need? Maybe and maybe not. Then again ball may go deep enough but miss a vital organ and not damage an artery due to the bullet profile.
But back to the subject at hand. I see absolutely no validation in mixing ammo in a magazine, only draw backs. I could possibly see a spare magazine with some ball ammo in it. It has nothing to do with accuracy, but it does have a question mark as to why?
You will not know what you have in the pipe and you will not know which bullet did the job, only the coroner will and he then will have to determine if it was a psychological or physiological stop.
Pick a modern commercially manufactured ammunition, test it's reliability in your gun, get your mind right, train and don't be delusional about what any defensive caliber handgun is going to do with either ammunition.
The long explanation was less for you, and more to make sure that everyone else who reads this thread is able to follow the logic. It was a bit long-winded, though, wasn't it?
I personally see this issue as one of those where an individual can go either way and not be "wrong", simply because this is one of those areas where we can look at both sides and say that "There's nothing really inherently wrong with either choice".
Subsequently, I completely agree with you here:
I don't believe there's anything really detrimental (functionally, mechanically, legally, etc...) but I also see no real advantage for doing so.
Honestly, I think you inadvertently summarized the heart of the matter from both perspectives:
Alternating could be considered just an additional attempt to plan ahead, IMO.I would bet that for every case where a HP failed and a FMJ round "would have done the job" you can find a case where a FMJ didn't work and "a HP would have done the job". The problem is, we don't know which is which until after the coroner finishes his job.
I want to be clear to everyone reading this thread that I am not questioning the effectiveness of the JHP or stating that the FMJ is more reliable, but instead focusing on how the two rounds may very well compliment each other if utilized in a certain manner.
While all points in this thread seem valid. I have my own personal opinion. In a ccw defensive handgun JHP's feed differently than most FMJ. Some will argue that they both feed 'perfectly' in thier gun. Woop de doo. I am talking about a broad range of guns, not just one, and certainly not "your" (anyones) favorite gun. If you want all the rounds to feed similarly you need rounds that ARE similar. I just cant jusitify mixing in a mag, or having an extra mag with just FMJ for any reason. If I need something with more penetration I need to fight my way to the truck, where I can pull out the rifle. Otherwise its JUST JHP for me... Granted I'm just a civilian.
In a CCW handgun I will not carry anything but JHP. why?
1. I dont have time to either
A) wonder which of the rounds is in the chamber at any given moment during a battle.
B) If I have just grabbed the right FMJ mag out of the two remaining.
2. Anything requiring more penetration will also require a rifle. I have one in the truck. If I need it that bad I need to find a way to the truck.
3. Reliability Issues. Rounds that are different can and will feed differently in different guns... Murphy will whoop your ass in a heartbeat. And not only that, he will most certainly do it at the most inopportune time for you. Dont let Murphy be the last person you talk to while still alive. (Cursing at him is still talking to him)
I would list more but my Doberman has a vet appt. in an hour.. so ill check back later.
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