Hmmm, 9mm FMJ...is it really that bad?

This is a discussion on Hmmm, 9mm FMJ...is it really that bad? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Classically we "write off" the FMJ as a poor performer compared to JHPs. I was looking up some stuff in M&S's "Stopping Power" book and ...

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Thread: Hmmm, 9mm FMJ...is it really that bad?

  1. #1
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    Hmmm, 9mm FMJ...is it really that bad?

    Classically we "write off" the FMJ as a poor performer compared to JHPs. I was looking up some stuff in M&S's "Stopping Power" book and ran across this.

    Before I say this, let me state that NOBODY, including M&S is promoting or teaching OSSs.

    Having said that, the highest 9mm JHP OSS percentage is 91% and some of the top performers come in at 88% and better, but the lowly, ineffective 9mm JHP had a OSS rating of 70%. 70% doesn't sound so shabby to me! A bullet that stopped the fight with one shot 70% of the time? How is that bad? Especially since we're likely gonna be shooting more than one shot.

    This'll light some fire, but the three 230 gr .45 ACP FMJ bullets listed only had a 62% OSS percentage.

    Any thoughts? Preferrably not about 9mm vs .45, seems like we've already done that, but about the effectiveness of a 9mm FMJ vs 9mm JHP.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Tangle, maybe I'm just not awake yet, but I'm not associating the abbreviation(M&S ??) Without knowing more of the context of the data, I would say that 9mm FMJ would have a higher percentage of OSS on the street, as more peolpe are shot with it, than .45.

    As I've said before, from running shooting "victims", I would not have much preference, one way or another, regarding caliber. I'm more invested in 9mm, and I can carry more of it, hence... FMJ or JHP- I'm also a believer in slide-lock, unless a complete cessation of hostility is immediately, readily, apparent. Ball will do the job, if put where it needs to go.

    Edit to add: HOT FMJ is more likely to penetrate solid barriers, with less directional shift than JHPs. I would venture that it would have more of the "hydrostatic shock" than "standard" ball, as well, but that would (I believe) to be too situational to be relied on.

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    I personally know of one WW2 vet that owes his life to 9mm FMJ.

    He was somewhere over in Germany when they overran a well entrenched gun postion. They got into a rather intensive shootout and he had passed by many dead germans. As the battle came to an end, and the soldiers were finally relaxing, one of the "dead" german officers got up and popped him right in the chest with a P-38. The guy next to him whacked the German and my freind was attended to by a medic. After some examination, it was determined that the bullet hit a rib right above his heart and exited out the top of his shoulder doing little damage. He was bandaged up and returned to duty and he said that it hurt like heck for a few weeks everytime he moved but in no way was he was incapacitated. His wife still has the P-38.

    He wasnt kidding, a few weeks later he earned the Silver Star.

    He always said that if that officer had picked up an American .45 that he wouldnt have been around to produce children and grandbabys...

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    Rob,

    My bad. M&S is Marshall and Sanow. The OSSs are percentages so it takes into account one being used more than another. For example, if you had 200 shootings with a specific 9mm JHP and out of those 200, 180 shots stopped the BG with one shot to the torso (Man, don't we wish!!!) then it would have a OSS percentage of 90%.

    But the same thing would work for a fewer number of shootings. Say out of 85 shots, 79 resulted in a stop with one shot to the torso. That'd be a OSS percentage of 93%.

    Rob,
    I liked your comments about barrier penetration and ball doing the job. Something to think about.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Well so much of what we discuss here is really, really splitting hairs. I remember once we debated 165 grain vs. 180 grain loads in .40 S&W for like 4 pages.

    I'm no better, I complained for like a page on the forum the other day about the locks in S&W revolvers that probably don't really effect anything.

    So when we say things like JHP is much better than FMJ... well yes there is a remarkable difference, but shot placement trumps it all every time.

    I choose whatever I believe to be the "good" ammo for personal protection, make no mistake, but just because we're reduced to a basic ball load doesn't suddenly mean our gun is useless or we are helpless.

    I'm not going to go load up some 115 grain WWB and say that's a good defensive load for my CZ 75B, BUT if that's all I had, I'd use it.

    I mean heck, they kept law and order for 100 years or more with .38 caliber revolvers shooting inferior bullet designs. It's not like something's worthless just because it's behind the ballistic curve. We're just spoiled rotten.

  7. #6
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    Euc,

    Yep, what you said.

    As you know, I shoot a lot, somewhere around 150 rounds a week average, (and today's shoot day OH BOY!) and since I carry 9mm 124 gr GD +p, I can't very well train with them, well without selling my house, car, and guns to afford it.

    But it does trouble me that I train with Walmart stuff (no complaints) and occasionally shoot my carry ammo for "familiarization". But I'm not sure that training with one kind of ammo and carrying a different kind makes a lot of sense. The POI could be different, recoil could be different, muzzle flash/blast could be different and it seems that if I had to be in a spontaneous gunfight, I'd like it to be with the ammo I shoot regularly, not some stranger, so to speak.

    However, after I saw the 70% OSS, I had the thought that I have 1800 rounds of 9mm 124 gr NATO ball on hand and if I could replace it for what I paid for the first batch, I could afford to train with it and carry it too. At least the POI, recoil, and all that would always be the same.

    It would also mean that I could store up an emergency supply for bugout situations that is the same that I train with and normally carry.

    It's just that it is so ingrained in me that "you gotta carry JHPs in a handgun to be effective."

    But you know, I'm thinking too about the FBI-Miami shootout and that 9mm Silver Tip that inflicted the fatal wound on one of the BGs, although it didn't work nearly quickly enough. But, what if that had been a 9mm NATO round and it had punched a 9mm hole through two walls of his heart? It seems to me, he would have succumbed much faster.

    But anyway, what do I know? That's why I keep all you guys around.

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    I wouldnt hesistate to use FMJ.

    Sure it may not be the BEST tool to use but it certainley works. Fact of the matter is...its not unusual for hollowpoints to plug up with with cloth and act as a solid bullet anyway.

    The trick is to just keep shooting.

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    Senior Member Array David III's Avatar
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    I agree with HotGuns. In fact, I do use FMJ in all of my semi-autos.

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    I would not feel compromized if ''only'' having FMJ's - but if given choice then my Gold Dots will as I see it probably have an edge. But that depends obviously where they land up!!

    I do actually choose FMJ's for my wife to carry in her Bersa, same for our friend I set up with same gun - and just today bought my step daughter the same gun too, now she has turned 21. For her also I would load that with FMJ's. The round does not IMO guarantee anything like adequate expansion, too under-powered - plus the FMJ's feed reliability has the slight edge too.

    The subject will always produce many many thoughts and opinions but - as long as I have my piece on board - that is priority #1 - and FMJ's will still get the job done adequately IMO. I hopefully will never perform the acid test!
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    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    We talk about shot placement being key, and it is. However, before you can place a shot on target, you have to select the ammo. Your choice of ammo affects your ability to place a shot on target.

    We spend so much on our handguns and rigs, and we are so careful about our selections. We look for quality and performance, and take so many things into consideration. We admonish newbies not to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. We say you get what you pay for. Why is cost so often the first criteria for selecting the part that actually does the damage? Why isn't it performance?

    I don't write off FMJ as a matter of course. I see it as a different class of bullet design from JHP, with different performance characteristics. If I have a choice between a bullet that frequently overpenetrates, makes a smaller wound, and is rated as 70% effective, versus a bullet that penetrates thoroughly without overpenetrating, makes a larger, more extensive wound, and is rated as 91% effective, I'm going to choose the second bullet.

    There are a lot of buried soldiers who would testify to the effectiveness of 9mm FJM. Ask their shades how it performed. I am not a soldier. I don't have to comply with the Hague Convention. I want ammo I can place on target, with confidence in its accuracy, consistency, expansion, and penetration. I'm not going to turn down FMJ as a matter of course, but given a choice, I would choose a good JHP for personal defense over FMJ.
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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle
    But you know, I'm thinking too about the FBI-Miami shootout and that 9mm Silver Tip that inflicted the fatal wound on one of the BGs, although it didn't work nearly quickly enough. But, what if that had been a 9mm NATO round and it had punched a 9mm hole through two walls of his heart? It seems to me, he would have succumbed much faster.
    Problem is, with ammo, let's say the Hirtenberger L7, rated at 1600fps and umpteen fpsi- running that out of your HG, and not the +/-10" Uzi/MP5/MAC barrel it was tested in, you lose quite a bit of that "
    oomph!". I will say that I have tried it against stationary cars, and liked it enough to carry as "anti car-car shooting", for quite some time.

    You can stock a lot of ball, very economically, and it's true: "Quantity has a quality all its own!".

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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns
    I wouldnt hesistate to use FMJ.

    Sure it may not be the BEST tool to use but it certainley works. Fact of the matter is...its not unusual for hollowpoints to plug up with with cloth and act as a solid bullet anyway.

    The trick is to just keep shooting.
    +1

    Thats what i say

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    Sort of an off the wall thought here, but is it out of the question to take advantage of both by loading (for example) every 3rd or 4th round in a magazine with FMJ and the rest JHP? Does anyone do this, or have heard of someone doing this?

    Just curious
    "I surrounded 'em"- Alvin York

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    Rick - for me, mixing is a no-no.

    One thing is you'd never remember what was comin out next! And - am always looking towards 100% consistency in all ways possible.

    Not for me!
    Chris - P95
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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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    Does anyone do this, or have heard of someone doing this?
    almost but not quite...

    On duty I carry two mags of Win Silvertips with me. One in the gun and one in the belt pouch. The other mag in the pouch is FMJ. Of course...its in .45.

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