I have to post somewhere first, might as well be on this one. I would choose self defense ammo based on weight before velocity every time. I would have no second thoughts to using 230 gr ball ammo(830-850fps) in a 45ACP for the purpose at hand.
There are better choices Rem Golden Saber, Win ST's, Fed HST's, Speer Gold Dot's and on. But all in the heavy for caliber weight and at a moderate velocity. I used the 45 ACP for an example.
Physics is the answer; base your selection on momentum.
- It must be reliable
- It much penetrate 14"-16" (a comfortable range, imho)
NOW... If the bullet can do those two things while using a hollow point bullet, go for it. If it can not do either one of those two items, look towards a FMJ round.
Generally speaking I find that the higher the sectional density, the more ideal the round is for my needs. In other words, the higher the grain, the more I tend to like the ammo selection.
Simply put, all handgun ammunition does is poke holes (unlike most rifle rounds). Yes, there have been articles stating the 10mm and .357 sig have had some notable energy transfer into gelatin causing the holding plates to bust, but the primary effectiveness of even those rounds are that they penetrate well.
If you remember that all handgun ammunition does is poke holes, you'll realize the two points are vital; and that the single most important thing is your aim. How well you shoot will be so much more important than what type of bullet is coming out of the gun.