Are Hollow Points Enough?

Are Hollow Points Enough?

This is a discussion on Are Hollow Points Enough? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Disclaimer: This is a longie, but interesting. TLDR at end of post. Pics will be included too. Hi, I have a simple, yet complex question. ...

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    Ex Member Array HelloAll's Avatar
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    Disclaimer: This is a longie, but interesting. TLDR at end of post. Pics will be included too.

    Hi, I have a simple, yet complex question. Do hollow points penetrate deep enough for ANYBODY? Most importantly, if the bullet has to go through an arm (bone included)? I want ammo that will work on anyone, not "for the most part". No one is bullet proof, right?

    Through tons of research, I am very well knowledgable about the "FBI Standard" of 12-18 inches in ballistic gel testing, meaning that if a bullet can penetrate a minimum of 12 inches in gel, then it's good to go for self defense. My thing is, for what sized person is this 12 inch minimum? A 5'10, 160 pound man? A 4'5, 100 pound woman? Any size person? Without knowing what it's based off of, how do we decide when 12" isn't enough any more, and need 15" inches for a particular person. Or 18?

    I'm not gonna say I don't believe in over penetration, but I DO think it's overblown out the wazoo, and people are a little too comfortable with whatever the FBI says, soley because "I mean, it's the FBI man...". The theory is 18" is the maximum (again, for who?), and anything above that, the bullet is gonna blow through the assailant and murder everybody behind him/her.

    Important notes:
    1) "X" inches in gel IS NOT "X" inches in a body. I've read that gel testing already accounts for bones, odd angles, and blah blah, but still.

    2) From thorough research, I've read that breaking the skin (entry) is roughly equal to 2" of gel penetration. Going through bone is equal to 3" gel penetration. Also, to exit skin, requires roughly 4" gel penetration. So, using a bullet that averages 12 inches penetration in gel, going through the chest, penetrating skin and hitting the sternum or rib along the way, will go 7" deep into a body. This seems reasonable.

    The way I see it, by the time you're halfway through a torso (chest area), that's perfectly sufficient to hit the lungs, heart, aorta, and all the big vitals. I'm 5'6 and 130 pounds, and my chest from front to back is 7 inches. That means by 3.5 inches in, the bullet will have hit something vital. Great, a 12 inch penetrating JHP will work just fine on me, reaching all the way to the skin of my back. In fact, it will almost go completely through me, since bullets don't perfectly expand in bodies, ESPECIALLY when they hit bone, which increases penetration. Failed expansion can add 3" to penetration, negating the 3" of penetration that would've otherwise been taken off due to bone contact.

    The VAST majority of people, will have something vital hit with this level of penetration (7 inches into them), as long as it's a clean shot (no arms in the way). My thing is, what IF there is an arm in the way? Would that not require the equivalent of 9" of gel penetration (2" to enter skin, 3" to penetrate bone, 4" to exit skin)? That means that a bullet that goes 12" in gel won't even have enough penetration left to get through the skin and sternum of my chest (2" for skin+3" for bone). What? Also, there's no way you can tell me all people's muscle tendons are the same resistance or density. Am I off here in how I'm looking at this? Please correct me if I'm overdoing the penetration loss due to bone and skin resistance.

    At 5'6 and 130 pounds, I'm extremely small, like, about as small as a man who isn't abnormally small (dwarfism, etc). can get, give or take a few inches and some pounds. Yet it would take a JHP that can penetrate 17.5" to go through my arm (including bone) and then the bone of my chest and to halfway in my chest torso area (3.5")? What about obese people (Manny Yarborough), or huge muscle bound people (probably the main people you would want to use a gun on) like Thor Bjornsson? I mean your "average" person can fit inside the guy. I don't want ammo that is good "for the most part", I want ammo that will work on ANYONE, through arm(s).

    Most JHP's do the BARE MINIMUM 12-14 inches of penetration anyways, due to, in my opinion, expanding TOO MUCH (HST, I'm looking at you. Federal themselves has put out official penetration at 13" in bare gel). In fact, the vast majority of the loved JHP's that people like, are in the 12-14" range. Why are people so comfortable with this? Even the FBI says they prefer at least 15", and the supppsed max limit is 18". Penetration is NECESSARY, expansion is icing on the cake. Of course it helps blood loss- i.e. bigger hole, obviously. But at what cost? Working on "most people", but not ALL people? Man, at least with FMJ, you KNOW it's gonna penetrate. It's what it does. It's not like FMJ somehow stopped being lethal. In a way, I can understand how FMJ can be seen as more reliable than JHP.

    The JHP, at this point, that I'm interested in is Federal Hydra Shok Deep 135 Grain for 9mm. Official penetration at 15" in bare gel, clothing, blah blah. Is this enough to penetrate ANYONE sufficiently after going through an arm? Like, literally, no matter how big someone is?

    The muscular guy in the pics is 6'9, 415 pounds. The obese guy next to Miley Cyrus is 6'7 and 600 pounds. The other guy, I don't know, but you get the point lol.


    TLDR; JHP may not penetrate HUGE people enough, but FMJ always will. Is the Federal Hydra Shok Deep JHP, which in OFFICIAL testing (not the BS Clear Gel stuff) penetrates 15" consistently, sufficient to go through an arm (including bone) and still penetrate vitals in the chest area (most likely having to break sternum/rib as well) no matter how muscular, obese or thick the person is?

    I mean, if only allowing COM shots, these people in the pics aren't hollow point proof, right? I mean if you shot the guy on the bed in the stomach with a JHP, would it even make it somewhere lethal, ya know? With his arm in the way too?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Are Hollow Points Enough?-screenshot_20200124-054955_1579876428906.png  


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    VIP Member Array OldVet's Avatar
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    You get a five-point deduction for posting that pic this early in the morning.
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    Ex Member Array HelloAll's Avatar
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    The rest of pics.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Are Hollow Points Enough?-screenshot_20200124-055117_1579876791686.png  

    Are Hollow Points Enough?-screenshot_20200124-055054_1579876842039.png  

    Are Hollow Points Enough?-screenshot_20200124-055328_1579876922371.png  

    Are Hollow Points Enough?-screenshot_20200124-060940_1579876951734.png  

    Are Hollow Points Enough?-screenshot_20200124-060617_1579877015230.png  


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    Ex Member Array HelloAll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    You get a five-point deduction for posting that pic this early in the morning.
    BAHAHAHA. You didn't even see the rest...

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    Remember listening to a fella from the famed NYPD Stakeout Squad years back describe how he confronted a huge man / perp in a supermarket holdup.....Perp took a 12ga. slug CM, turned and ran out of the market.....collapsed on the sidewalk down the street.....guess ya just never know for sure.
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    I think if you have the ability to walk fast you won't need a gun for those types of humans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by forester58 View Post
    I think if you have the ability to walk fast you won't need a gun for those types of humans.
    Probably, except for Thor (World's Strongest Man). Also ya never know the scenario, they might have you trapped. The guy next to Miley Cyrus can move deceptively well too. Only immobile guy is the guy on the bed.

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    I don’t rely on Jell-O or FBI blessing, I just carry what is most reliable and accurate in my weapons.
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    I believe in thinking of situations like this as playing the odds. The odds of me being attacked at any given time are very small, yet that possibility still exists.

    The odds of me being attacked by one of these massive humans is a very small percentage of an already very small percentage chance. Almost infinitely small.

    If it still happens, the best I can do is try to get off some shots as quick as possible, if possible, and then fate will take its course. If it's my time to go, so be it. I can only prepare myself for the majority of possibilities that could happen to me. I can't prepare for every single little possible scenario.

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    How many assailants are encountered that are so morbidly obese that they are movement and agility impaired? Probably not very many of them feel capable of going into the "assailant business."

    Obstructing mass could always blunt bullet effectiveness in an effort to stop an assault, be it excessive body mass, an arm, clothing, protective gear, or a shielding object.

    Concern for such an assailant would be akin to being concerned that one is going to encounter assailants wearing bullet proof vests. Neither is likely to happen. If it does and it is discovered that an assailant is not going down with the hits being delivered and is continuing to press his attack then the defender is going to have to adapt. No real choice there.

    Shot placement is still golden and neither expansion nor its effectiveness is a given.

    A .375 H&H Magnum rifle is in the collection here but can't be toted around town and doesn't really fit well into household defense. Yard defense against a T-Rex? Maybe so.

    You could be over-thinking this a bit.
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    Body armor/failure drills ain’t just for folks wearing Kevlar.

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    Looks like you’re mostly looking at one shot examples. The idea is to stop the threat.
    1 round, 2 rounds, 10 rounds, whatever it takes.
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    Fantasy is great but in reality, JHP is the best you're gonna do in a handgun that is concealable. If you're worried then carry 44mag in a 2in wheel gun (ow!).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fallsrider View Post
    I believe in thinking of situations like this as playing the odds. The odds of me being attacked at any given time are very small, yet that possibility still exists.

    The odds of me being attacked by one of these massive humans is a very small percentage of an already very small percentage chance. Almost infinitely small.

    If it still happens, the best I can do is try to get off some shots as quick as possible, if possible, and then fate will take its course. If it's my time to go, so be it. I can only prepare myself for the majority of possibilities that could happen to me. I can't prepare for every single little possible scenario.
    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    How many assailants are encountered that are so morbidly obese that they are movement and agility impaired? Probably not very many of them feel capable of going into the "assailant business."

    Obstructing mass could always blunt bullet effectiveness in an effort to stop an assault, be it excessive body mass, an arm, clothing, protective gear, or a shielding object.

    Concern for such an assailant would be akin to being concerned that one is going to encounter assailants wearing bullet proof vests. Neither is likely to happen. If it does and it is discovered that an assailant is not going down with the hits being delivered and is continuing to press his attack then the defender is going to have to adapt. No real choice there.

    Shot placement is still golden and neither expansion nor its effectiveness is a given.

    A .375 H&H Magnum rifle is in the collection here but can't be toted around town and doesn't really fit well into household defense. Yard defense against a T-Rex? Maybe so.

    You could be over-thinking this a bit.
    I understand, but in a way, doesn't this go against the very fabric of handguns in the first place? The "Great Equalizer". The "no one is bullet proof" mantra. Going from all of these tests and standards and design improvements in order to insure effectiveness, to "I can only try, if it's time, then it's time?" The only immobile guy pictured is the one on the bed. What if he has a gun? The muscular guy is extremely athletic. He can box, run, (Chase you), grab, all the basics. I understand "what's the odds", but still, aren't big people some of the main people a firearm would be used on? I mean, you're not pulling your gun on a 80 pound girl (hopefully). See what I mean? Maybe FMJ in SD has a place after all?

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