FBI spec ammo or not?

knitepoetknitepoet Senior MemberPosts: 18,845 Senior Member
A large majority of the big names in SD ammo produce loads that meet the FBI specs for barrier penetration, expansion and so forth. Then you have some companies that produce civilian specific ammo that won't pass the FBI's barrier tests.

Which do you choose to carry, and why?

Personally, I'm not terribly concerned about my SD ammo being able to pass the FBI barrier tests. As a civilian, I do not see many, if any, scenarios where it would be needed in a "righteous" SD situation.

Plus, from my wet paper testing, most of the FBI spec loads expand less, and penetrate more. I prefer bullets that "over expand" in wet newsprint, hoping that they will expand in flesh.

So, your preference?

FBI spec ammo or not? 27 votes

FBI spec
7% 2 votes
Non-FBI spec
7% 2 votes
use both
11% 3 votes
Either one, shot placement trumps bullet performance
74% 20 votes
Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


Replies

  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,967 Senior Member
    I rate " If it functions in the gun " as the biggest issue.
    At present I do not have any guns and ammo matches that do not function. I have had in the past with .45acp and the Range Officer fixed that issue except for .45 acp shot shells and I got rid of those.
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • wddodgewddodge Senior Member Posts: 1,002 Senior Member
    I voted either as long at the gun shoots them fine. Honestly I find recycled wheel weights on my hip as often as not.

    Denny
    Participating in a gun buy back program because you think that criminals have too many guns is like having yourself castrated because you think your neighbors have too many kids.... Clint Eastwood
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 7,041 Senior Member
    I want penetration first and will happily take expansion if - and ONLY if - that is ensured. I will happily GIVE UP expansion and use hardball if the only other option is ammo that won't fully transect all the important stuff in a human body after going through an intervening arm first. Most of the stuff that makes the FBI happy has shown a tendency to be stopped by the skin or clothing on the exit side of the body, so giving that up for a bullet that looks impressive but fails to reach the pumphouse never made a lot of sense to me. FMJ is the preferred bullet type for elephant, rhino, and cape buffalo - with proper shot placement, it'll do for bipeds

    I do NOT worry overmuch about overpenetrating the goblin. Misses happen with great frequency in gunfights. Good hits with FBI-ish hollowpoints have very little gas left if they DO overpenetrate, but misses with the hollowpoint plugged with drywall act just like FMJ. Strays are a concern regardless of the ammo profile, so I don't see a lot of sense in handwringing over the how the well-placed rounds behave after they have done their job. Thinking about your backstop is Gun Safety 101 - that doesn't get set aside when someone is shooting back.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • olesniperolesniper Senior Member Posts: 3,761 Senior Member
    I carry Federal HSTs in my .45. They cycle without flaw, expand to an impressive size, penetrate 7 inches into wet newsprint, hold together, and are accurate in my pistol.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil: For I carry a .308 and not a .270
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    FBI spec for legal reasons, easier to defend in Court.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • WheelgunnerWheelgunner New Member Posts: 11 New Member
    Every firearm is different, even if they came off the line right after each other. What fires fine in one gun may jam in another for various reasons. So like the gentlemen before me in this thread, find what rounds function reliably in your gun, and then choose the one that shoots the most accurately. Today most any of the self-defense rounds from any major brand are going to do about the same.

    In my mouse guns (.380 and 9x18 Mak.) I use hard ball to insure penetration. If those little things expand and stop before reaching a vital organ, I could still be in serious trouble. If I ever have to shoot, I'm not shooting to wound. Like Bigslug said, its gotta reach the pumphouse!
    Smokeless powder and automatic pistols are merely passing fads that will simply distract you from the fine art of shooting.
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Have you ever been in a actual defensive shooting ? have you ever used a .380 acp FMJ in a defensive shooting ?
    I can tell you that abysmal ammo performance can get you killed, anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

    I don't put as much stock in anecdotal / subjective information as I do in personal experience /and or objective information based on firsthand / personal experience.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • SirGeorgeKillianSirGeorgeKillian Senior Member Posts: 5,458 Senior Member
    That is a moot point for me. I don't plan on shooting any FBI, and they ain't giving me ammo for free. I want something that will preform well out of my gun dependably and accurately.
    Unless life also hands you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck!
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    I'm in love with a Glock
  • 104RFAST104RFAST Senior Member Posts: 1,265 Senior Member
    I agree using FMJ, particularly in 9mm and smaller. If the bad guy is 300lbs in winter clothing I
    hope for complete penetration, plus I just prefer ball in my auto's,even my 45 acp. However. I do like
    JHP/SD ammo in my 38 & 357. hope I never have to find out if I right, law suits and such, you know!!
  • 104RFAST104RFAST Senior Member Posts: 1,265 Senior Member
    I agree using FMJ, particularly in 9mm and smaller. If the bad guy is 300lbs in winter clothing I
    hope for complete penetration, plus I just prefer ball in my auto's,even my 45 acp. However. I do like
    JHP/SD ammo in my 38 & 357. hope I never have to find out if I right, law suits and such, you know!!
  • 104RFAST104RFAST Senior Member Posts: 1,265 Senior Member
    I just bought some +P gold dots for my 9mm,s. I'm going to see if my autos like them next time I go to the range.
    Couple of my buddies like them so I'll give them a try.
  • LerchessLerchess Senior Member Posts: 550 Senior Member
    FBI schmefBI. Their criteria does not enter my mind when I buy ammo.

    I like expansion combined with a fair amount of penetration. Obviously functionability is even more important. But if there has been enough feedback from actual usage, I figure that trumps any formula.

    Then again, for HD, I see a rifle as being the best option anywho.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,651 Senior Member
    I load my self defense handguns with .45ACP Winchester white box "Personal Defense' rounds. Walmart sells them cheap in boxes of 50, and they expand just fine, as confirmed by knitepoet's wet newsprint tests. I also load my Kahr K-40 with them. They function in all of my handguns and I have had zero mis-fires.

    I rarely carry 9mm any more, but when I do, they are loaded with Hornady XTP, mainly because I have a bunch of Midway blem bullets that I hand load to match them, for practice rounds (or for self-defense use, if the cost of premium SD ammo ever becomes prohibitive).

    I almost never choose to depend on my pocket .380, these days, but when I do, I load it with WWB FMJ.
  • bobbyrlf3bobbyrlf3 Senior Member Posts: 2,467 Senior Member
    Whether or not the ammo is up to FBI specs is not critical to my choice, but it helps. I figure that many of the technological advances that have been made in ammo are the result of agencies like the FBI and SOCOM, and others, requesting better performing ammo based on results from actual events. I think it's analogous to the space program, which necessitated advances in technology that we use every day, like velcro. The demands of the agencies who have hard data that they can use to demonstrate effectiveness have given us significantly improved ammunition, so I use it.
    Knowledge is essential to living freely and fully; understanding gives knowledge purpose and strength; wisdom is combining the two and applying them appropriately in words and actions.
  • JeeperJeeper Senior Member Posts: 2,952 Senior Member
    I'll go with the "Either one, shot placement trumps bullet performance" answer.

    I never carry anything but either my .44 or .45 anymore. I still say carry and shoot the largest caliber with the heaviest bullet that you can reliably/accurately shoot.

    Yes I know that the .380 and even the .22 kills people sometimes, but I couldn't even guess at how many dirt bags I've had to babysit after they survive being shot (multiple times sometimes) with even something as formidable as a .40. The latest one was shot FIVE TIMES IN THE CHEST with a .40 and the doctors STILL managed to save his life somehow (yes, he's mighty messed up, but still breathing). Don't even THINK about telling me we don't have some of the best medical care in the world.

    Luis
    Wielding the Hammer of Thor first requires you to lift and carry the Hammer of Thor. - Bigslug
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