Today we have another guest post from Andrew Betts about using ball ammo inside your home.
This article is the opinion of Andrew but not necessarily the opinion or philosophy of the owners of looseorunds.com.
Everybody knows that ball ammo penetrates too deeply to be considered for defense, right? Full metal jacket doesn’t expand or fragment so it transfers little energy to the target and just zips on through, leaving wounds that may take some time to incapacitate and representing a not insignificant danger to people down range. This problem only gets worse in a rifle. At least that’s what any self-anointed gun counter “expert” will tell you.
Except that this concept is demonstrably false. To be fair, it is true that FMJ is a poor choice in handgun calibers for exactly the reasons outlined above. It is also true for many rifle loads. There are certain .223/5.56mm FMJ loads than can fragment and some do so very reliably. Copper jacketed 55 gr bullets with an open base and a cannelure (the notched portion around the circumference of the bullet at the point it meets the case mouth) are particularly good at fragmenting. They fragment so reliably that there is no reason not to consider them as a viable defense option.
When a .223/5.56mm bullet fragments, it transfers a LOT of energy into the target very quickly. This energy results in the formation of a very large temporary stretch cavity. At handgun velocities, this stretch cavity is small enough that it does not exceed the elastic limits of human tissue. Think of it like a rubber band. No damage is done to the rubber band, even if you stretch it far past its original length. At a certain point, though, the rubber band can stretch no further and will snap. Just before this happens, the rubber band is also much more vulnerable to tiny cuts than it would be when relaxed. A similar effect is seen when the fragments of a high velocity bullet pass through human tissue. The tissues stretch far enough to begin tearing and the multitude of fragments cause even more dramatic tearing, leaving a surprisingly large and devastating wound. At the same time, these fragments are each slowed individually by the tissues and the entire mass of the bullet is stopped much more quickly than it would have if it stayed together.
Take a look at this video and reconsider whether FMJ penetrates too deeply. Also, a pressurized can full of fruit can eject the contents forcibly enough to act like a rocket, but that’s another story.
While ball ammo can fragment it is highly dependent on velocity and construction of the bullet and jackets and other factors. Some will work wonderfully, while others fail to frag in any way. Ball ammo does have many uses but looserounds highly advises you to use proper expanding bullets for self defense unless you absolutely have no other choice or need something with serious penetration capabilities. In addition to its other short comings, if accuracy is essential for your use, ball ammo is not going to deliver. Editor