CONTROLLING THE RISKS | Home Defense Ammunition

Understanding the capabilities and limitations of frangible bullets when protecting your home with ammo!

Extreme Shock ammo consists of a copper jacket that is filled with compressed, powdered metal. When it strikes, the bullet turns to powder. It is designed for environments where you absolutely cannot afford for a bullet to penetrate a barrier.

Everything in life isn’t a compromise, but selecting ammunition to use inside the home needs to be. While there are plenty of effective self-defense rounds available for almost any reasonably powered caliber you may choose, the decision of which to pick is complicated by the fact that you’re in your house—and in all likelihood, so is your family. And the rounds most likely to stop someone also have a good chance of penetrating through walls and hitting something or someone you didn’t intend.

Terminal Ballistics
When a bullet strikes the human body, it creates two types of injuries: a temporary cavity caused at the moment of impact as the tissue is forced away from the path of the bullet, and then returns to the position it had before impact; and a permanent cavity left after the bullet has passed through. Defensive handgun ammunition tends to fall into one of two categories, depending on which of the type of injuries the round is intended to create. Light and fast bullets, especially in hollowpoint configuration, are generally believed to create massive temporary cavities, and to cause injuries through hydrostatic shock as the impact of the bullet is transmitted through body. They offer limited penetration, and as such, transfer most of their energy into the target body. While we generally think of the 9mm as the quintessential “light and fast” round, there are rounds available in most pistol calibers that are intended to work the same way.

Sheetrock typically does little to stop bullets effectively. By choosing a specialized round, you can help minimize this tendency.

Slow and heavy bullets, however, draw their effectiveness from the permanent wound channel they create, and from their ability to penetrate deep enough into the body to damage structural or neurological elements of the body (such as the spine and central nervous system). An object in motion wants to stay in motion, and the more it weighs, the harder it is to stop—thus the penetration that results from having a heavy projectile. When we think of slow and heavy, most people think of the .45 ACP.

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  • Mike Cumpston

    Totally off-subject but I wanted to complement you on your Guns Magazine article on the Taurus polymer 22/25s. I wonder if you tried Speer Gold dot 25s. Hard to get now but they have clocked well over 1000 fps from my Baby Browning and Colt .
    Anyway, Great Article