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What ammunition should I carry in my CCW gun?


Very simply get the most "Grain Per Buck" that you can get. This refers to the ability of the shooter to comfortably control the shot while using the largest caliber round possible. We are refering to this as the Wound Potential.  R.K. Campbell defined the Wound Potential as the combination of Penetration and Expansion. A chart from Mr. Campbell's book is listed below. This is a very simplistic way to look at this, and we know there are many things that impact the performance of the bullet, but it does seem to be one of the best ways to get the point accross.

Pictured is a .357 with a 2-inch barrel using +P rounds. If you miss with the gun, the flames will stop the bad guys. Blake, one of our testers, enjoyed shooting the "Snubby".



The "Bullet" is actually only the projectile or the business end of the "Bullet". The shell makes up the rest of the components that consist of the primer, case, bullet, and gunpowder. Everyone just uses the term "Bullet" just as every one miss-uses the word "Clip" for an additional magazine used in a semi-automatic handgun.

There are different types of bullets made up in different calibers.

Types of Bullets:

Hydra-Shok®: Is a Federal branded product and comprises of a unique, patented center post design and notched jacket. Delivers reliable controlled expansion for efficient energy transfer and stopping power. Designed for law enforcement, hunting, home defense and personal protection.

ExtremeShock™ Explosive Entry tactical defense rounds represent the ultimate refinement in lethal bullet technology. The compressed Tungsten-NyTrilium™ Composite fragments upon impact, leaving a wound channel of catastrophic proportions. The expansive fragmentation characteristics of the ExtremeShock rounds transfer the bullets energy in a far faster time span than conventional hollowpoints. The resulting stopping power is utterly devastating.  This was refereed to Carryconcealed.net by Ivan and we will be testing this and other rounds from ExtremeShock. Ivan refereed to this round as a "Direct ticket to hell". He also provided the picture below on an insurgent watermelon. Please note in the picture that there was a watermelon behind the one that was blown to bits. You can see watermelon parts in the air from the first one and yet the watermelon in the back was left intact. Very impressive. This is a very important data point showing that the ExtremeShock™ rounds reduce the possibility of hitting an innocent bystander when defending your loved ones.




Expanding Full Metal Jacket: This revolutionary barrier-penetrating design combines a scored full metal nose over an internal rubber tip that collapses on impact. It never fills with barrier material and assures expansion on every shot. A lead core at the base maintains weight retention.

Lead Round Nose: Bullet is 100% lead with no jacket. Provides excellent accuracy and is very economical. You must take care on the range as some indoor ranges do not allow this type of round.

Full Metal Jacket: Jacket extends from the nose to the base, preventing bullet expansion and barrel leading. Used primarily as military ammunition and for recreational shooting.

Jacketed Hollow Point: Creates quick, positive expansion with proven accuracy. Specially designed jacket ensures smooth feeding in autoloading firearms.

Jacketed Soft Point: Designed for deep penetration when hunting small to medium-sized game.

Lead Semi-Wadcutter is the most popular all-around choice for target and personal defense. A versatile design that cuts clean holes in targets and efficiently transfers energy.

Semi-Wadcutter Hollow Point is a good combination for both small game and personal defense. Hollow point design promotes uniform expansion.

Close Quarters Training is a copper-tin bullet designed to break up on hard targets for reduced backsplash. The Ballisticlean® CQT eliminates airborne lead and reduces barrel fouling.

Different types of caliber:

.17 Mach 2 – Based upon the .22 LR necked down with the Hornady V-Max Bullet.

.22 Long Rifle (LR) – developed in 1887 by the Stevens Arms Company. It uses a .40 grain bullet and is a very inexpensive bullet. Do not let this fool you as it is very dangerous and can be deadly. It does not have much in the way of stopping power but can kill as seen in the Virginia Tech killings.

.25 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) This was introduced in 1908 with the Colt pocket pistol. It has a very poor stopping power and should not be considered for CCW. It is small and can be carried in any pocket but does not have the stopping power that may be required when defense against a robber on PCP or Crack.

.380 Automatic – This was introduced in 1912 and has achieved worldwide acceptance. It does not have much recoil, but it has less stopping power even the 9mm.

9mm Luger – This was introduced in 1902 and was approved for service in the German Military in 1904. This is the most common handgun ammunition used in the world today. There has been a large debate over stopping power vs. quantity available in the gun. Most 9mm handguns can carry larger amounts of ammunition than the larger .45 ACP or .45 Gap.

.38 Special – This was developed by Smith & Wesson as a military cartridge. This was carried by pilots in the Vietnam War and has earned a place as one of the best cartridges ever make. The use of a hollow point or other defense rounds makes this an excellent CCW choice.

.357 Magnum – This was introduced by Smith & Wesson in 1935. It has better armor penetration than the .45 ACP and has been a great law enforcement bullet over the years. The picture shows a Taurus .357Magnum with a two-inch barrel shooting +P loads.

.40 Smith & Wesson – This has been adopted by many police and law enforcement agencies around the world. It has less stopping power than the .45 ACP and ammunition is readily available.

.44 Magnum – The "Dirty Harry" of hand gun ammunition. Remington and S &W designed this round. The .44 is more powerful than the .357 Magnum and was considered the most powerful round when the original Dirty Harry Movie starring Clint Eastwood was made. Other rounds including the .454 Capsule have surpassed it.

.45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) – This was developed in 1905 and included in John Browning’s legendary design the 1911.45. The FBI and other key law enforcement agencies have standardized on this round. This round has lots of different uses and has been pushed to new heights with bullet shapes and the newer types of gunpowder. This is an excellent round for CCW as it has a great stopping power. Gun manufactures have figured out how to take away some of the recoil and place the rounds in a smaller gun frame.

When looking at ammuntion look at the "Wound Potential" for defense rounds. The "Wound Potential" is a combination of Penetration and Expansion. The following is a summary taken from R.K. Campbell's book "The Handgun in Personal Defense". We had contacted the publisher and recived permission to use the data for this article. We will also be updating this after our testing of Extreme Shock Amuniton.

The bottom-line – Use the largest caliber you can; with out loosing control of the gun. As for the bullet, different types of defense tactics would dictate different types of bullets. We recommend the Hydra-Shok®, ExtremeShock™, or the hollow point to minimize the potential for bullets to pass through walls. We are ordering the ExtremeShock™ rounds for testing. Once complete we will update this article and have other more specific articles with data points for specific rounds.


Federal – Federalpremium.com

ExtremeShockUSA has been very helpful. Just based upon the customer service of ExtremeShock we are sold even before we get the review done. There are not enough customer driven companies like the proffesionals at ExtremeShockUSA.     www.extremeshockusa.net