Selecting Loads for Interior Defense
Dr. John Woods 09.06.17
Most self-defense types, if they have any sense, are concerned about shooting inside occupied dwellings. Will the bullet or shot penetrate common interior barriers to the point they could contribute to additional injuries for innocents inside the dwelling? This is a serious issue to consider when buying ammunition for use inside a building.
Some ammunition is designed specifically to penetrate barriers for just cause. Obviously police and special law enforcement agencies need bullets that can effectively deter criminal activity on the other sides of common barriers like drywall, paneling, and conventional building constructions. Others may not need that type of complete penetration.
With home invasions being more common, people are concerned about shooting inside the house when other family members might be in the next room or down the hall. They want the effectiveness of a bullet to expel the threat at hand, but not to cause additional harm to others. So what is the best approach?
Isolated situations like this where an individual has to defend his own turf inside a dwelling suggests very short shooting ranges, perhaps from seven to ten feet. This means the targeted threat is very close at hand. So what are the best loads to use for these situations?
I have heard and studied two different theories on this and I would openly invite commentary from our readership. One idea is when using a handgun to use a lower powered load with common round nose, soft lead bullets. This type of load should be effective against a threat assuming a disarming hit is made, but such bullets should not over extend through interior barriers like walls. So, inside, avoid full power loads with jacketed bullets.
The other handgun theory under these circumstances is to use a low or mid-powered load with hollow point bullets. Again the idea is that such a load should incapacitate a threat, but a missed shot into an interior barrier would instantly become clogged with building material like sheetrock and thus end wall penetrate through the building. What are your thoughts?
Consider the same approach if you use a shotgun for interior defensive purposes. Excuse the use of buckshot or a slug. A good field load of 7 ½ or #8 shot should put quite a sting on a threat. Use a modified choke so the load is not concentrated into a wad.
Again, AO readership, please chime in on your thoughts on this issue.