Are Jacketed Hollow Points Still King?
Dr. John Woods 02.12.18
For as long as I can remember the world was shaken with the advent of the now standard jacketed hollow point bullets. They literally smashed on the shooting scene and were quickly adopted for use as premier hunting bullets, but even more importantly for use in self-defense scenarios. Now, with so many new bullets designs in the marketplace, does the JHP still maintain its reign at the top of the heap?
The JHP bullet found favor with all shooters that were interested in devastating kills on game animals as well as potent stopping power for law enforcement and personal defense when it came to armed encounters. The bullets generally performed well by mushrooming out upon impact thereby expanding the overall width of the wound channel. Penetration was good with little to no exit wounds. That meant the bullet’s energy was expended inside the target, not wasted by flying out the other side.
When most of us old heads started handgun shooting way back in the ice age, a good bullet was a lead semi-wadcutter. This bullet design powered its way through the target and the semi-sharp cutting edge of the wad “cutter” plowed a good wound channel. That was the bullet to end all bullets way out surpassing the standard lead round nose bullets of the day.
Then along came fully jacketed bullets, which were substantial wound makers, but often the jacket material shed itself from the copper or lead interior and split apart. This was particularly the case with some hunting ammunition. All in all though, the jacketed bullets were a good step up from the plain Jane exposed lead bullets.
When somebody decided to more or less drill a hole in the end of a sealed jacketed bullet, the hollow point was born. Much develop time and expense has been spent creating excellent JHP bullets that have been considered the best choice of handgun bullets for many years. Now, perhaps that is somewhat in doubt.
Certainly, sometimes hollow point jackets came off or disintegrated upon impact and became less effective. One clear distractor for self-defense and law enforcement use was the clogging of the hollow point with external materials such as clothing upon impact. This reduced the bullet’s performance.
Today, new ammo/bullet designs such as the Ruger ARX, Browning BXP, G2 Research RIP, Buffalo Bore with Barnes TAC-XP, and Sig Sauer Elite Performance are causing traditional JHP loads to be reassessed. Maybe it is time you checked out these new rounds in your guns. If they function well, it could be time to switch.