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Old December 17, 2020, 06:23 AM   #1
Hiralaam
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FMJ effectiveness for home defense

Hello all,

I know this question has been asked, debated and answered a thousand times. But perhaps not in this context.
I'm from Belgium and after jumping through many hoops, filing more than enough paperwork and waiting many months I finally got my first AR.

Now hollow points are illegal here no matter what, and I knew this. However when I went to pick up ammo at one of the largest gun stores in the country, which I'm sure you all would find laughably puny, all they had was 3 different brands of 55gr FMJ. Nothing else. Whilst I'm sure its obviously better than nothing, I just can't help wonder if that's actually enough. Many of the posts I see on this topic compare how effective better rounds are and why you should use them, but is 55gr FMJ really able to do the job? I could reload for some heavier bullets, but that's about it.

Same for pistol rounds. I've got a 1911 in .45 of course and a double stack 9mm. Having to stick purely to FMJ, could this reliably stop someone in their tracks? Not that I'd grab a pistol over my AR in the middle of the night, but I'd like to carry one on my property.
Oh and on that note, .45 vs 9mm? LOL.

Any input would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance.
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Old December 17, 2020, 07:40 AM   #2
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Don't military's use FMJ? Shot placement is the key!

230 .45 or 124 9mm hardball is pretty good stuff.
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Old December 17, 2020, 07:49 AM   #3
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Honestly, I wouldn't sweat it because 1) You have no choice; 2) FMJ will work just fine.

Except maybe the double-stack 9mm. You'll have to empty the pistol
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Old December 17, 2020, 08:40 AM   #4
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If you can find any corrosive, FMJ - 52 grain (soft steel core) 5.45x39 - 7n6 - Russian mil-spec ammo --- That would be an outstanding (lethally ballistic) defensive round.

I only have one Russian ammo can left, of that round. Wish I had more...but --- sad to say --- the BATFE, here in the U.S., put the illegal importation screws to that.
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Old December 17, 2020, 09:04 AM   #5
brasscollector
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I going to assume your AR is a 5.56/223...
55gr FMJ is fine and traveling at 3000FPS or 914m/s there's quite a bit of hydrostatic shock associated with an impact. Also, as others have said, shot placement is key.
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Old December 17, 2020, 09:21 AM   #6
Shadow9mm
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First of all welcome, I see this is post 3, glad to have you here! Also congratulation on your new purchase!

Most if not all FMJ will act the same for the most part.

So questions time!

What brand of ammo.

Do they use their own brand of FMJ or a different brand.

Are you able to hunt, and what can you hunt.
If you can you might be able to get some soft points, or V-max varmaint bullets (polymer nose). If your wanting to dump energy and minimize over penetration that is what I would do. Our Sheriffs Office actually issues v-max to prevent over penetration.

you said no hollow point at all. I'm assuming no, but just in case, do they allow higher end match ammo. like a 75grain sierra match king? They seems to make the distinction between open tip match and hollow point on some bullets, at open tip match is to help it fly better and does not expand. The bullets tend to go sideways in targets better though.

What capacity mags are you allowed to have?

What is the cost of ammo there, I'm guessing 20rnd boxes?

are you guys having an ammo shortage or price hike right now?

How long was the process to get the firearm?

What was the cost for the process, and how much?

what brand and style of AR?

How much did the rifle itself cost?
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Last edited by Shadow9mm; December 17, 2020 at 09:38 AM.
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Old December 17, 2020, 10:06 AM   #7
Hiralaam
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Thanks for the great responses guys.

Of course, shot placement is key. I'd still feel better knowing my ammo's good though, even if in the A zone.
Although now I do feel more confident in my fmj.

As a response to your questions, Shadow9mm:

Actually because of your comment on the varmint rounds, I contacted a hunting shop which I know carries .223 bolt actions and they actually have Winchester ballistic silvertip so thanks a lot for that suggestion.
Other than that we've got Geco Target, Sellier & Bellot and federal. All .223
No open tip match rounds as far as I've seen.

Boxes of 50-100 rounds. For the cheapest, which is the sellier bellot, it's 55 cents (USD) per round. For the Geco Target, 66 cents.
The varmints come in 20 round boxes and are 2.63 USD a round.

Many people have bolt action or break open shotguns for hunting here but not many have pistols, let stand AR's. Hence, we have no shortages or anything of the kind. The prices as stated above are what they've always been. I suppose to you guys these prices must seem a little steep, but it's just how it is here. My rifle's a sig 516 patrol gen2, I don't recall how much it costs over there but it was 2965 USD.

30 round mags by the way.
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Old December 17, 2020, 10:43 AM   #8
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As for the process, it's a lot. But to get licensed to own firearms that aren't hunting rifles and shotguns it took me from start to finish about 10 months and maybe around 500 dollars worth of licenses/range membership for that year etc? After that, got my pistols which took 4 months. And now my AR which I've waited about 7 months for. Total cost in the end to get to this point for all the licenses, membership so on maybe around the 700-800 dollar mark and a 'gun club' range membership is 300 a year. You can get a hunting license for much cheaper here though. You also dont need to be member of a range and there's no wait time after you're licensed. Same for me, any hunting weapons I can get immediately and .22lr pistols too. Pump action shotguns and pistols take more steps. Semi auto shotguns even more and AR's and the like the most. Hope that gives you some insight.
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Old December 17, 2020, 10:46 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info! We are currently experiencing shortages of ammo and reloading supplies. Ammo prices were about 30 cents per round, prior to the shortage, however they are in the 50 cents and up range now, if you can find it. 30rnd mags are great, there are states here that restrict magazine capacity. Nice rifle! here in the us they are a more expensive rifle, but going for about $1200-1400. Glad to help, ammo laws can be weird. I know for handgun, several makers came out with expanding full metal jacket to get around hollow point regulations. not aware of anything like that in rifle ammo though.
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Old December 17, 2020, 12:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiralaam
... all they had was 3 different brands of 55gr FMJ. Nothing else. Whilst I'm sure its obviously better than nothing, I just can't help wonder if that's actually enough.
Better than nothing for what purpose?

The standard issue 5.56x45 ammunition when I served in Vietnam was 55-grain M193 ball (FMJ) ammunition. According to this article ( https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/th...to-ammunition/ ), the 55-grain M193 is more effective against living targets than the newer and heavier 62-grain M855 cartridge.

Quote:
In other words, the M855 ammunition is actually considered to be less effective against living targets than “ball” 55-grain bullet weight 5.56 NATO ammo. Or, put another way, standard lead ammunition rifle ammo is considered more deadly than M855.
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Old December 17, 2020, 12:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
Better than nothing for what purpose?

The standard issue 5.56x45 ammunition when I served in Vietnam was 55-grain M193 ball (FMJ) ammunition. According to this article ( https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/th...to-ammunition/ ), the 55-grain M193 is more effective against living targets than the newer and heavier 62-grain M855 cartridge.
The purpose is stated in the title, home defense

m855 was intended to be more effective on light barriers correct? It gives up terminal performance for straight line penetration.

If his 3 options were all 55g ball, it could be M193, or something proprietary for another company. He said his options were Geco Target, Sellier & Bellot, and federal all 55g fmj, or Winchester ballistic silvertip weight unknown.
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Old December 17, 2020, 12:41 PM   #12
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Unless you are dealing with some hardcore folks most burglars will flee after the first shot. I suspect a .22lr fired into the air will scare most bad guys away.
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Old December 17, 2020, 12:41 PM   #13
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FMJ is better than a clinched fist or flipping the bird. I'd worry about overpenetration and a JSP or JHP's expansion may check that a bit. Like the first post says, placement is key.
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Old December 17, 2020, 01:23 PM   #14
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Barrylee
Quote:
Unless you are dealing with some hardcore folks most burglars will flee after the first shot. I suspect a .22lr fired into the air will scare most bad guys away.
I would disagree with this personally. Yes it has happened, but it is not something you can count on.
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Old December 17, 2020, 02:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow9mm
m855 was intended to be more effective on light barriers correct? It gives up terminal performance for straight line penetration.
Correct. But M855 (and M193 as well) was designed for use with the M16's 20-inch barrel. It gives up more velocity through a 16-inch carbine. So does M193, but not enough to matter at home defense distances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow9mm
If his 3 options were all 55g ball, it could be M193, or something proprietary for another company. He said his options were Geco Target, Sellier & Bellot, and federal all 55g fmj, or Winchester ballistic silvertip weight unknown.
Federal 55-grain is probably XM193, whether or not they label it as such. Not sure about Geco or S&B. Winchester Silvertip is a varmint round, and within the past couple of weeks I have read multiple articles explaining why varmint rounds are not a good choice for self-defense against larger (i.e. humanoid) targets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4V50 Gary
FMJ is better than a clinched fist or flipping the bird. I'd worry about overpenetration and a JSP or JHP's expansion may check that a bit. Like the first post says, placement is key.
My understanding is that M193, because of the tumbling and cannelure, is less likely to overpenetrate or to shoot through walls than ball ammo in most handgun calibers.
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Old December 17, 2020, 02:30 PM   #16
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[Added}Sellier & Bellot 55-grain appears to also be a polymer tip, varmint type round.

https://www.sellierbellot.us/product...sp/detail/181/

The Geco is a FMJ, no polymer tip, and appears to have a cannelure. So it should perform much like M193. ("Should" -- unless it doesn't.)
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Old December 17, 2020, 02:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
Correct. But M855 (and M193 as well) was designed for use with the M16's 20-inch barrel. It gives up more velocity through a 16-inch carbine. So does M193, but not enough to matter at home defense distances.


Federal 55-grain is probably XM193, whether or not they label it as such. Not sure about Geco or S&B. Winchester Silvertip is a varmint round, and within the past couple of weeks I have read multiple articles explaining why varmint rounds are not a good choice for self-defense against larger (i.e. humanoid) targets.


My understanding is that M193, because of the tumbling and cannelure, is less likely to overpenetrate or to shoot through walls than ball ammo in most handgun calibers.
As far as 16 vs 20in barrel velocity debate, In this specific circumstance I don't think it makes a difference. As home defense is the question and ranges will be close, if we were talking 200yds plus I would agree. Also even out of a 16" is still moving pretty fast. Out of my colt 16" I clocked some mil spec 55g at around 3100fps a few years back.
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Old December 17, 2020, 02:50 PM   #18
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Shame about those ammo shortages over there, must suck. Is it getting any better by now? I'd imagine that big first wave of bulk buying would be mostly over.

The ballistic silvertip is also 55gr, will be getting some of that tomorrow.

I'm with shadow9mm on the counting on the warning shot scaring the perp. I'd much rather not risk it. Personally, if someone means harm to my family, we're past the warning phase.

Thanks for all the insights on 55gr ball, certainly feel comfortable using it as a defensive round doing some extra research and reading the comments here.
I'll also give that varmint round a shot at the range, see how well it goes since I'm not finding many reviews on it.
And as Gary said, would also be better for over penetration as I do live in a somewhat urban area.

Can confirm that the Sellier & Bellot 55 they sell here is FMJ, shot around 100 of that and the Gecko Target yesterday.
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Old December 17, 2020, 03:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiralaam View Post
Shame about those ammo shortages over there, must suck. Is it getting any better by now? I'd imagine that big first wave of bulk buying would be mostly over.

The ballistic silvertip is also 55gr, will be getting some of that tomorrow.

I'm with shadow9mm on the counting on the warning shot scaring the perp. I'd much rather not risk it. Personally, if someone means harm to my family, we're past the warning phase.

Thanks for all the insights on 55gr ball, certainly feel comfortable using it as a defensive round doing some extra research and reading the comments here.
I'll also give that varmint round a shot at the range, see how well it goes since I'm not finding many reviews on it.
And as Gary said, would also be better for over penetration as I do live in a somewhat urban area.

Can confirm that the Sellier & Bellot 55 they sell here is FMJ, shot around 100 of that and the Gecko Target yesterday.
The shortage is starting to ease up a little. problem is, once people realize there is a shortage they buy more, just in case they cannot find more later. it turns into a vicious cycle.

With Biden set to get sworn in in Jaunary, we very well could see panic buying and a severe shortage again in the near future. I remember under Obama, Back then to get 22s it was an ordeal, sold out so fast. At that time, there was only 1 place you could get it, gander mountain. Their shipments arrived Tuesday mornings. they would get several thousand 22s every shipment but limited customers to 500rounds each, or 1 container if it was packaged larger than 500. You had to get there at least 2 hours early, and there would generally be a line of 20-50 people. they handed out numbered tickets and in order you got to go in and pick your ammo and head to the register. 22s were sold out within 30min of opening every tuesday morning... almost all stores had a 3 box limit on ammo for any caliber back then too...

we are no where near that bad yet, but i think it is coming. It is a wait and see at this point. I have enough ammo and supplies to keep shooting a reasonable amount for probably 2 years or so. that buys me a lot of time to hunt down ammo, and reloading supplies, even if they are scarce. have around 2500 5.56, 2500 9mm, 6500 22lr, among a few other odds and ends.
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Old December 17, 2020, 03:25 PM   #20
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I understand. One of the reasons I'm somewhat glad it's so hard to get a weapon here, don't have to worry about the public getting spooked and panic buying all the guns and ammo like they did the toilet paper.
Hopefully it won't be too bad with Biden, although I'm pretty sure that's just wishful thinking.
Good thing you've got such a nice stockpile there. Though I can imagine it hurts having to take anything out of that. Is it hard to get smokeless powder for reloading as well?
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Old December 17, 2020, 03:31 PM   #21
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depends, vihtavuori powders seems to be available, made in Finland. They are a higher end powder, but not crazy expensive. the more common powder are hit or miss, depends where you shop. the place I generally go to is a 2hr drive. little shop in a small town, but he always has stuff. his shelves were full except for 1 or 2 powders. Some of the stores closer to me are sold out, or shelves half empty. The more useful powders are gone, and the less common ones are available.
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Old December 17, 2020, 03:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow9mm
As far as 16 vs 20in barrel velocity debate, In this specific circumstance I don't think it makes a difference. As home defense is the question and ranges will be close, if we were talking 200yds plus I would agree. Also even out of a 16" is still moving pretty fast.
Yep. The change from a 20-inch barrel to a 16-inch barrel drops the muzzle velocity a couple of hundred feet per second (say 50 to 90 meters/second). That reduces the distance at which M193 reliably fragments from (IIRC) around 200 meters to around 160 meters. It's been years since I ran the numbers on that but the bottom line is that M193 will tumble and fragment at typical home defense ranges, even out of a 16-inch carbine.
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Old December 17, 2020, 04:53 PM   #23
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.223 fmj isn’t the best choice, but if it is your only choice, it will do.
The most concise way to put it, is to say that they make an unpredictable mess at ranges that most civilized people would consider to be an appropriate distance to claim self defense.
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Old December 18, 2020, 01:09 PM   #24
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Our outdoor range --- here in Maryland --- has banned the use of the M855 - 62 grain - armor piercing Green Tip on it's range; due to the chance of ricochets and rendering of steel targets and frames.
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Old December 18, 2020, 11:47 PM   #25
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Hiralaam, Glad you are here and shared your experience buy a gun and ammo. Depending on what state you live in over here the experience can be completely different.
When I buy a gun it takes about 15-20 minutes and that includes the background check. Ammo has gotten hard to find but I have a store that gets some in and sells it at a fair price. I don't know if you are restricted on how much ammo you can have on hand but here we can stack it pretty deep and that is how some of the folks get through ammo shortages. Hope to hear more from you. Take care and have a Merry Christmas.
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