Why Only Expanding Rounds for Self Defense?

It’s so common among firearms owners that it’s often taken for granted.

However, if you are new to concealed carry and personal defense, or want to better understand why certain concealed-carry decisions are made, it helps to understand the purpose of expanding rounds for self defense.

While non-expanding rounds can be used for range training, expanding rounds, such as hollow points or jacketed hollow points, are almost exclusively recommended for concealed-carry loading.

This is because of two main reasons…

Reason #1: Effective Terminal Ballistics

The top reason that expanding rounds are appropriate for self defense is that they deliver more effective terminal (at the target) performance. Expanding rounds will give a larger wound channel, which means an attacker is more likely to be stopped quickly. The attacker will also experience more energy delivered to their body, which also helps stop a threat. Expanding rounds are not more lethal than non-expanding, but are more effective at incapacitating a threat quickly.

Reason #2: Reduced Chances Over Penetration

Because of the terminal performance of the bullet, expanding rounds are also less likely to over penetrate, either through barriers or through an attacker’s body. Energy is distributed from the bullet into the attacker’s body, which means the bullet is more likely to stop, while non-expanding bullets are more likely to maintain speed and momentum, which could result in unintended damage or injury down range. For this reason, loading non-expanding rounds for concealed carry is not recommended. 

Expanding or Not, Nothing Replaces Accurate Shot Placement

While you should always load some form of expanding round in your concealed-carry weapon, nothing replaces accurate shot placement. Be sure to practice regular training with your handgun so if the time ever comes when you need to defend yourself or your family, you are prepared.

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