View Full Version : JHP and "winter" clothing

12-05-2010, 03:21 PM
Here is the outcome of some recent research we did this weekend.

The question we were trying to answer is...does winter clothing (heavy jackets, sweaters, etc) degrade JHP bullets?

We conducted some rather scientific tests by firing through the clothing and then into water to try to recover the bullets. We also fired into the water to test for expansion of the JHP beforehand to use as a control.

We wanted to know if the expansion of the JHP would be impeded by the clothing.

It was.

We fired 9mm, 40S&W and .45 ACP

We used both standard velocity and +P for all three calibers.

We fired from full sized service pistol barrel lengths as well as compacts.

We kept the clothing a foot away from the water and then right up next to it.

We tried to cover every angle.

The results are scary.

In every case without exception, clothing was found in the cavity of the JHP causing it to fail to expand.

Yes we used thick jackets, wool coats and several layers. That was the point. We already knew they worked on sweat shirts and light weight jackets.

Disappointed, we kept trying different variations trying to get something to expand the way the control round did.

We even tried a .45 ACP 1911 long slide hoping the added barrel length would help, even though this would not be considered a CCW weapon.

No luck.

They all performed similar to FMJ rounds after the cavity got clogged up with the clothing.

What little expansion that did occur was negligible.

I'd encourage you to perform your own tests and see for yourself.

The outcome of this test caused me to make some changes for winter carry.

I usually carry a Glock 9mm.

For winter I intend to carry a .45 ACP

If I have to end up shooting FMJ due to failed expansion, I'd rather them be .45 ACP 230 grain FMJ than 9mm.

Just some thoughts.

Again, I encourage you do complete your own tests. Maybe you can improve of what we did and get a better outcome.

Just some thoughts.

Take care,

12-05-2010, 03:50 PM
I shouldn't worry.

I would never rely on the HP to expand anyway.
If it does - then great!
If it doesn't - so what!

Some people like a .45 for this very reason.

Try to hit the vital spots when you shoot.
More people have been killed by 'ball' and/or RN lead bullets than JHPs, so the issue is not quite as important as some might think.

Good post btw.


12-05-2010, 03:52 PM
Interesting thanks for posting. In the past our local SO issued ball ammo during the winter, but for the opposite reason. Apparently the training officer was of the opinion that heavy winter clothing could cause the ammo to expand prematurely causing failure to penetrate. I never bought that, and your testing wouldn't seem to support it either. But, might have been the right answer for the wrong reason, who knows?

Al Lipscomb
12-05-2010, 04:13 PM
There is a lot of material on the subject. A lot of JHP rounds will fail to expand after passing through a cotton tee shirt. That is why the four layer denim test was added to the standard testing protocols. Not a lot of data on what was tested so it is hard to say if there are any real surprises. People tend to bleed out a long time after the gunfight is over so the difference in a JHP and FMJ in a handgun round tends to not make a big difference.

12-05-2010, 05:00 PM
There are a number of manufacturers out there that produce hollow point bullets that they hail as the end all stop all despite heavy clothing. As others have mentioned here, I'm a firm believer in if it expands okay, that'll be really bad for him; lead round nose, ball and even semi-wad cutters have taken down plenty of bad guys.

Of course I don't think that a stocking cap would offer much protection if any at all...

12-05-2010, 05:04 PM
I read and autopsy report of a man that was shot by several police during a shoot out. He was wearing a heavy down jacket and the Gold Dot pistol bullets did not penetrate enough to stop the perp. He was stopped by and AR which did not penetrate like the rounds should have.

Sonny Puzikas posted a thread explaining his use of FMJ pistol rounds. If I remember correctly, 5 or 6 center mass then one or two well placed rounds.

The idea of two center mass and if the person is still standing, one to the head has been used in some circles of thought. The head shot might be harder for a person under stress.

This was a good report you have shared with us.

Chris Upchurch
12-05-2010, 05:15 PM
What brand of ammo?

12-05-2010, 05:58 PM
There was a thread on a local board about Summer guns/Winter guns. One of the posters asked when a Denim Jacket got upgraded to body armor. Seems in the winter time some people carry nothing less than a 45 ACP but in the summer a .380 is considered "enough gun".

I just carry a 9mm and lots of rounds. If I only need 2 fine, but if I need all I got then I got enough.

12-05-2010, 06:16 PM
What brand of ammo?

For 9mm:

Winchester Ranger 124, 127, 147
Hornady Tap 124
Corbon 115, 124, 147
Speer gold dot 124, 147
Federal Hydra shok 124
Remington Golden Sabre 147

40 S&W:

Winchester Ranger 165, 180
Federal Tactical 165, 180
Corbon 180
Golden Sabre 180
Speer gold dot 165, 180

.45 ACP:

Corbon 185
Hornady Tap 185, 230
Winchester Ranger 185, 230
Federal Tactical 230

There were also some hand loads thrown in for good measure that we thought might make a bit of difference. They didn't really.

Take care,

12-05-2010, 08:41 PM

The data presented is a good start.

Any pictures of recovered bullets?

Any thoughts of using a tissue simulant throughout the test?

Not knocking your tests, just encouraging more thorough testing procedures and data presented.

Do appreciate the work you're putting in though.

12-05-2010, 10:56 PM
Practice more, dry fire and be tactically aware of what is around you when you are out and about.

Hollow points bullets in winter, summer, ball ammo who cares. Do what you need to do tactically and place the shots where they need to be placed this is what will save your life.

What bullet you use as long as it hits the good stuff is what matters. 45 or 9mm they work the same, stay with the 9mm and worry about things that matter.

12-06-2010, 07:11 AM
It only stopped the bullets from expanding, it didn't stop the bullets.
I look at HP ammo more as a "it stops in the target" or "loses enough KE to reduce leathality on the other side of the target". Make sure the area behind your target is clear in case your HP doesn't expand and stop in the target basically. 5 9mm holes zippering up the target is just as lethal as 5 9mm holes with expanded bullets digging a half inch wide or better hole behind them, as long as you hit something vital.