Home and personal defense is a very broad topic. Good firearms and self-defense instructors discuss various theories and prepare their students as best they can for what would be a life changing event - defending your own life or the life of a loved one. Instructors will discuss firearm selection, staging areas, having a flashlight, and how to interact with LE when they arrive.
One topic that is not discussed often is ammunition selection. Remember, your firearm is merely the delivery system for the payload of your ammunition. You want to deliver a lethal hit but collateral damage to others and your surroundings need serious thought as well. You are responsible for every bullet that leaves the muzzle of your gun. Killing or injuring an innocent bystander is not acceptable.
Over penetration of a round is one of the most important aspects of ammo to consider. What happens to that bullet when it misses or goes through the bad guy? How many walls does it penetrate? Who is on the other side of that wall?
The importance of marksmanship and practice follows right along with over penetration as a top priority. When practicing on the range, stay within yourself. Only shoot as fast as you can while maintaining all hits within the bad guy's body (target). This is your "operational efficiency". If you have misses on your target, take the time to tape up the holes. As you are taping, think of the consequences that a stray bullet could have in a defensive scenario. Think of any miss at the range as a round that you have no control over which may hurt the unintended. A miss not only fails to stop the bad guy from doing bad things, it could kill someone you love and are trying to protect.
With the above being said, I am not going to go into ballistic reports on all of the defensive rounds available or what platform of firearm is best for you. Do a little research. The data is all out there. For pistols, I will say that I like Federal HST, Critical Defense, and Personal Defense. I also like SPEER Gold Dot and Remington Golden Saber. Your mileage may vary.
In a home defense scenario, you should be just as concerned about your misses as your hits. You can count on any modern cartridge to deliver expansion and energy to a bad guy when you hit him. Just don't fool yourself into believing that if you miss the bullet vaporizes and can'r hurt anyone. Be accountable and practice and train appropriately.
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Jim Benoit's thoughts on guns, gear, & training
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