Choosing ammo for home defense is often more complicated than choosing ammo for concealed carry. Street carry in urban and residential areas usually requires ammunition that penetrates 12 to 14 inches in ballistic gelatin, to limit the risk of collateral damage. These medium-penetration street loads are also okay for many single-family homes, but they might not be the best choice for people who live in apartments, duplexes or lightly constructed houses. For them, low-penetration loads that go 9 to 12 inches in gelatin are probably better. On the other hand, people who live in farmhouses or other rural dwellings may be best served by ammo that is designed for deep penetration of 14 to 18 inches.
Given this, choosing home-defense ammo is a matter of individual need. Each person must weigh the pros and cons for himself or herself, and choose a load that’s reliable in their weapons and has a range of penetration that fits the environment where they may potentially have to shoot in self-defense.
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Fortunately, there are a lot more home-defense ammo choices today than there were 50 years ago. However, when choosing a home-defense load, remember that real-world incidents are more complex than any set of ballistic calculations or gelatin-test protocols. Bullets designed for deep penetration sometimes deflect and fail to penetrate, and low-penetration expanding bullets can fail to expand and over-penetrate.
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In short, make the best choice you can, but remember that there are no 100-percent guarantees when it comes to bullet performance, so be sure of what is beyond your target.
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