When I first got my concealed carry permit years ago, I ran right out and bought a Kel Tec P3AT and a box of Winchester Supreme jacketed hollowpoints. Why hollowpoints? Well, because they’re the ultimate in self-defense ammunition, right? It said so right there on the box! It took me a few months before realizing that I had made a simple mistake that could have proven disastrous if I’d had to use my weapon.

Failure to feed

Now this isn’t true of many new weapons on the market, and isn’t meant to lambast hollowpoint ammunition, but in some cases (and in the case of that Kel Tec), those hollowpoint rounds just don’t get along well with the semi-automatic platform. Much of this can be attributed to the design of the hollow-point bullet and the way it feeds; it can hang up on the feed ramp or tumble as it’s pushed toward the chamber, leading to dramatic failure to feed issues—one of the worst things a concealed carry holder can encounter.

Concealed Carry Ammo: Carry What You Shoot
Photos courtesy of Hornady.com.

Not the advantage I was looking for…

Up in the north country where I live, most people wear heavy coats 75 percent of the year. In the case of firing on a heavily-clothed attacker, the advantage of hollowpoints is lost as the round fills with fabric, preventing proper expansion and causing the bullet to behave like a conventional round—defeating the point. The addition of ballistic tips like those found on Hornady’s Critical Defense (left, bottom) are meant to overcome this, but those proprietary rounds come with a steep price tag (often as much or more than a dollar per round). “But isn’t your life worth a few extra dollars in ammo?” you may ask. Yes. But read on.

Carry what you shoot