Regardless of your experience, when it comes to the terminal performance of defensive handgun ammunition, few seem to agree on the ideal bullet, penetration depth or expansion characteristics. This dilemma is not necessarily a bad thing; after all, mindset, shot placement, tactics and the mental state of your attacker are likely to matter more than anything to do with the bullet.
I tend to lean toward bullets that expand wide and penetrate between 8 and 14 inches, because this seems to provide the best balance of penetration and tissue destruction. Federal's 90-grain Hydra-Shok load for the .380 ACP falls within this window. It will drive to almost a foot in 10-percent ordnance gelatin and expand to more than 1.5 times its original diameter.
|Load||Handgun||MV (fps)||PEN (inches)||EXP (inches)||RW (grains)|
|.380 ACP Federal 90-grain Hydra-Shok JHP||Diamondback DB380 (2.8-inch barrel)||891||11.5||0.59||89|