Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Ammo Question

Go Ahead! Ask Mr. Wizard!

A commenter in the Carnival of Cordite post asked the following question, and it's good enough to spread some knowledge around.
I am a newbie to the world of self defense. Recently had a burglary of my home while we were in it. We are now handgun owners. Can anyone tell me if "Glazer rounds" are as effective as the owner of the local gunstore told me they were? The wife is using a Bersa .380, I am using a Ruger Super Blackhawk in the .44 Magnum.

Cor-Bon's Glaser rounds are essentially a copper jacket filled with birdshot and sealed with epoxy. They are designed as non-penetrator rounds, in that they shatter once they hit something solid, be it a sheetrock wall or a shithead burglar. Without going into the physics topics of projectiles such as sectional density and energy transfer, I'll just say that they work exactly as designed. They hit hard, and they don't punch all the way through 3 or 4 walls like a solid bullet might.

My only real beef with Glasers is their exorbitant cost. You need to practice with the *exact* ammo you plan on using for self defense. No use practicing with el cheapo ball ammo, and find out in a crunch that Glasers tend to shoot 4" high at 10 yards. Putting 50 Glaser rounds through that Ruger, (about the bare minimum I'd recommend for proficiency) is going to cost you around $170 based on the avg. price of $20 a package of 6 rounds. Add in the cost for the Bersa, and you're up to $320, enough for a new gun.

My opinion? Trade in that huge hogleg on a 12 gauge pump shotgun and a secondhand .357 Mag. You can put .38 special rounds in a .357, and it makes practicing a lot easier, both on your hands and on your wallet. It's quicker to reload, too. .44 Mags are great if you've been around the block a few times, but in a new shooter they almost always give you an inadvertent flinch just before firing, and that kills accuracy.

Shotguns are hard to beat as a home defense tool, especially when using #7 birdshot loads. That load won't go into the house next door, and staring down that big tube takes the fight out of most anybody.

My personal preference for goblin-shooting ammo? I use Winchester Silvertip hollow-points in .45 ACP in my 1911A1. I'm in a brick house, so any misses (other than through a window) won't go very far. It's about $15 for a box of 20. I also like Federal Hydra-Shok ammo, but it's hard to find, and a little more expensive.

Good luck! Hope this helps!