From the Archives, 2015
I get asked a TON of questions about ammo, with the most popular question being:
“What is the best TYPE of ammo to use in an AK for self-defense?” My general response is typically “Whatever you have loaded at the time is fine, the perp won’t being filling out a ballistic critique sheet at the end of the crime or nothing…”
It has been my experience that most people over think things like ammo and gear in general when it comes to self-defense. I mean that whole “Software before Hardware” thing does have meaning! And yeah, it MAY sound like a smart ass thing to say, but yes, in fact, ANY ammo that goes BOOM and not CLICK when you pull the trigger will most likely work and do the job.
I mean lets be real, you are using an AK-47 Rifle here to defend yourself! Not exactly a mouse fart gun! But, since you tuned in to this post to read something educational, (I hope), here it goes.
This, by the way, is in no way a complete list of ammo types that are out there, just the broad strokes to give you an ideal.
FMJ or Full Metal Jacket: A full metal jacket is a bullet consisting of a soft core encased in a shell of harder metal, such as gilding metal, cupronickel or less commonly a steel alloy. An FMJ bullet is encased only on the front and sides, leaving the bottom as bare lead. This is your standard military issue round. Used mostly in target shooting in the civilian world. Quite simply, this is one hunk of lead that is designed to simply penetrate and not expand.
HP or Hollow Point: A hollow-point bullet is an expanding bullet that has a pit or hollowed out shape in its tip often intended to cause the bullet to expand upon entering a target in order to decrease penetration and disrupt more tissue as it travels through the target. Used primarily by Law Enforcement and civilians for self-defense. There is also JHP or Jacketed Hollow Point where the jacket, which is sometimes bonded to the core metal to prevent separation of the two metals, helps control expansion and helps prevent the lead core from disintegrating on impact.
SP or Soft Point: A soft point bullet is a jacketed bullet with a soft lead core, which has some of the lead exposed at the front end of the bullet. Soft point bullets may be round nose, flat point, or pointed. Soft points are used extensively in hunting loads, as they provide steady, controlled expansion and with proper shot placement, a clean kill of the animal. There are also BCSP or Bonded Core Soft Point. Bonded or Bonded Core is a bullet in which the lead core is soldered or chemically bonded to the copper alloy jacket.
FR or Frangible: A Bullet designed to disintegrate on impact with a soft or hard target, thus virtually eliminating the possibility of over-penetration. Used mostly by Law Enforcement in confined spaces, like with SWAT entries into houses.
OK, so now you know all the types, let’s talk what is best for the AK Rifle for defense purposes. First, and foremost, forgetting ballistics and penetration and co-efficient data for a moment, let’s talk what matters most in a self-defense weapon: RELIABILITY.
If the gun does not go bang when it is supposed too, or does not feed reliably, what good is it? And yes, generally there is not a more reliable assault rifle in the world than the AK-47, but why is that? Having worked and used the AK for some time, I can narrow that answer down to three things: