When the seasons change, should your caliber or ammo type change?
When the weather gets cold, it’s time to change the way we dress. Away go the shorts, swimsuits and tank tops and out come the coats, scarves and mittens. The flipflops are dropped in the closet and the snow boots are pulled out. It’s a cold, crisp slap in the face that reminds us it can’t be summer year-round.
Concealed carry evolves the same way in the winter. It gets easier to conceal a firearm since we are wearing coats, sweatshirts and sweaters all the time. But it also has its downsides; getting through all of our coats to draw our firearm; dealing with cold weather mittens and gloves; even making sure we have clear line of sight with our hats. So when winter comes around, some people will even change the way they carry. Some will just drop a pistol in a coat pocket and carry that way. Others will put it in a backpack or purse.
But should we change the caliber or ammo-type we carry when cold weather rolls around? Some people believe that we need to change one or both when we get into the winter months. They have their reasons and if it makes sense for them, sure. But bullet technology and bullet-making technology has come such a long way in the last few years, are some of these ideas even valid?
You should move to a larger caliber in the winter so that the bullet can penetrate all the clothes better.
Some people believe that moving to a larger caliber in the winter will allow better penetration through all the thick coats and clothes. At first glance, this would be a fair assessment. Physics tends to agree with that notion as well. A larger, slower-moving mass would be harder to slow down, therefore it would penetrate better.
The problem you run into is the same risk as any other day. You run the risk of over-penetration and the bullet going somewhere not intended.
While a smaller, faster moving projectile will slow down sooner, the speed will allow it to still penetrate just as far as a slower moving projectile. Even through more coats.
You should use full metal jacketed rounds in the winter instead of hollow points for better penetration.
When asked to explain this one, it has been said, “Because a hollow point will start to expand when it hits something and can slow down sooner then FMJ and not penetrate as far.”
Again, this initially seems to make sense since a hollow point can slow down, become clogged, and act as an FMJ round. There are ballistics tests showing that a hollow point round can get the bowl clogged and not expand properly when going through certain materials. But again, you are looking at the same risk as above: over-penetration.
Both seem to be very valid points. But in all honesty, unless they are wearing body armor underneath their coat, any round that you fire will penetrate to do enough damage to stop the threat. Is there that small chance that some variable could effect that? Of course. But it’s a slim chance.
So to answer the burning question, should you change caliber for the winter? The answer is, no. There is no need. Stick with what you know and trust, whatever caliber that may be. Don’t fall for the hype of needing to change anything.