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Photo via kcdstm (Flickr)

As the U.S. military looks at buying a new sidearm and the unending debate over which handgun is more lethal comes up yet again, there’s a 9mm elephant in the room: What about hollow-points? A study from the Federal Bureau of Investigation concludes that hollow-point handgun rounds are more likely to result in large-wound cavities to vital organs that lead to rapid blood loss, and thus more reliable incapacitation. Multiple firearms instructors contend that 5.56 hollow-points provide greater tissue damage while limiting over penetration of targets and barriers. Even the law enforcement elements have fallen in line with the assertion, and have received authorization to load hollow-points into their duty weapons in response to the Fort Hood and Camp Liberty shootings. Despite these considerations, the military has made little effort to adopt the advances in expanding ammunition, leading to the misguided perception that the U.S. is legally or ethically prohibited from using hollow-points in combat.

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