San Francisco’s Hollow Point Ban Endangers Lives: Just Ask The NYPD

Hollow point bullets ammunition (Teknorat / Flickr / CC)
Teknorat / Flickr / CC

Hard left gun control proponents have a habit of passing laws–ostensibly to save lives–which actually do just the opposite. San Francisco’s hollow point ammunition ban is just such a law.

A hollow point bullet is a bullet that expands in diameter once it hits the right kind of tissue. These are exceptional self-defense rounds because their expansion creates a larger wound cavity. A hollow point bullet is therefore far more likely to stop an attacker with one shot–maybe two–verses full metal jacket rounds fired in the same caliber.

A full metal jacket round is just what it sounds like–fully metal. It is a ball of lead covered in copper which is smooth and slick and enters the body without tearing and ripping like a hollow point.

So San Francisco banned hollow points but allows full metal jacket and that means everything is safer, right?

Wrong. It actually means everything is now more dangerous.

A full metal jacket bullet in a hot caliber has a tendency to go all the way through an individual, whereas a hollow point grinds to a halt in the body. What this means is that San Francisco’s hollow point bullet ban opens the door to more people getting shot with bullets that have passed through intended targets and struck innocents in the background.

Just ask the NYPD. In July 1998 The New York Times reported that the NYPD was switching from full metal jacket bullets to hollow points. Why? Because full metal jackets had demonstrated a propensity to go through the intended targets and damage or harm untended persons or things.

NYPD police commissioner Howard Safir put it this way: “We are, in fact, going to switch to hollow-point ammunition as soon as we receive it. They are much safer than fully jacketed bullets, which will go through a person or tumble through a person’s organs and then continue on and hit innocent victims.”

Moreover, in addition to the threat of over penetration, a full metal jacket round also lacks the stopping characteristics of a hollow point round. And this means the San Francisco ban will also endanger lives by forcing elderly women, single moms, and even smaller men, to defend themselves and their families with less effective bullets.

This is lost on the left because their legislating impetus is based on emotion rather than reason. They are stuck on thoughts of how painful a hollow point must be, how much damage a hollow point must do, etc., and they never arrive at the rational conclusion that such a bullet–if, in fact, so effective–will enable law-abiding citizens to equalize the playing field and defend themselves when under attack.

This is in addition to their failure to understand that full metal jacket rounds keep on going and going and going.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at



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