What about Hornady XTP Handgun Ammunition? Hornady "eXtreme Terminal Performance" JHP's have been around for quite a while and are available in most of the more commonly used handgun calibers. They are not usually as aggressive in expansion characteristics as are some other bullets, most notably, Sierra. The XTP is designed to expand about 1.5 times its original diameter and I believe it was the first JHP that "passed" the FBI's requirement of 12" penetration in 10% ballistic gelatin.
Some folks in the study of terminal ballistics and "stopping power" rate bullets that expand to larger diameter and perhaps fragment as being better than those that don't. On the other side of that issue are the researchers who like it's penetration characteristics, but find that it doesn't always expand after passing through the 4-layers of denim test. Thus, the bullet and loaded Hornady ammunition is frequently not on the top of many people's "must buy" ammunition list for protection.
I've never shot it through denim and have used XTP bullets in handloads, having shot relatively little of the factory rounds. The XTP's are popular with handgun hunters and I'm no exception. I've used them primarily in 9mm and .45 ACP, but have also had good luck with them in .44 Special and .45 Colt.
The only Hornady factory XTP load that I've fired which seems to expand a bit more aggressively has been in 9x18mm Makarov.
The thing I've noticed with all Hornady XTP bullets, regardless of the caliber, is that they are very often THE bullets for accuracy. If I'm trying to work up an accurate load that is full power as well, I'll frequently start and usually stop with the XTP. In semiautomatic pistols, I've never had any problems with them being recalcitrant in feeding.
Though a caliber I do not recommend for much of anything, when fired into water from a Beretta .25 ACP, this 35-gr XTP expanded to 0.39 x 0.38 x 0.25" tall.
The .380 ACP bullets shown here were fired from a CZ-83 into water. From left to right: Hornady 90-gr XTP, Magtech Guardian Gold 85-gr +P JHP, and a Remington 102-gr Golden Saber. The XTP measured 0.49 x 0.43 x 0.36" tall and weighed 89.6 grains.
In 9mm, Hornady's 124-grain XTP expanded in the same ol' "caliber and a half" fashion. The 4 layers of denim tests limit this load's expansion, but I frankly think it's loaded a little bit light from the factory.
This is the wound tract left by a 9mm Hornady 124-gr XTP on the inside of a whitetail's shoulder after impacting at about 1250 ft/sec. I normally do NOT see wound channels of this size. No bone was hit and the bullet completely passed through the 130-lb deer. I do not understand the size of this wound, but it is what it is and just shows that every gunshot wound is different. The deer collapsed instantly and surprisingly was the only "instant handgun stop" made last year.
This 124-grain XTP was recovered from a javelina. Though not as "smooth," it does resemble the characteristics exhibited by the one fired into water. This one was fired over 6.0 grains of Unique and penetrated an estimated 14" or so in the javelina. Obviously, it "worked." I've shot several with this load and have zero complaints with regard to "effectiveness." It's also very accurate.
This 44 caliber 180-gr XTP was fired from a 3" revolver barrel into water. It was the bullet used by Corbon some years ago. Dimensions are 0.60 x 0.59 x 0.439" tall.
It appears that in .45 ACP caliber at least, Hornady is quietly making subtle changes to their XTP bullets. I have no idea if this is to increase their expansion characteristics after passing various barriers used for testing.
Though similar, the hollow point in the 230-grain .45 ACP XTP on the right is deeper than the one on the left.
The thing I continue to like lots with respect to the XTP is their accuracy.
This group was fired using factory Hornady 9 x 18mm Makarov 95-gr XTP's. Distance was 10 yards and the firearm was a Makarov pistol.
Hornady's factory 90-gr .380 ACP XTP grouped well at 10 yards from a CZ-83.
Several years ago, Corbon used to load the XTP in their 124-grain 9mm +P loads. They then went with the Gold Dot from Speer, which is shown on the left.
From a HK P-7, other than the one out of the group due to me, the 124-grain XTP grouped very well.
Accuracy has not been a problem from the Browning Mk III with the XTP, either.
The group fired using Corbon ammunition is in the center of the picture. The bullet was Hornady's 180-grain XTP.
In .45 ACP, Hornady's 200-grain XTP has provided very fine groups. One fired at 15 yards is shown in the upper right of this picture. It was fired from a Dan Wesson Patriot.
In short, I've been quite satisfied with Hornady's XTP bullet and suggest giving it a try, either as loaded ammunition or as a component if you reload.