What happens if you miss the bad guy? Well, you’ll likely hit something else. If that something else is a wall, what is the likelihood your chosen home-defense caliber will go through it? USCCA Director of Content Kevin Michalowski tested it out.

Using two pieces of ½-inch drywall held together by 2x4s, we created several walls. The “wall” may not be built to code, but it’ll get the test done. Kevin then fires the most popular guns for home defense — 9mm, AR-15 and shotgun — at the walls from about 12 feet away.


First up was the 9mm, loaded with two rounds of different ammo: FMJ from SIG Sauer and Ultimate Defense from Remington, both 124-grain. The Remington round is a jacketed hollow-point. Many people think jacketed hollow-points will fill up with material and then function similar to an FMJ round and not open up.

The first round went through all five walls. While there was more fragmentation and larger exit holes, the second round also went through all the way through five walls.

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In the AR-15, we test 155-grain rounds: an FMJ .223 and a poly-tipped .223. The first of the AR-15 rounds tumbled and started breaking apart at the exit of the fourth wall. But it still penetrated all the way through the fifth wall. Again, the second round fragmented earlier but still left an exit hole in all five walls.


With everything so far going through all five walls, it seems safe to predict the shotgun rounds will too. First up is nine pellets of 00 buckshot. You can see the wad stuck in the second wall, leaving a nasty wound in both walls one and two. The buckshot opened up quite a bit. At the exit of the fifth wall, we count eight of nine exits.

The 12-gauge 1-ounce slug is guaranteed to go through all 10 sheets of drywall. Kevin follows through with the test anyway. We can see the hole from the wad in the first wall. There is a ¾-inch hole all the way through, with some possible secondary damage from pieces of drywall.

Last up is the most controversial “home-defense” round: 12-gauge birdshot. We use a 1-ounce load of 7.5-size, but there are lots of sizes available. The birdshot knocked over wall two, leaving a brutal exit wound, and left a mess on wall three. There was no penetration past wall two, though.

Training Will Prevent Bullet Misses

If you miss, your bullet is going to keep going. You need to know your target and what’s beyond it because you are responsible for every round out of your gun. Remember to practice and train so you don’t miss.

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