Nothing in the above should be misconstrued as discouraging the use of hollow point ammunition. If the shooter can find several brands of ammunition that fulfill the Reliability/ACLU requirement and one brand is a hollow point and the other is not, choose the hollow point. While the majority of conventional hollow point ammunition will not exit from a two inch snub with sufficient velocity to be counted on to reliably expand, the potential safety of reduced over penetration combined with any possible expansion makes the hollow point the preferred choice.
Massad Ayoob has reported that statistically the .38 all-lead hollow point delivers roughly the same “stopping power” of a .45 ball round when striking the body target, while at the same time producing a lower percentage chance of over penetrating. This is do to the greater chance of an all lead bullet deforming on impact sooner that a jacket bullet.
It should be noted that the two best known authorities in the self-defense ballistics field, Dr. Martin Flackler and Evan Marshall, two men popularly know to agree over very little, both agree on the use of the all-lead .38 hollow point as a self-defense round.