One should carry hollowpoint ammunition in a defensive handgun. Hollowpoint ammunition has much better stopping power than full metal jacket or round-nose lead and stopping power is what you need when being assaulted.
The point is not to wound or kill the adversary, the point is to stop him in his tracks and make him cease attacking you. Stopping power (sometimes called "knock-down power") refers to a particular bullet's ability to incapacitate an attacker; the greater that ability, the less chance that your attacker will be able to continue shooting, stabbing, or beating you after you have shot him.
Handguns are not death rays. Despite what you see in the movies, the vast majority of people (over 80%) shot with handguns survive. Handguns are weak compared to rifles and shotguns and you want every edge you can get. Great ammunition is no more expensive than mediocre ammunition, so carry the best. Rifles and shotguns have stopping power to spare; handguns do not. Thus, you must select your handgun load very carefully and the detail of the handgun ammunition section reflects this.
Hollowpoint ammunition is NOT more lethal than ball (full metal jacket) ammunition. You may have seen media hype about "killer dum-dum bullets," but this is nonsense. Hollowpoint bullets usually expand and stop in the human body and thus the attacker absorbs much more of the bullet's kinetic energy than if the bullet had merely zipped through him and left two small holes. Hollowpoint ammunition is also safer for all parties concerned.
You are safer because your attacker is more likely to be incapacitated after one or two shots and thus unable to fire back, stab you, or whatever. The decreased likelihood of your attacker dying from hollowpoint bullets saves you the moral and legal complications and expense you will experience from killing a man.
Innocent bystanders are safer because hollowpoint bullets are less likely to exit the attacker's body and go on to injure anyone else. The ricochet danger is also much lower than that of ball ammunition, and hollowpoint bullets are less likely to penetrate walls or doors and strike uninvolved third parties. Furthermore, if your foe is incapacitated quickly he won't be spraying wild bullets around, endangering uninvolved third parties.
Lastly, your attacker is safer because he is far less likely to die from one or two hollowpoint bullets than the five or six round-nose slugs you would have had to fire to put him down. Most gunshot deaths occur from shock and loss of blood and ball rounds tend to make entry and exit wounds, whereas hollowpoints go in and stay put. An attacker shot twice with ball ammo will probably have four holes in him rather than two and is thus in far greater danger of death from blood loss. If you can avoid killing your attacker you should, for both moral and legal reasons.
There are some exceptions to the "carry only hollowpoints in a handgun" rule. Some older or cheaper automatic pistols will jam with hollowpoint rounds. With these guns, one must use ball rounds (or "full metal jacket" rounds - the terms are synonymous) and I specify some "reliable with ball only" models by caliber. It is crucial for you to test your pistol to make certain it is reliable with specific loads; don't rely on my advice. My life will never depend on the reliability of your handgun. Your life may.