Best ammunition grain for defense

This is a discussion on Best ammunition grain for defense within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by Ox 230 grain, 200 grain, 185 grain, what's, in your opinion, the best self defense grain? The heavy/slow type debates have been ...

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Thread: Best ammunition grain for defense

  1. #16
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    230 grain, 200 grain, 185 grain, what's, in your opinion, the best self defense grain?
    The heavy/slow type debates have been going on for awhile, now. There is no "right" answer. IMO, the best option must by definition be one of the cartridges that functions best in your specific gun. Of that batch of choices, the one that delivers the "best" resulting wound channel should be the best choice. Which one is that? Unless you can evaluate the wound channels and compare them, you won't know. So. We rely on research and the testing that others have done.

    Well, we all know that defensive loads need to have sufficient and effective penetration and expansion, with a good combination of these leading to a wound channel that can most quickly terminate the ability of the person to maintain physical violence.

    Each manufacturer fiddles with: bullet weight, type, coating; and the powder type, weight. Each specific load is designed to operate best in a given length of barrel (ie, 4.0" instead of 3.0").

    What I do is search through the available loads, hunting for a handful that might be good candidate loads for my specific gun. I select a few boxes of each, then I start testing.

    I've got a STI Shadow .45 ACP coming this week, with Wilson Combat #47OX 7rd magazines. For initial testing of possible defensive cartridges, I have narrowed down my selections to the following choices:

    • DoubleTap Bonded Defense, JHP, 185gr, 1225 fps, 616 ft-lbs
    • DoubleTap Bonded Defense, JHP, 200gr, 1125 fps, 562 ft-lbs
    • DoubleTap Bonded Defense, JHP, 230gr, 1010 fps, 521 ft-lbs
    • Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection, JHP, 185gr, 1050 fps, 453 ft-lbs
    • CorBon Self Defense, JHP, 185gr, 1150 fps, 543 ft-lbs
    • MagTech Guardian Gold, JHP, 185gr, 1148 fps, 540 ft-lbs
    • MagTech Guardian Gold, JHP, 230gr, 1007 fps, 518 ft-lbs
    • CorBon Self Defense, JHP, 200gr, 1050 fps, 490 ft-lbs
    • CorBon Self Defense, JHP, 230gr, 950 fps, 461 ft-lbs



    The weights include 185grs, 200grs, 230grs.

    The bullets are different, but all JHP.

    The manufacturers select different powders.

    Half are sub-sonic, out of the group.

    None of the bullets have a "magic" coating of any kind (ie, moly that Hornady uses).

    My preference at this point, given what I have read and heard? Heavier the better, super-sonic, so long as ft-lbs exceed 550 ft-lbs or so. The leading contender seems to be, at least on paper, the DoubleTap Bonded Defense (Speer Gold Dot bullet) JHP 200gr. Depends on what works best in the gun, though. I'll keep testing until I find at least two, possibly three, loads that function as near to perfect as I can find.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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  3. #17
    Distinguished Member Array Rugergirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD* View Post
    Actually it's been much longer than that, the quest for a "super bullet" by professionals and gun cranks alike, started in the late 1960s when a man by the name of Lee Jurras and his company Super Vel, gave the shooting world the first true self-defense "hot hollow-points."


    they were some fun to shoot, too.
    Disclaimer: The posts made by this member are only the members opinion, not a reflection on anyone else, nor the group, and should not be cause for anyone to get their undergarments wedged in an uncomfortable position.

  4. #18
    Senior Member Array Lewis128's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadRunner71 View Post
    Dependability factors higher in my mind. I would try a few different loads and see which functions better in your gun. Then I would determine which I prefer the "feel" of more. That is, which do you shoot better 185, 200, 230 whatever.
    Or get a Glock. Then the dependability becomes a non-issue.

  5. #19
    VIP Member Array Majorlk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD* View Post
    Actually it's been much longer than that, the quest for a "super bullet" by professionals and gun cranks alike, started in the late 1960s when a man by the name of Lee Jurras and his company Super Vel, gave the shooting world the first true self-defense "hot hollow-points."
    And the first "+P" ammo. He did pretty much revolutionize both SD and handgun hunting ammo.
    An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. - Robert A. Heinlein

  6. #20
    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rugergirl View Post


    they were some fun to shoot, too.
    There you go.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

    "There is very little new, and the forgotten is constantly being rediscovered."
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  7. #21
    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majorlk View Post
    And the first "+P" ammo. He did pretty much revolutionize both SD and handgun hunting ammo.
    True, long before anyone even stamped +P on the cartridge rim. Lee Jurras was a true pioneer in the self-defense field.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

    "There is very little new, and the forgotten is constantly being rediscovered."
    ~ Tiger McKee

  8. #22
    Member Array drjavelina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    230 grain, 200 grain, 185 grain, what's, in your opinion, the best self defense grain?

    230g is considered the standard SD load, why?

    Is 230g a good choice, or a bad one?
    I'm buying some gold dots, and on Cabelas, they only sell 230g, but I know 230 is a heavy weight which means a slow bullet, is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

    My choice of carry ammo is the Winchester Bonded PDX1, 180gr, .40 cal. If its good enough to be duty ammo for the FBI, it will fit my needs.
    Blessed be the Lord my rock who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1

  9. #23
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Here's some good reading.

    Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo

    Notice that with the exception of the copper solid JHP's, all the recommendations are 230gr...

    I would say, though--pick up any one of those recommended loads, run a couple boxes through your pistol, and find out if it likes it, if it shoots with what you consider acceptible accuracy, and if it is controllable in rapid fire. If it meets all of those criteria, stock up on it, and be confident you've chosen a good round for your pistol.

    If it doesn't meet the criteria, though, just choose another and try again...which means you'll just have to shoot more (oh, bother!).
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

  10. #24
    Member Array Phantoms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majorlk View Post
    The important thing is what functions best and is most accurate in YOUR firearm.
    I'll add to that what's inexpensive that meets the above criteria.
    Stop getting hung up on marketing. Just about any HP in .45 will get the job done.

    Find the cheapest one that feeds well, is accurate, is reliable and you are comfortable with. This way, you can afford to shoot some of your SD rounds once in a while to maintain practice with them and continue to test their reliability with your gun.

  11. #25
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantoms View Post
    I'll add to that what's inexpensive that meets the above criteria.
    Stop getting hung up on marketing. Just about any HP in .45 will get the job done.

    Find the cheapest one that feeds well, is accurate, is reliable and you are comfortable with. This way, you can afford to shoot some of your SD rounds once in a while to maintain practice with them and continue to test their reliability with your gun.
    I'll disagree with that; inexpensive JHP's in any caliber can have failures to expand as well as poor penetration.

    And, if you decide your life is worth it, it's not that terribly expensive to practice with the premium JHP's from time to time; I know it because I do it.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

  12. #26
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis128 View Post
    Or get a Glock. Then the dependability becomes a non-issue.
    I know a couple of folks who have had niggling, continuing issues of reliability and function with one or more of their Glocks. As is typical, such blanket statements don't pan out.

    Agreed, though, that Glock tends to back up its well-earned reputation of reliability out of the box with a high percentage of such guns that reach the hands of shooters. Better than most, it would seem. Though, as with any man-made mechanical device, each line of Glock pistols made exhibit some percentage of failures. No getting around that.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  13. #27
    Senior Member Array RebelRabbi's Avatar
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    230 grain premium HP's.

  14. #28
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    Long story short. When it comes to the fabled .45 ACP, you want the rounds that hit where you want, every time you want--acurrate and reliable.

    The last thing a BG is going to ask is what weight bullet you just plugged him with. And if you plugged him right, that will be the last thing he'll ask--ever!
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

  15. #29
    Senior Member Array Lewis128's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    I know a couple of folks who have had niggling, continuing issues of reliability and function with one or more of their Glocks. As is typical, such blanket statements don't pan out.

    Agreed, though, that Glock tends to back up its well-earned reputation of reliability out of the box with a high percentage of such guns that reach the hands of shooters. Better than most, it would seem. Though, as with any man-made mechanical device, each line of Glock pistols made exhibit some percentage of failures. No getting around that.
    Glock is the only semi-auto I can think of that's compared to revolvers in terms of reliability. That being said, anything mechanical is capable of failure. Even revolvers can break.
    The only ammo I've heard of that Glocks are likely to have problems with is reloads. Whole 'nother thread on that one.
    But with regards to the intended topic. I believe bigger is generally considered better, but faster is also a bonus.
    On the other hand, there's guys on the NAA forum who get down right disagreeable if you suggest that .22lr is inadequate.

  16. #30
    Member Array Phantoms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuda66 View Post
    I'll disagree with that; inexpensive JHP's in any caliber can have failures to expand as well as poor penetration.

    And, if you decide your life is worth it, it's not that terribly expensive to practice with the premium JHP's from time to time; I know it because I do it.
    But in a .45 it doesn't matter if it expands or not. You are not deciding you're life's not worth it. The .45 will get the job done even if you use ball, it has for over a hundred years.

    HPs in a .45 are only to help prevent pass through to something behind your target. Very rarely will you get a HP in .45 that doesn't expand at all and just about any expansion in a .45 will help to meet this criteria (not passing through and injuring another person).

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