Selecting defensive ammo

This is a discussion on Selecting defensive ammo within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; First off - I'm pretty sure I've got decent ammo at the moment (Golden Saber 9mm), but I'm wondering if I could get some info ...

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Thread: Selecting defensive ammo

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    Member Array Random's Avatar
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    Selecting defensive ammo

    First off - I'm pretty sure I've got decent ammo at the moment (Golden Saber 9mm), but I'm wondering if I could get some info on how to go about selecting good defense round.

    I'm asking because of all the details I keep seeing in the discussions.

    So, how do you weigh grain, caliber, barrel length, and all those other factors to make a decision? Or is it really all that necessary to do that?

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    Not sure you're going to get a real straight-forward answer like you're looking for. I've also spent a lot of time doing research and reading through the forums. The best you can expect, I'm afraid, is a lot of opinion.

    Like this one...

    Most any brand name SD ammo will get the job done!
    Honor is self-esteem made visible in action. - Ayn Rand

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    Let the flames start BUT I believe you are much better off stocking up on what works in your weapon reliably rather than looking for a 'magic bullet.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Random View Post
    First off - I'm pretty sure I've got decent ammo at the moment (Golden Saber 9mm), but I'm wondering if I could get some info on how to go about selecting good defense round.

    I'm asking because of all the details I keep seeing in the discussions.
    Read: http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_De..._FAQ/index.htm

    Then buy the least expensive ammo you can get that is on that list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Random View Post
    So, how do you weigh grain, caliber, barrel length, and all those other factors to make a decision? Or is it really all that necessary to do that?
    It's more important to have your trigger press down cold and your weapon manipulations liquid smooth than to have 'better' ammo.

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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    If you put 10 shooters in a room and asked this question, you'd get 10 different answers and be lucky if a fight didn't break out. With the quality of ammo coming on the market today, pick a load at random, and shoot a lot of it in your gun to make sure it
    1: feeds, functions, extracts, and hits the target and,
    2: shoot enough of it until you think you can hit a target under stress

    And if you ever do find THE LOAD, kind of shut up about it, ok? Otherwise we gun nuts won't have anything to talk about.
    Try not to screw up so bad they name the screw up after you. (Station 15 saying)

    NRA Certifed Instructor

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    Training is #1 and, like others have said, reliability in your firearm is most important because if your gun chokes it doesn't matter how good that bullet would have performed. That out of the way, that list is a pretty good one to go off of, just make sure to test out whatever you get to see if your gun likes it and you can shoot well with it. I prefer to go with heavy for caliber (ie 147gr 9mm, 230gr 45 etc), bonded bullets if I can. I really like Gold Dots if my gun will feed them alright because they're bonded and usually more available/cheaper than other premium rounds. As far as barrel length is concerned, if you have a really short barrel I'd look around at other people's exeperiences to see what works best. In some cases +P loads don't really help out as a lot of powder ends up burning outside of the barrel, that isn't always the case though, a good example is the 38 special 135gr +P gold dots which seem to perform pretty well out of snubbies, though I've heard that their other short barrel offerings don't show as much of an improvement. Other than the good performance of the 38 specials I just mentioned which comes from testing, everything else I said is my opinion or anecdotal so nobody pounce on me over it.

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    Member Array Random's Avatar
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    Wow! I didn't mean to stir up a hornet's nest, really!

    Ok, I understand what you guys are saying - and I'm all for "what works"! I have a Springfield XD 9mm, and so far, it can take anything I've fed it, so I'm not really worried, nor am I looking for "THE LOAD" or a "magic bullet" - just trying to learn.

    So maybe let's take this in a slightly different direction - will you guys help me to understand the SCIENCE behind these opinions? Things like (as a bad and uneducated example) why would a 115-grain JHP be better/worse for a 4" barrel than a 124-grain FMJ, but the 124-grain would be worse/better for a 3" barrel.

    Maybe there isn't a real answer - but the main point of my post is to start learning some of the WHY.

    Thanks!

    Edit: BTW re: training - I do that too - regular time at the range whenever I can. Doesn't take much prodding, the XD is a fun gun to shoot :)

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    I'll take a stab at this one. First off, your Golden Saber ammo is good stuff. Secondly, what I think you should look for is ammo that is reliable and shoots to point of aim as others have said. Next, you need to decide if you want a heavier bullet that may penetrate more or a lighter, higher velocity bullet. Keep in mind that changing bullet weights will change your point of impact when you shoot. As far as shorter vs. longer barrels, you'll kind of have to make a judgment call on that. The shorter the barrel, the lower the velocity. The question becomes, do you want to go lighter on the bullet in an attempt to make up for lost velocity, or try and penetrate as much as possible with a heavier bullet? That's going to have to be up to you. Finally, I like the bonded bullets like the Gold Dots. I doubt it makes a big difference when it actually hits someone, but I believe keeping the jacket and core together boosts the effectiveness a little on impact, and I like every advantage I can get with a handgun round. I don't believe the Golden Sabers are bonded, but I still really like them. I keep them loaded in my revolver in .38 +p and my .380 because of their heavier bullet weight in that caliber. I consider my .40 caliber P229 my primary HD gun though, and that is loaded with Speer Gold Dot in 165 gr, which will soon be switched to 155 gr (just because I got a good deal on the interwebs on it). Whatever you pick, make sure it cycles and hits what you aim at, and best of luck to you.

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    The Hornady Critical Defense .45 ACP round @ 185 gr., is very intriguing to me. I like the fact that this bullet was designed for short barrel compact CCW weapons, has flash suppressant, and low recoil properties to help with follow-up shots. All this, and the special hollowpoint that's designed to expand with the aid of the red plastic tip, has my interest peeked! Living here in FL., where light clothing is pretty much the norm all year around, this bullet strongly appeals to me because I'm not trying to shoot through thick puffy winter coats or thick layers of denim.

    I've read past Internet post that speak on the bad primers that Critical Defense once had. As soon as my $$ gets right (hopefully before, but if not, after the holidays…Santa still has to stop by my house), I can order a few boxes of this ammo and see how it performs.

    Any thoughts on the Critical Defense round?

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    I've got Gold Dots in my Glock 30, Win PDX1s in my S&W 4566. No particular reason as to why one or the other is in either. Both feed well in either guns, and both hit the same barn door I'm aiming at. At my age, with these aging eyes, I'd shoot marbles if they fed well and hit where I aim. I'll leave all that velocity, energy, ballistic mumbo-jumbo to the guy on the receiving end. While he's calculating what I hit him with, I'm outta there!
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    Senior Member Array Luis50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    I've got Gold Dots in my Glock 30, Win PDX1s in my S&W 4566. No particular reason as to why one or the other is in either. Both feed well in either guns, and both hit the same barn door I'm aiming at. At my age, with these aging eyes, I'd shoot marbles if they fed well and hit where I aim. I'll leave all that velocity, energy, ballistic mumbo-jumbo to the guy on the receiving end. While he's calculating what I hit him with, I'm outta there!
    Luis

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    I use 147 grain Remington Golden Sabers in my Glock 26. The reason I choose this load is because I have used in on deer and it penetrates well and performs as I think a bullet should when hitting flesh and bone. I settled on the heavier bullets after years of seeing what happens when too light of a bullet is used on big game. I know animals are not people, but it is my opinion that it is a better indicater of bullet performance than ballistic gelatin. I think that shorter barrels need the extra weight and sectional density due to a somewhat lower velocity for penetration. Choose anything that works in your gun, and dont lose sleep over it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    I've got Gold Dots in my Glock 30, Win PDX1s in my S&W 4566. No particular reason as to why one or the other is in either. Both feed well in either guns, and both hit the same barn door I'm aiming at. At my age, with these aging eyes, I'd shoot marbles if they fed well and hit where I aim. I'll leave all that velocity, energy, ballistic mumbo-jumbo to the guy on the receiving end. While he's calculating what I hit him with, I'm outta there!
    This has to be one of the funniest things I have read on this forum! Marbles and a barn door, my gut hurts from laughing.

    I do agree with the others, pick from the list and find the one that feeds and shoots best in your gun and go with it. I edc a 9mm and carry both 124+p and 147, no reason other than I found them on sale and bought them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    I use 147 grain Remington Golden Sabers in my Glock 26. The reason I choose this load is because I have used in on deer and it penetrates well and performs as I think a bullet should when hitting flesh and bone. I settled on the heavier bullets after years of seeing what happens when too light of a bullet is used on big game. I know animals are not people, but it is my opinion that it is a better indicater of bullet performance than ballistic gelatin. I think that shorter barrels need the extra weight and sectional density due to a somewhat lower velocity for penetration. Choose anything that works in your gun, and dont lose sleep over it.
    Leave it to Glockman10mm to keep it simple. These discussions tend to make you think lead round balls never killed anyone.
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    Did I say barn door? I meant the broad side of the barn.
    Retired USAF E-8. Avatar is OldVet from days long gone. Oh, to be young again.
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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