.40 cal Bullet for Personal Defense - Page 5

.40 cal Bullet for Personal Defense

This is a discussion on .40 cal Bullet for Personal Defense within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I carry 135gr Federal HST (XM40HA) in my HK P2000sk .40 . This bullet was specifically designed for this pistol. In my opinion, it's a ...

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  1. #61
    KoB
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    I carry 135gr Federal HST (XM40HA) in my HK P2000sk .40 . This bullet was specifically designed for this pistol. In my opinion, it's a no-brainer, use what was designed for the weapon. It might not be the HEAVIEST bullet, but it shoots well out of my "sk"!




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  2. #62
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    First off, I've not read this whole thing as I have dinner on the stove and must keep an eye on it.

    I think it depends entirely on you shooting your gun as to what bullet you want to buy. Every time I shoot a .40 I think....dang....that's a powerful feeling shot. For me it's a balancing act to get that power and keep it contained with the body to get accuracy. So if you can find your balance point with your gun, whatever it is, then that's your bullet. Comfortable enough to shoot often to get the practice and stay accurate.

    accurate accurate accurate. now must go check my corn.........looks like an interesting thread to read later. I really do love the .40 round.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by KoB View Post
    I carry 135gr Federal HST (XM40HA) in my HK P2000sk .40 . This bullet was specifically designed for this pistol. In my opinion, it's a no-brainer, use what was designed for the weapon. It might not be the HEAVIEST bullet, but it shoots well out of my "sk"!
    It may have been designed for the P2000 SK .40, but that doesn't mean it performs well!

    Check this out: DHS/ICE requires 135gr .40S&W load? - M4Carbine.net Forums

    Short Version: The people that ordered it swapped for the 180gr HST.
    "Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands." - Col. Jeff Cooper

    [EDC: HK P2000 SK .40 S&W]

  4. #64
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    HK Jake: I definitely respect your post!!

    With that being said, I'm going to be ordering the 155gr Federal HST and then compare them between the 165 & 180 grains I have stashed in my ammo can.


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  5. #65
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    One thing that these debates miss is the fact that so many variables are ignored. One poster will talk about the performance of 155 HST in a 4" barrel, and another will talk about 180gr Hydra-Shok in a 3" barrel.

    The only way to make a valid comparison is to shoot different weights of the same bullet in the same gun at the same temperature in the same wind conditions by the same shooter in a bracket that eliminates shooter inconsistency.

    Maybe the 180gr Golden Saber does better than the 165gr golden Saber. Okay, but I shoot Gold Dot, maybe the 165gr Gold Dot does better than the 180gr (I've never compared them in gel, just looked at the energy/velocity numbers). If you're really concerned about it, you've gotta do the experimentation. When it comes down to it, bullet design is probably more important than weight, caliber is more important than bullet design; but skill, accuracy (shot placement), size and adrenaline or drug load of the attacker have a far more significant relevance than ANY of what we're debating here.

    Pick what works well in your gun, compare the numbers for your preferred bullet design, and pick the highest energy round you can. Then, you can carry with confidence.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by KoB View Post
    HK Jake: I definitely respect your post!!

    With that being said, I'm going to be ordering the 155gr Federal HST and then compare them between the 165 & 180 grains I have stashed in my ammo can.


    KMB, I
    Nice! If your SK is like mine, it will eat it all up!
    "Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands." - Col. Jeff Cooper

    [EDC: HK P2000 SK .40 S&W]

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by livewire9880 View Post
    One thing that these debates miss is the fact that so many variables are ignored. One poster will talk about the performance of 155 HST in a 4" barrel, and another will talk about 180gr Hydra-Shok in a 3" barrel.

    The only way to make a valid comparison is to shoot different weights of the same bullet in the same gun at the same temperature in the same wind conditions by the same shooter in a bracket that eliminates shooter inconsistency.

    Maybe the 180gr Golden Saber does better than the 165gr golden Saber. Okay, but I shoot Gold Dot, maybe the 165gr Gold Dot does better than the 180gr (I've never compared them in gel, just looked at the energy/velocity numbers). If you're really concerned about it, you've gotta do the experimentation. When it comes down to it, bullet design is probably more important than weight, caliber is more important than bullet design; but skill, accuracy (shot placement), size and adrenaline or drug load of the attacker have a far more significant relevance than ANY of what we're debating here.

    Pick what works well in your gun, compare the numbers for your preferred bullet design, and pick the highest energy round you can. Then, you can carry with confidence.
    I wholeheartedly agree with your post up until where you said, "pick the highest energy round you can." Why? Why do the extremely small differences in energy matter?

    If you could increase the energy of a Speer Gold Dot 155 gr from 496 ft-lbs KE, to say, 800 or 900 ft-lbs, then I might jump on board. However, we are discussing a handgun, and the only important factors are consistent penetration and uniform expansion. (Shot placement is king of course).

    When I "need" more power, I step up to a .308 Win. A 155gr Hornady TAP round traveling at 2,785 fps @ 2,669 ft-lbs KE, is power. Until the time comes when we can match this sort of performance out of a handgun, it doesn't matter how much energy that 9mm or .40 or .45 has!
    "Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands." - Col. Jeff Cooper

    [EDC: HK P2000 SK .40 S&W]

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by HK Jake View Post
    I wholeheartedly agree with your post up until where you said, "pick the highest energy round you can." Why? Why do the extremely small differences in energy matter?

    If you could increase the energy of a Speer Gold Dot 155 gr from 496 ft-lbs KE, to say, 800 or 900 ft-lbs, then I might jump on board. However, we are discussing a handgun, and the only important factors are consistent penetration and uniform expansion. (Shot placement is king of course).

    When I "need" more power, I step up to a .308 Win. A 155gr Hornady TAP round traveling at 2,785 fps @ 2,669 ft-lbs KE, is power. Until the time comes when we can match this sort of performance out of a handgun, it doesn't matter how much energy that 9mm or .40 or .45 has!
    I say that because you should have the biggest advantage at your disposal. When fighting for your life, that fifth decimal point might make a difference. I do concede that it'll be a very small difference, but if you have the option to increase that power with practically no effort or expense there really isn't any reason NOT to utilize that small difference.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by livewire9880 View Post
    I say that because you should have the biggest advantage at your disposal. When fighting for your life, that fifth decimal point might make a difference. I do concede that it'll be a very small difference, but if you have the option to increase that power with practically no effort or expense there really isn't any reason NOT to utilize that small difference.
    Well, yes, but kinetic energy has just about nothing to do with it. If it really meant that much, we'd all be carrying the biggest, fastest and most energetic caliber available, and we aren't! Most handguns suck pretty equally!
    "Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands." - Col. Jeff Cooper

    [EDC: HK P2000 SK .40 S&W]

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by HK Jake View Post
    Well, yes, but kinetic energy has just about nothing to do with it. If it really meant that much, we'd all be carrying the biggest, fastest and most energetic caliber available, and we aren't! Most handguns suck pretty equally!
    I agree. . . but when you don't have much to work with, that little 'extra' makes a bigger difference. 50 ft-lbs of energy doesn't make much difference in a .308 that has somewhere around 2800 ft-lbs, but when you have a pistol that only has 425 (average for the .40 according to Wikipedia), an extra 25-50 ft-lbs is a substantially bigger difference.

    I agree that we're talking about pretty small potatoes here, but the difference in a pistol is more substantial than a rifle BECAUSE the pistol is a less effective weapon.

    And kinetic energy has a lot to do with it. After all, that is the point of a firearm, to impart kinetic energy into an assailant in a very small area in order to penetrate as deeply as possible in the required situation. If I could get away with carrying my rifle with me every day, that would be a much more effective means of self defense. Best case scenario, I would look silly and paranoid. Worst case, I would be arrested under public menace or even terrorism charges.

    Someone far more experienced and intelligent than I said that your pistol is to allow you to fight to get to your rifle, which you should have never put down in the first place. I can't carry my AR with me when I go about my business during the day. I can however carry my Springfield XD-40 loaded with 165gr Gold Dots. I carry the .40 because it's a decent compromise on power and magazine capacity between the 9mm and the .45. I chose Gold Dot because they are considered to be extremely effective, and I carry 165 because the energy numbers at target are better than the 155 and 180gr loads.

    All the reasons I listed don't make a whole lot of difference, but considering that we're talking about a relatively ineffective weapon compared to rifles, I wanted the best advantages available. the 230gr .45 would be better, but the magazine capacity is generally much lower than the .40 or 9mm would be.

    Interestingly enough, I'm watching a show on historical firearms right now. Most of these old guns are extremely small caliber (some of them smaller than .22), short barrels (some less than an inch), and were still deadly. Of course, some of them were made before antibiotics. It's interesting how we argue about these numbers here, but your average 9mm has more power than what a lot of wars were fought with for thousands of years.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by livewire9880 View Post
    I agree. . . but when you don't have much to work with, that little 'extra' makes a bigger difference. 50 ft-lbs of energy doesn't make much difference in a .308 that has somewhere around 2800 ft-lbs, but when you have a pistol that only has 425 (average for the .40 according to Wikipedia), an extra 25-50 ft-lbs is a substantially bigger difference.

    I agree that we're talking about pretty small potatoes here, but the difference in a pistol is more substantial than a rifle BECAUSE the pistol is a less effective weapon.

    And kinetic energy has a lot to do with it. After all, that is the point of a firearm, to impart kinetic energy into an assailant in a very small area in order to penetrate as deeply as possible in the required situation. If I could get away with carrying my rifle with me every day, that would be a much more effective means of self defense. Best case scenario, I would look silly and paranoid. Worst case, I would be arrested under public menace or even terrorism charges.

    Someone far more experienced and intelligent than I said that your pistol is to allow you to fight to get to your rifle, which you should have never put down in the first place. I can't carry my AR with me when I go about my business during the day. I can however carry my Springfield XD-40 loaded with 165gr Gold Dots. I carry the .40 because it's a decent compromise on power and magazine capacity between the 9mm and the .45. I chose Gold Dot because they are considered to be extremely effective, and I carry 165 because the energy numbers at target are better than the 155 and 180gr loads.

    All the reasons I listed don't make a whole lot of difference, but considering that we're talking about a relatively ineffective weapon compared to rifles, I wanted the best advantages available. the 230gr .45 would be better, but the magazine capacity is generally much lower than the .40 or 9mm would be.
    The extra kinetic energy makes a bigger difference where?

    For example, the 180gr HST is likely always going to penetrate more deeply than the 165gr and 155gr HST in exact circumstances. It's also likely to penetrate barriers and the intended target better than the 165gr and 155gr bullets. This is true, even though the 165gr and 155gr bullets will always have more momentum and more energy than the 180gr.

    So, I guess my question is this: what made you decide to carry the 165gr Gold Dot over the 155gr and 180gr Gold Dots?

    I chose to carry the 180gr HST over the lighter weight bullets due to what I stated above: the 180gr is likely to penetrate deeper and expand more consistently due to greater sectional density. The greater the sectional density, the greater the potential for penetration and expansion. (The 180gr bullet has identical sectional density of .161 to a 230gr .45 ACP bullet. I see this as a very good thing! =) ).

    I totally agree on the handgun/rifle point. I generally refer to handguns as sidearms, as they are always, always, always, secondary weapons to rifles.
    "Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands." - Col. Jeff Cooper

    [EDC: HK P2000 SK .40 S&W]

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by HK Jake View Post
    The extra kinetic energy makes a bigger difference where?

    For example, the 180gr HST is likely always going to penetrate more deeply than the 165gr and 155gr HST in exact circumstances. It's also likely to penetrate barriers and the intended target better than the 165gr and 155gr bullets. This is true, even though the 165gr and 155gr bullets will always have more momentum and more energy than the 180gr.

    So, I guess my question is this: what made you decide to carry the 165gr Gold Dot over the 155gr and 180gr Gold Dots?

    I chose to carry the 180gr HST over the lighter weight bullets due to what I stated above: the 180gr is likely to penetrate deeper and expand more consistently due to greater sectional density. The greater the sectional density, the greater the potential for penetration and expansion. (The 180gr bullet has identical sectional density of .161 to a 230gr .45 ACP bullet. I see this as a very good thing! =) ).

    I totally agree on the handgun/rifle point. I generally refer to handguns as sidearms, as they are always, always, always, secondary weapons to rifles.
    The problem with the .40 is that even though the 180gr is heavier, it never really gets fast enough to get that energy up. If we were talking about 10mm, that would be different, but the .40 just doesn't have the case capacity to get there within the SAMMI pressure.

    Sectional density is just a ratio of diameter to weight. You still need to get the velocity up there to get the energy you need for sectional density to do it's work. The Achilles heel with the .40 is that it was designed around a defective premise. The .40 s&w was the result of people looking at the 10mm FBI Lite load and thinking "I could do that in a shorter case, and put it on a 9mm frame". There wasn't any effort to see if they could do it better with a different bullet, or even a slightly longer case that might have been shorter than 10mm, but wouldn't fit a 9mm frame allowing for more powder. This means that the common opinion of "180 is what the cartridge was designed for, so that's the best" refuses to go away. If we want to have these discussions, I think the .40 is a bad place to have them. I think it would be better suited in .357 Mag or 10mm, where the case capacity doesn't really prevent you from building a load around the heavier bullet. Even .45 would probably be a better place to start, but it seems to be losing traction with new shooters because they're always so big and don't have the magazine capacity.

    This is what I meant earlier when I talked about too many variables. I've only compared Gold Dots because that's what I selected before based on what I read about them. The only ones that had the quality reviews that the GD had was HST, and they were too new to get at a decent deal when I bought my .40.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by livewire9880 View Post
    The problem with the .40 is that even though the 180gr is heavier, it never really gets fast enough to get that energy up. If we were talking about 10mm, that would be different, but the .40 just doesn't have the case capacity to get there within the SAMMI pressure.

    Sectional density is just a ratio of diameter to weight. You still need to get the velocity up there to get the energy you need for sectional density to do it's work. The Achilles heel with the .40 is that it was designed around a defective premise. The .40 s&w was the result of people looking at the 10mm FBI Lite load and thinking "I could do that in a shorter case, and put it on a 9mm frame". There wasn't any effort to see if they could do it better with a different bullet, or even a slightly longer case that might have been shorter than 10mm, but wouldn't fit a 9mm frame allowing for more powder. This means that the common opinion of "180 is what the cartridge was designed for, so that's the best" refuses to go away. If we want to have these discussions, I think the .40 is a bad place to have them. I think it would be better suited in .357 Mag or 10mm, where the case capacity doesn't really prevent you from building a load around the heavier bullet. Even .45 would probably be a better place to start, but it seems to be losing traction with new shooters because they're always so big and don't have the magazine capacity.

    This is what I meant earlier when I talked about too many variables. I've only compared Gold Dots because that's what I selected before based on what I read about them. The only ones that had the quality reviews that the GD had was HST, and they were too new to get at a decent deal when I bought my .40.
    Like I stated before, high energy and velocity takes a back seat to me. You can say that you need to "get the velocity up there to get the energy you need for sectional density to do it's work," but isn't it "working" already? We know that rounds with higher sectional densities penetrate further and tend to expand more consistently; the 180gr HST and Gold Dot both currently accomplish this.

    Technically speaking, you could make the same argument about the .45 ACP 230gr bullet; it's really, really slow, (~ 900 fps compared to the .40 180gr @ ~ 1020 fps) yet it still performs better than all 185gr loads (Barnes TAC-XP not included) in every category.

    Honestly though, I'd carry 165gr bullets as you do, but I'd never carry the 155gr due to inconsistent ballistic testing and poor performance through intermediate barriers. I have both 165gr and 180gr HST, and I also have a "special" 180gr HST which is loaded hotter than the normal. (The standard 180gr HST is rated at 1,010 fps @ 406 ft-lbs; the "special" 180gr HST is rated at 1,040 fps @ 432 ft-lbs. I bought it because it was $5 cheaper per $50! )

    FWIW, the "snappier" recoil of the .40 S&W has grown on me, and I actually prefer it now, but I still find that a full power 10mm is just too much!
    "Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands." - Col. Jeff Cooper

    [EDC: HK P2000 SK .40 S&W]

  14. #74
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    Love it, just went through 5 pages of posts and a lot of words. One instructor had it right at his last class of instruction before retiring. He showed the shooting of a Texas DPS trooper who decided to challenge an old guy armed with a mini 14 on a traffic stop for a seat belt violation and who shot from the hip and put one round in the K-5 of the trooper as the trooper talked. His recommendation: "SHUT UP AND SHOOT!"
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  15. #75
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    Isn't it great, not only do we have caliber wars, now we have grain wars too. I carry a Glock 27 and load it with the 180 grain Hornady. I am going to be switching to the Gold Dots though because I think they are more consistant in their expansion.

    The way I see it, the 40 caliber is almost as big as a 45, and almost as fast as a 9mm. I like the 180 grain weight because a heavier bullet will penetrate more than a lighter bullet. I think the most important thing is to reach the CNS no matter what the angle or the type of clothing worn, second to that I want to dump as much kinetic energy into the body as I can. This means I don't want to overpenetrate and waste energy on the wall behind the bad guy.

    For me the 40 caliber 180 grain bullet seems to be a good choice. I am planning on going to the short barrel 180 grain gold dots.

    Is the "Short Barrel" load marketing hype? Maybe, but in my experience with Buffalo Bore short barrel ammo (in 38 special) I can say that done properly it is possible to get a noticable increase in power without exceeding maximum pressures. Hopefully the people at Speer are doing it right.

    I could switch to the Buffalo Bore 40 caliber, but they list it as +p and they recommend switching the Glock barrels to aftermarket one for the +p. I don't want to have to switch barrels so I am going with the Speer short barrel 180 grains. If Buffalo Bore would make a 40 caliber in standard pressure I would consider that.

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