9MM SD Ammo

This is a discussion on 9MM SD Ammo within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've becoming more and more confused by all the self defense choices (even in a single cartridge like 9mm). Some ammunition is designed to go ...

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Thread: 9MM SD Ammo

  1. #16
    Member Array snakyjake's Avatar
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    I've becoming more and more confused by all the self defense choices (even in a single cartridge like 9mm).

    Some ammunition is designed to go through windshields, walls, and good trajectory over longer distances (i.e. FBI, SWAT, etc).

    Some designed for maximum capacity and light weight for carry (i.e. military).

    Some designed where hollow points are illegal.

    Some designed for shooters who don't like any recoil.

    So comparing civilian defense ballistics with the needs of law enforcement or military doesn't necessarily mean it is good for civilian defense.

    When I've looked at some ballistic tables, Winchester Ranger 9mm+ is one of the closest rounds to a .40 S&W. But the Ranger 9mm round is designated for law enforcement and might be difficult to acquire now or in the future.

    I've been starting to wonder if I should move to a 40 just because I don't need to rely on fancy ballistic technology; which might be inconsistent, and definitely difficult to acquire.

    I simply want the best that can penetrate heavy winter clothing, maximum wound cavity, expand reliably, and not have much energy if the bullet does exit. And of course feeds reliably and do everything else it is expected to do.

    But I sometimes wonder if people put too much emphasis on bullet expansion, rather than placement. But then I hear a high quality 9mm is just as effective as a 40/45. But that 9mm seems to have to be VERY HIGH quality in order to be effective as 45....and that's where my confusion starts. What is going to make a 9mm just as effective as the 40?

    Or maybe it should be asked...what's the worse 9mm labeled as self defense (excluding range ammo)? What the minimum? And then try what are the top best? And best for what kind of situation?

    Jake

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  3. #17
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post
    I've becoming more and more confused by all the self defense choices (even in a single cartridge like 9mm).

    Some ammunition is designed to go through windshields, walls, and good trajectory over longer distances (i.e. FBI, SWAT, etc).

    Some designed for maximum capacity and light weight for carry (i.e. military).

    Some designed where hollow points are illegal.

    Some designed for shooters who don't like any recoil.

    So comparing civilian defense ballistics with the needs of law enforcement or military doesn't necessarily mean it is good for civilian defense.

    When I've looked at some ballistic tables, Winchester Ranger 9mm+ is one of the closest rounds to a .40 S&W. But the Ranger 9mm round is designated for law enforcement and might be difficult to acquire now or in the future.

    I've been starting to wonder if I should move to a 40 just because I don't need to rely on fancy ballistic technology; which might be inconsistent, and definitely difficult to acquire.

    I simply want the best that can penetrate heavy winter clothing, maximum wound cavity, expand reliably, and not have much energy if the bullet does exit. And of course feeds reliably and do everything else it is expected to do.

    But I sometimes wonder if people put too much emphasis on bullet expansion, rather than placement. But then I hear a high quality 9mm is just as effective as a 40/45. But that 9mm seems to have to be VERY HIGH quality in order to be effective as 45....and that's where my confusion starts. What is going to make a 9mm just as effective as the 40?

    Or maybe it should be asked...what's the worse 9mm labeled as self defense (excluding range ammo)? What the minimum? And then try what are the top best? And best for what kind of situation?

    Jake
    I fail to see where a "civilian"/non-LEO and a LEO (which are civilians, too...) have different needs in their SD round choices.

    Both want a round with good terminal performance. Both want a round that will still be effective after light barrier penetration (heavy clothing counts as a light barrier). Both want a round that is reliable.

    In that case, why handicap yourself with a lesser-performing "civilian" load (cough--critical defense--cough), especially when they usually cost more than the LE-oriented loads.

    When you'relooking at "performance" you're probably looking at energy (foot/pounds), which really don't have much bearing on a round's effectiveness. What does is permanent cavity size and depth. You can have a hot, hot hot .40 load with a dungload of kinetic energy...but if blows up quickly, and can't penetrate into vital structure...you'll be much better served with a 147gr, 350ft/lb 9mm round that will.

    Read this: Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo

    It'll explain why you want a round with good penetration, and why energy numbers really don't matter.

    ETA--

    This statement of yours:

    I simply want the best that can penetrate heavy winter clothing, maximum wound cavity, expand reliably, and not have much energy if the bullet does exit. And of course feeds reliably and do everything else it is expected to do.
    Pretty much means that you should take alook at the list of rounds suggested for 9mm in the link that I posted above, because all of them are designed to do precisely that. As for feeding, every pistol is different, just as every shooter is different, and will require you to put at least 2-3 full magazines through your pistol to make certain it (and you) like them.
    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

  4. #18
    VIP Member Array NY27's Avatar
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    When I carry a 9mm, I use Speer GD 124gr +p.
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  5. #19
    Member Array BadgerMan's Avatar
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    Of those choices I would go with the gold dots myself. I use 147 gr gold dots in my 9x19s but I wouldn't feel like I was at a disadvantage with a +p 124gr either.

  6. #20
    Member Array snakyjake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuda66 View Post
    I fail to see where a "civilian"/non-LEO and a LEO (which are civilians, too...) have different needs in their SD round choices.
    Thanks for the link.

    I'm not sure if there are differences between civilians and LEO rounds. But if I was building a round specifically for LEO, I might have different design requirements, and may have to compromise on other features.

    Here's my guess:
    The differences between SD and LEO might be a LEO wants something that can go through an auto windshield or a car door (like when at a traffic stop). They also might need something that can go longer distances (velocity becomes more of an issue). A LEO department might want a caliber to issue to the mass (recoil might be an issue). Capacity is more of an issue since a LEO is more likely to engage multiple threats, while someone defending their life is more likely to try and escape from a threat (legally civilians can't be on the offensive like a LEO can) (this might be why they like smaller calibers rather than bigger calibers.

    Some of the LEO rounds (Winchester Ranger T 147) look really good for civilian use. My main problem is availability to civilians. When looking at FBI 9mm ballistics I'm concerned that there aren't many choices for good ballistics. There's a lot of subpar 9mm self defense rounds. While 40 is mostly all good, and seems to be an easier round to design for (though at a recoil compromise). Or said another way, most of the 40 perform just as good as the top 2 or 3 9mm rounds. But those top 2 or 3 9mm rounds are in short supply...at least where I'm at.

    Looking at 9mm FBI ballistics (not a very recent report, so newer rounds aren't included like the Fed HST), here would be my choices in order:
    Winchester Ranger Talon 147g
    Winchester Black Talon 147g
    Speer Gold Dot 124g +P

    Everything else in 9mm doesn't perform near as good as those top 3, nor 40 S&W.

    Jake

  7. #21
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    The Black Talon is obsolete and no longer made...the Ranger-T is the updated version.

    Are you sure that you're looking at a recent FBI ballistics report?

    And, fwiw, all of the rounds given in that 9mm list--say, the 147gr Gold Dot, 147 HST, 147 Ranger-T, etc...have all met or exceeded FBI test protocols.

    And where are you getting the "performs like .40 S&W" from? Am I getting a whiff of Marshall & Sanow?

    As for the differences between LE and non LE (again, LEO's are civilians too) rounds...I don't understand your desire to handicap yourself with a sub-par round. In your windshield example--do you carry in your car? Do you think you may not have a need to fire out of it, possibly through a windshield? Again, the needs of a day-to-day CCW'er are no different. aAs for availability--plenty of places online carry them, and will sell them to you.
    MikeNice likes this.
    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

  8. #22
    VIP Member Array NCHornet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by orangevol View Post
    Federal HST 124gr +P for my LC9 and Glock 19.
    +1 it's all I caary now in my nine's and forty's
    When Seconds Count, The Cops Are Just Minutes Away!!
    Carry On!
    NCHornet

  9. #23
    Member Array snakyjake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuda66 View Post
    Are you sure that you're looking at a recent FBI ballistics report?
    Probably not the latest. If there's a more recent report with a link, please let me know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cuda66 View Post
    And where are you getting the "performs like .40 S&W" from? Am I getting a whiff of Marshall & Sanow?
    I'm just reading through the FBI ballistics (not sure of the year) and looking at their stats. The best 9mm performs on par with the average 40 S&W.

    As for the differences between LE and non LE (again, LEO's are civilians too) rounds...[/QUOTE]

    Ha ha ha...I stopped a cop for doing something illegal, and I was told "I can break the law to enforce the law" (the cop wasn't enforcing a law). That taught me cops don't live by the same civilian laws.

    Anyways...
    Perhaps some of my ballistic confusion comes from manufacturer marketing. There are so many choices. But let me flip it around: Why wouldn't LEO want the best new civilian defense ammunition?

    I'm not saying there are differences, but the marketing makes it sound like there are differences. I ended up guessing that if marketing says Law Enforcement or Home Defense that there might be a difference on how they designed the bullet. And I want to understand those designs better and see them tested.

    Jake

  10. #24
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Again, all of the rounds listed for each caliber meet or exceed current FBI standards in the various tests (heavy clothing, 4-layer denim, etc, etc, etc). That's as good as it gets.

    As for non LE/LE loads...quite often, the loads sold for non LE use are simply LE ammo sold for 20 rounds for the same price that 50 LE rounds go for. Remingotn's HD Ultimate Defense round comes to mind--it's simply a rebranded Golden Saber.

    As for LE not wanting some of the loads being marketed as the best thing for CCW--eg "Guard Dog" or Critical Defense--LE wouldn't want them because they consistently fail to pass the FBI tests. They're overpriced, underperforming rounds with slick marketing campaigns.

    And again--where do you get the info that "the best 9mm performs as well as an average .40"? Is this in connection with a "one shot stop" table? What criteria are you basing that judgement on?
    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

  11. #25
    Member Array snakyjake's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Cuda66;1924169where do you get the info that "the best 9mm performs as well as an average .40"? Is this in connection with a "one shot stop" table? What criteria are you basing that judgement on?[/QUOTE]

    Here's the info I used for criteria (I used the heavy clothing column):
    Interpretation of FBI gelatin tests

    You can also use this link for more info: http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_De...tyWorkshop.pdf


    As for LE not wanting some of the loads being marketed as the best thing for CCW--eg "Guard Dog" or Critical Defense--LE wouldn't want them because they consistently fail to pass the FBI tests. They're overpriced, underperforming rounds with slick marketing campaigns.
    Yes, very slick marketing which is probably confusing a lot of consumers (like me).

    Jake

  12. #26
    VIP Member Array smolck's Avatar
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    The speer 124+p is in my gun. I did exhaustive research on SD ammo and found the Gold Dot to have the most expansion .75" in most tests and reliable penetration. A little snappy for a 9mm round, but not bad at all.

  13. #27
    Member Array paullie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smolck View Post
    The speer 124+p is in my gun. I did exhaustive research on SD ammo and found the Gold Dot to have the most expansion .75" in most tests and reliable penetration. A little snappy for a 9mm round, but not bad at all.
    same ammo for me as well

  14. #28
    New Member Array Dutch's Avatar
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    I recently bought a LC9, and I would like to use the +P ammo; however, the manual that came with the gun advised to not use +P in the LC9. What are you guys thoughts on this?

  15. #29
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    I do not use any +P ammo. I run Federal HST 147gr JHP through my GLOCK's for defensive purposes. I compete with Federal's America Eagle 147gr and feel most comfortable with the round weight.
    GLOCK 34, 17C, 21
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  16. #30
    Distinguished Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    Anything that makes Dr. Roberts' list is good-to-go, as far as I'm concerned.

    With that said, I beg of anyone using that list to do their own due-diligence - not in terms of some backyard water-jug tests - but rather, to insure that their chosen round from that list actually functions well through their defensive firearm(s), as well as that they have come to know the characteristics of that particular ammo, in their hands.

    Personal example: I loved the Speer 124 gr. +P load, which was a recommendation given to me by a trusted friend, until I tried the Federal HST 147 gr. I am noticeably more accurate with the latter, and I think it is due to the very small - but perceptible to me - difference in the recoil characteristics between the two. I've now standardized all of my 9x19 pistols to the 147 gr. HST (each of my defensive pistols, including my daily-carry, have had at least 250 rounds of the HST through them), but I'm thinking I might go instead with the Speer 147 gr., as my Kahr PM9 - which is what I'd carry when my true-EDC XDm9 3.8 Compact is too bulky - seems to "hang" just a little, when initially chambering a round, when I use the HST and the pistol is dirty from previous firing.

    A more extreme case is my SR9c. In that pistol, the Cor-Bon DPX 115 gr. +P will consistently fail-to-feed. It doesn't matter if the gun's clean or dirt, and I've verified that it is not a magazine-related issue (I have 6 magazines for this pistol, 3 of the flush 10-rds, and 3 of the extended 17-rds) - this gun just didn't like the DPXs.

    Whatever ammo you choose, be sure you've done your due-diligence and have put a good number of them, in your gun, down-range.
    MikeNice likes this.

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