This is a discussion on Optimum Ammunition? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I use a few varieties at the range for practice, but I keep Hornady FTX in my magazines/chambers for "that dreaded moment"! Am I missing ...
I use a few varieties at the range for practice, but I keep Hornady FTX in my magazines/chambers for "that dreaded moment"! Am I missing out on a better cartridge for my dollar? Gold points? Is JHP good enough? (And, as an aside, should I be looking into "frangible bullets" for home defense?)
Move. Shoot. Survive. ― The "Unofficial" Suarez International Doctrine
“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress and grows brave by reflection.” ― Thomas Paine
Reposted from another board.
This is from Dr. Gary Roberts, one of the most prominent and well respected ballisticians in the country.
Note the summation at the end (keys).
The following loads all demonstrate outstanding terminal performance and can be considered acceptable for duty/self-defense use:
Barnes XPB 105 & 115 gr JHP (copper bullet)
Federal Tactical 124 gr JHP (LE9T1)
Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +P JHP (53617)
Winchester Ranger-T 124 gr +P JHP (RA9124TP)
Winchester Partition Gold 124 gr JHP (RA91P)
Winchester Ranger-T 127 gr +P+ JHP (RA9TA)
Federal Tactical 135 gr +P JHP (LE9T5)
Federal HST 147 gr JHP (P9HST2)
Remington Golden Saber 147 gr JHP (GS9MMC)
Speer Gold Dot 147 gr JHP (53619)
Winchester Ranger-T 147 gr JHP (RA9T)
Barnes XPB 140 & 155 gr JHP (copper bullet)
Speer Gold Dot 155 gr JHP (53961)
Federal Tactical 165 gr JHP (LE40T3)
Winchester Ranger-T 165 gr JHP (RA40TA)
Winchester Partition Gold 165 gr JHP (RA401P)
Federal HST 180 gr JHP (P40HST1)
Federal Tactical 180 gr JHP (LE40T1)
Remington Golden Saber 180 gr JHP (GS40SWB)
Speer Gold Dot 180 gr JHP (53966)
Winchester Ranger-T 180 gr JHP (RA40T)
Barnes XPB 185 gr JHP (copper bullet)
Federal HST 230 gr +P JHP (P45HST1)
Federal Tactical 230 gr JHP (LE45T1)
Speer Gold Dot 230 gr JHP (23966)
Winchester Ranger-T 230 gr JHP (RA45T)
Winchester Ranger-T 230 gr +P JHP (RA45TP)
-- Obviously, clone loads using the same bullet at the same velocity work equally well (ie. Black Hills ammo using Gold Dot bullets, etc…)
Keeping in mind that handguns generally offer poor incapacitation potential, bullets with effective terminal performance are available in all of the most commonly used duty pistol calibers--pick the one that you shoot most accurately, that is most reliable in the type of pistol you choose, and best suits your likely engagement scenarios. Whatever you choose, make sure you fire at least 500 and preferably 1000 failure free shots through your pistol prior to using it for duty. If your pistol cannot fire at least 1000 consecutive shots without a malfunction, something is wrong and it is not suitable for duty/self-defense use.
The keys are:
Invest in competent, thorough initial training and then maintain skills with regular ongoing practice
Acquire a reliable and durable weapon system
Purchase a consistent, robust performing duty/self-defense load in sufficient quantities (at least 1000 rounds) then STOP worrying about the nuances of handgun ammunition terminal performance.
Just put it where it needs to go and nature will take care of the rest.
Retired USAF E-8. Curmudgeon at large.
Lighten up and enjoy life because:
Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth
Whatever works best with your gun and shoots straight ! It varies from gun to gun. Every firearm favors something different. A Glock for example will shoot a general pattern with a good brand of ammo, but it may favor another brand and do even better with that. Try out a few different types/brands and use whatever the gun likes best, whatever gives best results.
Outlaw Guns and Only Outlaws Will Have Guns !!