9mm Luger via a LEO's perspective
This is a discussion on 9mm Luger via a LEO's perspective within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have no videos, pdf links, official sounding documents, or a doctor on standby to support what I am about to say. I do however, ...
January 15th, 2012 09:35 PM
9mm Luger via a LEO's perspective
I have no videos, pdf links, official sounding documents, or a doctor on standby to support what I am about to say. I do however, have 8 years as a police officer under my belt with one of the highest crime rated cities in the southern U.S. After 5 years of patrol, for the past 3 years I have been assigned to the crime scene unit (CSI) and have real world experience with seeing people who are DRT (dead right there) from gunshot wounds. I also have to deal with our coroner's office before/during/after autopsies, and I get the task of handling all the evidence from said cases. On to my observations...
1. I used to be a diehard .45 ACP fanboy until we started training "realistically." We are now required to shoot in various positions, which include 2 handed isosceles stance, 1 hand-strong hand shooting, and 1 hand-weak hand (I am right handed so forced to shoot with left only). We shoot straight on target, from behind cover such as the patrol car's engine block, and from prone behind a curb. Ranges are anywhere from 25 yards out to point blank. I can't hit crap beyond 7 yards with 1 hand-weak hand, shooting a .45 ACP. It feels heavy, wobbly, and awkward. I can get better with practice but why risk my life to this phenomenon.
2. A .40 S&W has more recoil thus slower, ACCURATE follow-ups than the 9mm or .45 ACP. This is a fact and why I do not like .40 S&W.
3. In "Top Cop" competitions hosted by my dept., it's ALWAYS the 9mm LEOs that win those things. Better control, faster follow-up shots, more accurate "high stress" bullet placement.
Having said all this, I recently sold my SF XD 45 and bought a GLOCK 17 Gen4 9mm. I have always used the Speer GD ammo in my .45, so I figured I'd go with some Speer GD 9mm, with the recommended 124g +P stuff. After all, P.D.s such as NY and NJ use them. Then I landed on an article discussing the use of 147g ammo. I had heard of 147g before, but it was several years ago and the data was not that great. Recent testing and bullet design have greatly improved this round to the degree that the following is now "statistically" a common finding:
1. 124g +P has slightly better expansion.
2. 147g has slightly better penetration.
There's even 147g +P out now.
So what do you want in a 9mm designed for stopping power?
1. At least 12" of penetration.
2. Consistent expansion (.60 is nice, .70 is better).
3. Non-separation of bullet/jacket.
4. Being accurate whether it is 2 handed or 1 handed shooting...PoA = PoI.
There is no magic bullet that is the "do all, be all, end all" in a pistol caliber. Weather affects bullet dynamics just as much as the weight of the bullet. 147g SHOULD be more effective in cold weather due to having slightly better penetration (think heavy clothing), but this is not a guarantee. At the same time, against bare skin or in warm months, 124 +P SHOULD be better because of the slightly better expansion. Ultimately you have to be able to hit what you are aiming at, and keep putting rounds on target until the threat is stopped.
I have seen a man that was hit over 15x by numerous rounds to include .45 ACP, .40 S&W and 9mm, but he would not drop. No one was getting good hits on vitals. Then an old school revolver shooter put one in the heart with a .38 SPL and the guy dropped DRT.
I have seen .40 S&W over-penetrate through soft flesh and go in one side and out the other.
I have seen .45 ACP JHP not make it to the heart after traveling through a heavy coat, 3 shirts, and some thermal underwear and the guy ran off and went to the hospital on his own.
I have seen some cheap 9mm ammo that was a 1 hit stop after Joe-Thug shot John-Thug in the heart...DRT.
A lot of this is random thoughts and experiences typed out, but I wanted to make a case from real world experiences that it does not matter what you choose to carry, just make sure you can hit what you are aiming at and to keep on shooting until the bad guy is no longer a threat. We do not train to fire 1 shot, look at the target to see if it is a 1 hit stop, and then to react with some more shots. We shoot MULTIPLE times until the threat has been eliminated. The argument for single shot 9mm vs .45 is just stupid.
In the end what I chose to go with after hours of personal testing was the Federal HST 9mm 124g +P for warm weather and the Federal HST 9mm 147g for cold weather. This decision was reached based on what I could control the BEST in all shooting scenarios, what had great penetration, expansion, and no jacket separation, and what offered PoA = PoI consistency. I am sure the Speer GD is fabulous in 9mm, but my personal research and testing found that the Federal HST was marginally better.
Take it for what it's worth from a "real world" cop with CSI experience.
January 15th, 2012 10:03 PM
I always wondered why folks got wrapped around the axle with the "one shot stop" concept. If I ever get in a bind, target will get two rounds, at minimum. Funny how things swing. The much maligned 9mm is making an impressive comeback.
Many thanks for your post. It further validates a few theories I subscribe to: 9mm is certainly enough, and one round fired certainly isn't.
Welcome to the forum.
January 15th, 2012 10:10 PM
With all due respect, everything you mention I have read in one form or another about every two months on DC. My question to you was why in the was someone wearing all that clothing you mention above in the deep south?
Originally Posted by CDWolfe
Ccccccc what? Ccccccccccc Hawks!
January 15th, 2012 10:10 PM
Liberty, Property, or Death - Jonathan Gardner's powder horn inscription 1776
Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.
("Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.")
-Virgil, Aeneid, vi, 95
January 15th, 2012 10:15 PM
I agree, the more shots on target the better (common sense). What the fanboys (of any caliber) always argue is theories of expansion, kinetic energy, velocity, etc. Trust me when I tell you that standing still, shooting at a non-moving paper target is FAR DIFFERENT that shooting defensively while Mr. Bad Guy is popping rounds off that go zinging by your head because he refuses to go back to jail alive. All that theory crap goes right out the window and you're in it to eliminate the threat by any means necessary, so that you go home at the end of the shift.
But here is some "street theory" for everyone to consider: 3 good, fast hits with 9mm that expands to .70" each (like Speer GD or Federal HST) yields 2.1" of total expansion area. This is SUPERIOR to 2 good, fast hits with .45 ACP that expands to .90" each, which gives you 1.8" of total expansion area.
By the same token, the only guaranteed single shot stop is if the brain or spinal cord are destroyed. Not even destroying the heart can guarantee an instant stop.
@C hawk Glock: in the deep South, winters are mild at best. However, we do have days where the temps can dip into the teens. Weather aside, for whatever reason, blacks tend to wear a ton of clothing in the colder months. I am comfortable in short sleeves when it is 32* outside, but some people walk around looking like Eskimos in furry parkas.
January 15th, 2012 11:19 PM
I started off with .45's (G30, USP, 1911) thinking there isn't anything better. I recently bought my first 9mm (G19) and have been carrying it a lot. I can shoot it more accurately, faster. Not to say I can shoot 9mm more accurately than .45, I shoot them the same as far as accuracy goes during slow fire. But fast fire, 9mm wins, easily. More capacity in a thinner package. More shots on target faster.
I will say I think all things being equal, a .45 have the advantage over 9mm in "wounding" power, or whatever as well as barriers. But in the real world, the difference will be negligible if not non-existent. With the current bullet technology 9mm is better than ever. I currently carry either a S&W 442, G19 or G30. Have plenty of faith in either caliber, even the .38
January 16th, 2012 12:04 AM
I appreciate your observations. If you boil it all down, it reinforces the notion that there is no magic bullet, and clinging to one caliber to the exclusion of others won't save your hide.
We can continue to debate the "optimum" sidearm and caliber, but at the end of the day I doubt we can conclusively state that one caliber or one firearm trumps all others. My hope is that your post serves to keep people's minds open.
NRA Endowment Member
NROI Chief Range Officer
January 16th, 2012 12:15 AM
Whoa, back up the math train. You are simply adding the diameters, which might be a valid comparison if each hit was right next to the other, making a nice perforation pattern. But, the area of those (overall size of holes) still favors the two .45 shots. Remember the the old PI*r^2 thing? Three 9mm at .70 have total area of 1.16 sq/in, while the two .45 at .90 have a total area of 1.27 sq/in.
Originally Posted by CDWolfe
That puts us back into the numbers game which really is immaterial. I think a BG bleeding from three holes is better than just two holes. And hey, the 9mm pistol usually lets you put a lot more holes in the guy before needing to reload.
Sorry, the math teacher in me just couldn't let that go by.
The only common sense gun legislation was written about 224 years ago.
I carry always not because I go places trouble is likely, but because trouble has a habit of not staying in its assigned zone.
January 16th, 2012 12:27 AM
"Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." - Col. Cooper
It's the trigger puller, not the trigger.
"There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you." William Hazlitt (1778 - 1830)
Best Choices for Self Defense Ammunition
January 16th, 2012 12:28 AM
HeHe this response makes me feel better about my post #3 above. These threads always start a ******* match!
Originally Posted by sdprof
Ccccccc what? Ccccccccccc Hawks!
January 16th, 2012 01:39 AM
Maybe they knew there was a possibility of getting shot with a .45 in the chest and wanted to take precautions
Originally Posted by C hawk Glock
To the OP; while the points you mentioned have been tossed around quite a bit on the forums as CHawk mentions, I thought your comments and arguments were well thought out, and explained your reasoning for endorsing the 9mm. I think it's a good round, is it the best out there? Probably not, but it'll get it done in a pinch no doubt.
"Brilliant. So now we got a huge guy theory, and a serial crusher theory. Top notch. What's your name?" - Paul Smecker
January 16th, 2012 01:58 AM
It still all comes down to this:
Carry the largest caliber that you can shoot quickly yet accurately and can afford to practice a lot with.
For some guys this will be 9mm, 40sw, 45acp or 10mm.
I carry 9mm and am fine with that - I shoot it well and am confident with it. But, if I could shoot and control .40sw equally, you bet I'd be carrying a G27 over my G26.
January 16th, 2012 04:29 AM
I liked your post, good info, even though I do carry a .40. I really liked the "DRT", I'll use that one!
You can educate ignorance, you can't fix stupid
Retired DE Trooper, SA XD40 SC, S&W 2" Airweight
dukalmighty & Pure Kustom Black Ops Pro "Trooper" Holsters, DE CCDW and LEOSA Permits, Vietnam Vet 68-69 Pleiku
January 16th, 2012 07:31 AM
I live in Louisiana, it can be sometimes be surprisingly COLD here. I work outside in it and often wear layered clothing.
Gain a 2A vote, take a fence-sitter shooting.
January 16th, 2012 08:07 AM
Nice post that sums up the obvious: A good hit with any caliber will stop the fight; a bad hit with any caliber will not. Nice perspective from one who's "been there, done that." The is no magic caliber or bullet.
DRT . . . I like that.
Last edited by OldVet; January 16th, 2012 at 03:15 PM.
Retired USAF E-8. 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
Search tags for this page
9mm autopsy results
9mm defense ammo comparison
9mm luger case dimensions
9mm making a comeback
9mm shooting statistics
9mm stopping power
9mm vs 45 autopsy results
fbi 9mm ammo
is the 9mm making a comeback
michael lee platt autopsy
Click on a term to search for related topics.