9mm ammo penetration

This is a discussion on 9mm ammo penetration within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hey anybody know any 9mm ammo that doesn't have a a lot of penetration I have Winchester pdx1 and it went through 12" of ballistic ...

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    New Member Array spudly's Avatar
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    Question 9mm ammo penetration

    Hey anybody know any 9mm ammo that doesn't have a a lot of penetration I have Winchester pdx1 and it went through 12" of ballistic gel and I'd like to have some that didn't go so far so I won't have worry about collateral damage any thoughts????

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    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    12" seems about right to me. How skinny are the folks you're planning to shoot?
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    Welcome to the forum.

    IMO, people worry too much about over penetration compared to the much more likely collateral damage from misses.
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    As long as you aren't using FMJ ball ammo for defense, I wouldn't worry too much about overpenetration with 9mm ammo. In fact, one of the criticisms of 9mm as opposed to larger calibers has been too little penetration for some situations.
    You will probably get less penetration out of a lighter grain bullet, if that's a concern of yours. Don't worry about shoot-throughs with hollow point 9mm ammo. Police all over the world have shot bad guys with 9mm JHP ammo without overpenetration concerns.
    Innocent bystanders are far more endangered by bullets that miss and go flying through the neighborhood than ones that go into criminals.
    Your bullet penetrating 12" is not a bad thing. That slug has to get through bone and possible layers of clothing to get to the attacker's vitals.
    Last edited by Showman; December 5th, 2012 at 11:49 PM. Reason: wrong word in post

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    I would not worry about over penetration as it's overrated and often touted by ammo mfgs who like to promote lighter loads. I can't remember which study it was but they looked at the rate of people who were hit by rounds passing through a suspect and it was very low. Now that's with good reliable hollow point rounds that expand well. In a defensive shooting penetration is your friend but to an extent. You really need something with approx 12 inches of penetration. Now is the human organs 12 inches in the body? No. However, you have to account for a situation where you may have to shoot through a barrier. You may hit bones. You may not have a suspect who is facing you. He (or she) may be at an angle or their side may be facing you. You may get a hit in the arm and then it has to hit multiple bones. I try to stay away from ammo MFGS who claim their round is designed not to over penetrate. If you look at the 1986 Miami FBI Shootout one of the suspects was hit but I believe the 115 Grain 9MM Winchester Silver Tip missed his heart by about an inch. That of course is the incident that changed the way the FBI evaluated it's duty issued ammo and why we have the FBI field testing protocol.

    I prefer the Speer Gold Dot 124+P rounds. Another great round is Federal HST and Winchester Ranger T. Stick with a brand used by Law Enforcement and avoid the exotic offerings.

    I believe you are going to have more of a problem on your hand if you don't stop the threat so if that PDX 1 round feeds reliably in your gun I would stick with it. Your self defense loads should have at a minimum 12 inches of penetration even with 4 layers of denim.
    Last edited by Brent2006; December 6th, 2012 at 10:55 AM.

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    Member Array Billb1960's Avatar
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    Although ballistic gel is designed to mimic human muscle tissue it is hardly a human analog when it comes to determining how a bullet will react in a human body. We have these things called 'bones' which cause all kinds of havoc when struck by supersonic (and even subsonic) projectiles. I read somewhere that there's over an 85% chance that any one bullet will strike bone after entry. Certainly if you're aiming for the bad guys chest and hitting it there's ribs and a sternum to deal with.

    The FBI has set the benchmark for acceptable bullet penetration with minimal chance of 'shoot through' at 12" although there are some experts who think 13"-16" is better. I honestly don't know all of the scientific data behind the 12" number but I would think there's been a significant amount of thought and research put into it.

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    12" is the minimum for a reason - quite a few of the 9mm rounds out there barely make it that far. I wish there was something in a HP with more penetration that wasn't as expensive as the DPX.

    Austin

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    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    ...but, if for some reason you aren't convinced that penetration is something good - look at Glaser, Powerball - specialty stuff like that.

    Austin

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    Member Array Enzo411's Avatar
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    Modern quality defense ammo in all the major handgun calibers are going to come in between the FBI specs. The difference is the size hole it makes.
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    VIP Member Array Brad426's Avatar
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    Agreed with the folks that said use a hollow point and your good. That frangible stuff all seems too gimmicky.

    Oh, and welcome.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spudly View Post
    Hey anybody know any 9mm ammo that doesn't have a a lot of penetration I have Winchester pdx1 and it went through 12" of ballistic gel and I'd like to have some that didn't go so far so I won't have worry about collateral damage any thoughts????
    With anything that penetrates deeply enough to puncture an artery or poke out an eye, one must be aware of the risk of collateral damage to innocents.

    But the whole point of defensive firearms usage is, if needed, to strike immediate and incapacitating damage upon the target sufficient to stop the threat to your very life. You most definitely want that 12-15in of penetration.

    Before you decide, I'd recommend reading up on the infamous FBI "Miami shootout," in which terminal ballistics of the ammo used was blamed as a strong contributing factor for failure to effectively stop the deadly threats posed by the criminals.

    If you do end up convincing yourself that poorer penetration is in fact what you'd prefer, then do one of the following: opt for a lighter, expanding JHP, subsonic round that has significantly lower ft-lbs force (as measured at the muzzle); select a shorter-barreled gun as your defensive weapon; or, change to .380ACP. Each of these should result in reduced penetration as compared to your current 9mm defensive ammo choice.
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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Good discussion of why you DO want 12-15 inches penetration:

    Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo
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    VIP Member Array zonker1986's Avatar
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    try the 9mm Kurz (short) or as we like to call it here in the U.S......the .380ACP. Lack of penetration should be absolutely no probleme' for that round.
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    You must have a defective box of 9mm ammo there.
    I suggest you send it back to winchester, stating that you are very dissapointed, that it performed so well.
    Haven't they read all the internet Rambo BS that says 9mm is nothing more than glorified .380, and that it couldn't stop a broken clock from keeping time.
    J/K

    You have a normal amount of penetration as far as 9mm goes.
    Don't worry too much about it passing through your intended target, and doing additional damage.
    If you are worried about IF you miss, then you should either not carry,{ because in life, there are no absolutes},
    or try a lesser caliber


    10thmtn has a great link for you in post #12
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    Member Array wingit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost tracker View Post
    12" seems about right to me. How skinny are the folks you're planning to shoot?
    Not to mention gel don't have hard stuff in it like bones!

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