Living In An Apartment

This is a discussion on Living In An Apartment within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; We might be moving into an apartment, and I'd like some suggestions regarding 9mm ammunition which would be effective in SD situations, while reducing the ...

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    Living In An Apartment

    We might be moving into an apartment, and I'd like some suggestions regarding 9mm ammunition which would be effective in SD situations, while reducing the risk of penetrating through walls into neighbors' apartments.
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    Senior Member Array Chuck808's Avatar
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    After tons of internet research, watching ballistics tests, and hearing of real world accounts, Ive come to the conclusion that any projectile that will give satisfactory penetration to be used as a defensive round will over-penetrate through walls. No way around it.

    Id just pick a quality hollowpoint and go from there.

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    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Right.

    I'd recommend a modern, robustly performing hollow point of 124-147 grains, preferably not +P, in on of the following flavors: HST, Gold Dot, Ranger-T, Golden Saber. The round should be one that your pistol feed 100% reliably, and that you feel has good accuracy and control in rapid fire (which means yes, you need to shoot those expensive rounds. Yay--you get to shoot more!)

    Here's the thing--any round that will be effective against goblins is going to go through walls (plural); therefore, any round that won't go through walls is not going to be effective against goblins. QED.

    Now, any modern JHP that properly functions will likely not fully penetrate the body cavity, and if it does, will likely be spent to the point that it won't be a threat on the other side--it's misses you have to worry about.

    If you choose a lightweight, gimmicky JHP (cough...Hornady Critical Defense...Magsafe...Glaser...RBCD...cough), you may have to shoot more to stop the threat. More shots fired means more chances of misses, and those missed rounds are what you need to worry about zinging through walls.

    So get a good JHP, make sure you pistol likes 'em, and practice with ball ammo so you 'll be able to put them on target if you ever need to.
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    If you have concerns of over penetration in that setting, I would definitely shy away from the bonded hollow points like Golden Saber and Gold Dot. A traditional JHP drive to a velocity that will generate over 410 Ft.Lbs of muzzle energy will promote reliable expansion in the .36 caliber class of defensive rounds. Manufacturers that I would look closely at would be Corbon, and maybe Liberty Civil Defense's ultra-light weight low penetration loads. My personal choice would be the 115 grain Corbon 9mm+P load. At this grain weight it will pretty much duplicate a 110 grain 357 Magnum load. As such it will penetrate about 10 - 11" with explosive expansion. These types of rounds will do about everything possible NOT to overpenetrate a target. They are also a pretty good street round, so it can pull double duty. The exotics like the Liberty load I mentioned offer very limited penetration, and in my opinion, a little too limited. Hope this helps.......stay safe!
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    Yup, modern JHP non +P and make sure it feeds in your gun and that's the best you can hope for.
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    VIP Member Array GhostMaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostMaker View Post
    If you have concerns of over penetration in that setting, I would definitely shy away from the bonded hollow points like Golden Saber and Gold Dot. A traditional JHP drive to a velocity that will generate over 410 Ft.Lbs of muzzle energy will promote reliable expansion in the .36 caliber class of defensive rounds. Manufacturers that I would look closely at would be Corbon, and maybe Liberty Civil Defense's ultra-light weight low penetration loads. My personal choice would be the 115 grain Corbon 9mm+P load. At this grain weight it will pretty much duplicate a 110 grain 357 Magnum load. As such it will penetrate about 10 - 11" with explosive expansion. These types of rounds will do about everything possible NOT to overpenetrate a target. They are also a pretty good street round, so it can pull double duty. The exotics like the Liberty load I mentioned offer very limited penetration, and in my opinion, a little too limited. Hope this helps.......stay safe!
    As a follow up to the Corbon load I mentioned, here is a gel test that shows you what kind of performance it can yield.

    9x19mm Luger Cor-Bon 115gr +P JHP ballistic gelatin slow motion - YouTube
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    Senior Member Array Chuck808's Avatar
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    Honestly, Id say just go for a pump shotgun with something like a #4 buckshot. Over-penetration will be an issue with any weapon, so might as well get one that will almost surely be a one shot stop. Less shots flying means less of a change to miss the target, and that long sight radius will make it much easier to hit the target in a high-stress and/or low-light scenario.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostMaker View Post
    As a follow up to the Corbon load I mentioned, here is a gel test that shows you what kind of performance it can yield.

    9x19mm Luger Cor-Bon 115gr +P JHP ballistic gelatin slow motion - YouTube
    Color me impressed .

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    Quote Originally Posted by TotingPacifist View Post
    We might be moving into an apartment, and I'd like some suggestions regarding 9mm ammunition which would be effective in SD situations, while reducing the risk of penetrating through walls into neighbors' apartments.
    Don't miss.

    But seriously, train, train, train. Then train some more. Then train again. Then go back to the range and train. If you're in a situation where a miss in your home is likely to kill an innocent, training is something you need to be very serious about. I don't think there's any round out there that will not penetrate through an interior wall in an apartment that will still be effective on your target.

    I'd consider frangible bullets. Apparently those have terrible penetration in a human, but will still penetrate dry wall. Though, if it has terrible penetration in ballistic gel, then it'll probably be practically harmless once it's gone through a barrier such as dry wall.
    (Source: Personal Defense Ammunition | Ballistics 101 - I can't verify the validity of anything said in this source. It was just a quick google search.)

    Somethin' to look into, but I have no idea if this is really a viable option or not.
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    Distinguished Member Array BadgerJ's Avatar
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    Depending on the type of apartment building, let's say you are on the top floor. If I had the opportunity to choose, I'd try to shoot down to up so that any round exiting the BG would go through the neighbor's apartment near their ceiling. Perhaps one might be shooting from a kneeling position anyway, staying behind cover. Other than that, as some have said you're going to be shooting inside basically a sheetrock box.
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    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    I use either Federal HST 124 gr, or winchester PDX1 124gr in my shield for HD. either will knock a BG loopy, and would have to pass through to complete exterior walls to enter another apt.
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    If I was really worried about such things and in your situation, I'd probably choose some of that newer all copper projectile ammo on the market.
    When I used to live in an apartment (upstairs), my Mossberg 500A 20ga with #2 buck was my fist choice for HD.

    If you think about the science behind all of this, and forget the average hype on the internet and others telling you what you should and shouldn't use, the high magazine capacities and the caliber wars.....it's kind of a mess. How much penetration do you want? Round lead balls don't have very good ballistics and they are not usually high velocity. Full metal jacket ammo traveling at higher velocities would penetrate more and also have tendencies to ricochet. Hollow points expand only when met with adequate resistance, and some pieces of the projectile may peel away or fall off as penetration progresses through certain materials. Larger caliber projectiles are most often slower (we are talking pistol calibers), and more likely to meet some form of resistance sooner than the smaller, faster moving projectiles.

    Oddly enough, the science of killing another human being has evolved and advanced more than the science of saving human life over the years. Schools of thought and experts have emerged mainly for their own benefit in ways. Used to be the thought was to have a projectile penetrate deep enough, expand inside, and cause catastrophic nerve damage.

    Then there was penetrate, expand while still penetrating, continue to penetrate, exit, and leave a larger hole on exit and cause greater or immediate blood loss. Environmental circumstances have seldom entered the minds of the killing experts when it comes to the larger hole and keep going theory. Collateral damage after the fact as never really been discussed in detail so long as the initial target is neutralized. I'm guessing it's a priority thing.

    First you have to survive an attack on your life, so as long as you manage to do that, how much could anything else matter? Recklessly endangering your neighbors? Get a good lawyer, blame whatever could possibly happen to your neighbor after you survive the attack. After all, if your attacker would have never threatened your life.....none of this ever would have happened right? Your feelings of responsibility in the whole matter? That's up to you and how things play out in the aftermath of a situation.

    The honest truth here? If you think that defending yourself the way that you intend to might put others at risk in any way, then you should figure out another way of doing so. It's the simple truth. If there is any doubt in your mind when it comes time to pull the trigger on your 9mm pistol to save your own life, then doubt will be what killed you and not your attacker. If you're getting sued for damages or charged with a crime after an incident that you survived, then you're still alive.
    Last edited by JDavisArk; October 28th, 2013 at 09:50 PM. Reason: spelling
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    Senior Member Array patri0t's Avatar
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    Most apartment walls will be 2- 5/8" sheets of drywall separated by a 3 5/8" stud gap.
    I have used .357Mag Corbon 110 gr lead nose HP and for 9mm: Speer Gold Dot 9mm 124 gr +P GDHP "for short barrels" and Corbon Pow'rBall 9mm +P with the lightest bullet, when I lived in an apartment.

    Both of these 9mms are designed to expand quickly, but require significant velocity to expand, the GDHP "for Short Barrels" is made with an 'extra thin jacket' for rapid expansion, like the "Hornady Critical Defense" (NOT their 'Critical Duty' ammo, which is made for penetrating 'intermediates' such as auto glass, doors etc.
    The Corbon Pow'rBalls are compressed lead shot in a 'very thin' jacket and would be deleted by each 5/8 sheet of drywall.

    The +P in these particular rounds are essential in the quick energy dump on its initial target. It would seem to the untrained, that a non +P would penetrate less, but the slower moving projectile is actually a greater threat towards causing expansion failure and excessive wall penetration.

    A Shotgun is a good choice for apartment/condo dwellers since SD distances (up to 12 feet max avg) will function with 7 1/2 shot as a slug, but with non-plated lead, will not penetrate 2 5/8" sheets of drywall well,at all.
    I have answered two calls, one in a trailer home (.410ga #9 shot removed perp's arm & DOA) and another in an apartment where excess #7 1/2 pellets did not penetrate any drywall.

    Since you can't really answer the door with a ready shotgun, a 9mm would be a proper choice.
    There is a huge difference in expansion between 'soft tissue' and a 'hard double drywall' surface.
    Also, the longer the bbl of your 9mm the better.
    I have neighbors and since windows are still a factor, I use the above after having tested them at typical 'same room range'.

    When I was in uniform, we relied heavily on #12 shot for 'No Knocks' and lightweight 9mm +Ps in MP5s. The specialized 1 oz #12 shot was rated to 5 yards.
    I saw actual videos of it removing limbs at same-room ranges with Cyl Bore... it doesn't expand at 5 yards, entry is a quarter-sized hole.

    Seek out expert advise on ballistic penetration as the odd physics are often just the opposite of what common sense would suggest.
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    Thanks to everyone for your responses. You've given me plenty to think about.

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    Do not get into the gimmick ammo (lead free, frangible...).
    Light, fast, standard pressure 9mm is a viable theory. So is #4 buck. 55gr. 5.56mm rifle has been discussed elsewhere as minimum loads for minimal penetration.

    All that is fine, but I recommend planning your home defense and laying out safe fields of fire. Understanding that the first casualty in an attack will be the plan, try to assess the most likely source of attack, and the most dangerous source of attack.

    Assess where you are likely to be, and where you would like to be during an attack. Know, memorize, and rehearse where to shoot from, and what is a safe field of fire. Plan on effective defensive ammo missing or penetrating the intended target, and plan on a safe backstop or direction of fire.

    The attacker gets to decide when to attack. You get to decide how to direct the attack. You get to decide where and how you bunker. Think like a combat engineer.

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