Best defense ammo for .40 sw

This is a discussion on Best defense ammo for .40 sw within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Ok, let me start by saying this is not your typical "advice for best ammo" question, and after much research on different ballistics and reports ...

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Thread: Best defense ammo for .40 sw

  1. #1
    Member Array mrhutch's Avatar
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    Best defense ammo for .40 sw

    Ok, let me start by saying this is not your typical "advice for best ammo" question, and after much research on different ballistics and reports i'm not much better off than when i started. I will be carrying a SA XD .40, and i will primarily be carrying at work. I work in a small retail store (aquarium store) and i have already talked to my bosses (who are also pretty close friends of mine) and they encourage me to carry and are actually pretty eager for me to (the store's already been robbed once since they owned it, and 3 times in the last 10 years under the old owners). That being said, here's my dilemma:

    We are in a strip-mall, as in the only barriers on either side of the store are sheetrock and fiberglass insulation. 2 layers of sheet rock are all that separate us from a restaurant on either side, which are full of people during the statistically most likely times of day we would be robbed, and the front of the store is all glass.

    i need a round that will:
    1) feed reliably
    2) stop a threat quickly
    3)fragment on contact with hard surfaces, or at least expand and slow down enough to be less than deadly


    I have looked into the glaser safety slugs, but not heard many good things as to their effectiveness as a man-stopper. i have also looked into the corbon pow'rball ammo, but heard conflicting reports about how it performs through obstacles--one review said it penetrated through 1/2" plywood and then 11" into ballistic gel, another claimed they fragmented on passing through just about any obstacle. i'm also not sure how the insulation will effect normal JHP's, if it will slow them down at all enough to keep our neighbors' patrons safe.

    my main concern is the safety of myself and my coworkers, so if i have to risk the life of a stranger to save a friend's i will, but i'd like to limit that risk as much as possible. any suggestions?

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  3. #2
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    Array nn's Avatar
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    Get some expanding point full metal jacket ammo if you do not want pow'r'ball.
    I'd use pow'r'ball if they functioned in my gun.

  4. #3
    Member Array Sgt4474's Avatar
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    I am no ammo expert but my department issues us the Speer Gold Dot 180 gr hollow point. I have found that when using the .40 caliber the 165 grain bullets are more accurate in my opinion. As for what you should use I have no experience with the ammo you have suggested but I would like to say that I would use what is proven as far as ammunition is concerned.
    "If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon, you will be a minister of death praying for war. "R. Lee Ermey---FMJ"

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    I think what you need is called frangible ammo. It is designed to fall apart and not over-penetrate.

    I can not vouch for the following, but it is the ammo that I carry. Google MagSafe, not to be confused with MagTech.

    If you believe their advertising, they are selling a frangible ammo with a construction that achieves very high velocity with reduced recoil and poor penetration through things like sheet rock--also low ricochet potential.

    I find .40 in 180 gr a bit hard to handle. In the MagSafe brand the bullet is quite light. I don't recall exactly, but I think in the 90 gr range. Felt recoil is almost eliminated, but because there is high velocity, ....well, you should read their advertisements yourself and judge for yourself because I don't want to appear to be endorsing them. I certainly have not done any scientific studies of the performance of this stuff.

  6. #5
    Member Array mrhutch's Avatar
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    hmmm, i may stick with pow'rball (the good reviews of it are more impressive than those of some other choices) but i am looking into magsafe now. thanks guys!

    anyone else have any input?

    EDIT:

    hmmm.... the MagSafe SWAT loads look interesting. designed for maximum wound channel size but won't penetrate walls. i'm worried about POA vs. POI with the lighter load (46 grains?!), though, especially since the practice ammo i'll be using is 165 gr.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    I guess you have a problem because anything that will reach deep enough into the human body to cause sufficient damage to critical structures will defeat most common building materials.

    At the distances you are going to be shooting at, how different is your POA/POI going to be?

    Likely you will be shooting at distances under 10 yards, and at that close range it probably won't matter if you have 165 grain ammo for practice or a much lighter frangible carry load.

    In addition, be aware Glaser or other such bullets may not react the way you think in the event of a miss:

    "...Perhaps the point of greatest interest is the failure of the bullet to reduce penetration when fired through interior walls, as might occur in the event of a complete miss during a defensive shooting event inside a structure – lethality of the round is actually increased by the presence of an intervening interior wall."

    Glaser 'Silver' Safety Slug (FBI test #4, Interior wall)
    & http://www.brassfetcher.com/Brassfet...afety_Slug.pdf

    Check out the 135 grain EFMJ ( Federal 135gr Expanding Full Metal Jacket ) or the 135 grain CorBon, but be aware these seem to penetrate insufficiently as per the FBI tests (requiring 12 inch minimum depth) and will most likely blow through sheetrock or wall studs like a blowtorch through butter.

    Another thing, beware of carrying a gun to protect other people's property unless you are covered under your employer's insurance policy.

    If you aren't, and still want to carry, inform your employers that the only time you intend on drawing your weapon is if you believe LIVES are at stake.

    If someone just wants the money, they will get it.

    If someone starts herding people into the back room and having them get on their knees...different story.

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    Look here

    Try this site: The Box O' Truth - The Box O' Truth
    Lots of tests with sheetrock and various JHP and frangible. Bottom line is MitchellCT is right. If it will stop on one layer of sheetrock, it will stop on one layer of bad guy and not penetrate enough. And, for the record, I'm not a "deep penetration=stopping power" kind of shooter. I carry 135gr Quick Shok in my .40 and prefer light and rapidly expanding stuff. Beware that Mag Safe and Glaser give odd slide velocities and may not be reliable, and are pretty expensive to test in your gun for 50 rounds or so to prove reliability. The RCBD stuff seems to be all hype, I've never tested it myself, though.

    I'll bet a few hundred gallons of fishtank would be a nice backstop for one shot at least. Is there some strategic way you can place tanks, displays, etc?

  9. #8
    Member Array mrhutch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchellCT View Post
    I guess you have a problem because anything that will reach deep enough into the human body to cause sufficient damage to critical structures will defeat most common building materials.

    At the distances you are going to be shooting at, how different is your POA/POI going to be?

    Likely you will be shooting at distances under 10 yards, and at that close range it probably won't matter if you have 165 grain ammo for practice or a much lighter frangible carry load.
    hmm, this is a good point, although the farthest clear shooting distance in my store is 18 yards, with a long section of shelves parallell to the distance. so i will most likely either be facing a shot across the front counter at a BG or from the rear of the aisle towards the front counter. so there is potential for a longer range shot, and the way the store is laid out it will either be just a few feet or the exreme, 18 yards, with nothing much in between.

    In addition, be aware Glaser or other such bullets may not react the way you think in the event of a miss:

    "...Perhaps the point of greatest interest is the failure of the bullet to reduce penetration when fired through interior walls, as might occur in the event of a complete miss during a defensive shooting event inside a structure lethality of the round is actually increased by the presence of an intervening interior wall."

    Glaser 'Silver' Safety Slug (FBI test #4, Interior wall)
    & http://www.brassfetcher.com/Brassfet...afety_Slug.pdf
    yeah i had heard that too, and also the opposite, which is why i'm on the fence about it.

    Check out the 135 grain EFMJ ( Federal 135gr Expanding Full Metal Jacket ) or the 135 grain CorBon, but be aware these seem to penetrate insufficiently as per the FBI tests (requiring 12 inch minimum depth) and will most likely blow through sheetrock or wall studs like a blowtorch through butter.
    i have read about the federal load and heard nothing but good things about corbon, but if i remember correctly the corbon pow'rball performed a little better than the EFMJ in ballistics gelatin and chronograph tests (been a month or so since i looked at both charts side by side though).
    Another thing, beware of carrying a gun to protect other people's property unless you are covered under your employer's insurance policy.

    If you aren't, and still want to carry, inform your employers that the only time you intend on drawing your weapon is if you believe LIVES are at stake.

    If someone just wants the money, they will get it.

    If someone starts herding people into the back room and having them get on their knees...different story.
    I never thought about the insurance aspect, and that is definitely something i will bring up with them. but as the second rule of gun safety states, never point a gun at anything you do not intend to destroy. if a gun is pointed at me or anyone else, i interpret it as a desire to destroy that individual--a threat to their/my life--and will respond with deadly force. i never intend to draw my weapon unless i intend to take the life of my target. i will be carrying a kimber guardian angel if less-than-lethal force is needed, and should the rare occasion that i would need either arise i understand the need to carefully analyze the risk/value of human life at that moment vs. the value of money. if nothing but money is at stake, and they are calm and non-threatening, they can have it. if some thug bursts in the door waving a glock and screaming, he gets shot.

    thanks for the advice!

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    It seems the frangible rounds have a big trade off in penetration. If it were me I would use a normal JHP. If you are planning on suppressive fire with a handgun and don't want to hurt any innocent bystanders, I would rethink that. If you are going to aim, ammo choice shouldn't be much of an issue. Just my two cents...

    Austin

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    Member Array mrhutch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aus71383 View Post
    It seems the frangible rounds have a big trade off in penetration. If it were me I would use a normal JHP. If you are planning on suppressive fire with a handgun and don't want to hurt any innocent bystanders, I would rethink that. If you are going to aim, ammo choice shouldn't be much of an issue. Just my two cents...

    Austin
    i'm beginning to agree with you. i'm usually a pretty good shot, BUT i've never been in a stressful, life threatening situation and tried to put the first shot in the ten ring (so to speak) either. the last guy that robbed us was pretty big, too--about 5'-11", 250+ lbs--so something with a little more penetration would of course be useful in that case. maybe i'm just over-thinking the situation. i may just have to order a little bit of everything and see what my gun shoots the best and just cross my fingers that i'll be able to get a solid hit on the BG with no strays should the time come, since that IS the point and the objective i will be training for anyway.

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    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    As much as I detest their advertising hype, the Extreme Shock Air Freedom round may give you close to what your looking for. Here's a link to the test that The Box O' Truth did on the AFR round. They also show some comparison to the Glaser Blue Safety slug. For more penetration than either of these offer, you may look at the Glaser Silver Safety Slug. All of this stuff is VERY expensive and would make it difficult to practice with. Heck, it's almost too expensive just for function testing.

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    Member Array mrhutch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvhoss View Post
    As much as I detest their advertising hype, the Extreme Shock Air Freedom round may give you close to what your looking for. Here's a link to the test that The Box O' Truth did on the AFR round. They also show some comparison to the Glaser Blue Safety slug. For more penetration than either of these offer, you may look at the Glaser Silver Safety Slug. All of this stuff is VERY expensive and would make it difficult to practice with. Heck, it's almost too expensive just for function testing.

    Hoss
    thank you for the input. and not i just wasted 5 hours of my afternoon reading all the entries on that site instead of doing my econ or finance homework. D'OH!

    good news is though, i think i've narrowed down my choices to either federal EFMJ, corbon pow'rball, or corbon JHP :)

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    Ex Member Array TacticalCompact's Avatar
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    My advice is to get some Winchester Ranger RA40T and practice with a similar load cheap stuff (reloads or wally world blazer brass). Practice a lot. Get so comfortable with it that you have a slim chance of missing. Then make sure you don't miss.

    If there is an immediate threat to my life, or the lives of others, you will need to STOP that thread immediately. Personally, I want some tried-and-true ammo that has the most chance of stopping the threat.

    Only once the threat is stopped would I worry about anything else at all.

  15. #14
    Member Array paratroop23's Avatar
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    Federal Tactical Bonded in.....

    180gr, 165gr, 155gr

    or

    Federal HST in

    180gr, 165gr, 155gr


    I have all of these and wouldn't hesitate carrying any of them.

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