Basic 9mm Ammunition Questions

This is a discussion on Basic 9mm Ammunition Questions within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hello everyone. I have a few questions regarding ammunition in general. What does the grain refer to? What does it mean when someone says that ...

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Thread: Basic 9mm Ammunition Questions

  1. #1
    Member Array SaddleSC's Avatar
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    Basic 9mm Ammunition Questions

    Hello everyone.
    I have a few questions regarding ammunition in general. What does the grain refer to? What does it mean when someone says that they carry +P ammo? What are some recommendations in 9mm for concealed carry and home defense? What are the basic categories of 9mm ammo that is available, e.g., hollow point, etc. and what are the advantages/disadvantages of each type?

    I am sorry if these questions seem basic, but I guess everyone had to learn this stuff for the first time at some point. Any information that can be provided would be greatly appreciated.

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    Member Array mpd563's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaddleSC View Post
    Hello everyone.
    I have a few questions regarding ammunition in general. What does the grain refer to? What does it mean when someone says that they carry +P ammo? What are some recommendations in 9mm for concealed carry and home defense? What are the basic categories of 9mm ammo that is available, e.g., hollow point, etc. and what are the advantages/disadvantages of each type?

    I am sorry if these questions seem basic, but I guess everyone had to learn this stuff for the first time at some point. Any information that can be provided would be greatly appreciated.
    Grain refers to the weight of the bullet. The more grains the heavier the bullet. +P ammunition is refering to a shell that has been loaded by the manufacturer to almost maxumum chamber pressure level. In other words its a very hot (fast as compared to a non +P) round in terms of velocity. Basicly you have round nose or "ball" loads, hollow points, and soft points. (soft points generaly have an exposed lead tipped bullet.) Advantages are ball ammo feeds well in most all guns, even the ones that dont feed hollow points well and it penetrates targets well,, sometimes too well. (over penetration) Hollow points give the user the best expansion and stopping power prefromance but sometimes dont feed well, especially in older auto's. Soft points are kind of a in-between bullet. Usually dont over penetrate like ball ammo but usually dont expand as well as a hollow point therefore it usually dont give as good of stopping power performance. I hope this helps.
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    Member Array rcsnpr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpd563 View Post
    Grain refers to the weight of the bullet. The more grains the heavier the bullet. +P ammunition is refering to a shell that has been loaded by the manufacturer to almost maxumum chamber pressure level. In other words its a very hot (fast as compared to a non +P) round in terms of velocity. Basicly you have round nose or "ball" loads, hollow points, and soft points. (soft points generaly have an exposed lead tipped bullet.) Advantages are ball ammo feeds well in most all guns, even the ones that dont feed hollow points well and it penetrates targets well,, sometimes too well. (over penetration) Hollow points give the user the best expansion and stopping power prefromance but sometimes dont feed well, especially in older auto's. Soft points are kind of a in-between bullet. Usually dont over penetrate like ball ammo but usually dont expand as well as a hollow point therefore it usually dont give as good of stopping power performance. I hope this helps.
    Yeah what he said... I really like your answer. Oh and plus this on Grain. Many people I have run into when buying ammo And avid hunters have No clue.
    Grain...The unit of the English system of weights; -- so called because considered equal to the average of grains taken from the middle of the ears of wheat. 7,000 grains constitute the pound avoirdupois, and 5,760 grains the pound troy. A grain is equal to .0648 gram.

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    Exclamation Quick answer...

    Only stupid question is the one not asked...

    Grains is a unit of weight ( ie the bullet weight...not the whole cartridge )

    Common weights ( in grains ) for 9mm are:

    115
    124
    147

    ...but "specialty" ammo can differ in weight...( ie Cor Bon, Magsafe, Glaser )

    Then you have types of bullets:

    FMJ= Full Metal Jacket
    HP = Hollow Point
    SP = Soft Point
    TMJ = Total Metal Jacket
    ...etc

    +P ammo is usually loaded hotter ( ie leaves the barrel with more velocity ( fps=feet per second )

    Whichever type and weight bullet you choose...make sure your platform (gun) likes it too !!

    Hope that helps...
    SHOOTER13
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    If you get into reloading your own ammo (or discussions on it) there will also be the powder charge in the cartride, which is also measured in "grains". Might be something like "XX grains of Bullseye (a type of powder) with a XXX grain round nose bullet".

    But on the box, it is bullet weight (projectile, the portion that travels down the barrel to the point of aim).

    Hollow points (predominantly Jacketed Hollow Point, or JHP) are generally considered the superior self defense round (also safer for bystanders, as they have less tendency to exit one person and continue to another). Different hollow points from different manufacturers is a topic of discussion all in itself. There are probably 5 or 6 that are most commonly preferred by most who carry, and of those, many of us will have one, two or three preferences (I have 3).

    Plus P being a higher pressure round, you must make sure the firearm you are using is rated for Plus P if you plan to fire it (I stick with standard pressure loads mostly, and my carry calibers are mostly .45 ACP and 9mm, occasionally .380 ACP). One more bit of trivia, ACP stands for "Automatic Colt Pistol", though the firearm chambered for it may be built by any manufacturer, usually it was originally designed for a Colt firearm.
    Regards, T Bone.


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    addendum:
    look at "+P" as "Plus Pressure" when the gunpowder explodes.
    You may also see "+P+" just think "EXTRA Plus Pressure" when the gunpowder explodes.

    It just means more powder has been added to make the projectile faster. Some weapons (usually older ones) aren't built for +P or +P+.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

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    Welcome aboard SaddleSC, from Victoria, B.C.

    The search function on this forum is your friend. Just click on it and type in what you're looking for. If the topic has come up before, it's already there for you to read.
    CCW permit holder for Idaho, Utah, Pennsylvania, Maine and New Hampshire. I can carry in your country but not my own.

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    Only things I can add to what has already been said is, Federal makes what they call the EFMJ round. EFMJ= Expanding Full Metal Jacket. It has a rubber plug inside the metal jacket which allows the jacket to expand, making for a larger would cavity. It appears to be a good choice in cold weather where heavy garment material can clog up at JHP bullet.
    As to ammo listed as +P+, I'd advise you to steer clear of it. There is no industry standard for +P+ listed ammo. You have no idea how hot of a load it is, or what kind of damage it could do to your weapon. Shooting +P+ ammo will void your warranty, since it exceeds industry standards.

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    Member Array Ed4032's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by usmc3169 View Post
    addendum:
    look at "+P" as "Plus Pressure" when the gunpowder explodes.
    You may also see "+P+" just think "EXTRA Plus Pressure" when the gunpowder explodes.

    It just means more powder has been added to make the projectile faster. Some weapons (usually older ones) aren't built for +P or +P+.
    Uh... gun powder does not explode. (except on TV) Gun powder burns. Some faster that others, but they all burn.

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    Welcome aboard !!!
    Don't be afraid to ask questions; lots of people here have a lot of knowledge to share.
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    The second rule: "Bring enough gun"

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    one other thing that I didn't quite see addressed...and please correct me if I'm wrong on this. But when looking into what grain ammo you want, the heavier the bullet, the more penetration you will get...the trade off is in velocity, the projectile will travel slower.
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    The only thing I would add, to the great information you have already received is, the smaller the bullet the more critical it is to pay attention to what bullet you are putting in the gun.

    What I mean by this is, when I am carrying a 9mm I am much more selective as to what bullet I use than if I am carrying a .40 or a .45. The reason for this is because the smaller rounds, namely 38 Special and 9mm, have less margin for error in regards to bullet selection.

    +P+ ammunition is loaded, to my knowledge, about 5% - 10% higher pressure than industry standard. I don't recommend +P+ except in newer guns, like Glocks, HK, and the various newer duty guns being made and chambered in 9mm. I definately wouldn't shoot them in a High Power and only shoot +P in the newer High Powers.

    When you increase pressure you increase velocity. That is not always a good thing, but sometimes it is.

    Good luck and stay safe.

    Biker
    Last edited by BikerRN; March 24th, 2009 at 06:07 PM. Reason: clarification

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