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Discussion Starter #1
Sometimes I wonder if it really matters. But if I can get either of these for a good price (around $.50 per rd) which would you choose? I prefer non +P loads so that my practice ammo closely mirrors my defensive ammo. I'm leaning towards the Speer 115 gr since it's a bonded bullet and go through stuff without falling apart, as well as the fact that 115 gr 9mm Luger is the most commonly available (and cheapest) ammo for practice. How does the Federal 124 gr HST compare? Will it have a different point of impact than my 115 gr practice ammo? The HST seems to have done quite well in these comprehensive test (possibly the most comprehensive to date) done by Lucky Gunner recently:

http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests/

My gut feeling is that choosing a defensive round based on these ballistic tests is often fruitless, as different testers seem to get varying results. However, perhaps it serves as a guide: If ammo doesn't consistently penetrate well beyond 12", then it ought not to be considered. That's my thought anyway. Obviously extreme over penetration is not good either.

So anyway...any thoughts on these two rounds?
 

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I've seen tests where 2 out of 5 Speer NON +P overpenetrated, but the +performed flawlessly. It's obviously your call, but I personally will carry the +P 124 grain.
 

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I've seen tests where 2 out of 5 Speer NON +P overpenetrated, but the +performed flawlessly. It's obviously your call, but I personally will carry the +P 124 grain.
What was the definition of "overpenetrate"?

OP- heavy for caliber yields more reliable penetration. 124 gr is better than 115. 147 doesn't cycle well in all 9mm's. I prefer Federal HST, but Speer is fine too.

What is your concern about the slight difference between practicing with the velocity of +p and standard? If it is the feel, it is not likely you will notice it in a defensive shoot. If it is the difference in trajectory because of velocity, it will be negligible at defensive distances.
 

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I believe the Federal HST to be the best performing rounds on the market as far as expansion and penetration are concerned. Both the 124gr and the 147gr are excellent performers. They will consistently expand through heavy layers of denim.

Here is a ballistic gel test performed with a short barrel pistol. This is what convinced me.

 

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If I have to choose it's the HST. I actually have several mags worth of 124 gr +p in my carry rotation.
 

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Either are good choices. In some situations, the Gold dot would have an edge; the HST would be better in other situations. I would test both for reliability, muzzle flash, and recoil. My guess is that the 124 grain will have slightly less muzzle flash due to the heavier bullet staying in the barrel longer, thus giving the powder more time to burn. As for point of impact, the difference will likely be negligible if any, but it varies from gun to gun. I personally carry the 124 grain +P HST and I keep some standard pressure 124 grain loads around for when I have a hand injury (it happens to me a lot) and am likely to be shooting one handed.
 

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Speer 115 gr or Federal HST 124 gr?

Yes.
 
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I am trying out Black Hills 124 gr +P right now. It looks like a good hollow point bullet.
 

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I like Speer ammo though between these two choices the 124gr HST is the way to go. Typically I don't use lighter grain bullets for a specific round. 124 or 147gr in 9mm. 158gr for 38/357, 230 for .45ACP.
 

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What was the definition of "overpenetrate"?

OP- heavy for caliber yields more reliable penetration. 124 gr is better than 115. 147 doesn't cycle well in all 9mm's. I prefer Federal HST, but Speer is fine too.

What is your concern about the slight difference between practicing with the velocity of +p and standard? If it is the feel, it is not likely you will notice it in a defensive shoot. If it is the difference in trajectory because of velocity, it will be negligible at defensive distances.
In the test I saw, two non +P rounds penetrated completely through over 30 inches of ballistic gel and did not expand. The muzzle velocity was lower than what was advertised.
 

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^^^good info.

It is the failure to expand that catches my eye. If the JHP fully expands in the first 4" or so, I don't care if it goes 12, 18, or 24", as long as it's fully expanded. The only place I've seen HST expand less than it's full potential is sheet metal and windshield glass. For those Hornady fans, sheet metal and windshield glass is the only place Critical Duty outperforms HST or Gold Dot. Everywhere else, it under performs HST and Gold Dot
 

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HST
 

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It seems most people these days prefer the midweight 124 grain in 9mm, I personally prefer 115 grain +p corbon, with 115 grain gold dot as a backup. As if to validate that choice, Tnoutdoors9 did a test of standard pressure 115 grain 9mm's and the Gold Dot impressed him greatly in performance, even compared to 124 grain +p's.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Penetrating glass / metal

^^^good info.

It is the failure to expand that catches my eye. If the JHP fully expands in the first 4" or so, I don't care if it goes 12, 18, or 24", as long as it's fully expanded. The only place I've seen HST expand less than it's full potential is sheet metal and windshield glass. For those Hornady fans, sheet metal and windshield glass is the only place Critical Duty outperforms HST or Gold Dot. Everywhere else, it under performs HST and Gold Dot
My thought was that the Gold Dot would be better at penetrating sheet metal (e.g., car door) or glass than HST because it is a bonded bullet.

Is that hunch correct?

Would the HST be at a disadvantage not being bonded? If I have to pull a gun on a would-be carjacker, would the HST penetrate the driver's side car door and remain intact?
 

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HST tends to collapse the hollow point through windshield glass and act like a crumpled fmj. Through sheet metal, it shortens and doesn't fully expand. HST and Gold Dot both penetrate barriers. Hornady Critical Duty expands almost equally poorly through most media.
 

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It seems most people these days prefer the midweight 124 grain in 9mm, I personally prefer 115 grain +p corbon, with 115 grain gold dot as a backup. As if to validate that choice, Tnoutdoors9 did a test of standard pressure 115 grain 9mm's and the Gold Dot impressed him greatly in performance, even compared to 124 grain +p's.
If price is roughly the same, total weight difference in the gun is barely noticeable, and recoil difference is not perceptible, then I always go for the heavier bullet in the family, especially out of compact / subcompact pistols.
 
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