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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I recently started carrying a Walther PPQ M2 in 9mm back in March, which means I'm a newbie. I've started looking into furthering my training and increasing my range time, so I need to purchase more ammo.

I started out with 1000 rounds of Speer Gold 147 grain JHPs because I found them for a good price. I'm down to about 300 of those rounds and I want to go a little more sparingly in their use, or use them up and switch to a different grain size if necessary.

Since I carry 147 grain JHPs, should I shoot 147 grain ball ammo or will 115/124 grain ball ammo be sufficient?

Also, is 147 grain a good size for defensive purposes? I made my decision initially based off the deal I found and a couple .45 vs 9mm discussions where is was mentioned numerous times that heavier, slower rounds have less risk of over-penetration while still getting the job done. So is 147, 124 or 115 grains preferred for defensive use in 9mm?
 

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You will get varying opinions based on many things. Practicing with range ammo of the same bullet weight of your HD/SD carry ammo would help with consistency in POA/POI. Weight also affects velocity, so there's that to consider. Some people change weights based on season, using a higher weight bullet during the colder months. I personally practice with and will carry 124 grain rounds. Like you, I will be carrying Speer. Mine are the Gold Dot +P rounds that I keep loaded in mine for HD.
 

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I feel like for new shooters, the difference in bullet weight does not matter. You want to be focusing on trigger control and consistency. Get cheap 115gr reloads and practice with those, then when you want to move onto the next stage of training, train with whatever grain you're putting in your carry piece. Save those expensive rounds for carry and just shoot them now and then to cycle out old ammunition, or don't. It's really your choice. In the end, the margin of error caused by stress in a defensive situation are so great and varied that it really won't matter too much.
 

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One approach is to start with a defensive round that your gun shoots flawlessly and is accurate for you. It doesn't have to be just one, maybe a couple of different types that work for you. Then try a number of different types of ball (FMJ) ammo that replicates the point of impact for your sight picture. Once you find the right one, buy it by the case.

With both the 9mm and .38 Special defensive guns, I'm less concerned with recoil characteristics being different between practice and carry ammo. I finish my practice sessions with a dozen or two of the +P flavor just so I'm reminded of the need to use a firmer grip, what the muzzle rise is like, etc.
 

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Unless you are doing precision shooting, the weight and brand won't matter much. I don't sweat bullet weight too much other than I try to go heavy for the caliber. That means 124 or 147 in 9mm, 180 in 40S&W, 230 in 45ACP, etc. Federal HST is my favorite, mostly because I've had no problems getting them to cycle in any of my pistols. Hydra-Shok's still work great as well. Gold Dot's Are great as well.

But when it comes to my practice ammo, I look at cost and reliability, not weight. At defensive distances being off a half an inch or so isn't going to matter.
 

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Winchester has come up with matched training & self defense rounds. Their 9MM is 147 grain. That way you practice with their Training Rounds then switch to their Defense Rounds.
 

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in my estimation it does not make a flip of difference in regards to training.. use what is reliable and most cost effective. From a purely scientific standpoint I am sure there is a measurable difference in trajectory of 115 vs 147 but at the same time I don't think its enough to wring your hands over. I shoot the cheapest junk I can find that is brass cased and I carry 124gr HST for EDC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I will just buy whatever I can get a good deal on, which raises another question.

What is the deal with steel vs brass cased ammo? Under what circumstances is it good or bad to use? Why do some ranges not allow steel to be shot?
 

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I will just buy whatever I can get a good deal on, which raises another question.

What is the deal with steel vs brass cased ammo? Under what circumstances is it good or bad to use? Why do some ranges not allow steel to be shot?
Steel is cheaper than brass. If you don't collect your brass for reloading then you can use steel, as long as your pistol cycles the round reliably. The vast majority of modern pistols have no issue with steel cased ammo.

There are two main reasons for a range to ban steel cartridges. The first one is that they collect the brass casing for resale, so allowing steel casing reduces the amount of brass they can sell, and forces them to spend the effort to separate steel from brass. It's a double whammy. The second reason is that most steel cartridges use bimetal / steel mix jacket for the bullet, which can potentially tear up steel targets.
 

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I will just buy whatever I can get a good deal on, which raises another question.

What is the deal with steel vs brass cased ammo? Under what circumstances is it good or bad to use? Why do some ranges not allow steel to be shot?
My local indoor range doesn't allow steel or aluminum because they sell their brass, and don't want to sort it out.
 

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I will just buy whatever I can get a good deal on, which raises another question.

What is the deal with steel vs brass cased ammo? Under what circumstances is it good or bad to use? Why do some ranges not allow steel to be shot?
Walther 9mms, (at least models like yours/modern models), have a reputation for feeding most any ammo. Thats a very good thing for all kinds of reasons.

Your OP almost made me cry picturing 700 rounds of premium ammo spent in range practice. Oh The Humanity!

Anyway, Id clamp down on that speer ammo, and start buying various boxes of target rounds. I would not buy a case of any of it till you know it feeds well in your gun.

Many, if not most of us who shoot high volumes of 9mm practice with 115 grain bullets. They are cheaper than heavier weights, AND at target distances produce surprisingly little difference in point of impact.

As re steel cased ammo vs brass cased, there are lots of things to consider. First off let me tell you that Id rather buy wolf steel cased for practice and training ammo than about anything else. Its good ammo, and its cheap. Also, of course, I shoot Glocks, and they will feed most anything well.

As re other considerations, 1. where do you shoot? If you shoot at a real shooting range, they might restrict the kind of ammo you are allowed to shoot. Find out before you buy. If you shoot in the woods on your land, who cares?

2. Do you reload? Steel cased ammo is considered ill suited for reloading. I DO reload. BUT, there are many times when I would rather shoot steel cased ammo & save the money over brass. Example: when I am training, and cant pick up the empties. Or, some days when I simply dont feel like picking up brass.

3. "Wear & tear" on your weapon, or "the extractor". The extractor topic for pistols is probably the biggest concern of some. Its not for me. I have never had to replace an extractor because of steel cased ammo use, and dont really care. Extractors are dirt cheap, and replacement is easy.

Id much rather take the savings from shooting steel cased ammo than worrying about that.

Storm
 

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I don't think at the range you will be defending yourself at it will matter matching the range and defense rounds. I shoot the cheapest good quality range rounds I can find. I also shoot my defense rounds that I have carried every 3 - 6 months depending on when I can get to the range. Every one will be different.
 

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I carry the best JHPs I can find (either HST, Gold Dot, or Critical Duty) and shoot them to make sure they function. I stick with middle of the road 124gr.

As for practice, I shoot the cheapest stuff I can find, which is usually Wolf 115gr or Federal 115gr.
 

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I will just buy whatever I can get a good deal on, which raises another question.

What is the deal with steel vs brass cased ammo? Under what circumstances is it good or bad to use? Why do some ranges not allow steel to be shot?
in my non expert experience, I have found that brass on steel extractors is more kind than steel on steel extractors. It may not matter much if a person does not shoot much or if a person does not mind possibly changing out extractors prematurely. I would prefer to not have to monkey around with an extractor so I elect to use brass and hope for the best.
 

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In Freedommunitions reman, which is what I buy for range ammo, 115 is .18 cents a rd and 124 is .19 cents a rd. If I shooting steel in shooting class and have to knock the target over I will use 124, otherwise 115 or 124. I really can't tell the difference shooting the 2. carry ammo is 124gr HST.
 

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Also, is 147 grain a good size for defensive purposes? I made my decision initially based off the deal I found and a couple .45 vs 9mm discussions where is was mentioned numerous times that heavier, slower rounds have less risk of over-penetration while still getting the job done. So is 147, 124 or 115 grains preferred for defensive use in 9mm?

Sure it is. So is 115, so is 124. SOme like slower and heavier, SOme like faster and lighter. I chose 124 HST because it seemed like a good compromise and more importantly, it ran well in all my guns.
 

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Agree with 115gr. target ammo.....its cheaper and poi/poa does NOT differ that much from 124gr. Save the 147gr. JHP for carry, and only shoot
some once in awhile to remain consistent with that weight.
 

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A range grain will be the exact same thing as a defense grain. No way there can be any difference.

Grain, unit of measure. A grain (symbol: gr) is a unit of mass now equal to exactly 64.79891 milligrams, in all English mass and weight systems (avoirdupois, Apothecaries' and troy). An avoirdupois ounce is equal to 437.5 grains, whereas a troy ounce is equal to 480 grains.

Now the bullet weight differences? That's another thing entirely.
 

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I find 115 grn stuff to be snappy. Especially factory loads. If you can afford it go with 147s. They won't shoot the exact same as your carry ammo but it'll be closer than 115s.


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The only ammo that I don't reload, is 9mm...so, for my range ammo, I just shoot the cheapest that I can find in 1000rd deals.
 
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