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My gun is a 9mm and I'm trying to decide which ammo to carry for self defense. I've been shooting 115 gr. target rounds down at the range and yesterday I found some 115 gr. jacketed hollow points. Does anyone know if that has enough stopping power for self defense? Or should I buy the 147 gr. rounds? Thanks in advance.

Dustin
 

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Either will work just fine, but I always like bigger
 

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I like shooting large-for-caliber rounds because they seem to be more accurate. I carried 147 grainers in my P89 for a year. Size DOES matter, in my opinion. :D
 

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How many times will you ever say:
"Dang, I have too much ammo"
"I wish my bullets would do less damage"
"If only my gun was less accurate"
 

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I will be carrying the 147 gr. for PD in my XD 9mm.
 

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Shaolin said:
I will be carrying the 147 gr. for PD in my XD 9mm.
That's what I decided to carry in my XD9 as well. Gold Dot's to be specific.
 

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bane said:
Shaolin said:
I will be carrying the 147 gr. for PD in my XD 9mm.
That's what I decided to carry in my XD9 as well. Gold Dot's to be specific.
Been looking at the:

Extreme Shock "Air Freedom"
Winchester Ranger SXT (nasty little buggers, lol)

Any experience with them?
 

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I don't have a 9mm, but have always leaned toward the heavier bullets for handguns, regardless of the caliber.
 

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Federal HST 124 gr. +p and 147 gr. +p. Just depends on which they have in stock at the time. Both feed nicely. I usually get them at Gallenson's.

I carry a Ruger SR9. Absolutely love the gun.
 

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"Ballistic gelatin results clearly predict the 115-grain jacketed hollowpoint to be the top load in 9mm."

This is a quote from Handgun Stopping Power, the Definitive Study by Marshall and Sanow. It is a fabulous read for anyone that carries and I highly recommend it. They go through hundreds of documented shootings, and list the percentage of "one shot stops" that each load produced. Some of the stories of the shootings are also included. Anyway, in the 9mm section is it clear that the 115 grain has better stopping power. Of the top 10 loads they list, #s 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 & 9are 115 grain, and #10 is a 147 grain. 124 grain loads came in at #5 and #6.

When I had my .357 sig I loved the Speer 115 gr Gold Dots. I did some "testing" of my own and loved how well they expanded and held together. They are one of the only bonded bullets around and aren't too expensive.

I guess if you plan on needing extra penetration for some reason, a 124 or 147 grain bullet might be better. I've heard of people carrying a little heavier bullet during winter because of thicker clothing. I would still go with 115s most of the time though. They seem to do the most damage without over-penetrating.
 

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mqeqeshe,

This is not directed at your post. I thought your post was really good and provided interesting info.

But this thread is starting to represent yet another example of why I HATE threads like this. According to mqeqeshe's post (again, not questioning the validity of your post, just drawing comparisons), a 115gr. 9mm round is best b/c it penetrates well while not overpenetrating. But then people argue that a 9mm round is barely enough and so one needs to carry the hottest load they can. And yet others state that a 9mm round is relatively useless to stop an assailant. I hate this sort of dialogue! In the military I was CONSTANTLY being told by our Gunner's Mates that 9mm was absolute crap and they wouldn't carry a 9 for any reason whatsoever except that they were forced to do so. That used to piss me off a great deal.

Threads such as this never seem to be conclusive. I wish I owned a couple of acres so that I could just go out and do the tests myself...
 

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bane said:
I wish I owned a couple of acres so that I could just go out and do the tests myself...
I own some land. What kind of tests would you do?
 

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Bane, sorry you hate the thread. But I kind of like it. I love looking at ballistics and reading others' opinions and experiences. And I really like having the reassurance that I am carrying the best possible load for a caliber - or the best possible caliber for my purpose.

I think it's not too hard to find "conclusive data" about topics like this. While I agree that one person's opinion is often times useless or misguided, there is a wealth of information available by people with experience. And that is the most valuable data of all. The reason I feel confident in the book's findings is just because of that. They have actual data from over 1,000 police shootings with a 9mm, and from 17 different loads. So within the confines of the 9mm chambering, it's clear to me that the 115 grain bullet is superior for most situations. So that's what I chose.

The 9mm is not the most powerful or effective cartridge available. But it is pretty good. It has low recoil and most guns hold a lot of rounds. Other calibers have better stopping power, but also have disadvantages in recoil and capacity.
 

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mqeqeshe: Sorry, I think my post came across stronger than I really intended it. That post was borne from the frustration I have with this topic but I realize my frustration is not due to their not being expert opinion and expert evidence that one can rely on but rather because of my not knowing really anything about ballistics... that, combined with most of my discussions on this subject have been with a bunch of yahoo cowboys who know how to shoot great but don't know crap about ballistics either except their passionate opinion that bigger is always better and a 9 is nothing more than a 22. In other words, the frustration is really mine and I know that. I wish I knew more about ballistics so I could know for sure where to stand. Anyways, I didn't really mean that I *"HATE"* these discussions; what I should have said is that these discussions frustrate me b/c they always seem to come to different conclusions and I don't know who's correct.

swilden: The offer is nice, thanks! However, I was speaking rhetorically. As I said above, I don't know jack about ballistics... I would have to do a TON of research just to figure out how to conduct correct and reliable tests... something I just don't have the time for right now in my life... Physics and Calculus II are presenting plenty of work for me right now in my life! :) Thanks again though.... obviously I misspoke from the cuff.
 

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The following is part of an article emailed to me. It was originally written by firearms trainer Gabe Suarez. Some of what he has written may apply here, although it is mostly talking about the advantage of having a firearm that has a higher magazine capacity. Take it for what you want, personally I agree with him.

"I suppose this will be yet another highly controversial issue, but what the heck. Controversy makes for interesting discussion, no? The issue is to look at whether high magazine capacity gives you a tactical advantage, or if we are better served by carrying an equally sized weapon with a smaller capacity of bigger bullets. Before I answer my own question, let me put forth some facts as seen both in force on force training and on the street.

Point One - Pistol bullets, regardless of caliber are all, what one colleague calls, "iffy". None can be guaranteed to drop an adversary in his tracks reliably. The notion of a one shot stop is an urban myth dreamed up by those with a vested interest in such things. I have seen 45s work and fail, and I have seen 9mm both work and fail. For the record, the only one shot drop (excluding head shots) I have ever seen with a pistol was fired by a good friend as we entered a crack house during a SWAT raid. He shot the bad guy squarely in the heart with 9mm +P+ out of a SIG P-226. He only fired once because the bad guy fell before my friend could reset his trigger for the next shot!

If we look at the three most prevalent calibers we see that there is very little difference between them. A 9mm (also .38/.357) is only one little millimeter smaller than the 10mm (aka .40 S&W), and that is only one little millimeter less than the vaunted 11mm (aka .45 ACP). And before we get into the high speed light bullet versus the heavy slow bullet argument, lets remember that you can only drive a pistol bullet so fast without drastically affecting its integrity. Moreover, since penetration is affected by weight, sacrificing weight for speed will not yield good results. Finally, you can only make a bullet so light or so heavy. There are limits to what you can shoot out of a pistol.

I have seen every one of these calibers fail at one time or another. There are those who disdain the 9mm as unsuitable for anything larger than squirrels. With modern ammunition, this is simply not true. There is also a myth and a cult grown up around the .45 ACP in this country. Sadly, it is not the deadly hammer of god its proponents suggest. This is not new. Read Fairbairn's Shoot To Live. He writes of two separate times when the .45 failed to work any better than anything else. Although one millimeter may give you a slight edge in a less than optimum body hit, under most circumstances, there will be very little difference between the effectiveness of the various calibers when modern anti-personnel ammo is used. Trauma injury doctors and reputable terminal ballistics experts tend to agree with this statement.

Point Two - Private Citizen CCW Operators do not go looking for trouble. If they are called to fight it is either because they have inadvertently crossed paths with bad guys while they are doing bad guy stuff (walking in on a robbery in progress as an example), or because they have been specifically targeted and stalked (such as a carjack, or home invasion event). They will have to use extreme violence to fight off the surprise attackers. When we translate the conversion of fright and startle into a firearm application we wee that definition is high volume of fire. You will shoot a lot, and until the threat is no longer there.

While these events share slightly different dynamics, the common thread often seen is that of multiple adversaries. The lone criminal or terrorist is an urban myth. If your fight only involves one, consider yourself lucky. More often than not you will be outnumbered.

Another point is the time frames in which these events take place. Think three seconds. After this, either you will be dead, or your adversaries will be dead. Urban gunfights do not go for hours. Unexpected, short duration, high intensity, extreme violence, multiple adversaries. That is the back drop.

Point Three - Our staff has collectively been in a large number of gunfights ranging from police, citizen, and military events. We draw on those experiences to set up mock gunfights in dynamic, unscripted force on force training drills. Although the surprise factor is missing (you generally don t know you will be in a gunfight until it is upon you), the dynamics of its evolution do not change much. Here are some other observations from watching hundreds of those drills.

1). Defenders will fire their weapons until the threat disappears. That means that until the role player falls down (simulating effective hits delivered), or runs away (removing the target), the good guy will keep firing. The concept of school solutions, controlled pairs, or otherwise artificially limiting the number of shots (as one does in a firing string on the range) does not hold up even in guys who've been extensively trained to do it.

2). When a training gun stops firing (due to running out of pellets), the shooter is still in the fight and still trying to shoot his enemy as well as trying to not be hit by him. We see them continue to try to work the trigger for one or two times before there is a realization that there has been a stoppage (malfunction or empty gun). This is followed by a visual examination of the gun, and only then is remedial action taken.

This can take upwards f a second and a half before anything is even attempted to fix the gun, and then the additional time needed to reload. Thus the idea that one can read the gun s feel and immediately realize a need to speed load simply does not hold up. Running out of ammo is usually a fight ender if there has been a failure to stop, or there are multiple adversaries at hand.

3). Participants in these reactive mock gunfights are debriefed immediately to get a clear picture of what happened before any rationalization takes place. Besides a shoot them to the ground firing process, most shooters do not remember seeing the crystal clear sight pictures they learned on the shooting range.

We see a great deal of point shooting, and gun index shooting. I have yet to see anyone strike a classic shooting posture and press off a carefully sighted pair in these room distance drills.

The point to remember is that in a fight such as what are likely for the private citizen, one can easily develop Bullet Deficit Disorder , and that this can have deleterious effects on the outcome of that fight.

The idea that a pair or trio of quality rounds carefully delivered onto a high scoring target zone will stop the action fails both the terminal ballistics test as well as the applications test.

A truth of gunfighting - Having more ammo immediately on board lessens the likelihood of ever needing to reload. Not needing to reload translates into more time delivering lead and less time manipulating the weapon. More trigger time increases likelihood of hitting, which increases survivability.

So the question is this. Given that there is a limit to the size pistol one can carry, do I want that pistol to hold more rounds? My answer is a strong YES!

Consider the similarly sized Glock 36 in .45 ACP, and the Glock 23 in .40 S&W. The latter holds nearly twice the ammo of the former in an almost identical package. The Glock 19 is an even more drastic comparison with 15 shots available. Of course there are also high capacity 45 pistols for those so inclined and for those who can wield them. I would argue that if your choice is a 45, a gun holding 13 would be better than a gun holding 6. And if your hand is too small for the 13 shooter, rather than decrease capacity, I d decrease caliber.

I have a colleague is South America who has been in High Risk Police Service for close to three decades. He has been in over three dozen verified gunfight . His weapon was originally a Browning Hi-Power and later a Glock 17.

I was very interested in hearing more so I asked him about the load he used. He said he had always used military ball full metal jacket. Astounded I asked him why he chose that. That is all we can get here. Hollow points are illegal .

I shook my head and told him that there was a belief in the USA that 9mm was an anemic caliber, especially in the load he d chosen. He shrugged and said that his adversaries must not have gotten the word. He said he fired a burst at the chest and if they didn't fall fast enough, he fired a burst at the face. He never needed to reload and had enough on board so if he missed a shot or two he could catch up in the fight. And before we hear the careful shooter versus the spraying prayer, this man is one of the best shots I have seen and competes on an international level. Even so, he knows the chaos in a gunfight can play havoc with even the most gifted marksman. Perhaps we need to take a lesson from him."
 

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I am of the mindset that more is better. Gang problems seem to be common place even here in Utah. If I have a group of 8 people wanting to do me harm then 8 rounds seems a little lacking, even if they were .50 cal mag rounds. Until they figure how to pack .338mag rifle rounds into a handgun I like the idea of having some volume and not counting on a 1-2 shot stop.
 

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That article was *AWESOME*... I really really liked the pictures he painted and the logic he argued them from.

The most important thing I learned (I think) from this article is to not assume you will be faced by a single adversary but that it is more common to be outnumbered.

That, and the argument that reloading is likely to not help due to time constraints, is perhaps an additional argument for either:

1) Double-packing, which I doubt I'll ever do (on-body, anyways)

2) Carrying a ranged LTL option such as OC that can be used as a close-range back-up. It's pretty easy to hinder or even mostly stop a number of assailants with one swiped spray if they are close... granted, if they are all firing guns then it's not going to help but if they brought knives and clubs and you run out of ammo, OC is better than chucking the gun at them and running.

Currently I carry 9mmx10rds b/c of concealability. After reading the multiple-attacked argument I am back to considering how I can better conceal 16rds.

Thanks again for the article!
 

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Hunter, GREAT Article. I want to copy it to a word document and offer that as a hand out to me students when tey ask what caliber is better. GREAT JOB!!!!!
 
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