Do you want the good news or the bad news?

The good news is that there are more than five great 9x19mm defensive ammo choices. The bad news is that there are more than five great ammunition choices.

So what to choose? That depends. If you look around on YouTube, you’ll see lots of ammunition tests performed in carefully-controlled scenarios. That’s absolutely the best way to look at relative differences between different types of ammunition under, you guessed it, carefully-controlled circumstances. That’s how law enforcement organizations do it—by necessity. How else could you really compare one ammo type to another without factoring out all possible variables between every test shot?

Without going into too much detail on the process, these tests explore penetration into carefully-calibrated ballistic gelatin. They also look at expansion performance and penetration when a piece of standardized denim fabric is placed in front of the gelatin block. Law enforcement tests go further and bring things like windshield barriers into the equation, but we won’t go there since this is about personal self-defense requirements.

Back to the good news. Most of the results from these tests, when quality ammunition is used, are excellent. Most modern bullets penetrate more than 12 inches. Most expand in pure gelatin when passing through light denim barriers. Most tests end with perfectly-expanded projectiles. That’s great, and should give you confidence that it’s hard to go wrong with quality ammunition.

Here’s the problem. Real life isn’t carefully controlled. Projectiles you fire in a self-defense scenario won’t hit a gelatin target square on after passing through a (very) lightweight layer of denim fabric. They might. Or they might have to deal with things like multiple clothing layers, winter coats, leather jackets, bones, and who knows what else—and that’s where you start to see real differences in ammunition performance. You’ll start to see jacketed designs that held together so beautifully in controlled tests come apart. Many of the bullets that expand well in gel may not expand at all passing through thicker and more realistic clothing barriers. In short, things get random when exposed to real-world conditions, because, unlike a lab, the real world is messy.

This list is not a ranking of the five 9x19mm ammunition types that performed “best” under controlled scenarios. It’s a little more subjective, and based on results I observed when shooting through all sorts of tough barriers like multiple layers of clothing, leather, and heavier jacket denim.

1. Speer Gold Dot +P 124-grain

Bonded bullets tend to perform really well in random circumstances. While they can break apart, they’re far less likely to do so than jacketed designs. Bonded and jacketed alike work great in standardized gel tests, but when bullets start hitting hard things, bonded ones do a much better job of staying together, improving the odds of proper penetration.

In my own velocity testing, I’ve found the Speer 124-grain rounds to consistently surpass the 1,200 feet per second barrier. Measured speeds from a Glock 17 Gen 4, Beretta 92FS, and Sig Sauer P226 were 1,231, 1,209, and 1,223 feet per second, respectively. Tough barrier expansion performance? Absolutely. After getting bored with the performance through numerous layers of fabric, I tried all sorts of tough materials like paper, wood, multiple layers of leather, and more. This load consistently outperformed everything else tested.

Speer's Gold Dot +P 124-grain bonded bullets.
Speer’s Gold Dot +P 124-grain bonded bullets.

I have to give Winchester an honorable mention in this section for their PDX1 +P 124-grain offering. It’s a bonded design like the Speer Gold Dot and performs nearly as well through a variety of barrier types. I’ve measured its average velocity from a number of full-size handguns in the 1,220 feet per second range.

2. Federal HST 124-grain

If you forced me to make a choice between a jacketed and bonded bullet design, I would probably have to choose bonded. However, in the jacketed bullet universe, the Federal HST is one that stays together exceptionally well, even when it encounters tough barriers.

The HST looks nifty in controlled gel tests and produces beautifully expanded star-shaped designs. It makes this list because, for a standard-pressure round traveling at about 1,150 feet per second, it does pretty darn good in less-controlled circumstances as well.

3. Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel +P 124-grain

While the +P Gold Dots make the list for medium- to large-sized handguns, the Short Barrel variant is great for compact guns.

Speer's Short Barrel line is designed specifically for guns with 3.5-inch or shorter barrels.
Speer’s Short Barrel line is designed specifically for guns with 3.5-inch or shorter barrels.

Generally speaking, making a bullet expand more easily limits its penetration performance. If it starts to expand right away upon impacting a target, it slows down faster and may not reach the desired depth. That’s why projectiles designed to expand at over 1,000 feet per second may not expand at all at 900 feet per second. Conversely, if you design the projectile to expand at 900 feet per second, it may expand too quickly at higher velocities.

The Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel line is optimized for lower velocities associated with handguns using three-inch (or shorter) barrels. Bullets fired from compact guns may have as much as 100 feet per second velocity reduction. Fired from a three-inch-barreled 9x19mm like the Springfield Armory EMP, you can expect 1,150 feet per second and perfect expansion at that reduced velocity.

4. Barnes TAC-XP projectiles

I have yet to find a 9mm load using the Barnes TAC-XP bullets that doesn't perform well.
I have yet to find a 9x19mm load using the Barnes TAC-XP bullets that doesn’t perform well.

I cheated a little on this one because I picked a specific projectile rather than a loaded cartridge. I did this because I continue to be impressed with the performance of the Barnes all-copper solid projectiles. They expand reliably, penetrate most any reasonable barrier and rarely if ever, come apart. These are loaded in different configurations from different ammunition providers. DoubleTap Ammunition uses the Barnes TAC-XP in its 80-grain, standard pressure 9x19mm offering. Low recoil and high velocity make it a great option for compact pistols. I tested a Buffalo Bore +P+ 95-grain load and shot it through leather boots into gelatin. Even after passing through thick leather, the projectiles expanded perfectly. And now, Barnes is loading their own cartridges using the TAC-XP.

5. Hornady Critical Defense 115-grain

For normal self-defense use, I’m including Hornady Critical Defense 115-grain. It’s a standard-pressure load, shooting a slightly light-for-caliber 115-grain FTX projectile.

I like it for two reasons. First, the FTX design includes a polymer tip in the 9mm hollow point ammo that actually works. I’ve shot this bullet through all sort of ridiculous barriers in front of gelatin and it almost always expands. Because of the flex tip, there’s no hollow point to clog. Expansion is not as dramatic as other bullets, but it’s consistent. You’ll almost always get some expansion, even when it hits something hard on the way in.

The second thing I like is the standard pressure loading. An 115-grain bullet moving at 1,140 feet per second is easy to control. The only shots that count are hits on target, right?

The combination of forgiving expansion performance and controllability make this a very good all-around defensive use option.

Parting shots

Once you get away from controlled gelatin testing scenarios, fired bullets tend to look more like this.
Once you get away from controlled gelatin testing scenarios, fired bullets tend to look more like this.

Over years of testing and observing bullet performance in all sorts of scenarios, a couple of things have become clear.

Velocity is the great equalizer. Modern hollow points require pressure to expand. Try opening one with your fingers and you’ll see what I mean. More velocity equals more energy, which equals more available pressure. I’ve tested a lot of 9mm ammo types that works beautifully when fired from a Beretta 92FS with its 4.9-inch barrel but fails when shot from a gun with a three-inch barrel. Each one-inch reduction in barrel length can cause a 30- to 50-foot per second loss in velocity, and that can be enough to prevent expansion. When out of the lab and into real-world scenarios, I prefer any extra velocity I can get without sacrificing controllability.

Jacketed is accurate, bonded sticks together. It’s very unusual for a bonded projectile to lose any significant weight, even when it strikes hard objects or tough barriers. Jacketed bullets, on the other hand, can separate under adverse conditions. On the flip side, I’ve noticed that jacketed bullets tend to shoot a little more accurately. If I had to designate a lifetime average difference in 25-yard group size, I’d venture a guess that quality jacketed bullets may group somewhere between half an inch and an inch better than quality bonded bullets. Obviously, that statement comes with a lot of disclaimers. Does that matter in self-defense usage scenarios? Not a bit. That’s better than most people can shoot under the very best of conditions.

Consider what you care about. Standardized ammunition tests are great, and the only real way to directly compare one load verse another in quantitative terms. Just be sure you know how your chosen self-defense ammo behaves from your own gun. Develop your own tests that replicate usage scenarios that you care about. If you don’t want to buy your own ballistic gel, thoroughly soak a pile of newspaper and put clothing barriers of your choice in front of it. Will that give you lab-quality data? No, but it will give you an idea of how your ammo works in less than perfect conditions.

Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon.

Images by Tom McHale

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  • Chuck Haggard

    A few quibbles;

    The 124gr +P Gold Dot and the Short Barrel loading are the same exact ammo. The performance is the same because the ammo is the same. All of the other short barrel calibers made by Speer use a different loading than the standard rounds, except in the 9mm

    In the HST the 124gr +P works better than the 124gr, and the 147gr works better than both.

    The 9mm Critical Defense works well from very small, sub-compact, short barrels pistols, which is where that load should likely be utilized when one needs something that will expand but has a need to lower recoil. One can do much better than the Critical Defense in compact or service sized 9mm pistols.

    The 124gr +P and 147gr Winchester Ranger-T ammo is also very GTG, as are the Bonded and PDX1 loadings.

    • Gold Stars

      The Speer Short Barrel ammo i part number 23611.
      The other is part number 23617.
      While both are 124 grain +P ammo, they are not the same. At least the ones I have shot did not perform the same in the same Keltec PF9.
      If you have inside information from Speer, please share it.

      • Chuck Haggard

        Yes, I do have inside information. The loadings are exactly the same, as is the bullet.

      • Gold Stars

        Thanks, good to know. Could be I had different results because of different batches. But I have been around reloading for decades and am not surprised when things are not exactly the same each time. 🙂

      • William Swartzendruber

        Wait a sec, he just gets to make a claim and that’s good enough?

      • Gold Stars

        No point in arguing about it. The 9 is just barely adequate as a self-defense load in the first place. I use it only because of the size and reliability of the pistol.
        The PF9 always goes bang. Is very light and very flat.
        For more serious work .45 Super in a 1911 is my preferred auto-loader choice, and in a revolver I like to use a .357 magnum as the light one, and the .44 magnum as the heavy hitter in a handgun.
        I have no problems shooting any of them quickly, as we always train with a Pact timer, to see first shot, splits and total time. Everything is from draw, includes movement and misses are not acceptable.
        When I want to know what is really happening, it is checked with the chronograph.
        So if one is going to use factory ammo, it is what it is. I have found extremely little difference between the short barrel stuff and the “regular” stuff over the chronograph.
        I mostly prefer reloads, and all of my private stock is reloaded ammo. However, I have faith in Speers Gold Dot in 9 for short barrel and it does preform well and keeps the lawyers more happy, as it is not reloaded ammo, which they like to claim means you were hunting.

      • Nick

        9mm barely accurate as a self defense load? you must be as large as
        Paul Bunion and have a moose c*ck! Dude! you loose credibility when you
        make asinine comments as such.

      • SBennett

        I believe a re-reading of the transcripts will show that the accused said “adequate” and not “accurate” as claimed by the plaintiff. You may now release the moose…

      • Nick

        I concede but your honor I see not much of a difference in context.

      • SBennett

        The honorable Noah Webster has overruled your objection. The context of “adequate” describes the ability of the round to debilitate the target relative to its size. In this context it is completely independent of the users ability to deliver said round “accurately.” Court dismissed. Bailiff!!

      • Smiddywesson

        Adequate is in the eyes of the beholder. Bureaucrats who select the 9mm as the service caliber for their department cut their ammo costs in half, ensure their lower training hours wouldn’t show in the scores, and prevent continued losses of new recruits in the critical women and minorities categories. I’d say they believe it’s adequate for their purposes.

      • Hipoint fan

        You nailed it, middywesson. Bravo!

      • Smiddywesson

        I denies the allegation Your Honor, and I demands to see their alligator. (true courtroom story)

      • tcp53

        Hey, it’s Bill Brasky!!…..

      • Smiddywesson

        If your pants ain’t sagging from two .454 Casulls, you ain’t serious about yer gun fightin”

      • Stephen Rajczyk

        Tell the FBI that Gold Stars !!

      • Smiddywesson

        There’s a 3 cent difference for the short barrel ammo, so I think we’ve found the difference right there. Old school marketing trick

      • Stan Robertson

        “The 9 is just barely adequate as a self-defense load in the first place”??? Tell us you are joking

      • Smiddywesson

        Pull the bullets and weigh the charges, measure the case capacity, weight the bullets, and examine the powder. Reloaders don’t have to take anyone’s word on face value.

      • AZ Infidel

        Inside information my ass.

    • Matt Caldwell

      Nope definitely not the same at all, the short and the +p have been tested from the same firarm under the same conditions with very different results by people such as tnoutdoors9 on youtube as well as law enforcement agencies. Stop running your mouth and making stuff up when you have no clue what you’re talking about. Wannabe internet experts like you make me sick. Let me guess, you also know from personal experience what these rounds do in the human body right? Just shut up and stop spreading bad information.

  • Arealmaverick

    Interesting that you don’t have the hottest new G2 R.I.P. Ammo listed here… It would be first on the list here in my mind?

    • Jeff

      I agree. I’ve tested the R.I.P. ammo and it did everything they claimed it did in their video. I shot through many different barriers and terminating in a water jug. For example 1-1/2 pine+1/4″ Masonite+(empty) steel pressure tank and the bullets drilled straight through all of these together and fragmented when it hit the water. Amazing bullet.

    • Ballistics Hunter

      I am going to have to agree with these gentleman here. I’ve seen it take down a 200 lb Hog with the 9mm. And a 1400 lb Bull in one shot with the 9mm as well. I like how its low recoil can allow you to come back on target so much easier, so you can put more consecutive shots in a tighter group. I also did multiple barrier tests such as windshield, dry wall, bowling pins and of course fruit. I will have to say that the only struggle for expanding on the R.I.P. was the windshield. I noticed about 70% of the shots would expand. And if you know anything about ballistics windshield is the toughest barrier due to its unpredictability. I did notice how the R.I.P. stays on trajectory a WHOLE lot better than a standard bonded bullet. I think it has to lie in their design of the Trocar to help pierce through barriers. I had to do some research on what a trocar was. I found out that it is a 3 sided point that is used on needles to help penetrate through the dermal layers of skin. I think it is interesting that how copper is lighter, but it is a harder metal than lead.

    • Chuck Haggard

      The only Rip in the RIP is what happens to the money in your wallet when you buy that crap.

      There are no magic bullets. Period. People who sell magic bullets are the 21st century version of snake-oil salesmen.

      • Arealmaverick

        I think you are mistaken Sir. Curious if you’ve ever tried it… or enjoy regurgitating untested opinions. It has my vote.

      • Chuck Haggard

        Yes, I have seen it tested. NO, I wasn’t dumb enough to buy it.

        High velocity fragmenting pistol ammo, that’s NEVER been tried before. As if some new version of the same can bypass the laws of physics.

        Seriously, this sort of thing pops up every few years, and it doesn’t work, and it fades away. This has been done before, and due to derp it will be done again, and people will get dazzled with the bullshit claims and spend money on magic bullets.

        I am in no way mistaken about this. The performance of the RIP ammo is clearly sub-par, and it’s WAY too expensive to boot.

        BTW, clear gel is not a valid test medium.

      • Arealmaverick

        I see. Since you haven’t tried it yourself – i’ll assume you are associated with the above listed companies or an envious competitor. People who spend a little more to buy it – LOVE it. Its unfortunate that people like yourself feel so entitled to share such a strong, unexperienced, seething opinion – when you’ve never used it… it stains an educated forum.

      • Mac

        Educated? You clearly have zero understanding of the scientific method or test protocols, much less physics. A fragmenting projectile bleeds off speed faster, gets shallower penetration for those fragmenting portions. Now you’re left with an even smaller, non expanding projectile for penetration. Lighter weight = less momentum. Show me test data where G2 RIP has been shown to outperform other equivalent pistol loads. Show me tests following established industry and DOJ test protocols, aka tests against established standards. The benefit of this is that all the rounds compete against the same things so performance can be measured and ranked.
        The previously mentioned anecdotes of the hog and bull are interesting but of no real value unless the tests were repeated or other rounds were tried as well.
        There’s a reason test protocols exist.

      • Howard

        Mac, I agree. I’ve been in the Army (Combat Arms) and am a former LEO with over fifty years of shooting experience. For MY money I’ll carry a load that has a PROVEN track record that is DOCUMENTED in real life shooting(s) against REAL targets, AKA, a human body.
        While I find the RIP round interesting, unless and UNTIL it has a PROVEN record of defeating numerous aggressors I’ll stick with QUALITY factory ammo.
        I doubt many, if ANY, folks here have the time, money and lab equipment to test ammo the way a governmental agency has to determine what ammo best fits its needs.
        And let’s not kid ourselves here, law enforcement experience MANY more instances of being involved in FTF shootings than anyone here.
        And as an aside, and disregarding the seemingly dismal shooting skills of the average LEO, police departments will buy the kinds of ammo that can be counted on to do the job with the fewest number of rounds expended to minimize collateral damage, lawsuits, or give the shootee an opportunity to return fire.

      • Jr

        Thank you. Well said. My opinion, choose one of the many rounds that have been tested in a controlled setting, as well as real world scenarios, and use the one that shoots accurately and feeds reliably through your weapon. I’ll trust ammo that military and federal law enforcement use any day of the week. Who else is gonna have more real world experience on an aggressive target intent on killing them? My choice for self defense is 230 gr hydro shock or 185 gr hornady critical defense for colder weather, they both feed great and shoot straight through my beretta 8045.

      • Chuck Haggard

        No, I am not associated with any of the companies above. In any way.

        Did you not note that I have seen this ammo tested? Reading is fundamental.

        High velocity fragmenting ammunition has been done, over and again, and it is ALWAYS a failure, because physics is something that one can not overcome. The RIP ammo is no better than MagSafe, or Glaser, or any other high velocity/light for caliber fragmenting ammunition.

        One should never “LOVE” an inanimate object BTW. You may have an emotional issue there.

        I’ll add that my name is clearly available for people to Google up and see what my history and associations are. Yours is not. Do you work for the RIP folks? You seem to be shilling that ammo pretty hard.
        I can stand behind everything I am posting, and I am clearly doing so, I am also not hiding behind an anonymous internets screen name.

        The “stain” on an educated forum is shilling derp, and snake oil, Mr. Arealmavericksnidecommentpassive-aggressiveguy.

        People might need this ammo for self defense, and sub par ammo might in fact get them hurt or killed. I find that to be far more important than someone trying to make sales off of vastly overpriced ammo.
        The wound ballistics issues don’t even cover the other issues with light for caliber, and typically WAY too expensive ammo. Light bullets don’t shoot to the same point of aim as bullets in standard weights. They also function the pistol differently than standard ammo, and this can indeed compromise reliability.
        Overly expensive ammo means one can’t afford to train with their carry ammo, or even afford to test fire for reliability. No competent firearms trainer will tell someone to carry their CCW or duty handgun without putting 200 rounds of their chosen carry load through the gun to be sure of reliability and that it hits to point of aim for them, and to familiarize the shooter with the recoil and flash, etc.

        I advise the use of the ammo that I spoke of, and some of the rounds listed in this article, due to observed use and testing of said ammo. The performance of the 124gr +P Gold Dot, as an example, I have seen first hand, in FBI testing, numerous other ballistics tests, and I have seen the results on actual human beings who were actually shot with that ammo in the real world, and at times attended the autopsies of those people.

        BTW, Clear Gel is still not a valid testing media, you didn’t even mention that bit.

      • Jeff

        Geez you clowns get so carried away. I’m not advocating R.I.P. over any other bullet but I’ve tried it and it does what the manufacturer claims it can. Expensive? Yes. Am I going to use it as my plinking ammo? Of course not. You guys need to lighten up and stop pretending to be experts when clearly you are not.

      • Chuck Haggard

        Self defense and/or duty ammo is a very serious topic, and should be taken as such. “Lighten up” is a bullshit answer.

        I’m actually defined in court record as an expert witness on these subjects. Just so we are clear on that, Jeff.

        Why buy overly expensive ammo that is a poor choice in every way? So what if it does what it’s designed to do, what it’s designed to do is stupid, and a proven bad idea in the real world. People have died in incidents in which this sort of info was in the “lessons learned” afterwards, and for failing to learn these lessons after the fact.

      • Arealmaverick

        Again- you’ve only seen it tested in videos – you’ve never tried it personally. I feel like it was worth every penny- and i’d trust it to do whatever I needed it to do. The “lesson learned” here is that opinions are like A_holes… – and – you obviously are very passionate about throwing them under the bus with your untested, unmerited – bloated opinion – self-stroking opinion… “expert witness” to YOUTUBE would probably suit you more so.

      • Arealmaverick

        THANK-YOU JEFF!

      • Sam

        Funny story, actually not funny at all, slightly morbid, but I’m an ME, I’ve seen several different *fatal* bullet wounds and seen the true severity of each one, G2 Research has probably never tested on human body in a self defense situation, because if they did they wouldn’t market it as defense ammo. I personally carry Federal Hydrashok in .45 and if you’d like to trust your life to something do it with that. I can go into description but some people might get a little queasy, just take my word for it, you don’t want to trust your life to G2 RIP.

      • Mountainlion

        Derp indeed would describe your bemused and misguided review of the RIP round, as well as

        you intentionally talk down to others.
        Your intent is to tear down without a full understanding of the subject. The subject matter is a qualitative product which can be submodified by words such as very and have comparative and superlative forms.which by your admission you have not tested yourself. In other words you
        jumped the proverbial gun, IMHO.

      • J D. Herrington

        9mm accuracy is superb for me out to 15-20 yards. I carry daily and what’s worked for me in real world shootings is the CorBon 125gr +P, Remington Golden Sabre or the Federal HST. during summer months. When the bad guys are heavily clothed, I opt for the Guard Dog, CorBon power ball or the Hornady critical defense. All my experience and opinion. Semper Fidelis.

    • EdC

      Outlandish marketing claims and mixed test results drops them off any list I have.

  • michael s

    I thought the Beretta 92 wasnt plus p rated.

    • Ben

      I have shot hundreds and hundreds of Hirtenberger 100 gr. 9mm +P+ through my old Glock 17. Even in daylight you can see the basketball sized flash from the guns muzzle when firing this round. The 17 is a modern handgun which is capable of handling hot loads, according to Glock.

      • Gerry A. Parnell

        I like the 9mm review,and I thank you. I am not an expert, I am a Viet Nam Vet, and I shoot 9mm over 45 any day. Control is the most important reason. A gunfight happens so fast, you have to have control!! If I could, I would carry my Mattel around all the time!!

    • Chuck Haggard

      The Beretta 9mms are clearly GTG with +P ammo.

      • michael s

        The storm ,nano yes. What about the 92 series ?

      • The best info I have is that it is, but any manufacturer will tell you not to feed their gun a complete diet of +P ammo. I practice with standard pressure ammo, but often carry +P in my 92FS.

  • art

    great discussion, while i have all the calibers i generally carry a 40. one thing i remember and i do not think it has changed is the best stopper was a 125 gr. 357 hollow point. while i am no expert i believe it was due not only to the speed but the fragmenting of the bullet because of the speed. i do reload but they say not to reload because of court. i do have a lot of gold dot bullets though. i guess i am still a little confused but i certainly would not go with the slow 45 even if it is bigger. i think for the 40 a 155 gr. or even 135 with a lot of speed would be something to reckon with. actually i take that back i did switch to the 357 sig but the 40 is my second choice. all i can say is even a 22 lr is better than a stick. only good guys with guns can keep the bad guys in check! i also will say freedom and the constitution is important. opinions right or wrong help people make their decisions. freedom of speech is important and the second amendment helps protect that and all the others. good shooting and shoot as straight as you can. peace as we said in the 60’s

    • Chuck Haggard

      All of the service pistol calibers work about the same. All of them. The .40 is in no way substantially better than the 9mm, nor the .45

      Please don’t start quoting stopping power stats to me, Evan Marshall is a friend of mine, I am well aware of his work on the subject.

      BTW, some of the most dramatic failures I have seen were with the 125gr .357mag. There are no magic bullets. None.

      • lostmanindetroit

        Your insecurity is palpable. Everything you say is an attack intended to give yourself the appearance of more knowledge.

      • Publius40

        Actually, there is one that might be deserving of that name – magic. Check out the 50 cal round that locks on it’s target and can adjust point of impact. DARPA developed.

  • Brooks

    I haven’t seen anyone do any reviews on the liberty civil defense yet, maybe coming soon?

    • Chuck Haggard

      Why would one want to?

  • Xavier Ramos Santoni

    Underwood 124gr +P+ Owns them all!!! Uses the Gold Dot at 1,300+ fps that’s on .357Sig low spectrum.

    • Chuck Haggard

      …….and drives the bullet beyond it’s design specs. Faster is not always better. An extra 50-100fps means nothing when it comes to wound ballistics. That disregards the fact that driving bullets faster than SAAMI spec can lead to reliability and durability issues with one’s pistol.

      The .357Sig is in fact just another service pistol round in performance.

      • Xavier Ramos Santoni

        100 FPS means a lot and in that configuration the Gold Dot performs perfectly with deep penetration and HUGE expasion!!!

      • art

        i like discussions it helps people think. certainly shot placement is very important. there have been more people killed with a 22 lr THEN ANYTHINGE ELSE. if you shoot a bullet too fast for the construction, that certainly is not good. a bullet shot to fast can just splatter and not kill. that is what varmint bullets are designed to do is explode but the critter is small. as far as placement, you can shoot a person with a fatal wound and he can still kill you. i believe that has happened many times. hopefully you never have to shoot the legal nightmares will have just begun. as far as speed, assuming the bullet will hold up, there is a shock value transfered from the speed assuming it just does not zip threw. there are a tremendous amount of variables. as far as the 357 mag, well, that was just a bench mark most are compared to. the statistics unless that has changed was that they had the best with one shot stops % wise. the bullets now a days are a lot better then the early 90’s. i will be the first to tell you i am no expert, but in the early 90’s the 357mag was the best one shot stops. the hollow points were not as good back then and i believe it had something to do with the pedals coming off. i think some are even designed to do that now and certainly the bonded are to help it stay together. a 45 is bigger to begin with (diameter) so it does not need to expand as much. i would say the shock value is less because of the speed. that is why i split the difference and went with 40 before i went with 357 sig. i have 9’s, 380’s, 45’s heck just about all of them. i like guns but i carry a 357 sig and as a back up a 40.depending on the situation i like 10’s also. now after all that bullshit here is what i will say. even a person with a knife can kill you even though he has a mortal wound. some of it depends on the mentality of the person. NEVER GIVE UP. 2 TO THE CHEST, ONE TO THE HEAD, AND THEN KEEP SHOOTING UNTIL THE THREAT IS OVER. MAYBE EVEN 1 OR 2 TO THE PELVIS TO STOP HIS FORWARD MOTION. GET BEHIND COVER IF YOU CAN. FIGHT SMART, DO NOT GIVE UP AND KEEP SHOOTING UNTIL YOU ARE SURE HE IS NOT COMING FORWARD. DO NOT TRY AND SHOOT OVER PRESSURE IN YOUR GUN, YOU KNOW ABOVE SAFE PRESSURES, WHICH DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING UNLESS YOU RELOAD. TRY NOT TO USE RELOADS IT COULD BE USED AGAINST YOU IN COURT. MAKE SURE THE AMMO YOU ARE USING IS 100% RELIABLE IN THAT GUN. A LOT OF VARIABLES, TRY TO COVER ALL YOUR BASES. HE COULD BE WEARING A VEST. ONE LAST THING. DO NOT GIVE UP!!!!! as my dad told me many many years ago win or lose if you hurt a bully he will never bother you again. it has worked for me.

    • Jeff

      Yes it does. I use Underwood in both my Glock 19 and Glock 20. Amazing stuff.

      • Hilandr451

        How does a man go through his entire life saying “varmint”?

  • CA Partsch

    I am in no way up to the ballistic level of many of these responders, but nowhere in any comments did I see anyone mention shot placement. City morgues are full of people shot with 22’s and 25’s they died by shot placement not by the magic 45,40 or 9mm, just as a poorly placed shot with a super dupper hot load p++++p that hits a knee cap or a belly button will be bad for the attacker,but he will still kill you.

  • Lynnette

    Check it out….

  • 2ndKentucky

    Hi all.
    All modern bulletts work – just shoot’em in the face.
    Ask your kids, and wife if they’re ok – dial up your attorney.
    Then shut up!

  • jimpeel

    I have problems with defense ammo loading in my Browning Hi-Power. The rounds get stuck against that silly “humped” feed ramp. I am considering sending the barrel out to be “dehumped.” Hopefully, that will have a great effect on feeding. Round nosed ammo feeds flawlessly.

    • Jr

      I am a firm believer in putting rounds thru all my handguns. With that being said, I’ve had multiple carry weapons accumulate a build up of copper on the feed ramp(from thousands of rounds shedding just a little bit of the jacket during feed). Sometimes you can see this buildup on the ramp. Use the brushes from a cleaning kit n scrub ur feed ramp, then lubricate with gun oil like you would when cleaning. I’ve had some models that had to b cleaned after every couple hundred rounds. I could feel the slide slowing down and the feed ramp would become obstructed.

      • jimpeel

        I polished the feed ramp to a mirror finish and got rid of the tool marks. Haven’t had a chance to try it with defense ammo.

  • tkddad@msn.com

    Check out the DoubleTap 115gr. Gold Dot +p load that weighs in at 1400fps and 500flbs of energy. It’s as “barely adequate” as a 357 magnum!

  • NiteGoat

    No Golden Sabre 124gr +P?

    • That’s good stuff! Limiting to just 5 is not nearly enough 🙂

  • Jules

    I like lamp

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  • Dannyboy

    I think the first round of conversation was more intelligent first of all quit slapping gums and go ahead and buy different 9 millimeter ammunition and test it for yourself instead of relying on other people to tell you what’s good or not and if you want really good hit power get yourself a bat

    • A bat actually DOES have knockdown power!

  • RICH

    I CARRIED MY LC9 FOR A MONTH WITH WIN 9MM 147GR SELF DEFENSE AND YES I SHOT A FEW TO BE SURE MY GUN LIKED THEM. AT THE RANGE I DREW MY GUN PULLED THE TRIGGER AND NOTHING, GOOD HIT ON THE PRIMER I RUN SAME RD FOR THE 3RD TIME AND IT FIRED. I WILL SHOT THE REST OF THEM AT PAPER AND GO WITH MY SPEER.

  • exleo

    i’ve done a LOT of shooting, & i still have NOT found the best bullet/round/caliber for me. i carry only what i have faith in, & what i carry is the best i think i have at the time. i do think that Marshall/Sanow have some really great stuff in their publications, and i do use that info to adjust my own usage. yes, i use/carry ALL calibers, and i AM quite a good shot (no bull, just the truth, as i have always qualified with whatever i carried, every time, with a perfect score of 300). but i am not here to brag; i just want to help in some small way. become extremely proficient with your choice of gun/caliber until YOU are COMPLETELY SATISFIED; just don’t let that satisfaction be the end of your search! always look for better. always practice more. do NOT EVER BE SATISFIED with ANYTHING BUT THE BEST YOU BUY OR DO! (and yes, court can make a fool of the best of us, as a good DA does indeed know how to make the innocent look the perp!) do not look for what others choose; find what is best for yourself, and you will be confident; and if you practice greatly & often, you will be better than the other guy, and you will survive. God’s blessings to ALL of you! (yes, i am a Christian gun owner, and i am probably quite near the top of homeland’s terrorist list! LOL!) GODSPEED!

  • Steve

    First off,
    Did somebody say 9mm is an inadequate round? With modern technology, the performance differences of the three major calibers is minimal. It’s about shot placement. Not the size of the bullet. Second RIP is nothing but smoke and mirrors. The trocars as they call them, cause superficial wounds and the remaining projectile acts as round nose bullet. Overpriced junk. Absolutely no real world experience. Back to the article, hornady critical defense doesn’t meet FBI protocol in expansion.

  • Scott

    You guys are all so technical. Why not speak to the everyday guy that just wants to protect his family and home? I do like to shoot at the range. I enjoy shooting my 40,my 9 and my 22 rifle. Its fun and cheap. As for home protection, in my opinion, I have a lot of confidence in my judge. I alternate the cylinder w/45 long Colts and 410 mag. W/4 discs + shot. I also have a 12 gauge short barrel loaded w/6shot. I don’t think any intruder will make it past either one of these. Period!

  • Vlad

    I am a super secret us navy seal (as opposed the a paraguayan coast guard seal) and the cia asks my opinion about what 9mm rounds to use to overthrow evil regimes. The ONLY round that works is (insert the only round you e ever shot here). Everything else is stupid and only stupid people would argue, as ive also taught “bulletts and gun stuff 304” at harvard and courts ask me to testify but im too important. I am better than you and your gun is dumb. Thank you and good night. (Dont repeat this ir you know what!)

  • Monroe Frazier

    At the end of the day people must take into account what they can handle. A .44 magnum or .50 desert eagle will out do a 9mm, .45ACP, and 10mm. But if a person can’t hit what they shoot it does no good having those large calibers. In addition to that cost and use will be a factor. There is a case to be made for every caliber. Cost of weapon, ammo and ease of finding ammo. High capacity, such as a 9mm may save someone’s life as apposed to a 7 shot .45ACP. Also keep in mind a persons hand size and hand strength. No one gun is a fit all weapon. Just my profesional opinion. I always informed my students on the facts in determining a weapon for purchase. A lot of us profesional so and gun enthusiast can handle most handgun calibers proficiently. So debating semantics on this subject would be futile. In this case, a good +P hollow point in the 9mm is my suggestion.

    • Steven McCorry Sr.

      The point of hand size and strength is a excellent point. When trying to find a proper carry gun these 2 points were huge when selecting. If we all agree that accurate shot placement is first then there is no denying that the size of someone’s hands and their strength play a factor. My wife beat every single man in her CCW class because she had the right firearm for her. They were so impressed with her shooting that I think it boosted her interest and confidence. Instead of just hearing it from her husband.

  • Ross Bowditch

    The absence of this round is kinda glaring, Federal Premium Tactical HST 9mm 147 Grain +P Hollow Point?

    • Errol Nezar

      I agree this is a good round

    • COLT BENNING

      amen..my fav all around 9mm CQC round

  • montanandontplay

    I found out on a g19 that the 124+p hst tops out at the very best, about 1170-1180 fps. Tnoutdoors9 on YouTube concurs. This is totally acceptable for me. I see this load as a much better choice as I see it offered only in the 50 round box at less that $30 as opposed to the mostly 20 round box’s of standards at nearly the same price. I am extremely accurate with this loading due to the negligible muzzle flip. This is a weak yet acceptable +p round. I shoot them often.

  • Steve

    In

  • Steve

    The gold dots and hst in winter but 147 graim and 115 or 124 in summer

  • GunsHarleysUSA

    If all you guys want to see some first rate ammo testing, look at the Luckygunner Ammo test because it will surprise you and you just might find yourself looking at your carry ammo differently or maybe even looking at a change, this is a very in depth test using all calibers and most of todays top ammo. This testing had to cost Luckygunner a lot of money.

  • Nick

    If you throw the one on the right will it come back to you? BTW decent choice for defensive round. I use P9HST2.

    • Jeff E Duggins

      Ha ha. I wish.

  • Smiddywesson

    No matter what propaganda is thrown at you, it’s penetration that does the wounding. When in doubt, opt for penetration, which comes from bullet mass and nose shape. Why? When you are aiming center mass at a guy shooting at you, you are aiming lengthwise down two three foot long arms. Twelve to fourteen inches ain’t good enough.

  • Smiddywesson

    It’s plenty accurate, it’s just that it’s barely adequate for a defense round. However, if we are ever invaded by a zombie horde of undead pygmies requiring large numbers of tiny bullets, then it’s my go-to caliber.

    • JED 1974

      Again, no disrespect, but I would bet my life that in most self defense cases. A 9mm or smaller is used. No research to base it on, but that’s just a hunch. I have large caliber weapons. I have a 500 magnum for that matter. I love them, but anything Bovey a .40 is overkill in a self defense scenario. Unfortunately, like I said. I have first had knowledge. Others my too including yourself, but I’m going on my experience alone. I certainly don’t need someone to tell me carrying 9mm is poor planning because it seed 3 people’s lives and took one.

      • Rusty

        I absolutely agree with you. I was just in a total self defense situation myself very recently and I had an intruder walk in with a .38 snub nose revolver and ordered me on the ground in my own apartment while my gf was in the bedroom on the bed. I happened to have my S&W .38 special 4inch barrel in my bag under the table on the floor right next to my Sig Sauer P232 SL .380 right next to it “out in the open not in the bag”. And was placed perfectly by the miracle of God under the table on the floor where he ordered me to lay. And in that live or die situation ur absolutely not thinking about the caliber in any way shape or form. When he walked in the bedroom he shot my gf in the side of the ribs. Her rib happened to fortunately stop the bullet.. And that’s when I grabbed the .380 and shot him three times. Stopped him dead in his tracks. I could have gambled my life and went looking in my bag for my .38 just to have a little bit more power. But in that situation the .380 did the job and what it was designed to do. I hate how these tools have to carry the largest caliber gun on the market to make them feel more macho. I suggest less recoil so I have better shot placement over shooting .45 or .357 and be all over the place. Debating calibers is like asking what brand of truck you’d rather be run over by. They all do the job.

  • Smiddywesson

    Recoil isn’t bad, recoil is good. I can control my recoil, but when I hit someone with a bullet that has recoil, Newtonian Physics tells us he’s going to feel and equal and opposite reaction. Not enough to “stop” not enough to “knock down” but plenty enough power to make him miss me. Your 9mm has almost no recoil, therefore it has no power to make the other guy miss. He’ll just take you with him as you stand out there dumping rounds into him. Poor planning on your part.

    • JED 1974

      Mr Smiddywesson. First and foremost, I didn’t comment on this post to argue about whose pecker is longer, or what caliber will do what, and the bad guy taking me to hell with him, while I’m still filling him full of 9mm slugs because of poor planning on my part! Lol. Fact is, I’m speaking from personal experience using the aforementioned products sir! I don’t only know, that a 124 gn, 9mm Hydrashock slug, is far more deadly, adequate, has more than enough knock down power, more than applicable stopping power, and is quite deadly, I assure you. Im not sure about all the Newtons law stuff you were trying to explain there, but it almost makes no sense at all with all due respect. If I’m correct they are making all types of weapons now with muzzle brakes, porting on some of the pistols, and heavier guide rods to name a few, just to make these weapons recoil lighter, so I would say that that statement, really doesnt even apply to the point of this topic. To get down to it sir, I was involved in a self defense altercation, that didn’t end well for a gentleman that happened to end up on the wrong side of my G17C 9mm. While on the receiving end of the 124 gn HST projectile, the one and only shot, that was center mass, was more than enough to stop him in his tracks. I went through something that night, that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy! I was actually rather hesitant about even mentioning it here, but it seemed relevant to some of yhe nonsense thats been said on here! No one seems to realize the damage, that a 9mm slug, will do! To someonesay body, and that persons family, to say the least. At a time like that, you’re so damn scared to death, you don’t know what youre gonna do if anything, until it comes time to live, or die! Please listen to this if nothing else! To be a part of taking another life, is nothing like you could ever imagine in your worst nightmare ever! You dont realize how fragile life is, until that point, yours and his! Like I said, I’m not here to get in a pissing contest about anything, but if there is any man out there that thinks a 9mm slug, put center mass on a man, won’t get the job done, then he is living in a dream world. Trust me sir, it did not have one thing to do with me, planning poorly when i left the house! The only thing that was poorly planned were this man’s choices! I hope nobody on this thread will ever have to pull the trigger at any time in their life! To those that may have been where I am, I’m Very Sorry. God Bless You!
      J

      • Smiddywesson

        “Im not sure about all the Newtons law stuff you were trying to explain there, but it almost makes no sense at all with all due respect”

        The analogy where the beanbag has three times the kinetic energy than the knife is intended to demonstrate to the people who worship at the alter of kinetic energy that KE is only one very small part of the puzzle when it comes to wounding. We can say the same for velocity to some extent, however that muddies the waters with other issues. Let’s use a more clear example of what I am talking about, you can take just about any animal in North America with a broadhead arrow, despite the fact that the arrow has less than 60 foot pounds of kinetic energy. This is because, once again, kinetic energy is far down the priority list when it comes to wounding. Therefore, when someone starts parroting back about how their 9mm is the equivalent to a magnum because of its kinetic energy, I know they don’t understand terminal ballistics.

        Sorry about your experience, but saying a 9mm can kill someone with one shot is irrelevant, the same can be said about .22lr. The issue is PROBABILITY. There’s been instances of shotgun slugs to the chest failing to immediately kill a suspect, one instance that comes to mind, the suspect got K-5’d with a 12 gauge slug, bailed out of the van he was driving, and sprinted away. He died of course, but the point is (ignoring bullet construction for the moment) a smaller projectile is less PROBABLE to stop the suspect as fast as a larger projectile. There’s no way round this fact. A score of anecdotes about one shot 9mm stops doesn’t change the probabilities. A million rationalizations about what caliber is too large and impractical to shoot effectively is easily disputed by simply searching Youtube and watching people who train fire these weapons. People prattling on about “today’s modern ammo technology” are just deluding themselves, those advances apply to all calibers. This is all group think, rationalizations, and propaganda.

        “…if there is any man out there that thinks a 9mm slug, put center mass on a man, won’t get the job done, then he is living in a dream world.”
        Sorry, a shot to the heart doesn’t turn off the oxygen to the brain for @ 10 seconds, so your science is in error. Your defense ammo is designed by idiots who think 12″-14″ of penetration is sufficient, and exit wounds are bad (lawyers and bad science). Unless you hit the central nervous system, you are going to have to wait for the guy to bleed out. How having two holes, which lets twice the blood out, and twice the air in, is a bad thing is beyond me. Studies indicate that collateral damage to bystanders from through shots is very rare in handguns. The penetration standards are flawed. If you are shooting center mass, and someone is shooting back, you have two three foot barriers directly in the path of your bullet, the other guys arms are pointed lengthwise at you. This ignores, clothing, movement, barriers, angle of the shot and range. Yes, you can put a frigging cannon on a man center mass and he may still be able to shoot back, the issue is probability, and your “dream world” crack is ironic, because it completely ignores those probabilities.

      • JED 1974

        I understand all of what you’re saying. I’m not disagreeing with you. I’m also not challenging anybody’s findings or statements on projectiles. I’m simply going on a first hand experience where I was able to deliver a slug when it counted and where it counted, and that is what matters in the end. Like you said, it’s probable that you can kill anyone or anything with one shot of any caliber. Even know there are some calibers I wouldn’t think about carrying for self-defense like a 22 or even a .380 I know a deputy very well that had an instance with a convict that had escaped from up north and before he found out who the guy actually was the guy started shooting at him, then my deputy buddy unloaded 5 .45 slugs in this guy, not to kill him. I guess that goes back to the probability statement. It’s possible that no matter what you shoot someonw with, it might not kI’ll them! You might, then you might not. It doesn’t matter to me what people think or say, I would carry what I’m comfortable with and what I was accurate with, along with a firearm that I know I can put shots where they need to be, when you need to. I’m not a newbie by any means when it comes to Firearms. I teach a concealed carry class, and have many certifications through the DOJ. That certainly doesn’t make me anymore of an expert on projectiles than the next guy. I wasn’t disputing anybody’s findings or what they did in the least. Like I said, I have my personal experience to go on, and that’s all I have to go on. I delivered a nine millimeter slug when it counted and where counted. I’ve done been through all those scenarios you’re talking about buddy, you can do that all day long but no two situations involving a handgun and a shooting are going to be the same. Like I said I’m not disputing anybody, and I’m not arguing with anybody. I only know that I didn’t offer any signs and I didn’t offer any opinions on any projectiles.I offered my opinion on the caliber, and my experience and that was it and that is it, there’s nothing more to it. Thanks guys

      • Smiddywesson

        If you feel I think any less about you for disagreeing with me, you are crazy. I come here FOR PEOPLE TO TELL ME I AM WRONG. This is something you can’t get from a book, a first in human history, where you can express what you think and be assured someone will point the way. My dad died today as I made my way down to Leesburg Florida. Six hours too late, but that’s the way it goes. Bad day. Tomorrow will be better, I will MAKE it so. I definitely don’t dislike you because I feel you are wrong about some terminal ballistics matters. Keep those fires stoked and continue to expand. These are very exciting fields.

        PS: Thank you for being nice to me, things are NOT going well down here and I might get all misty eyed and pitch a hissy fit. LOL

  • Mike Smith

    For certain real world situations will not be like the nice clean lab test. And a bullet going into a human body will not act the same as it does in a 16 inch thick ballistic gel block. These test do have there place to evaluate different bullets but that is were there value stops. I have conducted test using reports from actual police shootings to evaluate a pistol rounds failure in real situations and to help develop better rounds for officers to carry. There is no perfect bullet but there are some that are much better than others and it is best to test what you carry in something other than ballistic gel and see for yourself how well it performs.

    • As I note above, the gel block test is necessary to establish a common baseline for comparison; you’re right shooting into a real body is different, and will always be different one to another — which means that any real testing is essentially impossible, but that’s true of anything, really. That’s why it’s called a test — gives a common standard by which real-world results can be extrapolated.

  • Tom Swinburn

    Ballistic gelatin testing is ludicrous at BEST. The human body has no consistency. Organs of different density, fat and muscle, bones, angle of hit and where, ALL these factors can’t be replicated shooting into ballistic gel. People have been sold a bunch of hogwash. Like putting “tactical” in front of some piece of crap and the morons flocking to buy it. WHERE your shot hits is EVERYTHING. You can walk away from half a dozen hits with a .45 and DIE from a single hit with a .22. THOUSANDS of examples of this. You’re sold a bill of goods and get just what you bought, a bill of goods. No application in the real world. NO HANDGUN is a sure fight stopper. Get it? NONE. Your BEST bet is to become extremely proficient in your shot placement. Practice till your eyes bleed. Do exercises to moderate the effects of Adrenalin on yourself. THAT destroys your shot making potential. Look up Ayoob online and read his articles. Listen to the people who have BEEN in gunfights and survived. THAT is where you get info that will SAVE YOUR LIFE. No “magic” bullet is going to do it.

    • Terry

      Your exactly right it’s all about shot placement

    • John Smith

      Agree. With everything.

      So, would you become proficient (eyes bleeding and all) with a .22 and leave it at that? Would you rather have good shot placement with a .45? How about great shot placement with fragile rounds that hit bones and deflect? (So much for your placement.) Or great shot placement with ball ammo and hit the officer on the other side after it passes all the way through? (That has happened.) No, bullet research matters- a lot. Put the bullet in the right spot, but put the RIGHT bullet in the right spot.

      • Tom Swinburn

        Most .45 is ball ammunition. By necessity as feed problems CAN occur with non jacketed rounds. Partial jackets make the best of both worlds but anything can happen. A .357 in full metal jacket? HELL NO. That’s asking for a second (or even third) person to be struck. But a .22 long rifle with precise placement is as lethal as anything on the planet. It will kill you as dead as you can get. An acquaintance of mine SHOT an aggressor with a .45, ball ammo with a center mass hit. The shot did NOT put the man down. He stopped coming, but was out of the hospital within a couple of days. Bullet design long ago reached the limit of what is NEEDED. Shot placement is all. Ballistics medium is bunkum, hokum, witch medicine, whatever derogatory term you can use. It does not, CAN not mimic a hit on human beings. Of considerable value is the research of ACTUAL shootings and the results. Massad Ayoob can provide as much information on that as can be had, as he has researched it intensely. All this “new design” does do one thing, and it does it REALLY well. It sells the latest “discovery” by the boatload. As for myself, I’ll take the old .22 with precise placement. It can kill a feral hog instantaneously, and those hogs are notoriously hard to kill. There’s a guy in east Texas who has killed hundreds of hogs with a single shot dropping them LITERALLY in their tracks with a .22. And his shots STAY in the hogs head. Every single time.

      • Gary Griffiths

        Really? Most .45 is ball ammo? I carry 230-gr Federal HSTs in my XDs, and have never had a failure with this ammo. Also, the author’s point is well taken that bullets do not always react the same in bodies as they do in ballistic gel. That’s why I’m a firm believer in the old adage, “A 9mm MAY expand, but a .45 ain’t gonna shrink!”

      • Jr

        Well said. I use federal hydroshocks for my .45 and have never had a feed problem.

      • John Smith

        Never mind. You’re clearly out of touch. Even Ayoob does not recommend a .22 for defense. In fact, he once said that if they’d make the Glock in .45 he’d be their poster boy. (See, I’ve read everything he’s written even when Glock was just a new baby 9mm startup.) There are lots of good non-ball rounds that cycle through my .45 and I’ve never had a misfeed. “Most” .45 is indeed not ball ammo. Ayoob also says the best reason to shoot something that goes 12-18 inches in gel (i.e.: not ball ammo and not fragile stuff that doesn’t penetrate at all) is so that you greatly lessen the possibility of shooting someone on the other side.

        And if you know someone whose weapon of choice for hogs is a .22, you don’t live in the real world. (You didn’t specify, but “the old .22” seems to mean .22 LR.)

      • Donna

        Have a question where can I find these shells

      • John Smith

        Donna
        Start with your local gun shop. Cabelas or Bass Pro might be an option. There’s a lot of “in person” places to check before you go online, but that’s an option, too. If you look and don’t find locally, check back and I can give you some more leads.

    • “Ballistic gelatin testing is ludicrous at BEST.”

      Possibly. However, a standard method of some kind is necessary for ANY kind of testing, in order to have an objective standard against which test subjects are measured. The near-infinite array of variables you (accurately) describe would be virtually impossible to test to 100% accuracy. So you use the gel in a standard configuration to establish a baseline.

    • WelDun1

      Gelatin testing is pretty relevant when it comes to how the projectile behaves once it hits its target. The Purpose isnt as much as to simulate human flesh as much as it is to study the characteristics of the bullets behavior once it makes contact. How else would you know if it expands/fragments into several cavities or just stays on a single straight path? In & out wounds are survivable in a lot of cases, but not as much when there are multiple fragments taking multiple paths ripping multiple cavities. Your placement argument falls by the wayside when talking about defending yourself from an attacker that isnt going to just stand there and let you shoot him. Of course, if you shoot him in the head, you have a higher chance of stopping him, but there isnt an exercise you can practice to make you more efficient at hitting an unpredictable moving target while your adrenaline is through the roof. There are too many variables to account for. The only way to simulate that is to Join the Military. Nothing can prepare you for that except experience.
      Also, Your CAPITOL writing is So out of context

      • Noel Goode

        As long as we’re correcting others here, in this case, “capital” would be the proper spelling of the word.

    • Shad Holland

      Not that you are wrong, but if you get your shots right and have ammo with better expansion, you end up with better results than ammo that may pass right through someone.

      Yes, if you hit bone or something in the body, the bullet isn’t going to react like it does in ballistic gelatin. But it will likely create more stopping power because it will expand better even hitting bone and the more a bullet expands, the more energy is placed on the target. That is why I like the term, “Stopping Power”. Greater impact vs less impact is very important.

      But you are correct that practice is needed no matter what ammo you use. If you can’t hit your target where you need to, no ammo will save you. I have seen many people at the range who carry who can’t hit the target very well at 7 yards. I am even surprised they are allowed to pass and get a permit without being a relatively accurate shooter.

      Anyone with a CCW permit who isn’t accurate is a danger to everyone else.

  • madstabber

    The three most important things when in a self defense shooting. Location, location, location.

  • madstabber

    The three most important things when in a self defense shooting. Location, location, location.

  • Team_Batou

    There are some new odd designs out there too. Like the RIP round and the Ruger polyround. I’m going to try out the polyround but I’m not sure if is really any better than just plain ball ammo. Haas anyone taken a look at these already?

    • Stan Robertson

      I use CorBon 115 grain +P DPX, as well as Speer Gold dot 124 grain JHP.

  • John Smith

    …and don’t forget that loads perform VASTLY differently in different guns. A pocket 9mm won’t shoot the same round as a longer barrel the same way.

    • Shad Holland

      Yeah, that was mentioned in the article….;-)

      • John Smith

        …which is why I said “don’t forget”. Because it is a factor, and all the talk about shot placement is just bluster and people apparently didn’t really read the article. If you have great shot placement but no velocity, or no expansion, or… well, then you have a target that doesn’t stop. My buddy (Bureau of Indian Affairs) put a full magazine of 9mm (old days with ball ammo) on target with one shoulder hit and all the rest lungs and heart- he has a 10 inch knife scar through his bicept as a souvenir of that day. He switched to a wheel gun with hollow points because every one of his fmj bullets went right through.

        It’s much, much more than shot placement. Bullet construction, barrel length, velocity, mass and mass retention…

      • Shad Holland

        Cool, you a fellow native? 50% Iroquois here with some Chippewa.

        Yes, it’s both, shot placement is of course very important. I have a laser practice pistol so I can do tactical training and make sure my shots are spot on. I recommend one for anyone who uses a pistol for self defense. You need to be accurate or it’s pointless to even have a pistol…….and dangerous.

      • John Smith

        No, sorry. My heritage is native… to Mexico (1/2). The guy is my friend who worked for the Bureau. Now he does inspections for military contracts.

        And I agree. You have to know that you can hit your target. I don’t know of anyone who had to shoot self def in a clean, well lit, room at 50 feet and plenty of time. That’s fun, but it’s not ‘practice’ and, you’re RIGHT, it’s dangerous to go out there with a firearm and no practice.

        I dry fire (snap caps) but I’d like a LaserLyte adapter and target. A little too $$ but I’m saving…

      • Shad Holland

        Borders were created by the settlers, not us….;-) That makes both of us native to the same continent. Just sayin’

        I have the LaserLyte setup. Both the Pistol and the laser which can go into the end of the plastic pistol or in my Glock 19. The LaserLyte pistol allows for rapid fire practice. Using the laser in a regular semi-auto requires you to rack the slide each time. The laser is the expensive part, the plastic pistol is cheap and can be purchased as a full size semi-auto, compact semi-auto, or and revolver…..all using the same laser. Kind of nice since I carry a Glock 19 sometimes and a Walther PPS M2 (compact) other times. I also got the little cans which work okay, but they don’t work well in bright light which kind of sucks. I might get the laser target too……in the end, it saves a lot of money and allows me to do tactical shooting which can’t be done at the range.

      • John Smith

        Hah! I’m glad you think so, brother. Most just dismiss me as ‘white’. Grandpa was blond and blue-eyed, so there must have some Spaniard in there. Gram was all of native heritage as far back as anyone knew…

        So, is that the laser I want? I’d like to use it in different pieces (G30s .45, G43 9mm…) and they have one that seems to be adaptable. The bullet-shaped one must fit only one caliber. I haven’t thought about getting the plastic trainer, but if they’re not too much…

      • Shad Holland

        That is the bullet style which goes into the chamber and must be caliber specific I believe. The one that can fit multiple calibers is the laser that goes into the front end of the barrel and is triggered by sound. It has a sleeve that threads onto it and makes it a bigger diameter or smaller diameter depending on direction you twist it. It also has two adjustment screws, one for vertical alignment and one for horizontal alignment so you can get the laser to line up with the sights. It works fairly well and allows you to be able to practice with your actual pistol if you want as well as with the fake ones so you can shoot multiple shots.

        It’s pretty cool because I could see flaws in my aiming and trigger pull right off the bat, especially when I was in a hurry. My first shot or two would almost always end up high and to the right because I would twist my wrist. I could easily see the laser dot waaaay off target. Not good, so I had to practice more to prevent that wrist twist to the upper right. The idea of “Drive the Gun” really helps. Punch your hands forward at your target as you are aiming and fire. That is something I can train with using the laser without any risks. Then later apply to actual target shooting later.

        What worries me is all the people who don’t learn this stuff and practice to be sure they are not going to take out bystanders if they ever need to defend themselves.

      • John Smith

        Thanks. And, yes. That’s why I’m getting more practice.

        Be safe. Keep your powder dry.

  • Billy Beckom

    This may seem like a stupid question but I will ask it none the less. We can talk expansion of the best ammo money can buy all day but in a situation that leads you to fire in an assailant at point blank range, say four feet or under with a sub compact firearm, would expansion be a major consideration? I ask this because I recently purchased a Glock 19 for my daughter as a EDC for her protection to and from work and school as well as at home. Although she is very well instructed on how to use a firearm with many hours on the range I have never thought for one minute that if she had to use a pistol in defence of her life it would be under controlled range distances. As it stands now I have chose God and the Hornady Critical Defence round as my bullet of choice to protect the most precious thing on this earth to me but at close range out of a three and a half inch barrel, does it really matter? I was trained by a very close friend of mine who just happened to be a retired FBI firearms instructor on the use of several types of firearms but most exclusively on the use of semi auto pistols. I still can’t get out of the “double tap” habit to this day. “Recoil is your friend”, he always said. (: Today, with high capacity short barreled semi autos or what I like to refer to as “face guns” , being the norm for most cilvilians to carry does all this expansion and pinatration really come into play? I mean I like talking firearms and ballistics as much as the next gun guy or girl but if it was your child what’s the real bottom line? I figure four or five XTP’s in the chest at four feet out of a Glock 19 is just as deadly as the same four or five +P+ out of a 17 at seven or eight yards. I pray to God my baby never has to know but if she does I figure good advise from you guys is better than none. Thanks to you all.

    • Hey Billy – From an expansion standpoint, distance to the target doesn’t matter. Expansion relies on velocity, and velocity is highest right out of the muzzle, so over long distance, odds of proper expansion actually decrease. At any pistol distances between 0 and 25 yards for example, there’s just no significant difference in velocity that will determine whether a bullet will or will not expand. Now barrel length does have an impact because a shorter barrel will launch a projectile at lower velocity. When it comes to expansion in the real word, it may or may not come into play because there are infinity variables.

      With all that said, getting shots on target in the right place is far more important than worrying about expansion. In a perfect world, expansion is good because the diameter of the projectile is larger, and, in theory, can incapacitate faster. Also, expansion tends to slow down a bullet, thereby reducing the odds that it will pass right through the target.

      In the real world, choose quality ammo and work on skills that will help you get shots on target. That’s the most important thing.

      Your choice of Hornady ammo is excellent. It performs well and is consistent. I wouldn’t worry too much about all the expansion and penetration data. That’s simply a way to quantitatively compare different ammunition. Most modern brand name defensive ammo is going to do just fine.

      • Frank Rojas

        I know jack squat about any of this and was just researching about best ammo for 9mm. This explanation you just gave answered all my questions.Thank you.

    • Severicee

      I’m not convinced it matters. Glock 19 holds 15+1, which should easily get the job done.

      • Shain

        A glock will fire any decent round with ease. It’s really a matter of opinion

  • Glock

    Winchester PDX1 147 gr for me!

  • M_Avalon

    HST is what I carry in my 9’s and .380’s. Great, consistent rounds.

  • Evelyn M

    I just purchased an M & P Shield. Which ammo do you guys recommend I buy for protection, not the range. Thanks!

    • Shain

      Hornady and rip are what I use for self defense. Pretty much any for range. Good choice in gun, I love mine.

      • Evelyn M

        Thank you. I went to Cabella’s and that is what they suggested as well as Federal Premium HST. Bought both

    • Jeff A

      Lucky Gunner has done extensive ballistic testing on hand gun rounds. Check it out.

    • AJS

      G2 R.I.P is all you need
      You

  • Ron

    I agree with the well placed shot. With the rightly placed shot……any caliber will work.