I know I need to select a hollow point but how do I select the brand or type? I’m told to stick with 115 grain, but I’m not sure. I want to stop someone but I don’t want to hurt anyone else.
Welcome to the community Eric! Selecting defensive ammo is often times an exercise in wallet gymnastics. You may have been told you want 115gr (I am A$$uMEing 9mm) but you may find 147gr or 124gr works better in your stick. Most name brand stuff is good for what you need but can be spendy. I would personally get a box of each of the above flavors and definitively determine which your pistol likes. From there you can try various flavors of the above to find the one load that works the best in your pistol. After that buy A BUNCH of it.
This is not range ammo that you go practice with, this is the stuff you stake your life on. As such buy range fodder in a similar weight and then put 5 - 10 rounds of “the good stuff” down range as your last shots when you are all tuned up to make sure it still works. Then CARRY on! See what I did there
Agree with Craig exactly, nothing to add.
Nicely done, thank you Craig, your comments point me in the right direction. Why would 147gr or 124gr work better? It is just a weight thing or something more?
Welcome to the family brother and you are in the right place at the right time. There are several defensive ammo brands. I use Hornady critical defense and critical duty. Sig Sauer and Federal HST are also good rounds. If you google defensive ammunition it will give you more choices.
9mm’s can be finicky beasts. I had two Beretta 92’s for all intents and purposes should have been Identical. Ummm not so much. The left one would shoot stooopid amazing groups with 147’s and throw 115’s all over the paper. The right one would eat any 115 you could throw at it and make stoopid groups but a 124 or 147 and that gun would spit them to either side of the road. I had access to the Beretta reps and engineers and NONE of them could tell me why, one silver haired fella (Engineer) after days of testing looked at me and said “Some wines and cheeses do not go together where most do, it happens.” Best answer I’ve heard yet short of “$h!t happens.”
My Glocks (17, 43, 43X) have eaten everything I have thrown at them.
I’m using this website to find my defensive ammo. You cannot go wrong with the choice if you see test results and keep FBI’s standards.
Once you find the ammo, just test it with your firearm.
I just bought a Glock 17 g5 so I could learn all the fundamentals of handling a firearm.
Once you bought Glock, there no worries about the ammo. This handgun eats everything…
ups… have I written these…? @TexasEskimo, please don’t use these words against me in the future…
That’s good to hear. thanks
@Jerzy Not my rules, but what is said on the internet… stays on the internet. FOREVER
Another line of thought often mentioned is to find out what your local police use. This is in reference to possible legal issues if you have to use your weapon for defense.
That said, it is more important to determine what round the pistol will fire reliably, each and every time.
My round of choice for my duty size/full size pistol is Hornaday Critical Duty. This round checks both boxes. It is in common use by the police and does very well in my Sig M17-P320.
For my every day carry pistol, I use Hornaday Critical Defense. This round is optimized for shorter barrels and is a great round for protection.
You will get a lot of opinions here, which is great. I do tend to select rounds that police departments use. That is just me though. Good luck and have fun. God Bless.
@TexasEskimo… I’m OK with my statement… but the worst thing is that there is a grammatical mistake in the sentence… which stays forever…
To go with what @Craig6 stated, make note of impact with different bullet weights. Lighter weight rounds, often hit lower POA than slower, heavier rounds. Also, the heavier rounds may add more penetration, which may be wanted during colder months. For example, my fall winter load is a 230 grain +P Underwood Gold Dot. My spring summer load is 185 grain +P Gold Dots.
Thank you for the information, I’m getting a lot of perspectives on this subject. I’m blown away by how helpful everyone has been.
So are you saying that 115gr might not stop a person if I have to use it.
Buddy, the truth is that no pistol round is highly likely to “stop a person” if you have to use it. 9mm, .357 Sig, 40 S&W, .45 ACP, and even .357 Magnum are all similar when it comes to terminal effects on carbon life forms. And you will likely have to shoot someone multiple times to “stop” their aggression.
It will be messy, loud, and ugly. Another practical reality for the novice to consider: an unplanned hole anywhere in your body has a strong tendency to make you reconsider your current course of action. Whether that new orifice was created by a .17 caliber or .45 caliber bullet, the real key to “stopping” someone is a function of anatomy, not ballistics. Simply, where you shoot them is more significant than what you shoot them with. Here’s a good example…
If you poke someone in the shoulder with your trigger finger, you might get a grown man’s attention. If you poke him with the same finger in the eye, you are going to cause damage and definitely get his attention!
When people start talking about 115gr vs 147 gr 9mm handgun rounds, they are talking about how long your fingernail on that trigger finger is when you poke the guy. Get it?
You know what’s more important to the ballistic chart and terminal performance of a 9mm round than grain weight or the construction of the bullet (ie HP vs FMJ)? Barrel length of the firearm it was shot from. Shorter barrel = lower velocity. Energy = mass x acceleration. Acceleration and velocity are NOT quite the same thing, but similar. A heavier mass or a faster acceleration = more energy. Lower grain weight or slower acceleration = lower energy into your target. But these differences aren’t even something you should be concerned with right now. Go learn to shoot that pistol with a bunch of Winchester white box or cheap Remington 9mm FMJ 115 gr bullets. Buy and shoot at least 1000 of them. Then start studying up on what “business” ammo to buy. Until you get VERY good…as in can’t fail good…any bullet will do.
You’ve gotten good advice here.
The number one most important thing, if you take nothing else away from this thread, is that the ammo must be reliable and accurate out of your pistol. Everything after that is gravy.
You should stick to one of the common brands/models. Federal HST, Speer Gold Dot, Hornady Critical Duty/Defense, Sig V-Crown (I’m sure im missing a few others). The reason is that these are commonly used by law enforcement nationwide and even globally with a long track record of success. These will all penetrate and expand sufficiently.
After that, you are mostly splitting hairs. These are handgun rounds, there is no magic here, and 0.05" more expansion or 1" more or less penetration in a real-life scenario will make no where near as much difference as it does for your accurate shot placement in stopping the threat.
If you do like to split hairs (i am pretty sure we ALL do ) @Jerzy’s link above to LuckyGunner is a fantastic resource, comparing apples to apples across a wide variety of ammunition. I would also point you to ShootingTheBull’s Youtube channel/playlist for 9mm gel tests. You can find youtube gel-tests for almost all the major brands/models.
The most commonly used weight is usually either 124gr, 135gr, or 147gr. Very likely any of those will be fine unless your barrel is at the far extreme in length, either really short or really long. CCW pistols around 3-4" you “usually” (but not always) want to stick with a heavier weight which is less impacted by increase/decrease in velocity mainly because they are so slow to begin with. Pistol Caliber Carbines (PCC) with 16" or longer barrels also have some special considerations because their velocity is so much higher than typical. Again, LuckyGunner has a great article/video on this.
Ideally, you’d shoot the same/similar grain weight for range duty as you do for defense. That’s easy if you pick a 115/124gr defensive ammo, rather difficult if you choose 135/147gr because the cost is noticeably higher. So if your range ammo doesnt have the same POA/POI as your defensive ammo make sure you keep that in mind when training.
This is very much my opinion, but I would also stay away from the +P or +P+ variants. They offer a little bit more velocity, but usually at the cost of increased recoil. That increased recoil is more likely to affect your follow up shots than 50fps more velocity is likely to increase damage on your threat.