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How do you choose your carry ammo? Muzzle energy or penetration? Login/Join 
You're going to feel
a little pressure...
posted
Hey all-

I tend to choose my carry ammunition using the .357 magnum 125gr HP as the ideal balanced man stopper. Its reputation speaks for itself. If a cartridge can come close to the specs of that one, it's under consideration regardless of if it's 9mm, .357 Sig, 10 mm or .45.

How do you decide if a round is appropriate for you to carry for self defense?

Bruce






"The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. 'Make it evil,' he'd been told. 'Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with." -Douglas Adams

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Posts: 4246 | Location: AK-49 | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Peripheral Visionary
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Anything 9mm and up, in a modern HP loading, that you shoot well and is comfortable enough to carry all day is good enough. I prefer Gold Dots, but would use HST, Golden Sabers etc...

For me, there really isn't enough of a difference between the performance of handgun rounds to justify the higher expense and lower capacity of larger calibers than 9mm for EDC/self defense.




 
Posts: 11382 | Location: Texas | Registered: January 29, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Like a party
in your pants
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I choose reliability over all else.
If it don't go bang every time its not even considered.
I think any self defense round made by any of the top ammo makers will perform just fine.
.45 or 9mm work for me.
 
Posts: 4664 | Location: Chicago, IL, USA: | Registered: November 17, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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There’s a saying that at the end of a gunfight no one ever wished they’d had less ammunition or a less powerful gun.

Is the part about wishing for a less powerful gun sensible? In the first Dirty Harry movie the hero used a rifle chambered for 458 Winchester Magnum during a stakeout, and when he spots the bad guy he manages to get off only a couple of shots due to the (possibly exaggerated for visual effect) massive recoil of the weapon. Did his choice make sense? Did it make sense that his preferred duty handgun was a 44 Magnum revolver?

In both cases, no, they didn’t make sense except for the fictional story. An AR-15 type rifle with suitable optical sight would have been best for a stakeout, but they weren’t generally available at that time. However, any decent hunting rifle of the era chambered for a much less powerful cartridge like 243 Winchester or even 308 would have also been perfectly adequate and far easier to shoot accurately and more quickly. The same would have been true of his revolver if it had been chambered for 357 Magnum. He was a big city cop; he didn’t need the power necessary to kill elephants or bears.

All that being said, though, it doesn’t mean that more projectile energy isn’t better if the individual can still shoot the weapon fast and accurately enough. That’s why the 357 SIG cartridge is my first choice as a defensive handgun round because I can shoot my P320s in that chambering fast enough and accurately enough for my purposes while the round is more powerful than other options that meet the first criteria.
It’s also why when I’m limited to carrying a SIG P365, it’s loaded with 124 grain +P ammunition.

But what about penetration? With modern top tier defensive ammunition it’s not an either/or question. The ammunition I rely on not only satisfies the power compromise that’s necessary in accurate, controllable personal defensive weapons, but the bullets will penetrate adequately for the intended purpose. If a particular load and bullet that attracted my attention wasn’t capable of adequate penetration, I’d choose one of the very many good alternatives.

(The initial question of the thread was about personal preferences, and that’s how/why I answered it, not to convince anyone else. If I’m ever shot by someone, I hope he has chosen the least powerful cartridge available to him that he thinks is good enough.)




6.4/93.6
 
Posts: 47519 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I tend to follow what local LE and/or Feds authorize for carry. They do more testing than I can afford. I figure that’s good enough for me with the choices they have.

Currently I’m using Hornady Critical Duty in 9MM of the 135 grain flavor.


quote:
Originally posted by RNshooter:
Hey all-

I tend to choose my carry ammunition using the .357 magnum 125gr HP as the ideal balanced man stopper. Its reputation speaks for itself. If a cartridge can come close to the specs of that one, it's under consideration regardless of if it's 9mm, .357 Sig, 10 mm or .45.

How do you decide if a round is appropriate for you to carry for self defense?

Bruce
 
Posts: 874 | Location: NE Pennsylvania | Registered: December 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I carry a short barrel 9mm,a ruger LC9. Because of the low velocities with a 3.12" barrel I'll opt for more penetration over expansion. XTPs over Gold Dot bullets.


I shoot, therefore I am.
 
Posts: 16 | Location: Front Range, Co. | Registered: February 03, 2024Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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In general, the lower the velocity of a bullet, the less it expands and, all else being equal, less expansion means more penetration. So, if a lower velocity bullet fails to expand due to barrier material or just its lower velocity, It’s more likely to penetrate deeper than if it had expanded.

For example, a couple of limited tests here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__-7qFr7Ra0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg6Ji550q0w


I’m reminded of people who switch to nonexpanding bullet loads in the winter because their targets may be wearing heavy clothing. I have seen tests in which hollow point bullets fail to expand when fired through very heavy winter clothing, but then they obviously act like … nonexpanding bullets. In other words, if they expand, then we get that benefit; if they don’t expand, switching to something like FMJ offers no advantage. So why switch?

I does not, of course, matter to me what choices people make, but I recommend they be based on understanding the factors involved.




6.4/93.6
 
Posts: 47519 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
In general, the lower the velocity of a bullet, the less it expands and, all else being equal, less expansion means more penetration. So, if a lower velocity bullet fails to expand due to barrier material or just its lower velocity, It’s more likely to penetrate deeper than if it had expanded.
That is why I would choose a bullet that expands but not to the point that limits penetration.
For example, a couple of limited tests here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__-7qFr7Ra0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg6Ji550q0w


I’m reminded of people who switch to nonexpanding bullet loads in the winter because their targets may be wearing heavy clothing. I have seen tests in which hollow point bullets fail to expand when fired through very heavy winter clothing, but then they obviously act like … nonexpanding bullets. In other words, if they expand, then we get that benefit; if they don’t expand, switching to something like FMJ offers no advantage. So why switch?

I does not, of course, matter to me what choices people make, but I recommend they be based on understanding the factors involved.


I shoot, therefore I am.
 
Posts: 16 | Location: Front Range, Co. | Registered: February 03, 2024Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That is why I would choose a bullet that expands but not to the point that it inhibits penetration.


I shoot, therefore I am.
 
Posts: 16 | Location: Front Range, Co. | Registered: February 03, 2024Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Age Quod Agis
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I choose brands that have a good reputation for effectiveness and reliability, and then ensure that they are reliable in my guns.

My Sig 228 and 229s get primarily Hornady Critical Duty, and my 938 gets Speer Gold Dot.



"I vowed to myself to fight against evil more completely and more wholeheartedly than I ever did before. . . . That’s the only way to pay back part of that vast debt, to live up to and try to fulfill that tremendous obligation."

Alfred Hornik, Sunday, December 2, 1945 to his family, on his continuing duty to others for surviving WW II.
 
Posts: 12841 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: November 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, I have had certain ammo that didn’t cycle reliable in a semi-auto. With that, reliability is paramount. After that I’d be fine with more allowances.

Just like with hunting, as one drops down in a cartridge, bullet makeup is more important. I do lean for good penetration, like with a 380.

If one carried a 357, most loads would be suitable. I’d lean 140 grain or a little heavier with the bullet.

It’s like the guy hunting the 140 lb deer with a 30-06, most loads would do fine, likely overkill.
 
Posts: 6260 | Location: WI | Registered: February 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
semi-reformed sailor
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Speer Gold Dot. It’s what I carried as a cop and I’ve seen it’s work up close and personal. If I can’t find it, I will use what the local cops use.



"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor.” Robert A. Heinlein

“You may beat me, but you will never win.” sigmonkey-2020

“A single round of buckshot to the torso almost always results in an immediate change of behavior.” Chris Baker
 
Posts: 11386 | Location: Temple, Texas! | Registered: October 07, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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First consideration for me is penetration. Then expansion.
 
Posts: 5769 | Location: Chicago | Registered: August 18, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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For carry ammo I but major brand based on who has the best price at the moment.

FWIW

Chuck


quote:
Originally posted by RNshooter:
Hey all-

I tend to choose my carry ammunition using the .357 magnum 125gr HP as the ideal balanced man stopper. Its reputation speaks for itself. If a cartridge can come close to the specs of that one, it's under consideration regardless of if it's 9mm, .357 Sig, 10 mm or .45.

How do you decide if a round is appropriate for you to carry for self defense?

Bruce


Hoist on High the Bonny Blue Flag that Bears the Single Star!!!

Certified SIG Armorer
Certified Glock Armorer
 
Posts: 1348 | Location: Florida, CSA | Registered: September 02, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I generally start at the projected threat. I look at sites like the ATK LE site where they post FBI ballistic testing and see what ammo performs against the projected threat. Then I do some research to see if there is any anecdotal information from decent source of those rounds used in actual shooting incidents to see if real world performance is similar to the gel and if there any reliability concerns or if there are known bad batches. There are also couple of individuals in the community I trust for advice on rounds. Then I acquire some of the rounds I'm interested in and shoot them in my weapon to verify reliability and accuracy. Then I buy a case of it and test fire a couple boxes to ensure reliability and accuracy.

I usually stay with a round for an extended period of time. Interestingly enough I usually wind up with either Federal or Speer JHPs similar to the local Law Enforcement. I also tend to stay with the same round for years.
 
Posts: 4670 | Location: Where ever Uncle Sam Sends Me | Registered: March 05, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:


I’m reminded of people who switch to nonexpanding bullet loads in the winter because their targets may be wearing heavy clothing. I have seen tests in which hollow point bullets fail to expand when fired through very heavy winter clothing, but then they obviously act like … nonexpanding bullets. In other words, if they expand, then we get that benefit; if they don’t expand, switching to something like FMJ offers no advantage. So why switch?



Great Point! Also, your the point about hitting both quickly and accurately is excellent as well.
 
Posts: 4670 | Location: Where ever Uncle Sam Sends Me | Registered: March 05, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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