Hello. Though not a fan of the 147-gr. 9mm loads despite the FBI ammo testing protocols, I am less
against them than in the past. The reason is simple: They now "work", meaning that they do almost always expand it seems. In the past some of the earlier Winchester and Federal versions were pretty "iffy" at best; ditto the straight Remington 147-gr. JHP in that bullet weight.
I am not sure if there is a supersonic 147-gr. 9mm load currently made. Most agree that this would be around 1050 ft/sec, but can vary depending upon altitude and temperature.
Here are some average velocities based on 10 shots fired 10' from the chronograph screens:
Browning Mk III:
Remington 147-gr. Golden Saber: 1033 ft/sec
Winchester 147-gr. SilverTip: 969 ft/sec
Speer 147-gr. Gold Dot: 1019 ft/sec
Winchester Ranger (RA9T): 980
Were I picking a 147-gr. 9mm protection load from this bunch, I would go with either the Gold Dots, Golden Sabers, or the Ranger. My decision would be based first on ultra reliability and then which grouped best. It has been my experience with the Hi Power and some other 9mm's that the 147 grain bullet is capable of very good accuracy.
Usually when bullet weight goes up, so does felt recoil. While this is subjective, to me the 147-gr bullets seem to have the "longer shove" type felt recoil than the "quick snap" of the really fast 115 and 124 grain cartridges. Certainly neither is "bad" in a service size 9mm but I do find the "shove" a bit more pleasant than the "snap."
Remington 147-gr. Golden Saber: 1016 ft/sec
Winchester 147-gr. SilverTip: 1003 ft/sec
Like the Hi Power, the G17 worked fine with these 147-grain slugs as well as some other loads using less expensive FMJ's in the same weight.
Remington 147-gr. Golden Saber: 942 ft/sec
Speer 147-gr. Gold Dot: 939 ft/sec
In the shorter 3.86" SIG-Sauer we lost roughly 100 ft/sec than when the same loads were fired in the longer 4.49" G17 and 4.66" Hi Power. From the shorter barreled 9mm pistols, these 147-gr. loads are ballistically equivalent to the old Federal .38 Special 147-gr. Hydrashok +P+ when fired from a Ruger 3 1/16" SP101. They averaged 963 ft/sec. This is one of the "hottest" .38 Special loads around and is restricted to law enforcement. The standard pressure 9mm equals it from a 3.86" barrel but at standard 9mm operating pressures and exceeds it nicely from
the slightly longer barrels of the Hi Power and Glock and with "newer technology" bullets that tend to operate very consistently from the low to high ends of their velocity "envelope."
Though it is out of vogue and usually "poo-pooed" as the mark of an "armchair commando" I still think that velocity plays some
role in wounding. At 9mm velocities, it might not be enough to reliably damage tissue from a temporary cavity, but neither am I convinced that it is meaningless. For that reason, I tend to prefer rounds that are a bit faster when these can be had in 9mm.
This 9mm Gold Dot expanded nicely when fired into super-saturated newsprint and results when fired into water were quite similar. The load fed fine in the Hi Power, CZ75, and Glock pistols it was fired through.
This 147-gr. Golden Saber was fired into water from a Hi Power and expanded nicely as well. I cranked one of these up to roughly 1200 ft/sec and shot a deer with it using a 5" .38 Super. The bullet completely penetrated the deer (broadside) and no trace of the bullet jacket was found. Some complain about the ocassional separation of the brass jacket from the lead core, but it seems that this happens more in water and maybe gelatin than in tissue. From what I've seen with one in 45-caliber, IF separation occurs it is usually in the last inch or two of the bullet's travel and you have still have a lead core that resembles an expanded XTP pushing through your "soft target."
At the same time, I do not
believe that better 147-gr. loads are giving up much if anything if the shot or shots are placed properly. I would not feel "bad" or "ballistically inferior" if my defensive 9mm had to be loaded with 147-gr. Gold Dots, Sabers, or Winchester Ranger for the next year...but then I still trust Federal 115-gr. JHP in the Hi Power even though I normally load with +P ammo.