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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I said in another thread that I had take the NRA Personal Protection In The Home and became an instructor, this in No way makes me any kind of an expert. What it did was make me really rethink my plan on self defense. Because of prior commitments I didn't get to attend the range class, so I did it on my own. What I found was my choice of firearm, 1911 Colt, was not my best. I found that my Arg. HP was more suited to the task at hand, with it I could easily hold all shots in a 9" circle firing as quickly as possible, faster than I could either of my .45's. This was at 7 yards, short distance, yes, but this is a requirement for a student to graduate from a PPH class. In the home we discussed shooting across the room!!!! Acquiring a target quickly is vital, as is scoring hits. My question is what is a good defensive load for a 9 M/M? Sorry for the long post. With a new found respect for the 9, Duce:

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Hello Duce,

While there are several good loads available, Mr. Camp's testing has convinced me that the Winchester Ranger 127 grain +p+ is about the best and this is what I use in my BHP when it is loaded for personal protection. This load can be hard to find, but the 124 grain +P Speer Gold Dot and the Remington Golden Sabre (again, +P 124 grain) are also at the top of my list and these are usually easier to obtain. You may want to go with the 18 lb recoil spring if you shoot a lot of these loads.

As for regular pressure loads, I am told that the Federal 9BP is tough to beat, and the 115 grain Winchester Silvertip, Miami notwithstanding, would be second on my list. Both feed and shoot extremely well in my Hi Power with only modest recoil.

Congrats and welcome to the HP fraternity.


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2,617 Posts
Hiya duce, and welcome!

There's a lot of info on various 9mm loads around here and on Mr. Camps website.


I believe the current thinking is that the Ranger 127gr +P+ load from Winchester is most reliable and powerful. I've not tried it myself.

I have been carrying 147gr Hydrashoks for 16 years now, as at the time it was thought to be a good load. Before that I carried the 115gr Silvertip. Both are considered 'Old School' nowadays. Currently I'm transitioning my 9mm's over to the Winchester USA hollowpoints (prolly same as Silvertips in performance) and the Remington bulk pack UMC hollowpoints.

Since reliability is paramount, I can afford more 'non-premium' ammo on my fixed income for testing and practice. Plus it matched the ballistics of cheap ball ammo for plinking. :)



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3,910 Posts
Hello, sir, and thank you for your post. Opinions vary on "the best 9mm load" so I'll offer what I think are toward the top of the list in various weight ranges as well as std pressure vs +P.

Standard Pressure:

Speer 124-gr. Gold Dot
Remington 124-gr. Golden Saber
Federal 115-gr. JHP
Speer 147-gr. Gold Dot
Remington 147-gr. Golden Saber
Winchester Ranger 147-gr. (Sold by Winchester only to LE, but can be found for sale)


Winchester 127-gr. Ranger (Same as for the Ranger 147-gr above)
Corbon 115-gr. DPX
Corbon 125-gr. JHP
Remington 124-gr. Golden Saber (It's also offered in this slightly warmer version.)
Speer 124-gr. Gold Dot (Likewise offered in both +P and std. pressure)
Remington 115-gr. JHP ("Express")

I've shot and tested all of these and honestly believe that they would do the trick if the shooter does his/hers. If I couldn't get the Winchester, I wouldn't at all feel "bad" with any of the others, but suggest taking a hard long look at the Corbon DPX. This stuff is amazingly consistent, accurate, and penetrates quite well.

Were I interested in a lower-penetration load, I'd look at Corbon 115-gr. JHP +P. This usually does about 10 to 11" in 10% ballistic gelatin and is a most aggressive expander.

If you are concerned about using +P in your Hi Power, I'd probably go with the standard pressure Gold Dots or Golden Sabers in 124 grains, but don't argue if someone opts for the 147 from these two. Ditto the Ranger 147. These are consistent reliable performers from what I've seen.

The least expensive of the bunch if you want to buy bulk ammo is the Federal 115-gr. JHP. Usually quite accurate, it feeds well, expands nicely from a Hi Power, and can be found in the 50 round boxes. Even though "old technology", I would not be bothered one wit if that's what was in my Hi Power.

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