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9mm Self-Defense Load

3574 Views 13 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  oldgranpa
I have an older Hi-Power that probably will be limited to non +P loads, and am wondering what round to carry in it if I decide to carry it for self-defense. Right now I am leaning towards a 147 grain JHP. What do you think? ???
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Hello. The 147's seem considerably more reliable in expansion/penetration that the initial versions offered years ago that were orginally intended to provide greater accuracy at extended distances when fired from MP5 SMG's on semiautomatic. Were I going with the 147, I'd likely choose either Speer Gold Dots, Remington Golden Sabers, or Winchester's Ranger line.

In non-plus P in different weights, I'd go with Speer 124-gr. Gold Dots, Remington 124-gr. Golden Sabers, or Federal 115-gr. JHP.

Any new 9mm's I get will be tested and qualified with Remchester 115gr 'value pack' loads, as I no longer am able to spring for case lots of premium ammo.

Then again, my hide isn't worth what it was back then either. :)

The one piece I've ran 147gr loads in, I may switch over to 115 or 124's when my stocks of 147gr HydraShoks run low. Winchester does make a 147gr USA, but unless someone has done some expansion testing with it I don't know if I will. Cross that bridge when I fall through the decking.

All of the loads Mr Camp mentioned are excellent, from the testing he and others have done and reported.


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It seems that the reliability of expansion has improved for all bullet weights from the major manufacturers. Perhaps one needn't feel under-prepared when carrying a gun loaded with standard pressure loads anymore. Currently I have Speer Gold Dots in 147 grain, but might switch to a lighter bullet in the 124 grain range. Is the Remington Golden Saber in 124 grain a bonded round? That's really my only criteria for a carry load.
The Gold Dot is bonded. You would be fine practicing with the standard pressure Gold Dot 124s and carrying the +Ps.
Yes, I know the GD is bonded, but how about the GS? And why did Federal stop making the Nyclad, anyway? Was it political pressure following the "cop killer" bullet debate?
Hello. I've not yet tried them, but I believe that their is a version of the bonded Golden Saber now.
Federal said that they were not selling enough of the Nyclad to make them commercially feasible, but I don't really think that's the reason since they are (or were a while back) still available to LE.

I recall several years ago when I shot a fellow's new P7 with polygonal rifling that he had a relative working in LAPD and was told that rifling characteristics couldn't be obtained from the nylon-coated bullet fired through a polygonal-rifled barrel. I have no idea if that is actually correct, but if it is, the vast popularity of Glocks being used (legally & illegally) might have prompted Federal to make that move.

My non +P loads are pretty common. Currently I load up with the Federal 124 Hydra Shok. It feeds and fires in every gun I've tried it in, and it seems to function well after hitting the target. I'm also leaning towards ball ammo for my vehicle gun, so I have about 800 rounds of Winchester 124 NATO on hand. It also functions well in my guns, and since no load is effective if it causes the gun to malfunction, I'm pretty much satisfied with those two.

I'm not sure about ball ammo for a vehicle gun. The rounded bullet profile might cause the bullet to ricochet off a car's surface (door, window, windshield, etc.). You might be better off with a bonded hollow-point that digs into a surface with more chance of penetrating. Just a thought, FWIW.
My brain's starting to hurt.

I had considered the ricochet factor, but I think the FMJ is still going to beat most of the HP stuff I might carry. When I travel I usually have two guns, one on my person and one in the vehicle; if I have to use the "truck gun," I would do so because I was close enough to get to it. If I'm driving, my first defense is going to be my driving, at least until I can remove myself from the situation or develop a defensive posture more suitable to shooting a handgun.

PS: If I was really concerned about having to get inside a car without opening the doors and windows, I'd want something like my Bushmaster. :)
OK, I didn't know if you were LE or otherwise having the potential need to shoot someone who might be inside a vehicle.
I like 124gr Gold Dots or 147gr Ranger T's, they are widely available locally and at good prices. Federal's premium and self-defense [Hydra Shock] ammo is more expensive and the difference isnt worth it to me since the gold dot and ranger are top loads.
124 grain JHP...the 147 grain would be better than no ammunition at all but it would never be my first round draft pick
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