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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hy Folks,

It is very clear for me that there are two main groups of bullets. The hollow point and similar that are used for self defense and the standard ones. Penetration and stopping power. But now, after reading twoguns comments in Hydra shock bullets and speed, a new question comes to my mind, and this is the relevance for speed and energy.

Using Hydra shock as a self defense bullet: there are at least three different kinds of Hydra shock. For normal hollow point, there are even more variations, with lots of differences in weight, speed and energy. There are even more differences when you search the standard 9 mm FMJ bullets.

Most of the time, you will use a pistol in a distance that is less than 50 meters. In sports and in self defense.

Which kind of bullet should I choose and in which circumstances?

For self defense, what is the real difference between a fast and a slow bullet? If I had had to carry a pistol for self defense proposes, or as a LEO, which bullets should I carry? A Magazine with each kind? If I would carry different models of bullets for each situation, I might carry more than 5 Kg of bullets, what I find is nonsense. If I compete in IPSC, I should have some magazines for longer distances and shorter distances, for metal poppers and for paper standard targets, and looking for the proper magazine or remembering which of the magazines has which bullet would take so much time, that I would have no chance in a competition.

Yesterday, when I went to the range to train or to compete, I had no further thoughts as taking same kind and branch bullets with me, so there will not be big differences in targeting as if I would have different kind of ammo.

Today, after twoguns post in Hydra shock, I will go home, see my potpourri of bullets, because I really have a potpourri of bullets due the difficulties to find ammo here, and I will not be able to take a decision of which ones I should take to the competition.

I guess this is a part of the learning process, so I request you all to place as many comments as possible regarding this topic.

thanks
 

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Howdy again sir,

Since you appear to have good access to the 124gr FMJ round, my suggestion is to basically use that round for just punching holes in paper and perhaps for all your competition shooting. I checked the specs on the link you provided and it lists the muzzle velocity as 1109 fps. It is considered a non +P load, which to me is more than adequate for practice and competing. But I have never been a competitive shooter, so I am not the best member to offer their view on that issue too.

Personally I would suggest you save the JHP rounds you have for self-defense situations. If I understand your comments the JHP loads are the most difficult for you to find and purchase. I would suggest you pick one brand/weight/bullet style and load only that round into your magazines. I would also suggest you shoot a few on paper to see how it groups in each weapon you might carry it in, and to make certain that it functions properly.

Normally I would suggest you shoot several hundred of that bullet at least before you considered carrying it as a self-defense round. But given the difficulty you have in purchasing JHP rounds, that is probably not very realistic for you sir. If you do reload down the road, you can load JHP bullets to let you practice more with the type of bullet you choose to carry for self defense. With luck you can load the same bullet that you elect to carry for self defense as well. So you will practice with a reload that closely matches the factory round you carry for self-defense.

You asked for our thoughts so I will offer mine. But asking anyone for the best bullet to carry for self defense, to me is much like asking someone what they feel the best automobile is to purchase. Everyone has different needs in a vehicle, and some have different needs in a self defense round.

When I first went into law enforcement in the early 70s the old rule of thumb was for a hollow point bullet to expand reliably you needed a muzzle velocity of at least 1000 fps. That was back in a period when hollow point bullets were fairly new for auto pistols in law enforcement. Since that time their designs and expansion characteristics have been greatly improved upon.

Again just my personal opinion, and I am certainly not a ballistics expert sir, but any of the more modern hollow point designs I mentioned earlier: Federal Hydra-Shok, Speer Gold Dot, Remington Golden Saber, Winchester SXT, and Hornady XTP - will all in my view more likely than not give good reliable penetration and expansion in self defense applications.

I do not think that old rule of thumb of at least 1000 fps mv to have reliable expansion still applies today with the advances that have been made in ammo development. I know in some other calibers several of these bullet move less than 1000 mv yet are still considered to be effective performers.

People will differ in how they want to approach their choice of carry rounds. There are basically three schools or groups in my opinion.
(1) One wants the heaviest bullet going down range they can use, even if it means they will give up some muzzle velocity. A good example would be the 147gr JHP bullets here. You can call this group the "heavy-slower crowd".

(2) A second group prefers light bullets at the highest muzzle velocity possible. A good example would be 115gr bullets at standard, +P, or even +P+ muzzle velocities. They feel a lighter HP if driven to higher velocities will expand more reliably. You can call these folks the "light-faster crowd".

(3) In recent years I see a third group that sort of wants to use the best from both groups. To me these are the 124gr JHP at standard, +P or +P+ muzzle velocities. They want to combine what they see as the strong points from both of the other groups. So call these folks the "middle-compromise crowd". Again my friend, these are just my opinions, and other members will see things differently. I also just made these group names up to try to explain them more clearly for you.

In recent years with the advancement in bullet design, I guess I would place myself in the last group, those who like the 124gr JHP. For my uses I am quite happy with either the standard or +P loadings from various manufacturers.

My general first choice in a 9mm would be the 124 gr Speer Gold Dot or the Remington Golden Saber. My next choice would be the Hydra-Shok loads. But again my choices are based primarily on the fact I have carried these three rounds the most on duty and they were selected by a gentlement who was a true ballistican for us.

The advantage I see with either the Gold Dot or Golden Saber is that both are designed to avoid bullet-jacket separation. They are both slightly newer designs than the Hydra-Shok too. I am sure you will have other members who choose a different first choice in a 9mm load, and again, that does not make me right and them wrong, or them right and me wrong. It simply means we see different points as being more important to us in making our choices.

Prior to moving into group 3, I was a member of group one - the heavy/slower folks. Again my friend, I carried the 147 HS for several years as my duty round. I would not feel poorly armed with it in my duty weapon now.

I don't really know how much of an answer I have really given you to your question. Again, I hope I have given you some background to ammo development, at least within the LE community anyway.

But there are simply no hard and fast rules here in my view. If you remember hearing about what we often call the "FBI Miami Shootout", back in the 80s, the FBI agents who were armed with 9mm pistols were using the 115gr Winchester Silvertip Hollow Point round. Both bad guys each took several non-survivalable hits from various agent weapons. But none initially put them down or incapacitated them to the point they stopped being a serious threat to the agents. In fact after being wounded the bad guys shot and killed two agents and wounded several others.

There is a debate if the FBI was correct, but as a result of that shooting largely, they decided they needed a heavier bullet for duty use. At that point they changed to a 147 gr JHP. This was back in the time period when the third group, the 124gr effectively performing rounds had not really surfaced yet.

Just to give you a short answer to what I see as a very difficult question to answer simply. For me my first choice would be a good 124gr HP bullet, and my second would be a good 147 grain round, like the Federal HS. But again other members will see things differently, and will give other choices.

Remember sir, there is no one automobile that will suit everyone, and there is no one 9mm bullet that will either.

Please yell if I have confused you or you have other questions I can try to help you with my friend.

twoguns
 

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Hello Iagbarrb,

Very difficult to improve on twoguns advice, as usual, he is right on the mark.

The only comment that I might add is that some consider it prudent to have at least some full metal jacket rounds on hand if you anticipate that a barrier such as a windshield or car door may need to be penetrated. For strictly "soft" targets, any of the jacketed hollow points mentioned should serve well. After you ensure that your choice will feed and and cycle your gun, save the expensive JHPs for serious purposes, and practice with a FMJ of the same weight if possible.

PGM
 
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I always recommend Spear Gold Dots because they feed reliably in more guns than any other JHP round I've come across. If people come to me and say that their gun won't feed hollow points I sell them a box of Gold Dots. Works nearly every time. Also, the jacket and core are bonded. That's a BIG plus. ~Pistolero
 

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The glib answer is, 'none at all if you miss'.

Realistically, there really isn't a performance difference in real world (non-statistical) between bullet mass (or even calibres) for the mainstream S.D cartridges.

For me personally, I carry a 9mm usually with 115 gr JHP Cor-bon +P, but I've carried 9mms loaded with almost everything JHP including subsonic 147 gr LE only JHPs.

You'll be good to go with any of the above suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your repiles.

It seems to be that I am too new in shooting. This forum is helping me a lot, and I have a much better idea about bullets now.

I will train a bit with Hydra Shock, and then keep those as a souvenir until a defense situation comes, and I will try to find some from the third group.

I guess similar concepts apply to the standard FMJ bullets and sports.

Let me ask you a second question: Is speed and weight relevant for accuracy?
 

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Howdy sir,

Again, let me stress that I have never shot competitively, so I am probably not the best person to answer this new question, if you are talking about that type of shooting.

But the short answer in my opinion is that for distances within even 50 to 100 yards, no sir, probably not at all.

When I was going through the MP-5 (9mm sub machine gun) instructor course, they told us some information about sighting in when using most of our available duty 9mm rounds. They had done some testing and confirmed with most of our rounds, if we sighted the weapon in at 25 yards, ballistically it would be the same POI at 100 yards as well, which was just about the max suggested range for that weapon.

So if you are simply talking about normal self-defense ranges (25 yards or less) I would think you would not find any significant difference in how accurately the various bullet weights will group for you. Again just my opinion, and others may have other thoughts they will offer you.

I will tell you that many firearms, including rifles and handguns, simply tend to prefer one brand and weight of bullet over others. What I mean is one particular bullet always seems to perform the "best" in that weapon. For the most part there is no way to find out which bullet without shooting many different ones. Again a real benefit offered with reloading to me, as it is much easier to experiment that way, and much cheaper too.

But I suspect you would find one round might be the tightest groups for you, but I would not expect it to be significantly better than others. I don't think you would find one bullet that gave you 1" groups at 25 yards while all the others tended to give you 3 or 5 inch groups. Nothing that dramatic in my opinion. I think you would find all tended to shoot accurately for you, and by trying different rounds you may find the one that your pistol just likes the best.

Not a precise answer at all sorry my friend. But hope it helps a bit anyway.

twoguns
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hy twoguns,

I think this is the most precise answer I could ever get. From what you tell me I can take following conclusions:

For IPSC shooting, what can be somehow very similar to defense shooting, the bullet power will be the only thing that might be important because if I have a softer recoil I will be able to align the sights again faster. All other stuff will not be so relevant. Paper targets and metal poppers do not need special stopping power.

For precision shooting, I will take the bullet that groups better.

Do you agree?
 

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Howdy sir,

Yes sir I think you summed it up very nicely in my view. For your competitive shooting, when you begin to reload you will be able to experiment with different powders and amounts of powders, and find a load that lets you recover quickly for your next shot and still hit accurately on paper or knock the metal down. I think you will really enjoy the benefits that reloading will offer you.

I would basically use the FMJ bullets for normal shooting, and keep the JHP rounds for self defense purposes. That would be my best suggestion to you sir.

twoguns
 
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Again just my personal opinion, and I am certainly not a ballistics expert sir, but any of the more modern hollow point designs I mentioned earlier: Federal Hydra-Shok, Speer Gold Dot, Remington Golden Saber, Winchester SXT, and Hornady XTP - will all in my view more likely than not give good reliable penetration and expansion in self defense applications...


... (3) In recent years I see a third group that sort of wants to use the best from both groups. To me these are the 124gr JHP at standard, +P or +P+ muzzle velocities. They want to combine what they see as the strong points from both of the other groups. So call these folks the "middle-compromise crowd". Again my friend, these are just my opinions, and other members will see things differently. I also just made these group names up to try to explain them more clearly for you.

In recent years with the advancement in bullet design, I guess I would place myself in the last group, those who like the 124gr JHP. For my uses I am quite happy with either the standard or +P loadings from various manufacturers.

My general first choice in a 9mm would be the 124 gr Speer Gold Dot or the Remington Golden Saber. My next choice would be the Hydra-Shok loads. But again my choices are based primarily on the fact I have carried these three rounds the most on duty and they were selected by a gentlement who was a true ballistican for us.

The advantage I see with either the Gold Dot or Golden Saber is that both are designed to avoid bullet-jacket separation. They are both slightly newer designs than the Hydra-Shok too. I am sure you will have other members who choose a different first choice in a 9mm load, and again, that does not make me right and them wrong, or them right and me wrong. It simply means we see different points as being more important to us in making our choices...


... If you remember hearing about what we often call the "FBI Miami Shootout", back in the 80s, the FBI agents who were armed with 9mm pistols were using the 115gr Winchester Silvertip Hollow Point round. Both bad guys each took several non-survivalable hits from various agent weapons. But none initially put them down or incapacitated them to the point they stopped being a serious threat to the agents. In fact after being wounded the bad guys shot and killed two agents and wounded several others.
Twoguns: I quite agree, although I would add the Winchester Ranger Talon 127 gr +P+ (RA9TA) to the preferred list. I actually carry this load as my first choice in my 9mm guns. The Speer GDHP +P 124 gr is my second choice, with the Remington Golden Saber running third. This is based on testing done by a ballistics consortium on the West Coast consisting of military and LE personnel with a lot of experience and dedication to ammo testing. Moreover, these loads do not just perform well in gelatin, they're being constantly monitored on the street through officer-involved shooting (OIS) data from a large number of agencies.

The 1986 FBI Miami gunfight, as you point out, was the stimulus for a sea-change in ammunition requirements for LE (and by trickle effect, the non-LE civilian sector). Despite the fact that Agent Jerry Dove's 115 gr Silvertip penetrated over 15 inches of flesh to shred Platt's pulmonary artery and vein, causing lethal internal bleeding. This bullet's performance exceeds the minimum requirement of LE ammunition, yet it still didn't stop the aggressive felon immediately. Platt's determination to 'finish the fight' and his possession of the only rifle in the gunfight led the deaths of 2 agents and critical wounding of 3 others in the subsequent 1.5 to 2 minutes.

The real lesson of the Miami gunfight--one that has been borne out in numerous OIS since then--is that even if your handgun ammunition is the best possible choice, you may need to hit your opponent multiple times to put him down. I often use the mantra, "Continue to engage the threat until it ceases to be a threat."

Oh, BTW, the other real lesson of the Miami gunfight was/is "Don't bring a handgun to a rifle fight." Hence the huge push for carbines/rifles in police patrol cars, and my decision to keep a carbine/rifle in whatever vehicle I happen to be driving that day.

Best,

Doc
 

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Howdy Mr. Doc,

Thanks for adding the Winchester Ranger, I do have several different calibers of that round and like it. It just slipped my mind, so thanks again.

The sad part of the Miami shooting was from what I was told by the Metro-Dade Sgt in charge of the crime scene investigation, who did an excellent presentation at FLETC, the FBI did have two rifles with them that day. One agent had stopped at a service station to use the rest room. The other had gone into an area back that had already been robbed by these two badguys twice, to tell them the FBI was out in the area that day.

But by the time both agents got back in their vehicles, heard the radio traffic and arrived at the scene, everything was over. You simply have to wonder how things might have turned out if those two 5.56 rifles had been there from the start of things that day.

Thanks again for offering your thoughts sir. Our friend asking his questions is in Bolivia, and can not find ammo as easily as we in the US can. He fell into the chance to buy the Hydra-Shok loads and then wondered if they were good for self-defense or not.

So a lot of our comments will be helpful to many of our other members, but perhaps only to him if he has the chance to purchase a different brand of HP rounds at some point. My friend, I really do encourage you to reload if you can at some point. I think you will enjoy the money it will save you, and enjoy that it will allow you to experiment a bit with different bullets, if you can find them to reload that is.

Everyone shoot well and shoot often.

twoguns
 

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iagbarrb,

I had a friend killed several years ago. I just visited his grave for the first time a few days ago, not knowing where it was at prior to that time. Strange as it may seem, I found myself thinking of terminal ballistics alongside the memories I have of him.

You see, he was killed by someone using a .380acp, which you may also find labeled as 9mm corto, 9mm short, 9mm kurz, or 9x17mm. The .380 uses a bullet which is lighter than the 9x19 you're talking about and usually runs at 800-900fps (about 243 meters/second to about 274 meters/sec).

My friend was shot in the aorta, said "Chris, help me," fell over, and died despite CPR attempts by two trained professionals. The ammo used was standard hardball.

I'm not advocating non-hp for self-defense in 9mm, but I would suggest that perhaps too much time is spent on concerning one's self on the type of hollowpoint ammo used, as opposed to simply using a hollowpoint to begin with.

I know I'm coming in late on this, but I think you have it right: Save the hollowpoints for self-defense and practice with ball ammo.

Josh <><
 

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Relevant is a good choice of wording. Of course we need to know relevant to what.

If it is effectiveness (for rapid incapcitation) then the first thing I discount is energy - I cannot find any solid information that corelates effectiveness with any sort of kinetic energy figure (even "deposited" energy).

Speed is another issue. Not that speed itself is of any value it is in how it effects the bullet. In some cases more speed is a good thing (it helps certain bullets expand more, it helps some penetrate more). OTOH it can be a bad thing - bullets that expand "too much" sometimes fail to reach the vitals they are directed at - this is not what happens most of the time but it has happened at some very inoportune times.

Bottom line, each load is a rule unto itself as to its ballance of speed and bullet design. Try your best to see what the bullet actually does in flesh, barring that try test mediums.

Gotta run,

Jim H.
 

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bmcgilvray,

I have two other friends who were shot and killed as well. I just don't have the facts yet as to where they were hit. I do not know the current coroner. I do know they were both hit by a man on drugs shooting a 9mm, and that ranges were respectable. One was hit through the chest after the bullet passed through the windshield of his truck, which had volunteer firefighter stuff prominitely displayed as well as lights. That makes me wonder about aim - one shot hit the truck, and it passed through to kill.

I will eventually get the reports and see what was used, and bring them up when appropriate. In the meantime, I just know that if we can learn something from my friends who were killed, they'd want us to. They were that type.

I don't mean to go off topic, and will therefore drop the issue at this point. If you want to know what I think I know now, you can feel free to PM me. However, I have at least four conflicting stories now: Two from the Sheriff's Dept who was on scene first (I trust both the officers who gave me their off-the-record reports, but both conflict), one from someone who knew a lady who had her husband killed in the same incident as he tried to help (no CCW, and the lady watched it all from her front porch), and the newspaper account of the incident, which is the official Sheriff's Dept's/Police Dept's public statement.

When I know for sure I'll post. Until then, they cannot be relevant.

I apologize to all for getting off topic with this post; ya'll can feel free to PM me, but I won't be able to tell you with any certainty much more than I just typed.

Back to topic, please! :)

Josh <><
 

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Dosrocket is one of the few guys I have ever heard who learned the true lessons of the Miami FBI shootout. It wasn't an ammo failure, it was a tactics failure. And while the herds follow the almighty FBI's wisdom they fail to realize than the government ALWAYS substitutes equipment, for training, and will always blame the equipment when it fails instead of the operators lack of training. I have worked fo the government for 16 years. They are always looking for the magic bullet that will make training obselete.

But, absent a magic bullet. Practice, practice, practice. A well trained man with a .32 is much more dangerous than an untrained man with a .45. IMO.
 

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Wow, that is some story/stories but I think may well illustrate the points made by Clint Smith when I was at Thunder Ranch. He opined that bullet placement above all other considerations was the key to stoping power. Clint (at the time) appeared to favor ball in his 45 and emphasized that there was no magic bullet. He noted that most folks shot with handguns did not die. Once I was asked to analyze why the M-4/M-9s were not combat effective and was shocked to find out that the hits of elite units were periferal when I asked to see field autopsies. (There were a couple of other issues about M882 ball and short barrels but that is not about this). There have always been big/slow and light/fast bullet people as long as I can remember. To paraphrase Robert Roark, use the biggest one you can shoot accurately...

NYPD under Jim Cirillo's instruction was famous for its survivability against armed trolls because they practiced tactics as much as shooting. My Fed pals have little respect for the Bureau in most cases and I think the operative issue at that shooting was the fact that the FBI was simply not trained and ready to deal with that level of violence. When I was a LEO only about 10% of my associates knew or cared about firearms and shooting. I understand it is even less now in the Federal alphabet agencies after a trip to FLETC in 2003.

First, seek good instructions. Second, carefully and critically read the literature (such as it is) and lastly, practice even if you compete in games like IDPA/IPSC or anything like it...
 

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Dosrocket is one of the few guys I have ever heard who learned the true lessons of the Miami FBI shootout. It wasn't an ammo failure, it was a tactics failure. And while the herds follow the almighty FBI's wisdom they fail to realize than the government ALWAYS substitutes equipment, for training, and will always blame the equipment when it fails instead of the operators lack of training. I have worked fo the government for 16 years. They are always looking for the magic bullet that will make training obselete.

But, absent a magic bullet. Practice, practice, practice. A well trained man with a .32 is much more dangerous than an untrained man with a .45. IMO.
Actually there are several people who say this, some whom I respect greatly. However this opinion simply does not seem to jive with the facts of the case.

To be sure, it was not only a tactics failure but a mindset failure. That does not mean there was not *also* an ammo failure.

Before Platt shot anybody he was hit once (and probably twice) in the chest with 9mm Win. Silver Tip. Dr. French Anderson's detailed analysis in 1996 shows the bullets performance. Both bullets were what is termed "million dollar shots" - perfect marksmanship! One stopped 2" short of the heart and one stopped after penetrating 4" of arm muscle and 2" of pectoral muscle (no bone, no barriers, just 6" of muslce and stopped) - it might have barely penetrated the edge of the lung but I dont recall, in any case it too was on track for the heart just 1" off the entrance of the other bullet.

Plat fought for over 4 minutes *after* these hits. Now I cannot predict what a man will do with a half inch hole in his heart but I am guessing that it is not as much as with no hole in his heart. 4 minutes of deadly activity might seem a bit much to expect.

I dont find the argument that there was not a ballistic failure here convincing at all.

I do agree that there are no "magic" bullets. But if you dont have adequate penetration "perfect placement" does not count for beans.

BTW, I can recount dozens of cases in which people with .32, .380s, .38 spl, .357 magnum, 9mm and .40 S&W all failed to incapacitate rapidly enough with outstanding marksmanship and multiple hits. While I have not personally ran into folks who have had a .45 fail, I am sure they exist too.

It is a very complex issue, hard to get a grasp on the Big Picture.

Jim H.
 
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Wouldn't we all like to know? ;)

Platt fought on for 4 minutes after those hits, but he did his killing and wounding early on. Plenty of people have taken holes in the heart and fought on long enough after to do the wounding/killing Platt did in the time he did it.

It's possible the same hit from a 147/9, 165-180/40, or 230/45 would have put Platt down quicker, but still not quick enough to stop him from doing the wounding and killing he did do.

Have seen video of a man taking a 45 JHP to the torso, then fighting w the officer for several minutes after. Two brothers in Boise took multiple hits from 45 JHPs, killing one officer and wounding another w their 9 minimeters on the way down. Local bad guys have taken multiple 40/45 JHPs and fought on or run away. Texas and NM troopers had numerous 45 JHP failures to stop... also know of two one shot drop/stops w the infamous 115/9 Silvertip, one through a windshield up close and another at 80 yds...

Be prepared for the worst whatever you use, and be very happy when you get lucky.
 
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