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To me this is a completely subjective thing. I think it's your life and you should carry whatever you feel comfortable with. That being said, on my job, I've seen a whole lot of people pretty much shot dead with .380acp. Talking about exotic ammuntion and the latest supergun to come out is fun and interesting and I find myself getting caught up in it also, but the truth be told, making sure your choice of defense ammuntion functions reliably in your handgun and then practicing so much with it that you can be assured of decent bullet placement while under stress is the real key to survival.
 

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Regulator,
Joined
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3,441 Posts
Stephen and all,

Tough choices. Does it really matter what the load we shoot is? Probably not if the placement is good. Many select ammo for bullet characteristics...designs for energy transfer, limited penetration, etc.
Personally, I don't look at it that way and have carried standard pressure carry ammo for years. In 9mm that meant 115 gr. W-W Silvertip or Federal 9BP. Both perform well and have solid track records. Silvertip, in spite of the FBI Miami fiasco, is a good round and got blamed for piss poor tactics and a comedy of errors on the part of the FBI.
Don't get hung up on energy of feet per second issues. Look at the street performance of the round. One reason I WILL NOT carry a load until it has some "street time".
If you feel that +P or +P+ gives you an edge, go ahead and use it.
Just remember, there are no magic bullets. Well placed shots and good tactics are worth a lot more that the latest designer bullets.

Wes
 
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In general, I'm not sure the added velocity actually adds much terminal effectiveness. That said, I prefer it for j-frames as aid to penetration.

Max
 
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I knew an old time N.Y. City cop and later detective ( on the beat from the 1950s through the early 1970s ). He said he never carried anything but a .32 revolver and never felt he needed anything else. True, times have changed, but I wonder?

Later when he would go to the range here in S. Cal. in the 1980s and see guys with "cannons" as he called them, he said he just shook his head. "Lefty" said 90% of armed confrontations take place at 6 feet or less, and he just thought all of this firepower was silly.

Think of all the years that the standard European pistol cartridge was 7.65 ( .32 auto ).

Maybe we've gone a bit over the top??

Nimbus
 
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Not always, but every little bit helps!

I think that if you load the .32 S&W Long (a.k.a. Colt .32 New Police) to +P levels, (read: 900-950 fps) the 98-grain wadcutter should suffice at "waltzing disatances". This comes with the provision of proper shot placement.

Scott
 
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I knew an old time N.Y. City cop and later detective ( on the beat from the 1950s through the early 1970s ). He said he never carried anything but a .32 revolver and never felt he needed anything else. True, times have changed, but I wonder?

Later when he would go to the range here in S. Cal. in the 1980s and see guys with "cannons" as he called them, he said he just shook his head. "Lefty" said 90% of armed confrontations take place at 6 feet or less, and he just thought all of this firepower was silly.

Think of all the years that the standard European pistol cartridge was 7.65 ( .32 auto ).

Maybe we've gone a bit over the top??

Nimbus
"Like a brick going through a plate glass window" is how the 7.65 round is described in James Bond's "Dr. No". Ian Fleming must have had it in for Beretta when you listen to the beating he gives to that pistol. Probably that one scene did more to hurt Beretta and help Walther than millions of dollars of advertising.

Of course, the Bond character states he is perfectly happy with the Beretta, but is forced to switch due to reliability issues. (It was on last night, so my memory was refreshed.)

One gunsmith whose opinion I trust (Bill Laughridge of Cylinder & Slide) recommends using only standard pressure loads in the Hi-Power. I will have to think long and hard before I go against his opinion, which is built on decades of experience (fixing problems caused by hot loads, perhaps).
 
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115 gr. Gold Dots at +P+ in my HP carry gun. Works great, shoots good and functions without problems. I am from the fast is best school. My 2 cents worth.
 
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For me it depends on how much more velocity your getting for the extra bucks and what type of bullet is being driven. For me velocity is key. I look for velocity and deep penetration in a personal protection load, and I'm not too worried about over penetration or core/jacket seperation. I need to ensure that if I fire to save myself or a loved one that my bullet it going to stike and hit a vital organ on my adversary. I need a round that's reliable in it's penetration too. You never know what you may have to shoot through to beat your attacker. In my home, if under attack I may need to shoot through walls, floorboards, windows, solid doors. Another question is what is my adversary wearing? Tough leather jacket? Heavy cotton denim? Winter or summer dress? I may get flamed here, but given the factors stated I think high velocity FMJ may be the most reliable, but what about riccoche ???

The problem is that every makers different bullets are designed to expand at various velocities depending on the material being hit, and some +P are hotter than others.

Here is an example - Remington Golden Saber 9mm 124gr +P with muzzel velocity at 1180 ft/sec. For a modern American load that's a slight bit hot. However I read somewhere that the original European standard 9mm Parabellum load of yesteryear was 124gr driven at approx 1180 ft/sec. Cor-Bon and Black Hills give you 100 ft/sec faster than standard load, running at 1250 ft/sec. They penetrate the same as standard loads, except they expand wider usually on impact.
 
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