Self-defense Ammo
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Thread: Self-defense Ammo

  1. #1
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    Self-defense Ammo

    Would welcome recommendations of your preferred choice for self-defense ammo. I've been carrying Hornady Critical Defense, 9mm, 115 grain.

    Have not exhaustively researched this. Hornady was highly recommended by my concealed carry instructor. Have read it has been ranked among top 5 regarding penetration and expansion capability.

    Please include your reason(s) for choice.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Senior Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    For 9mm, I use either the Federal 124gr HST +P or the Speer Gold Dot 124gr JHP +P. I generally use the Gold Dot in the colder months when coats are a consideration and the HST in the warmer months.

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    Senior Member Bisley's Avatar
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    Your 9mm pistol will show you a preference for bullet weights, according to how close your point of impact is to your point of aim.

    For example, if your point of impact with 115 gr. bullets is low, you can bring it closer to POA by using a heavier bullet, because it will be in the barrel longer after ignition, allowing for more muzzle rise before the bullet clears the muzzle. All of my 9mm pistols 'like' 147 grain ammo.

    For self defense ammo, pick any of the major brands in hollow point ammo, and hit where you aim. Most of the differences between them are negligible, having far less impact on terminal effect than proper shot placement.

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    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bisley View Post
    ...For self defense ammo, pick any of the major brands in hollow point ammo, and hit where you aim. Most of the differences between them are negligible, having far less impact on terminal effect than proper shot placement.
    ...And that's the truth!

    Accurate bullet placement trumps ballistics, every time.
    Hawk451, Bisley and BZimm like this.

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    Senior Member paratrooper's Avatar
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    As others have already stated, concentrate on your shooting skills, and less on what brand / kind / type ammo you shoot.

    You can have a mag full of the best ammo in the world, and if you can't put um where you want, it's all for naught.
    bluewave, BZimm, Bisley and 1 others like this.

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    I use Federal 124gr HST because every You Tube gel test of this ammo indicates it does a superior job. That and it functions without flaw in every 9mm I own... Taurus PT-111 G2, my main carry gun or my Bersa BP- 9cc that I also carry at times and my CZ-75 BD a full size pistol that is my house gun / range gun. No matter what self defense round you decide on make darn sure it functions without a hitch, you life will depend on it if God forbid you ever have to use it.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Bisley's Avatar
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    Gel tests provide a benchmark for comparing ammo, but are severely lacking in replicating how a bullet acts in the million or so different ways that a bullet may come in contact with bone, tissue, muscle, water, etc. that makes up animals or humans.

    A Remington Core-Lokt still kills whitetail deer just as certainly as it did 50 years ago, when it was the latest and greatest. All that the operator has to do is deliver it to the target. All of the new hollow points are indeed improvements in the technology, but that isn't really the point. Good enough is still good enough, and beyond that, no data exists that will definitively prove which is the better killer (or stopper), nor whether the differences are even significant for personal defense, or hunting.

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    Thanks for the perspective. Will also experiment with higher grain.

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    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    silverlining;
    I strongly suggest that you read an essay that I wrote, a while ago, about the "relative stopping power" of various pistol cartridges and bullet weights.

    Click on: Relative Stopping Power | Guntoters

    If you become interested in this subject, you might follow-up by requesting one or more difficult-to-find books through your local public library's inter-library-loan service. I can provide you with the titles of a couple of books to request.

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    Thank you, Steve. Appreciate the link and offer.

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    Member rustygun's Avatar
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    I just like to be sure whatever self defense ammo I use will feed reliably in whatever pistol I use it in. I don't believe in a survival situation my life will depend on whether or not brand "X" expands .020" more than brand "Y". Could be wrong though.
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    Senior Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    I would advise anyone seeking the best load for a given caliber in their SD handgun to do a substantial amount of research. Don't just rely upon the idea to use what your police use or what a number of people recommend. Folks on this site will tell you what their preferred brands and loads are and that's fine. I'm quite certain many, if not most, have done their research and have taken their decisions based upon what they perceive to the best for them, their gun, and their SD shooting ability.

    But do keep in mind that the ammunition world changes all the time and is very competitive... which is a very good thing. As new products hit the market and are tested, many of the older products get pushed aside. So it is in your best interests to stay current with all of this. It can be a hard decision and I know that, but the really premium loads are of very high quality and can generally be relied upon to perform very well.

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    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    ...Don't just rely upon the idea to use what your police use...
    Um, well, "Use what your local police department uses" is very good legal advice!
    To wit:
    "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution refers to the hollow-point bullets with which my client stopped the fight as 'a stone-cold killer's Murder Bullets.' But how could that be, when our local police use the very same bullets, in the very same cartridges, loaded to the very same specifications?"
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  15. #14
    Senior Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    Um, well, "Use what your local police department uses" is very good legal advice!
    To wit:
    "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution refers to the hollow-point bullets with which my client stopped the fight as 'a stone-cold killer's Murder Bullets.' But how could that be, when our local police use the very same bullets, in the very same cartridges, loaded to the very same specifications?"
    This is something we here in Virginia don't have to worry about. I stand my my statement.

  16. #15
    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    This is something we here in Virginia don't have to worry about...
    Please explain why inflammatory statements from prosecution lawyers is "something we here in Virginia don't have to worry about."
    I don't understand your comment.

    I am under the impression that the only state in which hollow-point bullets are impermissible is New Jersey.
    Therefore, merely using hollow-point bullets should be legally permitted everywhere else, Virginia (and Washington) included.

    But that still would not stop a lawyer from using inflammatory language to describe a defensive shooter's equipment and ammunition, in an attempt to "win" the case for his (or her) side.
    Thus, expanding bullets in wide, common usage could be described in the most negative, jury-swaying terms, even in Virginia.

    A well-proven defense against such hate-mongering is to show that the bullets used in the encounter under examination were the exact same bullets now being used by the local police department.
    "If it's OK for them, it should be OK for the rest of us."

  17. #16
    Senior Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    For the same reason that trigger modifications are not going to be an issue. We have an affirmative defense here which essentially means that the victim will affirm that, "Yes I shot Mr. Jones and given the same set of circumstances, I would respond in the same fashion". A prosecutor may try to mention the use of expanding ammunition but the police use the same type of ammo in their sidearms so the victim's attorney can destroy that angle. By the victim affirming that he did shot the BG, that his actions were deliberate and that this is what he meant to do, any dark roads into negligent discharges or behavior, or "hair" triggers, or "dum-dum cop killer bullets" are immediately rendered moot points. And there is this. The threat does not have to be real. The victim need only perceive that the threat is genuine.

    Could an attorney in a post-acquittal civil case try to go that route? Certainly but his efforts are going to be very difficult and such suits are very rare here.

    The adage that pretty much anything can take place in a courtroom is true pretty much anywhere in the nation. But in a gun-friendly state with an affirmative defense, a prosecutor going that route is not likely to sway a jury. Probably would get the opposite reaction that he had hoped to create.
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  18. #17
    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Thanks for the explanation.
    Other states, including (I believe) Washington, permit the affirmative defense. But according to the way that you describe it, Virginia's seems to be more practical and all-encompassing.
    I think that Robert E. Lee was right: Virginia's a pretty good place to live.

    It's nice to know that Metropolitan DC (Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, McLean, etc.) hasn't yet swamped the rest of the state with thoughtless, kneejerk, Progressive "thinking."

  19. #18
    Senior Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    Thanks for the explanation.
    Other states, including (I believe) Washington, permit the affirmative defense. But according to the way that you describe it, Virginia's seems to be more practical and all-encompassing.
    I think that Robert E. Lee was right: Virginia's a pretty good place to live.

    It's nice to know that Metropolitan DC (Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, McLean, etc.) hasn't yet swamped the rest of the state with thoughtless, kneejerk, Progressive "thinking."
    Oh but I wish it were true. Unfortunately, it is precisely these parts of Northern Virginia, and a few others, that have turned this state into Obama and Hillary support. Most of this is from outsiders coming in and bringing their ideas with them. Us natives now only comprise maybe 15 to 20% of the population up here.

    I noted an error I made in my last post. I had said, "The threat does have to be real" when I meant to say, "The threat does not have to be real".
    silverlining likes this.

  20. #19
    Junior Member toddcshoe's Avatar
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    I tend to keep Polycase Inceptor ARX ammo in my carry guns. The 55 or 56 grain bullet, I forget the exact weight, make it very easy on the recoil and provide outstanding velocities for personal defense. Highly doubt I would use it for longer distances but for a home or carry gun it performs extremely well. I also have some Hornaday Critical Defense that I keep around as well. It cycles through my pistols just fine and the ballistics on it look pretty good as well. Just my preference. I'm sure any decent ammunition that is reliable and runs through your gun well will be much better than ammo that doesn't.

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