Author Topic: 9mm defensive ammo testing  (Read 11050 times)

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Offline RSR

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9mm defensive ammo testing
« on: December 08, 2014, 05:37:07 PM »
EDIT -- this thread started as a dicussion over on the Scorpion EVO board regarding good ammo in pistol carbines.  Mods bumped this part of the discussion here.  Here's that thread, if interested as part of the discussion remains over there: http://www.czfirearms.us/index.php?topic=68083.0

Good place to share this:





Bear in mind barrel length and muzzle velocities when shooting at distance:
http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/9luger.html

(Heavier bullets less affected by wind and brush but drop more vertically, lighter bullets more affected by wind and brush but shoot flatter.)
« Last Edit: December 12, 2014, 04:45:36 PM by RSR »

Offline armoredman

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Re: 9mm defensive ammo testing
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2014, 10:30:31 PM »
Very interesting. I have become very interested in the Hornady 115 gr Critical Defense and 135 gr +P Critical Duty ammo myself. Would be rather expensive to fill a couple of 30 round mags with CDuty, but probably be worth it for a home defense gun.

Offline RSR

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Re: 9mm defensive ammo testing
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2014, 12:21:25 AM »
Very interesting. I have become very interested in the Hornady 115 gr Critical Defense and 135 gr +P Critical Duty ammo myself. Would be rather expensive to fill a couple of 30 round mags with CDuty, but probably be worth it for a home defense gun.

SG Ammo has Critical Duty really cheap.  50 for what most retailers charge per 25...  But HST, Gold Dots, etc, are all about the same price per 50 there as the Critical Duty, so it's relative.

Critical Duty needs a minimum of 4" barrel though. 

Critical Defense is better for subcompacts.  Basically, think of both as a slightly heavier version of the powerball.  Critical Duty is made to expand less so that it meets the FBI penetration guidelines through intermediate barriers, etc, not necessarily for standard person defense situations...  Critical Defense expands more.   

My take is Critical Duty does best in +P and out of full sized pistols.  In compacts or when worried about over penetration or wanting ammo that's not +P, take a look at Critical Defense or more traditional hollowpoints...

A couple videos on the Hornady 9mm.

In subcompacts:

Critical Duty +P


Critical Duty


Critical Defense


In full length barrels:






« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 12:37:58 AM by RSR »

Offline armoredman

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Re: 9mm defensive ammo testing
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2014, 12:47:21 AM »
Thank you very much for the videos - the Duty is in the P-09, and the Defense is in the P-01 and the wife's RAMIs, so it looks like I chose wisely this time. We may break this off into a separate thread in the Ammo section.

Offline RSR

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Re: 9mm defensive ammo testing
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2014, 05:20:04 PM »
Good view of the bullet profiles here: http://youtu.be/wJZFZFmBKa0?t=2m41s

One of the main advantages of the Hornady IMO is that it is profiled for optimal reliability with feeding vs some of the more modern wide mouthed hollowpoints. 

Federal 9BP and 9BPLE use the same bullet, just different pressures.

You can see its more ball profile at the start of these videos:





Here are two more videos on these rounds:





VS for instance Federal's most modern bullet, the HST, 124 gr +P:


For sub guns, I'm always hesitant to run modern hollowpoints with very wide hollowpoint cavity/front tips...  I guess we'll soon see what the EVO reliably eats.

Also, with sub guns, allowing for more accurate and faster shooting, as well as higher capacities due to larger mags and higher velocities due to longer barrels, I think bullet selection is less critical than in defensive handguns...  So I tend to think deep and cheap on sub gun ammo -- Federal 9BP or 9BPLE for hollowpoint needs and then a ball ammo for when you need barrier penetration...  Selecting ball and hps with similar velocity and bullet weights of course for consistency at further ranges...
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 05:33:01 PM by RSR »

Offline muggia59

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Re: 9mm defensive ammo testing
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2014, 03:18:51 PM »
Thanks for posting RSR. Have had some of that Federal for a couple of years now, and I guess its just going to be plinker ammo. Have bought from SGAmmo also, and +1 for them. Also they had the best price on Liberty ammunition, which seems to perform pretty well.
CZ SP01 Tactical, CZ SP01 Phantom, CZ P07, CZP01, CZCadet kit, CZ Scorpion EVO S1.

Offline RSR

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Re: 9mm defensive ammo testing
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2014, 04:23:23 PM »
Thanks to Makoman for this video:



Here's the +P video paired to the above:



Basically, the argument is that technology has improved ammo to the point where benefits from +P are negligible.  He mentions +P gets a little more expansion while standard pressure gets a little more penetration, but overall performance is about the same with modern technology loadings...

Which for handguns, I largely agree with considering the recoil, flash, and bad habits both of those encourage are all overall negatives to accuracy -- +P, +P+ 9mm in a lot of ways has more in common w/ 40 s+w in how the gun handles...

Some bullets like Hornady critical duty and older technology like the federal 9bp/bple bullets do perform better at higher velocities and benefit from +P, +P+ velocities.

Out of carbine/pdw with a longer barrel, generally you don't feel increased recoil, the +P/+P+ gives you even more velocity gains than you see out of pistol length barrels, you shoot flatter, and gives you an extra 50 yards in so in velocity vs standard pressure loads.

Keltec includes this graph in their sub2k owner manual:


And here are some #s I pulled together regarding 9mm vs 357 sig that I pulled together from ballisticsbytheinch for a 9mm AR or Keltec carbine:

All 16" barrel specs (and bear in mind 9mm are +P values, but +P+ is really the truest comparison).

357 sig Cor Bon 125 gr. JHP = 1723 fps
9mm Cor Bon 125 gr. JHP +P = 1430 fps
1723/1430 = 1.205, or 357 Sig is 20% faster than +P 9mm at 125 grains

357 sig Cor Bon 115 gr.JHP = 1768 fps
9mm Cor Bon 115 gr. JHP +P = 1525 fps
1768/1525 = 1.159, or 357 Sig is 16% faster than +P 9mm at 115 grains

And Gunblast has some +P+ 16" specs for the CMMG 9mm AR:
115 grains +P+ 9mm buffalo bore = 1656 fps
1768/1656 = 1.068, or 357 Sig is 7% faster than +P+ 9mm at 115 grains
http://www.gunblast.com/CMMG-MK9.htm?

Shorter barrels like the EVO 357 Sig would have a little more advantage than longer ones though...
« Last Edit: December 12, 2014, 04:58:29 PM by RSR »

Offline RSR

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Re: 9mm defensive ammo testing
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2014, 04:42:46 PM »
Thanks for posting RSR. Have had some of that Federal for a couple of years now, and I guess its just going to be plinker ammo. Have bought from SGAmmo also, and +1 for them. Also they had the best price on Liberty ammunition, which seems to perform pretty well.

Well, the same bullet is used in the +P+ 9bple as the 9bp.  I look at the 9bp as still a good budget summer self defense option (light clothing) as you could see in the first video for the 9bp in bare gelatin... The main thing I like about these federals as well as the hornady is that they reliably feed in almost any pistol.  Especially if you're trying to feed an older pistol that was designed around ball (for instance 9bp is about the same price as the remington umc 9mm hps, and I've always had more jams w/ remington than federal)... 
And a hp that expands some of the time beats ball that never does if those are your only options.  And -- also worth considering -- a hp that performs like ball through heavier cover is actually a good thing when you consider that penetration is the most important factor in stopping threats when using pistol caliber cartridges, as noted by the FBI in their switch to 9mm from 40 s+w (a lot of other good, science based reading too): http://loadoutroom.com/12077/fbi-going-9mm-comes-science/

The +P+ 9bple is likely a solid performer out to 100 yards against 4 layers of denim as is used in the test when shot from a carbine, and I'd say you'd get at least 50 yards good performance against 4 layer denim for 9bp out of a carbine.

Also worth mentioning, that the 4 layer denim is supposed to be a rough approximation for the most clothes an individual might conceivably have on at any time.  More typically, you'll find one or two cotton shirts and a jacket which is probably more equivalent to 2 layers of denim, which means less material to plug the hollowpoint and less "cover" to slow the bullet down before entering tissue...

And this article is at least 5-10 years old, but its written by someone who's spent a lot of time looking at ballistics and ammunition performance in real life shootings.  Though it's attributed to anonymous, reading through, the individual really comes from fact/science based perspective than some agenda... 
The 9mm ammo excerpt: http://www.chuckhawks.com/ammo_by_anonymous.htm
Quote
9mm Parabellum (9mm Luger, 9x19mm, 9mm NATO)

This is unquestionably the world's most popular pistol round. For this reason it has been the subject of a lot of experimentation, because 9mm ball, used by every army in the Western world, is a mediocre manstopper. Jacketed hollowpoints are a must if one wishes to rely on the 9mm as a defense round. Use ball ammo for practice only.

Civilian 9mm ammunition is generally available in two pressure levels, standard and "+P." (There is also +P+ ammo, usually restricted for police use only.) The +P ammo should only be used in newer guns (made since 1985 or so) and is best used sparingly.

I will only deal with commercially available ammunition. Civilians should not worry, as there are commercial loads as good as anything restricted to law enforcement usage.

The top rated 9mm Luger load for self-defense is the Cor-Bon 9mm 115 grain +P Jacketed Hollowpoint. It is the most street-proven manstopper available in this caliber. It is a high velocity (1350 fps) and high pressure round, more effective than loads restricted to law enforcement use, such as the Federal 9BPLE.

Unfortunately, it is also likely to jam many older guns. For this reason I add a table at the end of the 9mm section discussing round suitability for different guns. Modern hollowpoints may either (a) jam, or (b) be too powerful for some older guns. This load is suitable only for First Class pistols (see table).

The best standard pressure 9mm load is the Federal 115 grain JHP (9BP). Its effectiveness and accuracy make it the world standard. Buy several boxes. Other excellent standard pressure 9mm loads are the Winchester Silvertip 115 grain (X9MMSHP) and Federal 124 grain Hydra-shok (P9HS1).

For guns that may jam with the Cor-Bon or Federal 115 grain hollow-points, the Remington 115 grain +P JHP is a good choice (R9MM6). For older guns I would use the Remington standard pressure 115 grain JHP (R9MM1).

Advances in ammunition and bullet design have increased the effectiveness of many 124-125 and 147 grain JHP 9mm loads. While once 115 grain JHP loads dominated the stopping power lists and some still do (see above), today there are good self-defense loads available in the heavier bullet weights, as well. Keep in mind that the heavier bullets have greater sectional density and, other things being equal, will give more penetration. This can be a good thing in some situations and a very bad thing in many urban environments, where over-penetration is (or at least should be) a major concern.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2014, 05:11:09 PM by RSR »

Offline armoredman

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Re: 9mm defensive ammo testing
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2014, 03:55:20 PM »
Quote
Civilians should not worry, as there are commercial loads as good as anything restricted to law enforcement usage.

Another reason to be happy to live in the land of the Free, Free AZ. The ammo our LEOs carry is the same stuff available on the shelf at any good gun shop. ;)

JayPee

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Re: 9mm defensive ammo testing
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2014, 07:55:03 PM »
This has been a really helpful thread and I want to thank all who brought it about. It is extremely hard to find such authoritative real world test data on self defense 9mm ammo. A lot of us have benefitted from it. Thanks again.

mbott

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Re: 9mm defensive ammo testing
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2014, 09:46:51 PM »
When I worked in LE sales, the shop I worked for was a Winchester LE ammunition distributor. They provided a "bullet board" of their ammunition that had been fired into ballistic gelatin.  One of the meanest looking rounds was their RA45T.  Scary stuff.  Selling this for 6 years and seeing the results at various demonstration shoots has made Ranger the first choice when it can be had.

--
Mike

Offline RSR

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Re: 9mm defensive ammo testing
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2014, 11:55:34 PM »
JayPee - I find all of this fascinating, but there are a lot of variables at play in real life use that can't always be exactly controlled for -- velocity differences due to barrel lengths between firearms, barriers such as clothing, bags, etc, bones (gel blocks are intended to just replicate flesh...), etc, in gel block tests.  Read through the FBI science report, it does a really good job explaining what's important. 

And everyone has a different list of priorities for their ammo too; hence, the selection.  But I think feeding reliably and having shot the load enough to be comfortable with it and confident in your capabilities to put it where you want it should be at the top of the list...

Don't know much about 45 ammo.

Ranger series in 9mm looks to have some expansion issues through denim, especially (or at least partly) out of less than full size pistols:







Not T series bullets but Ranger:


« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 11:37:14 AM by RSR »

Offline RSR

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Re: 9mm defensive ammo testing
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2016, 02:45:08 PM »
Firearm blog had two good articles recently that I particularly enjoyed. Thought sharing here was good:

Quote
A Primer on Pistol Calibers for Self-Defense, Part 1: The Basics

I will be happy to give a short run-down of my current understanding of pistol caliber effectiveness. My readers should note, though, that there are still things to learn on this subject, and I am not an accredited expert. Still, I?ve done quite a bit of reading in this area, so I feel reasonably confident presenting the following.

[...]

In other words, the penetration and permanent cavity of a given projectile are interrelated. A projectile that does not expand has less resistance, and will penetrate deeper, while one that expands to a great degree will have more resistance, and penetration may suffer. Further, calibers that produce less energy, such as for example the .380 ACP, do not have as much force behind the bullet, and their penetration while expanded can suffer as a result. Calibers that produce more energy, such as the .357 Magnum, for example, may have surplus force and can overpenetrate even if good bullet expansion is achieved.

So then, what is desired is a caliber that has enough energy to expand to the maximum possible diameter, while still penetrating to the desired depth. For most people, that ?desired depth? is the FBI standard of 12 to 18 inches in ballistic gelatin, and I can think of no reason to argue with that figure. In concert with this, we need a bullet design that gives the maximum expansion at the operating velocities of that cartridge given the barrel lengths of common platforms, and the best consistency of expansion through common barriers such as auto glass, sheet metal, plywood, denim, and especially human ribs.
More: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/03/19/primer-pistol-calibers-self-defense-part-1-basics/

Quote
Why You Shouldn?t Use .410 Shotshells for Defense

The Taurus Judge is not the first .410 caliber revolving shotgun-handgun hybrid, but it has been by far the most successful pistol of its kind. Despite being a heavy, bulky weapon that holds a mere 5 rounds, the Judge can be found in most well-stocked gun stores, and its suitability for personal protection has become a hotly debated topic on internet forums.

The signature capability of the .410 revolving handgun is its ability to use shot-filled shells, in marketing speak these guns are ?pistols that fire shotgun rounds?. However, these sorts of bylines, while technically accurate, don?t accurately reflect the actual capabilities of the Judge or similar models of revolving handgun. I plan to cover handgun terminal effectiveness in a later post, but to start, a brief primer on both handgun and shotgun terminal effectiveness.
[...]
Handguns fire single projectiles which may tumble or deform on impact. They cause damage through the direct crushing of tissue from the projectile itself. The shape and design of the projectile is as important, if not more important, than its caliber. A wadcutter .38 projectile, for example, with its flat, cylindrical shape, may cut tissue more cleanly and do more damage than a round-nosed FMJ .45 ACP projectile, despite being smaller caliber. The ultimate expression of this factor is modern JHP ammunition, which starts as a projectile shaped well for feeding in modern automatic handguns, but then expands to provide a flat, wide surface for the maximum tissue crushing effect.

Shotguns, on the other hand, shoot either a collection of round metallic projectiles, or a single short cylindrical slug. The slugs we?ll set aside for now, as they work similarly to very large pistol projectiles. Shot, the common term for a collection of round projectiles fired from a shotgun, is packed into a shotshell atop a wad. Larger shotshells like 12 gauge can shoot larger payloads of shot than smaller shotshells, like the .410 bore. This payload can vary from the same number of much larger projectiles, or many, many more projectiles of the same size. For defensive purposes, fewer projectiles of as large a size as is feasible is preferred versus a greater number of smaller projectiles, due to the need for adequate sectional density to penetrate a target.

This brings us to sectional density. Commonly abbreviated ?SD?, this is an extremely important factor to understand when discussing small arms projectiles, and it is essentially the measure of the mass of the projectile per square inch of frontal area. In small arms, it is calculated by a shortcut of weight of the projectile in pounds (grains divided by 7,000), divided by the diameter of the projectile in inches squared. So, doing a little math, we can calculate the SDs of some common projectiles, including a 9x19mm JHP before and after expansion, a 00 buck projectile, and the #4 birdshot projectile loaded in Federal?s 2.5? .410 ?Personal Defense? shotshell:

115 gr 9mm projectile (unexpanded): 115 gr / (0.355 in)^2 / 7000 gr/lb = 0.130 lb/in^2

115 gr 9mm projectile (expanded to 0.60?): 115 gr / (0.600 in)^2) / 7000 gr/lb = 0.046 lb/in^2

And we can get some relevant figures from Wikipedia?s handy lead shot data chart:

00 buckshot projectile: 53.8 gr / (0.330 in)^2 / 7000 gr/lb = 0.071 lb/in^2

#4 birdshot projectile: 3.3 gr / (0.130 in)^2 / 7000 gr/lb = 0.028 lb/in^2

Sectional density is one indicator of potential penetrative ability for a projectile (the other component is velocity ? for most pistol projectiles the velocities are not different enough for it to be a major factor, but it still should be noted). We can see that the pistol caliber undergoes a change during expansion from about an 0.13 to 0.05 SD, while round 00 buckshot has about a 0.07 SD. In stark contrast, the #4 birdshot doesn?t even manage to reach 0.03. A round designed for personal defense must have enough velocity and sectional density (and tough enough construction) to penetrate deep enough into the body to create a fatal wound. A surface wound may be extremely painful to an individual, but that is often not enough of a deterrent to prevent a continued assault. The extremely light #4 birdshot projectile of the Federal .410 load does not have sufficient sectional density to penetrate deeply and reach the vital organs of a target, even with a completely flat shot against the torso without any barriers or angling.

Now, it is true that a mass of projectiles hitting a target all at once, as with a traditional shotgun, often can manage to penetrate more deeply than the sectional density and velocity of each pellet suggests, however by Federal law the Taurus Judge must have a rifled barrel or be declared an Any Other Weapon (AOW). This rifling imparts a spin to the shot column that separates the projectiles in flight via centrifugal force, preventing them from hitting the target as a concentrated mass, further exacerbating the already mediocre penetrative properties.
More: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/03/17/shouldnt-use-410-shotshells-defense/