Ammunition

5 Loads to Change Your Mind About the 9mm

Box of Federal 9mm Syntech Defense ammunition

The 9mm Luger is the most widely used handgun cartridge in the world. Practically universal for police and military use, the cartridge offers enough recoil for the occasional shooter to handle, good accuracy in the right pistols, and can be effective with the right combination of expansion and penetration. The 9mm is a high-pressure number and offers performance out of proportion to its size.

Factory loads intended for practice are usually loaded to the 30,000 PSI level, while standard pressure is around 35,000 PSI for defense loads. +P loads may register 38,500 PSI. For many years, the 9mm was underloaded and the projectiles used in defense loads were underdeveloped. This led to spectacular failures and a lack of confidence in the 9mm.

BoB Campbell shooting a subcompact 9mm pistol with a spent casing in the air
The 9mm offers modest recoil. Note the spent case in the air and the subcompact 9 back on target.

I like the bread of my own oven and bacon cured in my own chimney smoke. I make my own ammunition. I enjoyed a lively sideline at one time perhaps four decades ago producing high-velocity loads for fellow officers limited to the 9mm. (They looked like the duty load but were 100–150 fps faster.)

A stiff charger of Herco gunpowder and the Sierra 115-grain JHP at 1,350 fps proved quite effective. SIG and Beretta pistols survived these loads while the Smith & Wesson 5906 cracked a frame, and the P38 lost its firing pin cover. This is no longer necessary. Modern 9mm loads are well-developed and offer a good balance of expansion and penetration.

That is the key to effectiveness. The five loads tested may change your mind about the 9mm. They are good solid choices for personal defense and will perform well in a variety of situations.

A word on my test program. Some say, “I stop reading when you use water testing instead of gelatin.” Fair enough. Gelatin is by no means, shape, or form human sinew, muscle, bone, or tissue. Nothing in gelatin represents bones or solid organs. Of course, neither does water. But a reader in Maine or Texas may test his load and compare it against mine with excellent consistency using water.

Gelatin and water results are within 10 percent or more of the same end measurements. The advantage of gelatin is that the ‘wound cavity’ may be filled with plaster and saved and compared. Gelatin is an excellent tool for lab work. If you work for a state or federal crime lab or an ammunition company, sure my results are not as valid as yours, but they are valid means of comparison. Here are five loads to add respect to the 9mm.

I used the Walther PDP F as the primary test handgun backed up by the SIG P365 XL.

Walther PDP F 9mm handgun with a Federal 9mm Luger ammunition
Walther’s PDP F is an outstanding, all-around service-grade pistol.

Federal 9mm 115-Grain JHP Train and Protect

The old Federal 9B earned a great deal of respect in law enforcement as a reliable and effective loading. Heavier weight loads were adopted, largely because some agencies faced felons behind cover in as many as half of their engagements. The Train and Protect load seems to be much the same design. Available in 50-round boxes, this is a good choice for personal defense.

Velocity

Penetration

Expansion

1,162 fps12 inches.68 inch
1,134 fps (SIG)  

SIG Elite 147-Grain V Crown

The heavier 9mm load was originally designed for long-range accuracy in suppressed MP5 SMGs. When Federal agencies looked for greater penetration in handguns, the 147-grain Subsonic hollow point was adopted. Problems included under-loaded ammunition barely breaking 900 fps in handguns and poor expansion.

Upset SIG Sauer Ammunition Heavyweight 147-grain V Crown bullet
SIG’s Heavyweight 147-grain V Crown bullet is a reliable expander.

The SIG V Crown load addressed every issue. The SIG V Crown has proven to be an accurate loading in every handgun I tested. While SIG also offers 115 and 124-grain loads, for those facing felons behind cover or those heavily bundled in winter clothing this heavy 9mm is the trick.

Velocity

Penetration

Expansion

1,034 fps20 inches.56 inch
1,001 fps (SIG)  

Federal Syntech Defense 138-Grain SJHP

There have been various attempts at producing a hollow point that produces fragments as it travels. The Syntech Defense with its lead-free bullets does so. When fired into water about at the 10–12-inch mark, the water jugs show tears from exiting shards of the bullet nose. The shank remains intact and travels straight offering enough penetration to reach vital organs while the shards produce wounds outside the wound track.

Stump of a Federal Syntech Defense 9mm bullet
The Federal Syntech offers a high-tech solution to wound potential.

Velocity

Penetration

Expansion

1,055 fps22 inches.42 inch *recovered
1,112 fps (SIG)  

*The base consistently blows the nose off

Hornady Handgun Hunter 135-Grain

The 9mm isn’t usually noted as a hunting load. Accuracy potential is high, however, in modern handguns. An all-copper bullet results in excellent integrity and penetration. For coyote, bobcat, and even the big cats, this load makes the most of the 9mm Luger. It also offers a good balance of penetration and expansion for those needing greater penetration of heavily clad threats.

Upset Hornady Hunter 9mm bullet showing the expanded petals
Hornady’s Hunter loading features a projectile with an elastomer filling to ensure expansion.

Velocity

Penetration

Expansion

1,149 fps20 inches.65 inch
1,138 fps (SIG)  

Buffalo Bore 147-Grain Outdoorsman

Buffalo Bore is famed for loads that make the most of the caliber. While they offer several excellent JHP loads for the 9mm, this is a specialized loading. As a result of requests for an outdoors load for protection against bears and other predators, Buffalo Bore cooked up a hard-cast 147-grain bullet.

Buffalo Bore 9mm +P Outdoorsman 147-grain hard cast FN ammunition box
Buffalo Bore’s Outdoorsman 9mm is a hard-hitting heavyweight with deep penetration for animal defense.

There is a huge difference between lead and the hard alloy in this bullet. This isn’t a soft lead bullet at all. This load penetrates like mad and offers penetration at least comparable to a 160-grain hard cast .38 Special, or the 180-grain .357 also offered by Buffalo Bore. I did not actually capture the bullet but gave up at 48 inches of penetration!

Velocity

Penetration

Expansion

1,012 fps48 inches+Not recovered

These loads offer different levels of performance from a fast expanding defense load to a heavyweight defense load sure to penetrate light cover and heavy clothing, a hunting load, and fragmenting load for those preferring the type, and a heavy bullet suitable for breaking down heavy bones and penetrating plenty of animal. These loads get the 9mm off its feet compared to lesser loads.

Do you have a favorite self-defense ammunition that did not make this list? Share it in the comment section and tell us why you trust it.

  • upset Federal 115-grain JHP bullet
  • Upset Federal 115-grain JHP bullet
  • 9mm jacketed hollow point and 9mm FMJ bullets
  • Stump of a Federal Syntech Defense 9mm bullet
  • SIG P365 XL 9mm handgun, left profie
  • Upset Hornady Hunter 9mm bullet showing the expanded petals
  • Walther PDP F 9mm handgun with a Federal 9mm Luger ammunition
  • Box of Federal 9mm Syntech Defense ammunition
  • Upset SIG Sauer Ammunition Heavyweight 147-grain V Crown bullet
  • SIG Sauer V Crown 9mm ammunition box
  • Buffalo Bore 9mm +P Outdoorsman 147-grain hard cast FN ammunition box
  • 3-shot bullet group on a paper target
  • One-gallon water jug exploding as it is being shot with a bullet
  • BoB Campbell shooting a subcompact 9mm pistol with a spent casing in the air
  • Upset SIG heavyweight 147-grain bullet
  • upset Federal Syntech Defense 9mm bullet

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.


Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Handloader
Rifle Magazine
Handguns
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns



Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (31)

  1. Scott, Underwood makes one such round at 1,700 fps but it is with a bullet of only 65gr, and produces just 417 ft. lbs. of ME, which is above the average for the 9mm which is around 350 ft. lbs. However, they also make a round with a 115 gr bullet, which fires at 1,400 fps and this one produces 500 ft, lbs., and along with the Buffalo Bore equivalent, this is the max power for any 9mm manufactured ammo. Get my ballistics file if you want to see more.

  2. Joe, I just sent my file off yesterday to another from this forum! You can reach me at vlavalle@ix.netcom.com. It is a PDF file, so all can read it and it is completely safe. Please keep in mind that it is a rather large file, both in length and width, so it is not really very usable from a smart phone, and perhaps a bit hard to use on a tablet (10″ or less) too. It covers 35 handgun and 25 rifle calibers, and has over 3,500 entries, plus a lot more on ammo.

  3. Hey Guys
    I appreciate reading all the comments. I would like to ask Vincent how to access his ballistics data file?

    Many Thanks

    Joe (US Army Vet.)

  4. It was disappointing not to find the Speer/CCI “Gold Dot” offerings among the recommendations.
    I began Handloading and conducting Ballistic Testing of them in the early 90’s, the 115, 125 and 147 Gr. Mostly through a “Carbine Length Barrel” and into saturated Newspaper Bales at 15 feet.
    Deep Penetration was achieved with all loadings and Massive Expansion plus near 100% Weight Retention was was Standard.
    For Myself, I keep both my Carbine and Sidearms stoked with the.

  5. Two comments.1 – I have yet to see any actual results be it human oranimal using Ruger ARX or other poly case cartridges. 2nd – For 9mm penetration the award goes to Hirtenberger 100 gr ‘soft point” law enforcement grade cartridges. I fired into ten one gallon water filled jugs -60 inches- and did not recover the bullet.

  6. @Owen McCullen…. really? 6 shots of 9mm to put a dog down… c’mon. I call BS. I’m not a 9mm fan, I’ve been shot by a felon during a high risk warrant… dang near center mass and yeah, it hurt with just soft armor.
    I had to put my own dog down, “Buck”. Black Lab/Chow… 15 years old. He was a bad***. One hell of a companion and partner. Was he what would be considered traditional K9 LEO? No. But that’s what made him… Raised him from a pup. Hurt to dispatch him… he knew it was time though. He was deaf, arthritis, teeth were worn.. one round of .40 FMJ base of the neck. He twitched, Nothing more than just central nervous system reaction. Was it painful to watch. Yup.

  7. Liberty civil defense load is what I use it’s light weight 2000k fps great expansion and gets the job done.

  8. Bob, Thanks for the link to the Buffalo Bore .357 Mag Hard Cast ammo you were referring to (item # 19A/20). I had it in my ballistics file already, and I linked to the BB website just to make sure. But I had not marked down in my file that it was Hard cast because two of the three online source I have for this round in my file (Midway and Cheaper than Dirt) do not mention this attribute at all! But Buffalo Bore does, and unfortunately, it does not give any penetration info like their websites did on the other ammo you and I both discussed. So, I cannot make any comparison of its penetration with that of the 9mm hard cast one. This Buffalo Bore hard cast ammo produces 783 ft. lbs, which is still nearly double that of the 9mm you mentioned (398 ft. lbs.).

  9. Interesting read. I do have to agree with a great deal of it. However I do carry a .45 most of the time, but being a combat veteran Marine and having seen both used against human targets I can say both are effective.
    Vincent’s comment about the pressures is only incorrect to the point of today’s manufactured firearms are designed to take such pressures. That information is readily available on the manufacturer’s websites.
    Even though they are both effective I have seen where someone more likely “to not want anymore” that has been hit with a .45 acp. The place where the.45 acp does not perform as well is when it comes to penetrating heavy clothing and some body armor. A 9mm has been known to penetrate some body armor. With that being said getting hit by a .45 would be like getting hit by a sledgehammer at 200 mph. Either way I don’t want to be hit with either one. The .357 (in my opinion) will always be king and is in a class all of its own.
    Bottom line is Carry what you are comfortable with, practice often and become proficient with it. Having any of the mentioned is better than not having anything. Personal , I prefer the federal HST LE or Speer LE rounds. They always perform and their choice is Sig ammo.

  10. I have been shooting 9mm since 1965; and started using Lyman 356402 mould about 1970.

    Stuff your case with Red Dot. Groups and penetrates well. That’s all you need for practice an protection. Yes all the critical defence is great stuff; but should you have to load your own for whatever reason, this combination works well in any firearm

  11. @ TOM BROLLINI: You state “but a hit with a 45 vs 9mm, in the same place – the 45 wins – always. Speed is “not” the “be all” that 9 folks like to portray.” And that is where I would take issue with you. Before I make my point, I will tell you that I carried a 1911 overseas 50 or so years ago as an Army Medic on a SAR and Recon team. My preference for personal carry is the .45 ACP even now. After I got out of the Army in the mid 70’s, I worked in ER for the next thirty plus years before I retired from ER and taught nursing for a number of years. Over a span of almost 40 years, I have seen hundreds of patients with GSWs in a myriad of calibers.

    Much of what people believe about “knockdown power” is inflated. When someone is shot there is one of two things that kills them. The first and most common, in my experience, is exsanguination, or blood loss. A projectile entering the body makes holes. If those holes perforate large blood vessels, the victim will bleed out faster than if no large blood vessels are involved. I have seen a number of patients who were gut shot and survived, although some did lose sections of their innards in order to save their lives. But there were not major vessels involved. Any hit to the abdominal aorta will result in significant blood loss as will the coeliac, splenic, renal, mesenteric, or hepatic arteries, but if they are missed, even if only by an inch or two, the chance of extensive blood loss goes way down. The advantage that the .45 has is it makes a bigger hole than other calibers. Some of the faster calibers create a shockwave effect in the tissue surrounding the area of penetration and causes more damage and in some cases more leakage from weakened vascular integrity. There are times when the faster bullet causes more damage to the surrounding tissues than the slower, albeit larger, bullet.

    The second thing that kills people is neurologic injury where the brain is damaged sufficiently to shut down, spinal injuries originating from gunshots sometimes cause death if there is what is called spinal shock and definitive treatment is not rendered in a timely manner. I have seen a number of people shot in the head with a variety of calibers who were NOT killed. Head shots are one area where I have not ever seen a .45 fail to kill the gunshot victim. I have seen people shot in other parts of their body where the injury was not fatal and a second (or third shot) was required if that victim’s time was up.

    As much as I like the .45, I must admit that it is not guaranteed to stop everyone in their tracks. Bullets must hit the right part of the body if they are to do their job. Too many people think that shot placement is easy in a firefight, not realizing that there are too many things that happen to the shooter that impede his (or her) ability to acquire the target with the sights or have the coordination to do so. This is where the sympathetic nervous system takes over and changes the shooter’s reality, there is tunnel vision, time seems to slow down, if not stop, and all sensory input is changed. It is like buck fever for a new hunter, only worse. Speaking from experience, mine and others who have been there.

  12. @Owen McCullen: I sympathize with your angst but your situation was not the fault of the caliber you were using. As a former Army medic and ER nurse, (now retired) I have seen many GSWs to just about all parts of the body, even seeing a man effectively made a eunuch by a jealous significant other.

    When a person (or animal) is shot, what causes death is either exsanguination or massive neurologic failure. A bullet perforates blood vessels causing massive bleeding. When enough bleeding occurs, there is not enough blood reaching the brain in order for it to function and it stops. If a person is struck in the lungs and it collapses, there may be enough oxygen deprivation that the brain cannot function and the person will die unless treated quickly. If there is sufficient neurologic damage from the GSW, the brain ceases to function and the animal person will die.
    I have shot a number of deer who took off running and only after running way too far did they collapse because most of their operating fluid volume was dumped into their chest cavity when their heart was destroyed by my shot. Several ran up to 150 yards after being heart shot with reliable deer calibers. I hit one deer in the head with a .270 at less than 100 yards and it required a follow-up chest shot as all I did was blow off the front portion deer’s head. There was no extensive neurologic damage but the deer was made blind by my shot and could not see to get up and run.

    In order to effectively execute any animal (or human) with a head shot, one must understand enough anatomy of the targeted animal or individual to know where the killing shots are. I have heard of, but not personally seen, people shot in the head with .44 Special, and .45 Long Colt who were not killed. I have seen a number of people shot with other calibers in the head who did not succumb to their injures. That is because of where they were hit. A well placed brain stem hit with a .22 will dispatch just about any target as this destroys all communication between the brain and the spinal cord which will shut down the entire cardiovascular system.

    There is a misconception that head shots are always fatal. They are not. It is dependent upon the structures that are damaged inside the head. Now, those injuries can be devastating and debilitating to the targeted individual but if certain key structures inside the head are left intact, death is not always certain.

  13. I was a long time lover of the .45 ACP and carried my Colt officers polished stainless 3 inch barreled.45 for near 30 yrs. But i recently have had health issues and not quite as strong as i used to be and the Colt was getting very heavy to carry all day concealed. My son has been trying to get me to go to a Glock for a long time and i finally said ok and picked out the Glock 43X and i love it. With the modern 21st century bullets and powders we have now the 9MM is plenty enough gun for EDC self defense. It is not GPA’S 9MM anymore lol so try different bullets and weights of said bullets until you find the 1 you like and the gun likes. I like my bullets a little heavier for self defense and use the 147 grain SIG V Crown and i am confident in that ammo and the Glock 43X to perform well.

    1. Tom,
      I do not show any of your comments being removed. Comments do not immediately post. They have to go through a moderator first. ~Dave

  14. OK, lets compare – 9mm 110-158gr, your bullets either do normal penetration or over penetrate at 20″ +. Expand to “whatever”, vs a .45 from 185 to “whatever”, that penetrates to optimum depths & expands “bigger”, causes more damage, more bleeding & “big & ‘enough’ speed”, has proven to be a better man stopper – period! Sure if you need to spray & pray a 15 rd mag may be a help to you….but a hit with a 45 vs 9mm, in the same place – the 45 wins – always. Speed is “not” the “be all” that 9 folks like to portray. Personally, I use & carry a 45, from VN to police officer, to old retired guy. A guy that has seen how they work! ps: not to say I don’t put a pocket 9 in the shorts on occasion lol.

  15. Billy M,

    Agreed. I trust only lab testing. Most of the so called stopping power studies are the product of rascals who impress the ignorant. If they happened at all- which is doubtful.

  16. Owen

    9mm NATO is designed to penetrate a military helmet and it certainly will.
    This load has demonstrated excellent penetration. I cannot imagine how it failed to penetrate a canine skull.

    These loads dont make the 9mm a .45 but they make the 9mm the best it can be and that is pretty good.

  17. Vincent
    You are incorrect concerning the Buffalo Bore 180 grain bullet. While they do offer a hollow point in this weight in .357 Magnum Buffalo Bore offers a series of hard cast bullet loads in .38, 9mm, and .357 that all offer excellent penetration. They maximize each caliber for maximum penetration and breaking heavy bone.

    As for Cor Bon they are long out of business. The Double Tap loads seldom achieve the quoted velocity. That leaves us with Buffalo Bore
    Bob

  18. I have the greatest of respect for Bob Campbell and follow most everything he pens with avid interest. However, that doesn’t mean that I always agree with his opinion. I used to be a devoted 9mm fan and had several for different purposes. I now have only one used for inexpensive practice shooting and introducing new shooters with weak grips and soft hands to shooting. I hope to avoid causing an inexperienced shooter from giving up before beginning due to some perceived recoil from an effective caliber.
    I fell out with the 9mm for serious defensive purposes when I believed it was necessary to mercifully dispatch a large neighbor’s dog who had been completely run over by a passing car. It was large dog, always friendly to me and my family. The car’s tire had passed completely over the dog’s midsection and a large portion of his intestines protruded from his anus and was laying in soft dirt beside the road. The dog was alive, whining and crying. My neighbor asked me to end his misery.
    I pulled my trusty 9mm Llama 1911 style full size pistol. I placed the gun within about an inch of the dog’s head, near the top of back and shot the dog. The shot had apparent little effect and the whining dog lifted his head briefly and stared at me. I hated that experience. I was trying to end the dog’s suffering. It took 6 rounds from that pistol before the dog died. Why would I ever bet my life on a 9mm when it did not even kill a 70 pound dog at point blank range?
    I now pack either a .357 magnum revolver or 10 mm pistol and have more confidence in their ability in the event I need to defend my life or that of a close family member. Yes, there is recoil of greater amount than with the 9. However, it isn’t enough to do any harm and training with the weapon alleviates any down side to the increased recoil.
    It is a free country, somewhat, given all the individual rights we have lost in recent years and so you may, if you are allowed to carry at all in your jurisdiction, choose your caliber. I choose to carry a weapon in which I have confidence and not one that causes me to wonder if it would do the job in any life threatening situation.

  19. I have been writing for a very long time here in this forum, and others about the weakness of the 9mm, even though it is the most widely used caliber in the world. I call it a ‘pea shooter’. This article is attempting to make it sound like it is far better than many have come to realize, but with only a very few exceptions is this the case. Again, I have a ballistics file I have been building and maintaining for over 10 years, and it tells the real story about all the calibers I have listed, which is 35 handgun calibers, and 25 rifle ones. In my ballistics file, the 9mm averages 351 ft. lbs of ME (from over 200 distinct 9mm cartridges sold), whereas its closest competitor the .45 ACP averages 421 ft. lbs (again, 200 distinct cartridges available on the open market).

    So, ignoring averages, what can hyped up, what can extra powered 9mm cartridges do, especially compared to others, like the .45ACP, and in this article, to the .357 Mag, which was the most powerful cartridge in the world for 21 years! There are only a very few high powered 9mm cartridges, made by Buffalo Bore (several between 465-500 ft. lbs.), Cor-bon (434 ft. lbs.), and DoubleTap (472 ft. lbs.). I suspect that most (over 90%) of all 9mm pistols in existence today would not be able to shoot these without damage to themselves or the gun.

    At any rate, all of these are far below what the small (compared to real high powered ammo) .45 ACP can do, where it ranges in the high 500’s and low 600’s of ME often at the upper end, not to even mention the .45 Super. In addition, Bob states “This load penetrates like mad and offers penetration at least comparable to a 160-grain hard cast .38 Special, or the 180-grain .357 also offered by Buffalo Bore.” But this is primarily due to the bullet being a hard case one, and it does not expand. The .357 Mag mentioned here by Buffalo Bore has an ME of 898 ft. lbs., as compared to just 395 for the Buffalo Bore 9mm hard cast round mentioned here. This is a HUGE difference. Given the fact that bore size is related to penetration, the .357 Mag and 9mm have almost exactly the same bore size (.355 for the 9mm, and .357 for the .357 Mag)! So, the bore size s not a factor here. But the statement that the 9mm has more penetration than the 180 gr .357 Mag by Buffalo Bore a bit misleading.

    And Bob is correct in that the hard cast lead bullets do penetrate considerably further because they do not expand much, and the Buffalo Bore 180 gr .357 Mag round is not a hard cast bullet. But according to the Buffalo Bore website, it will “When impacting flesh and bone at normal 6-inch revolver speeds, (1500 fps) this bullet will expand readily to about 60 caliber and penetrate about 18-25 inches depending on which bones are struck and the exact impact speed.” (https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=541) The 9mm 147gr Buffalo Bore hard cast with a hard cast bullet is designed to “designed to penetrate deeply (4 to 6 feet) in a straight line” (https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=388).

    Buffalo Bore goes on to discuss the pluses and minuses of a bullet with very high penetration capability. Go to the 9mm Buffalo Bore website link I give hear and read that for yourself. There is a big trade off when using this round against people, and as it goes into the person behind, or thru the wall to hit someone else, etc. This would imply that it is not a good round for self human defense, but may be good in the woods against a charging small bear of deer, where over penetration is also not so critical. On the other hand, the heavy 180gr .357 Mag round (normal .357 Mag is 158gr) would be a good self defense round, assuming you can handle the .357 Mag recoil! It has over double the power of the 9mm 147 Buffalo Bore round! It would probably knock a person over right away (depending on body armor) with its great expansion and power.

    My ballistics file is available to all, and it is free. It has over 3.500 entries, where each entry is a link to online and has the rounds’ ballistics.

  20. “Factory loads intended for practice are usually loaded to the 30,000 PSI level, while standard pressure is around 35,000 PSI for defense loads. +P loads may register 38,500 PSI. ”

    CIP Maximum pressure 34,084 psi
    SAAMI Maximum pressure 35,000 psi
    NATO service pressure 36,500 psi
    Russian 7N21 & 7N31 41,000 psi
    NATO & CIP Proof Test 45,700 psi

  21. interesting article. For me, until I see some actual shooting data (i.e. forensic data from shooting victims) I’ll stay with my .40 and .45. My mantra is use the largest caliber round that you can comfortably handle. Maybe in a few more years, I will be looking at a 9mm (when I’m in my 70’s) but for now, still not comfortable with 9mm.

  22. I bought some Hornady Critical Defense 9mm Luger 115-grain FTX but they won’t load in my Taurus G2, Hard to find any of the good stuff mentioned herein. Most of what we find around this area is JHP with a few variations in powder grain. Sure hope the local gunsmith can fix the loading problem with the Taurus and Hornady ammo. Seems to be with the ramp.

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