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Self-defense ammo

3768 Views 15 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  andy
I’m curious as to what types of ammo others use in their carry guns. I currently carry Speer Gold Dots in the 9mm and .40 and Hydra Shoks in the .45. Has anyone tried the solid point expanding rounds?
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Carry the Speer Gold Dot in .40 S&W. Dept. issued/mandate so it's all I can carry. No problem with it though. We had a local M.E. tell us whatever it is we are using to keep using it...:D Good stuff.
Handloads. 147 grain Hornady XTP in the 9mm, loaded to +P+ pressure, about 1,150 fps. 230 grain Speer Gold Dot in the .45 Colt. Wife's .357 has 158 grain Hornady XTP's.

Had some separation with the XTP's, starting to play around with Gold Dot's for the 9 and the .357.

I've always had a leaning towards the Gold Dots in every caliber I shoot. More a visual thing than anything else, as they just have an interesting design. Matter of fact, I tend to reload with this bullet make as well, whenever possible.
Has anyone shot the 100% copper HPs yet? I read some articles but haven't actually seen them for sale. was selling 9mm solid copper rounds a while back. I bought a couple of cases of them. It was some sort of closeout deal with Federal, if I remember correctly.

I fired a couple of them through some phone books and they punch a neat uniform hole all the way through. When you dig it out of the clay hill, the projectile looks like you could reload it again.
:) I know this thread has been around for awhile; but I thought I would add that I've recently switched from the exotic hollow points to (Are you ready for this?) hard ball! That's right, FMJ hard ball. Why? OK, I want to do maximum damage to any bone that I may hit; I would rather have two wounds on a BG - entrance AND exit - rather than just one. I, also, don't consider over-penetration to be a significant issue. Generally speaking, if you have to worry about what's behind your target, then, you probably shouldn't fire a gun in the first place. In case you're wondering which ammo brand I'm using, here's another shocker: CCI Blazer! ;)

PS: Of course, I'm talking about 45acp ammo - here. When I carry the 9mm or below, then, it's Golden Sabre, Gold Dot, or Silvertip - all the way.
I carry the Winchester Black Talon 230 gr 45 ACP. I also have some Rem Golden Saber. A friend of mine shot some of that expanding FMJ ammo into milk jugs full of water and the things didn't expand. He then shot them into phone books and they worked. They looked like that they were full of some kind of white plastic stuff. I think that if you carry a 45 it dosen't matter what kind of ammo it is, because it will get the job done.


Anyone taken a look at that new .45 GAP (Glock Auto Pistol) ammo? Looks rather interesting. Sure wish they had come out with a .50 GAP round. Now THAT would really make my lump jump!!
I've been carrying 230 gr. 45 ACP Hydrashoks. Today, I traded my Kimber Pro CDP for a new Kimber Ultra Carry II. (Easier to conceal.) While I was there, I grabbed some lightweight CorBon PowRBall +P rounds.

From what I've been able to gather, "Mass penetrates, but energy stops." Since I'm a civilian, and don't need to be shooting through any car doors, I figure I'm better off with lighter, higher-velocity rounds.

I'm also concerned about getting consistent expansion from the Hydrashoks. I ran a bunch through my brother's Ultra Carry II last weekend, shooting at an old wooden fence post. When they say "Hydra", they mean it! I recovered a round that had the hollowpoint packed full of wood, and the round didn't expand a bit. Not even a hint of expansion. The serrations didn't even split open.

I figure if wood will do that, so will a leather coat, or other clothing.

The Pow-R-Ball rounds have a synthetic ball filling the hollowpoint. They expand no matter what they hit.

I've also carried the Federal EFJM (Expanding Full Metal Jacket) rounds. They are copper-jacketed, and have a synthetic rubber plug inside the tip. They, too, expand no matter what they hit. Great rounds, and very positive feeding! But I can't find them for sale around here. Had to get them from the Ammoman.

I may pick up a few boxes of the EFMJ and compare them against the Pow-R-Ball rounds, using my carry gun, and see which ones it likes the best.

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Heck, the problem is probably that there is NO best ammo. Best for what and under what circumstances? How many different places in a human body can a round hit? How many different ways will each of those areas affect what the bullet does while passing through?

What happens if it hits bone? Or will it pass clean on through the abdomen and out the back? Does passing through a heavy coat in wintertime give you the same results as passing through a T-shirt on a hot summer night?

Is using a light fast bullet that may basically explode on contact with flesh and muscle gouging out a 2 inch deep area of blasted material better or worse than a slow heavy bullet passing through with a .5 inch hole in the front and a .5 inch hole in the back?

How big will your assailant be? Is he wearing a vest? At what angle will the shot be fired? Are you standing or has the fight begun before you knew it and you're laying on the ground partially stunned?

You are shooting to STOP him, but you are in a very high stress situation and finesse is out the window. Aim?? Yeah, right.

Break out your scale for weighing powder when reloading. Check out how much material we are talking about for 40 grains of lead. Is that REALLY going to make all that much difference for a .45 ACP round? Is 200 fps going to be critical?

Quite frankly, I think it's a matter of any port in a storm. No matter what KIND of bullet you have, it is going to do something bad to whoever gets hit by it. But expecting one design to be a magic bullet over another and be the perfect one shot stop, well, I'm not sold on that idea at all. I think all said and done, I would favor penetration over expansion. Better chance of hitting something important that will shut the body down hard and fast.

IMHO, of course.
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Since I'm a civilian, my thinking is this:

1. I want ENERGY, not PENETRATION. That means lightweight and high velocity. If I have to shoot, the guy is highly unlikely to be wearing body armor. I'm also unlikely to need to shoot through a car door or windshield. Stuff that cops need to worry about isn't a concern for me. Both mass and velocity factor into the energy equation, but energy is a fuction of the SQUARE of velocity. Increasing velocity is a much more effective means of increasing energy than adding mass. (Adding mass increasing momentum, and thus penetration. That's why cops want heavy bullets: So they can shoot through obstacles and/or armor.)

2. I want expansion no matter what. That means a hydra-shok or similar isn't the best choice. I want something that will expand no matter what it hits. I also want to avoid over-penetration. Not just because I might kill a bystander, but also because if the bullet exits the target it means that whatever energy is left in the projectile is wasted energy. I want 100% of the energy to be dissipated into the target.

3. I want positive feeding. In a 1911 or clone, that means a bullet that resembles the profile of a military hardball round. The Pow-R-Ball and the Fed. EFMJ fit the bill.

The ideal "civilian defense" round is actually going to have MORE stopping power than the ideal "police" round, because the intended mission is different. I originally bought the 230 gr. Hydra-shoks because they were "the biggest and baddest." Having studied up on the matter, though, I realized that I was thinking with my little head instead of my big head. ;)

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nobody said anything's perfect, but some

are provably (on animals) a LOT more shocking and destructive than others. The more shock and tissue destruction a hit lays on the perp, the better the odds that he will either voluntarily stop, or he'll be physically unable to continue.
that much is true. About the only

factory handgun load that amounts to a hoot is the 135 gr jhp 10mm load, from Double Tap. At 1500 fps in a 4" barrel, it's pretty hard to control in an alloy framed gun, but it can be done, by a skilled man. This load has enough velocity to assure real expansion of the jhp, and that means effective use of its 670 ft lbs. That's a very serious blow.
124 grain +P Gold Dots in G19's
127 grain +P+ Ranger in G17L
180 grain Gold Dots in G27
230 grain Std pressure Ranger or Gold Dots in 5" 1911
reloads. 600 ft lbs in pocket pc , 800 ft

lbs in the belt pc. 55 grs, 2200 fps in the pocket pc, 70 grs, 2300 fps in the belt pc (lw Commander). Prefer the pocket pc, for its ability to be on target .4 seconds faster, from an innocuous hand start position. Basically, if I considered the pocket gun to be inadequate (backed up by armor and a black belt) I either wouldn't go, or I have the suppressed CAR-15, 2 pocket pistols, (one a suppressed .22) and probably a grenade or small pipe bomb in each ankle pouch. :) The belt pistol is mostly just for when hiking, where and when a shot at big game is a feasible thing to have happen. I have never been known to care much about "seasons" and such things, because hunting with a real sidearm is handicap enough to prevent any mass killings on my part. :)
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