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9mm Pow R Ball

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by 9mmParabellum, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. 9mmParabellum


    Jul 11, 2010
    Anyone here know anything about this round as far as documented shootings and how well it did?

    100gr 9mm moving at 1425fps is moving but I believe 115gr-127gr would be a better choice.

    It feeds well like FMJ but that only means a little to me.

    I am really only more interested in the 9mm.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
  2. Deputydave

    Deputydave Millennium Member

    Feb 20, 1999
    Does it reliably penetrate deep enough to hit a vital? 100 grains seems too light in my opinion. A bonded 115 can reach 12 inches, but many 115's only hit around 7-9 inches.

    Just a thought to consider.

  3. SIGShooter

    SIGShooter Hucklebucks

    Jan 25, 2005

    Do a search on the Pow R Ball. There was a member here who had to use his gun for SD, he was carrying this round. I believe he had to shoot through his car windshield (Inside to out). My recollection is that the round failed miserably.

    It's an okay round. It moves fast but lacks in penetration. I prefer penetration over expansion and speed.
  4. ronin.45


    Apr 24, 2008
    I carry the Pow R ball. It is a very devestating round. I prefer speed and rapid expansion to penetration. The only thing I've been able to kill with a 9mm Pow R ball is a groundhog but it performed flawlessly. About 5.5-6" of penetration with textbook expansion and it pretty much liquified the chest cavity. I also know firsthand that it is one of the only defensive rounds that will reliably expand within the human foot. "Stopping Power" is derived from the bullet transferring energy into the target. More penetration equals worse energy transfer. In my book 6" is optimum for a human. Even big 400# guys organs are less than 6" deep. The 12-14" recommended by some will put most of the energy into the wall behind the target.
  5. Deputydave

    Deputydave Millennium Member

    Feb 20, 1999
    This isn't meant as a flame or to insult you, I do however need to disagree with just about everything you've stated. A particular round maybe effective on a small rodent and yet not be effective on a human.

    The real world does not support this conclusion. As I've stated, almost since the beginning of GT, speed and expansion in-and-of-themselves are poor wounding mechanisms. A round that penetrates deep enough to hit a vital organ or the CNS is a more reliable mechanism. This has been verified time and again, not only in real world shootings, but in hunting as well.

    A bullet needs only enough speed to leave the barrel, travel to the intended target and perform as designed. Anything excess simply slows down follow up shots, which are more important that expanded diameter.

    Perhaps a small rodent, but not a human sized target. What is commonly not understood is that an obstructed shot is the norm, not the exception. If all shots were unobstructed, frontal torso shots then you're right, six inches is generally fine. But chances are you'll be shooting through a limb if nothing else. In order for someone (badguy) to need shooting, he must be threatening you. Not many badguys keep their arms down by there sides to threaten you. In my professional duties, which are now at 25 years I've seen far more obstructed shots in real shootings than unobstructed, frontal shots. In these cases, six inches will not transverse a limb and still get into a vital. Not to mention side shots or other obstructions. This is why L.E. uses rounds with the 12 inch benchmark. Real world data indicates this as a necessity.

    The terms 'stopping power', 'knock down power', 'man-stopper' etc are industry buzz words used by the gun rags. Rapid incapacitation is a result of blood pressure loss, blood loss or a CNS hit. As I've put many times on this board, since the beginning, Sgt. Hathcock is a prime example of 'energy transfer' not being an effective wounding mechanism.

    Based on what may I ask? How many people have you shot? How many people have you seen shot and with what? How many operations have you attended? How many autopsies have you attended. How many surgeons have you interviewed. How many people shot have you interviewed?

    Feel free to ask me any of those questions, I'd be happy to give you in-depth answers based upon 25 years worth of being on both ends of the barrel, being in operating rooms, talking with everyone that came across my path involved in shootings or seeking them out. In my professional opinion (and most professionals opinions that aren't linked to an ammo company) 12 inches is the benchmark based on real world shootings.

    Complete shoot-throughs with HP ammunition is a rare thing. If it does make it all the way through the upper torso it usually gets lodged in the skin on the far side of the target or is found on the ground within a few feet. The Hollywood version of someone getting shot and the round and ten gallons of blood splattering the wall behind them has a much validity as the round knocking them backwards ten feet.

    Again, no flame and not busting your chops but you are misinformed.
  6. Dogguy


    Aug 2, 2008
    Soggy South.
    I think we're about to see another discussion re: expansion vs penetration.

  7. Jeff82

    Jeff82 NRA Benefactor CLM

    Feb 25, 2002
    Deputydave is on the money. Ronin.45 is in a fantasy land of his own making.
  8. TeamCorbon


    Dec 20, 2002
    Western PA
    Just an FYI.

    We were at the Mid Atlantic Tactical Conference over the weekend in Culpeper, VA. We shot 10% ballistic gelatin with a 4 layer denim barreir. Any of the participants were invited to shoot their ammo from their gun into the gelatin. We had a person with a Glock 26 loaded with our 100 gr PowRball load try his. He got 13" of penetration with complete expansion to over .60 caliber.

    PowRball was never designed to be a hard barrier penetrator, but on soft tissue it seems to work very well in all duty sized calibers. Our AAR's that we receive back this up. For a defensive gun used for CCW or home defense, it seems to work just fine.
  9. Deputydave

    Deputydave Millennium Member

    Feb 20, 1999
    And please note that my comments were not against your product. I'm not familiar with this particular Cor-Bon product so I can't objectively comment on it one way or the other. My comments were specifically regarding 6 inches being acceptable and speed and expansion being a be-all-end-all mechanism.

    If this individual got 13 inches of penetration out of a G26 then that is excellent. The .60 expansion is great as well. Does this seem to be the norm?

    Also, I understand the ammo not being designed for hard barriers. Too be honest, hard barriers can be hard on any ammo. The soft barriers are my prime consideration, particularly for a civilian or off-duty weapon where it is very likely to be up close and personal. In this case, a limb or a cross-section shot is very likely. Anyone that has used a F.A.T.S. machine will attest to the amount of limb barrier shots that happen.
  10. ronin.45


    Apr 24, 2008
    No problem. I don't mind friendly discourse.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  11. Deputydave

    Deputydave Millennium Member

    Feb 20, 1999
    Excellent, I'm glad to see you're open-minded to consider others experience/comments. That is sadly something that has become all too rare on this board.

    I'd like to take a look at some of your replies and then give you my thoughts.

    Much of this depends upon the caliber. In 9mm, I would agree that +P is popular in L.E. though not all issue a +P round in this caliber. I personally don't know of any +P+ though there may be some. First, a +P isn't that much faster than a standard velocity round. Using Speer GD as an example since this was our duty round when we had the 9mm issued Beretta, I believe a standard loading is aroud 1150 and the +P from Speer is 1220 in the 124 grain offering. That is 70 fps. That really isn't a lot of difference, certainly not something that would contribute dramatically to terminal ballistics. Often times the +P is cheaper for an agency to purchase in bulk or the ammo company makes a discount available for a reason.

    However, in 9mm the 147 standard load is still also widely used effectively. We've transitioned to .45 (Glock 21) and we use a standard load of Speer GD which I believe is 850 fps.

    On the contrary, it is set up this way. The 'FBI' testing standards are bare, clothing, heavy clothing, sheet metal, auto glass etc. Some also test with wood (simulate fences or doors) and some place beef ribs in front of the gel.

    Agree 100%.

    Again a point to consider. A round that first strikes a limb or rib will have its penetration depth reduced considerably. I cannot assign a dogmatic % of times a limb is hit (because it is in front of the COM you're aiming for) or the % of time a person is bladed to you (requiring a cross-torso shot with or without a limb in the way) but from experience in real shootings as well as the F.A.T.S. machine I would put it at 75%+. Again, not being dogmatic but it happens most of the time. This increases the distance that round will have to travel in order to get into a vital.

    I've seen 9mm 115's not leave the limb because the bone was hit. One case was a man shot 12 times (6 arm/6 leg) as he was bladed to the officers. Each round hit and broke the bones in the upper arm and leg. But none exited the arm or leg on the far side. I don't remember the brand of 115 and this isn't indicative of all 115's. But it does serve as an example.

    In order of a round to 'shoot-through' someone it has to go through the clothes, the skin, the body (including the possibility of ribs on both sides of the torso), the skin on the far side and the clothing on the far side. Generally speaking, a shoot-through with a functioning HP is rare. And the round may just pin ball inside the body as well which is a strong possibility if it strikes bone.

    Good talking with you. :wavey:
  12. WoodenPlank

    WoodenPlank Who?

    May 15, 2010
    NW Florida
    Sgt. Hathcock being a board member here, or the famous (or infamous, if you were VC or NVA) GySgt. Carlos Hathcock? I know Carlos Hathcock was badly njured when a vehicle he was in hit a mine, but I am not sure how your comment could fit into that. Can you elaborate what you were referring to?

    Also, thank you for mentioning that penetration is affected by ribs and bones. Most people either forget, or don't realize that ballistic gel is designed to simulate muscle tissue, and muscle tissue only (specifically the thigh muscle from a pig, I believe). It does not account for either bone, or the varying densities of the tissue inside the human chest. Ribs and the sternum are pretty darn tough bones, and can really affect the penetration capabilities of a round fired into a human torso - another reason why that 12" of penetration in gel is important.
  13. legion3


    Mar 31, 2000
    Parrish FL
    Shouldn't powerball really for guns that either choke on HP's or were designed for FMJ. If a gun can shoot other hollow points are there not much better choices than Pow'r ball?

    To me the powerball in a older P38 or pre mark 3 Browning HP seems to me to be what the round screams for.
  14. ronin.45


    Apr 24, 2008
    FMJ like feeding is only one of the advantages to the Pball design. It is also about the only defensive round that is guaranteed to expand properly. The polymer ball forces expansion upon contact unlike traditional HPs that require hydraulic pressure to open them up. I look at Pball as the ballistic tip of defensive ammo.
  15. DocKWL


    May 15, 2009
    This forum is notorious for it's propagation of inaccurate information and ill-informed opinions and this post will reign over them all.
  16. Deputydave

    Deputydave Millennium Member

    Feb 20, 1999
    In the book, 'Marine Sniper', Hathcock relates an incident where he shoots a VC with what normally would be considered a 'kill' shot i.e. a well placed frontal torso shot. The VC not only wasn't killed, he started to charge Hathcock's position. Hathcock continued to fire, inflicting and additional five shots I believe into the torso of the VC with his Win model 30 .308 to the extent he states he could see chucks of the VC's chest being blown off. The final shot was a head shot that stopped him. Now here's the point, one of the best snipers ever, using a high powered rifle, and hitting with well-placed shots failed to put down an adrenaline (and jungle juiced) 130lbs man (approx) until a final head shot. So point #1, even well placed shots that penetrate can and will fail to incapacitate quickly, or at all. Point #2, a .308 produces quite a bit more 'energy transfer' than a handgun, yet it also failed. It actually took a direct CNS hit to stop him.

    As far as a wounding mechanism, penetration to a vital or CNS is simply more reliable than things like 'energy transfer'. It isn't an absolute, but it has proven to be more reliable. There have been a lot of 'theories' running around for years regarding energy transfer. They've gone by various names and often tout the same nonsense, which unfortunately misleads the shooting public. Years ago the 'theory' was that if a handgun round exceeding 600 fpe hit the chest it would stop the heart. Well...that doesn't happen. Sounds good. Good for ammo sales. But it isn't factual.

    Case it point, the 9mm 147 HP. Gets a bad rap....on the internet discussion boards. In the real world it is an excellent round. Now, to be fair, 20 years ago the design didn't reliably expand at the normal subsonic velocities. That was 20 years ago. Things change. They expand reliably now, are tack-driver accurate, less recoil for faster follow up shots and fall within the penetration window that experts with real world experience say is optimal. They're not a death ray...but then no round/caliber is. They are however an excellent choice. The bad rap they get from people on the net perpetuating ancient history is not a great source to base your ammo choice on. Not pointing my finger at anyone in this thread, just a general statement.

    There is a reason that so many professional agencies use mid to heavy weight for caliber rounds as opposed to the +P+ light rounds. It is up to the individual shooter to seriously and thoughtfully examine why and arrive at their own conclusion.

    My two cents, take it for what you think it's worth YMMV :wavey:
  17. Just try 'em! See if you like you like them...but more importantly, see if your gun likes 'em! (unless it's a Glock of course, they are like Mikey - they "eat anything!" :) )

    I continue to buy FMJ as it's SO much cheaper and I like to shoot and train myself alot and it saves me money. I also tend to buy some Corbon and some Hornady for carry, and I try to remember to rotate this "carry ammo" out every 6 months or so...

    but if I'm out of the "super-duper stuff"....I'll load up with FMJ for a few days and carry that way...and I won't feel bad about it.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
  18. BOGE

    BOGE Millennium Member

    Mar 21, 1999
    I now apply your question from earlier in this thread to the aforementioned question re ``modern`` 147 gr. ammo.
  19. tx787


    Feb 11, 2010
    I generally think it's best to stick to ammunition that is widely used by LE agencies rather than specialty or gimmick ammo. This ammo was designed for guns that can't feed JHP reliably. In my book, those aren't guns to be used for defensive purposes.

    Your best bet for 9mm is going to be 124 grain (+p if you have a decent gun).

    Just stick with the major brands, Speer Gold Dot, Federal HST, Winchester Ranger, Remington Golden Sabre...