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Carry Ammo - Different Bullet Weight for Winter?

Discussion in 'GATE Self-Defense Forum' started by BuffaloXJ, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. BuffaloXJ


    Jan 10, 2010
    Southern NM
    I just enrolled in a class to get my CCL and have started researching ammo. In this research, I have come across quite a few posts where people mention that they carry the same ammo with a different bullet weight in the winter. Mostly it's been 155/165gr in the summer and 180gr in the winter. Needless to say, this got me thinking. Is this a matter of in the summer people wear fewer layers of clothing and thus there is less of a barrier for the bullet to travel through for self defense? Where as in the winter, people will have an undershirt, shirt, fleece and a jacket and the more layers create more of a loss in energy of the bullet before it hits vital organs?

    If that's the case, perhaps you can help me in my specific situation. I will be carrying a G23 or a G27 most of the time (if funds allow I may get another caliber in a subcompact size), so .40s&w is my caliber of choice. I live up in the mountains at 9000 feet, so during the winter (at work, in my town, around my house) it will be below freezing most of the time and many people will have layers of clothes on.

    However, since the town I live in has a population of ~750 people, I have to drive down to the closest town (16 miles away) that has a Walmart and other big stores, to do my grocery shopping. This town is at 4000 feet and during the winter, it doesn't get all that cold during the day (it's in the desert).

    While I guess I could have a mag of 155gr, a mag of 165gr, and/or a mag of 180gr and swap them out depending on the temperature, this would just be a hassle. I seem to prefer the 180gr in all of my practice ammo, though I've only shot a couple hundred 165gr (the recoil is just a bit too much for me to shoot it quickly yet accurately).

    So, do you think I need to worry about changing out ammo based on the temperature? Or should I just find one bullet weight that I can accurately shoot and stick with it year round to ensure I never accidentally grab the 165gr when I meant to get the 180gr and am thrown off my focus when the recoil is much more than I'm expecting?
  2. Mas Ayoob

    Mas Ayoob KoolAidAntidote Moderator

    Nov 6, 2005
    Buffalo, where the issue is coming from is, a thick-skinned animal is one thing and a thin-skinned animal is another. In winter, a heavily-clothed human animal becomes a thicker-skinned animal.

    Personally, I've been inclined to change calibers more than cartridges in the winter. The reason is, any hollow-point bullet can plug with inert fiber or whatever, and fail to expand. Whenever I had input into picking a single round for four-season carry, I voted for .45, because if, in a worst case scenario, the bullet plugs and doesn't expand and turns into ball, I want it to at least turn into BIG ball.

    When the choice of gun is up to the user alone, I've long preferred to carry .45 in the frozen wastelands: Alaska, The Great Lakes, New Hampshire, wherever during the winter.

    If I had to carry .40 year-round including frigid climates that brought heavily clad opponents several months of the year, I'd still stay with 155-165 grain JHPs at full velocity. I for one don't see any shortcoming there.


  3. BuffaloXJ


    Jan 10, 2010
    Southern NM
    Thanks for the reply! I've decided to order some Speer LE Gold Dot's in 155gr, 165gr, and 180gr just to shoot some of each and determine which I might like better. As far as recoil goes, it seems as though the 180gr has less, followed by the 165gr, then the 155gr.

    I'm also considering heading into my local Sheriff's office to ask them about what type of ammo they use (I've heard that the best thing to do for CCW is carry what the local cops are carrying, then if something bad happens you can't be seen as cruel and going for the most amount of "stopping power"). Then, I will combine my range results with the info I receive at the Sheriff's office and make a more informed decision.