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State of the Art in 9mm ammo?

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by glock39, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. glock39


    May 26, 2005
    Tyler, TX
    First off, I'm not trying to compare the 9mm to the 40S&W, as it's possible that topic may have already been discussed.:whistling: I know the 40 has more horsepower, and the 9 is easier to shoot. But I keep hearing that the latest hollow-points have really improved the 9's performance, and it's been awhile since I've researched 9mm's. And with ammo costs being what they are, the 9 is looking more and more attractive.

    A couple of quick qualifiers: I am interested in a short barreled carry gun, and I'm not especially interested in the exotic 9mm+P+++ ammo. Not being a LEO, I've found that the 357Sig is actually easier to find. And, if I'm going to shoot a 9 at those pressures and velocities, then it seems like I'd be better off with a 357Sig frame, brass and recoil spring that are factory designed to handle those pressures. However, any +P ammo that can be readily located and purchased by civilians would be happily considered.

    I am also a little skeptical of the latest & greatest "Magic" bullet that's guaranteed to instantly drop a charging rhinoceros at 100 yards with one shot (or whatever the claim-of-the-month is). I'm old enough to remember when the "experts" at the FBI told everyone that the original 147gr Subsonic was THE load for the 9mm. Alas, the actual street performance was somewhat less than spectacular. However, some of the current 147gr Subsonic's are actually supposed to be very good loads. Confused yet? Good, 'cause I am.

    Several manufacturers now have loads, like Speer's Gold Dot Short Barrel, that are designed to perform well at lower velocities. According to the manufacturer's Marketing Dept, some of these are just what I'm looking for. But I'd really like to find some actual street shootings, or at least some impartial tests that don't just blindly quote the manufacturer's press release. Not that I would ever doubt a press release...

    Just as a starting point for my own research, does anyone have any recommendations? Links to useful information? Any consensus on the best modern 9mm for shorter barrels?

  2. JBP55


    Mar 4, 2007
    Any quality ammunition that is good for the 4" barrels will be good for the 3" barrels.
    Gold Dot, HST, Ranger T, PDX1, Golden Saber, etc. No References, but they work as intended.

  3. Brent10mm


    Apr 6, 2009
    Spo, W.A.
    one thing to think about in short barrels is that heavier bullets as less affected by the decreased barrel length than the light and fast ones.

    Since your not hot on the 115+P+, which happens to have the highest street cred., ( fed 115+P+), which actually is only +p.
    then you might look at the new federal hst 147 gr...
    imo, at slower velocities, traditional bullets shine. as opposed to bonded bullets, i.e. gold dot, PDX-1... ect. those generally do best at higher speeds.

    here is a pic of a HST 147 9mm fired out of my keltec PF-9 into a trash can full of water...[​IMG]

    consistent, reliable .80 caliber... not bad out of a short barrel 9. and with the heavier weight, it should penetrate plenty.

    my general standard, in every caliber is Gold dots... hard to beat imo.

    Hornady critical defense, is getting great reviews. low pressure, ballistic tip that wont plug... ballistic gel tests look impressive.
  4. ULVER

    ULVER Dixie Rebel

    Jan 8, 2001
    ATL., GA. USA
    Off topic; but I was curious of your opinion of the Pf9. I have one on order. Desiring a black frame w/ hard chrome. I keep being told they are hard to find.

    More importantly, I now fear their reliability. I am aware they have evolved, with improvements in the last couple years. I still wonder if I should have just obtained an Airweight .38

  5. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    I would question the true degree of penetration it is achieving if it is expanding to .8". You can't have both incredible expansion AND penetration. And .8" expansion on a 9mm is extreme.
  6. Brent10mm


    Apr 6, 2009
    Spo, W.A.
    Yes it is extreme for a 9mm, but HST is an aggressive new bullet design.
    here is a vid made my TNoutdoors9, ( a glocktalk member) where he fires a 147 HST from a G19, into newsprint filled milk jugs, nearly identical results to ballistic gel and easier for the ave joe to do himself.
    Take note of the jacket serrations on the HST early in the vid, they go nearly to the case mouth, no doubt aids in expansion, as well as making it more consistent in doing so threw various clothing barriers...

    also note, the bullet is over .75 caliber and goes 12+ inches...:whistling:
  7. Brent10mm


    Apr 6, 2009
    Spo, W.A.
    I like it very much, so much I would add a hard chrome if I saw one for sale.

    I have had a few keltecs, 2 P3AT's and the 9. One thing I personally do before first thing, is polish the entire barrel exterior.

    starting with fine wet/dry sandpaper, 600 grit or smaller, and gun oil... very lightly. then stop by home depot, and grab some jewelry's rough, a mild polishing compound, comes in 3 different micron sizes. I grabbed em all, and give the barrel a go over with a cloth dremel, starting with the largest micron size you grab, then work to finer, dont forget the feed ramp...

    you will end up with a butter smooth barrel with a mirror finish. thus negating any "break in" period. whole process should take an hour or so, and is much cheaper than 2-300 rounds of ammo...:dunno:

    that takes care of reliability, accuracy is impressive for a small gun of its size. more than enough for its intended purpose. trigger is long, but you get used to it, and I like it for safety reasons, because I dont holster it. I use the belt clip, it was a perfect match for the gun, best summer carry ever. just disappears without a holster, and helps to cut weight. board short carry is no problem.

    It gets CC probably more than any other gun I own, that or ties the G36... If situation allows a good duty belt, G36. if not, then PF-9.

    I have thought about a airlite, or S&W 360pd. but I think the PF-9 wins out.
    -weight? the same
    - sight radius?, PF-9
    -round count?, PF-9
    -quick reload? PF-9

    -Power...? this get a little tricky, in 124 gr, the 357 and 9mm are about equal when the 357 is fired out of the short 1.8" barrel it only gets 1200 fps, or little more. but you do have the ability to go with bigger slugs, than will out speed the 9mm's 147 gr. but, this comes with big recoil, and the PF-9 can put rounds on target fast, all day long.

    -Cost? well you could get 3-4 PF-9's for the same as one airlite/360pd

    -also, lifetime warr. keltec customer service is second to none. if you do need a part, (very stout reload popped extractor on 380) they ship the part that day, and free of charge....

    Imo nothing compares. Its what I suggest to someone looking for a CCW,
    BTW, a 9mm on your waist beats a 45 in the safe....:whistling:
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  8. AWESOMO 4000

    AWESOMO 4000

    Dec 7, 2008
    Regular old Federal 9BP in 115gr is probably just as effective as well as the 147 grain offerings, plus it has a ball profile, feeds in anything, soft shooting, and typically the most accurate factory 9mm least in my M92FS.
  9. Alaskapopo

    Alaskapopo NRA ENDOWMENT

    Feb 6, 2000
    HST is currently the best stuff going over all in all calibers that its made in. Very reliable expansion and pentration to at least 12 inches always.
    Stay away from the light 115 grain +P rounds as they suck against barriers like windshields and they tend to under penetrate (8 to 10 inches on average).
  10. N/Apower


    Jan 17, 2010
    With the exception of DPX, I agree, and from what I noted about the DPX I shot at a car door, it didn't do any "better" than the 124+P GDHP. It did go right on through, though.

    I like the HST at 1200fps and below. I thnk the 124+P HST would be my pick in 9mm for EDC.


    May 6, 2009
    Mesa, Az
    I wish I could find it locally in Phoenix in .45acp. Would you go 230g+p or reg. I know when discussing the Ranger T's there was an issue of over expansion.
  12. mitchshrader

    mitchshrader Deceased

    Jun 14, 2005
    In any ballistics evaluation done at the autopsy, points have to be given for effective design no matter what brand or weight it is.

    That said, I recommend heavy for caliber bullets as most reliably penetrating and reliably accurate enough, the winner on points.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2010
  13. Ak.Hiker


    Feb 8, 2005
    Homer Alaska
    I found that the 230 grain HST 45 acp +P is one hot load. I keep this load in my 1955 S&W 45 acp as a SD load. What weight HST do you prefer in the 9mm?
  14. BOGE

    BOGE Millennium Member

    Mar 21, 1999
  15. Alaskapopo

    Alaskapopo NRA ENDOWMENT

    Feb 6, 2000
    I prefer the 147 due to its better penetration on windshield glass.
  16. Alaskapopo

    Alaskapopo NRA ENDOWMENT

    Feb 6, 2000
    Hey sport that test involved shooting through 4 layers of denim first. Clothing slows expansion and increases penetration. In these tests the 115 grain bulllet barely made 12 inches. However in bare gelatine that load penetrates 8 to 10 inches. Look it up. In fact since your on Evan's site ask him and he will tell you. Evan is a stand up guy. What I believe happened here is you did not comprehend all of what you were reading and did not pay attention to detail.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2010
  17. glocksterr

    glocksterr DirtyGlockHippy

    Aug 10, 2008

  18. packinaglock

    packinaglock John 3:16

    May 1, 2007
    Loxahatchee Fl
    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
  19. BOGE

    BOGE Millennium Member

    Mar 21, 1999
    I quoted the gelatin test as I know that most people don´t actually look at REAL world shooting results. Nothing has surpassed the BPLE in 9mm as far as actually stopping criminals DRT. Bullets have changed, humans have not. As usual, you change your parameters AFTER you have posted.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2010
  20. Alaskapopo

    Alaskapopo NRA ENDOWMENT

    Feb 6, 2000
    Your real world shooting results are several years old and the methodology is highly suspect. That is why no one in the wound ballistics world takes them seriously anymore. Just admit you were wrong its obvious. You glanced at the test and did not read the details there in.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2010