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History of the Federal 115-gr+P+ ??

  1. This is a question for the ammo historians here. I've been ccw'ing Federal's 115-gr+P+ in a Glock 19 for some time now. It is moderately available, not too expensive, and I shoot it particularly well.

    I'm aware that Winchester 115-gr Silvertip was kinda the standard for LEOs carrying 9mms for much of the 1980s until the Miami HP shootout shed some light on the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of that particular cartridge. I'm also aware that around the same time (late-80s I believe), Federal began mfg'ing Hydra-Shok ammo. Since Hydra-Shok took off and became so popular for a long while, when then, did Federal introduce their 115-gr+P+ load, and for what (if any) specific purpose? Was it to ensure more consistent expansion in their 115gr JHPs with the propellants of the time? Was it simply to offer a hotter load?

    I'm not interested in hashing and rehashing how "Buffalo Bore this, or Underwood that, or instert-boutique-load-here is so much better than the old Federal load", just looking for some historical context for what has become my preferred ccw load. Thanks in advance.
  2. I just recall the ISP used it in the 80s and into the 90s with 5900 series S&W and Glock pistols, though pretty sure it was winchester loaded and a little hotter.
    Supposedly worked well.
  3. If I'm not mistaken, one of the members here was a part of it's development, or at least had close knowledge of it. Do a search of @isp2605 and his posts. He has given a fair bit of detail.

    I really like the round still. The local PD issued the Winchester sister load starting in 1990. They didn't change for well over a decade. BTW, they were loaded in aluminum framed 3rd Gen Smiths (5903). It's my understanding that Smith authorized the +P+ in the guns.

    The round worked well for them on the street.
  4. You know, now that you mention it TeaDub, I vaguely recall someone here PM'ing me that info (regarding another member involved in the development), but for some reason it isn't showing up in my folder. Would be great if he could weigh in here.
  5. The Federal 9BPLE, 115 +P+ was pretty much "standard" issue for most departments that I was aware of for a couple of decades.

    It had more "Street cred" than just about anything out there.

    I still carry them in my G-17.
  6. SGammo and TargetSports have it for around $15 but out of stock. That's pretty dang cheap.
  7. Yes, it is. Unfortunately it’s been out of stock for about a year.
  8. And they shoot straight.
  9. If I recall correctly the 115 grain STP was considered only a mediocre round even in its day.I remember one scribe saying it was a shallow penetrator and might serve well in a home defense role as the likelihood of overpenetration was remote.
  10. Shallow penetration is never a good thing.
  11. There's a world of difference between a Silvertip and Federal's 9BPLE.
  12. Tnoutdoors9 has a gel test for both these cartidges.You are 100% correct.A world of difference.
  13. I dunno. It served LE extremely well for several decades. Still has "Street Cred" in LE circles.
  14. Sannow and Marshall, in their research of “one shot stops” rated the 9BPLE as something like an 86 percenter in real world incidents. As I recall, the 9BPLE’s street record was about even with some of the better 230 grain .45 ACP hollow point loads. The Federal or Remington 125 Grain .357 Magnum Semi Jacketed Hollow Point was the king at 96 percent one shot stops. The 9BPLE was issued to Border Patrol Agents who choose to carry approved, personally owned 9mm pistols circa 1990-91, at least. Then the Winchester 115 grain +P+ appeared for a little while before being replaced by the Federal 124 grain Hydra Shok +P+. I remember that the Winchester nor the Hydra Shok seemed as hot as the 9BPLE from my G17. Nevertheless, all the +P+ rounds performed well in shooting incidents. The local PD and SO where I worked issued a 147 grain HP, and swore up and down that our 9mm ammo was inferior. At the same time, all the gun publications, as well as word-of-mouth were trashing the 147s (no Internet at the time). None of the 115 grain 9mm +P+ rounds performed well in FBI testing protocol, with penetration missing the mark. In the real world, those shortcomings didn’t seem to be an issue. I would have to say that there are better bullet designs today, but I can’t provide any real-world examples where the 9BPLE failed to stop a threat.

    I’ve thought about getting a case since its still relatively cheap and available, but I also carry a 43 a lot and the hot rounds have a reputed tendency to run faster than the slide and its better for me logically to carry the same load that works 100% in everything.
  15. I just had to buy a case of Gold Dot 124 +p because I couldn’t find 9BPLE, I still have a case and a half of 9BP for practice.
  16. I know Mas Ayoob names several other +P and +P+ ammos at the top of his JHP self-defense ammo list but he often mentions 9BPLE as a very credible carry ammo.
  17. Here is a Corbon old school cup and core round similar to the 115gr Federal round that everyone thinks is so great. The Corbon JHP round with a 1500 fps velocity makes the vaulted 115gr 9BPLE +P+ pale in comparison.

  18. The only problem that I have with these ''feather-weight'' JHPs at very high velocities (1,400+ fps) is that they tend to lose approximately half of their mass (and sometimes a little more) which causes penetration to suffer. The Corbon 9mm 90-grain JHP (a ''cup and core'' design) is notorious for this usually penetrating between 9 and 10 inches in 10% ordnance gelatin.

    The slightly heavier 9mm 115-grain ''cup and core'' JHPs at very high speeds improve on the situation a bit with penetration in the 11 - 13 inch range, but not reliably enough to my liking. In either case (with 90- and 115-grain ''cup and core'' JHPs), going to all-copper monolithic JHPs improves penetration considerably. If I were load a very light-weight 9mm ''cup and core'' JHP to launch at 1,400+ fps, I'd go with the Hornady 90-grain XTP JHP at 1,450 - 1,500 fps, but alas, no one makes that particular load.
  19. "You might notice that the list does NOT include any lightweight bullets with the exception of the Barnes 115gr version. The reason - especially if you've read the beginning of this article - should be clear already, but Doctor Roberts sums it up nicely as well: "With the exception of the Barnes 115 gr XPB all copper projectile, in general, most 9 mm 115 gr loads have demonstrated greater inconsistency, insufficient penetration, poor intermediate barrier capability, and failure to expand in denim testing than other 9mm bullets. For those individuals wanting to use lighter weight, supersonic 9 mm’s, I think a better alternative than the vast majority of 115 gr loads is to use the slightly heavier 124 to 127 gr bullets or the Barnes 115 gr all copper bullet"

  20. I value Mas Ayoob's SD ammo recommendations because he bases his recommendations on how well the round has performed in real life. Mas has always stayed in touch with LEA across the country getting reports on well the ammo they use is performing on the street. This is ultimately the only ballistic measure that counts for SD ammo, it's called street cred.

    One of my carry loads is the 115gr Corbon JHP in 357 Sig with 575 ft/lbs of energy. I have full confidence the round is an effective fight stopper if I didn't I wouldn't be carrying it.
  21. I totally agree with Doc Roberts and his test on Service Caliber H.P ammo.

    That said I have shot enough 80 to 175 lbs hog's with 9bple, speer 115gr +p+ gold dots, & the Winny Ranger +p+ 115gr ammo to not fret if I was to have to use em in a SD situation.

    Now if I was a LEO I would want a good bearer blind bulled because the light weights don't do well against laminated auto glass and sheet metal.

    Added :

    Before the Ethical Hunter's show up and try to ignite a flame suit opon my ass these hog's were shot at NO FURTHER THAN 20 YARD'S & given the amount of destruction the hogs do to our bean fields, we are ALLOWED a little leeway on some hunts to use what we want to to harvest hog's with as long at it will kill them fairly quickly.

    Yes the 9mm and the 9BPLE CAN KILL A HOG QUICKLY.
  22. The light weight bullets because of their velocity still have as much energy as heavier rounds. The advantages offered by the light weights is less of a chance of a pass through if a relatively shallow body part is hit such as a shoulder or leg. Also if a shoulder or similar part is hit the lightweight bullet will dump all or most of it's energy in the hit where a heavy or mid weight bullet will exit taking stopping potential with them.

    Agree a 90gr hollow point bullet is to light, but a 115gr 357 Sig or 135gr .40 are fine for SD. Newer designed non bonded bullets also are less likely to fragment. The handgun ammo offered by Sig Sauer is not bonded and Corbon offers an updated design non bonded bullet in it's JHP line.
  23. Yeah energy dump doesn't trump good penetration. Most of that energy is deforming the fragile bullet. The more fragile the bullet the more energy is used, not that the energy is doing the wounding, all about the bullet.
  24. I have noticed something with the 9BPLE, Speer 115gr +p+ and Ranger 115gr +p+ load's whenever my buddy's and I tested them.


    1. Water Jugs they explode. Looks cool to blow up a jug, gave us no info.

    2. Flacker Box with one gallon Zip Lock bag's. Same as water jugs.

    3. Sim Test and Properly mixed 10% Ballistic Gell.

    Bare Gell was not very impressive as far as penetration. The cup and core bullets expanded violently and barely made 12 inches 60 % of the time.

    Four layer denim shots got interesting.
    12 inches was easily made and 14 inches was made about 70% of the time. Even with the cup & core bullets with only mild fragments found. This did have the Gold Dot included. The BPLE and Ranger would go on average 13 inches. Naturally the Gold Dot did better.

    All my hog's that I shot and my buddy's that we recovered bullet's from , the bullets looked like the 4 layer denim shots on gell.

    The fur and skin will seem to delay expansion or put different stresses upon the bullet that keeps the violent fragmentation from occurring acting like a four layer denim shot on gell.

    This is why the folks like Doc GKR do a heavy clothing test and the four layer denim test. It retards expansion like human skin.

    My buddy's and I do this just for fun and to learn about things. I am a person who rather do it than read about it just to see it myself. I also have a harder time puting to words what the hell I am trying to say. :confused: so I tend to keep thing to myself. My ADHD play's hell on me just trying to concentrate enough to tipe this. :(

    Oh the Speer Gold Dot load is there load, not the UnderWood load that they made. It also was more repeatable and therefore "Boring" to me because I sorta like thing's that are "Chaotic" to keep my bran from running off the rails and keep my attention.

    This is far from scientific. I hope it got somebody's curiosity up enough to try a home test if ya can. Its fun and just freaking cool. :cheers:

    ADDED :

    I have the actual data (if ya call it that) on note pads at my home. I am not there at this time due to having some health issues and being ordered by my Dr to stay with some one 24/7 till he turns me loose. All this is from my chaotic memory. :p
  25. I have the same problems, even at over sixty.

    Yes, I would like that info if it's not too much
    of a problem.
  26. Cool, no problem at all. I will be going by my house Wednesday or Thursday and I will pull that out. I can PM ya.

    I don't take anything for that ADHD and I just don't do all that well with texting or typing out what I am thinking. I second guess myself constantly and ramble on. It's sorta like a hurricane in my head as long as im awake.
  27. Good penetration is irrelevant if a shoulder or leg that is only 8 inches thick is hit. If a bullet that gets 18 inches of penetration hits an 8 inch shoulder roughly half the bullets wounding potential goes out the back.

    If an arm or leg of an attacker is disabled his ability to continue fighting effectively is severely limited and the effect is immediate. Gun fights don't have shot placement rules, the only shot rule that counts is the one that ends the fight QUICKLY.
  28. Well it's not irrelevant. If you don't reach vitals the fight continues. I can fight with a keg wound, plenty of soldiers & attackers have. No energy dump is still not stopping your threat. Slow it, sure stop it, no.
  29. Remember I am speaking in relative terms. The fast expanding bullet hitting a shallow area will have a much greater effect than one that simply passes through taking it's energy and penetration with it. How much that affects the fight is of course variable.
  30. That is assuming the best case scenario. In the Platt FBI shootout, the high vel, high energy round failed to end the fight because the bullet didn't make it to enough vitals. Platt was barely slowed down by all that energy dumped into his upper body. No it is crushing vital tissue that counts, The ME is only valid as long as the bullet does some work. You may get a disabling affect from a bullet that shatters a leg or arm or you may not. Adrenaline reactions are all over the place when people or animals are fighting for their lives. Why the whole energy dump thing is fantasy. Everything fails at some point.
  31. IIRQ Platt was not shot with a high vel, high energy round. FBI was using 115gr winchester silvertips. Not a fast load and noted for poor penetration.
  32. You are correct. The 115 Silvertip at that time was not a high velocity round. It wasn't +P. 1150 fps, aluminum jacket round.
    In 1986 the FBI had not been carrying 9mm very long. At that time the FBI theory was a fast expanding, low penetration round was the best for LE. They based their conclusion on the RII formula and their Computerman Model. We had previously carried the 115 gr Silvertip several years earlier for a very short time and had very poor results with it. I described it in this post which was previously referenced:
    When the FBI came out with their Computerman supported round of the Silvertip our main range people loaded up the shooting file from that incident and went to Quantico to show the Silvertip wasn't the be all-end all round the FBI was pushing. The FBI didn't care about our actual street result. Their computer told them different. They blew our guys off so our folks packed up the file and came home. Then 1986 happened and they learned in 1986 what we learned a few years earlier. Fortunately for us our people came out OK in the shootout.
    Following their 1986 shootout the FBI swung their theory from rapid expansion-low penetration to penetration first-expansion secondary and started singing the praises of the W-W 147 gr JHP Subsonic. And with that PDs started carrying that round. I invested several shootings where that subsonic round was used and it too was a terrible performer giving performance akin to FMJ in every shooting I handled.
    Eventually the FBI pendulum swung more back more center.
    You can tell the people who have no idea about ballistics and bullet performance when they start posting things like the 115 comes apart. The weight of the bullet has nothing to do with whether a bullet will come apart. Bullet construction determines whether a bullet will expand rapidly or more slowly, stay together or separate. As with the 115 gr aluminum jacket Silvertip, the call for it back then was rapid expansion, low penetration so that's the way it was developed. But it performed entirely different than say a Hornady 115 JHP. Same bullet weight, different performance. They were designed differently.

  33. I have one question and sorry its not about the 9BPLE.

    It is about the Winchester 115gr +p+ load I believe that yall went to because, if I remember, it was made in yawls state.

    Question : Was that Winchester 115gr +p+ load the same load that was used in the Winchester Ranger line?

    I have about a case and a half of the that Winchester Ranger 115gr +p+ load and it uses a basic Cup & Core type Hollow Point. Oh one more thing, sorry. What load did you and your Troopers prefer, or worked better,, the Federal 9BPLE or the Winchester 115gr version.

    Thank you for your time.
  34. I don't know what the product code was on the Ranger line so can't answer that. I just looked at a few boxes of our round and some are marked Q4174 and others RA9115HP+P and printed with my dept's name. Some of the later boxes we were issued were Ranger boxes. All were marked controlled expansion.

    Can't say I saw much difference in performance between the 2 in all the shootings I worked. We weren't dissatisfied with the BPLE. And we weren't unhappy with the W-W round when we went to .40. I still carry the W-W round in my 9s but then I'm out of the BPLE. If/when I run out of W-W I'll get which ever load I can find.
  35. Thanks!

    The Winchester ammo I have some of is marked with that RA9115HP+P on the end flap of the box.
  36. And that’s for 50 rounds not 20!