What's the best self defense 9mm ammo?


December 2, 2007, 05:47 PM
My wife has a Ruger P89 and I have a Springfield XD Sub Compact. Both are 9mm and we can shoot at home for cheap $. We're both ex-cops and know larger calibers may be more preferred for CCW, but we wanted to start with an economical caliber. I know there are +P and +P+ rounds and heavier rounds than the 115's we currently shoot. I have read that hotter and heavier rounds can make the 9mm closer to the .40 or even the .45. Any input and advice you can share would be greatly appreciated.

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December 2, 2007, 05:57 PM
try the stuff from corbon. and don't listen to the 9mm haters, they are going on old info:banghead:. the bullets of today make the 9mm a good choice for ccw.

December 2, 2007, 06:08 PM
Might want to monitor this similar thread posted earlier today. 9mm & 45 ACP SD Ammo Recommendations? (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=320653).

Here is what I said there:
I too have pretty much standardized on Speer GDHP in multiple calibers including 9mm (124 gr +P) and .45 ACP (230 gr). It fires reliably and accurately in my guns and testing such as doumented at Brassfetcher usually shows good results.

Expect to pay about $25 or so for 50 rounds of 9mm and $30 for .45 ACP for Factory loaded. Considerably less if you buy from some place like Georgia Arms.

Personally I fire at least 200 rounds of a flavor to confirm it functions in my gun(s) before I'll carry it.


December 2, 2007, 06:11 PM
I prefer the lighter 115 to 127 grn +P +P+ loads. My old dept issues, (or use to) Winchester 127 +P+. I haven't checked lately. My personal favorite is the Corbin 115 +P's.

All that said, with todays advancement in bullet smithing, any if the lighter faster loads, from any major manufacturer should do you OK. So get the load that your gun likes the best. My Glocks prefer the 124 load, but do OK with the 115. My Taurus PT 92 just loves 115's. But the groups double or triple in size with anything heavier.

December 2, 2007, 06:43 PM
I like to reload Hornady 125 HP's, HAP"s I believe with 4.5 gr of universal, various brass and Federal SP primers.
Good speed with a good bullet. Has been very accurate for me but I have not performed any testing for expandtion or penetration.

December 2, 2007, 07:35 PM
Thank you folk's for your responses. I was shown a 147? grain round the other day and was told this is what I needed. I will try several types to see what our guns like best.

George S.
December 2, 2007, 08:00 PM
My home defense P89 is loaded with Remington Golden Saber 147gr JHP's. They are a slower velocity but the energy is close to that of the 127gr HP's. I did find that the Federal Hydra-Shok is a bit mroe accurate out at 25yds, but for solelly defensive use, the 147gr GS is just as accurate at 7-10 yds.

I do shoot a lot of 115gr FMJ and the P89 has never had a hiccup of any sort. It's totally reliable with FMJ or JHP bullets. I haven't shot +P stuff with it but Im sure it will handle that too.

For defensive use in whatever bullet weight and type you choose, your pistol (and hers) has to go bang every time. I agree that you need to fire a minimum number of rounds of each weight and brand to see what is the most consistent in terms of accuracy and what is fail-safe. 200 rounds is fine but 300 might be better.

December 2, 2007, 08:24 PM
i've seen these in a few articles and personally would not wanna be shot by them... (http://www.dakotaammo.net/products/glaser/glaser.htm)
I tried some of these (http://cheaperthandirt.com/38148-46309-287.html)and they did pretty well as far as feeding and not jamming on me.
those would be the very light end but heavy scatter upon impact style.
I also have done the standard 124 JHP which is really close to target loads so comfortable shooting and i know where they are gonna be out to 25 paces.
right now I have some custom loaded rounds that are "star cut" hps.

December 2, 2007, 10:54 PM
George makes an important point about reliability. The best expanding 9mm ammo is worthless if it will not feed reliably in your weapon. Test it extensively since your life may depend upon it.

Now why would I, a diehard revolver guy, start commenting on semi-auto pistols? Recently, I began to reevaluate my self-defense needs in light of my forthcoming move. After some serious forethought, I have decided to buy a good 9mm pistol for home defense and possible concealed carry. Discussions of 9mm pistols and their ammo has taken on a new importance in light of this. So, do not be surprised if I chime in with some recommendations of my own in the future.


Elmer Fudd
December 2, 2007, 11:27 PM
Good ballistics performance data on the Winchester LE line of ammo, which is also available to civilians. Basic data on one side of the poster, penetration data on the other side:


December 3, 2007, 06:20 AM
9 mm:
Barnes XPB 105 & 115 gr JHP (copper bullet)
Federal Tactical 124 gr JHP (LE9T1)
Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +P JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 124 gr +P JHP (RA9124TP)
Winchester Partition Gold 124 gr JHP (RA91P)
Winchester Ranger-T 127 gr +P+ JHP (RA9TA)
Federal Tactical 135 gr +P JHP (LE9T5)
Federal HST 147 gr JHP (P9HST2)
Remington Golden Saber 147 gr JHP (GS9MMC)
Speer Gold Dot 147 gr JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 147 gr JHP (RA9T)

Try out whatever you can get your hands on and see what works well for you and your gun.

December 3, 2007, 07:02 AM
A lot of debate on this one but the truth is any modern jacketed hollow point is good. I tend to carry the Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +p, it has shown good results in shootings by NYPD and they have more officer involved shootings than about anyone. The key of course is bullet placement. Nothing works well if not on center mass.

December 3, 2007, 01:24 PM
Winchester 127 gr +p+ in the Glock 17

Speer Gold Dot 124 +p in the Kahr CW9

December 3, 2007, 02:17 PM
As with all my potentially defensive handguns, I choose 4 or 5 of the most popular (read most effective) self defense loads and then load them up with whatever I shoot best in THAT gun. Different guns, carry different loads and I keep meticulous records of all testing.

Roswell 1847
December 3, 2007, 06:32 PM
Supervel truncated cone hollow nose cavity high velocity 9mm.

Not only do they expand reliably and with geometric precision in soft materials like flesh, they also penetrate auto sheetmetal and glass very nicely at just about any angle.
The hollow nose and hard jacket act to catch the surface of the metal like the edge of a tube cutter preventing richochets.

I don't think you can buy them over the counter any more, if they even make them these days. The company chose to sell these only to LEO long ago.

December 3, 2007, 07:55 PM
i like Rem Golden Sabers in 124gr +P.

December 3, 2007, 08:43 PM
An easy way to practice with what you carry:

Winchester USA 115gr. or 147gr. (preferred to me) JHPs
Or bulk 100rd. boxes of Remington UMC 115gr. JHPs.

And the above rounds have been proven to expand/penetrate just as reliably as the expensive stuff :)

Super Trucker
December 3, 2007, 08:50 PM
The very best ammo you can get is..........
The one that is reliable in YOUR gun.

I like Win Ranger T, My local police dept uses Gold Dot.
That XD sub might like to eat the Gold Dot SB ammo (SB = short barrel)

December 4, 2007, 05:40 AM
In general I'd look for the hard to find W-W Ranger T series 127gr +P+ 9mm JHP. This is considered the top round for duty/protection use in 9mmNATO.
Other good selections would be the Remington Golden Saber bonded 124gr JHP +P, the Speer Gold Dot +P JHP 124gr(the load of the NYPD) or maybe the Glaser silver/Magsafe 9mm rounds for CC use/home protection.
You may want to look into CorBon's PowRBall and/or Federal's EFMJ 9mmNATO loads for your spare mags/carry reloads. I would use those loads rather than standard FMJ rounds. I would carry the PowRball or EFMJ rounds because they offer great feeding and a deeper punch than some 9mmNATO JHP rounds. You want to make sue your pistol(s) fire without jams or problems when you must use spare mags and more than likely an armed felon shooting at you will have cover and the extra depth offered by these designs may take them out faster than a JHP that breaks apart. :uhoh:
Bullet designs have improved greatly over the last 15-20 years but if you use small compact 9mmNATO pistols many JHPs may not work exactly as described by the ammo factories. :mad:
Rusty S

December 4, 2007, 07:00 AM
Shameless plug for Double Tap. Good prices, smoking fast, good stuff.

My wife's 9mm PT111 runs it flawlessly. It runs everything flawlessly for that matter, but that's another subject.

December 4, 2007, 03:17 PM
I stick with Federal hydra Shok and Speer Gold Dot's.

T. Bracker
December 4, 2007, 04:29 PM
I personally use the Speer GD 124gr. SB stuff in my compact 9mm. Corbon's loads are excellent as well. Go with a good quality hollowpoint that feeds reliably 100% of the time.

December 4, 2007, 06:22 PM
Easy on the wallet and good ballistics, WWB 147grn JHP...

December 4, 2007, 08:24 PM
Remington GS 124 grain +p gets my vote.

December 4, 2007, 10:23 PM
My choice - - - - Federal "9BPLE" 115 gr. +P+.

Although, I'd run a few different types of ammo through your firearm and see which one is more accurate and reliable.

You can have the biggest, baddest, hottest round on the planet in your firearm, but, if you can't hit anything with it. . . . it ain't worth spit.

A hit with an anemic 9mm beats a miss with a rocket, any day!

December 5, 2007, 10:03 PM
You want to make sue your pistol(s) fire without jams or problems when you must use spare mags and more than likely an armed felon shooting at you will have cover and the extra depth offered by these designs may take them out faster than a JHP that breaks apart.

Wow... talk about projecting! How on Earth can you predict all those details when only one thing is certain - is uncertainty. How can you eever know what is going to happen, when it will happen, where it will happen, or how it will happen?

December 5, 2007, 10:12 PM
My P89 and P95 both shoot accurately and spot on with the Federal 135 grain Hydra shocks. I generally shoot WWB 115 grain for practice. Shoot the same spot with either.


December 6, 2007, 03:59 AM
I don't really know what Markbo means but my point is when you use a CC/duty pistol(s), it's a smart move to use loads like the CorBon PowRball or Federal EFMJ in your spare pistol magazines.
Maybe MarkBo does not think it's a good idea but the sworn LEO in Las Vegas NV who got into a heavy firefight with only one small pistol(and no reloads :uhoh:) or the off-duty LEO who while eating dinner with his young wife had to face down a spree shooter in a large mall. The young cop had only his .45acp Kimber pistol and no spare mags, :rolleyes:.
Thankfully both LEOs lived in these incidents. The LVMPD officer was shot several times but recovered and was honored as Officer of the Year. It was later reported that the LEO now uses a full size duty weapon and 2 full mags off duty all the time now. Hopefully the other LEO learned that hard lesson too.
The FMJ type rounds used for spare mags in a CC/protection pistol offers an edge in a critical incident.
And that I know for certain, :D.
Rusty S

December 6, 2007, 08:34 AM

December 6, 2007, 11:09 AM
Depends on who you ask and how they define best. ;)

The FBI should be announcing their next 9mm contract soon. If you care what they think is best.

The FBI has a complicated method of testing, evaluating, and rating ammo. Shoot through heavy cloth, wallboard, plywood, sheet steel, and auto glass into ballistic gelatin then measure the penetration and expansion. They also test for accuracy, reliability, and quality.

Stuff they have rated best in the past was 147 Federal Hydra-Shok. It was their pick over any of the lighter/faster JHPs, even the +P/+P+ loads.

FWIW, they liked the 147 +P+ HS and 158 HS in 38/357 Mag, the 165 HS and Gold Dot in .40, the 230 HS and Golden Saber in .45 ACP.

Newest FBI contract .40 ammo is an enhanced 180g bonded JHP load from Winchester (Q4355). After the next run of Ranger bonded (RA40B) in Feb of 08, it will be identical to the new FBI load.

Rusty, don't know what ya mean by deeper punch, but the rounds you mention (PowerBall and EFMJ) penetrate _less_ than most of the other JHPs you mentioned, not more. Especially through the hard tactical barriers like wallboard, plywood, and auto glass.

Through auto glass:

124 +P EFMJ 8.5 inches
100 +P PowerBall 4.7

124+P GD 13 inches
124 +P GSB 10.5
127 +P RT 9.4
147 RT 10.8
147 HS 11
147 HST 13.4
147 GS 11.6

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