Best .45acp round for Home Defense?


January 2, 2009, 11:34 PM
I had to share this new purchase (my new baby!):
It's my FIRST .45, and so I don't know much about which .45 round for home defense / possible short range plainclothes patrol defensive round? 230gr JHP?

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January 3, 2009, 03:23 AM
Most it differs but many here seem to like Federal HST 230 gr JHP . Some like the +P version - some say the extra velocity helps expand the hollow point better, thus actually limiting overpenetration, while others claim the additional velocity means more energy and thus more overpenetration. Who knows. At any rate most would agree both are great rounds and in reality it probably doesn't make a difference, although the non +P would probably allow for faster follow up shots.

Point is, just try to make your shots count and try to think ahead of time what lanes of fire in your home are acceptable (such as, where other people in the house stay if you have others in your home, or if you live in apartment, etc).

January 3, 2009, 03:40 AM
I use Winchester white box personal defense jhp from wallmart. This is not the best ammo in .45 but it is a decent jhp and most people can afford to shoot a box or two of this stuff through their weapons and see how the gun feeds and reacts to the round. DO NOT buy the fancy 20 round boxes for $25 unless you can afford to shoot at least 50 - 100 rounds or more before you load it in you weapon for personal or home defense.

My 2 cents

January 3, 2009, 03:47 AM
That's a couple logical good answers, and a good place for me to start. Thanks folks! I am concerned about over-penetration...but also want something effective (of course). I guess maximum expansion with 10-12" penetration is the goal. Perhaps through a jacket or light coat. I can't think of an instance at home or work were I'd ever be concerned with getting good barrier penetration, etc.
Just need maximum aggressive center-of-mass (yup, I hate to use the term) stopping power.

January 3, 2009, 03:56 AM
Don't hear too much on Hornady TAP ammo...... Think i'll have to try some out in 9mm. Arizonaguide, i suggest you do the same for us.

January 3, 2009, 04:18 AM
Hornady TAP 230gr+p works great in 1911 and gives the nieces and nepews a great show when shooting pumpkins after Halloween. I like it because of the slick cases, they feed nicely and the low flash powder doesnt bother my eyes in low light situations.

January 3, 2009, 06:00 AM
I read some advice from Mas Ayoob once that really made a lot of sense to me about my ammo selection, I'll summarize his words. In choosing ammo, you need to consider what will be most effective not only for defense purposes in a shooting situation but in the aftermath as well. An easy way to do this is to find out what a local police force is using and adopt it as your round of choice. This provides a couple of benefits:

If police are using it, hopefully it will be a proven effective load for stopping power. Of course if you get some know-nothing chief who just uses whatever is available (or just says to use FMJ rounds) you might consider going up a level in police organizations, like checking with a Sheriff's department or your state patrol office. The other benefit is if you ever have to defend your choice of round in court against an over-zealous prosecutor or a dead scumbag's family (don't get me started on those who would tell you to shoot to wound) you can say you chose your ammo based on what the police use to protect the public. Buy 250 rounds shoot 200 rounds make sure it functions flawlessly and keep the other 50 rounds for defense.

Yo Mama
January 3, 2009, 06:36 AM
Op location is Alaska/Arizona!:what:

Alaska: FMJ would be best for penetration, as I'm guessing they cover up there.

AZ: HP most year round.

January 3, 2009, 08:36 AM
Alaska: FMJ would be best for penetration, as I'm guessing they cover up there.

Yes, but even my Carhartt Arctic Extreme is no match for a JHP. Besides, based on his topic in Shotguns (, I think we have the OP convinced on Brenneke slugs for penetration when he's up here.

January 3, 2009, 08:40 AM
I've been very happy with the Federal 165 grain 45 ammo- ( ). For defense FMJ may travel much further than you want, and who knows what's through that wall....

January 3, 2009, 04:15 PM
From everything I have read the 230 Grain Gold Dot or Rem Sabre are being adopted by many police and federal agecies alike. The Gold Dot functions well in my 2 defensive 1911's soi that is what I use.

January 3, 2009, 06:11 PM
If money is no object, get the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel Personal Protection ammo: This ammo is designed to expand at the low velocities obtained from a short .45ACP barrel.

Or, just go with a premium personal protection bullet such as Remington Golden Saber, Speer Gold Dot, Federal HST, Hornady TAP, Corbon DPX (expensive). Just realize that a 230gr .45ACP from a short barrel may not have enough velocity to expand properly. But, then again, its a .45ACP, so it may not matter much if it expands or not, it big already!

If you believe expansion is necessary, you could go down to a 185gr bullet out of that short barrel in order to get higher velocities. But at that point, you may has well bought a .40S&W and fired the 180gr slugs out of it. Which is what I did, I carry the Kahr K40 with the 180gr bullets.

January 3, 2009, 06:13 PM
Oh, congrats on your new baby!!

January 3, 2009, 08:21 PM
185gr Barnes solid copper hollow points. Best of both worlds. Available as loaded ammo from Taurus via Sportsmans guide and others. Designed for 3" 45s using PMC nickle cases.

January 3, 2009, 11:35 PM
You folks are awsome!
I've been a member here for less than a month, and I feel like Ive answered every question that has been bothering me for years.

And I even got to tell a few bear stories in another section, which is a favorite passtime for a homesick Alaskan.

Thanks folks! What a great forum this is! And, Cheers to the moderators for setting a tone of respect and dignity even when disagreements arise. What a great place to question and learn!

January 3, 2009, 11:38 PM
I just use standard 230g FMJ, for maximum reliability.

January 4, 2009, 01:07 AM
I have a similar gun, a Springfield XD45. It is loaded presently with Speer 185 grain Gold Dots. It eats them happily and I shoot it well.
Of course 45 or not, shot placement is paramount. Practice, practice, practice. A center mass hit with a Winchester White Box beat the heck out of grazing the goblin with a Silvertip or a Black Talon.
I put a thousand rounds through my XD before I carried it. Overkill? Maybe so…but beats the heck out of underkill!

January 4, 2009, 05:12 AM
And I even got to tell a few bear stories in another section, which is a favorite passtime for a homesick Alaskan.
If it makes it any better, it was -38 here yesterday. I enjoyed it, but I know most people wouldn't.

January 4, 2009, 09:39 AM
I use 230gr Remington Golden Sabers in both of my 45's. They cycle very nice. I have also used 230gr Speer Gold Dots. They cycle cleanly also. The only difference is the out of pocket cost.

January 4, 2009, 09:54 AM
I like the Speer Gold Dots.

January 4, 2009, 10:05 AM
They all, fall to Hard Ball. orchidhunter

January 4, 2009, 10:36 AM
IMO, pretty much any JHP in a 45will do the trick. what you will need to do, is go out somewhere that it is safe to shoot around dusk, or dawn. shoot as many different types as you can afford. find the one that has the lowest muzzle flash! i dont care if you have 500 round magazine, or an eotech sight, or anything else. if you cant see because the first shot's muzzle flash blinds you for 3-8 seconmds, you are going to be nothing but a target for the other guy. you want to avoid that if you possibly can. i went out and did this, and to my suprise, the one round that is supposedly made for home defense had the biggest fireball of all of the loads i tested, even bigger than my hot reloads. there is no way of knowing until you go out and try them.

January 4, 2009, 11:06 AM
Definately NOT a hardcast bullet or a FMJ . . . since homes can have walls of sheetrock and since bullets can zip through multiple walls like a hot butter knife in butter.

Use either a fast-opening hollowpoint, or one of the fragmenting bullets on the market to prevent killing a loved one in another room . . . or across the street in another house.

There was a story a couple of years ago on the forum about some poor soul who was arrested after his .45ACP FMJ round somehow escaped his range and entered the wall quite high of a building behind the range. The bullet penetrated the other building's wall . . . then deflected near the ceiling and headed downward . . . thus killing someone over 100 yards away who was inside the other building. We are responsible, and liable for the bullets we launch.

Yep, you want a bullet that penetrates flesh well but opens and stops inside the BG. Also . . . be aware of what is behind your target. Think ahead of time so you have your lines of shoot/no-shoot worked out . . . lest you kill a loved one or someone else.

A shotgun is always a better option, when available.


January 4, 2009, 11:30 AM
Alaska: FMJ would be best for penetration, as I'm guessing they cover up there.

Shooting a JHP thru several layers of clothing would essentially turn it into a FMJ, it would probably fill up the cavity with material and not expand. I would still use hollow points in the off chance it actually opened up...either way it would still do at least the damage of a FMJ. The only time I wouldn't use a hollow point in .45acp, is if I feeding issues with it. I think any .45acp hollow point ammo will get proper penetration.

January 4, 2009, 11:38 AM
I use rem. Golden sabers. 230grain for my full size and 185 grain for my Officer sized guns. I really like the stuff. Never had to use it for SD but I havent heard anything bad about it. it works great in most guns, some ammo doesnt. jsut try it before you bet your life on it

.357 magnum
January 4, 2009, 04:42 PM
Because your Barrel is less then four inches I would stick with Law Enforcement Ammo, instead of the Personal Protection loads you buy off the Shelf. Rather then going down to a 185 grain load. I would use Winchester Bonded 230gr as your number one load.Two other loads that are also Excellent would be the Federal 230gr HST [You may want to use the +P version of this load because of the short Barrel]. The other Excellent would be the Speer Gold-Dot 230gr. I have included the links to the two Best places to obtain Law Enforcement Ammo on the Internet. I Hope you have fun trying out different Ammo. I personally Use the Winchester 230gr Bonded, Very Accurate, Dependable load.:)

The Best to You and Yours!


January 5, 2009, 03:54 PM
I use Winchester ranger. Best defense ammo ive found. A little pricy, but hey its totally woth it.

January 5, 2009, 03:56 PM
I used to run rangers until I seen some of the ballistics on the newer Federal HST. Simply amazing.

January 5, 2009, 08:53 PM
right now I am using and have used the Winchester White Box 230gr hollow point. It functions pretty well. and Its terminal effect is awsome. I have shot a hog and a doe this year with it and would not think twice about using it in a defensive suituation. On the hog it sent bone fragments everywhere in the vitals and cut everything to shreads. Even my hands when I was cleaning it. It did penetrate both sides though.

January 5, 2009, 08:55 PM
The winchester SXT bullets look nice as well. I am using the silvertips in my blackpowder rifle with a sabot. I have recovered one of them and it looks like a sawblade

January 6, 2009, 03:36 PM
My two cents worth says the Federal EFMJ 200gr +p.

January 6, 2009, 03:46 PM
Where do you find 200gr .45ACP?

January 6, 2009, 03:58 PM
For my "full size" semi-auto, I go with Federal LE HST 230g. For my semi-compact, either Federal LE 185g or Speer LE (Gold Dot) 185g...possibly 200g +P.

January 6, 2009, 04:02 PM
Where do you find 200gr .45ACP?

Check here...

Federal LE, CCI/Speer LE Gold Dot....etc.

January 27, 2009, 12:57 AM
Corbon Pow'rBall 165 gr...

Feeds great, hits to poa, and looks pretty neat with the little ball in
the front end, <.......>

Excuse the bold print in the title area... I'm not sure how to change it to the lighter shade...

January 27, 2009, 11:55 AM
I carry Rem Golden Sabre myself, but I'm about to switch over to Speer Gold Dot for the sake of price. Those are street loads though. My dad uses Corbon Glaser fragmenting rounds for home defense (in a 44 mag wheel gun, mind you). Maximum knock-down power with NO over penetration. Be prepared...they're pricey.

The Bushmaster
January 27, 2009, 01:06 PM
185 grain Hornady XTP over 7.8 grains of WSF for my .45 ACP.

January 27, 2009, 01:42 PM
I'm honestly shocked that mr2guru is the only person so far who has recommended Federal HST. That stuff out-expands every thing I've seen by quite a margin (the .45 version often being over 1.00"), and still has great penetration through several layers of clothing.

The only thing I've seen that might be better in some situations is DPX, which can go all the way through car doors and still penetrate pretty well.

Get the Federal HST 230 grain +P. It's cheaper than Gold Dot and significantly better.

January 28, 2009, 09:25 AM
I like the FED HST in 9mm. I'd prefer it as my SD round but I shoot the Speer GDHP +P more accurately out of my Kahr CW9.

I'd assume that a similar comparison might apply to the .45.

However, looking solely at cost, penetration, and expansion, the HST appears to be the 'better' round.

January 28, 2009, 10:57 AM
I like the Golden Sabres as well. And they feed very smoothly. When I stick a mag in and slingshot it I always do a press check, because it doesn't feel like it chambered a round.

Nice expansion from what I've seen, and even if they don't expand the sharp hard shoulders will cut a plug like a wadcutter.

January 29, 2009, 08:18 PM
is my favorite

January 29, 2009, 08:46 PM
Federal HST, Speer Gold Dot, Remington Golden Saber. Or maybe the Corbon DPX in a lighter offering. They are known for penetrating well through clothing and everything, but I'd stick with a lighter load for home defense if people might be in the next room.

January 29, 2009, 10:09 PM
i like the Rem Golden Saber in 230gr. the FBI use it for their swat teams (AKA HRT).

the FBI is not the end all and be all for decision making. but they know more than i do. if its good enough for them.....its enough for me.:)

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