How Did You Choose Your Defensive Handgun Ammunition?


Stephen A. Camp
October 3, 2003, 11:57 PM
Hello. I'm just curious here, but how did you determine your top pick or picks in defensive handgun ammo for either your auto or revolver?

I'll post my reasons a bit later.

Best and thanks in advance for taking the time to reply.

PS: I hesitated to post this as I've seen so many arguments get started over related issues. I would personally appreciate it if we'd state our own reasons and not attack anyone having a different viewpoint on this. Frequently there is more than one "right" answer to some questions. Thanks again.

If you enjoyed reading about "How Did You Choose Your Defensive Handgun Ammunition?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
October 4, 2003, 12:05 AM
I load my own carry ammo. I use a Gold Dot bullet because it is accurate and effective.

I used to carry Federal Hydra-Shoks for those reasons as well.

who me
October 4, 2003, 12:28 AM
I carry Georgia Arms Gold Dot, because the bullet seems to have good reviews. I do want to try some Winchester Ranger T's or some Power Ball though.

October 4, 2003, 12:41 AM
I base my selection upon the majority of information that favors a particular round. For example; in 9mm I carry 124 grain Speer Gold Dot because it seems highly favored by nearly every piece of information I have found. In .40 S&W I use the Remington 165 grain Golden Saber and in .38+P I use the 125 grain Speer Gold Dot. I believe that there are a variety of quality choices in defensive ammo out there and I could be content with others but these are my current choices. I also believe that the most important defensive criteria is to hit what you are aiming at and that has replaced my obsession with one shot stops etc.

October 4, 2003, 12:44 AM
I took note of various sources, LEO, catalogs, shooters with more experience, then when the internet became a resource, I used it. I considered the enviroment ( house, apt., street, ofc setting, critter control).

In semi's I went for reliabile everytime,, in that gun, then POA/POI, I shot dirt/mud. I shot at vehicles (doors, windshields/ back glass[includes steep angles like trans am] drywall, exterior /interior...etc.

In revolvers I did the same, reliabilty again number one , POA/POI .

I consider shot placement to be critical, bullet has to disharge, and be on target, I hope the expansion works...but just in case...

I have my preferences that seem to work in a variety of platforms. When I find what works in a particular gun, I keep on hand that and others I know works. ( more than one brand).I just grab what is handy from a known performer.

Personally: on semis I run a min of 500 rds to test, at least 250 on revos.

FWIW I do similar testing for shotgun and rifles.

Yeah and there is this Stephen A. Camp fella that does some great reviews on guns and ammo...great pics of guns and targets...might check him out ;)

Another brain I pick is that of WESHOOT2

October 4, 2003, 12:45 AM
I will base my decision mostly on what HP feeds flawlessly in my pistol.

October 4, 2003, 02:14 AM
I wanted reliability first, which means shooting large quantities of the selected load, which means economy comes into play.

Expansion used to matter most to me, but I got over it. Function testing premium loads is costly, and even then expansion isn't a given.

Make a hole where and when I want, every time. If the load does that, I'm happy.

October 4, 2003, 03:58 AM
I went with SXT because 1, I don't load 9mms, and 2 it was suggested when I bought the gun. I've never had anyproblems with it. I did however have 1, just 1 misfeed with some cheap ammo that I was plinking with.

In closing, comes suggested, works well, I'm happy:D

October 4, 2003, 04:57 AM
In my 442, Win. 158gr LSWC-HP +P, it's the most accurate load in my particular I guess accuracy is the reason. :cool:

October 4, 2003, 05:19 AM
I want to buy a G29, just so I can use the awesome 135 grain 10mm defensive ammo from double tap.

October 4, 2003, 05:21 AM
[deep southern accent in a "Deliverance" scary sort of way...]

Ah shot differnt feriners and tresspassers with differnt ammo, and which ever was deader was the won Ah choosed.. Yessiree Bob, I sure did.:D :rolleyes:


Actually, I havent yet. I will do alot of reading, but still end up choosing WinRanger/Black Talon. If its good enough to do its job and scare the bilssninnies at the same time, its good enough for me.:cool: :D

October 4, 2003, 05:32 AM
- Read reviews.
- Read test results.
- Used M&S "one shot stop data".
- Asked questions.
- Asked opinions.
- Sifted through it all and distilled it down to a few "good choices".
- Tried some of the "best" prospects.
- Settled on the ones that delivered a magazine full - sub 2X caliber holes @ 15 to 20 feet fired offhand in my guns.
(For .45acp that amounts to sub one inch - for .22lr that amounts to sub half inch etc.)
- keep (make that hoard) a sufficient quantity of specific lots of specific choices as strict defensive rounds that perform better than the above.
Kudos to you Steve for posting range reports. Add me to the list of those that use your data. I'm particularly partial to the unscientific mud eexpansion test because you generally include retained weights in them.

October 4, 2003, 07:37 AM
Well, I started out by spending a small fortune trying different cartridges in my pistols, landing on the ones that were reliable and accurate.

Then I try to duplicate that load as close as possible with available bullets and powder.

So far I have found Speer's Gold Dots to work very well, I don't have any guns that won't feed them.

I have a very scientific method of determining a given bullet's effects on a human subject...(holding bullet under magnifier) "Oh, yea, that's gonna hurt ya"!


October 4, 2003, 07:39 AM
I tend to have both faith in and reservations about both "schools" of bullet performance (Fackler and Marshall & Sanow). Both have excellent points to make: both disregard some important factors. However, when both sides say that a particular load performs well according to their specific preferences, I tend to think that that load has to be fairly good in general terms. For this reason, I try to pick carry loads that "score" well in both sets of criteria. In .40 S&W, this has been Remington Golden Saber 165gr. JHP; in .45 ACP, the same round in 185gr. +P; in 9mm., a +P or +P+ 115gr. hollowpoint from Cor-Bon or Federal (depending on what's available - most recently, I stocked up on a few hundred rounds of Cor-Bon); in .357 Magnum, Winchester 145gr. Silvertip JHP; in .38 Special, I stick with the old FBI load.

Also as a result of both sets of criteria (and based on a lot of street experience), I don't carry "mouseguns", so I don't have to worry about which minor load works best! :D

I also have access to a fairly large number of LE post-shooting reports and analyses. These are used for general information, but it's striking that they tend to lean rather more to the Marshall & Sanow side of things - in terms of the effectiveness of given rounds in actual shootings reflecting theory - than the Fackler side of the argument. This has influenced my "weighting" of the respective schools, in the sense that if I'm picking an effective load, I'll allow a 60% weighting to M&S, and a 40% weighting to Fackler and his disciples.

October 4, 2003, 08:03 AM
I will base my decision mostly on what HP feeds flawlessly in my pistol.

Exactly. All else is fluff.

October 4, 2003, 09:27 AM
Read all I could from multiple sources, function tested, found out what

LEO's were using and WHY, keeped reading to see what was a fad and

what was really working, tested some more. Tried to find someone who

said my ammo was bad so I could see their reasoning (couldn't), made

sure I could duplicate POA/POI and felt recoil with published handloads.

Function tested some more.

In the end, I wound up with Fed 230GR Hydrashoks.

The Reverend
October 4, 2003, 11:48 AM
My priorities for all of my defensive weapons are these (in order):

1. Reliability

2. Accuracy

3. Shootability (ie fast follow up)

4. Bullet Design

5. No Abusive Loads

In my own search for the "best" all around loads for my defensive handguns, I have endeavored to use the KISS principle. In 9mm, my SIGs and my Kahr E9 really perform well with Federal's 9BP load (115gr. JHP). I have never had a single FTF with this load from my SIGs and since my Kahr has been properly adjusted by the manufacturer, it now performs flawlessly as well. Accuracy is very well regulated with me doing my part. Because it is not a powerhouse load it is not overly abusive on the hardware and really fast, and really accurate follow ups are realistic.

In .45 I use Federal's 230gr. Hydra-Shok in both my 4506-1 and 4516-2.

In .357 magnum Winchester's 110gr. magnum load for the GP-100.

Finally in .38 Federal's 125gr. Nyclad load in the Taurus 85.

God Bless

October 4, 2003, 12:06 PM
I started with garden variety(excuse the pun) things of various thicknessess(melons,cucumbers ect) then placed plywood,old wet tree stumps,old appliances ect. behind it and checked to see what was going on with hunted groundhogs on occasion with the loads i felt comfortable with from those results and tested them as well.i tried 3 different calibers(357,9mm,45acp) and settled on 357 mag. for overall defensive and sporting handgunning.i weighted ammo costs,recoil and accuracy(in a sense that distances..) in this too.

October 4, 2003, 12:24 PM
Great topic.

I started out just using Nosler 127-gr. Handloads, and they performed alright, but I thought that I'd keep looking. So at the local sporting goods store, I found a box of Hornady XTPs, and decided to give them a try.

So, the next time I went shooting, my buddy brought a bunch of cans of old beets that were no longer good, so that became our test medium. He began by shooting one with a shotgun just for kicks, and needless to say, it exploded all over the place. I shot another with my Noslers. The result was that the can moved some, the front splitting wide open, and a small exit hole. The next I shot with a Hornady XTP, and the following explosion of beets looked almost exactly like the shotgun-blast. Beets went flying in every direction, in about a 15 foot radius, and the can was opened up flat.

Not scientific by any means, but according to other little "test" that I've done like that, the XTP performs marvelously.

Of course, I'm not done looking. I'm going to go try some Winchester SXT and Winchester White-Box JHPs next range trip, and so on.


October 4, 2003, 12:36 PM
I got acquainted with the most potent defensive cartridges through research in various gun fora...

TFL, THR, Ammolab, 1911, and recently Glocktalk all were very informative...

Also, I give very high regard to the opinions of my favorite gun writers, one of them is a fellow named Stephen B. Camp... ;)

October 4, 2003, 12:54 PM
I went to the local Wal-Mart, and bought one box of each 9mm hollow point that they had. I then pulled out my Glock 17 and shot each type of ammo off of a benchrest at 25 yards to find the most accurate load. I then shot each load off hand at 25 yards. I go for reliability first, then accuracy. To test the terminal ballistics (very unscientific test), I soaked a bunch of big city phone books in a trash can full of water overnight, and then shot each load and checked the slugs for penetration and expansion. No one load really shined above the others, so I carry the Winchester white box 115 grain JHP most of the time. It is accurate, shoots to the same point of impact as the Winchester value paks, and in my informal testing will do anything the fancy loads will do for half the price. Also, THR contains about a million years of experience that can't be bought at any store for any price :).

Just my .02,

October 4, 2003, 04:16 PM
I use 180gr FMJ .40 S&W...

If I'm in my house they ain't gonna penetrate brick so I don't worry about shootin' the neighbors. If it's outside and bullets are flyin' then anyone in the area better be smart enough to hit the dirt, get the hell out of the way or get the hell out of dodge. Besides if I'm outside and have to pull my gun to defend myself (which I hope to GOD never ever happens) you better believe I'm gonna be more concerned about my hide than some bystander's hide (selfish attitude? yeah - but when it's all over hopefully I'm the one that will be left standin').

180gr FMJ's definitely will make a big hole in a BG and if they go all the way thru him/her then there's two holes for blood to leak out of instead of one.

I've heard all the reasons why folks wanna use HP's for HD and some are quite valid - but when push comes to shove I'm gonna use a bullet I know will go in and maybe come out the other side regardless of what the BG is doing or wearing.

That's my story and I'm stikin' to it!

October 4, 2003, 04:31 PM
I trust the information presented at, as they are very clear about how they do their testing and why they do it that way. So, I look at the bullet pictures and information presented there, see how each load expanded and penetrated, and then function test in my handguns.

I've settled on Winchester white box USA9JHP 115gr. 9mm, for the same reasons as Mr. Carr. It's inexpensive, it both expands and penetrates as well as the more expensive premium ammo, and, at less than $11 per 50 at Wal-Mart, I can afford to stock up and do a serious function test on my handguns (200 rds. each, minimum). The fact that it hits to the same POA as Winchester 115 gr. 9mm value pack ammo is also a big plus, as that is my practice load.

October 4, 2003, 04:52 PM
I carry either a Smith 640 or a Ruger SP101 and use the FBI load in each. Controlable, accurate and shoots to point of aim. It is the only ammo that I can think of that has close to 100% endorsement by all schools of thought. The only shortfall seems to be performance against heavily drapped (4 layers of denim) gelatin.

My HD gun is a Beretta 92 with night sights loaded with Winchester White Box 147 grain JHP. Acccording to this round has good penetration and expansion against drapped gelatin. In my Beretta this round is reliable and accurate. The 147 grain 9mm seems to have a good street rep. in LA and San Diego.

Zeke Menuar
October 4, 2003, 08:33 PM
Federal 230gr Hydra-Shoks. Picked that ammo because it works flawlessly in my LW Commander. Shot an entire IPSC match to test the ammo in the Commander. An expensive test but the ammo and gun passed.
Makes a big hole. Snuck up on a coyote at 50 yds and blew away most of his rear end. Convinced me!.
Both of my CCW instructors and every gun-rag article I have ever read put 230gr Hydra-Shoks at the top of the defensive ammo list.


Stephen A. Camp
October 4, 2003, 08:56 PM
Hello. First, I want to thank all who responded to this question and appreciate the polite manner in which responses were given.

My reason was to see the process by which others make decisions on "serious" ammunition and if there were any strong preferences toward "light and fast" vs "heavy and slow." I was very pleased to note that several placed both reliability and the ability to place the shot well near the top of their "lists." I've done no pencil and paper tabulations, but it appears that most seem to favor expanding ammunition that holds together and mention penetration aspects. A few favor ball in autos for both reliability and penetration and I SUSPECT because they also feel that placement will make up for any "lack of performance" between their FMJ vs. expanding.

A constant was that the vast majority read what they can find on testing of various loads and visit sites dedicated to such. Others cited expense, availability, and the ability to practice with either the chosen protection load itself or one that duplicates it.

There was a minority of shooters who also took into account what they'd seen when the particular load had been used in hunting. Some also compared the findings of "stopping power gurus" on both sides of the light/fast vs heavy/slow and picked loads liked by both sides.

In short, it appears to me that a majority of shooters on-line take full advantage of the information available, sift through it and see how it squares with their own views or informal tests.

This is a good thing in my opinion. I've asked the same question of various folks over the past few months in gunshops and find answers are generally more along the lines of "This is on sale," or "All are about the same, " or "I heard this was the best." When asked about what velocity they were getting out of their gun, about half didn't have a clue.

That was the reason I posted the question and it's not too surprising that the folks on-line seem to be better informed. Perhaps the half that had definitive reasons for their choices in the gunshops were on-line? That, I don't know.

My own regimen is to test for reliability. I'd rather have a so-so load that works each and every single time than one that has "nuclear effect," but not reliable. This part's fairly expensive as several different magazines must be used if an automatic. With a revolver, I just make sure that cases are easily extracted. Certainly, if there are any misfires or failures to fire, that ammunition must be rechecked or avoided, at least for me.

I then check for accuracy and I'm probably too hung up on such ammunition providing more accuracy than I can ever use under field conditions, but I cannot put that away. Too me, accuracy remains important.

Next comes expansion/penetration testing. In my "range reports," I've posted results from "scientific mud expansion tests," but I don't put too much trust in these. I test bullets in water and in "wet pack," bound newpaper print soaked in water for at least 24 hours. I then chronograph several rounds to check how consistent the stuff is shot to shot as well as lot to lot.

In most cases, I've managed to shoot a few varmints from coyotes down to see how well the ammunition actually works in living tissue. This has not been possible with some loads, but with several, it has.

When I find a load that I trust, I usually stick with it unless I begin to believe that something significantly better might be available. I then use the above process to see if a change is warranted as well as checking with sites dedicated to ammunition performance. I don't get in a big hurry as the fact that something "better" being available doesn't make what I have impotent.

Again, thank each and every single one of you for taking the time to respond. I sincerely appreciate it.


October 4, 2003, 09:43 PM
I load for my .38, .357, and .45 Colt revolvers. I am partial to Speer 146 grain SWCHP bullets for the smaller calibers. I have loaded, tested, and carried these loads for probably 30 years. I have complete confidence in them.
For the .45 Colt, I like a Speer 250 grain LSWC over Unique. Again, this is a load that I have worked with for over 30 years.
After trying several loads for the .44Mag, I settled on the CorBon 165 Grain JHP.
For the semi Auto guns, I stick with HydroShock.

Why these choices? All have been found to be very accurate in my guns, and when I have tested them in various media, they perform well regarding penetration, and expansion. Reliabilty first, then accuracy, everything else is gravy.

Ky Larry
October 5, 2003, 02:42 AM
I carry a full size .45 ACP Kimber. I use Winchester 230 gr JHP's. They feed reliably and hit where I aim them. The good thing about a .45 ACP is that almost any bullet is effective for personal defence as long as it's reliable and accurate. Big,small,fast,or slow, if I do my part, the .45 ACP will do it's part.

October 5, 2003, 06:54 AM
Interesting- that some folks still insist on carrying reloads.
Good that most everyone looks for Reliability over Accuracy.
I still don't see the attraction of the 147 gr. over the 124.

Has anyone seen the new HST Hydra-Shok Two ammo?

Jason Demond
October 5, 2003, 05:19 PM
I pick what ever round works 100% in my auto's. For revolvers it's velocity plus muzzle energy, the round with the most wins!:evil:

Texas Bob
October 5, 2003, 08:20 PM
Reliability in that particular firearm comes first. Then, can I control what I am loading. Check online data and coroners reports, and decide for the climate and clothing my attacker may be wearing. Example HK P7M8 would be loaded with Speer Gold Dot 124gr +p in a "cold weather" climate where people wear more clothing and the "colder" air causes people to "bleed-out" slower. In the summer a Kahr P9 would have a Corbon 115gr +p in the chamber followed by a mag full of Federal 115gr classic 9BP.

Safety First
October 5, 2003, 09:29 PM
I pick up most of my information here at the good ole THR, lots and lots of experience/knowledge to tap. I read a few good gun rags, but I can usually get all my questions answered right here. Right now I am stocked up on the Winchester 115 gr JHP from Wally world at about 10.97 a box. I am actually now trying to determine if I want to switch to a more potent load for carry/defensive purposes. I shoot a Sig P-239 and the gun seems to love the Winchester, but If there is a better defensive ammo I would like to know about it. I have settled on the Winchester due to price and availablity as well of course as all the people at THR who seem to feel it is great ammo. I am waiting on my dealer to get in a Bersa Thunder 380 and based on Stephen Camp's testing the Federal Classic 90 gr JHP will be my choice.

October 5, 2003, 10:16 PM
Not moot..............

1) Reliability: the launch platform of choice MUST feed and fire the chosen ammo every time, without exception (yes, I live in the real world, and I know machines can break).

2) Power: the ammo must be of sufficient power (that is, it must carry enough velocity for its projectile's weight and sectional density).

3) Accuracy: it must hit where aimed.

4) Projectile: it must be of a shape and construction to perform as my opinion desires; I desire penetration with expansion (NOT the other way around).

5) Feel / Recoil: it must be controllable for me.

6) Flash: it must be non-blinding.

7) Noise: don't care. None.

So, I choose an R-P 115g JHP for my 9x19, 9x21, and 38 Super. I like the R-P 125g JHP in my 38 (although my wife's snubby carries the 140g XTP-HP) and 357's. I get slightly exotic in my 40 S&W; I really like the Nosler 135g JHP. Same in 400 Cor-Bon (and I liked this bullet for my 10mm when I had one).
Then on to wackiness: my 41 Action Express is best with the superb (but discontinued) 180g Gold Dot. When I (eventually) run out of my stash I'll be still-satisfied with Sierra's 170g JHC.
Same Sierra bullet at 1499fps from my 41 Redhawk.
In my 44 Redhawk I don't care; normally found with my (IPSC ) load of a 240g LSWC at 800fps.
My 45 ACP carries the superior R-P 230g Golden Saber (non-bonded) bullet.
My 45 Colt Redhawk? I quit wearing it LOL. But if I did I'd surely have some 250g-n-up lead 'game' bullet or XTP-HP (or my 300g Swift A-Frame JHP) stuffed in a Winchester nickel case.

All loads mine, just listed my favorite projectiles. Favorite because of feedback.

October 5, 2003, 10:19 PM
Asked the local LEOs who carry 45s what they use. In the event of a SD shooting, I can use their "rexpert ecommendation" to deflate any attorney looking to give my house to the BG.

Verified it functioned and shot perfectly in our guns. Done.

W Turner
October 6, 2003, 01:41 PM
Here are my favorite loads for my most carried pistols:

S&W 642- 125 gr. Speer GD; carried the 158 gr. LSWCHP, but it is almost impossible to find in my area and I never could shoot it well. The GD load has also performed very well in all tests I have seen it included in and is accurate from realistic distances.

RIA 1911- 200 gr. Speer GD; I am a big fan of the various 185-200gr loads in .45 acp. I carried the 230 gr. Federal HS for a while, but after my unscientific milk jug tests and after hearing about some expansion problems in the HS, I switched.

CZ75B/Glock 17- 129(?) gr. Federal +p+; shoots well and I dont have ny problems with the recoil. Its about time to cycle new ammo, so I am looking at other options including the Winchester ammo at Wal-Mart.


Chairman Meow
October 6, 2003, 03:58 PM
I generally look for something shiny with colorful packaging that looks "tactical"... :neener:

No really, I just stick with what the boys here suggest. I keep Speer 125 Gold Dots in my 38 and Federal 230 Hydrashoks in my 45. I agree though that shot placement is as important as anything so picking a round that shoots to point of aim for your particular weapon is as important as anything else, and maybe even more important that everything else.

October 6, 2003, 04:12 PM
I took an article by Ayoob and tried it on a couple of hogs.:D
Thats why Remington Golden Sabers are in every one of my guns.:D
Sick:barf: But Ayoob used goats.:D

October 6, 2003, 04:21 PM
First and foremost the ammo MUST be reliable in my firearm.

Beyond that, I did A COUPLE OF TESTS ( to see how ammo performed. While I now primarily carry .357mag, the tests showed me a lot about bullet design and the relationship to velovity.

My conclusions: in .32acp and below, there are almost no good defensive ammo selections, In 9mm and up, their are A LOT of really good rounds available. Just don't go too light, or too heavy, or too exotic. Most any major companies JHP in the most common weight range will do what I need.


October 7, 2003, 01:02 PM
I tried at least a box of most of the "personal defense" ammo in each calibre I own, and here is what works for me:

In my .45ACP's (Springy Champion 1911-A1 & Ruger KP-90), the 230-gr Rem Golden Sabre was most accurate.

Vaquero .357Mag likes the Speer 158-Gr Gold Dot best

Cheap .38 snubby, Fed 110-Gr Personal Protection load. I didn't really want to shoot a +P or +P+ in this old Rohm/RG-38.

pale horse
October 7, 2003, 01:25 PM
I picked a 1911a1 and am currently carrying it with 230gr. SXT. The reason behind the 1911 goes back some years to my mid teens. I was shooting a 92fs with a 15 round mag at a pop can 10 or 15 feet away and hit it once. I picked up a kimber compact and hit it 6 out of 7 shots. So the platform I could shoot the best is why I go with the 1911a1. As to the ammo selection goes to what feeds the best without any problems at all.

I dont mind shoot 9mms or .40s I just shoot the .45 through a 1911 the best.

October 7, 2003, 02:03 PM
Recommendations of my local PD. They gave me a list of viable options, and I selected the one I preferred based on personal experience. All options functioned well in my P220ST, but the Hornady 200 Grain XTP was the most accurate.

October 7, 2003, 02:09 PM
Yeah, well sue me! :D
You have a lot knowledge and I appreciate your sharing. You and others ( Mr. Camp, Sam...others too numerous to mention) have probably forgotton more than I'll learn. 'Sides you test this stuff, I learn from your hits, misses, and sore wrists. ;)

" ain't cheatin' if it works...called ingenuity".

Sometimes I get lucky and my targets jump in front of bullets, too...If not, where'd you think I learned to test dirt/mud for expansion, penetration so long ago? "you missed"..."nope doing performance testing"..."oh okay"...:p

October 7, 2003, 06:23 PM
These are my expectations in the ammuntion i use in my pistols.

#1. = Reliability.

#2. Accuracy.

#3. Power.

Also, this is why i shoot a 1911 style weapon chambered in 10mm.

I also listen to the members here at THR about ammo choices ie.. WESHOOT2, P95. Steven Camp etc...


October 7, 2003, 09:55 PM
Yes we all admit to reliability, accuracy, power, bullet design etc.

Cost is still a factor or so many of us would not reload.

I picked the Winchester Silver tip as my 9mm load because it cost less than other premium 9mm ammo. Later I discovered it used to be the FBI load. On paper its the fastest non +p load available. It also happens to hit POI the same place as my Winchester white box practice ammo. I've tried a number of 9mm loads and keep coming back to the slivertip.

.357 until recently I never owned one. I relied on what my dad had told me about 357. Namely, faster and heavier was better. I saw my brother snap shoot a wounded antelope with a 357.. gotta say never saw a faster lights out DRT shot ever. Dad started loading 125 and 110 gr bullets for his snubbish sp 101 and when I got my snubby I started following suit. He said lighter and faster was better from a snubby... hmmmmmm?? I bought 38 cal fmj, 158gr .38+p, used up some 158 gr swc gas checked 357's, and some 125 and 110 as well as 158 gr hydra shocks. Best load I came up with was the gas checked lead swc bullet. However, also had TWO rounds inthe box fail to go off. That's pretty darn rare with dad's loads. I tried some of his 158 sjhp's over 6.4 gr of red dot.. hooyah! Lottathump, low flash though you will see sparks. Accurate out of my Colt. Cheap to make. Have a lot on hand.

45 ACP. Bought a lot of premium ammo from 185 Silvertips to 230 gr hyrda shocks. Had older 45's at the time, didn't want to run (and still don't) +p ammo through them. The hydra had good "write ups" but the sharp profile didn't always feed well in my commander. Informal "mud tests" impressed me further the 230 HS was the way to go. Plus, they even worked in my New Service if need be. I smoothed the feed ramp on my Colt and never looked back. Also tried some hot Corbon & Pro-load ammo later when I built a new 45. Was rewarded with a bent guide rod and a DA trigger return spring out of its channel. No thanks. Though to its credit the 200 gr +p pro load might be the most accurate 45 load I've tried. Also made my own Home rolled defense loads on a whim, as some one gave me a bucket full of 185 gr bullets. I made up a bunch of 185 winchester jhps on RP brass with 9 grains of aa#5 and a CCI large pistol primer. Just under +p rated, low flash, lotta thump. Even better when I did the same load with a hornady 200 gr truncated flat point. haven't reloaded in a while, been shooting up my stock. Time to buy more hyrdas and start reloading again.

44 Magnum. I bought some 180 and 240 gr fodder to take into the woods to kill a deer or elk. Even bought hydra shocks. Off the bench.. well lets just say the mighty 44 over powered me a little at first. I backed off to a mid-range remington load and practiced more, this time exclusively with the 240 gr bullets. Then I decided.. well Elk are BIG. Do I want a bullet that seperates/expands rapidly or PENETRATES and expands slowly? I bought a box of Winchester 240gr soft points. Now I realize thats overkill as a self defense load, but as an offensive hunting bullet its pretty good. 7.5 inch glossy stainless vaquero, not my top choice as a defensive arm but I do carry it a lot in the woods. have not done penetration tests on car doors, drywall, cinderblocks but am pretty sure the 240 soft point will shoot through the trunk of a 48 Dodge.

380. Again I bought hydra shocks. Actaully had to kill wounded animal with a Pa-63 that really wasn't wounded at all. (Have told this sory a million times) found out the 90 gr 1000fps load will NOT penetrate when it hits heavy bone, even on a critter with bones as brittle as an antelope. Still, a shot in the boiler room will do the trick. Three fired bullets.. one was a nicely mushroomed ball, one was a nickle sided ring of copper fragments sticking through the skin, another was a mishapen lump of copper and lead.
Still debate about using an HP in a 380.. still load my 380 with 90 gr. Hydra shocks. Still debate finishing the mag with ball ammo.

25 ACP. Mostly a fun gun. Fiocchi has the hottest 50 gr fmj there is. No way I'd put a hollow point in a 25, nor would I a .32. Mostly the 25 is for giggles.. I have started to shoot CCI blazer in it. Who reloads 25's?

Black Snowman
October 7, 2003, 11:15 PM
I got Federal Premium Defense for my Glock .40
I figure they have a bigger R&D budget than I do, ya so I got raped on the price. I don't feel bad about it.

In my new HD carbine, a Bushmaster M17S I'm using 55 grain Wolf holopoints. Only put 85 rounds through it so far but not 1 hickup.

October 7, 2003, 11:53 PM
Reliability was my #1 priority, my Kimber feeds most anything but I want to make sure of that so I buy several boxes of any given ammo to see if it is reliable. I currently use the 165 hydrashok load.

If you enjoyed reading about "How Did You Choose Your Defensive Handgun Ammunition?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!