9mm: 115 vs 124 vs 147 grain


October 2, 2010, 11:11 AM
What grain do you use in a defensive load?

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October 2, 2010, 11:21 AM

This should be a poll.

October 2, 2010, 11:22 AM
124 gr. Why? I don't really know, except that's the weight I've read that the military uses.

October 2, 2010, 11:46 AM
You left out 127 grain +P+ :)

October 2, 2010, 12:24 PM
147gr +P in short barrels
124gr +P (or 127 grain +P+) in full size guns

October 2, 2010, 01:40 PM
I currently have mine loaded with Ranger 127gr +P+ Talons.

When I run out of that I have a case of 124gr +P Gold Dots I got for a good price.

My tendency is to stay fairly close to the original design weight (124gr for 9mm) of cartridges in auto pistols

October 2, 2010, 01:57 PM
It's not the weight that matters, it's the weight combined with the velocity combined with the design of the bullet.

October 2, 2010, 02:34 PM
My defensive load is either Federal HST 124gr +P or Winchester Ranger LE in a similar loading. Both are often considered to be either the best performing, or amongst the top rounds for defensive purposes.

October 2, 2010, 03:28 PM
Right now my P228 is packed full of 115 gr Cor-bon DPX +P's. Copper bullet gets it done.

October 2, 2010, 03:32 PM
124gr G/D +Ps ; )

October 2, 2010, 04:43 PM

October 2, 2010, 06:29 PM
I prefer Hornady 9mm 147 grain XTP JHP. High sectional density and it is very, very accurate.

October 2, 2010, 07:11 PM
I'm using Gold Dot 147gr right now. This may change in the future, but as of now I'm liking them very much.

October 2, 2010, 07:12 PM
No love for 115 gr?

October 2, 2010, 07:22 PM
I like 124gr, as I dont like to go lightest or heaviest and 124 fits middle of the road perfectly. lol

October 2, 2010, 07:32 PM
I use 124gr Golden Saber in 9mm, just because that's what I convinced myself I was shooting the best groups on paper with. (BHP, 92FS, S&W 3rd gens)


October 2, 2010, 07:37 PM
No love for 115 gr?

Apparently a beeeger boolit is better.

I'm curious about the answers, too, as my wife just got a 9mm (SR9c) that she absolutely loves. For function testing I bought one box each of Remington 124gr HD (repackaged Golden Sabers?), Winchester 124gr PDX1 +P, and Winchester Ranger 147gr SXT (which IIRC, is the predecessor of the PDX1 round).

There are many others out there, but I've gotta start somewhere! And I think 124gr is the right place to start.

October 2, 2010, 07:40 PM
I'm a big believer in the heaviest bullet for the caliber, thus if I'd carry a 9mm it'd be with 147gr ammo (I use 180 gr in my PM40 and 158 gr in my SC360 .357 Mag carry guns).

Bullet placement, placement, and penetration are the three most important things in handgun effectiveness.

Ragnar Danneskjold
October 2, 2010, 07:53 PM
I use 147gr. I carry 9mm because I'm a firm believer in more rounds=more hits=more stopping. BUT, within that context, I pick the heaviest round I can.

October 2, 2010, 08:07 PM
Over on another forum I've posted a test on Speer 147 GDHP in a gallon water jug test, and found the 147 GDHP will expand perfectly and penetrate three jugs and crack the front of a fourth jug fired from only a Glock 26 with a 3.46 " barrel. Go over to USRange and read it if you want. Penetration and expansion both, what's not to like!

October 2, 2010, 10:00 PM
115 grain; because what good is a heavier bullet if they both go all the way through anyways? I'll take the higher velocity and energy.

October 3, 2010, 12:11 AM
I go with a 115gr JHP +P.

The 9mm has always been problematic, but newer design bullets have gone a long way in fixing that. Faster, lighter bullets are a better way to go in my book.

October 3, 2010, 12:43 AM
My G 19 loaded with WInchester 147 gr HP . its the cheapest i could find at Walmart. Shoots just as fine!

October 3, 2010, 12:53 AM
115gr because it shoots to same point of aim/impact as my practice (fmj) ammo.

October 3, 2010, 01:28 AM
Whatever. But whatever almost always seems to be a 124 grainer; especially GDHPs, around my guns...


October 3, 2010, 04:02 AM
I have 124 gr Sellier&Bellot SPs in my CZ75. I would use JHPs if these were not illegal, so the softpoints are best I can have. I could turn to lighter 115 gr SP-s, these are faster and have better muzzle energy, but 124 ones are easier to find.

October 3, 2010, 06:19 AM
I will suggest that once you find what works best for you and your pistol, stick with it. Otherwise, you'll search endlessly for that "perfect" JHP that you'll never find.

Ammunition manufacturers, always seeking the profits are inevitably going to market something "new and improved" tomorrow regardless of their praises and promises of their products today.

If you foster the "warm 'n fuzzies" through proficiency instead bullet performance (which is important only to a point, IMHO), you'll save yourself a lot of fretting and money.

The number of times I changed JHPs (design or weight) for a litany of different reasons, in retrospect, is rather embarrassing. These choices of mine included 115gr, 124gr, 127gr and 147gr, some standard pressure, others +P or +P+. In hindsight, I believe all of them would have served the role just fine if I did my part.

Again, this is only my opinion, but if it's a reputable JHP that works well in your pistol, buy it and be done with it.

October 3, 2010, 06:42 AM
147gr. HST

October 20, 2010, 01:13 PM
I vary between 115 grain and 124, I prefer 124 grain. I prefer 124 PDX. but in smaller handguns like the p11 I use corbon dpx all copper bullet.

October 21, 2010, 09:19 AM
124gr +P Speer Gold Dot...it's rarely the most accurate load (almost every nine I've had shoots Fed. hydrashocks and/or Hornady XTP's better on paper) But I REALLY trust that bullet! I've shot a few critters with it...it is IMHO the best most reliable bullet in 9mm as far as expanding reliably and yet holding together well. There are many good loads out there....years ago most favored super hot 115gr HP loads...these days it's become more common to see the "original" weight for the 9mm luger round in HP form....hopefully loaded as hot as it can be. The 147gr has always been an oddball IMHO...but there are many that swear by it...if I want big slow and heavy there are calibers that do that WAY better than 9mm...again just personal opinion...YMMV

In the end a quallity gun, good judgement/training and safe gun handling are probably far more important than ammo choice and probably worthy of more scrutiny...though in 9mm it pays to choose carefully more so than in many other calibers.

Thaddeus Jones
October 21, 2010, 10:20 AM
In my all steel 3906 I use Winchester Ranger 127 grain +P+. Good penetration, and feels like shooting WWB out of the 4" barrel 3906.

In my aluminum framed 3.25" 3913 I use 147 grain Ranger. Great penetration, and very accurate out of the shorter barrel. Not too rough on the light weight compact pistol either. TJ

October 21, 2010, 10:23 AM
In my all steel 3906 I use Winchester Ranger 127 grain +P+. Good penetration, and feels like shooting WWB out of the 4" barrel 3906.

In my aluminum framed 3.25" 3913 I use 147 grain Ranger. Great penetration, and very accurate out of the shorter barrel. Not too rough on the light weight compact pistol either. TJ
What does the frame material have to do with it?

October 21, 2010, 03:02 PM
124 or 147 for me. The 115 is just too light for my tastes. I like bullets that penetrate enough to do the job.

October 21, 2010, 03:11 PM
Any Corbon ammo would be my choice in 9MM . Though I do have quite an assortment on hand mostly ball and 115 gr.
The Powerball has some interesting reports also blue tip Glasier.
The nine has been on the back shelf since I got my 27 Glock in .40
Now the Glock 30 is coming out since cold weather has started rolling in.

Thaddeus Jones
October 21, 2010, 03:38 PM
I don't run +P+ in my aluminum framed pistols simply to prevent the additional wear and tear of the hot load, for little gain from the short barrel. YMMV TJ

October 21, 2010, 03:41 PM
147gr +P Ranger in Glock 17, CZ 75B, and Ruger 95

124gr +P Golden Sabers Bonded in Glock 19, Bersa UC, and Taurus 709

These loads seem to be reliable and accurate in the handguns.

I have not done any expansion tests.

October 21, 2010, 04:09 PM
I have 115 gr in my Sig p6/225 right now. 115 gr in my p229. 124 gr in my HK p7.

Why? Cuz it what I had available. I'd rather have 115 gr than 0 gr ... ;)

October 21, 2010, 04:41 PM
I prefer the 124-147 gr offerings, particularly the 127 gr +P+ Winchester RA9TA offering....But I do also shoot a lot of other stuff, including the Federal HST & Classic(9BPLE 115 gr +P+)along with Gold Dot....

October 21, 2010, 04:45 PM
It's 124 for me. IMO 115gr is a little too light, 147gr a little to heavy for usual 9mm velocities. Plus the OAL of 147gr can give some guns feeding problems. I am also not entirely convinced they can expand as reliably as the lighter weights. With 115gr I am worried it will underpenetrate, especially out of a short barrel. I'll stick with the happy median of 124, the way Luger intended.

October 21, 2010, 05:09 PM
Im using Corbon 115 DPX right now my other store bought ammo is 124GD.
But if you ever shoot Barnes bullets in pistole or rifle there pretty impressive,
and impact and expand like a much heavier bullet.

October 21, 2010, 06:25 PM
All of the above...depends on deals available. Currently Speer Gold Dot 147gr....seems a nice accurate round.

October 21, 2010, 07:48 PM
Speer GD 124+p. Carried Speer GD 115+p+ prior to that.

October 22, 2010, 12:27 AM
I currently have 115g now but would prefer 124g. I thought I read that it performs best out of a 4in. barrel, most barrels (4in.) are designed for it. Something like that. Sorry to be so vague, I'm sure some ballistics EXPERT will come along and put me in my place.:confused:

October 22, 2010, 12:32 AM
I was carrying winchester ranger talons +p+, but it shot very differently than my practice ammo.

I bought some federal hst to see how it shoots compared to my plinking rounds. I'd really prefer not to mess with my sights, because they are perfect for target rounds. The rangers shot extremely low compared to where I was aiming.

October 22, 2010, 12:54 AM
I'll offer up some love for the 115 GD. It's what I choose.

The 124 & 115 are so close I don't think it matters, but I'll take a little more velocity in hopes I get expansion or better expansion. At close range I think either is likely to pass through and through so sectional sensity may not be as important as a hunting bullet.

October 22, 2010, 01:19 AM
124+P Winchester PDX1

October 22, 2010, 06:32 AM
Really impressed with the 115 +p+ bple. Good shooter and not too snappy through my G17. I found golden sabre 124 +p had more felt recoil.

October 22, 2010, 06:58 AM
I've done some backyard expansion tests with my XD9, and everything I've tried works pretty well through four layers of denim and water jugs or wet phonebooks. I've settled on the Ranger T 124 gr. +P because they are the most reasonable in price, and I just like those "talons." My Kel Tec P-11 is more sensitve to load and I find that Cor Bon 115 gr. +P self defense (not DPX) work best. The manufacturers of all my 9mm's- Springfield, Kel Tec and Hi-Point all say no +P+ ammo. If your gun is not rated for it it can cause premature wear, breakage and in some cases void the warranty.

An interesting side note, I contacted Speer when I didn't get any expasion from their GDHP Short Barrel 124 gr. +P, and their bullet engineer said he thought denim/jugs "was a fair test." The sales rep also invited me to return the remaining ammo for evaluation and would replace it, including more to cover my shipping costs. Great people to deal with.

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