180gr vs 165gr in .40


February 10, 2011, 02:46 AM
I'm curious to know what you guys carry as a defense load in your .40. I read somewhere that the 165gr is better suited for this than the 180gr. The 165gr definatley has more recoil to them than the 180gr from what I can tell, and I prefer the 180's as I can get faster follow-ups. The owner of the gun range I was at last week disagrees and tells me the 180's have more recoil... yet others I have talked to agree with me. Either way, I'm carrying Winchester PDX1 Black Box 180gr's. I know it's slower but is it really going to make that big of a difference in an SD situation than 165gr.

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February 10, 2011, 05:56 AM
I'm not sure I notice much if any difference in recoil between the two. Sometimes I think maybe the 165 is a very tiny bit "snappier" if it's possible to distinguish snappiness from recoil. The force of the 165 vs. the 180 will be the product of lower mass x higher velocity; for the 180 vs. the 165 it's the product of higher mass x lower velocity. I'm sure somewhere there's a table with all the numbers, but I can't imagine the resulting force numbers, which would drive perceived recoil, would be all that significant. Maybe it's just subjective and shooter-dependent (e.g., grip method and strength, gun weight and balance, barrel length...), or maybe it's just a distinction without a difference.

February 10, 2011, 07:10 AM
I personally prefer bullet weights in the range of 155 to 165 grains in my 40 S&W pistols. At the moment I've been using Federal Hi-Shok ammo and it's been 100% for me.

February 10, 2011, 07:29 AM
I know it's slower but is it really going to make that big of a difference in an SD situation than 165gr.

No, but what will make a difference is you using the one that you shoot the best, that being the 180 grain bullet.

February 10, 2011, 08:14 AM
What Ben said is the complete truth. Using a current JHP load there won't be any truly significant difference in performance between the two terminally, so if there is a difference in your performance with one, that's the best performer you can carry.

February 10, 2011, 09:40 AM
I'm carrying Winchester PDX1 Black Box 180gr's.
That's as good as it gets. All Fed LEO's that carry a .40 use this load.

I do too...

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has awarded Winchester®
Ammunition the single largest ammunition contract in the history of
federal law enforcement worth a maximum of $54 million.

February 10, 2011, 02:08 PM
thanks for all the response guys.
nosreme- i think that's exactly what it is. i'm 5'10" and a mere 140 pounds soaking wet!

February 10, 2011, 02:10 PM
180's have less recoil than 165's in my Glock 23. I Noticed a big difference right away.

February 10, 2011, 04:32 PM
the funny thing is- we took my new SD40 shooting, and I got to shoot a Glock 23 as well and i did better with it than my own gun. that was the first time i had ever fired a Glock. while i think they're ugly as sin, i know what all the hype is about now :)

February 10, 2011, 11:01 PM
I had been carrying 135 gr Corbons in my G23C (and provided for my daughter's G23) for a couple of years. I reload, so I had been using 135 gr Rainiers over a fairly hot load of Power Pistol. Recoil was snappy, but not uncontrollable. The rounds were supersonic so raised some eyebrows at the range.

I change out the self defense ammo every two years and decided to go with Winchester Rangers 165 gr. loads. I'll be loading up some 165 gr Rainiers soon. It's hard to say why I changed. I was influenced to go with the Corbons after reading some initial statistics on "one shot stop" performance. I later delved into the sampling for that report and believe the data sampling was somewhat flawed.

I agree with the other posters in saying that any weight bullet in a .40SW self-defense round will probably do the job. I do believe in practicing with rounds which simulate your self-defense load as closely as possible.

February 11, 2011, 09:24 AM
These two bullet weights in .40 S&W usually result in similar recoil impulses (i.e. the actual amounts of momentum), although 165 grain loads tend to be somewhat snappier and have greater blast & flash. My current self-defense and primary practice loads use 180 grain bullets as I prefer this weight, but I'd shoot either weight with full confidence. If you shoot one noticeably better than the other, however, then obviously that's the one you should use.

February 11, 2011, 09:29 AM
Shot placement trumps everything else in defensive shooting. So, while the differences in recoil when examined by the numbers is interesting, the above poster summed it up every eloquently when he said the best load to use is the one that you shoot the best.

February 11, 2011, 10:36 AM
I carry 155 grain JHP rounds.

You should shoot whatever you're the most comfortable with. Go out and buy a few rounds of different loads. Take them to the range and see which ones you and your weapon prefer. Then shoot that. I know that by reading some of the threads on here you may be led to think that bigger always = better but that's not the case. Shoot what you can hit with and I promise you, no BG like a hole drilled in their chest no matter how big the hole.

February 11, 2011, 10:56 AM
For what it's worth, I just recently switched from Federal Hydra-Shok 155gr to Federal Tactical HST 180gr on the basis of a heavier bullet that expands better.

As for recoil, it all feels about the same to me, but my PX4 is a gentle kicker.

February 11, 2011, 02:47 PM
Thanks for all the feedback. You guys are great. I'm actually trading .40's this week, the new gun will be a tad bit heavier so I may try the 165's again...I'll also be shooting from a shorter barrel so I'd prefer the 165's in this case

February 11, 2011, 02:58 PM
IMHO, there is not a lot of difference between 165's and 180's - and I shoot both. It's just a matter of finding a load or ammo that you shoot the best.

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