Muzzleflash of Personal-Defense pistol loads


August 31, 2011, 01:44 AM
Last and this year, I've shot, fotografed, and posted the results of shooting PD loads in the dark to document muzzleflash. The only other research published on this phenomenom of which I'm aware was done by the Phoenix Police Department and is found here

I've posted the results from Accurate numbers 5, 7, and 9; Hodgdon HS-6, Longshot, and Universal; IMR SR4756 and 800-X; and Winchester SuperField. Some have very little MF and would make good PD loads, while others produce quite-large balls of fire and would reduce night vision for seconds. Results are here
and I welcome constructive comments.

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August 31, 2011, 04:52 AM
Interesting pix.

August 31, 2011, 06:10 PM

I found that N105 and 3N37 to be too-slow-burning, hence too bulky, for PD loads with the long Barnes TAC-XP 125, but I imagine they'd work finely with normal 147s.

I'm now using HS-6 with the Barnes 125 for PD loads. Here's a pic of 3 expanded bullets fired at 10' into 4 1-gallon waterjugs in series. The first two passed thru 4 layers of denim taped onto the 1st jug.

Other PD bullets just wish they performed as well as these do. I think only the Gold Dots come close.

August 31, 2011, 09:58 PM
Good post.

On a not so serious note, many years ago I shot some hot loaded .357's (140 grn. w/ a generous load of W296) at night and the flash was so bad that it took a couple of minutes for the eyes to return to normal.

I figgered if I ever had to use this load for self-defense, I would just reach around a corner, light off a round and it would be as good as tossing a flash/bang. :D

It was after that that I started paying attention to powders and the muzzle flashes they produce.

September 1, 2011, 01:49 AM
...are the TAC-XP 160g. .45-caliber bullets. Same shooting situation as the 125s above.

September 1, 2011, 04:23 PM
My loads are more likely to be a fire hazzard than a blinding factor. If I even had to defend myself from closer than 10' I think the perp would be doing the stop, drop, and roll to extinguish the H110/296 muzzle flames.
But seriously, I understand the concern here and it is a very valid one that I have personally considered. But I've noticed that the flash is such that the shooter isn't as effected because our focus being on the target. A simular type of response is recoil and report. When I'm benching a high recoil and loud reporting weapon, the recoil and loud report is very impacting and noticable. But when I'm in a hunting enviroment and shooting at a game animal, I don't notice the recoil or the loud report from the rifle or handgun.

NM Mountainman
September 1, 2011, 06:43 PM
Great photos. Very well done.

In the past, there has been some controversy (based on possible legal considerations) about whether it is advisable to use hand loads for self defense. Your muzzle flash photos demonstrate that, possible legal considerations aside, there can be good reasons for selecting a quality factory self defense load (like Gold Dot) to get good performance combined with low flash.

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