Best 9x19 loads for self defense?


March 26, 2004, 07:06 PM
Being pretty new to the 9x19, I'm looking for advice on the best all-around self defense load for the 9x19. The consensus seems to be that a HP is ideal, but which kind of HP? I'd likely be needing to use it in Anchorage or the Valley, with fairly limited dangers of accidental hits due to overpenetration.

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March 26, 2004, 07:31 PM
Everyone swears by their favorites. I prefer Winchester Silver Tip Hollow Points. Another popular name is Federal. You can't go wrong with the popular brands and most gun shops have those on display -- you can always ask at the shop -- and you'll get more opinions...

March 26, 2004, 07:47 PM
My favorites are the Speer Gold Dot 124+p followed by the Ranger 127+P+.

Both rounds work equally well in all my 9mm's, I tend to shoot the 124+p better though so that's my choosen carry round.

March 26, 2004, 07:48 PM
Currently I have Win 115 gr STHP in mine. Tend to use it the most being as I have a bunch, and avail locally.

I have a variety I can use though , I just grab what is handy.
Any from this variety I have run a minimum of 200 rds to check for reliabilty and POA/POI.

Reliability is priority.
Checking the POA/POI is recommended.

Once established a peace of mind exists...especially if a variety is known and one has to buy out of town ...alleviates concerns.

Extra mags vary with SXT, Corbon, Golden Saber, Fed Classic, White box JHP, Hornady...and I keep one with 115 gr FMJ handy.

My 9s run anything I put in ...just have my druthers....err ...variety of druthers.

March 26, 2004, 08:34 PM
I favor 124gr Gold Dots.
Honestly, I'd have no problem carrying Winchester White Box Hollow Points.

March 26, 2004, 08:57 PM
Winchester Ranger-T 127gr +P+

This is a "law enforcement only" round, but it is legal for civilians to own and use. You just have to find someone who stocks this ammo and will sell it to you. Jerry Kirkpatrick sells it by mail order if you decide to buy some and can't find it elsewhere (

My alternate round is the Remington Golden Saber 124gr (either standard or +p). I would also feel just fine using the 124gr Gold Dots if they were available to me (and they probably are, I just haven't bothered to look).

March 26, 2004, 11:36 PM
I like the 115 gr Winchester USA (white box) JHP. Nice and cheap for thorough testing through your weapon of choice, and they seem to have very similiar recoil and POA characterisitcs to the dirt-cheap Winchester value-pack FMJ.

According to tests they have good penetration and reliable expansion, occasionally breaking up a bit.

Zak Smith
March 26, 2004, 11:44 PM
I like the Speer Gold Dot 124's. They have good penetration, even through metal & glass.

Speer's loading is super-hot at 1300fps. Alternatively, Proload has a 124+P load with the 124GD.


Dave R
March 27, 2004, 12:18 AM
I like a Speer Gold Dot over 6.2 gr. of Unique powder.

Oh, you meant commercial loads. Never mind.

Zak Smith
March 27, 2004, 12:20 AM
For handloads, I really like VV-3N37 and 124gr Gold Dots.


March 27, 2004, 12:28 AM
Hornady 9mm 147gr JHP/XTP's.

Ala Dan
March 27, 2004, 12:41 AM
When I can't obtain the infamous "Secret Service"
9X19 load, I would opt for Winchester "Silver Tip"
JHP's also.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

March 27, 2004, 12:44 AM
My favorite is the Gold Dot JHP. Ammolab has some good performance data on this bullet.

Best printed load data I have seen is the Black Hills 124 +P Gold Dot JHP doing 1250 fps and 430 ft lbs of energy out of a 4" barrel.

Fed great and grouped well out of my G19.

March 27, 2004, 03:32 AM
Speer gold dot +P


March 27, 2004, 06:21 AM
I'm sure you realize there's no decisive answer to question but only opinions. Fortunately, there's a wealth of experience here in which to draw your own conclusions.

I can't say I've adopted one standard for all my 9mm handguns. My PT-99 is loaded with 147gr Rangers, while my Kahr K9 is kept loaded with 127gr Rangers.

I recently switched from Georgia Arms 115gr +P+ Gold Dots to Winchester's 127gr +P+ Rangers. Both offer excellent expansion from my K9 after 2-4 layers of denim, but the Rangers tend to offer greater penetration.

The Black Talon ancestry of the Rangers weighed very little on my JHP decision; I've found the "talons" on both the 127gr 9mm and 230gr .45acp tend to remain folded against the petal, protruding very little.
However, I've also found Rangers to be absolutely reliable in their ability to expand after several layers of clothing.

It would be difficult for me to give you a decisive answer as to what you should use, though I've been more than pleased with the 147gr and 127gr Rangers, I'd also give a confident thumbs up to the Gold Dot.

Below is a photo of an expanded Ranger compared to Gold Dot after 2 layers of denim before play dough at 10' from a K9. Both performed as advertised, with the Ranger offering a couple additional inches of play dough penetration.

127gr Ranger +P+ (left) has replaced the fine and dandy 115gr Gold Dot +P+ from G-A for my K9.

Jeff Timm
March 27, 2004, 07:13 AM
First of all the round must be 100% reliable in your sidearm, when YOU fire it and you must be able to hit a vital areas target (the martian bowling pin or whatever the current politically correct term for those silly targets is) five times in five seconds from the holster, in your standard dress and carry, at 7 yards.

Any good hollowpoint from a major manufacturer will do.

Who know all about the "Miami Incident" et. al. ad nauseum, but citizens aren't looking for trouble, we're looking to answer the simple question: "Am I gonna die right now?" and their answer is "HELL NO!" preceeded by a series of loud bangs.

March 27, 2004, 10:01 AM
147 ranger sxts.....

March 27, 2004, 10:08 AM
Here's some info that may help:

Draw your own conclusions. I carry Pro-load +P with a 124gr Gold Dot payload.

March 27, 2004, 11:24 AM
If they were all equally reliable and I could shoot them equally well, I'd probably take the Ranger 127 +P+ first, then the 124 +P Gold Dots from Georgia Arms. After that, I'd probably stick with whatever 124ish weight modern HPs I could get for the best price. Not crazy about HydraShoks or Federal Personal Defense stuff in 9mm and I'd strongly consider the Winchester White Box stuff as it's probably the cheapest you can find locally...

Still, if you buy in relative bulk, the Georgia Arms Shear Power has a lot to recommend it... Cheap, great consistancy, has been very reliable for me, well proven terminal performance of the bullet...

March 27, 2004, 01:36 PM
Opinions are like belly buttons...

I prefer Hornady's 115 gr. XTP JHP by a large margin, because it expands a good deal AND penetrates a good deal. Explosive performance.

My other favorite is Winchester's White Box 115 gr. JHP. Good expansion, limited penetration, great price.


March 27, 2004, 02:34 PM
Thanks! This is why I love the High Road. I've shot the Gold Dots but haven't had experience with the Rangers. I'll try these out on the compound and see what works best with the P225.

March 27, 2004, 03:19 PM
I'd be wary of shooting many of those +p+ Rangers out of your nice Sig. Sig's are great guns, but can't handle a diet of +p and +p+ like Glocks, XD's, and HK's can.

Just a little warning.


March 27, 2004, 03:45 PM
The best?
The one that's the most reliable and most accurate in that specific pistol. Everything else is a trade off.

March 27, 2004, 04:16 PM
115 gr Winchester USA (white box) JHP I'm with Middy on this one. They feed fine in all my guns and they are cheap enough to practice with and keep on hand.

Test results are good too. I used to pay for "premium" ammo but didn't shoot it as much. Since I have shot more of the White Box than anything else (defensive load) and have never had a single problem... I'm staying with it!


March 27, 2004, 04:27 PM
Winchester 115 Silvertips

PMC 115 Starfires

March 27, 2004, 08:36 PM
At ranges to 25 feet the RBCD 9mm Tactical at 2300 fps, further the RBCD standard at 2000 fps.

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