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9mm out of a short barrel?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by itgoesboom, Jan 3, 2004.

  1. itgoesboom

    itgoesboom member

    Getting ready to start carrying my XD9 Subcompact, to replace my Bersa .380, and I am trying to figure out what type of load to use.

    It has a short barrell, only 3", so I am concerned about heavier bullets not expanding due to loss of velocity.

    Should I be going for a fast 115gr JHP, a medium 124gr JHP or a slow 147gr JHP?


  2. George Hill

    George Hill Well-Known Member

    Out of the shorter tubes I like the middle weights and the heavier slugs from the full length barrels.
  3. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Well-Known Member

    9mm pistol ammo does not benefit from a long barrel very much.

    The biggest difference you can make in velocity is in the weight of the bullet.
  4. itgoesboom

    itgoesboom member

    Thanks for the responses. I will check out some of the 124-135gr loads.

  5. Redlg155

    Redlg155 Well-Known Member

    Here ya go.

    These are from Wednesday when I went to the range with my Chrono.


    Kahr PM9 Matte Stainless
    Barrel Length 3.0"
    Temperature 65 Degrees F

    Load #1 Winchester USA 115 Gr FMJ ( White Box 100rd count Value Pack)

    Average: 1020 FPS

    Load #2 Speer 124 Gr +P Gold Dot

    Average: 1093.4 FPS

    Load #3 Winchester USA 115 Grain JHP (White Box 50ct)

    Average: 989.5 FPS

    Load #4 Winchester USA 147 Grain JHP (White Box 50ct)

    Average: 863.82

    Load #5 Federal Personal Defense 135gr JHP

    Average: 926.64 FPS

    I use the 124gr Gold Dot +P out my PM9 for carry. It is still a very controllable load even though it is a +P. The Federal Personal Defense load also shows good promise. Its is based on the Hydra Shok bullet.

    Good Shooting
  6. ChickenHawk

    ChickenHawk Well-Known Member


    I know I could look this up (but) are your findings consistent with the documented specs for those rounds?

    I've gotta get a chrono. :drool: <-- we need a smilie for this!

  7. 444

    444 Well-Known Member

    Here is some of my chrono data comparing a Kel-Tec P11 to a Ruger P89 and a 9mm AR15 with a 16" barrel. The 9mm data is close to the end of the first page.

    The only load that I had an advertised velocity was the CorBon and it was right on the money for the P89.
  8. Brigrat

    Brigrat Well-Known Member

    As I recall, Doc Roberts recomends 147 gr. loads out of short barrells, as the bullet used is designed to expand at a wider range of velocities. I will attempt to find the Tactical forums link to that topic.
  9. tiberius

    tiberius Well-Known Member

  10. Gary A

    Gary A Well-Known Member

    Don't jump all over me guys 'cause I know the 9mm is better than the .380, but...these velocities from a 3 inch barrel (at least standard pressure stuff) sure bring the small 9mm back down to earth a bit and much closer to the Bersa, the Sig, and other 3.5 inch and longer barrelled .380s. Yup, surely better, especially if you prefer heavier bullets, but...once again, is it enough better to make a real world difference? Probably, but these numbers make the decision less of a slam dunk than often supposed. I believe Mr. Murbach claims 1100fps plus from his Bersa with Cor-Bon 90 grain loads. Federal gets around 1000 fps or better. Gold Dots right behind. Anyway, just an observation.
  11. Redlg155

    Redlg155 Well-Known Member

    Lets see..

    For the 124gr Gold Dot bullet....

    According to Speer their Gold Dot bullet travels at 1220 FPS out of a 4.0" test barrel. Using a 50 fps velocity loss per inch rule that puts the bullet at 1120 FPS. My loads were averaging 1093 FPS. Speer does not state what temperature they were chonographed. A higher temperature will definitely affect chrono readings. You also have to take into account whether they tested from a fixed test barrel or actual weapon. Still, I'd say my readings were consistent for this load.

    Winchester 115gr JHP and 147gr JHP...

    Wichester states 1225 for 115gr JHP and 990 for 147gr JHP's in USA Brand. No test barrel length was given.

    My velocities were 989 for 115gr JHP and 866 for 147gr JHP. The 147gr load was close to the 50 fps rule. The 115grain load however was not.

    I will make a note that Winchester lists their standard USA 115gr JHP to chrono at 1190 fps. That brings me a bit closer but still a bit far from the rule. We also have to take into consideration that Winchester may use a slower burning powder. This would also give you more velocity loss per inch of barrel loss.

    Anyway...I'm pretty confident in my chronograph readings. I also tested a few painball guns at the same time. :D

    Tipman custom 98 went 300 and 325 fps from two diffent guns. The Tippman A5 went 350 fps...definitely needs to be turned down! :D

    Good Shooting

    Good Shooting
  12. ChickenHawk

    ChickenHawk Well-Known Member

    Interesting stuff, Red!

  13. Selfdfenz

    Selfdfenz Well-Known Member

    I would be surprised if someplace here on THR or back on TFL Mr. S.A. Camp might not have a working report on 9mm ammo fired from various guns. If he did it, it will be excellent data and pictures.


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