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I own an H&K P2000SK .40 LEM and a HK45C. 155 gr GDHP & .45 ACP +P GDHP respectively?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by kashton, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. kashton

    kashton Well-Known Member

    I am looking for the best load for my two concealed carry pistols (H&K P2000SK .40 LEM and the HK45 Compact .45 ACP).

    Right now I am using the .40 180 grain GDHP but I am thinking of switching to the 155 grain considering the significant increase in foot pounds of delivered energy. I would just like some input:

    .40 S&W 180 grain GDHP Personal Defense: (What I currently carry)

    Muzzle Velocity: 1025 ft/sec
    Muzzle Energy: 420 foot pounds

    .40 S&W 155 grain GDHP Personal Defense:

    Muzzle Velocity: 1200 ft/sec
    Muzzle Energy: 496 foot pounds

    HOWEVER, I also own an HK45C which is only very slightly harder to conceal than the P2000SK. The .45 rounds are fairly similar in energy delivered, but one round is fairly devastating, the .45 200 grain ACP +P GDHP:

    230 grain GDHP Personal Defense: (What I currently carry)

    Muzzle Velocity: 890 ft/sec
    Muzzle Energy: 404 foot pounds

    200 grain .45 ACP +P GDHP Personal Defense:

    Muzzle Velocity: 1080 ft/sec
    Muzzle Energy:
    518 foot pounds

    Based on my research, the high velocity (1080 ft/sec) of the .45 +P and the outstanding energy delivered, it is hard to beat. The H&K carries 8+1 in a compact frame. My P2000SK holds 9+1 of .40 and I believe I am switching to 155 grains also.

    The questions is, which CCW should I carry out of the two and with what self defense ammo of the four? I am accurate with followup shots very well with both. I guess I can't go wrong.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  2. CPshooter

    CPshooter Well-Known Member

    I always like to stay with the heavier loads, even if the ft-lbs is higher on the lighter loads. A lighter, faster bullet will probably expand faster, but might not penetrate to the minimium standard of 12". A heavier bullet will more than likely penetrate to the minimum 12" AND it will have more momentum, which makes it more effective at plowing straight through bones/tissue instead of being deflected.

    I use 180g Gold Dots in my USPc .40. The lightest I'd go is 165g. If I wanted to use 155g, I'd rather go with a 147g 9mm HP. I've read something somewhere about cross-sectional density being a major factor in a bullet's effectiveness. I don't remember exactly what it was talking about, but basically it explains why a heavier 9mm can be more effective than a lighter .40 or something along those lines...

    For a .45acp load, I would use 200g for sub 4" barrels, and 230g for 4" or longer barrels.

    Gold Dots are one of the best JHP loads out there. I've never tried Federal HST, but I hear it's just as good as any other premium, modern HP round out there. The Federal "hydrashok" loads (w/ the lead center posts) are considered to be outdated and not nearly as effective as some of the newer JHP defense loads.

    There are many other good JHP rounds available from other manufacturers too.
  3. kashton

    kashton Well-Known Member

    That's why its a difficult choice - the barrel length on the HK45C is almost exactly 4 inches.
  4. CPshooter

    CPshooter Well-Known Member

    Then I'd say go with the 200g if you are more comfortable with it. A 230g can't hurt either even for a smaller barrel. It's going to do some damage and leave a big .45" hole even if there's no expansion at all.

    Choosing ammo is always a give and take kind of thing. You just have to go with what "feels right." Also, ammo that shoots accuratley in one gun might shoot all over the place in another gun. The best thing to do is try out different kinds of ammo that fit your needs, and choose the one that shoots the best.

    If it were me, I'd go with 165g for your P2000sk and probably stick with 230g for the HK45c. Again, going down to 200g probably won't hurt a thing. You probably aren't ever going to be in a situation where one would have made a difference over the other. Good luck!
  5. kashton

    kashton Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the help :)
  6. Marcus L.

    Marcus L. Well-Known Member


    I recommend reviewing the comments I made on this thread:


    I specifically address the false direction you are pursuing with using muzzle energy to influence your load choice. You look at what the bullet actually does to what you shoot, and with modern day hollow points the heavier bullet weights are not only consistantly better performers, but they are easier to control, and beat up your pistol much less.

    Top loads that you should consider using are these. They have been thoroughly tested by the FBI, Firearms Institute, ATK, and the NIDA and meet the minimum standards when it comes to shooting people with light clothing, heavy clothing, and shooting them through barriers. They are the top loads recommended to law enforcement agencies around the country.

    9 mm:
    Federal Tactical Bonded 124gr JHP (LE9T1)
    Speer Gold Dot 124gr+P JHP
    Winchester Ranger Talon 124gr+P JHP (RA9124TP)
    Winchester Partition Gold 124gr JHP (RA91P)
    Winchester Ranger Talon 127gr+P+ JHP (RA9TA)
    Federal Tactical Bonded 135gr+P JHP (LE9T5)
    Federal HST 147gr JHP (P9HST2)
    Remington Golden Saber 147gr JHP (GS9MMC)
    Speer Gold Dot 147gr JHP
    Winchester Ranger Talon 147gr JHP (RA9T)
    Winchester Ranger Bonded 147gr JHP (RA9B/Q4364)

    .40 S&W:
    Speer Gold Dot 155gr JHP
    Federal Tactical Bonded 165gr JHP (LE40T3)
    Winchester Ranger Talon 165gr JHP (RA40TA)
    Winchester Partition Gold 165gr JHP (RA401P)
    Federal HST 180gr JHP (P40HST1)
    Federal Tactical Bonded 180gr JHP (LE40T1)
    Remington Golden Saber 180gr JHP (GS40SWB)
    Speer Gold Dot 180gr JHP
    Winchester Ranger Talon 180gr JHP (RA40T)
    Winchester Ranger Bonded 180gr JHP (Q4355/RA40B)

    .45 ACP:
    Federal HST 230gr JHP (P45HST2)
    Federal HST 230gr+P JHP (P45HST1)
    Federal Tactical Bonded 230gr+P JHP (LE45T1)
    Speer Gold Dot 230gr JHP
    Winchester Ranger Talon 230gr JHP (RA45T)
    Winchester Ranger Talon 230gr+P JHP (RA45TP)

    Notice that most of the loads that passed are with heavier grain weights. Bonded bullets are also more consistant performers particularly against barriers. I would advise you to pick something from the lists above and stick with the heavier bullet weights. You pick a load based on what it does. That is usually determined by the quality of the bullet construction, and the bullet momentum which is a function of bullet sectional density and mass. Stick with the heavier bullet weights.
  7. kashton

    kashton Well-Known Member

    damn, I just went out and bought some 155 grain .40s and 200 ACP +Ps lol

    Now I own:

    .40 180 grain S&W GDHP & the 155 grain S&W GDHP

    .45 230 grain GDHP and .45 200 grain GDHP ACP +P

    So which .40 would be better and you are saying go with the heavier 230 grain?

    But if you think about it, it doesn't make any sense. a 200 grain .45 ACP going at 1050 ft/sec with 518 ft*lbs of energy is just slightly under that of the famous .357 magnum round, and it produces a much larger hole. It has to be a devastating round, and I shot one no more than an hour ago and the kick is the same as the ball ammo 230 grain white box.

    Besides that, I can feel the more power from the .45 ACP round rather than from the .40 round. The .45 just reminds me a a civil war age slug at a high velocity.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  8. NG VI

    NG VI Well-Known Member

    My advice, if you are really into getting the absolute most out of a load that you can, would be to go with HST for both pistols. The 230+P HST at 960 feet per second consistently expands up to and sometimes over an inch, all the HST loads get about the same penetration, between 13"-14", and for .40 I would go with either the 180 grain or the 165 grain. The 165 tends to penetrate slightly more and will probably feel a little hotter in your SK, it is rated at 1140 FPS, so the drop in bullet weight isn't that much to gain about 140 feet per second on the 180 load, which tends to expand a little better than the 165.

    165 HST
    180 HST
    230/230+P HST
    those are my picks for a carry load, also I like their 147+P HST. Really can't go wrong with HST, and it costs the same as the Gold Dot.

    Also HST has a locking ring in the jacket and does very well at not losing its jacket.
  9. Marcus L.

    Marcus L. Well-Known Member

    If any of the loads that you have are on the above list I wouldn't concern yourself with it too much. Generally, the heavier loads are more consistant performers such as 9mm 147gr, .40S&W 180gr, and .45acp 230gr(non+P). They are easier to control in a timed course of fire or under stress, they produce less muzzle flash(blinds you in low light), they produce less muzzle blast(makes you flinch less), and slows your pistol's slide velocity which causes less wear and tear on your pistol. If you are happy with the higher velocity loads, that's fine so long as the bullet is constructed well.
  10. Marcus L.

    Marcus L. Well-Known Member

    I specifically address the .357magnum in the thread I linked. Energy had nothing to do with the .357mag's success in the early years of ancient hollow point designs. This has all been confirmed by top researchers such as Dr. Martin Fackler, Dr. Gary Roberts, Shawn Dodson, Duncan MacPherson, and many others that have worked with the Department of Defense and the FBI. If you also look at the testing data I posted in that thread, the heavier bullet weights between the 9mm, .357sig, and .40S&W are the overall better performers. Read over it and you will understand in greater detail.

    Also, a Civil War .58 caliber musket ball(or miniball) traveling at 950fps will inflict far more trauma to the human body than a .357 magnum bullet traveling at 1500fps that expands to .58". Even a .357mag that expands to a 65 caliber will not damage as much overall tissue in the body as the musket ball which enters the body at .58" and will exit anywhere from .58-.62". It isn't about the velocity or how the pistol recoils in your hand, it's about what the bullet comes into contact with and destroys as it tears and crushes it.
  11. kashton

    kashton Well-Known Member

    what exactly is the issue at hand here? I lost you when you started talking about .357 magnums...
  12. Marcus L.

    Marcus L. Well-Known Member

    The problem was that you are associating muzzle energy with the effectiveness of a bullet/caliber. There is no field evidence, or proven laboratory evidence that shows that with modernized ammunition a .357magnum with a muzzle energy of 600ft-lbs is any more effective than a .45acp with a muzzle energy of 380ft-lbs.......however, there is LOTs of evidence to show that the lower energy .45acp is more effective than the high energy .357magnum. This was the whole basis of the FBI Wound Ballistics Workshop of 1987 which put a scientific end to the high energy stopping power theories. Millions of dollars spent, thousands of scientifically documented street shootings analyzed, expert analysis from medical doctors, scientists, and law enforcement, and test after test on ammunition. It essentially changed how law enforcement, surgeons, and the ammunition and firearms industry looked at what a handgun does to somebody and it set a precedence. I did explain the reasons for this in great detail in the thread I linked to you.....

    If possible, go with 9mm loads of 135gr-147gr(+P really not needed), .40S&W loads of 165gr-180gr, and .45acp loads at 230gr(+P really not needed).
  13. kashton

    kashton Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the information. You have been extremely helpful! I must have missed the link from earlier, I'll check it out. Thanks, and happy holidays!
  14. BushyGuy

    BushyGuy Well-Known Member

    i tested one 200 gr +p GDHP out of my RIA M1911A1 it went thru 3 water jugs and bounced off the 4th one, it blew up the first 2 jugs and expanded to .77 of an inch! only problem is that my RIA wont feed a full Mag it only feeds the last 3 rounds so i filled the mag the first 5 rounds with 230 gr FMj and the last 3 with GDHP it works well.
  15. CPshooter

    CPshooter Well-Known Member

    Go with the heaviest load in each caliber. A 155gr .40s&w bullet might have more "energy" on paper, but in real life it lacks the cross-sectional density necessary for adequate penetration. A 147gr 9mm will penetrate further than a 155gr .40s&w because it has a higher cross-sectional density.

    Another common misconception is that a lighter bullet loses less velocity in shorter barrels. Not true. A heavier/higher mass bullet actually has a higher dwell time in the barrel before it launches, allowing the pressure to peak higher and launch the bullet closer to its intended velocity. In other words, a heavier bullet actually loses less velocity in a shorter barrel.

    Always go with the heaviest bullet for any given caliber. That said, I have an exception for 9mm. I like the middle weight 124gr GDHP because it still penetrates at least 12" in ballistic gelatin and has more energy than a 147gr. The 147gr is prone to over-penetration which makes me nervous. But for .40 and .45, 180gr and 230gr respectively is your best bet.

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