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115 vs. 124 grain for 9MM defensive ammo?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by brewer12345, Dec 9, 2020.

  1. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Agree.
     
  2. Zendude

    Zendude Member

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    An example of an iffy cartridge is the Magtech 124 gr bonded hollow point that was tested by Lucky Gunner. No expansion even out of a 4 inch barrel.
     
  3. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    Not necessarily. 124 gr are going to go a little bit slower than 115gr so if you have big concerns about velocity it might be a deciding factor. Changing ammo weight also usually effects your point of impact a few inches. Typically up or down. Otherwise the big things to focus on for ammo selection is reliability, accuracy, and availability to a degree. I don't care how good an ammo is if it doesn't run in what I am shooting, shoots big groups, or I can't get it easily then it isn't a good choice.
     
  4. dickydalton

    dickydalton Member

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    At this time my 9mm's are loaded with Speer 135 grain Gold Dot G2 Carry Gun, but I did pick up some Federal LE Tactical Hydra Shock 124 grain to try.
     
  5. SGW Gunsmith

    SGW Gunsmith Member

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    I don't worry too much concerning the brand, but more interested about how the projectile is constructed and how it will perform during the season at hand. I don't believe there is any "perfect media" for testing how a bullet performs so I just use what's normally available in the fall, after Halloween passes. Yup! That's when pumpkins and squash are available and the seeds get splattered all over my target area to grow once again in spring. Pumpkins ain't the BEST, but they're FREE!
     
  6. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd member

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    My pragmatic point of view is that I prefer 124s as my carbines won't cycle 115s reliably so why bother with them if I don't have too.

    Before the carbines were an issue, I never really cared as long as they cycled and hit well.

    Todd.
     
    George P likes this.
  7. golden

    golden Member

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    I use 124 grain FEDERAL HST rounds in all my 9m.m. pistols. I have used 115 grain jhp's in the past, but went to the HST because my agency had a very good experience with the 180 grain .40 S&W HST. I prefer a round with at least a 1000 fps, even better if it is over 1100 fps, so I would not choose a 147 grain load. I might as well carry a .38 Special, in that case.

    I have been issued 115 grain and 124 grain 9m.m. ammo in +P and +P+ and we found that they worked quite well in actual gunfights. Now, with the advent of premium bullets, I go with standard pressure 124 grain HST jhp, even though I have several hundred rounds of 124 grain +P HST.

    The higher velocity +P rounds are noisier, have a brighter flash and slightly heavier recoil, with the recoil being the least important of the three. I would stick with the +P+ or +P, if I thought it was worth it, but I do not. If you use a premium 9m.m. bullet like the HST, GOLD DOT or GOLDEN SABRE, you can skip the extra work of shooting +P. At least, in my opinion.

    Jim
     
  8. lechiffre

    lechiffre Member

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    I let the gun decide.
     
  9. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    Don't find a ton of different myself, can't say inside of 20 yards I've noticed any difference in accuracy between 115, 124 or 147,+p or standard.

    I switched to 124 when the Gen 5 Glocks got a little sensitive to my 147 flat point reloads, and swapped my carry ammo accordingly.

    Me too. Softest I've found is 147 grain, but he difference is slight.
     
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    If I were starting from scratch with ample ammunition and time to check out in every 9mm I have carried, it would be a 124, likely HST.

    But what I have got is 115 gr 9BP. It feeds well and shoots accurately. If it is not the latest and greatest in designer expanding bullets, oh, well, just pull the trigger again.
     
  11. DR505

    DR505 Member

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    This seems to work well for me...

    56358-DEFAULT-l.jpg
     
  12. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    I prefer 115, but if 124 shoots, functions, feeds, groups better than 115, then I'll use 124.
     
  13. Roc_my_tims

    Roc_my_tims Member

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    My vote is for 124.
     
  14. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    All else being equal, I prefer 124-grain +P Gold Dots, as a default 9mm load, because I have been able to get it in 50-round boxes, from an LE-oriented equipment dealer, and from an internet source, and because multiple large police departments have used it, over time, with favorable outcomes.

    Having said that, point-of-impact being reasonable near the sights’ point-of-aim is quite important. I have used 115-grain Federal 9BPLE, in the Nineties, with pistols that “liked” it.
     
  15. Ironicaintit

    Ironicaintit Member

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    I have and practice with both 115 and 124. Maybe I’m just not that bright, but I can’t tell a whole lot of difference between the two... Point of impact, expansion, reliability are equal for me

    I do like the theoretical mass advantage of 124, so I carry that (XTP).

    if I were concerned about the sound barrier, or had a PCC in 9x19, I’d start thinking about 147.
     
  16. valnar

    valnar Member

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    Between 115 and 124, I prefer 124. However 147 has the advantage of being subsonic so I have some of those too when I use my silencer.

    I've been meaning to google how much that sonic crack attributes to the decibel value over just burnt gunpowder. Now I feel inspired to look it up.....
     
  17. JO JO

    JO JO Member

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    124 hst in my cz 75 ,
     
  18. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    I've been using 124gr my preferred bullet weight for years now. After looking at all the data and tests I could find, I just made a personal decsion that I liked the 125 gr as a good compromise between the faster 115 gr and the heavier 147 gr. Honestly, if I could not find any 124, I would not feel especially uncomfortable loading my 9mms with good quality 115 or 147 JHPs
     
    Anchorite likes this.
  19. Anchorite

    Anchorite Member

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    Yep, pretty much same here. The 9mm is such a sweet-spot, kinda like the 38 Special of the auto pistol world. I’ve even come to like the 135gr too.
     
  20. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber Member

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    I go 147 in my suppressed AR9 and 124 in my handguns. I think the shorter the barrel the less the chance of getting a good burn with more powder. but i know nothing.
     
  21. jeff-10

    jeff-10 Member

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    I prefer 124's and in normal times, I have the hardest time finding them online at a reasonable price. So I assume they are the most popular. Right now of course everything is high priced and scarce.
     
  22. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    I use 115gr JHP +P, but 124gr specialty ammo works for me, too. I sometimes keep 115gr FMJ in my pistol despite its blah factor. I tend to think the 9mm is one of the most underrated cartridges there is. It's small, yet it packs a punch. The .40 S&W was supposed to be the .357 of autos. I had a friend who was a Treasury agent who was quite excited about it. Sadly, a year or two later, his office went back to the 9mm. The reason, he cited, was its lack of stopping power. One agent, assaulted by a middle-aged woman with a knife, shot her her in the chest, then had to wrestle the knife out of her hand. And she survived, he said. It wasn't the only reason they went back to the 9mm, it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

    AAAPhoto-1.jpg

    He didn't have any personal guns that were .40, and he said the guys in his office were "disappointed" in its performance. They used the 115gr JHP until he retired, and he seemed to like it, though he recognized that no single gun/caliber combination was going to be perfect. He had high hopes for the .40 and would have liked to have had a hi-cap .357 Sig. But he said his office liked the 9mm 115gr JHP, and they stayed that until his retirement.
     
  23. earplug

    earplug Member

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    Lighter weight bullets will have more muzzle blast and recoil then heavier bullets given equal muzzle energy.
    Has to do with lighter bullets needing more powder for the same muzzle energy.
    This is why USPSA competitor's with compensators prefer lighter bullets and competitors without compensators prefer heavier bullets.
     
  24. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    I generally use Speer Gold Dot or Federal HST in 124 grain, lean toward the Speer. Both were available in 50 round boxes online prior to 2020. The practice ammo I have is 124 grain also. I would be happy with 115 grain if that was what I had. With 147 grain, I have noticed a shift in point of impact vertically with some of my pistols so I am reluctant to use much of that for defense.

    The guns I have used normally cycle whatever I put in them. The only ammo that ever gave me issues was some Monarch steel case stuff that was horribly underloaded. I guess some IWI 158 grain subsonic ammo gives a few of my guns fits also. Neither of those have ever been carry ammo for me.
     
  25. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Shooting, I never much noticed a great deal of difference between 115, 124, 135, and 147.
    The firearms always seemed to have a favorite.
    I have at least a box of each laying about, despite not having any 9x19 pistols.
    There's a lot of history with 115, if mostly in FMJ. The 147 have history, too--if mostly in HP in .38spl. Are the in-betweens that much better? Dunno. For my 2¢ the round you are confident in and is utterly reliable in your carry is probably the best, videos, gel tests, and anecdotes notwithstanding.
     
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