9mm carry ammo...115 or 147

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by whatever, Dec 10, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. wally

    wally Member

    Jan 2, 2004
    Houston, Tx
    I don't carry a 9mm, but if I did it'd be with 147gr ammo. Less flash and blast, better chance of adequate penetration if you get good expansion. I'm a heaviest bullet for the caliber guy in general.

    Only con to me is about 30% more weight in the magazine compared to 115 gr ammo.

    Placement, placement, and penetration are the three most important factors in handgun effectiveness, so IMHO carry what you shoot most effectively.
  2. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 15, 2012
    For carry, I usually lean towards a heavy, slow bullet. I've been carrying 147 grain Remington Golden Sabers. I don't have the box with me today, and I can't recall if they're +p or not. They're not +p+. Of that, I'm sure.

    I've only got about 300 rounds through my carry gun, and haven't had any significant function issues. (Read: I had exactly one FTF, and it was clearly ammo related.) As compared to 115 fmj, the 147 has a slightly "muted" recoil impulse. Feels less snappy and more like a push against my hand.
  3. JamieC

    JamieC Member

    Mar 31, 2012
    PSL, Florida
    We like expansion, we NEED penetration. Generally, heavier, slower bullets penetrate better, Gold Dots always seem to be at or near the top of all ballistic tests I've seen. I carry the Short Barrel ammo in my PF9. I have a couple of boxes of Ranger Ts, 115+P+ I carry in my full size S&W, seemed like a cool idea when I bought 'em, I do like Ranger Ts, if I buy them again, they will be at least the 127gr or 147s. The light weight bullets, 90, 105s the Barnes bullets are designed for DECENT expansion to allow adequate penetration. Not a bad idea for the micro nines, allow faster follow up shots.
  4. Vodoun da Vinci

    Vodoun da Vinci Member

    Sep 17, 2013
    I prefer the NATO Standard for 9mm which is the 124 gr bullet. If I had to choose between 115 and 147 I'd choose 115.

    As far as the whole argument about expansion and all that goes I'm on the "we want both" argument and I have to agree that if we shoot a BG between the pockets he's probably gonna cease and desist as hastily as we can make that happen. The problem is that getting a straight on chest shot is like getting a head shot that you can count on. Not as likely as an angled shot that might need to penetrate thru a jacket, thru the upper arm, thru a jacket again, thru the ribs and a wider part of the torso thru muscle and tissue to get at the lungs, aorta, or maybe thru to the spinal cord.

    I'd rather lean towards the side of more penetration than to have a 115gr fast hollow point start putting on the speed brakes between passing thru the upper arm and starting to penetrate the rib cage.

    I don't think we can likely count on a "three to the chest" scenario and that gelatine tests only show the relative functionality/penetration/expansion of the various rounds tested on a level playing field. I'm not certain that any conclusive evidence of relative injuring power can be derived by comparing tests in gelatine but it's all we have short of shooting folks.

  5. LT.Diver

    LT.Diver member

    Feb 1, 2007
    If I carried a 9mm it would be a... Never mind. I carry a 4" model 29, .44 magnum inside the waistband and a couple of speedloaders nearby. Go big or go home!

    IBEWBULL Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Wisconsin Central State
    May be a different approach

    I am not a great fan of the 9mm I do have a Glock 19 but it sits a lot .
    I do prefer the heavier projectiles in most of my guns. Be it a 30-06 180 gr or 38 special 158 LSWC.
    In the 9mm I trend mix magazine Heavy in first then lighter such as silvertip. Last in is a Glasier of the 3 round mixture.
    MY theory is you never know what will be necessary . Penetration, expansion etc. It is not a plan for targets either.
    SO what do you think about this?

    Not that plan on a 9 for carry. I have a J frame for this 158 GR LSWC
    Sometimes a K in .357 686 Plus 3 inch.
  7. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

    Jul 9, 2012
    SC (Home), VA (Work)
    I'm not much for mixing up the ammunition like that in my guns. My concern with this is that when I shoot, the primary focus is putting rounds on target, where I want them to be. All else is necessarily secondary to that purpose.

    Mixing ammunition like you mentioned means that I have rounds with different masses of bullets, different velocities, and different geometries to their designs.

    All this means that the first couple bullets may hit at point of aim, the next may hit above or below point of aim, recoil may be different between shots, bullets of different physical shapes may not feed as well as others, etc.

    Also, I ultimately would have no more selection as to terminal performance characteristics on demand than I would if I had just went with one type of ammunition: I'd be cycling through a different type of ammunition every few trigger pulls with no guarantee that any given type of ammunition would be any better suited than the next under the changing circumstances in a gun fight. Not only that, but in the actual heat of the moment I'm not very likely to be thinking: "I just shot my first three Ball rounds, next three up are Gold Dot hollowpoints, then I've got 3 85 grain TerminalShocks..."

    I suppose if one feels they must do this for whatever personal reason, they could choose ammunition of the same mass and velocity which have at least demonstrated on discernable differences in reliability and accuracy on the range. This way their ammunition will at least be going where they aim, regardless of what type gets chambered.

    But to mix and match to the extent you postulated? Nah...I wouldn't recommend that at all. I still recommend what I posted back in post #5.

  8. WRGADog

    WRGADog Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    Brevard County, FL
    147 grain Bonded Winchester Ranger JHP is my choice.
  9. tahunua001

    tahunua001 Member

    Jul 21, 2011
    147 is better. more FTLBS and more penetration.

    115s are better for longer range application, better velocity and less bullet drop.

    I personally carry and hunt with 147gr bullets.
  10. shootr

    shootr Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Not in an occupation I'm likely to ever encounter a confrontation and low chance of ever being involved in a shooting. I'd lean toward whichever one shot best in my gun. An accurate round gives me confidence I can hit my target.

    Speaking as a hunter, some bullets offer better terminal ballistics than others but IME, placement and penetration outweigh paper ballistics. I would apply the same logic, as well as cost to selection of SD ammo.
  11. Byrd666

    Byrd666 Member

    Jan 24, 2011
    Hill County, Texas
    Probably mentione before but, I really like Black Hills 124 grn HP
  12. xtphreak

    xtphreak Member

    Jan 27, 2009
    In my FN SFS HiPower, I carry a mixed load.
    1 Federal 115gr 9BP in the chamber, in the mag, 2 Federal 9BP 115gr hollowpoints, followed by a Federal 115gr FMJ, then alternating loads.

    The 9BP for accuracy and reliability (FMJ shape) and some expansion, the every other ball load for punching glass or other penetration requirements.
    Both shoot to the same point of aim.

    I carry at least 1 more 13rd mag loaded the same.

    I follow the "lots of holes" philosophy :)

    My plan is "Officer, I was scared so I kept on shooting as long as the goblin was a possible threat".

    I usually carry a Kahr CW45 w/ 2 extra mags, all loaded with Federal 230 ball.

    I like bigger holes.

    Reliability is crucial, no bullet will stop a goblin if the gun jams.

    Accuracy is crucial, a miss with a .44 Mag is worse than a vital hit with a .22LR.
  13. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

    Mar 25, 2011
    I carry 135gr +P Hornady Critical Duty, and load 147gr bullets for practice.

    I never cared for 115gr, but it all will work.
  14. CA Raider

    CA Raider Member

    Sep 3, 2012
    "Generally, heavier, slower bullets penetrate better"

    I think I'm onboard with this logic. but the reason I asked earlier was partly to challenge my own assumptions. is this logic still true - if the 45-cal is fired from a very short barrel?? it would be really good for someone here to do some gelatin tests, firing the same 45 rounds, but using pistols with different barrel lengths. I think that would be educational .... at least I'd like to see it.

    why assume ... when we can test and find out?

    CA R
  15. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

    Jul 21, 2005
    Heavier-for-caliber bullets tend to lose less velocity in a short-barreled configuration than their lighter counterparts. I think part of it is that they have less powder and lower velocity leaving more time in the barrel for the powder to burn.

    147 also retain their velocity and energy better for long distance. It will drop more at 100 yds, but it will still have more steam when it gets there.
  16. kvtcomdo

    kvtcomdo Member

    Jan 16, 2012
  17. captainamerica1984

    captainamerica1984 Member

    Dec 15, 2013
    Eastern Virginia

    I see the pot has been stirred.
    Just want to mention I see you do not like carrying a 9MM
    I like the .45 ACP
    I also like heavy bullets. Since it gives a better chance of penetration.
    I think the 38 LSWCHP is a great load. There are many hyped up gimmicks which will not do the same job.
    As they say each to his own.
    In the end know your gun caliber and what it can do.
    SO there pops.
    I will see you soon.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013
  18. CA Raider

    CA Raider Member

    Sep 3, 2012
    see this link and go to testing on 9mm luger.


    special thanks to Beanbag on this forum, who just shared this link as a reply to a different thread.

    CA R
  19. Torian

    Torian Member

    Feb 10, 2013
    Depends on the season IMO. I carry 147 grain +p+ gold dots in the winter (for better penetration through multiple layers of clothing), and 115 grain +p+ federal JHP for summer loads. In cool weather, I generally pick something around 124-127 grain.
  20. TarDevil

    TarDevil Member

    Dec 29, 2009
    NC Coast
    Your priority should be on what works best in your gun and on the intended target, not what is available locally. If either of those turn out to be best, fine. If not, go elsewhere or order online.

    It's your life, Dude.
  21. kmrcstintn

    kmrcstintn Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    I don't carry my Beretta 92, but it is rotated among my home defense firearms; I have several SD loads that I use...

    speer gold dot 115gr jhp & speer gold dot 147gr jhp in smaller stashes; older style federal 147gr jhp, most likely hi-shok that I got from sportsman's guide in white 50 rd boxes (larger stash); the speer gold dot 147's are in the Beretta currently
  22. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    It gets a little more complicated when the bad guy doesn't present himself like a cardboard IPSC target.

    Then there's those pesky arms that always seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  23. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

    Apr 8, 2009
    A bit surprised by all the people with Dutch-loaded magazines.

    I think really the only advantage of 9mm ball would be shooting through metal cover, and even on that a bonded JHP would do just as well.

    The ogive on 9mm ball lends itself to richocets off of angled hard surfaces like auto glass.
  24. mooner

    mooner Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    The mixed loadings mentioned above are - in my opinion - not smart.

    How on earth do you think you can plan for anything in a chaos environment. Focus on reliability and accuracy. If every round theoretically performs the same you can at least hope that they actually will in the real world. Start mixing it up and you are just trying to guess exactly how the worst day in your life is going to go.

    This is almost like the other conversation involving buckshot going on currently. One individual actually said that he liked the idea of getting alot of spread because if his aim was off, he might still hit something. What if your aim is on? Presumably you could still miss right?
  25. Mainsail

    Mainsail Member

    Dec 16, 2005
    I suppose I could buy a bunch of different bullet weights and test them all out.


    I could read the tests done by others and load my 9mm with 147gr HSTs or similar.

    ETA: 147gr HSTs are 100% in my P239 and my wife's Firestar.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice