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Defense Caliber choice: 9mm +P, 9mm +P+, or .40 cal.?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Daguerre, Dec 31, 2002.

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  1. Daguerre

    Daguerre Member

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    Being the new owner of a Browning Hi-Power in .40 cal and about to buy another Hi-Power in 9mm, I'm wondering what the differences might be in terms of recoil and stopping power between a 9mm +P and the .40 cal. Also, I'm not sure how well suited the Hi-Power is to +P ammo.

    Please share your thoughts.... thanks.
     
  2. JeepDriver

    JeepDriver Member

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    Gold Dot 124 +p ammo is just about the best 9mm defensive ammo out there.

    As far as ill-affects go this is the only help I can offer:

    Sig Forum BHP MK III Thread
     
  3. Croyance

    Croyance Member

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    One thing to look at is the vintage of the HiPower in question. Post 1994 HiPowers are said to be stronger. Go to Hi Power page to check out date of manufacture by serial number.
    For a regular diet of +p ammo I'd go to a heavier spring, say a 18.5 or 20 pound spring. These are made by Wollf springs. Some like the idea of a recoil buffer also. HiPower afficianado Stephen Campbell recommends this. I see no reason to question or contradict him.
     
  4. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

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    My choice for defensive ammo in my 9mm BHP is the Federal 9BP load -- NON +P 115 grain JHP. I'm willing to give up a few FPS for less blast and better controllability.

    "Handgun stopping power" is an oxymoron, anyway. If you need stopping power, use a Buick. :)
     
  5. dev_null

    dev_null Member

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    None of the above. That's why the .45 was invented.

    -0-
     
  6. Daguerre

    Daguerre Member

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    Thanks for your helpful contribution, dev_null. Yes, .45's are fine weapons; I've got a dozen or so 1911's in .45.

    But this thread is about 9mm and .40 cal., not .45. :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2002
  7. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

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    Use a Buffer Technologies Buffer and shoot anything you want..

    I prefer Ranger 124s
     
  8. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    I'd worry more about the longevity of the .40 S&W caliber BHP ... because of the .40 S&W cartridge ... than I'd worry about the amount of +P ammunition in the 9mm pistol. ;)

    There's +P, and then there's +P ammunition ... I've mixed Remington and Winchester +P ammunition in with standard pressure ammunition for some of our shooters, and many of them didn't even notice a difference. The +P+ ammunition has enough increased "snap" for most people to notice, but not as much as you'd think. As long as you stay with QUALITY ammunition, especially from the major manufacturers, you'll probably enjoy many years of reliable service from your 9mm BHP.

    Once, during a S&W armorer's class, we asked about service life with the standard aluminum framed 9mm pistols when +P and +P+ ammunition was used. We were told the service life would probably be less if a steady diet of the higher pressure ammunition was used, but that we should look for indications of accelerated wear. Two examples were the recoil spring becoming weakened sooner with the higher pressure loads, and the slide stop starting to exhibit a slight "outward" bend. Recoil impulse and forces travel more than just rearward, you know ... Basically, the lateral recoil harmonics might eventually cause the 90 degree angle of the slide stop to "open up" to beyond 90 degrees, and this might be a potentional problem if the slide stop tolerance changed enough that it no longer properly engaged the side plate plate in the S&W pistols. This required a lot of shooting ... if it occurred at all. It was just something to watch during inspections ...

    Don't know if this will apply to your BHP, but I thought I'd mention it ...

    I'm not sure most folks could easily afford enough +P ammunition to cause this sort of a worry, though ...

    Wolff Company can be reached at 1 800 545-0077, or online at:
    http://www.gunsprings.com/1ndex.html

    They offer both conventional and variable rated recoil springs for your pistols. The 9mm recoil spring has a listed factory rateing of 17lbs, and the .40 S&W of 20lbs ... and Extra Power ratings of 18.5, 20 & 22lbs, although you'll have to call to ask about what's available currently, as these things can change ...

    They're good folks, and they can help you assess what you might want to try out. Be aware that if you increase the recoil spring strength too much, you might also consider using increased power magazine springs, so feeding isn't adversely affected. The folks at Wolff's can advise you much better in these matters. We call them whenever we have questions, and they've always been very helpful ... Nice folks.

    Oh yeah, regarding buffers ... Test fire your pistols for reliable function if you install one of the polymer "spacer" buffers. Depending on the pistol design, these can shorten the slide travel, and this may, or may not, affect extraction & ejection of empties ... Not to mention that some buffer materials can brfeak down and create loose debris within the recoil spring area, which can also affect functioning. Some work well ... and some folks like them ... I quit using them in some defensive pistols after observing these exact issues in a Colt Combat Commander ... BUT, the exception to this? ... The King's barrel bushing & guiderod assemblies I've seen installed in a couple of our Officers Models required the use of buffers, and they've always functioned fine without these problems ...

    Sometimes I suspect that our pistols have the same variance of personalities that we do ... :)

    Let us know what you eventually decide ...

    Oops! The "stopping power" question ... notice I didn't use capital letters ...

    I carry either a 9mm or a .40 S&W caliber pistol on duty, depending ... as I'm issued both. The .40 is "full size", for uniform use, and the 9mm is a "compact", for planclothes use. Since I'm presently assigned to plainclothes work, I often switch back and forth.

    The ballistic effectiveness of the RA40TA 165gr .40 and the RA9TA 127gr +P+ 9mm just doesn't seem all that much different, all things considered, using our last ballistic gelatin testing lab results. I have confidence in both ... I do, however, find it "easier" to shoot the 9mm slightly faster in many circumstances. Slightly better recovery and controllability, but that's a subjective issue to be determined by each of us ...
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2002
  9. Climb14er

    Climb14er Member

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    Have you tried Proload

    proload.com

    Excellent ammo, I use 124 gr. Gold Dots +P that they mfg with their brass and powders. Very highly recommended. I also use Corbon 115 gr. +P.
     
  10. dsk

    dsk Member

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    With all this talk of 9mm Ultra Mag +P+++++ ammo, have you considered trying a few different types in a rental 9mm and see what effect it has on controllability? In my view a hard-to-control 9mm +P+ or .40 is a worse choice than a milder standard 9mm round. If on the other hand you have no trouble controlling it in rapid-fire use what you like.
     
  11. Daguerre

    Daguerre Member

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    Now that I've put about 180 rounds through my new Browning Silver Chrome .40, I've come to the conclusion that rather than buying my next Hi-Power (Standard in polished blue) in 9mm, I may go for another in .40. I'm so accustomed to shooting full power .45's, that I found the forty to be no big deal at all... easy to shoot. I'm thinkin' that .40 definitely has an edge over 9mm as a defense round, why not choose it over 9mm if I can shoot it well? If it's 11 rounds of forty in a Hi-Power vs. 14 rounds of 9mm, there's not that much of a significant difference in capacity. Would I rather have 14 than 11? Of Course! But I understand that for the average Joe, a defensive encounter is most likely to end well before 11 rounds are fired, especially if they are more effective rounds. I know this argument has strong and valid points on both sides and I can see them... that's my dilemma....
     
  12. ruger357

    ruger357 Member

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    Ditto on the +p 124grain Gold Dots.
     
  13. Bob Locke

    Bob Locke Member

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    I use standard pressure Gold Dots (124-gr.) in my Glock 19. Have never felt that it wouldn't get the job done.
     
  14. polekitty

    polekitty Member

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    Age is creeping up on me and I'm looking at 9mm for those long practice sessions, but I'll continuue carrying my 45. But again, I don't buy anything that I can't also carry. Soooo.....I'm debating with myself about which 9mm pistol to buy. I don't like the BHP---got rid of the one I had years ago and kept the old Beretta. I'd really like the new Para TAC-5, but money is an object. I may opt for one of the Taurus jobs. Which one? And where can I get myself a supply of +P+? Recoil? After my 45 I don't worry about the 9.
     
  15. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Member

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    All the above! +p for such as the Kel-Tec P9, +P+ for the Glock 26, and .40 for the Glock 27. All will do very well.
     
  16. gtmtnbiker98

    gtmtnbiker98 Member

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    I use Federal Hydra Shok +p+ in my G26 and Speer Gold Dots in my G27 and feel equally armed using both calibers. To me, it boils down to shot placement and proficiency with your firearm. If you can't hit them with a 9mm what makes you think that a .40 will cure your problem? That's my argument.

    Heck, I carry a .38 +P S&W J-frame more than I do my Glocks so anything in 9mm and .40 is comforting.
     
  17. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    I'm not a fan of +P as it seems to be you should have bought more gun to begin. There was the 38/44 loads in the 1930s before the 357 but +P originated with Super Vel in the 1960s. It was more a politically correct move where police departments could use it and still say they were using 38s and not...omigod...magnums.

    I'll use +P in K frames and +P+ in magnums but even there you're not gaining a lot. You're only getting an extra 100-150 fps in 9mm with +P or +P+ and that's not a lot in a round going 1100-1200 fps to start with. If you can find the CCI/Speer chart showing performance of std, +P. and +P+ rounds through different mediums. Not much difference between them.

    If you want more velocity in an auto pistol get a 357 SIG, in essence a 9mm magnum.
     
  18. fletcher

    fletcher Member

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    I would go with 9mm. The recoil will be a little more manageable, and the ammo will be much cheaper.
     
  19. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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  20. charlie505

    charlie505 Member

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    Ammo and gun choice

    I use what the local police use - NYPD in my case. The use Speer GoldDot 9mm. I shoot a Glock 17 - shoots great and the Speer is a great round
     
  21. ccmdfd

    ccmdfd Member

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    Wow, this thread started in 2002!:)

    Use whatever you shoot best with.

    cc
     
  22. longeyes

    longeyes member

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    My choice, in that selection, is Win Ranger T 127g +P+. Whether that works well in your gun I don't know.
     
  23. DogBonz

    DogBonz Member

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    This is my vote

    That's what I have in my HP. It is accurate and feeds very well.
     
  24. Kacerdias

    Kacerdias Member

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    I use Corbon DPX 9mm +p in my carry Walther and have been very satisfied. The nice thing about the DPX bullets is that there is no jacket to seperate on impact - the whole bullet is made of copper. And Corbon makes one hot round - but surprisingly controllable. I'd recommend the same bullet in .40S&W. Hornady TAP is also pretty good as is GoldDot, Hydrashock, etc.

    I think your cartridge choice should be highly dependant upon the platform you'll be shooting and how recoil sensitive you are. If you can place your shots with a polymer micro pistol in .40S&W then go for it. If not, find a platform that works for you, then mess with ammo choice based on:

    1. Reliability of feeding in the pistol
    2. Recoil/flash
    3. Bullet weight/type.

    Basically, shoot the biggest caliber in the smallest pistol that you can accurately control. That said - get thee to a shooting range. :D
     
  25. SWMAN

    SWMAN Member

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    I have a HP Practical and shoot 9mm +P, 9mm +P+ in it as well has having shot an HP.40. I can't tell the difference. I'd get the 9mm as you can fire cheaper ammo than .40. I use Winchester Ranger 127 grain +P for carry and shoot regular 9mm for practice.
     
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