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Question about 147 grain vs 124 grain...

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Inebriated, May 8, 2012.

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  1. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

    Mar 25, 2011
    So, I'm making the jump down to 9mm from .45 ACP... I'm picking up a Glock 26 this month or next, so I've been researching for a carry load. Now I haven't done a heck of a lot of research on bullet weights for 9mm yet, so bear with me if I'm asking a stupid question here, but... in a couple of videos, I saw a Federal HST 147 grain bullet penetrate around 13", and the +P version about 11", both from a Glock 19. The +p expanded more, though. In the other, I saw a 124 grain Gold Dot +P penetrate about 13" as well, also from a Glock 19.

    So if that's the case, and the standard pressure 147 grain and +P 124 grain both go 13", why bother with 124 grain? Would it not be more beneficial, in theory, to go to the heavier bullet to aid in penetrating things other than tissue?

    Links to videos:
    147 grain +P
    147 grain standard pressure
    124 grain +p

    For the record, I plan on the +p 147 grain HST to help with the velocity out of the shorter Glock 26 barrel.
  2. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Dec 27, 2002
    northern california
    A just as likely question, based on your facts, would be,"Why bother with the 147gr bullet?"

    If both bullets penetrate to the same depth, why would you think the 147gr slug would be better at penetrating other things?

    Two things to take into consideration:
    1. the 124gr slug is the original design bullet weight for the 9x19mm cartridge...like the 230gr is for the .45ACP and the 180 is for the .40 S&W...so wouldn't it follow that the largest window for reliable function would be a bullet closest in weight to the original design

    2. The original design parameters for the 147gr slug are not always consistent with the use of that cartridge in SD/HD situations. In a SD/HD situation, more penetration isn't always a more desirable feature
  3. Rob96

    Rob96 Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Allentown, PA
    With the 124gr+p Gold Dot you get good expansion with the penetration of the heavier bullets. I am not an energy believer in pistol cartridges but I figure the higher energy of the 124+p can't hurt.
  4. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

    Feb 18, 2007
    NE Ohio
    In guns that will take it, I use the +P or +P+ 124gr loads for defense; for those guns that +P stuff is not recommended, I like the 147 standard pressure loadings (Gold Dot, Golden Saber).
  5. Lothar

    Lothar Member

    Sep 7, 2011
    Against a very large, heavy attacker with a tough "skin" of either clothing or hide, whether it be human or animal, penetration is key. All else being equal, heavier bullets will penetrate better than lighter ones. I use nothing but 147gr standard pressure in my 9mm pistols, both for practice and carry. For deep woods carry with my 10mm, I'll go with a heavy hardcast round--as heavy as I can get without the bullet becoming too unstable and prone to tumbling.
  6. iblong

    iblong Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    In most pistols I tend to run heavy for cal.bullets but in the 9mm I prefer
    a warm loaded 124 top shelf jhp.In my not so sientific testing they seemed
    to preform better out of my pistols but Ive not shot through barrier's.
  7. SFsc616171

    SFsc616171 Member

    Jul 21, 2010
    For 9mm, here are a few suggestions, YMMV.
    1. For 115 grainers, the Winchester White Box 'USA9JHP', have the exact same spec's as 9mm 115 grain Silvertips, first stated as such by the late Steve Camp.
    2. Why not contact Glock, and see what grainers they use, to proof and boresight their 9mm pistols?
    3. It is a historical fact, that the Browning p-35, was designed around a 124 grainer (no plus p's were designed yet).
    4. For 147 grainers, what I have read is that, FMJ flat points work well. No loading problems due to 'wide mouth' JHP's. The velocity/energy curves almost match a .38 special 158 grain HP!

    I wish you good shooting!
  8. nathan

    nathan Member

    Feb 4, 2003
    I have the WWB 147 JHP on my Browning HP clone right now. A box cost me $15 , yeah im cheap but no mistake this will take out a twolegged bad guy if i need to do it.
  9. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    Sep 10, 2008
    SW Arizona
    I reloaded the 90 gr., 115 gr., 124 gr., and 147 gr. XTP's using HS6. My observations were as follows using chronograph and 9" paper target at 15 yds..

    The 90 gr. was produced near 1500 fps and was really quite accurate with all but 1 of 10 rounds in on the plate. Recoil was very tollerable.

    The 115's put all 10 in a much tighter group, with velocity around 1300 fps average. Recoil was quite snappy.

    The 124's were about the same as the 115's for accuracy, with velocity near 1200 fps. Recoil was uncomfortable.

    The 147's group opened up considerably with 2 just off the paper plate and velocity was 1050 fps +/- 10-15 fps consistently. Recoil was about the same as the 124's, maybe a tad more.

    These were fired from a Taurus PT111
  10. Landric

    Landric Member

    Apr 19, 2003
    Kansas City Metro
    I carry Speer Gold Dot 124 grain (+P) in my Glock 26. Part of the reason is due to the fact that the 147 grain JHPs had a miserable reputation back when I started carrying/shooting. I understand that progress has been made in that respect, but the original 147 grain 9x19 loadings tended not to expand and sometimes didn't reliably cycle 9mm pistols which were mostly designed for higher velocity lighter bullets.

    The first duty ammunition I was ever issued was Winchester 115 grain JHP (+P+) and my department always had good luck with it. For a long time that is what I carried in all my 9x19mm pistols. I eventually decided that perhaps it might be best to change to a bullet designed for more than violent expansion in flesh, and settled on the 124 grain (+P). I expect that the lighter, faster 124 grain will actually penetrate barriers better than the standard pressure 147. How the 147 (+P) will do I have no input, but I'd be interested in giving them a try. However, I have plenty of 124 grain (+P) Gold Dots on hand, and no desire to change. YMMV.
  11. Striker

    Striker Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    NE Ohio
    My preference is Ranger 9mm T-Series 127grain +P+ hollow point ammo. I've had very good results with it.

  12. Rampant_Colt

    Rampant_Colt Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Every firearm will have different preferences for specific ammo types. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to ammo.

    The OP needs to hit the local range and shoot a variety of different ammo types to determine which best suits his specific criteria. One ammo type may be the best "stopper", but may have undesirable attributes like being wildly inaccurate, failure to feed or has a tendency to foul the gun with dirty unburnt powder residue. You don't want to be stuck with a large quantity of something that doesn't properly operate in your gun, is wildly inaccurate or just plain dirty. It's possible that your gun has a preference for 115gr or 147gr bullet weights. I used to have an FEG Hi-Power clone that would consistantly vertically string and group flyers with 115gr bullet weights, but was dead-nuts-on with 147gr.

    Having said that, my personal preference in 9mm is for 147gr bullet weights for a variety of reasons. Speer Gold Dot, Federal HST, Remington Golden Sabre and Winchester Ranger-T is the best premium JHP ammunition available, and have good bulk prices. The other nice thing is that those companies make budget ammo like Blazer Brass, UMC, USA and American Eagle with which to practice with. So for example if you settle on Winchester 147gr Ranger-T, you may practice with cheap FMJ USA, and carry Ranger-T.

    Hit the range with all of your Glock magazines and a variety of different ammo makes and shoot some paper targets to get an idea of your gun's accuracy potential with different bullet weights, point of impact and recoil characteristics. this is the best way to break-in a new gun as well.

    Posted from my computer using my keyboard
  13. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

    Mar 22, 2008
    N. Georgia
    Use the one that you and your gun shoot best.
  14. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

    Oct 17, 2010
    Why not go with 135gr JHP slug instead. Both Hornady and Federal offer this weight.
  15. chieftain

    chieftain Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    The Free State of Arizona
    Much confusion on the +P & +P+ on 9x19mm Parabellum/Luger ammunition.

    It must be noted that the USA via SAMMI does not load the 'standard' 9mm to design spec.

    The original design like the NATO round is nominally 124gr @ 1250, which is a +P load in the USA.

    IF the pistol will not handle +P ammo it cannot be suitable for NATO issue. Like Glock, SIG, Beretta, Walther, HK, S&W etc.... Yet all those folks make NATO issued guns, no different than the one you pick up at your LGS.

    +P+ is where you "CAN" get into trouble. There is no standard for the +P+ any where in the world. It is by definition an over pressure load. That's it. +P is not an over pressure load, it is a Max pressure load. (Note, I am not aware of anyone selling a +P+ in any other caliber) If you stick with the Major ammo makers and don't over do it quantity wise, you can shoot some +P+ out of most modern designed and built 9mm pistols without problems.

    Just remember that a higher pressure cartridge of any caliber will increase wear on the machinery that is, in this case, the gun. The wear in some cases is not to a significant degree and in others a very early retirement will occur.

    A rule of thumb is a smaller short barrel guns will usually wear out before a larger model/variant need springs replaced more often etc. Like Glock 26 vs 19 vs 17 vs 34.

    As to bullet weight, I generally stick to the 115/124 in 9mm and 230 in 45acp. If I do my job, I will get as much effectiveness as possible from a handgun, regardless of caliber. Choose good quality bullets.

    Good luck.

  16. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    147gr is to 9mm what 230gr is to .45 ACP and 180gr is to .40 S&W. All three bullet weights are similar in sectional density. All three bullet weights are propelled at similar velocities. All three bullet weights exhibit similar terminal performance.

    Likewise 124gr 9mm is similar to 200gr .45 ACP and 155gr .40 S&W.
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