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Which SD round is less likely to over penetrate?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by TheProf, Aug 2, 2011.

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  1. TheProf

    TheProf Member

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    I would like to get a comparison between 9mm +P (JHP) vs. .40 (JHP).

    1. I heard that basically as a general rule, the heavier bullets tend to penetrate more. That makes sense....but when you factor 9mm vs. .40... sectional density plays a factor. (I actually read that the .40 is less likely to overpenetrate than the 9mm? Any truth to this?)

    2. I also realize that most effective SD rounds will pass through a person...due to the 12 inch minimum penetration requirements recommended by the FBI standards.

    So.. with those two caveats... 12 inches penetration minimum standard and the overalapping between 9mm and .40 rounds...

    Which caliber, weight, brand would you recommend best to avoid unncessary penetration? (and also assuming that I am equally comfortable shooting both rounds)
     
  2. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    I would not worry about overpenetration of any "bad guy" you might have to shoot. Even if it does not hit a bone and goes thru and thru, there is a ton of engery loss. NOW, all the OTHER shots you threw in their direction and MISSED.. where are they going? Who are they going to penetrate?
     
  3. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Penetration is a GOOD thing. Don't worry about "overpenetration". Don't shoot into a crowd either.
     
  4. Pyro

    Pyro Member

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    Don't take gel tests so literally, there is no bone or muscle in a block of gel.
    A JHP hitting a sternum might flip or collapse making the bullet act like a FMJ.

    Penetration is your friend.
     
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    If you're worried about a 9mm +P round over-penetrating use a non+P 9mm round that uses a good hollow point bullet...

    The 40 S&W is rarely reported to over-penetrate.
     
  6. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    The OP asks which is less likely to overpenetrate, and the answer is, don't worry about it?

    New York Times disagrees with you:
    Massad Ayoob also had an article on (I believe) the same NYC statisitics.

    By my count, that's 23 persons hit by bullets passing though other persons. Just the documented cases; just the ones involving police. In two years. One city.

    Don't worry, you say? Well, as long as it's not your daughter behind the bad guy, who cares, right?

    Actually, the rounds least likely to overpenetrate would be fast HP loads with low sectional density light, fast HPs that will mushroom well, or even fragment. It seems counter-intuitive, but +P HP loads often penetrate less than slower HP loads, because of the greater tendency to open wide and/or fragment.

    So, given your specs, I'd say 9mm +Ps of 115 or 125 grain; and .40 +Ps of 135 or 140 gr. Personal favorites would be 9mm 115gr DPX or .40 140gr DPX, both +P. (Actually, also depends on the gun: Corbon says you'll get the same performance with their 9mm 95 gr DPX out of a 3 in barrel as the 115 out of a 4 inch barrel.)

    The point is true: less chance for overpenetration means more chance for underpenetration. Choose carefully.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  7. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    By my count, 33 people were directly hit, 3 via ricochet, NOT passing thru the suspect. Worry more about shot placement, than penetration. Overpentration some, yes, but shot placement 1st.
     
  8. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    And how do I, sir, correct my shot placement (during a for-my-life firefight) by round selection? The OP asked about round selection.

    Also, yours is a "false dichotomy" fallacy. There is nothing that prevents one from worrying about both round selection AND accuracy.
     
  9. antiquus

    antiquus Member

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    .38 spl, take your pick what you want to carry in it, goes from 110gr to 180gr, 1100fps to 650fps, SWC, HP, LRN and 100 years of data says it kills bad guys dead and doesn't overpenetrate.
     
  10. 481

    481 Member

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    I'm not so sure about that.

    Killin' someone and making 'em stop trying to kill you are two different things and .38 Special 158 gr. LRNs @ ~750 fps are well known for zipping through the human anatomy producing overpenetration (they can penetrate well over two feet of soft tissue) with minimal terminal effect and tragic downrange results.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  11. Mike1234567

    Mike1234567 member

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    General rule of thumb: Lightweight hollow points that "reliably" expand (as reliably as they come at least).

    In 9mm:
    Federal 124gr HST
    Winchester 127gr Ranger T
    Hornady 115gr Critical Defense
    Corbon 95gr or 115gr DPX
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  12. TheProf

    TheProf Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    In terms of light and fast 9mm vs. light and fast .40.... is there a consensus?
     
  13. Single Action Six

    Single Action Six Member

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    It Depends On Shot Placement..

    The Prof said in part..

    I'm not questioning the results of what was said, but rather (in my opinion), the lack of additional pertinent information which could change the conclusions of the articles.. and thus your choice on what caliber/round to carry.

    As I see it, there's only one thing wrong with the statistics in the New York Times and Massad Ayoob articles.. neither article indicated where on the body the person was shot.

    It's going to make a big difference if the caliber/round that is being shot hits the fleshy part of the body and meets no resistance of organs or bones.. or if person being shot gets hit in a different area.

    It's one thing to say "such and such" caliber/round passed through a persons body (because it hit the fleshy under arm part of the body) and then base some statistics on that, or.. having that same "such and such" caliber/round not pass through the persons body because it hit a large bone structure and a couple of major organs!

    Until we know the location of the shots, then at best all we can conclude is some of the shots had better placement than others.

    Your mileage may differ depending on how you look at it.

    Single Action Six
     
  14. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    Well, Hornady has a 115 gr FTX round: 11 inches in gel (that's short of your 12); and .40 165 gr FTX at maybe 11.5.

    So, about the same...except of course, the 9mm is going to have a smaller wound channel and recoil less.

    If it matters: I carry 9mm DPX, and I don't carry .40...I carry 10mm 135 gr JHPs (Brassfetcher didn't test this round, but puts the similar .40 at a little over 9 inches). Feel fine about both.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011
  15. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Member

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    Experience tells me that if you ever have to make an angling or through the shoulder shot on a 3XL size felon, your choice of 11" or 12" gel penetration ammo will be severely lacking.

    Bob
     
  16. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I'll say it again, "The 40 S&W is rarely reported to over-penetrate."

    If you're really stuck on the 9mm buy ammo with a good HP bullet design that will reliable expand. Something like what Hornady puts out with that plastic plug in the HP cavity.

    I carry a .38 Special loaded with the FBI Load and call it good...
     
  17. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    I'd test that if I were you. My experience with 10mm and 135 gr. was similar to 9x19 with 90 gr. Those 90 grainers work well at .380 velocities, but not so good when driven to 1,500+ out of a 9mm. Same with 135's; Decent at 1,200-1,300 FPS from a .40, but at more than 1,600 FPS from a 10mm, they tended to blow up.

    I personally use 180 gr. for 10mm defensive loads. My pet is a 180 gr. Golden Sabre that clocks 1,340 FPS from my 3.5" Witness Compact. Excellent penetration and expansion, and the bullets hold together. 180 gr. Gold Dots are choice #2.

    After extensive testing in ballistic clay, the loads in my carry guns are as follows:

    .380: 102 gr. Golden Sabre "+P" (1,020 FPS/236 FPE from the P3AT)

    9x19: Remington 115 gr. HP Factory Load (1,100 FPS/309 FPE from the PF-9)

    10mm: 180 gr. Golden Sabre (1,340 FPS/742 FPE from the Witness 3.5")

    .44 Spl: 210 gr. Remington SJHP (no chrono yet, est. 900 FPS/378 FPE from the 2.5" Bulldog)

    .45 ACP (S&W CS-45): 230 gr. PMC Starfire Factory Load (780 FPS/311 FPE for 3" barrel)

    .45 ACP (S&W 4516-1): 240 gr. Sierra JHC (1,060 FPS/599 FPE for the 3.5" tube; Yes, it's a .45 Super load.)

    ETA:

    I'm sure some might question the use of a couple mild factory loads when the rest are hot handloads. Well, for the 9mm, my +P+ loads caused the firing pin to wipe metal from the primer in my PF-9, which resulted in light strikes. They're also very snappy in a 12 ounce gun. I found the cheap Remington ammo to give the best balance of contollability, reliabilty, expansion and penetration in the PF-9. My 5906 and other steel 9mm's are stoked with hot 124 and 147 gr. Golden Sabre, Gold Dot and XTP handloads.

    For the .45 Starfire in the CS-45, they also performed the best for me of standard pressure loads from the short barrel. I don't punish the little alloy-framed subcompact with my +P or .45 Super loads. It's also enough of a handful with standard loads.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2011
  18. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    Agreed--actually the .40 "blows up" if you mean fragment. The load I use is nominally 1400fps; the brassfetcher load was a little over 1300. I've tried hotter loads, but they slow me down, and as you say, what's the upside?

    I understand the arguments that the 135 load is a "summer load," not a leather-jacket-and-parka load. And it is admittedly not a load for those who hold to the 12 inches minimum penetration, a standard that should always be considered, even if one eventually decides on a load that doesn't meet it for other reasons.
     
  19. 06

    06 Member

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    If "that" worried about over penetration why not sell your guns, buy a dog, can of MACE, keep your phone by your bed, and have the police on speed dial. They will only take 30-45 minutes to get to you and can tape off the area, chalk your outline on the floor, and stand around for the news media to video their presence.
     
  20. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    As the Bradys say: If you're that worried about your safety, why don't you move? If you're that worried about needing a gun to save a family member's life, maybe you should just carry medical equipment instead.

    Some of us don't like the anti-gun crowd, but seem to like their illogcal and condesending style of argument.

    If you're that threatened by an opinion that's different than yours...:D
     
  21. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

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    TheProf asks
    What are the specific firearms? Barrel length affects muzzle velocity, which can affect expansion reliability.

    Can you define "unnecessary penetration"?

    The two key tests for bullet expansion and penetration are: 1) bare gelatin, and 2) gelatin covered by four layers of heavy denim cloth. Bare gelatin represents best case expansion conditions and worst case penetration conditions (after the bullet expands). Whereas denim covered gelatin represents the opposite - worst case expansion conditions and best case penetration conditions (due to inhibited expansion caused by fabric clogging the hollowpoint cavity).

    The best designed bullets expand and penetrate about the same in both test events.

    Well-designed bullets (those that reliably expand and penetrate at least 12 inches) usually penetrate between 14-16 inches in both test events. This seems to be the "sweet spot" for penetration performance.

    The holdback effect of skin can equal as much as 4 inches of penetration. The bullet has to stretch skin until it tears to exit the body. Elastic skin acts like a trampoline and can trap the bullet just underneath it, preventing it from exiting the body.

    I've heard it said that an adult human torso is about 11 inches from front to back. If we accept this claim as fact then a bullet that travels in a straight line from front to back will encounter about 14 inches of penetration resistance before it exits. There are many variables that increase a bad guy's "thickness" (build, body angle, body position, position of the shooter in relation to the bad guy, being forced to shoot through an arm, etc.).

    "Overpenetration" assumes a solid, center mass hit. However many cases of reported "overpenetration" involve peripheral hits in which the bullet had a short penetration path through the body.

    I recommend you use a cartridge that penetrates between 14-16 inches when fired from the specific barrel length of the gun, and then choose the gun/caliber/cartridge combination that allows you to shoot the best (ability to fire multiple shots without need to re-adjust your grip, ability to quickly recover from recoil for faster follow-up shots, ability to personally tolerate recoil without flinching).

    Good luck.
     
  22. Prosser

    Prosser Member

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    I guess I'm old school. I've always thought you could end up with an expanding bullet, using cast LFN light for caliber bullets. Once you get a LFN moving over 1350 FPS it tends to expand, in particular when it hits bone. You can limit penetration by limiting bullet weight, and, pick up the benefits of a larger wound channel with the velocity making up for the bullet expansion. Also likely to have a less tapering wound channel then a hollow point. They would also work MUCH more consistently. Plus you can shoot a LOT of them, for much cheaper then the current HP prices.

    I've always wondered what happens with rounds that under-penetrate? About 30 years ago Detonics recommended a Speer 200 grain HP @ 1200 fps. They said they had LEO using this round, and that it worked better then their 185's at 1350 fps.

    I guess I start wondering what happens when you get hit with a 135 HP at 1500 fps, and
    it blows up? Leaves a big, shallow hole? Wouldn't that do more then annoy the BG's?

    My Position has always been that for some reason, the only guys that have ever attacked me where huge. Smallest was 6'2" and at least 240 pounds. While we aren't as tough as hogs, hogs don't do drugs, get high, and crazy. I figure I wouldn't ever go after a hog with a light bullet, why would I bet my life on one with a bad guy?
    14" of penetration is a little more then the length of my forearm.

    I carry a 9mm sometimes. Tend to alternate flat points with 147 grain HXT. Got a great price on them, main reason.

    It still doesn't give me the warm and fuzzies penetration wise. San Diego PD have been impressed with the 147 grain HXT.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011
  23. heeler

    heeler Member

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    This very day I was at the range and was shooting in my Kahr PM9 some Winchester Ranger Bonded 147 gr. hollowpoints.
    I have seen you tube videos and after expansion, penetration could easily be 16-18 inches.
    That just might cause us a problem in a big city setting.
    But maybe not.
    Still since most of us actually live in cities we need to keep all of this in mind.
    One thing I did notice about the Ranger 147 grain as well as the Winchester 147 PDX1's is they were very accurate and in my Kahr and seemed more controllable than the Gold Dot 124+P's I had fired from it the week before.
    Will be trying the Hornady Critical Defense soon.
    At this point I like the controlled feel of the 147's though.
     
  24. 10.mm4life

    10.mm4life Member

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    glasner safety slugs are the way to go if your firearm will cycle them. better safe than sorry there are plenty of cases where standard hp rounds go through the wall and kill the person in the room next to you, i personaly am not willing to take that risk. sure they are over $2 a round but you cant put a price on safety. maxamum stoping power no exit. extream shock is also very good. Not to mention the wound cavaty of both these rounds are huge no standard hp can compare with the ammount of damage they do on the target. shoot safely and allways know whats behind your target.
     
  25. PRM

    PRM Member

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    Over penetration ~ Given that whatever degree of proficiency a person has will degrade under stress, and that more rounds miss the intended target than actually hit it in an altercation. It seems more appropriate to worry about the rounds that miss, than the ones that actually contact and over penetrate.
     
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