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Why do law enforcement and civillians carry 147gr 9mm?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Mr. Ready, Mar 31, 2013.

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  1. Mr. Ready

    Mr. Ready Member

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    I could be wrong but as far as im aware the 147gr was developed for use with suppressors. 9x19 parabellum is a high velocity round so doesn't making it subsonic kinda defeat its purpose? Ballistics charts i've seen suggest that 125 and 115gr load hit much harder. If somebody is that worried about overpenertration wouldn't they be better off with a round that is subsonic normally?

    Im kinda new to shooting and this one is confusing me.

    And please none of this "would you want to be hit with it?" crap, i wouldn't want to get hit with a .22 but that doesn't mean i'd trust it to stop an aggressor.
     
  2. JO JO

    JO JO Member

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    the LE guys I know including local,state,fed have dropped the 9mm and most carry 40 s&w
    and a small few 45acp,
     
  3. KenW.

    KenW. Member

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    My duty ammo is the 124 grain Gold Dot.
     
  4. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    I take it by "hit much harder" you mean to say produce more energy at the muzzle or a given distance? What is the difference. The energy differences probably are not really that notable. Its probably more valuable to look at a loads propensity for 1) reliable penetration 2) expansion of the bullet and depending on circumstance 3) performance with regard to barriers.

    There is much more that goes into terminal ballistics than muzzle energy. IMHO there are likely to be much more meaningful variables than what are often relatively paltry differences in energy.
     
  5. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    A medium weight, medium caliber bullet going a at a moderate speed is not a bad combo. With the 147gr the 9x19 basically duplicates a good .38 special load. Either will serve fine in most situations.

    What the 147 gives you over a lighter bullet (of the same type) is generally better penetration (in soft media), and better overall performance at longer ranges. What you loose is velocity, which means a little less kinetic energy.
     
  6. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    Heavier bullets get better penetration. I prefer 147 gr in 9mm, but my wife didn't like the recoil, so I have her carrying 115 gr.
     
  7. Mr. Ready

    Mr. Ready Member

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    By "hit much harder" i mean sends a bigger wqve through ballistics gel
     
  8. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    The shock wave is worthless. There is a theory that hydrostatic pressure will cause devastating damage by making a shock ripple that makes tissue disintegrate. Trouble is, it doesn't work. It turns out, most organs and tissue are very resilient. (The most notable exception being the liver.) The pressure will bruise, but it won't incapacitate.

    The only thing you can rely on to stop a bad guy with a pistol is cavity trauma. The bullet makes a hole. A bigger bullet makes a bigger hole, but a smaller one might be easier to make more holes with than a bigger one. If you use premium JHP bullets, they will usually expand and make bigger holes. The more cavity trauma you cause, the better the odds you will hit something the bad guy needs to keep moving. That's IT.
     
  9. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

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    It's because of the FBI Miami shootout from 1986. Many firearms were fired in the fight, but the 147gr bullets were adopted and used for years after because of only one of them:

    One of the 115gr 9mm rounds was on a wound track in the torso of the primary bad-guy shooter that it would have perforated his heart, but that particular bullet was designed to limit penetration through light weight and expansion. It had expanded so much that it stopped an inch or more short of the heart. The wound caused his lung filled with blood, and would have eventually caused him to die, but it did not stop him from trashing that team with his rifle.

    147gr penetrate further.
     
  10. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    The history of the 147gr 9mm slug is pretty interesting. It was originally produced for use against sentries/guard dogs through a suppressed pistol and was loaded to sub-sonic velocities for that use.

    The FBI Miami shootout aftermath committee studied different bullets to try to find a bullet that offered better stopping power. The 147gr loading was thrown in almost as an afterthought and surprised the testers with it's penetration. This lead to the FBI selecting this load as the stop gap to it's problems, while it conducted testing for a better caliber than the 9mm...which resulted in them adopting the 10mm S&W 1076 as an issue gun.

    Unfortunately their adopting the 147gr sub-sonic JHP lead a lot of LE departments to adopt it as an issued loading for their 9mm pistols. The major attribute of the sub-sonic 147gr slug in LE work is accuracy.

    The 9x19mm was designed with a 124gr slug and this is still an optimal bullet weight. Ammunition manufacturers have developed JHP technology of their premium defensive ammo to all meet the requirements set forth by federal research to the point that it doesn't really make a difference which JHP you pick.

    What does matter much more is which loading you can make accurate and repeated hits on target with the most quickly.
     
  11. Chris-bob

    Chris-bob Member

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    Great info! Thanks for the read.
     
  12. Edarnold

    Edarnold Member

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    One other factor: since a real-world shoot out seldom offers the opportunity to put on hearing protection, the sub-sonic 147 gr load is going to do less damage to hearing, both immediately and long term. Especially in an indoor situation. Which is why I cringe when I see the TV 'experts' touting an M4 carbine in 5.56 for home defense.

    IMHO
     
  13. Mr. Ready

    Mr. Ready Member

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    then while does .357 mag beat .45acp in the manstopping department?
     
  14. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    It may not, but has just been used by more police agencies.
    Otherwise, it may penetrate deeper, and .357 has a habit of expanding even some of the most stubborn JHP's.

    As for 147gr 9mm, it had a reputation for not expanding from pistols for a while, because it was designed for either subsonic loads (and the popular JHP designs weren't, or it was just designed for the very edge of subsonic out of something longer than many compact handguns) or for SMG's, and didn't get the speed it needed. The recent premium loads have corrected this.

    I consider 124gr the 'optimal' round in most cases, but the right 147's are raking hell in tests and track records. Federal HST 147 shoots a little softer than the 124 +P from my gun, sounds a little quieter (completely unscientific tests) and penetrates deeper.

    It all comes down to how the company works it out.
     
  15. RBid

    RBid Member

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    My personal reasons:

    1. Shot placement-- the 147gr Gold Dot is a soft shooting round, which my SR9c and G19 (Gen 4) both love to eat. That round, from a low-bore pistol, with a great RSA, and high grip = extreme controllability. Follow up shots are easy.

    2. Penetration. I live in the Portland, OR area. It's overcast and wet for most of the year, so heavy clothes and heavy people are common. The 147gr tends to get a little extra depth in testing, which I appreciate.

    3. Expansion. Thanks to modern ammunition technology, the good stuff all expands very well, even the 147gr.


    I think the Federal HST 147gr and Speer Gold Dot 147gr are great rounds. The HST trades away some penetration for expansion, so I stay with Speer.
     
  16. charlie fox

    charlie fox Member

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    I live north of you and rethought my 9mm loadings for the exact same reasoning. Even out of my Kahr CM9 the 147 gr is a very easy round to shoot quickly and accurately.
     
  17. usp9

    usp9 Member

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    Some 147gr gets through a windshield better than some lighter 9mm. Windshield penetration is a favored factor in LE ammo.
     
  18. bigwheel

    bigwheel Member.

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    Dittos to Jo Jo..cant think of many cop shops which allow 9 mms or wheel guns these days...cept maybe a few who allow the plain clothes follks to carry pint sized 9's. In this area all I know have went to .40 Sigs or Glocks. One sizable town which still allows 1911's but must be either Colt or Kimber brand.
     
  19. jdh

    jdh Member

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    It was the only thing on the shelf at the gun shop.
     
  20. Sox

    Sox Member

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    I carry 147gr. My thinking is I want the most penetration like others have said to reach vitals. The FBI critieria were devleoped in the 80's and recommended at least 12" penetratlon in gelatin. Today society as a whole is roughly 30% heavier.
     
  21. easyg

    easyg Member

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    Most don't from what I've seen.

    And from all that I've seen, heard, and read, the 9mm performs better at lighter weights when it comes to quickly stopping aggressive humans.
     
  22. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Member

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    My carry load for my CZ 75B is
    Double Tap 145 gr. Speer Gold DOt @ 1,125 FPS.

    Most 9x19 factory ammo is loaded to about 1,000 fps

    I've found the Federal AMerican Eagle 147 gr. verry accurate

    LEO carry it? not around here

    SE Wash. Local police Glock 17 9x19 Win Ranger 124 gr.

    WSU Campus Police - Glock xx .40 S&W

    Whitman County Sheriff Dept. - Kimber 1911 .45 ACP

    WSP - S&W M&P .40 S&W

    So much for magazine logistics interdepatment eh?>

    R-
     
  23. RBid

    RBid Member

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    Portland (OR) PD and NYPD carry Speer Gold Dot +P 124gr. I don't know of any departments carrying 147gr.

    I'm OK with that. I still prefer it.
     
  24. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I don't either.

    The local departments that carry 9mm are carrying 127gr Ranger, 124gr Gold Dot and 124gr HST
     
  25. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    Unlike a lot of people, I don't have a velocity fetish.

    I use the Winchester White Box 147gr. JHP in all of my 9x19mm guns. Box 'O Truth tested them and they rated highly for BOTH penetration and expansion. They're very accurate and 100% reliable in my Browning Hi Power and Glock.
     
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