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View Full Version : Self Defense and Duty Loads...ballistics info by DocGKR



DeltaKilo
02-25-2011, 07:52 PM
Service Pistol Duty and Self-Defense Loads
When comparing well designed duty handgun ammunition, there are minimal differences in penetration depths and temporary cavity effects, as noted below in the gel shots by Doug Carr:

http://i459.photobucket.com/albums/qq319/DocGKR/Handgun_gel_comparison.jpg

As you increase bullet size and mass from 9 mm/357 Sig, to .40 S&W, to .45 ACP, more tissue is crushed, resulting in a larger permanent cavity. In addition, the larger bullets often offer better performance through intermediate barriers. For some, the incremental advantages of the larger calibers are offset by weapon platform characteristics. As is quite obvious from the photo above, NONE of the common service pistol calibers generate temporary cavities of sufficient magnitude to cause significant tissue damage. Anyone interested in this topic should read and periodically re-read, “Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness” by Urey Patrick of the FBI FTU, as this remains the single best discussion of the wound ballistic requirements of handguns used for self-defense -- it is available at: http://www.firearmstactical.com/hwfe.htm .

http://i459.photobucket.com/albums/qq319/DocGKR/Handgun_expanded_JHP.jpg

Keeping in mind that handguns generally offer poor incapacitation potential, bullets with effective terminal performance are available in all of the most commonly used duty pistol calibers—pick the one that you shoot most accurately, that is most reliable in the type of pistol you choose, and best suits you likely engagement scenarios.

The following loads all demonstrate outstanding terminal performance and can be considered acceptable for duty/self-defense use:

9 mm:
Barnes XPB 105 & 115 gr JHP (copper bullet)
Federal Tactical 124 gr JHP (LE9T1)
Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +P JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 124 gr +P JHP (RA9124TP)
Winchester Partition Gold 124 gr JHP (RA91P)
Winchester Ranger-T 127 gr +P+ JHP (RA9TA)
Federal Tactical 135 gr +P JHP (LE9T5)
Federal HST 147 gr JHP (P9HST2)
Remington Golden Saber 147 gr JHP (GS9MMC)
Speer Gold Dot 147 gr JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 147 gr JHP (RA9T)
Winchester 147 gr bonded JHP (RA9B/Q4364)

.40 S&W:
Barnes XPB 140 & 155 gr JHP (copper bullet)
Speer Gold Dot 155 gr JHP
Federal Tactical 165 gr JHP (LE40T3)
Winchester Ranger-T 165 gr JHP (RA40TA)
Winchester Partition Gold 165 gr JHP (RA401P)
Federal HST 180 gr JHP (P40HST1)
Federal Tactical 180 gr JHP (LE40T1)
Remington Golden Saber 180 gr JHP (GS40SWB)
Speer Gold Dot 180 gr JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 180 gr JHP (RA40T)
Winchester 180 gr bonded JHP (RA40B/Q4355/S40SWPDB1)

.45 ACP:
Barnes XPB 160 & 185 gr JHP (copper bullet)
Federal HST 230 gr JHP (P45HST2)
Federal HST 230 gr +P JHP (P45HST1)
Federal Tactical 230 gr JHP (LE45T1)
Speer Gold Dot 230 gr JHP
Speer Gold Dot 230 gr +P JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 230 gr JHP (RA45T)
Winchester Ranger-T 230 gr +P JHP (RA45TP)

Notes:
-- Obviously, clone loads using the same bullet at the same velocity work equally well (ie. Black Hills ammo using Gold Dot bullets, Corbon loads using Barnes XPB bullets, etc…)

-- Bullet designs like the Silver Tip, Hydra-Shok, and Black Talon were state of the art 15 or 20 years ago. These older bullets tend to plug up and act like FMJ projectiles when shot through heavy clothing; they also often have significant degradation in terminal performance after first passing through intermediate barriers. Modern ammunition which has been designed for robust expansion against clothing and intermediate barriers is significantly superior to the older designs. The bullets in the Federal Classic and Hydrashok line are outperformed by other ATK products such as the Federal Tactical and HST, as well as the Speer Gold Dot; likewise Winchester Ranger Talons are far superior to the old Black Talons or civilian SXT's.

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Basically all the standard service calibers work when using good quality ammunition.

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The keys are:

-- Cultivate a warrior mindset
-- Invest in competent, thorough initial training and then maintain skills with regular ongoing practice
-- Acquire a reliable and durable weapon system
-- Purchase a consistent, robust performing duty/self-defense load in sufficient quantities (at least 1000 rounds) then STOP worrying about the nuances of handgun ammunition terminal performance.
Last edited by DocGKR; 08-18-10 at 19:51

Rains on Parades
03-18-2011, 05:12 PM
Thank you for the post, I won't deny that I have spent my fair share of time fretting over ammunition types.

Why is it important to have at least a 1000 rounds stockpiled?

MattInFla
03-18-2011, 05:26 PM
Thanks for posting this here. Whenever anyone asks me what they should be loading for defense, I either point them at that post over at m4carbine.net or print it for them.

Saves all the measurebation over which is the "perfect" SD load, and puts the emphasis back on training and mindset where it belongs.

John Ralston
03-19-2011, 08:37 AM
Why is it important to have at least a 1000 rounds stockpiled?

I believe the 1000 rounds is to be all of the same lot #, with proven reliability through the weapon. You run 250-500 rounds for reliability testing, giving you another 450-700 for future practice and familiarity with your carry ammo, and leaves 50 rounds left over for forensic testing in the even you have to use it. Mas Ayoob discusses this in his classes, and says you should keep a box of the same lot # in your gun safe so that forensic testing can confirm the details of the account. I don't remember the actual Legal Term he used though...

Of course, I could be wrong.

IRISH
03-19-2011, 11:48 AM
I'm curious to know where people are buying their carry loads? Also, out of the ones listed which ones are the most affordable? From a quick Google search the Ranger-T seems to have the best pricing out of the options shown in 9mm.

jslaker
03-19-2011, 12:29 PM
I'm curious to know where people are buying their carry loads? Also, out of the ones listed which ones are the most affordable? From a quick Google search the Ranger-T seems to have the best pricing out of the options shown in 9mm.

Ranger-T, HSTs, and Gold Dots should all be available online for $25-30/50. Make sure to find the 50 round boxes; the 20 round boxes found in most gun stores will be just as expensive, and it's the same ammunition.

I've gotten my last couple of batches from ammunitiontogo.com, but there are a number of sellers that carry all those brands.

IRISH
03-19-2011, 12:37 PM
Make sure to find the 50 round boxes; the 20 round boxes found in most gun stores will be just as expensive, and it's the same ammunition.

Really good advice. Thanks for the tip.

DeltaKilo
03-19-2011, 02:57 PM
If for Ranger, I go with either MAH Supplies or SGAmmo.com, usually they have it in stock, and it's a good price.

I've since switched over to Stan Chen's ASYM "Solid Defense X", one of the many loads available using the Barnes TacXP/XPB bullet. Stan is one of the only reliable and available sources of 50-round boxes using this bullet, and given that loads using the Barnes bullets must be practically identical by virtue of the length of the projectile, the terminal performance is going to be identical.

The Barnes bullet, in my opinion as an Amateur Professional™, is probably the best thing going right now. It shows great penetration through all sorts of barriers, has good ballistics, and expands reliably. It's also very accurate.

It's expensive, but what is your life worth?

Mitchell, Esq.
03-22-2011, 03:11 PM
I believe the 1000 rounds is to be all of the same lot #, with proven reliability through the weapon. You run 250-500 rounds for reliability testing, giving you another 450-700 for future practice and familiarity with your carry ammo, and leaves 50 rounds left over for forensic testing in the even you have to use it. Mas Ayoob discusses this in his classes, and says you should keep a box of the same lot # in your gun safe so that forensic testing can confirm the details of the account. I don't remember the actual Legal Term he used though...

Of course, I could be wrong.

Exemplars.

GSR tests as to distance can't be done unless you have the same gun and identical ammo.

When I asked a prosecutor about it, they said it was a rare thing to do it, and it only tells you if the victim/perp was more or less than 6 feet away usually.

Still, if it's a question, better to have the answer. Thus, you have ammo from the same lot to test should you need it.

dravz
03-25-2011, 12:20 PM
I've gotten my last couple of batches from ammunitiontogo.com, but there are a number of sellers that carry all those brands.

That's who I've always used. I've bought a lot of ammo from them, never once a problem or screw-up.

turbolag23
03-25-2011, 02:27 PM
thanks for the info, never heard to keep 1k rounds of your SD stuff around.