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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to decide which 9mm ammo to use in my carry Walther. I have read as many different opinions on 115gr vs. 147gr as I have 9 vs. 45.

What I am looking for is not rehash of gunrag articles but experiences from people in the real world. I know there is no magic bullet but I would like to know the merits of each.

I would especially like to hear from Jim H since he lives near me and the experiences (ex. heavy clothing in the winter) would be more relevant than say tropical climates. I have read that some California PDs are comparing coroner reports from officer involved shootings to tests done before the adoption of their various 9mm loads so I would like to hear from you guys too.

So that being the guidelines, what do you folks see in training and on the street? What do you recommend?

Please bear with my ignorance on this subject and give me me reasons to support your opinion. Thanks in advance for everyone's help.
 

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Hello. I live in Texas and the shootings I've seen involving 9mm occurred during summer months. In one case, an officer was forced to shoot an indicted drug dealer who was trying to kill the officer. One shot from his Beretta 92 loaded with Federal HydraShok +P 124 gr "stopped" him right there...forever.

In another incident, an officer was forced to shoot a dude who was pointing a .38 at him.
Two standard pressure 115 gr Winchester Silvertips decked the guy, but hits were not that great so I suspect the guy quit because he wanted to. One punched his left arm and I think broke it. The other hit him in the gut. The recovered bullet was perfectly expanded.

I've not shot a man with 9mm, but have killed several animals with them up to and including three Texas whitetail deer. (I know this is not a recommended hunting caliber for that size game, but shots were close and the deer were not excited. It took many years in order to get the deer in the range and position such that I'd try the 9mm on them.)

From coyotes down to jackrabbits, I've found the faster rounds in 115 to 124 gr more effective than slower rounds, but have not tried the 147 gr bullets as I see them as less effective.

Currently, I use Triton 125 gr Plus P "Hi Vel" JHPs in my defensive 9mm pistol(s). It tosses the slug at 1286 ft/sec from my BHP and a bit over 1240 ft/sec from a Glock 26.
In javelina, it has proven a reliable "stopper" and the round is accurate.

Hope this is of some use.

Best.
 

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I carry Speer Gold Dot 124 gr. +P. I have heard good things about it, but do not have personal experience in shooting living things with it. Probably most major branf +P JHPs are about the same in effectiveness for truly identical shots.
 

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Speer GD 124's are great...

But Hornady XTP 115's are a favorite in my CZ because of accuracy....second place are the same in 124.
But that's just my gun.

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Anyone who isn't a paranoid schizophrenic now-a-days, just isn't thinking clearly!
 

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I used to carry 115 +P+, etc, but switched to 147-grainers, standard pressure loads with bullets that have a reputation for moderate, controlled expansion, with an emphasis on penetration. Spare mags are always loaded with NATO-spec hardball, and in a cold climate I would be inclined to carry the NATO ball in the pistol as well as the spare mags.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good info so far guys. Thanks and keep it coming! I am going to throw one other issue into the mix.

Reread my owners manual last night and I take it to mean only standard pressure ammo. This didn't seem to be the standard warranty disclaimer "not recommended" but an absolute "NO" on +P ammo. Again, I am new at this so input would be helpful. My other gun is a Browning HiPower so I would like to use the same ammo in both guns. If I am reading everything right, then how does that affect the choice if I am limited to standard pressure ammo.
 

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My 9 mm manual also said no to +P ammo, but sort of half-heartedly, so I called the manufacturer. The spokeswoman I contacted said a more definite no. The problem is the polymer frame, she said. It won't take the pounding of +P ammo.

I don't know anything about your Walther, but I suspect it has a polymer frame, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Originally posted by jpwright:
My 9 mm manual also said no to +P ammo, but sort of half-heartedly, so I called the manufacturer. The spokeswoman I contacted said a more definite no. The problem is the polymer frame, she said. It won't take the pounding of +P ammo.

I don't know anything about your Walther, but I suspect it has a polymer frame, too.

You are correct polymer from and short barrel/recoil spring. OK guys this limits me to normal pressure ammo. What are your suggestions.
 

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I keep my nine loaded with Winchester Silvertips. I don't have a lot of hard data to support my choice, but they should work. My gun shoots them okay, certainly well enough for the shin-kicking distance (or a little beyond) it's designed for.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
JP which bullet weight 115,124,147? I intend to accuracy test whatever I narrow my choices down to but I would like some input from folks that have used various ones. I have been using UMC(Remington yellow box) for practice ammo and it is accurate in my gun. I was thinking about the Remington GS as a possible choice.

My local shop carries the big three (Federal/CCI, Remington, Winchester) in ample supplies I am trying to narrow down the dozens of possibles for brand, weight, etc. to a final few that others have had good experiences with to take to the range and test with.
 

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Has anyone seen any info on the Federal 124gr Nyclad round? It might fill the bill pretty well for a standard pressure defense round.-TR
 

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Hello. Of the standard pressure rounds, Winchester's 115 gr Silvertip is likely the fastest with average velocities hovering around 1200 ft/sec from service size pistols.

In my opinion, the Federal 124 gr Nyclad is an often overlooked standard pressure round that has proven accurate in some of my 9mms and exceptionally so in others, but certainly acceptable in all.

The last batch I chronographed did 1079 ft/sec from a BHP and 1109 ft/sec from a CZ75. I've never seen it fail to expand in any medium and have shot a few critters with it.

Best.
 

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I'd say that if you have a polymer frame Walther (P99), it'd be able to digest +P ammo. Look at the NATO ammo and that's what the P99 was originally designed around--world wide law enforcement. I don't believe that Walther makes a special less sturdy model for sales only in USA. NATO spec 124gr ammo is warmer then our SAAMI ammo.

Considering that Walther also makes a .40S&W variant (which I own), I'd not be overly concerned with test firing a few +Ps rounds through the P99.

Derek
 

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Sounds like jpwright is talking about a Kahr Polymer
FWIW, I was concerned about +P+ in mine, but have run across a few LE's who carry the Federal BP9LE, and have had no ill effects.

As mentioned, the NATO spec is warmer than our SAAMI spec's.

Also, FWIW, consider the new Federal EFMJ rounds, they should provide excellent penetration, and expansion in even the colder climates where people could be bundled in heavy clothing.

If +P, or even +P+ concern's you, the Slivertip's and Federal BP9 Hydrashok's are probably the best alternative, though I am seriously considering the switch to the Expanding FMJ.

As for weight's, I shoot 115 mostly, thouh 124 is the standard design for the 9mm Luger, much like 230 was for the 45acp. Most 9mm's are engineered around the 124, so you are likely to get the most out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Let me start by thanking everyone here for their input. I was reading a thread on Shooters this morning, which Mr. Camp was a participant. The topic was newbies and how they are treated. One of the issues the regulars raised was that newbies ask a question and then don't even acknowledge the reply. I try to acknowledge everyone, but my home system is down and I read these threads on my lunch hour at work. Sometimes I forget this is a conversation and leaf through quickly for my answers and then rush back to work. If I haven't acknowledged someone directly consider yourselves thanked. I have been treated very well on this forum. I wasn't sure if a 9mm question fit on a 45/1911 but 1911 owners are usually more knowledgeable gun owners so I gave it a try.

The replies seem to be running 10-1 for the 115s and 124s. What got me thinking in the first place was a thread on tactical forums that preached (with facts to back it) that the 147gr loads were great. I thought I would run it up the flag pole to see if anyone saluted.

jaydee, Stephen Camp, and self defense all named the 115gr Fed 9BP and my Browing loves this load so it is definitely on my short list. I am also going to try the 124gr Golden Sabers and Gold Dots. Stephen and JP both mentioned the new 115gr silvertips so those go on the list as well.

viescy and jaydee thanks for the reminder about NATO spec and the 40S&W versions. I had forgotten. Do either of you have the exact specs so I could compare them with the ballistics the mfgs are publishing? True enough on designed weight for the gun. I assume that is why you see so much 230gr JHP for 45s now. Getting back to the NATO question isn't 124gr US spec and 115gr ball NATO. I have a friend who is ex-canadian military and he tells me that's what they had.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Originally posted by jaydee:
Also, FWIW, consider the new Federal EFMJ rounds, they should provide excellent penetration, and expansion in even the colder climates where people could be bundled in heavy clothing.

Oops, one more thing. "EFMJ" I am not familiar with this one jaydee. Tell me more.
 

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Originally posted by WaltherP99man:
I am trying to decide which 9mm ammo to use in my carry Walther. I have read as many different opinions on 115gr vs. 147gr as I have 9 vs. 45.
<snip>
Sorry to come to this thread so late but I was out of pocket for a while. This is a good topic and I hope I can do it justice in the brief time I have.

My concern is that typical 115 to 125 gr. medium bores *that expand* often do not reach the intended target organs. While they may penetrate 12" in bare gelatin they often (perhaps 10 to 20% of the time) do not penetrate more than 3 to 4" in the human body (note that almost 50% of the pistol bullets that hit in the FBI/Miami shootout were well directed but stopped before they reached a vital organ).

In short, what I prefer is a philosophy of "fail safe" bullet performance. Or at least to minimize the chance of a bullet failing to reach the vitals. In this regard, on unarmored subjects, heavier bullets are decidely superior but I am willing to accept a compromise in order to get some expansion.

It is not enough to say 115 gr. bullets are less likely to penetrate and 147s are less likely to expand because the specific design of each bullet is important (as is the specific path of each bullet fired since the body is made up of a variety of hard and soft tissues). However, it is acceptable to say that most 115s are not that tough nor do they carry the momentum to crush heavy bones and go on to damage vitals on the other side.

Most 147s, on the other hand truly are less likely to expand, but there are exceptions. This is not just a velocity thing - many .45s expand reliably at 800 fps - but it is a design thing. I have only shot one critter, a deer, with a 147. It was a small button buck with Federal "Classic" (950 fps) and it expanded to .65" while traveling trough the lungs. It was on a downward path, went through the deer (only weighed about 80 pounds) and I recovered it from the soft earth below. Actually that is not bad performance for a 9mm but I don't know if the next 10 would give good expansion. I have seen a wild boar shot with 9mm - the 124 Nyclad HP bounced off the shoulder gristle plate but skidded up to the spine and stunned the boar and 3 147 hydra-shoks to the head neck finished him - we recovered the nyclad but not the H-S bullets.

I have long advocated a 135 gr. bullet for the 9mm at about 1050 or 1100 fps. Both Federal and Triton offer such a load. Actually the Triton is a +P and goes about 1150 from my gun. The Federal Personal Defense H-S is standard pressure and goes about 1040. Both seem to expand well and hold together (the Triton bullet is a custom designed Hornady XTP).

Another bullet that expands well and penetrates is the Winchester Ranger-T 127gr +P+. This one goes 1301 fps from my P-35 and nearly always expands. It is the load that I issue to our deputies that carry 9mms though I have been issueing the Triton +P in the last year. Both loads are probably as good as it gets in 9mm

Another load worth considering is the Speer 124 Gold Dot +P. It expands reliably and holds together. The Remington GS 124 is probably a good load also.

A couple to avoid are the Remington and Winchester 115 +P+ loads. The Remington clocks 1370 from my Browing and it expands but the only thing left in a stack of wet newsprint is the base of the jacket and about 10 grs of lead. Very poor penetration qualities if bone is hit. No doubt that it would put a nice hole in the heart if you slipped one between ribs with noting else in between but then you have about a 50% chance of hitting something else and you may end up doing all that damage to an arm or just a lung (you can go a long time on one lung - my dad has done it for 50 years).

The Federal expanding FMJ shows promise but is a +P if that matters in your gun.

If I had to carry a 9mm (and I turned down a L.E. job once because that is all they would let me carry - but that was in the old days when good bullets could not be had) I would probably load it with +P 135 Tritons or the Winchester +P+ 127 but there are still a lot of other loads that come really close. I can't think of any 115s I really like but I have not worked with the XTP or Gold Dots in that weight.. they might do OK.

Well, back to work. Hope this is not too muddled.

Best regards,
Jim Higginbotham
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Originally posted by JimH:
Sorry to come to this thread so late but I was out of pocket for a while. This is a good topic and I hope I can do it justice in the brief time I have.

In short, what I prefer is a philosophy of "fail safe" bullet performance. Or at least to minimize the chance of a bullet failing to reach the vitals. In this regard, on unarmored subjects, heavier bullets are decidely superior but I am willing to accept a compromise in order to get some expansion.

Most 147s, on the other hand truly are less likely to expand, but there are exceptions. This is not just a velocity thing - many .45s expand reliably at 800 fps - but it is a design thing.

I have long advocated a 135 gr. bullet for the 9mm at about 1050 or 1100 fps. Both Federal and Triton offer such a load. Actually the Triton is a +P and goes about 1150 from my gun. The Federal Personal Defense H-S is standard pressure and goes about 1040. Both seem to expand well and hold together (the Triton bullet is a custom designed Hornady XTP).

Another bullet that expands well and penetrates is the Winchester Ranger-T 127gr +P+. This one goes 1301 fps from my P-35 and nearly always expands. It is the load that I issue to our deputies that carry 9mms though I have been issueing the Triton +P in the last year. Both loads are probably as good as it gets in 9mm

Another load worth considering is the Speer 124 Gold Dot +P. It expands reliably and holds together. The Remington GS 124 is probably a good load also.

If I had to carry a 9mm (and I turned down a L.E. job once because that is all they would let me carry - but that was in the old days when good bullets could not be had) I would probably load it with +P 135 Tritons or the Winchester +P+ 127 but there are still a lot of other loads that come really close. I can't think of any 115s I really like but I have not worked with the XTP or Gold Dots in that weight.. they might do OK.

Well, back to work. Hope this is not too muddled.

Best regards,
Jim Higginbotham

Very good information Jim. You did it plenty of justice. "Fail Safe" or a close as possible short of trying to carry my shotgun around all day is what I am seeking. Your comments on 147gr were most enlightening. The standard knock against them I had heard was the subsonic velocity but that argument never made sense considering the average velocity of 45ACP.

The Tritons, Fed 135, and Winchester T127 sound interesting. I will have to check the shops here in Louisville to see if I can find them because I don't recall seeing them around here before. I already had the 124gr Gold Dots and Rem GS on my short list and they are plentiful in this area.

Thanks for the thorough treatment you gave. Short and to the point.

One final comment slightly off topic. If you and/or Mssrs. Burns and Givens ever do a class closer to home, say Knob Creek for example, sign me up. I would welcome the chance to improve my somewhat novice experience first hand.
 
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