Originally posted by MLeake
Your reference to shot placement always being most important undermines your argument that the 147 is ineffective. If the 115 and 124 are so much better, why does placement trump? (I agree that placement trumps; I don't think most people are that good at hitting moving targets with precision, particularly when those moving targets shoot back. Hit percentages and rounds per stop in LE and military shootouts would bear out that idea.)
Not at all. My point being that a 147 gr. +P JHP in 9mm is more likely to expand while it penetrates than a standard pressure sub-sonic 147 gr. JHP load that will penetrate well but usually doesn't expand as well as the better 124 gr. +P loads. If you look at the gel test in Robert's articles like the one here: http://www.ar15.com/ammo/project/Sel.../index.htm#9mm
not only is the 124 gr. +P providing a better defined wound channel with about 5 cents worth of lower penetration, it doesn't even take a +P rating to achieve 1181 FPS with a 124 and better loads like the SPEER 124 gr. +P Gold Dot or the Ranger-T 127 gr. +P+ leave a 4" barrel at around 1220 FPS and perform even better. The 147 gr. Sub-Sonic load he shows at 1032 FPS is atypical of actual performance because I don't know of one single standard pressure, Sub-Sonic load that's rated over 1000 FPS from a 4" barrel and most of us know that what the factory rates velocity at is most often higher than what you can actually expect from your pistol with the same barrel length. Just another example of Robert's flawed reporting methods and you notice he didn't test a 147 gr. +P because the higher velocity/energy load would tend to disprove some of his incorrect theories. He and others advocate the use of sub-sonic 147 gr. JHPs in 9mm based more on lower recoil and depth of penetration while at the same time they ignore the performance of a 147 gr. +P.
Shot placement is key as I said, and COM is taught over any other potentiality. Even with a well placed shot COM, how likely do you think it is that someone will actually get a hit to the spinal column? I'd be willing to bet that the percentage is 5% of the time, or less. So what does that mean? Your well placed shot that didn't hit the spinal column is still very likely to hit the Thoracic Chest Cavity and there is enough evidence to prove that a JHP delivering 500 Ft/Lbs of KE into the Thoracic cavity is much more likely to rapidly incapacitate than a load like a 147 gr. Sub-Sonic JHP in 9mm with a muzzle velocity more likely in the real-world to be around 975 FPS and providing a pretty sedate KE of 310 Ft/Lbs of KE. For that reason, I personally want a load that I know will penetrate sufficiently with as much energy as possible without exceeding 600 Ft/Lbs where KE can begin to counteract on a JHP causing it to fold in rather than fold out essentially making it an FMJ. That has been proven over the years by Harry Callahan
LE types carrying Full-Power .41 and .44 Magnum loads on the job, that because of the excessive KE, their rounds went completely through perps with very little to NO expansion. I choose to hedge all bets with a load like the 185 gr. +P Golden Saber in .45 ACP, or a handload with the same bullet and performance level. For my new Ruger SR9 and it's 4.14" barrel, I will be developing a load to provide a minimum of 1150 FPS with a KE of 432 Ft/Lbs and it will be a STANDARD PRESSURE load. NOT +P or +P+. It can be done and the smaller ammo makers are making very similar loads, except that because of the shorter OACLs they have to use for varying chamber dimensions with the different brands of 9mm pistols, it is necessary to rate them +P. But even Winchester and Federal make +P 147 gr. JHP loads that I would recommend any day of the week and twice on Sunday over a Sub-Sonic load.
The whole premise in advising shooters to use standard pressure 9mm is for lower recoil to aid shot placement and be more capable of putting more shots on target in the shortest amount of time. But what does that really end up doing? Ever heard the term, "Spray and Pray". The ages old gunfighter's creed is, "Shoot slow, as fast as you can." This means making every shot deliberate with the best shot placement you're capable of. This is why I will advise new shooters to start with standard pressure 9mm until they can place their shots accurately, then when they've proved that capability, it is time to move up to better +P defense loads. If a shooter can't tolerate recoil at 9mm +P levels, he probably does need to stick to standard pressure loads. IMO, there's no excuse for that because an aversion to recoil can be overcome through practice. I started out shooting Magnum revolvers and continue to shoot them, so some may think I have a bias against lower recoiling loads in 9mm and that's just not the case. My bias is in the fact that I know that the higher velocity/momentum/energy loads are the most effective in 9mm.
The problem with your reasoning in relating inaccuracy among the majority of LE and military shooters is that there is a simple explanation for that as well. Most of them are NOT active shooters with some having absolutely NO experience until they become LE officers or join the military. Even then, the ones that will go on to become to become proficient are those who put in the necessary time shooting/training. In the military, that's not likely to be the case until a trooper advances to a special operations branch like Army Special Forces, Delta Force, Marine Force Recon and Detachment 1 or Navy SEALs. As far as LE, only a minority will become proficient and active shooters and those are the facts.