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Old October 29, 2013, 02:23 PM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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SD ammo choice. Do you agree with my logic?

Before going into further detail I want to lay down a few facts that should avoid responses offered in good faith but which end up being of little use to me:

-Firstly hollow-points are not legal here, so they are not an option.
-Secondly there are none of those FMJ "expanding" bullets
-Finally any expansion in rounds is in the form of soft points and those are limited to things like .38spl, .357, and .44Mag.

So now onto my question. This question is limited to my semi-auto.

If it ever came to it, this would be my SD gun: if not on my person, guns here need to be stored, unloaded. My carry gun is a snub and slower to load in an emergency and so not my first choice for SD.

My CZ 75 SP-01 could be in my hand and loaded in about 15 secs thanks to a loaded magazine stored in an easy place to reach.

This may seem slow to some but this aspect is not up for discussion.
It is what it is and it is the best I can do, if obeying the storage required by law.

The ammo, however, is an interesting point for me.
I can buy FMJ in 115gr, 124gr and 147gr. I forewent all of those and opted for 158gr Subsonics.

My rationale is that, given what members say is the advantage of .45ACP, the heavier bullet and slower velocity will give greater penetration. Meanwhile the subsonic nature would reduce the chances of substantial hearing damage for me, my wife or our child.
I also find these easier to control despite the heavier bullet weight.

Does this choice have merits?
Are there glaring disadvantages?
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Last edited by Pond, James Pond; October 29, 2013 at 04:08 PM.
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Old October 29, 2013, 03:49 PM   #2
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I think that based on your situation you are going down the right path. In 9mm, without the option of an expanding round, I would look for the heaviest available bullet. Look into the hard-cast from Double Tap.
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Old October 29, 2013, 04:01 PM   #3
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I see the logic: substitute large and slow (and available) for speedy, high impact hp.
Unless you do a test on wet newspaper or water jugs thatshows otherwise, go with it.
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Old October 29, 2013, 04:07 PM   #4
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If you are dead set on 9mm your logic makes perfect sense. However, it seems to me like you're trying to make a .45 out of your 9mm, if funds permit why not get a CZ75 in .45? Or is .45 illegal where you live?
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Old October 29, 2013, 04:12 PM   #5
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Are there any 9mm's available with a plastic tip? (like "ballistic tip" rifle ctgs) Seems like someone would make it, not just for New Jersey but also more reliable feeding in older BHP's etc.

You also might could use solid lead bullets instead of FMJ, although lead factory 9mm is kind of hard to find.
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Old October 29, 2013, 04:14 PM   #6
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Your logic is good, as far as it goes. In real life, the differences between bullets are probably negligible. The manufacturers make a lot of money off of us with their fancy "SD" hollow points, but the fact remains that all bullets in all common handgun calibers are underpowered for the task of effectively killing a human being. Many people get shot who don't die, and don't even stop fighting. The biggest part of the equation continues to be accuracy. Go practice a whole bunch and then don't lose any sleep about what kind of ammo is available.
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Old October 29, 2013, 04:19 PM   #7
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
If you are dead set on 9mm your logic makes perfect sense. However, it seems to me like you're trying to make a .45 out of your 9mm, if funds permit why not get a CZ75 in .45? Or is .45 illegal where you live?
Not illegal, just expensive and harder to find. The SP-01 is also my IPSC gun and my only centrefire auto-loader. I am happy with 9mm, but if I can approximate the virtues of the .45 whilst keeping those of the 9mm, I am happy.
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Old October 29, 2013, 04:25 PM   #8
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I can't think of any 9mm FMJ that doesn't exceed the FBI's criteria for penetration. So I don't think you are going to see a measurable difference between 158gr subsonic and 115gr supersonic on the terminal end.

Hearing wise, I suppose it might be quieter though still not hearing safe. Shot placement is still the #1 criteria, so whatever you have confidence in and shoot well.
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Old October 29, 2013, 04:25 PM   #9
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Agree with Caboclo and anything is better than throwing rocks. (except maybe 25 ACP) But if you consistently want 45 caliber holes, throw 45's. That said, I'm really liking 40 S&W. Fairly new convert. Please, JMHO.

Oh, I like 9's too.
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Last edited by Idaho Spud; October 29, 2013 at 04:28 PM. Reason: added comment @ 25 ACP
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Old October 29, 2013, 04:49 PM   #10
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I agree with BR: Penetration is never an issue with 9mm. The lightest 9mm FMJ will over penetrate almost anything. There is no reason to assume that any 9mm FMJ won't leave an identical, clean hole in an attacker.

The downside to 158s is that you might be compromising the reliability of your pistol by using rounds far outside the design parameters of a NATO type pistol, and not getting anything for your risk.

Given the limitations, I'd probably go the other way and use the lightest bullet weight that cycles well. It at least has the possibility of yawing in the target and being deflected by whatever the backstop is.

All of which seem a poor choice compared to five or six soft points ready in a speed loader for a revolver. Unless your SD scenario involves more than two attackers.

However, if soft points are legal, why not look into them for 9mm? I've shot lead truncated cone 9mm before.
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Old October 29, 2013, 05:59 PM   #11
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People all over the world are limited to fmj ammo. Most militaries are limited to fmj ammo. Since 9mm is the most common military/police round in the world we can assume 9mm fmj ammo is probably the most common pistol ammo used. I do not disagree that bigger holes are better. But the dfferences in frontal diameter between the 9mm, .40, and the .45 are not as great as many would have you believe.
You can't change a die hard "it needs to start with a 4" type. But by those that actually study wound ballistics, after action reports, and so on the truth is that their is little difference in the ability of one of these rounds to put down an attacker better than another. As someone said earlier all pistol rounds suck about equally as well at stopping attackers. Especially when we are talking about a millimeter or two in frontal area in difference between each of the service calibers.
If you don't think so get a copy of the classic on gunfighting Shooting to Live by Mr.'s Fairbairns and Sykes. Their combined experience involved the British Shanghi Police Force and over 600 gunfights. Read the chapter on stopping power. Written in the 1920's and the same arguments going on back then as now. They site examples of where .45 and .455 rounds failed to stop an opponent. And some where .380 fmj did the job. The only truth they found?
Fire whatever handgun round you have as fast as you can into vital areas of your opponent. They said to copy the burst of a Thompson submachine gun as closely as you could with your pistol to get the most telling effect. An undercover agent from South America who has prevailed in numerous gunfights with a Glock 17 and limited by law to fmj ammo was asked about the 9mm's "lack of stopping power" here in the U.S. . He looked at the person perplexed and said "I fire a burst into their chest. If they don't go down I fire a burst into their head". We focus way to much on hardware (caliber/ammo) when software (tactics and mindset) is what wins fights.
Case in point. Double Taps. Taught as Gospel. Taught it to the police and military in Iraq. Suicide bomber shows up. You fight as you train. Fire double tap, bomber hits switch "BOOM". Double tap useless. New strategy. Keep hitting them until hostilities cease. Referred to by many as "burn them to the ground". Best method with a pistol proven by over a century of work with handguns. In the U.S. Wild Bill Hickock (might be spelling name wrong) dropped several men with well placed rounds from a pair of .36 cal. revolvers. The ballistics were similar to todays .380's.
I know I've taken a long time to answer if you're still reading. But pick a reliable round for your weapon. Get good at hitting vitals fast and repeatedly while moving to cover if you can. If not at least be a moving target. And that is the best you can do. Lots of rounds on board with a gun that has low recoil to make it easier to hit fast is a good thing. Much more important than a millimeter of difference in frontal area. In the end your training and a little luck is what will get you through the night. Not a caliber
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Old October 29, 2013, 07:19 PM   #12
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If JHP's are a no-go, then consider a truncated FMJ for greater crush damage (like the American Eagle 147gr).
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Old October 29, 2013, 07:37 PM   #13
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The 9 gives you more chances of stopping an attack or retreating under your own covering fire. That's why VIP protection use it whenever possible.

Regarding keeping it unloaded, how would they ever know unless you are dead because you were too slow to respond?
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Old October 29, 2013, 09:23 PM   #14
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If NATO is forced to use FMJ and they determined 124 grain +p is the way to go that is what I would do.

As a matter of fact, I would look for some actual NATO cross head stamped ammo and use that.

I don't second guess governments' choices in FMJ ammo. I have 230 gr in .45, 124 gr in 9mm, 147 gr in .308 and 00 buck in 12 gauge. I also have hollow point and ballistic tipped because I can but I wouldn't feel under gunned with FMJ.
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Old October 29, 2013, 11:19 PM   #15
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My ears have not noticed little difference if any between a subsonic round and a supersonic round without using a suppressor.

I also agree with the NATO solution - 124gr, preferably in +P, is your best bet with FMJ. Ballistically, a 115gr and a 124gr are nearly identical with the edge in energy at all ranges going to the heavier of the two with little to no loss in relative velocity. In FMJ, 147gr make for a better long range cartridge or use with suppressed weapons.
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Old October 29, 2013, 11:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
...heavier bullet and slower velocity will give greater penetration.
1. There's no need to go to 158gr ammo to get something that will penetrate sufficiently in 9mm. The standard 124grain NATO loading of the 9mm will penetrate 24" in gelatin which is definitely enough--some (including the FBI) would say too much.

2. Slower velocity will give less penetration with non-expanding ammunition, all else being equal. Of course, in this case all else isn't equal since you're increasing bullet weight while decreasing velocity. The variable you should be concerned with if you're interested in maximizing penetration (and you shouldn't be concerned with that in 9mm FMJ as already mentioned) is momentum. Momentum is the product of mass and velocity. For comparison purposes, staying with in a given caliber and comparing bullets of roughly similar profile, you can simply multiply the weight times the velocity and the loading with the largest product should penetrate deepest.
Quote:
Meanwhile the subsonic nature would reduce the chances of substantial hearing damage for me, my wife or our child.
I suspect that there's very little difference in the overall sound level when comparing subsonic with standard ammunition--the only difference is whether there's a "crack" from the bullet exceeding the speed of sound or not and that's not significant compared to the muzzle blast.

When dealing with a suppressed weapon, that would be a different story since the muzzle blast is much reduced, leaving the supersonic crack "exposed", so to speak . At any rate, you don't have to go all the way up to 158gr in 9mm to go subsonic. All the 147gr 9mm loadings I'm aware of are subsonic.

I don't see any advantages to your ammunition choice, but I also don't really see any signficant disadvantages as long as the ammo you have chosen is accurate and operates the firearm reliably. I'd want to run a lot of that ammo through the gun trouble-free before I'd trust it for self-defense given that 158gr is really heavy for 9mm.

I'd be more likely to go with 124gr if the choice were mine--again, assuming that the gun operated well with that ammunition.
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Old October 30, 2013, 02:55 PM   #17
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Since alll handgun bullets really do is poke holes in people, despite the on-going caliber / magic bullet debate, 17 fmj holes will work just fine.

Your CZ was "built" around the 124gr NATO, so it should be the "optimal" round for function and POA/POI.

The 147/158 gr stuff may not have enough juice to cycle your SP reliably. I have run 147 thru my 75B Omega with no issues, ymmv
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Old October 30, 2013, 04:29 PM   #18
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Posted by RX-79G
<<<I agree with BR: Penetration is never an issue with 9mm. The lightest 9mm FMJ will over penetrate almost anything. There is no reason to assume that any 9mm FMJ won't leave an identical, clean hole in an attacker.

The downside to 158s is that you might be compromising the reliability of your pistol by using rounds far outside the design parameters of a NATO type pistol, and not getting anything for your risk.>>>


Please provide your sources for this information. It is contrary to all information and tests I have seen.
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Old October 30, 2013, 11:15 PM   #19
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stormyone,

Are you disagreeing with everything you've quoted or only one specific part of it?
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Old October 31, 2013, 04:08 PM   #20
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shape

There are some convincing arguments posed that HP will often not give sufficient penetration to ensure striking vital organs and yielding a stop. Though it is old news and a bad design, the FBI Miami shoot out is one example.

I'd search for a truncated FMJ in 9mm, preferably 124gr, a compromise of weight and velocity, but would not rule out the 147 load noted elsewhere.
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Old October 31, 2013, 05:17 PM   #21
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<<<stormyone,

Are you disagreeing with everything you've quoted or only one specific part of it? >>>

Mainly the part about the "lightest 9mm...", but the 2nd part about not gaining anything from heavier rounds is fishy too.
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Old October 31, 2013, 09:20 PM   #22
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I have not seen penetration data for light bullet 9mm FMJ, but it should match or surpass the penetration for .380ACP FMJ. The following document indicates that 95gr .380 FMJ penetrates 16" or more with some of the loadings exceeding 20" of penetration.

http://www.brassfetcher.com/380ACP%2...%20gelatin.pdf

With a non-expanding round-nose bullet, I would expect 9mm to meet or exceed those penetration figures even with light bullets--down to 90grains, at least.

You might get more penetration with the heavier bullet loadings but it's hard to come up with reasonable scenarios that require more than 1.5 feet of penetration. Even the FBI's stringent penetration specifications put a top limit of 18" on what they want in terms of penetration.
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Old October 31, 2013, 10:59 PM   #23
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Depends on how concerned with over penetration you are as well.

9mm will pretty much pass through a person no problem if it doesn't hit a thick bone.

A heavy subsonic may penetrate less, despite the added weight. shooting into several jugs of water might tell the answer, but I don't think you can do that at any of your ranges can you? maybe if you was willing to invest in some ballistic gel, a range may allow it, as it isn't messy.

Lighter rounds are more likely to deflect in a person, when hitting bone or changes in density.

Lightweight lead may be the better choice. You do reload don't you? You could load your own if you needed. Use a softer lead and it will deform more... but at the cost of increased leading of the barrel, definitely not ammo to shoot at the range for much more than testing for function and reliability. If a source of soft point or truncated cone could be found, they might work as well.

With a handgun... the only thing you can hope for, is to penetrate far enough, and to cause the biggest hole you can while doing it. Lack of hollowpoints does limit the ability to make a bigger hole with a given caliber.
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Old October 31, 2013, 11:24 PM   #24
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JohnKSa ~ You are correct, I had in my mind info about light "hollow-point" ammo (which is well known to disintegrate and not penetrate sufficiently). I agree fmj ammo will most likely penetrate sufficiently. But may be prone to deflection because of hitting bone, where the heavier ammo is more inclined to smash that bone.

On another related subject, I will never worry about over penetration. Missing your target and hitting a bystander is more of a problem IMO.
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Old November 1, 2013, 12:08 AM   #25
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Quote:
...I had in my mind info about light "hollow-point" ammo...
Yes, once you introduce expansion into the equation then achieving adequate penetration can be problematic with light-for-caliber bullets.

If limited to light-for-caliber bullets when expansion AND penetration is desired the only real option is to find a balance between penetration and expansion. That compromise is seen in some of the newer .380ACP expanding ammunition which is designed to expand, but not very aggressively. That allows for some limited expansion while still providing reasonable penetration figures.
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