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kagman270

self defense ammo question.

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I am loving my new Ruger SR9c...

So far all i have run down the pipe is cheap ball ammo for practice and training.

 

Looking for some suggestions for defense ammo to try.

At 25-35 bucks a box I can not afford to try 15 different brands. I am looking for

2 or 3 brands to start with till I find something that shoots the best.

 

Anybody have a preference?

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For 9mm I like the Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +P or the 115 gr Hornady Critical Defense.

 

I can usually find the Hornady Critical Defense for around $20.00 and the Speer Gold Dot's for around $22.00 at my LGS.

 

Good luck

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Hornady has never disappointed me and their Critical defense is a very reliable expanding round. The Gold Dot or HydraShok are both excellent rounds. A lot depends on where you are. In winter, heavy coats can plug the opening on a hollow point so that they don't expand. The Hornady CDI is designed to prevent that from occurring.

 

You might consider checking into what your local LEO carry. Texas DPS carried HydraShok for years. It is hard for a DA to accuse you of shooting Man-Killer rounds if you are using what the local LEO use. Always keep the box they came in to provide lot information if you ever need it. NEVER USE HAND LOADS AS A SELF DEFENCE ROUND! Your hand loads don't have any tractability and if put into evidence you can't even prove what they do because you can't destroy the evidence.

 

Always test a box in your gun before you play 'you bet your life with it'. Some guns just won't feed a particular round, I don't know why. I always take a new round, shoot a magazine full in a clean gun, then shoot a couple of mags of my practice ammo to dirty and heat up the gun and then shoot a magazine full of the new round. If there are no problems, you gun is happy with that round and you can carry it for defense purposes.

 

The smaller the caliber, the more important I think it is to have a solid defense round. In .380 I would carry only Hornady CDI if the gun will shoot it. In my .45, even FMJ is fairly effective.

 

Just my not so humble opinion.

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Another vote for hydrashok in 9. Good stuff. I personally love the winchester ranger t series in 40. Shoots great groupings and has a nice recoil. Never tried it in 9. Definitely worth a try.

Edited by droptrd

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Do they still make Glasier Safety Slugs? At one time they were the bullet to use for one shot stops...if not heck go with Hornady's Zombie load...:)

 

As of last year they did, don't know about now. The only problem with fully frangible ammo is that if you use them while there is still rule of law, you may be defending them in court. A guy owed me some money and he gave me a box of them for .45ACP. I have put them in the safe and they stay there. It is too easy to argue that they are designed to kill people, not stop them. Frankly, that may or may not be true and if you kick in my door and die that was your choice, not mine, but I don't want to have a discussion at 2 in the afternoon, in a nice quite court room, before a jury of my peace loving peers, about my actions at oh-dark-thirty on a truly terrifying night.

 

Remember, legally all you want to do is to cause the bad guy to stop threatening you and yours. If he dies in the process, it was his choice but you just wanted to cause him to stop. Anything else could cost you your freedom.

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Capt. almost seems like a good reason to stick with hardball, that is what I use in all my handguns. I know hollow points and their bretheren have a better chance of stopping someone and not penetrating a wall,but hardball has been around forever and my gun,1911,goes hand in hand with it. If you remember this round was invented to stop crazed attackers. Of course everyone is different, if I had anything less that a .45acp, I would probably use a hollow point. JMHO

Edited by biblenguns

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Capt. almost seems like a good reason to stick with hardball, that is what I use in all my handguns. I know hollow points and their bretheren have a better chance of stopping someone and not penetrating a wall,but hardball has been around forever and my gun,1911,goes hand in hand with it. If you remember this round was invented to stop crazed attackers. Of course everyone is different, if I had anything less that a .45acp, I would probably use a hollow point. JMHO

 

Agreed, sir, to a point. In anything less than a .40 the FMJ just doesn't get the job done when it is for score. That plus the over penetration issue that is there in any caliber leads me away from FMJ for an inside the home defense round. Basic lead slugs also do reasonably well but what I can get away with in a major caliber may not be enough in the various .38 calibers. I'd also worry about hollow points clogging up during the winter in 'heavy coat' country.

 

What the LEOs use can, by definition, not be wrong. If you have solid basis for what you have ("I never thought I'd need to use it for self defense, I just like shooting the 1911 and this is the ammo the Army uses") then the round works. I don't worry so much about over penetration now that my bride and I are the only ones home but I still have Hornady as they are a reliable round.

 

Just my not so humble opinion.

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In an article I read by Massad Ayoob he said that in his opinion the best self defense handgun round was the 230 grain Federal Hydrashok .45 acp. This is what I have in my Kimber 1911 in my night stand. I'm not sure how old this article is so there may be some rounds that have come out recently that would give the Hydrashok a run for its money. There is a guy on youtube (tnoutdoors) who makes videos testing various ammo with ballistic gel (usually with four layers of denim in front of it). His test on the Hornady Critical Defense 230 gr. .45 acp seem to indicate (if I'm remembering correctly) that it expanded well but did not penetrate as deeply.

My wife prefers a .357 magnum and has a Ruger GP100 in her nightstand. The research I did on .357 ammo indicated that the best round was a 125 gr. JHP. The brand that was on everyone's top three list was the Speer Gold Dot. So for her Ruger I bought Speer Gold Dot LE (Law Enforcement). I bought the LE rounds so if the box ended up in court I could say we are using the same bullets that law enforcement is using.

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As with anything else, shot placement is key, two 9mm 115gr FMJs through the sternum are probably a little more effective than a .45acp 185gr Critical defense through the upper arm, short of hitting the brachial artery, and I'd still put my money on the sternum shot.

 

I've known a lot of people over the years that spend $1200 on a handgun, then $50 on a box of ammo, and can't reliably hit the center of a silhouette at ten meters. They carry the notion that having a certain gun in a particular caliber with the right bullet magically turns them into a walking death machine. I doubt anyone here is like that, I just bring it up because it can be easy to slide into that line of thinking.

 

(puts away soap box and prepares to contribute to thread)

 

I've had very good result with hydra shocks in 9mm. First couple of cyote I put down with the round had them pretty much sloshing on the inside and where one shot stops (I am aware cyote are not in the 200lbs animal class, but it's the best I have with this round). And I like the fact that regardless of what my target is wearing the round will perform pretty much the same way. Keep in mind over penetration can still be a concern with quality hollow points in any high velocity gun, so always know what's beyond your target.

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Vicioustom, I'm going to have to take issue with you here. I know that the 9mm vs 45 argument is age old and no one is probably going to change their mind. The argument I always hear from 9mm guys is that it's worse to get shot twice in the chest with a 9mm than once in the arm with a .45. Shooting a .45 does not preclude you from hitting someone center mass. My Kimber (which didn't cost $1200) is well balanced and I can get two quick shots on target. And yes, I go to the range often. Also, the 9mm is faster and has a greater danger of over-penetrating than the bigger and slower .45.

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Vicioustom, I'm going to have to take issue with you here. I know that the 9mm vs 45 argument is age old and no one is probably going to change their mind. The argument I always hear from 9mm guys is that it's worse to get shot twice in the chest with a 9mm than once in the arm with a .45. Shooting a .45 does not preclude you from hitting someone center mass. My Kimber (which didn't cost $1200) is well balanced and I can get two quick shots on target. And yes, I go to the range often. Also, the 9mm is faster and has a greater danger of over-penetrating than the bigger and slower .45.

 

I mustn't have been very clear, I was simply making a comparison between a skilled shooting with a smaller bullet fmj, to an unskilled shooting with a larger jhp. I have no particular round loyalties, so one could easily sub the argument skilled with .45 acp versus unskilled .50 AE, or .22lr/.38spc.

 

Really at the end of the day all it has to do if punch a hole in the human body in the correct location. So most argument that erupt over proven cartridges like the 9mm vs .45 seem a bit silly to me.

 

Sorry to have caused any confusion.

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Just a thought here,is there an issue using reloads? Can it be twisted that they are special made killer loads?

 

DO NOT USE HANDLOADS FOR SELF DEFENSE AMMO! The deal is, if you have a factory load, the lot number on the box provides the characteristics of the round. If I'm shooting the "FBI" load in .38 spc out of a .357 Mag pistol it is not going to be possible for ANY DA to argue I have a "Mankiller" round. Bulk reload as target rounds are just fine. If that is what is in your gun, well, you only had target rounds so that's what you shot. I have a friend who has "hot" .44 Mag (is there a "cold" .44 Mag?) round for defense. I think he is being foolish. A .44 Mag does not need a +P+ round in it for home defense and he could be buying a lot of trouble. If I had a .44 Mag, I'd run .44 Special in it for home defense. I detest the fact that this is a concern but we must work with the world as it is, not as it should be.

 

For home defense, get a solid, manufacturer round. What the local LEOs use should be good. Hornady's Critical Defense is good. I keep it in my .45 Colt because it also functions well in a lever gun's tube magazine.

Just my not so humble opinion.

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As with anything else, shot placement is key, two 9mm 115gr FMJs through the sternum are probably a little more effective than a .45acp 185gr Critical defense through the upper arm, short of hitting the brachial artery, and I'd still put my money on the sternum shot.

Vicioustom,

Yes and no. While your statement is correct it is also irrelevant unless you can shoot well with the 9 and not the .45. My problem with the statement though is that it is predicated on shot placement. It also ignores the shock value of the expanding round, by the way.

 

Wake up at oh-dark-thirty to the front door being kicked it and the dogs being shot, grab your 9, run into the front room, get hit in the face with a flash light and THEN fire off a well placed shot. That scenario is one reason I like a double barrel or pump for home defense. Under those conditions, most folks would do well the hit the broad side of a barn from the inside of the barn with the doors closed. The shotgun may miss as well but I guarantee it will make the BGs duck, won't over penetrate (I use #4 bird shot), and has a better chance of doing some damage or inducing them to run, but in any case gives me time to put my .45 into action if needed.

A laser equipped pistol is better, of course, than iron sights here but fine muscle control is a pipe dream at this time. In all likelihood, you're holding the pistol tighter than you ever have in your life and your still trying to gain some equilibrium. You've got tunnel vision and probably can hear nothing but your own blood rushing in your ears. Counting on precision shot placement to make up for a caliber's stopping power is just not realistic, but using your argument, I'd rather hit the BG in the arm with a .45 than hit him in the arm with a 9. Note that one reason that there are so many strong side wounds in a gun fight is that human beings tend to focus on the threat (the gun) and tend to pull their fire in the direction they are focusing. Where the 9 has the advantage is you have 15 rounds to shoot so maybe you can get those 2 center mass hits, but where did the other rounds go?

I do agree with the ammo choice. I'll go further and say that the "weaker" (only in the energy delivered sense, nothing pejorative intended) the round, the more important the ammo. For .380 class weapons I usually recommend Hornady Critical Defense for the more assured expansion at the lower velocity, even through coats. I do not consider 9mm FMJ an adequate defense round. Will it work? Of course but it is far from the best choice to play 'you bet your life' with.

Just my not so humble opinion.

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Capt Bart,

I addressed the confusion of my post a bit further on in the thread. I was imply making a comparison between a skilled shooting with a lighter load and an unskilled shooting with a heavier load.

 

As far as heart rate and fine motor control goes you raise an important issue, at around 120ish heart rate fine motor control is non existent. Even at lower rates it is severely compromised. You can prepare for it, to overcome its debilitating effects. As an experienced combat tested soldier yourself, although we're from different time periods, I'm sure your familiar with stress fires, where soldiers are fun or marched until they're heart rates are elevated and then enter the range. It is possible to do this yourself, I've done it in preparation for various shooting competitions. I recommend it to anyone that carries at least once so you'll understand what your bodies going to do and can see the effects.

 

There are also breathing exercises to help keep your heart rate down. Then their is the mental aspect, some people can shut off fear, anxiety etc, and it can be conditioned over time. This is actually an extremely deep subject, about psychological and physical reactions that impair gun handling and how to overcome them or work within them.

 

As far as lasers and such go, I've only ever found them useful for training new shooter, as a means of seeing how bore alignment is effected by their movement, but then again I don't really use my sights for close quarters shooting with a handgun, I use the finger point method with the proper grip. I do however acknowledge that the bar I set for myself in shooting, and the skills I've both been taught and cultivated on my own are not realistic for many. These uses fall into the category of Fighting Arts to my mind and I am quite passionate (admittedly bordering on obsession) in that pursuit as a physical art form, intellectual exercise, and means of protection.

 

And yes, I think we see eye to eye on the ammo used. Really in any rifle, handgun, or shotgun you should use the best ammunition that is practical for the purpose. For man stopping (PC for maiming or killing another living, breathing, thinking human being that wishes to do the same to you) A high quality hollow point is doubly important.

 

Alright, shutting up now.

 

Just a link to some simple info about Fight/Flight response, mostly accurate to my knowledge. http://specnology.com/FIGHT%20OR%20FLIGHT%20REFLEX.htm

Edited by Vicioustom
added a link that took a while to dig up.

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Agreed. I fear for the folks who buy a gun and think that NOW they are secure! That is part of the reason I wrote the "Survival Psychology" series of articles on http://survivalcache.com/ ... some of these things need to be well thought out before the events.

 

The exercise drill and then fire is an eye opener. It is also a good reason to train with a very tight grip on the weapon. If you ever need it for score, I assure you, you will be gripping the gun tightly.

Edited by Capt Bart

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glaser safety slugs,no over penetration,not go to shoot thru walls or things like that,but in a home situation

you don`t want to much or any over penetration,for the streets ,9mm Luger +P+ 147 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point,mixed with FMJ,or not,remember that FMJ,will penetrated.

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