Join Date: Nov 2005
R_Bad, I don't know who wrote the anonymous piece for Chuck Hawks, but with one and maybe two exceptions, I would also steer away from the 147 grain loads the anonymous author recommended against.
HOWEVER...that piece was apparently written a while back, because it doesn't mention some of today's IMPROVED 147-grain JHP loads.
The early (read: conventional copper jacketed lead) 147 grain 9mm hollow points didn't always perform in flesh and bone as they did in gelatin. They often failed to expand, and acted much like 9mm hardball, which earned a reputation as a poor "man-stopper" almost as soon as it hit the battlefield in the early 20th Century.
Departments using those conventional 147 grain loads had so many failures to perform as expected in real-world gunfights, that they either adopted .40s (FBI -- which kicked off the whole 147 grain 9mm thing -- DEA, Jacksonville, and more) or optionalized .45s and/or .40s (Chicago PD, San Diego PD, LASD, and San Bernardino SO among others), or adopted .357 SIG (Troopers of Delaware and Virginia, also Richmond, Virginia PD and Springfield, Illinois PD).
Some went to hotter loads. Chicago, after optionalizing .45s (and later .40s) went to 124 grain +P with their 9mms (Winchester Ranger and Speer Gold Dot); Las Vegas Metro went back to their old Silvertip 115 grain after numerous stopping failures on the street, and Jacksonville went to 115 grain +P+ after standard 147 grain JHP failed to do the job for them. Today, Las Vegas authorizes .45 ACP, .40 S&W, and 9mm, issuing 124 grain +P for the latter task, and their instructors tell me that particular load drops bad guys as fast as .40 and .45 with similar hits. Jacksonville got past the 9mm ammo controversy by simply adopting the Glock .40.
The Winchester Ranger 127 grain +P+ has worked fabulously for Orlando PD, and when it was adopted to replace the old 147 grain for those on San Bernardino Sheriff's Department who had stayed with the Glock 17 instead of the Glock 21 .45 that was issued to replace it because of stopping power complaints, SBSD saw many deputies request 9mms back because with +P+ they were confident in the 9mm.
I emphasize, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE OLD, CONVENTIONAL COPPER JACKETED HOLLOW POINT.
Today, we have loads that weren't listed in the link you provided, R_Bad, notably the Winchester Ranger 147 and Federal HST 147. These loads have worked very well for the departments that have provided them, though I can't say I would prefer them to the 127 grain +P+ after seeing how dynamically that load destroys living tissue. LAPD and LASD seem to have solved the "crisis of confidence" in 9mm with Winchester 147 grain Ranger. HST 147 grain subsonic has worked well in the Pacific Northwest. Of the loads that were panned in your link, I would reconsider two. One is the Speer Gold Dot 147 grain, which earned applause from Indiana State Police and Amarillo (TX) PD. The other is the 147 grain Remington Golden Saber, about which I have to say, "I dunno" because I don't know of any departments that adopted it and had shootings with it. I do know that Remington has had good success with other loads in their Golden Saber line, such as the 165 grain .40 (Tulsa PD) and the 230 grain .45 ACP (which FBI seems very happy with).
The 147 grain 9mms that get the job done best, it seems, are the "premium," "high tech" bullet designs.
Long answer to short question: I still don't trust conventional construction 147 grain 9mm subsonic JHP. If you prefer a 147 grain subsonic, I would call the Federal HST and the Winchester Ranger-T a close tie, would certainly consider the Speer Gold Dot, and would want to look at actual shooting performance with the Remington Golden Saber. Personally, I'll stay with Winchester 127 grain +P+ in my own 9mms, followed by Gold Dot 124 +P and the various 115 grain JHPs at 1300 fps or better.
Wishing I could have made the answer as short as the question,