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Old 02-16-2011, 18:40   #1
MplsPete
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How to choose between 9mm weights?

Sorry for the total newb question...

Bought a Glock 17 recently as my first handgun. When I checked out 9mm ammo to purchase, I see weights from 115g to 147g+. Why would one buy a heavier ammo over another? Why would you buy one weight over the other? Thanks in advance
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Old 02-16-2011, 18:55   #2
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Fat bullets need love too.

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Old 02-16-2011, 19:09   #3
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The way I see it, the heavier bullets would hit harder at close range. More mass hit harder.
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Old 02-16-2011, 19:16   #4
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May i ask what this fine firearm is being used for, that can help point us in the right direction in order to help you pick out some quality ammo.
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Old 02-16-2011, 19:43   #5
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May i ask what this fine firearm is being used for, that can help point us in the right direction in order to help you pick out some quality ammo.
In general, home defense. I also plan on quite a bit of fun time at the range with this being my first firearm.
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Old 02-16-2011, 19:45   #6
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Old 02-16-2011, 19:53   #7
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All weights of 9mm have their virtues. The 147's tend to get more penetration. However, A 115 +P+ load can realllllly open up and dump it's energy fast. However, there is a great debate as to whether or not the amount of energy (joules or Ft/lbs) actually matters on handgun wounds. As long as you use a proven loading such as Speer Golddots, 9PBLE, Golden Saber, ect. You will not notice too much difference between weights. I doubt many people could tell them apart in a gel test without captions.

Edit: Summary: Bullet Design seems to be far more influential than the weight in 9mm.
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Old 02-16-2011, 19:54   #8
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I personally dont think it matters as much as it used to. I like to keep several boxes of SD ammo stored away.

I buy whatever is on sale for a good deal. Winchester Ranger, Federal HST, and Speer Gold Dot are all excellent choices. I dont prefer +P myself, but in a full size gun like the G17 you prolly wouldn't notice the extra recoil as much.

My preferred load is the Gold Dot 147g. But I bought a 50rd of HST 124g for $16.99 today. I thought that was too good of a deal to pass up.
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Old 02-16-2011, 20:12   #9
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Assuming you are buying premium ammunition, for the most part it doesn't matter. They are all designed for the FBI tests.

Now, if you are really into this.....
1. Some guns are more accurate with one weight than others.
2. Some guns are more accurate with one brand of ammo than others.
3. Some people say they can feel the different weights. The recoil is suppose to be sharper on light bullets and more intense on heavy bullets. I personally can not feel the difference in recoil with 9mm loads. In 45ACP/Super, I can.
4. If you have/get a suppressor, you want subsonic rounds (145/152gr bullets).
5. Most plinking ammo is 115gr, so.....
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Old 02-16-2011, 20:23   #10
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Originally Posted by RWBlue View Post
Assuming you are buying premium ammunition, for the most part it doesn't matter. They are all designed for the FBI tests.

Now, if you are really into this.....
1. Some guns are more accurate with one weight than others.
2. Some guns are more accurate with one brand of ammo than others.
3. Some people say they can feel the different weights. The recoil is suppose to be sharper on light bullets and more intense on heavy bullets. I personally can not feel the difference in recoil with 9mm loads. In 45ACP/Super, I can.
4. If you have/get a suppressor, you want subsonic rounds (145/152gr bullets).
5. Most plinking ammo is 115gr, so.....
THIS should be #1....The rest, while accurate, is minutia.
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Old 02-16-2011, 21:49   #11
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From Hornady, while their 124gr XTP penetrated deeper than their 147gr XTP, the 147gr XTP has better terminal performance;

http://www.hornadyle.com/products/mo...8&sID=37&pID=2

Bob
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Old 02-16-2011, 22:32   #12
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Originally Posted by Glolt20-91 View Post
From Hornady, while their 124gr XTP penetrated deeper than their 147gr XTP, the 147gr XTP has better terminal performance;

http://www.hornadyle.com/products/mo...8&sID=37&pID=2

Bob
This is very interesting.

I take it that the 124gr is not loaded to +p or ++P like it could be.
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Old 02-16-2011, 22:51   #13
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This is very interesting.

I take it that the 124gr is not loaded to +p or ++P like it could be.
A 124gr XTP +P+ wouldn't be that much slower than their .357SIG XTP, IME

Bob
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Old 02-17-2011, 02:15   #14
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I'll take aggregate deeper and more consistent penetration over expansion. So, I choose 147gr HP.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:43   #15
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I learned long ago to stay away from 147-grain 9mm loads. I never saw the sense of taking a perfectly good 9mm cartridge and downloading it to the level of a really good .38 Special +P.
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:03   #16
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I don't worry about weight much, just finding good 9mm from "The List"
http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_De.../index.htm#9mm
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:51   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glolt20-91 View Post
A 124gr XTP +P+ wouldn't be that much slower than their .357SIG XTP, IME

Bob
If you hang out in reloading rooms you will hear people who claim that they can get the 9mm up to 357sig speeds. Personally, I have not tried it.
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Old 02-17-2011, 08:05   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RWBlue View Post
Assuming you are buying premium ammunition, for the most part it doesn't matter. They are all designed for the FBI tests.

Now, if you are really into this.....
1. Some guns are more accurate with one weight than others.
2. Some guns are more accurate with one brand of ammo than others.
3. Some people say they can feel the different weights. The recoil is suppose to be sharper on light bullets and more intense on heavy bullets. I personally can not feel the difference in recoil with 9mm loads. In 45ACP/Super, I can.
4. If you have/get a suppressor, you want subsonic rounds (145/152gr bullets).
5. Most plinking ammo is 115gr, so.....
Good post, but you forgot the most important criteria!

A. Some guns cycle better with certain weights/brands ammo than with other ammo.

After that criteria is satisfied, then move on to concerns 1 through 5

Last edited by ithaca_deerslayer; 02-17-2011 at 08:06..
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Old 02-17-2011, 08:31   #19
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The way I see it, the heavier bullets would hit harder at close range. More mass hit harder.
Higher velocity hits harder too.

I prefer mid-weight simply to keep muzzle energy high.
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:25   #20
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Shoot 'em all & stick w/whichever weight you do your best work with.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:08   #21
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From Chuck Hawks

9mm Parabellum (9mm Luger,9x19mm, 9mm NATO, or simply "9mm")

This is unquestionably the world's most popular pistol round. For this reason it has been the subject of a lot of experimentation, because 9mm ball - used by every army in the Western world - is a mediocre manstopper. Jacketed hollowpoints are a must if one wishes to rely on the 9mm as a defense round. Use ball ammo for practice only.

9mm ammunition is available in two pressure levels: standard and "+P." The latter should only be used in newer guns (made since 1985 or so), and is best used sparingly. I will deal here with only commercially available ammunition: there are specialized loads available only to law enforcement personnel. Civilians should not worry, as there are commercial loads as good or better than anything restricted to law enforcement usage.

I will now tell you the best 9mm Luger load for self-defense: it is the Cor-Bon 9mm 115 grain +P Jacketed Hollowpoint. This is the most powerful and street-proven manstopper available in this caliber. It is a high velocity (1340 fps) and high pressure round, and more effective than any load restricted to law enforcement use (such as the Federal 9BPLE).

Unfortunately, it is also likely to jam many older guns. For this reason I add a table at the end of the 9mm section discussing round suitability for different guns. Modern hollowpoints may either (a) jam, or (b) be too powerful for some older guns. This load is suitable only for First Class pistols (see table).

The best standard pressure 9mm load is the Federal 115 grain JHP (9BP). Its effectiveness and accuracy make it the world standard. Buy several boxes. Other excellent standard pressure 9mm loads are the Winchester Silvertip 115 grain (X9MMSHP), and Federal 124 grain Hydra-shok (P9HS1).

For guns that may jam with the Cor-Bon or Federal 115 grain hollow-points, the Remington 115 grain +P JHP is a good choice (R9MM6). For older guns I would use the Remington standard pressure 115 gr. JHP (R9MM1).

Now it is time to impart some crucial information: NEVER use 147 grain ammo in a 9mm pistol! There was a stupid fad for 147 grain hollowpoints a few years ago, and many were suckered into buying these weak, worthless and malfunction-prone rounds. I don't care what you've heard: never use any 9mm hollowpoint heavier than 125 grains. 147 grain hollowpoints often jam in many popular 9mm guns like the Browning Hi-Power, SIG, Beretta 92, S&W and Glock. Ignore the gun magazine hype and stick to what works. If you want to gamble, go to Reno. Don't gamble with your life. 147 grain ammo sucks.

Bad 9mm Loads to avoid (and certainly NEVER carry). Numbers given:

Federal Gold Medal 9mm 147 grain JHP (9MS)
Federal Hydra-Shok 9mm 147 grain JHP (P9HS2)
Winchester 147 grain 9mm Silvertip Subsonic JHP (X9MMST147)
Winchester 147 grain 9mm Super-X Subsonic (XSUB9MM)
Remington 147 grain 9mm JHP (R9MM8)
Remington 147 grain 9mm Golden Saber JHP (GS9MMC)
Remington 140 grain 9mm JHP (R9MM7)
Remington 88 grain 9mm JHP (R9MM5) This bullet is far too light.
CCI Lawman 147 grain 9mm PHP "Plated Hollow Point" (3619)

Table Of 9mm Pistols.

(Note: just because your pistol appears in Class 3, say, doesn't mean it is unreliable: it may indeed feed hollowpoints. But you must fire at least 200 rounds of your chosen JHP carry load to determine if your pistol will feed them properly. I have placed pistols in each category according to reputation and experience. These are only meant as guidelines - your pistol may feed JHP rounds better - or worse - than this table indicates)

First Class pistols are ultra-reliable and high-quality new guns than can feed any hollowpoint and tolerate +P loads with no problems: SIG/Sauer P220 series. Czech CZ75 and CZ85. Walther P5, P5C, and P88. Heckler and Koch USP and P7 series. All Glocks. All Ruger 9mm pistols. Taurus PT-99, PT-92 and PT-92C. Steyr GB. Beretta 92 series. Browning BDM and Hi-Power (if it says "Portugal" on the slide). All Smith & Wessons with a four-digit model number (e.g. 5906, 3913, 6904, 5903) and the Smith & Wesson 900 series. Star M28, M30, M31, and all Firestars, Megastars, and Ultrastars.

Second Class pistols are high quality guns that may not feed all hollowpoints reliably. Remington 115 gr. hollowpoints are recommended for these guns: Smith & Wessons with two or three digit model numbers (e.g. 659, 39-2, 469, 59, 39). Heckler and Koch VP70 and P9S. Beretta "Brigadier" M1951 and the Egyptian copy, the Interarms "Helwan." Colt M2000 "All-American" (now discontinued, for good reason), Colt Series 70 Government Model, Series 70 Commander. Astra A-70, A-75 and A-100. AMT "On Duty." Daewoo. Bersa 'Thunder 9'. EAA Witness, and all other CZ-75 copies (e.g. Tanfoglio, Tanarmi, Springfield Armory P9). Taurus PT-908. Walther P4. Star BK, BKM, Model B and 'Super.' Browning Hi-Powers without the word "Portugal" on the slide. Llama Model 82. IMI "Jericho" and "Kareen."

Third Class pistols should generally be loaded with ball for best reliability - experiment with your gun extensively before carrying JHP: Walther P38, P4 or P1. Luger. Llama. Maverick. MKS Model JS. Intratec CAT-9, DC-9, KG-9, etc. SWD Cobray Model 11/9 and similar models. Scarab Scorpion. Kimel AP-9. Bryco Jennings Model 59. All KBI Hungarian pistols (e.g. GKK, PJ9C, P9HK and other "FEG" products). "Norinco" or "Sportarms" Chinese Tokarev pistols. Lahti. Radom. MAB P15 and Model 1950.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:10   #22
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Good post, but you forgot the most important criteria!

A. Some guns cycle better with certain weights/brands ammo than with other ammo.

After that criteria is satisfied, then move on to concerns 1 through 5
With the exception of the Luger 08, I have never had a problem with this, so it slips my mind.
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:14   #23
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I learned long ago to stay away from 147-grain 9mm loads. I never saw the sense of taking a perfectly good 9mm cartridge and downloading it to the level of a really good .38 Special +P.
It's 2011 and things have changed for (the better for) 147gr 9mm: (examples). No reason to consider modernization though if you are happy with what you use, but an FYI for others nonetheless.

And, another FYI, assuming you don't cherrypick outcomes, is that aggregate "long ago data" for the .38spl meets or beats all aggregate "long ago data" for 9mm in penetration because .38sp failed to expand more frequently (9mm .38pl). All of course moot if for the made up mind.
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Old 02-17-2011, 12:00   #24
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All of course moot if for the made up mind.
My mind is made up to use the most effective stuff I can find by looking at all available info. I'll cheerfully concede that some of the current 147-grain jhp loadings are an improvement over the ones from a few years ago. So I guess that sort of puts them in the category of a product-improved .38 Special +P. That's useful because it's soft-recoiling and a good compromise selection for non-committed shooters who need to carry a defensive handgun. You've got to make good hits, after all.
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Old 02-17-2011, 14:23   #25
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I don't worry about weight much, just finding good 9mm from "The List"
http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_De.../index.htm#9mm
+1

The above is good advice if your goal is to obtain one of the modern self-defense loads that base the FBI requirements. DocGKR on the ar15 site has some well thought out (and certainly well-documented) articles on the mechanisms of wound ballistics, ammo choice, etc.

Since you mentioned this is your first handgun, I'll add some humble recommendations:

1) Chat with the folks at your range about taking a good half-day basic pistol class. If you're an NRA member, check the website for a listing of classes in your local area. If I recall correctly, they're either free or available for a very nominal fee (under $20). You'll save yourself many hours of trial-and-error by getting some hands-on advice from a decent instructor.

2) Spend $30-50 to get a some quality ear and eye protection. Again, chat with the folks at your local range or gun shop if you need recommendations. Most shooters you will meet will be friendly and helpful if you explain you're new to handguns and would like some advice.

3) Once you're well equipped and familiar with range safety and the basic handling of your G17, buy a box or two of each of the brands and/or weights of FMJ practice ammo your local shop usually carries. When you hit the range, bring a small pad to take some notes (start with how much each box costs). Load up one magazine with one brand/weights and another magazine with a different brand/weight. Shoot a magazine of brand/weight #1 and then pay attention to how it feels to shoot brand/weight #2. Make a note if you notice that you enjoy one particular load more than another or if you have any reliability problems with a particular brand/weight.

It may take a few trips to the range before you notice that you seem to shoot one particular brand/weight a little better than another or that your shop usually has Federal 115gr FMJ's for a buck cheaper than Winchester White Box 115gr FMJ's.

After a little sorting out (which is great practice and fun, to boot) you'll find 2 or 3 brand/weights that are both affordable and you seem to shoot well. Once you figure that out, see if your local shop will give you a bulk discount.

In my case, I found that my G17 RTF2 loves Federal and Speer ammo (regardless of weight) more than other brands. However, everyone (and every gun) is a little different.

Happy shooting!

-DD
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