Defensive Bullet Selection

johnnycat

Southpaw Shooter
Feb 2, 2011
362
151
43
Tupelo, MS
#1
When it comes to defensive bullets for a handgun the popular choices seem to be Federal HST, Winchester Ranger-T, and Speer Gold Dot.

Is there any reason to look elsewhere?

To simplify the argument let's just go with 9mm and .45acp in a reasonable carry handgun (no long slide and no pocket subcompact)
 

Jimmy31593

Full Member
Mar 2, 2014
1,755
28
48
Pennsylvania
#3
This discussion has been beat to death all over the internet. There is literally info for years if you want to read your life away. There are also tons of ballistic tests on every ammo/gun combination imaginable.

In all reality, buy any reputable defense ammo. Place it in a good location, and it will do its job. An attacker knows no difference between gold dot and HST when he is on the receiving end of a handful.
 

johnnycat

Southpaw Shooter
Feb 2, 2011
362
151
43
Tupelo, MS
#4
This discussion has been beat to death all over the internet. There is literally info for years if you want to read your life away. There are also tons of ballistic tests on every ammo/gun combination imaginable.

In all reality, buy any reputable defense ammo. Place it in a good location, and it will do its job. An attacker knows no difference between gold dot and HST when he is on the receiving end of a handful.
Exactly - that is what I gleaned from my internet search - just wondering if anyone had any idea of an obscure bullet maker that doesn’t advertise with Guns & Ammo that is making something better or applications from the real world.

I guess there’s not a huge difference. Now that we have that settled we can get back to debating the merits of the .40S&W.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

softcock

novice judgmental prick
Mar 24, 2006
854
126
43
Oregon
#5
Factory defense ammo's are all pretty good . Pistol barrels vary some on what they like .
All I did, and all you can really do is just grab a box of each . Then run them threw your daily carry, and over a Crony. to maybe see what give your pistol a better Vel..for performance, Or a little better group size .
.
 
Jan 24, 2013
102
0
0
63
Louisville, Kentucky
#6
I just read a Luckgunner report from October that compared all the major brands for penetration, expansion etc from shorter barrel pistols. Pretty interesting and the brands you mentioned did just fine in the comparison
 
Feb 14, 2017
119
13
18
#7
tnoutdoors9 on YouTube does TONS of gel test reviews on every ammo imaginable. He's very consistent in his methodology and explains things well without rambling and dragging out his videos forever.
 

308Gunner

Full Bird Private
Jan 22, 2013
650
21
18
47
W TEXAS
#8
I use 147gr Critical Defense in 9 and in my 45 I use some Black Talons that I have had for years. As stated above they are all pretty good now I tend to use the heaviest bullet for any caliber.
 
Feb 27, 2013
16
1
3
#9
Seberal of our local police departments have swotched to using doubletap 115grn 9mm that is loaded with a Barnes bullet. The data I have sern shows superior performance to all of the federal and Speer rounds through all types of barriers tested. Those include auto glass. Auto body sheet metal, wall board and drywall and hravy clothing.
 
Feb 20, 2017
444
24
18
#10
I would add Hornady Critical Duty or Defense line. I've seen them preform in gel test and did very well.
I just figured out Critical duty is made for Police size guns (G17, etc) and doesn't expand as well as critical defense out of anything with a shorter barrel. Just some info I didn't know before.
 

padom

SuperMod
Staff member
Mar 13, 2013
6,555
554
113
Southeastern, Pennsylvania
#11
Buy a box of each and shoot each in YOUR gun. All of those choices are top quality, effective, defensive ammo. But all of them dont shoot in every gun. Only one I dont see above that would add to the list if Corbon DPX. Quality/proven stuff.

I personally shoot Federal HST in my handguns. The most accurate of all the above noted options. Now, Speer Gold Dot is top notch but shot like buck shot in my Glock 19. Shoots great in my SIG's. Find what shoots best, buy a bunch of it and train, train, train.
 
Sep 16, 2009
4,207
287
83
#12
Wilson loads some with Barnes X bullets that are very good killers on large critters. I have never had even any reasonably built, reasonably placed .45 caliber bullet fail to do the job. Lot of things been killed with ball ammo in a 1911.
 

Primus

Gun Snob
Feb 13, 2017
504
183
43
Vancouver, WA
#14
HST>Golddot2>Golddot1>Barnes>all. Hornady defensive ammo is shit and and shows in most independent testing. Amazing two ways. A. FBI flunkies choose this over far better performing HST( this is what happens when you fill an agency with limp dick diversity hires and left wing Marxist treasonous fucks I guess) and B. Hornady makes great rifle ammo.
 

Primus

Gun Snob
Feb 13, 2017
504
183
43
Vancouver, WA
#16
The larger the bore the less important bullet performance becomes. :)
Not true since the 1980s where bullet design took off. The size of the hole doesn't mean shit, it's how the bullet performs in soft tissue and bone that results in the desired effect. Today there is no reason to not go with 9mm unless you need protection from bears/critters. Then stepping up to 10mm/45lc makes sense as they can be loaded hot and transfer much more energy into the target. Only fools , plebs and autists use anything other than 9mm for duty/carry. It's a surefire sign of mental defectives.....like owning XD, anything zombie related or running a cloth holster.
 
Sep 16, 2009
4,207
287
83
#17
Last time I checked bone and tissue has not changed since the 1980's. Bullets have improved across the board. In the event of a failure to expand due to defective bullet design, manufacture or "plugging" in clothing etc. the larger bullet will make a larger hole. If hole size did not matter, then we would all go back to FMJ. They are cheap, function well in many different semi autos, and penetrate well. So, how many folks are recommending FMJ for self defense or carry today? Better re think the hole size....

Some of what you state is true, some borderline, some erroneous. It all is apparently firmly entrenched. Good luck to you.
 
Likes: W54/XM-388

Primus

Gun Snob
Feb 13, 2017
504
183
43
Vancouver, WA
#18
Last time I checked bone and tissue has not changed since the 1980's. Bullets have improved across the board. In the event of a failure to expand due to defective bullet design, manufacture or "plugging" in clothing etc. the larger bullet will make a larger hole. If hole size did not matter, then we would all go back to FMJ. They are cheap, function well in many different semi autos, and penetrate well. So, how many folks are recommending FMJ for self defense or carry today? Better re think the hole size....

Some of what you state is true, some borderline, some erroneous. It all is apparently firmly entrenched. Good luck to you.
Hole size has nothing to do with it. Energy transfer, penetration depth, fragmentation or weight retention matter. You are confused related to hole size and FMJ. A 55gr .223 to the chest is going to do more damage and have a lower survivability probability then the hottest loaded .45 with the best performing bullet on the market. The one that produces a hole half the size will impart almost twice the energy. Smaller and faster is preferable to bigger and slower all things being equal.

Q1:. Does the bullet pen required distance?
Q2: Does the bullet transfer max energy into target (no pass through)
Q3: How much damage does the projectile or fragments impart on soft tissue?
Q4: How fast, accurate and cheaply can I do the above?

Hence the effectiveness of the AR and 9mm service pistol
 

Wyzrd

Harder than a coffin nail
Feb 13, 2017
1,975
43
48
Cheyenne, Wyoming
#21
Critical defense, Sig JHP, Gold Dots, HST’s for my 9mm’s, and Corbon, Critical defense, and/or Golden Sabers in my other calibers (38, 45). All I know is that I wouldn’t want to get shot with any of those damn bullets! Like others have said, just put em in the right spot.
 

padom

SuperMod
Staff member
Mar 13, 2013
6,555
554
113
Southeastern, Pennsylvania
#22
This discussion has been beat to death all over the internet. There is literally info for years if you want to read your life away. There are also tons of ballistic tests on every ammo/gun combination imaginable.

In all reality, buy any reputable defense ammo. Place it in a good location, and it will do its job. An attacker knows no difference between gold dot and HST when he is on the receiving end of a handful.
An attacker might not know the difference but your gun will. Buy a box of each and test them in your gun. Then stock up on what your gun shoots best.
 

MJB13SRT8

308SR90 on Old 2004 SH
Feb 21, 2017
80
16
8
Memphis, TN
#25
Primus
Smaller and faster is preferable to bigger and slower all things being equal.
So a 223 rem with a 55 gr bullet going over 3100 fps is better than a 50 bmg with M2 AP going 2800 fps because it's smaller and faster cool.

Montrose
 
Likes: Alphatreedog

Primus

Gun Snob
Feb 13, 2017
504
183
43
Vancouver, WA
#26
Apples to oranges. Now let's compare a .338lm or .375 CT to that bmg and see what happens. .45 is dead in the small arms defense and military realm in favor of 9mm for every reason above. Not to mention how you going to ccw a bmg.
 
Sep 16, 2009
4,207
287
83
#27
Primus,

It went apples to oranges when you compared the 5.56 to your 9mm velocity.

45 ACP 925 FPS
9MM 1025 FPS
5.56 3150 FPS

You obviously like the 9mm and are biased toward it. Just as you are biased against the other similar handgun cartridges. Fact is none of them are all that effective.
 

HoustonB77

Online Training Member
Jan 28, 2014
495
86
28
Nixon TX
#28
Apples to oranges. Now let's compare a .338lm or .375 CT to that bmg and see what happens. .45 is dead in the small arms defense and military realm in favor of 9mm for every reason above. Not to mention how you going to ccw a bmg.
It's dead in the military because 9mm is cheaper to shoot and has less recoil. That doesn't mean that 9mm is more effective. People conceal carry 45s every day. I carry a XD MOD 2 45 sub compact all the time. Its just as easy for me to carry as my glock 26.
 
Likes: davidb187
Sep 16, 2009
4,207
287
83
#29
^^^^^ This
The 9mm became popular about the time women and gays were accepted in LE and military combat roles. Nothing wrong with it but the 9MM is not the only answer. It fits small hands, is easier to teach the weak to shoot and cost less. If any of the above are in your selection criteria it is likely the one for you. No idea why anyone takes offense to what cartridge anyone else choses to defend themselves with?

I carry a small Beretta Bobcat loaded with CCI Stingers at times. Other times I carry a .45 ACP. Just depends on what I'm wearing and where I'm going.
 
Last edited:
Feb 13, 2017
203
59
28
#30
I posted this on another pistol forum recently, as the OP inquired as to defensive ammunition for an apartment dweller and considerations therein because not everyone may find themselves engaging in a user friendly situation; my response follows.

The use of frangible ammunition depends on one's perspective, generally the adage being it is better to give than receive.

I myself, and most others, would not want to be shot by any frangible ammo; it is available in pistol and rifle calibers.

Depending on manufacturer, frangibles as a class, are powdered matrices of either tin, copper, tungsten or hard polymers; a whole lot worse than Simmunitions if you have ever had a chance to experience them !

Glaser may be the most familiar available civilian brand name.
Glaser website has recommendations for ammunition choices the OP was inquiring about, specifically apartment housing situations.
https://www.corbon.com/glaser-safety-slug.html


Like any personal ammunition choice, there is a ledger sheet of merits and demerits to consider. A partial evaluation includes,

Advantages:
1. Forensically, no identifying rifling marks on the terminal impact projectiles.
2. Virtually no chance of down range significant ricochet collateral injury to bystanders which may be desirable in public, any CQB situation with over-penetration to other individuals e.g. aircraft , narrow ship board passage ways, nuclear power plants, hospitals, court houses, and yes schools, etc.

Disadvantages:
1. As a class of ammunition, they do not penetrate barriers well; low level body armor, heavy clothing, first round contact with tempered glass of vehicle side windows and laminated windshields or sheet metal (if the BG is sequestered in the trunk, however it would hard to justify "fearing for your life")
2. At near contact range if your intent is to cause immediate incapacitation of the perpetrator, your continued point of aim better be the targets' ear canal, mouth, nose or eye socket.
3. For practice, it is much more expensive per round than normal self-defense ammunition

With exceptions, LEO's generally don't employ frangible ammo, but they are also generally protected by qualified and / or sovereign immunity; common civilians will not have that luxury; federal air marshals have different concerns when terminal projectile ballistics that may involve the skin of the aircraft fuselage or over-penetration to the person in an adjacent first class seat.

Terminal ballistics are only important if a target is actually engaged with the projectile, just last week 65 rounds of most likely the best available defense ammunition down range with zero contact and no accountability of risk.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/03/01...tic-video.html

A determined perpetrator or an individual on certain drugs must be incapacitated by means of immediate anatomic intervention. It is also true that most assailants are not committed to suicide and will turn away at real or threatened gunfire; sheep dog v. pseudo-wolves.

Anyone interested in the anatomy and physiology of the variants and requisites of human incapacitation by gunshot wound, I authored this article several years ago. The article is based on decades of personal surgical experience in civilian and military theaters.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/p916y3b6we...0copy.pdf?dl=0

A well-placed path of least resistance bullet trajectory to the human brain does not require penetration of difficult barriers for frangible ammunition or small caliber i.e. .22 caliber munitions.
 
#33
Anybody running a Lehigh load?
Yes, Loaded by Underwood, only thing I use in any ccw I am carrying. I've tested them in everything I own an on all kinds of live critters. I will not carry anything else. The added benefit is some loading are also mostly barrier blind as well. The difference between Underwood loaded lehigh an other defense ammo is like night an day. Not cheap but worth every penny if you need to stop someone.
 
Likes: W54/XM-388
Jul 28, 2011
331
129
43
St. Louis, MO
#34
When it comes to defensive bullets for a handgun the popular choices seem to be Federal HST, Winchester Ranger-T, and Speer Gold Dot.

Is there any reason to look elsewhere?

To simplify the argument let's just go with 9mm and .45acp in a reasonable carry handgun (no long slide and no pocket subcompact)

Explosive rounds dipped in ricin. I think Wolf makes them.
 
Likes: davidb187

jg6.5

Private
Dec 20, 2017
58
6
8
Oklahoma
#38
^^^^^ This
The 9mm became popular about the time women and gays were accepted in LE and military combat roles. Nothing wrong with it but the 9MM is not the only answer. It fits small hands, is easier to teach the weak to shoot and cost less. If any of the above are in your selection criteria it is likely the one for you. No idea why anyone takes offense to what cartridge anyone else choses to defend themselves with?

I carry a small Beretta Bobcat loaded with CCI Stingers at times. Other times I carry a .45 ACP. Just depends on what I'm wearing and where I'm going.
This is probably the most relevant post in this entire thread. :ROFLMAO:

There are some over-arching notions that are true, like how a well designed JHP round is probably going to do you more good than a FMJ in 99% of all situations, but the rest can be summed up with: pick a few manufacturers that are generally regarded as GTG (federal, hornady, speer, etc.) and test them all in your particular handgun. If one functions better than the others, then that's your round. If they all function more or less the same, pick the one most readily available or most economical. Simple as that really.

To quote the great Clint Smith, "I've never been attacked by a block of gelatin, so I don't worry about what it does to a block of jelly. I worry about what it does to this asshole down the hallway who's trying to stab me with a big knife. And if I shoot him and he keeps coming, I should do what? Worry about jelly? Or...? Shoot him again...and again, and again, and again, and repeat as required until what I want to happen, happens."
 

steve123

Lt. Colonel
Mar 16, 2008
7,454
332
83
Flagstaff, AZ
#39
I posted this on another pistol forum recently, as the OP inquired as to defensive ammunition for an apartment dweller and considerations therein because not everyone may find themselves engaging in a user friendly situation; my response follows.

The use of frangible ammunition depends on one's perspective, generally the adage being it is better to give than receive.

I myself, and most others, would not want to be shot by any frangible ammo; it is available in pistol and rifle calibers.

Depending on manufacturer, frangibles as a class, are powdered matrices of either tin, copper, tungsten or hard polymers; a whole lot worse than Simmunitions if you have ever had a chance to experience them !

Glaser may be the most familiar available civilian brand name.
Glaser website has recommendations for ammunition choices the OP was inquiring about, specifically apartment housing situations.
https://www.corbon.com/glaser-safety-slug.html


Like any personal ammunition choice, there is a ledger sheet of merits and demerits to consider. A partial evaluation includes,

Advantages:
1. Forensically, no identifying rifling marks on the terminal impact projectiles.
2. Virtually no chance of down range significant ricochet collateral injury to bystanders which may be desirable in public, any CQB situation with over-penetration to other individuals e.g. aircraft , narrow ship board passage ways, nuclear power plants, hospitals, court houses, and yes schools, etc.

Disadvantages:
1. As a class of ammunition, they do not penetrate barriers well; low level body armor, heavy clothing, first round contact with tempered glass of vehicle side windows and laminated windshields or sheet metal (if the BG is sequestered in the trunk, however it would hard to justify "fearing for your life")
2. At near contact range if your intent is to cause immediate incapacitation of the perpetrator, your continued point of aim better be the targets' ear canal, mouth, nose or eye socket.
3. For practice, it is much more expensive per round than normal self-defense ammunition

With exceptions, LEO's generally don't employ frangible ammo, but they are also generally protected by qualified and / or sovereign immunity; common civilians will not have that luxury; federal air marshals have different concerns when terminal projectile ballistics that may involve the skin of the aircraft fuselage or over-penetration to the person in an adjacent first class seat.

Terminal ballistics are only important if a target is actually engaged with the projectile, just last week 65 rounds of most likely the best available defense ammunition down range with zero contact and no accountability of risk.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/03/01...tic-video.html

A determined perpetrator or an individual on certain drugs must be incapacitated by means of immediate anatomic intervention. It is also true that most assailants are not committed to suicide and will turn away at real or threatened gunfire; sheep dog v. pseudo-wolves.

Anyone interested in the anatomy and physiology of the variants and requisites of human incapacitation by gunshot wound, I authored this article several years ago. The article is based on decades of personal surgical experience in civilian and military theaters.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/p916y3b6we...0copy.pdf?dl=0

A well-placed path of least resistance bullet trajectory to the human brain does not require penetration of difficult barriers for frangible ammunition or small caliber i.e. .22 caliber munitions.
An off duty LEO was using some type of frangible 45 ammo at our local USPSA match. It might have been recently issued, not sure. I just wanted to point out that in his Sig those projectiles would break right off where the lip of the brass was, about 15% of the time, causing excessive malfunctions.

Seeing that, I don't think I could ever talk myself into trusting this tech even though it could offer certain benefits.
 

Ledzep

Chancellor
Jun 9, 2009
1,443
241
63
Black Hills
#40
I know, I'm joshing. I don't get too caught up on bullet selection for low velocity pistol ammo, though. Any decent JHP or expanding polymer nosed bullet will do about as good as you can hope for IMO. Plug away at all the gel you want... expect 3-10 shots to incapacitate.


A military using it is not a wonderful criteria on which to judge quality.
 

Primus

Gun Snob
Feb 13, 2017
504
183
43
Vancouver, WA
#42
It's dead in the military because 9mm is cheaper to shoot and has less recoil. That doesn't mean that 9mm is more effective. People conceal carry 45s every day. I carry a XD MOD 2 45 sub compact all the time. Its just as easy for me to carry as my glock 26.
45 is dead and obsolete, there is literally no reason to carry one. Moder bullets have made it so. 9mm is cheaper, shoots flatter, has less recoil, faster follow up shots, greater capacity , requires a smaller footprint gun, is easier/faster/cheaper to train to standard and has very similar performance on target round for round. The only advantage the 40 and 45 HAD was performance in laminated and auto glass, which has been nullified with modern bonded rounds. n

People are also getting their dicks chopped off and listen to Adelle, It doesn't mean they are good decision makers. The gun community has no shortage of ignorant members. If .45 had any appreciable advantage, the SMU's would use it, PD's other than those run by FUDDS would use it, and switched on Trainers would use it. Virtually every other military in the world has gone to the 9mm as a service pistol round.

I know it may be hard to hear, but you and those who carry .45 are actually handicapping yourselves. Besides the fact that friends don't let friends own anything from SA much less the HS2000...erm XD GRIPZONE, the G26 is a superior handgun in every way shape and form.

Science has already settled the issue, get with the times.
 

Primus

Gun Snob
Feb 13, 2017
504
183
43
Vancouver, WA
#43
A military using it is not a wonderful criteria on which to judge quality.
The Ranger Regt and the 3 (5 technically) SMU's are the biggest gunfighers in the world and you want to guess what they carry. The organizations who have the highest probability and likelihood of using a pistol in anger use what round?

The .45 is dead. You just haven't gotten the message yet.
 
Jun 13, 2008
767
299
63
#47
The Ranger Regt and the 3 (5 technically) SMU's are the biggest gunfighers in the world and you want to guess what they carry. The organizations who have the highest probability and likelihood of using a pistol in anger use what round?

The .45 is dead. You just haven't gotten the message yet.
Primus,... primus... sigh..

Did you actually read what I said, word-for-word, and view it as ONLY what I said? I'm not making any assumptions, but just in case you need a refresher, here it is once more:

"A military using it is not a wonderful criteria on which to judge quality."

My statement is 100% truth, especially when viewed in light of my intent, which was a GLOBAL statement about ALL military and para-military groups. They do. Not. Always. Choose. Based. On. Performance. Use of FMJ ammunition is one of the very best examples of this fact.

Not even the quoted poster Ledzep took offense to what I said, so I don't know what your fucking problem is. Nobody I know that is currently serving, and not a SINGLE Veteran I've ever known would have taken offense to that statement about the US Military's ability to occasionally (or daily) produce soup sandwiches.

Yet here you are, taking my statement out of context, and reading into it ALL KINDS of "my opinions" about cartridge choices for a defensive round, like an Internet ninja would do.

Here's a wakeup call: I don't OWN a .45 ACP firearm, and haven't ever carried one. I do not care about the round's history, what it can do now, or how it compares to other extant cartridges in the same role. I care about how well I can deploy what I DO own, how well it will perform if I get hits.


...am i being "autisitic" enough for you now?

-Nate
 
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