What school of thought do you subscribe to?


Unearthed

New member
Basically when it comes to ammo there are two schools of thought. One says that lighter, and therefore, faster bullets, are more effective. The other believes that slower, heavier bullets are more effective.

Personally, I carry 147gr ammo and am happy to sacrifice a couple hundred FPS to use a bullet with more mass behind it. My thinking is that it will penetrate better because it will slow down less when it actually hits a person. Looking at test data of recently developed big name rounds, I noticed that the heavier bullets actually penetrated ballistic gel further than lighter rounds. Who knows what this means in real life...but I do know the 147gr rounds let me line up follow-up shots quicker than lighter +p rounds.

Any thoughts?
 

Red Hat

New member
My school of thought is if it goes bang then it's going to be effective. I carry most of the time a 9mm, light and fast. I sometimes carry a 380, 357 sig, 40 cal or 45 cal. I prefer shot placement and shot quantity. Six placed rounds from a underrated 380 will stop someone in their tracks. What you want to carry is a weapon that is comfortable and one you can shoot accurately.
 

The Gunny

New member
I tend to prefer the heavier rounds myself. I prefer .45 cal though I will be getting a .38 snub as a BUG. For me .38 is about as low on the power side I am willing to go. You can only go so far in regards to how effective velocity is. Take the military's 5.56mm for example it does not provide the needed knock down power, at close range it will go completely through the enemy with out causing imediate death. You may knock him down but unless you hit him in the heart, head or spine he will get up again.

Shot placement is always key. So I believe you need to find a caliber you feel you can control accurately. I feel this is the real limit for selecting the proper caliber in a hand gun. I know many people who prefer a .357 magnum over a .38 SPL and in the right gun matched to the right person it is great however in a 15 oz little snub it is hard to control and painful too. That is the point I am trying to make.

Whatever you carry you need to ensure that it is capable of penetrating 12 inches of ballistic gel that is considered by many the prefered amount for a fatal shot. There are hundreds of web sites out there that you can use to check these stats and of course many gun magazines do reviews on the ammo as well so just look at the information that is out there and buy a few boxes and head to the range to see which one feels right in your hand.
 

Memphis

New member
Well I'm a huge fan of the 1911 and I think it's ultimately one of the best guns ever made. One of my favorite things about it is that you can get it in something BESIDES a .45!

Anyone with a basic knowledge of physics will understand that heavy bullets will travel a little farther into ballistic gel. Last time I checked, ballistic gel doesn't move or have bones so it's hard to miss and easy to damage. If you're confident with hitting/stopping 3-6 BG or more with 8 rounds then I applaud your confidence.

I know I don't need my round to "start with a .4X" and I also know that if I fire, each BG is gonna catch at LEAST 2 rounds the first time my sights cross center mass. My M&P will hold 12+1 and I always have another 12 handy. ;)

My $.02
 
Last edited:

2075RAMI4ME

New member
I don't know how much "real world" difference there is, but I recently switched from 115 gr +P JHP 9mm to 147gr JHP in my CZ RAMI. I made the switch mainly because my RAMI didn't feed light +P rounds reliably. Ever since I switched to the heavier non +P rounds, I have 400-500 rounds without a hitch. The more I think about it, I guess I do like the idea of a heavier, slower bullet for close range encounters....seems like there'd be less chance of over-penetration. I haven't seen any studies to back this up though. Anyway, just my opinion.
 

festus

God Bless Our Troops!!!
I think getting the job done is what is important...

I prefer a big heavy .45 for its knockdown without over penetration. I think fast and light has just as much potential for knockdown power. I don't trust a 9MM due to the fact that it will go really fast and hit folks behind a BG. This is just me and my mindset. I would love to try some of the frangible airmarshal type rounds.
 

Unearthed

New member
I don't know how much "real world" difference there is, but I recently switched from 115 gr +P JHP 9mm to 147gr JHP in my CZ RAMI. I made the switch mainly because my RAMI didn't feed light +P rounds reliably. Ever since I switched to the heavier non +P rounds, I have 400-500 rounds without a hitch. The more I think about it, I guess I do like the idea of a heavier, slower bullet for close range encounters....seems like there'd be less chance of over-penetration. I haven't seen any studies to back this up though. Anyway, just my opinion.

Stolen from an old post in Glock Talk:

Now let's compare the two rounds using Winchester's penetration numbers in bare gelatin:

147gr = 13.9"
124gr+P = 12.2"

If the 124gr. +P has more momentum than the 147, why did the 147gr. penetrate deeper?

That is because the 124gr. was dependent on it's velocity for it's momentum. Once the bullet strikes it's target, the velocity is quickly lost where as the mass of the 147gr, not being as dependent on velocity for it's momentum, penetrated deeper. The higher velocity 124gr bullet almost assuredly expanded quicker than the 147gr bullet due to it's velocity further reducing it's penetration. In this example the 124gr. bullet expanded to .70 caliber where as the 147gr. expanded to .65 and retained more weight - 141gr. overall compared to 116.2 for the 124gr bullet.
 

Mushroom

New member
My thoughts!

My carry gun's caliber will always start with a (4), I would prefer a .45. But in my case I find that some compromise was necessary. I don't want to have to "dress around the gun" so that limits me to a compact single stack DAO. I can't find a .45 that I can hide without wearing a jacket so I had to settle for a .40. I carry a Kahr-MK40 in a Blade-Tech IWB holster. Using this rig the little Kahr just disappears under only my tucked in shirt.
 

tattedupboy

Thank God I'm alive!
Any round will do the job if it hits the right place. Many newbies mistakenly believe that the bigger the round, the more "manly" you are. However, carrying a big caliber will not amount to a hill of beans if you can't hit what you're shooting at. You should only carry what you can shoot well. To hell with anyone who makes you believe that you're a wimp if you prefer a .380 over a .357 magnum or a .32 over a .45.
 

HK4U

New member
which round

Any round will do the job if it hits the right place. Many newbies mistakenly believe that the bigger the round, the more "manly" you are. However, carrying a big caliber will not amount to a hill of beans if you can't hit what you're shooting at. You should only carry what you can shoot well. To hell with anyone who makes you believe that you're a wimp if you prefer a .380 over a .357 magnum or a .32 over a .45.


What is the saying? Any gun will do if you will do?
 
My recommendation to new shooters is to choose the biggest caliber that they can shoot accurately. I've instructed all kinds of folks. There was an elderly lady who could only shoot a .22 LR. She purchased a Sig Mosquito and is very happy with her purchase. This is what I would consider a "special case". Most folks can handle the "recommended" calibers for self defense. These would be .380 and up. I personally wouldn't carry anything smaller than a .357 mag. Most folks can handle .40 s&w better than a .357 mag.

Bottom line is that it's a matter of personal preference, and think about the situations in which you will be shooting. The adrenaline will be running high and the "oh s**t" factor will come into play. Practice properly, and practice often.



gf
 

2075RAMI4ME

New member
Now let's compare the two rounds using Winchester's penetration numbers in bare gelatin:

147gr = 13.9"
124gr+P = 12.2"

If the 124gr. +P has more momentum than the 147, why did the 147gr. penetrate deeper?

That is because the 124gr. was dependent on it's velocity for it's momentum. Once the bullet strikes it's target, the velocity is quickly lost where as the mass of the 147gr, not being as dependent on velocity for it's momentum, penetrated deeper. The higher velocity 124gr bullet almost assuredly expanded quicker than the 147gr bullet due to it's velocity further reducing it's penetration. In this example the 124gr. bullet expanded to .70 caliber where as the 147gr. expanded to .65 and retained more weight - 141gr. overall compared to 116.2 for the 124gr bullet.

Interesting. Thanks for the info. Where can you find the results of these kinds of studies?
 

The Gunny

New member
This reminded me of something I had heard in the past regarding hunting rounds for deer.

They used to say that the old 30/30 Winchester was a better brush gun due to it being a heavier and slower round. The theory being that the bullet would not be as easily deflected by branches etc. This was I believe due to the bullets weight and momentum driving it. Where as the lighter faster spitzer type bullets would more easily be driven off course should they encounter a branch prior to the deer.

Now I know I am kind of mixing apples and oranges here in that we ain't deer huntin' but I think I can see some similarities.

I would be interested to know if there is an truth to this theory and if there is does it have relevence to this topic?

As a bit of a comparison the AK-47 in 7.62mmX39 fires one ball buster of a round compared to the puny M-16 in 5.56mm. Based on ballistics they have us beat in an urban combat senario. However we have compensated by outfitting our M-16s with some great optics ACOG's, EO-TECH's etc. Not to mention our night vision optics. So our military has compensated for the lack of stopping power by improving our chances of hitting the target. I would prefer we did both however it seems to cost to much to re-tool our military for a more effective round.

Yes I know I am talking about rifles and different calibers of rifles so I am not exactly on target for this discussion. But I suppose I just wanted to offer some thoughts on things sort of similar to this subject that have been floating around in my mind a while.
 
sounds like something I would submit to the "Mythbusters" show. I'd like to see Adam and Jaime do their testing on this one. :)
 

ecocks

New member
You can slice and dice this a lot of different ways but,

in the end all the cliches are true. Simply, 8 rounds of .45 that miss the target are far worse than a single .17 placed dead-center. The same is true no matter how you change either the number of rounds or caliber. If you can hit what you aim at with a DE .44 AutoMag then GREAT! If you cannot control anything over a .22 due to arthritis or concealability issues, then you are doing what you can and more power to you. No one can say that my 81 year old father is an idiot because he carries a .22. When he fires anything larger it either risks damage/injury to his hand or his lack of control is dangerous to others. I told him to keep my Buckmark loaded in his nightstand. It's the best he can manage and that simply has to be enough (for now). My ex wasn't happy with anything larger than a .32 that would be "hers". I didn't want her worried about control, carry or comfort if she had to protect herself.

There is NO one-size fits all, nor is there a "best" caliber/style/carry method/whatever that will fit everyone. Find what works for you and the hell with everyone else's judgment(s).
 

New Threads

Staff online

Members online

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
49,153
Messages
621,728
Members
74,111
Latest member
ucf4
Top