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Title pretty much says it all. What bullet weight do you prefer for a short barrel compact pistol in 9mm.

115, 124, or 147.

Im leaning towards 124 for mass and velocity compromise. Most of my training ammo is in 115, and even the HP that I have is 115 grain. however im trying to decided what to get going forward.

I like the idea of heavier but have read that 147 grain out of a short barrel may not achieve high enough velocity to expand relialby, whereas 115 grain JHP might expand too much too quickly and not penetrate enough. Soo.. wouldnt 124 grain, or some 135 grains be a good medium between penetration and expansion?
 

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expansion stops penetration.
if your gonna use a 9mm pick one or the other cause you ain't gonna get both.
 

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Just for a random anecdotal example....

The Federal 147 grain Hydra Shok JHP 9mm is one of the slowest 9mm "defensive" loads and clocks in just around 950 FPS out of a 4" barrel which is your general compact sized handgun like Glock 19 size.

Your typical subcompact barrel is around 3" give or take.

That same "heavy" 147 grain 9mm bullet fired out of a 3" barrel is just over 900 FPS which is on the comparatively slow end for a 9mm.

I've shot that exact same round through a 4" barreled handgun through a lot of windshield glass and through car doors and it was more than adequate regarding penetration through windshield glass and fared just as well through car doors. As in all the way through the drivers side door and completely out the passenger side door. And the exit hole was .... surprisingly large... in fact it was one of the larger exit holes through the car door than many other premium defensive loads.


Obviously that's for a perfect through and through and not hitting rolled down windows or door locks or window motors etc... but it will penetrate all the way though both car doors if it's a clean pass through... which is something that a .45 ACP will often times not do for comparison purposes regarding penetration.

There are faster lighter loads out there but after seeing how well it preformed though different intermediate barriers Im satisfied enough with it that I carry it in everything from my HK VP9 down to my smaller M&P Shield.

On the other end of the spectrum the 115 grain Corbon DPX though is one awesome round with it's fully copper bonded bullet.

All that being said, I think a lot of the different premium defense loads out there these days regardless of grain size are going to do pretty well. Bullet technology as has sort of narrowed the gap so to speak.
 
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^this--and it comes down to what your gun likes. What it goes to POA with; there are significantly different POIs for different rounds.

I use either the Speer LE 115 +P+ gold dot or the Federal LE HST 147s+P. Usually the Federal HST 147s+P in my Glock 43 and 19. The Ruger LCR likes the speer loading better.

I've had somewhat different experience than TAC in my Shield in that it shoots either fine but goes to POA better with the Speer round; YMMV. But I haven't shot any car doors or glass with it and most stuff is up close and personal anyway.

Part of why I use them is that I've gotten deals on boxes of them and found that the gun likes them.

I use Critical Duty in my Glock 23 and VP-40 but wouldn't use this in a shorter bbl gun (in the 9mm round at least; the lowest I'd go to with it might be a Glock 19) due to expansion problems at lower velocities.
 
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All three of mine (Ruger P95, SCCY and the new Taurus 709) shoot the 124gr a tiny bit better than the 115, but not enough that I would hesitate to load up either weight.
 

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Federal HST 124 +P here. Did a stinkload of personal, unscientific testing, too. The bottom line was I found this particular grain and load to be best for my XDs.

The Shield likes it, too.

115 and 147 all perform well, but the 124 just fits better for some reason. I try to buy as much 124 NATO as I can when it's available to train with the 'same' grain and charge.

Here are a couple links that helped decide the issue:


http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests/
 

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So far I have tested the Remington Golden Saber 124gr+p, the Federal HST 124gr+p, Federal HST 147gr standard and +p versions from my Sig P290. The Remington was actually a decent round and was in stock several places when nothing else was around.
The HST 124gr+p is slightly less accurate than the Rem GS round but still very reliable and works well. Both of the 147s have worked really well out of the P290 and my CZ 85 loves them. I keep the +Ps in the CZ for home defense and the standard pressure in the P290.
 

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147 grain has always worked best for me. I found that weight to be the most accurate out of any 9 platform.
 
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