1 Feb 18

High-performance 9mm pistol ammunition

It’s no secret that 9mm is king right now, particularly among Operators who routinely carry guns, for serious purposes.

40S&W is still around, but over the past five years it has assumed a distant second place, more distant by the year!

357Sig is all but dead. Scant demand from both private and pubic sectors.

45GAP is dead. No demand, from anywhere. Even Glock could not keep this caliber alive!

10mm, long-since dead and buried, is currently experiencing a “popularity resurrection,” but probably a brief one!

38Spl is steady and slow. People will always carry snubby revolvers!

45ACP, also steady and slow, but no growth in this sector.

For 9mm carry-pistols, I’ve long-recommended a +p HP round, between 115gr and 125gr, from a reputable manufacturer. Federal, Underwood, Super Vel, Cor Bon, Winchester, Black Hills, et al, all make suitable candidates. Muzzle velocities are between 1200 and 1350 f/s.

Until recently, most (even Federal’s pillared Hydra-Shok) have featured “cup-and-core” bullets, a soft-lead core, encased in a bore-riding, brass cup. This combination enjoys a long and respectable history. LEO friends in South Africa have shot hundreds of people with 115gr +p HP rounds (mostly Cor Bon), and they’ve been very happy with it, much happier than they ever were with hardball.

Starting several years ago, some manufacturers have offered the same projectile-weight and velocity, but with all-copper, HP bullets. Superior to cup-and-core bullets in reliable penetration and expansion, plus they are less deflected/deformed by intervening barriers, such as car-glass.

All-copper bullets do not come apart after impact, so penetration of car-doors is far superior to that of cup-and-core, HP bullets.

However, these bullets are difficult to manufacture! The ultimate external shape, along with the hollow cavity, must be extruded, via multiple steps, from a cylinder of copper, cut from copper wire (of appropriate diameter). In addition, there are multiple annealing stages, necessary to keep the copper soft and malleable.

Cost per bullet is thus much higher than with cup-and-core.

In any event, that is what I’m currently carrying in my 9mm pistol (Cor Bon 115gr DPX). I’ve shot a lot of it, and I’m confident this represents a good choice.

The “latest” pistol-bullet technology, and one with which I’ve had only a little experience, is (for lack of a better term) “scalloped bullets,” called by manufacturers non-descriptive names, like “Extreme Defense,” “Extreme Defender,” et al.

These bullets are also homogeneous copper but look like hardball, save for deep, symmetrical scallops in the ogive.

Scallops are cut-in, rather than extruded-in, so these bullets costs less to produce than “conventional” all-copper HP bullets.

In gelatin tests, this new technology appears to be very adequate! There is no hollow-point to plug-up, and there is thus no danger of the bullet failing to expand in living tissue. The bullet is not designed to expand, nor break-up, nor change shape in any way!

Scallops are said to “redirect fluids” and thus inflict as much tissue destruction as conventional, controlled-expansion bullets. Penetration conforms to the respected FBI Protocol (12″-18″)

However, the jury is still out!

Until we dig a few of these new bullets out of decedents, I’ll not have a factual basis upon which to establish an authoritative opinion.

For now, I’m continuing to carry 115gr, all-copper, HP +p 9mm ammunition in my pistol. I’ll let others “experiment” with this new technology!

Maybe a year or so from now, I’ll be sufficiently confident to carry it myself!

“Experience is a hard teacher, because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.”

Vernon Sanders Law