In the aftermath of yesterday’s post on stopping power, someone asked me what round I carry in my defensive firearms. I carry three different calibers depending on the situation, either a .25 ACP, a 9mm, or a .40 S&W. Here are the rounds I carry in each one of those.
- .25 ACP: I carry 35 grain Speer Gold Dot hollow points in my Beretta Jetfire. Out of the puny little Jetfire, they’re doing about 900-950 FPS, and produce 12 inches of penetration with some expansion in ballistic gelatin.
- 9mm: Winchester Ranger 147 grain hollow points for this gun. I love the Ranger round, and I’m one of the guys that’s a fan of the 147 grain HP load for self defense.
- .40 S&W: I use the Magtech First Defense load in my .40; it’s a 130 grain solid copper bullet pushing 1200 FPS at the muzzle. Those ballistics put it up into the same mathematical territory as the legendary 125 grain JHP .357 load. I really like the solid copper bullet, as unlike a traditional hollow point there is no jacket to seperate from the main projectile, which means that weight retention is almost 100%.
All that aside, Tam is right when she said in the comments of yesterday’s post that most modern HP/duty rounds are all designed to meet or exceed the FBI’s penetration tests. Whether it’s a .45, .40, or 9mm, most modern defensive rounds from “duty sized” pistols are going to give you the penentration necessary to produce rapid stops. In fact, International Cartridge Corporation designed a frangible defensive round that meets those standards; a 125 grain HP where 1/2 of the projectile acts like a Glaser, and the other half acts like a wadcutter. It’s pretty neat, and you can watch the penetration test video here.