This is written for the women and shooters who need consultation on choosing the the most efficient pistol caliber for their own personal protection. Some of the key topics that come about are the following:
The reason why I'm writing this is because many women need a professional, non-biased consultation concerning the selection of ammunition that would not only be beneficial to her but also to Gun-Fighters and Shooters in general. In a conversation I
once had the following was brought up:
“Women in general but specifically minority women need a sort of reference point, when it comes to ammunition section. Many times we are forced to turn to people that often times either cannot connect with us and our needs or simply do not have our best interest in mind.”
The most common pistol calibers are .22LR, 9mm (9x19), .40 and .45. Out of that bunch the 9mm would be the most prevalent of them all. The reason for that is because the 9mm round is a round that is pretty much the gold standard in every country around the world as far as a pistol cartridge is concerned. What that translates into is being able to find ammunition for your weapon system almost anywhere in the world; and that’s a great thing.
Moreover, the 9mm (9x19) round is becoming even better as far as ballistic performance is concerned, and that is because technology is allowing us to push the round not only further and further but technology is allowing us to design the 9mm (9x19) to hit harder and increasing the lethality of the round. This is why the FBI went back to issuing this round to its Agents.
This is not to say that it is a true man stopper (no pistol round is), but it is very good viable means of SD (self-defense) that aids in the facilitation of stopping an aggressor with the right round count and speed into their CNS (Central Nervous System).
With that being said, when selecting ammunition for SD (self-defense) there should be two questions that come to mind:
“How much ammunition can I afford?”
“How lethal do I want to be?”
Addressing the first question: “How much ammunition can I afford?” that would depend on several factors which will be centered around “QUANTITY”,”GRAIN”, “BULLET TYPE”, “BARREL LENGTH” and “PRICE”.
Typically ammunition is sold by the “BRICK” or box. Within that BRICK there are typically 50 rounds. When we start talking about “personal defense” ammunition which I DO NOT recommend, those small boxes of ammunition typically come in quantities of 20 to 25. Again 50 rounds vs 25 rounds you do the math. I typically recommend high capacity magazines, so I tend to reach out for the BRICK of 50. In a GLOCK 17 with three full magazines we are talking 51 rounds.
In a GLOCK 19 we are looking at 15 rounds for a total round count of 45 for three magazine. So as you can see this is why I recommend a whole BRICK. This kind of BRICK of ammunition is often referred to as “range ammunition”. I recommend if you have the extra "CHOP" (money) buy in bulk which typically is shipped by 500 rounds to 1,000 rounds.
In contrast there are people that seek to spend the extra money on “personal defense “ammunition. Which sounds strange because any ammunition you use for you own defense become personal defense ammunition; just a case of semantics that we will address later on in another article. But personal defense ammunition such as Hornady Critical Defense, Speer Gold Dot, Hornady Critical Duty, Federal HST, Federal HYDRA-SHOK are great brands and will serve you right. But the thing is to not get caught up into the idea of a “Silver Bullet” or “Magic Bullet” as there is no such thing. Instead, Ladies focus on KAS; Knowledge, Attitude and Skill. Let the “personal defense” ammunition be a secondary extension of what you are trying to accomplish – which is saving your life.
Ladies, when you look at the packaging of whatever ammunition you purchase look at the bullet weight or “Grain”. As a RULE OF THUMB:
When you look at the wide spectrum of bullets out there in general bullet grains can fall anywhere between 15 to 750 grains (give or take) with 15 being the lightest and 750 being the heaviest. Grains do affect accuracy to a certain extent. Too light of a grain the bullet will "tumble" or “wobble” in flight as the distance to the target increases. If the bullet is too heavy then it will lose it velocity over a distance and drop to soon while in flight. But fear not you will not have to worry about that for you will more than likely not shoot at a target past 9 meters or slightly more than 25 yards roughly.
However in the world of GunFighting with 90% of all shooting engagements taking place at 0 to 5 meters (0 to 16 feet) grains won’t make too much of a difference. When you start to 8 to 10 meters (32 feet) you may observer grains being put into play; meaning that there may be some differences on where the bullet is landing (1/4 inch roughly) in relationship to the type of ammunition being used. For reference, typically from the factory bullet grains look like this:
.22LR = 30 – 32gr
9mm (9x19) = 119 – 147gr
.357 = 125 – 180gr
.40 = 135 – 200gr
.45 = 185 – 230gr
So in short, bullet grain does make a difference but not for the application in which we will be utilizing the round for which is SD.
There are various types of bullets out there that will be more than enough of fulfilling your SD needs. The three most common types that are you will see in SD applications will be:
FMJ – Full Metal Jacket. The jacket or covering of the bullet which is made of copper completely covers the lead core. This is a standard design and is used for uniform ballistics and expansion in the industry. The jacket also encases the lead core to aid in reducing lead deposits within the lands and groves of the barrel.
JHP - Jacketed Hollow Point – the jacketing on this bullet also plays a role in reducing the amount of fouling or lead deposits within the lands and groves of the barrel. Moreover, the opening at the tip of the bullets opened and “hollowed out”. This in essence increases the expansion of the bullet thus, it creates a bigger wound channel when the bullet penetrates the flesh. It should be noted that there may be legal ramifications to utilizing this round depending on where you are in the country. This is because so because it centers around the intent of the shooter. Where you being malicious [forethought] in doing harm to another PERSON?
Hydra-Shok – would be the same as the JHP (Jacket Hollow Point) but there is a “needle” or Center Post located inside of the hollowed center. This is not a “needle” such as those used by a Phlebotomist, but this “needle” allows for pre-programmed expansion. What we are look for is uniformed and consistent expansion each and every time. This is something that the ordinary hollow point does not do (manufacture dependent). NOTE, there may be legal ramification to utilizing this round depending where you are in the country. This is so because it centers around the intent of the shooter. Where you being malicious [forethought] in doing hardtop another PERSON?
WORTHY OF NOTE:
Frangible Round – YES WE ARE PLAYING DIRTY. Commonly used by Air Marshals, these rounds fire a bullet that breaks apart into tiny fragments on impact when fired and comes into contact with a Subject. It’s kind of hard to ballistically match (although nothing is impossible now-a-days). This round will exhibit a reduced risk of over penetration on a Subject, thus decreasing the risk of legal and civil liability for you.
RIP (Radically Invasive Projectile) – this is a kind of Multiple Impact Bullet (MIB) and can be considered a nasty round. Once fired the bullet splits off into several pieces inside of the human target thus exponentially increasing not only the wound channel but the overall lethality of the round.
5.7.x28mm – ladies if any of you own a (Fabriquw Nationale de Herstal) FN Herstal 5.7, this is a great round. Extremely fast (some ranges will not let you shoot it) but this round produces extremely low recoil. A variant of ammunition for this caliber will defeat (penetrate) soft body armor up to level 3A. The round needed to accomplish this is the SS190 (BLACK TIP) armor piercing ammunition (not the SS197 sporting ammunition – blue tip) in this caliber. This SS190 armor piercing ammunition positively penetrates when shoot through a handgun and a rifle with a 16 inch barrel. This ammunition is a restricted item and is distinguished by its “BLACK TIP”. Other color tips indicate other versions of the ammunition. The regular version will feature a “BLUE TIP”.
RULE OF THUMB – simple physics. Energy is neither lost, created or destroyed it is simply transferred from party to the next. So in this case, the shorter the barrel length the more recoil you will have to manage. The shorter the barrel length in conjunction with a lighter bullet the more recoil you have to manage. So in order to counter this the opposite is true.
Look, everything set aside, we got a little thing called “LIFE” and with “LIFE” there are things ALWAYS going on other than guns, like the damn BILLS, KIDS, SCHOOL and WORK. So I always recommend shopping for the best deal on ammunition. Typically the cheapest is good enough for me. In this market never spend over $18.00 (roughly) on ammunition regardless of caliber. I also recommend the following:
Buy in bulk online. A source would be cheaperthandirt.com, there are other online retailers. Things to consider:
If you can help it buy in bulk.
If you cannot buy in bulk got to Walmart.
If you can help it NEVER buy at the gun store or the gun range or gun store. I know they have overhead but they are just way to DAMN HIGH. Seems like they are milking folks at times!
Do not get caught up in brand names:
I typically run the following brands of ammunition:
For myself I run any ammunition so long as it’s the correct caliber and is the cheapest – period.
There is also ammunition that are marked as +P and or +P+. All this means is that these are “Hot Loads” and are typically loaded to higher than normal pressure standards to provide better ballistic performance. Please know that guns manufactured around 1994 and earlier may not support these higher than normal pressurized loads. As a side note bare in mind that all casings to rounds are not brass (golden yellow), some are made of Aluminium (greyish), Zinc, Nickel and Steel, or even bi-metal casing which will have a more brownish tint to it.
They (manufactures) will place a liquor of some sort over it to reducing the issue of rusting. Anything outside of brass (golden yellow color) will not be able to be reloaded. Lastly remember brass is softer than steel, so steel has the possibility of wearing down the extractor on your firearm faster. But don’t worry, you would have to have put like a couple thousand rounds through the gun for that to occur.