Choice choices. Having considered whether to hand load your own carry ammo or not, I decided against it. The hypothetical downsides to hand loading carry ammo are just that, and I think the odds of it becoming a factor are very remote. But we carry firearms to ward off the possibility of an incident which is itself remote, and even though I think it’s terribly unlikely to end up having to explain your load in court, I also think the upsides to using hand loads are too trivial to risk even this remote possibility. As best I can tell, you save money, and if you’re a good reloader, get something that’s about as reliable as factory carry ammo. To me that’s not enough upside. Â Plus, I’d have to take time to develop a load I feel confident in.
So now it’s back to factory ammo. Traditionally I have carried Cor-Bon DPX, in 115gr. Â But it’s expensive. I decided to give Speer Gold Dot a try, because it’s cheaper. That round is probably carried by more police agencies than anything else, so I can’t imagine it has an awful reputation. But what load is ideal? I carry a 9mm Glock 19, which means I have a choice between 115 gr. GDHP, 124gr GDHP and 147gr GDHP. Â Velocities on those are 1210fps, 1220fps, and 985fps, with energies of 374ft/lbs, 410ft/lbs, and 317ft/lbs. Â The 124gr load is +P.
Now, if you look at Cor-Bon loadings, their 115gr is their most energetic load, at 466ft/lbs, but it achieves this with a velocity of 1350fps. Â Since energy is 1/2mv2 you get a lot more out of speed than mass, energy wise. But it’s regarded that momentum, which is just mass times velocity, has more relation to stopping power than energy, which means a slow, heavy bullet will stop an attacker more readily than a light, fast one. Light, fast bullets also have the disadvantage of penetrating farther. But it takes speed to get a jacketed hollow point bullet to expand reliably, so there are tradeoffs.
I think the 124gr Gold Dot is probably the best offering from Speer. Even though I’ve carried both the 115gr Cor-Bon JHP and 115gr Cor-Bon DPX in the past, I think Speer’s heavier offering is better than their lighter one. I don’t want to seem like I’m religious about loads, because I’m not. Load differences isn’t going to amount to much if your shots are poorly placed. But if I do, heavens forbid, have to use my firearm in self-defense, I’ll need all the help I can get.
What do you think? Please leave a comment.