Ammo Weight Question (VP9/VP9SK)
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Thread: Ammo Weight Question (VP9/VP9SK)

  1. #1
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    Default Ammo Weight Question (VP9/VP9SK)

    Newbie question about ammo (sorry!).

    It seems to be the prevailing wisdom that the VP9 and VP9SK feed and shoot the 124 grain ammo better than the 115 grain. Or at least they do at the outset, until the spring breaks in. But how do they handle even lighter ammo? Like 105 grain or even 50 grain?

    The reason I am asking is because a lot of the lower-penetration ammo made for personal defense seems to be lower mass. All things being equal, a lighter bullet shouldn’t penetrate as far. Good old P=mv. So if you live and function in an environment where you are concerned about over penetration (through the target, through walls, etc) a lighter bullet seems to be a smart choice. Loads like the Liberty Civil Defense come in at 50gr. The Federal Guard Dog is 105gr. Others are similar. Will a broken-in VP handle these sorts of ammo flawlessly? Obviously, a lot is at stake here...

    I don’t want turn this into a “which ammo is best“ thread. Rather, I want to understand if these types of ammo would be a safe choice in a VP9/VP9SK?

    Thanks.





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    Man personally if I was you and was considering carrying that ammo I would buy at least a couple hundred of each one and test them out. I know that can and will get expensive but at least if you test it out in your own pistol you would be much more confident when carrying vs taking someone else's advice and still having that little bit of doubt in your mind that the ammo may or may not work. Like you said "a lot is at stake here" so don't take it to chance brother, the last thing anybody wants is a malfunction when seconds mean life or death. I know I didn't answer either of your questions directly but I hope this helps you out either way, stay safe my friend.
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    All I've put through mine so far is 115G without a glitch. It has only been a few hundred rounds though.
    I don't have much but what I have counts.

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    I am no expert but I leaned on my own guns that it takes a couple of hundred rounds, especially defensive JHP, to prove reliability. It may not be the gun necessarily but a lot of times the ammo and the mags.

    Bullet weight is not the only determining factor on penetration. It also has a lot to do with the geometry of the bullet and the design (such as velocity and expansion). Case and point, much heavier .45acp can penetrate less than some much lighter 9mm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AL903TX View Post
    Man personally if I was you and was considering carrying that ammo I would buy at least a couple hundred of each one and test them out. I know that can and will get expensive but at least if you test it out in your own pistol you would be much more confident when carrying vs taking someone else's advice and still having that little bit of doubt in your mind that the ammo may or may not work. Like you said "a lot is at stake here" so don't take it to chance brother, the last thing anybody wants is a malfunction when seconds mean life or death. I know I didn't answer either of your questions directly but I hope this helps you out either way, stay safe my friend.
    You are 100% right and I appreciate the advice. All I’m looking for here is experience others may have had running ammo of lower mass through these firearms. I do intend to run a lot of rounds through - perhaps of a coupe different brands - to decide what I shoot best and what the gun likes best. I wouldn’t follow anyone’s recommendation without testing for myself- unless they said Beand Z is absolute garbage! Ha ha. But yeah, I do appreciate the reminder!


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    Quote Originally Posted by ar2088 View Post
    I am no expert but I leaned on my own guns that it takes a couple of hundred rounds, especially defensive JHP, to prove reliability. It may not be the gun necessarily but a lot of times the ammo and the mags.

    Bullet weight is not the only determining factor on penetration. It also has a lot to do with the geometry of the bullet and the design (such as velocity and expansion). Case and point, much heavier .45acp can penetrate less than some much lighter 9mm.
    Right. Penetration is a lot about momentum (mass times velocity). I’m reading a fair amount about these types of ammo and more “standard” JHP’s, paying attention to both the spread and the penetration. And I’ve noticed a lot of these defensive/low penetration ammo tend to have lower mass. All other things being equal, a lower mass bullet will penetrate less far. So I think that’s one of the things (along with geometry) that the manufacturers focus on, to help limit the penetration. I didn’t want to get into a detailed discussion about how the ammo performed outside the gun - just how it performed being loaded and fired - but here we are!


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    Everything else can’t be equal in order to meet FBI gel test requirements, a de facto standard for defense ammo.

    For JHP, expansion is the key, without expansion it would just go deep or go through like a round ball. And, bullet requires a certain momentum to ensure expansion. Lighter bullets would require higher velocity and hence you would feel snappier. I like to shoot 147gr 9mm rather than 115gr for that reason. Reputable ammo can meet FBI requirements regardless of their weight.

    My advice is not to think lower mass would give you less penetration. Just use reputable defense ammo such as HST, Gold Dot, Critical Duty and find the proper weight you can shoot accurately to your liking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ar2088 View Post
    Everything else can’t be equal in order to meet FBI gel test requirements, a de facto standard for defense ammo.

    For JHP, expansion is the key, without expansion it would just go deep or go through like a round ball. And, bullet requires a certain momentum to ensure expansion. Lighter bullets would require higher velocity and hence you would feel snappier. I like to shoot 147gr 9mm rather than 115gr for that reason. Reputable ammo can meet FBI requirements regardless of their weight.

    My advice is not to think lower mass would give you less penetration. Just use reputable defense ammo such as HST, Gold Dot, Critical Duty and find the proper weight you can shoot accurately to your liking.
    That’s true. When I said “everything else being equal” I knew I was sort of taking some liberties there.

    And you’re getting to a key point. The FBI spec for penetration. As i understand it, that’s 12-18” of penetration. However, 18” would easily penetrate a human target. Yep, I know, that’s why there’s a spread. But from tests I’ve seen, 15-18” penetration also goes through numerous layers of drywall. So back to my concern about penetration and a lighter mass. I guess I should say that I’m questioning whether the FBI specs are really suitable for personal defense in an urban environment. Meaning, shared walls of residences, lots of public walking areas, etc. The FBI spec may be too powerful for my needs. I don’t need to shoot through car doors and the like. This is why I’m considering these personal defense rounds. They all seem to have a slightly lesser penetration and, either as a result or because of this, they have lighter mass.

    I realize I may be searching for a unicorn: Ammo that will only stop the threat, without collateral damage. The only real solution for that is making sure my shots are on target (so I am continuing to practice). But I want to make sure that whatever ammo I get flows thru the firearm smoothly. Every time. Perhaps the original suggestion is the right one: try several types and see...


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    HSTs and Gold Dots, all I carry. Feed perfectly and about the most consistent JHP rounds there are. Good enough for cops, good enough for us.
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    I’ve never heard of this load.
    Googling Liberty Civil Defense 9mm +P 50gr:
    Copper Monolithic Fragmenting Hollow Point, 2000 FPS, 444 ft-lbs.
    There’s a YouTube of it punching holes on cinder block, pretty much tells you drywall is no match. And this is +P? Specs/YouTube is more like +P+, or essentially a modern day JHP of the old 9BPLE. It seems to me, this is a (penetration) car/glass round.

    I use one soup, 124gr HST +P. one profile, one PF, one JHP design. Tested to the nth degree, what’s remaining is feeding/reliability with your pistols. Why reinvent the wheel.
    As for the FBI test, it’s a valid standard/simulation – for a bullet impacting a human target. Missing the perpetrator is out of scope, and a good bet he won’t be standing still.
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