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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
What ammo do you use in your carry and home defense 1911/2011? What’s the logic for your choice(s)? If the ammunition drought made your chosen load unavailable, what substitutes did you select?
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For folks like us ammo selection takes several datapoints into account. I am curious to see if likeminded individuals have similar choices of ammunition for optimal performance in real life scenarios. I am hoping we can learn from each others experiences and thinking

Thinking
for ammunition selection starts with the potential performance of each round, both penetration and expansion, in the context of highest probability class of scenarios; then picking the most accurate from that list in a given gun. I use the same ammo for carry and home defense with the exception of 10mm.

For 9mm across my 1911s and 2011s: my first choice is Federal HST 124gr, and second choice is Speer Gold Dot also in 124gr. I also use 147gr. HST, but not in my Atlas which loves 124gr. I backfill with SIG V-Crown 124gr. +P
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For .45 ACP in my Government 1911s: my first choice is Federal HST in 230gr., and second is Winchester Ranger T bonded, also in 230gr., Since I am short on HST, I backfill as 3rd choice with Speer Gold Dot 230gr. and Asym 185gr. +P Barnes TAC-XP JHP.
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For 10mm in my Government 1911s I use different loads for carry in urban areas and outdoors, which includes our more rural property (coyotes).

10mm urban first choice is SIG V-Crown 180gr., JHP and second is Underwood 180gr. bonded JHP at 1300 fps. One reason for selecting the SIG as #1 is their 180gr., FMJ which is loaded to simulate the V-Crown.
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10mm outdoors are full power loads, where first choice is Underwood 135gr. at 1600fps which is loud and snappy, and the second which resides in a backup magazine given the low probability of being used is the Underwood 220gr. Hard Cast at 1200 fps.

Seasonality also plays a part, given MN harsh winters, resulting in more layers of thicker clothing, my winter loads are mostly the same brand/bullet type but the heavier and slower moving and deeper penetrating rounds (e.g., HST 147gr. and Ranger-T 147gr. bonded); also more likely to carry my 10mm 1911 with what I described as urban loads.
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From Dr. Robert’s work published on AR15.com for self defense ammunition: see his work here /

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See URL for detailed caliber, penetration, barrier… Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo
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45acp: 230 grain HST for most applications. With comps, Underwood 185 grain JHP's at 1200 fps.
9mm: 147 grain HST or 147 grain Ranger T.
The HST and Ranger T because they just plain penetrate perfectly and expand larger than anything in their class. Test after test has shown this. I hope I never have to find out myself!
 

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All I shoot are my hand loads unless I need additional brass. Defensive loads use Hornady HP XTPs exclusively. I use 125gr in 38Spec, 38Super, 9x23Win & 357Mag, my 45s are loaded with 200gr I tend to load hot.
 

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When I read a lot about the topic (for 9mm) it boiled down to HST, Gold Dot, or Critical Duty. Each nearly equal, shot placement by far more important. I chose Critical Duty because it feeds into my 9mm carbines much better.
 

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I use HST 230 grain 45 exclusively in all my 1911's. I also use HST in my wife's 9mm. I use the HST because of the ballistics. I think they will get the job done if needed.
 

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We have a "source" for our SD ammo so we use what they use. Hornady Critical Defense 135gr. or Fed. 124 or 147gr. HS in 9mm or, 230gr. Golden Saber in .45ACP. We are lucky and know it.
 
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I carry a .45 and at home in the middle of nowhere I carry FMJ or cast handloads. I have found several JHP loads(all 230gr.) to be pretty awesome and the Ranger T-Series and HST are always at the top. Gold Dot's are my third choice for factory ammo and they are pretty amazing bullets for a third place choice.

For 9mm factory loads I have always liked the 147gr. HST and Winchester T-Series. 124gr. HST's and Gold Dot's are pretty awesome as well. I have no doubt that other bullets are amazing, but these have worked for me for a long time. I like the Federal AE 147gr. FMJ because it has a flat nose, hits hard and is in my experience very accurate.

.380 we only carry as a pocket gun and for that I only trust FMJ to have a chance of penetrating properly.

In 5.45x39 I love good ol' 7N6, but the 53gr. Hornady V-Max factory load explodes violently and is what I would use in or near the house.

In .308 I am very impressed with the 108gr. fragmenting mil-surp bullets, but I haven't shot anything with those in a long time. I don't use the .308 for HD, but that would be the one.

In my 12ga. I have two #4 buckshot loads followed by five rounds of 00 buckshot. I have another 12ga. with #6 birdshot for skunks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I carry a .45 and at home in the middle of nowhere I carry FMJ or cast handloads. I have found several JHP loads(all 230gr.) to be pretty awesome and the Ranger T-Series and HST are always at the top. Gold Dot's are my third choice for factory ammo and they are pretty amazing bullets for a third place choice.

For 9mm factory loads I have always liked the 147gr. HST and Winchester T-Series. 124gr. HST's and Gold Dot's are pretty awesome as well. I have no doubt that other bullets are amazing, but these have worked for me for a long time. I like the Federal AE 147gr. FMJ because it has a flat nose, hits hard and is in my experience very accurate.

.380 we only carry as a pocket gun and for that I only trust FMJ to have a chance of penetrating properly.

In 5.45x39 I love good ol' 7N6, but the 53gr. Hornady V-Max factory load explodes violently and is what I would use in or near the house.

In .308 I am very impressed with the 108gr. fragmenting mil-surp bullets, but I haven't shot anything with those in a long time. I don't use the .308 for HD, but that would be the one.

In my 12ga. I have two #4 buckshot loads followed by five rounds of 00 buckshot. I have another 12ga. with #6 birdshot for skunks.
Thank you for the detailed and helpful follow up, @Merton and extending to more common calibers! The fact you can reload is an awesome plus, especially given no boon in the future of the ammo marketplace.

I want to share a suggestion and solicit feedback from others too wrt the usage of FMJ in different calibers. The primary scenarios for using FMJ as far as I understand it are: (1) concern a JHP wouldn’t expand given some problem (e.g., insufficient velocity, HP cavity plugged), and (2) a requirement for deep penetration.

Both of these can be addressed (after proper self testing) with the full copper, non-expanding Lehigh Defense penetration bullet which is available from them, WC (Wilson Combat bought the company), and Underwood.
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After stripping lots of marketing talk, they say this: ”…the Xtreme Penetrator Fluid Transfer Monolithic (XP FTM) product line, for both handgun and rifles. The progressive nose geometry allows for deep, straight penetration while creating a permanent wound cavity diameter exceeding that of most expanding bullets.

The rest of the above as well as their offerings can be found on:Xtreme Penetrator - Our Technologies and it would be great if anyone who has done first hand testing, or research into these and can offer an informative view rather than my testing suggestion.
 

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I swear I didnt see your post. I was coming in to say that I run Lehigh Xtreme Defense 90gr for my 9mm guns
I also run it for my 380 Ruger LCP Max

The reason I chose it is because Bill Wilson loves it so much he bought the company, and he runs it in his carry gun, which is my carry gun. It has run flawlessly

He shoots orders of magnitude more ammo than I do, and he came to this conclusion. I found the same results even though I only put about 60 rounds through my gun each month. The lions share is cheap ball ammo
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I swear I didnt see your post. I was coming in to say that I run Lehigh Xtreme Defense 90gr for my 9mm guns
I also run it for my 380 Ruger LCP Max

The reason I chose it is because Bill Wilson loves it so much he bought the company, and he runs it in his carry gun, which is my carry gun. It has run flawlessly

He shoots orders of magnitude more ammo than I do, and he came to this conclusion. I found the same results even though I only put about 60 rounds through my gun each month. The lions share is cheap ball ammo
That’s awesome. I also use Lehigh in the .380 I cc on my bike In the baby SIG below
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HST - both .45 and 9mm.

I will never buy S&B JHP again. I picked some up during the “plandemic” when HST was like hen’s teeth. I had multiple failures to load in a variety of pistols. When I looked, I saw that the S&B was noticeably shorter than either my ball ammo or the HST.

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I had a couple of guns (CZ 97BD and Beretta PXR4) that would eat anything so I used them up - but I wouldn’t trust my life to them.
 
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HST - both .45 and 9mm.

I will never buy S&B JHP again. I picked some up during the “plandemic” when HST was like hen’s teeth. I had multiple failures to load in a variety of pistols. When I looked, I saw that the S&B was noticeably shorter than either my ball ammo or the HST.
Thanks, I was going to order a box of this to try, but might rethink that. My objective for the ammo wasn't SD, it was for Pin Shooting. Based on your experience, I might keep looking.
 
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