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Defensive Ammo

One thing I never ask about in gun forums is ammo recommendations.  Why?  Because the answers you get will be highly subjective in nature, and although there are some guys who want to play as scientists and provide ballistics research articles, charts and other such resources, what it boils down to is this:  there are no humans that are bullet-proof on this earth.  When a bad guy breaks into your home at 2am, more than likely he’s not wearing armor, so shoot what you’re most comfortable with, ammunition-wise.

The suggested choices are JHP (or, jacketed hollow points), though.  This is because JHP is designed to do damage to flesh, but will also be less likely to over-penetrate (ie, go through the targeted body and into another person or object that might contain a person — house or car or other room).  Some people actually prefer FMJ, or full metal jacketed, but unless you know the backdrop, that is a dangerous ammunition to use for self or home defense, as the over-penetration potential will be high.  The danger is that a round could over-penetrate an aggressor and be a danger to others in the house (or even a danger to your neighbor in his or her own home).

The question I would’ve asked on a gun forum is, what type of defensive ammo would you use and why?  This question wouldn’t pertain to ammo brand, but more of what grain bullet would be preferred.  Grain refers to the weight of the projectile, not the amount of powder in the casing.  Some ammo makers use lighter-grain projectiles, as since they weigh less than standard bullets.  For example, standard .45ACP ammo is 230-grain.  I bought 20 rounds of 185-grain .45ACP…while the round might not be hotter (ie, more powerful due to additional powder in the cartridge), the 185-grain round will travel faster than a 230-grain round with the same powder charge, since it weighs less.  As well, the round will fly straighter.  The heavier round will have more penetrating power since it would have more mass than a lighter grain projectile.  There are also heavier non-standard rounds.  For example, standard grain for 9mm is 115-grain and a heavier grain is the 124-grain or 147-grain 9mm round.

To be honest, it won’t matter what type of round you use.  What counts more is shot placement.  In a typical defensive scenario, if you hit center mass 5 times, a bad guy isn’t going to be walking away no matter what type of round you’re using, JHP or FMJ, 115-grain 9mm or 147-grain 9mm.  Even .22LR pistols can kill if shots are accurately placed (I’ve read several articles where people have killed intruders with .22 caliber handguns).

I’ve some +P JHP that I mean to experiment with (bought them from Gander Mountain in both .45ACP and 9mm…I believe it’s Remington).  +P usually means more powder than normal is within the cartridge.  I’m not sure if it is actually needed, but if I decide I want more, I know where to pick it up locally.

I also have that .22TCM 1911.  Many people assume that this gun shoots .22LR.  Uhmmm….no.  This round is a shortened and necked-down .223.  It has a lot of powder and when shot from a 5″ .22TCM 1911, muzzle velocities are well over 2000 feet per second (or FPS).  Commander-sized 1911s will shoot the round a bit slower (a tad under 2000 FPS).  Rock Island Armory also has a .22TCM rifle…when shot through that barrel, the muzzle velocity for this round exceeds 2800 FPS!  The round is JHP, but will still punch through 3/16″ steel with ease (video here).

Several good ammunition articles are here and here.

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+P 2.0 Alien Gear Blackhawk CCW Cloak Tuck IWB JHP permit Pro Carry HD Remington SD Sportster

I Carried Concealed Today

I submitted for my concealed carry permit on 13 February 2015.  I received the permit on 21 February.  I’m now able to carry concealed.  Yes, that is probably a record timeframe of submittal and approval for the state of Virginia.

I carried for the first time today.  I carried the majority of the day.  I decided to carry my XD 9 Mod.2.  The holster I used was a Blackhawk nylon holster (non-ambidextrous with no mag holder).  I was actually looking locally for the Blackhawk ambidextrous holster with mag holder (product #40AM06BK, specifically)…I tried two Walmart stores but someone has been opening the packages, removing the holsters and switching them, because I’d bought two holsters and upon getting them home, I’d found that the holster in the package wasn’t what was advertised on the package’s labeling.  The first holster wasn’t even close to what I was looking for, as it was a large holster made of slick black nylon.  The second holster (what I’ve since discovered is a Blackhawk Sportster in size 8) wasn’t what I was looking for but was a small holster that was able to hold my two sub-compacts and three compacts (I’ve no idea if it’ll hold my SP2022, but I doubt it…that gun borders on being full-sized).

So, if you’re looking for a cheap (~$20) holster, this may fit the bill.  Most people do not like cheap holsters, but it fit my XD 9 perfectly and didn’t feel uncomfortable.  I kept the holster at my 4-o’clock strong side and wore a long thick plaid work shirt over it (my wife said I wasn’t printing).  I probably need a better (stronger) leather belt, but the one I was using is actually pretty thick…there was only a tad bit of sag.  I’ll look for a better belt tomorrow, as the local gun stores will be open and I’m off work.

What other guns will fit in this holster?  My Glock 19 fits perfectly and will slide in/out without issue, as will my XD.  My Grand Power P11 fits well, also (not as good as the XD, though).  My P320 fits great but the take-down lever hangs on the inside of the holster when trying to remove it.  I’m wondering if a bit of tape will fix the issue, but I also realize that I should be glad I can use this holster with the other 3 guns without issue.  I want to reiterate that this is probably one of the few holsters you’ll find that fits the Grand Power P11…there are NONE specifically made for the P11, so I searched for holsters that would support guns of similar size/dimensions.

I’ve also ordered two Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 2.0 IWB holsters:  One for my 1911 commanders and one for my XD 9.  I also ordered an extra shell for the Sig SP2022.  When I was looking, I saw that they had a two-holster combo deal, which was a lot cheaper than I’d thought it would be to buy two.  UPDATE:  I’ve received the holsters and conducted a quick assessment here.

The above pictures highlight a potential issue:  The 1911 shown doesn’t have an ambi-safety like my RIA does.  The right side of the holster doesn’t look to be able to accomodate an ambi-safety.  I’m not sure if that means I’ll have to alter the holster.  :/  UPDATE – No, the ambi-safety doesn’t cause any fitment issues.

I also bought a Pro Carry HD from The Holster Store.  It’s supposed to be an IWB holster but I keep looking at it, wondering, how the hell is it supposed to mount to your belt?  I guess I’ll see when I get it tomorrow.  Another thing that grabbed my attention (but only just now and not when I’d ordered it) was this blurb buried within the description:

The Pro Carry HD can be worn both both strong side and cross draw. For carrying this item in the small of back inside the waistband, you will need to select the opposite shooting hand.

I plan to carry my gun at the 4-o’clock position with this holster, but this holster won’t give me the option of carrying in the small of the back IWB, which limits me.  If I’m understanding the maker correctly, if I want to carry IWB in the small of my back with this holster, I would need to buy a left-hand holster?  Thinking on it a bit, and if that’s indeed the case, that would be the more comfortable way to draw a weapon from behind your back…I might order another of these just to try it out.

The Pro Carry HD is also described as being bulky by customer comments on Amazon, although some customers are defending it by reminding gun owners that they should be buying pants with enough waist room to allow for such a holster.

So, tomorrow, I trek to find a nice gun belt (or even two, if they’re priced decently).  I’ve one gun store in mind (Trinue in Warrenton), and if the pricing is too high, maybe Guns and Ammo Warehouse.  UPDATE:  I ended up going to The Gun Shop, which didn’t have any belts, so they sent me to Virginia Arms, and I left with a black Galco 1.5″ gun belt. I also plan to go shooting either tomorrow or Tuesday morning.  I need to begin the break-in process of the Glock 19, my P320, and my GP P11.  I will probably carry the XD there so that I can fire off a box of SD rounds (Remington HTP +P 115-grain JHP) to see how well the XD responds to that ammo.