9mm powder for defensive rounds

Ape_Factory

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Looking to whittle up a defensive 9mm load, home protection for a handgun. I'll be using Hornady XTP 124 grain bullets, mixed brass, CCI small pistol primers. The handgun in question is a Beretta LTT Elite, 5.2 something inch threaded barrel that'll eventually have a silencer hanging on the end. So nothing compact.

I'd like to create a defensive round but would prefer a "normal" load, not +P or ++P. I'd be willing to stray a bit into the +P range although admittedly, I don't know what pressure +P starts at these days. I've looked at all the offerings on Hodgdon's sight and I'm just not sure where to begin. Looking at the numbers, Winchester 572 seems to be great but doing a bit of reading, they seem to tighten up on the hot end which may be in the +P or greater range and put more wear/tear on the gun and have more recoil.

Criteria
-Ball/Spherical, aka meters well
-Relatively clean burning
-Relatively quiet without a huge fireball
-Smoother recoil for faster follow-up shots.
-Not temp sensitive. We have a pretty wide swing in temps although anything below freezing is rare/short lived. Very hot summers.
-Somewhat forgiving since this'll be the first time loading pistol cartridges. I currently load .223, .308 and 300 blackout supers/subs in a number of bullet weights for each.

I'll develop a plinking load and subsonic load after I have this one nailed down although I do intend to practice with my defensive load from time to time. Thoughts? Anything I'm no considering? I have pretty good access to powder locally so I'd likely have my choice of more than a few different powders.
 
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Yondering

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AA7

Ive heard it was developed for hot 9mm subgun loads, but it works great in pistols too. It gives top velocities with very low flash, and of course meters very well.

Other good candidates are Silhouette and Autocomp.
 

308pirate

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    Criteria
    -Ball/Spherical, aka meters well
    -Relatively clean burning
    -Relatively quiet without a huge fireball
    -Smoother recoil for faster follow-up shots.
    -Not temp sensitive. We have a pretty wide swing in temps although anything below freezing is rare/short lived. Very hot summers.

    -Somewhat forgiving since this'll be the first time loading pistol cartridges. I currently load .223, .308 and 300 blackout supers/subs in a number of bullet weights for each.

    Since you don't have experience with handgun powders (and I do) I've erased items that you think are issues but aren't.

    Titegroup, Winchester 231, or Hodgdon HP-38 (same as W231)

    Start there

    PS, it's a 9 mm handgun. If you don't have .3 splits at 10 yards while staying in an 8" circle your problem isn't your ammo, or your pistol, or anything else. It's your grip
     

    Choid

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    There is so much good off the shelf defensive 9mm that I wouldn't bother loading for it. There just isn't any upside, given the number of defensive rounds you are going to shoot in a lifetime. Unless you are going to roll size your brass, I just think that, when the rubber meets the road, even that infinitesimal increase in FTF probability is a silly risk to take.

    As far as loading 9mm, there are a million powders that work well. I've used 3N37, N350 and CFE Pistol the most over the past few years, before that I used others. It is hard to go wrong, and honestly unless you are shooting bullseye you are never going to see differentiation in load performance that matter. You will see that some powders make cleaning a more frequent task.
     

    MtnCreek

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    Silhouette or hs6 for +p. If you go with xtp, hap is a cheaper bullet for practice. That said there's lots of good defensive cartridges available, especially considering that you've never loaded pistol.
     
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    308pirate

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    WSF and CFEpistol are my favorites for full power 9mm loads
    45 and 40 also.

    Much of the criteria you listed is silly.

    I forgot CFE pistol. Stupid easy to make any power factor you want with it, but a bit sooty unless pushed hard (like most other slower pistol powders).
     
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    308pirate

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    That said there's lots of good defensive cartridges available, especially considering that you've never loaded pistol.
    There is so much good off the shelf defensive 9mm that I wouldn't bother loading for it. There just isn't any upside, given the number of defensive rounds you are going to shoot in a lifetime. Unless you are shooting bullseye you are never going to see differentiation in load performance that matter.

    @Ape_Factory I will third the recommendation that you forget loading your own for defensive ammo in this caliber.

    There is just no upside.

    It's also one less thing to explain away in the aftermath of a defensive shooting, should it get that point.
     

    cwinner

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    I'll share my opinion on the subject of using hand loads for self defense, it's worth what your paying for it, take it or leave it....

    1. Ive always heard it's a bad idea to reload your own ammo that may be used in a defense situation where an DA or opposing attorney could use this fact against you.

    2. Reliability is the king in defensive handgun, you may be thinking that the potential for a snub load with factory ammo but I can personally say I've never experienced such with quality defensive ammo..... I have with my hand loads.

    3. Low volume shooting of actual defensive ammo required, there is no significant savings to be had by reloading

    I load thousands on 9mm per year, mainly using blue dot powder and 115gr bullets as that's what I've got a stock so im fully supporting of handloading just not for intentional use in a possible defensive situation.
     
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    MadDuner

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    I should have documented which ammos I tested, but I chrono'd every different round I have for 9mm and the factory 147gr +P weren't any hotter than the "standard" rounds - just a premium price tag.
     

    Ape_Factory

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    I appreciate all the feedback (too many people to quote!) and thanks for that link bobke, just what I was looking for. 308pirate, as always, appreciate your input and yes, I do work on my grip and run drills every time I go to the range. I've had the 9mm for a few months now and I've run a few different factory cartridges and have found some offer less recoil than others. I'll do a bit more reading on all the suggestions. It's kind of what I feared, I'd get 20 different suggestions and I'd be right back where I started. But if I head to the store with say, 3-4 that I think would work, I have better luck in finding one in stock. Titegroup was my neighbor's recommendation but came across some negative aspects of the powder online, other forums, which is why I came back here and asked. I know it's a fast-burning powder which can have drawbacks and appears to be pretty dirty overall but I won't know if I hate it or love it til I try it I guess.

    On the defensive thing, I would think they could make the same argument with purchased defensive ammo. Dunno...I'll have to read up on it. This gun only leaves the house to go to the range or hunting. Otherwise it stays at home and is not a conceal carry, car gun or anything else. I run hand loaded ammo on all my rifles, including my 300 blackout SBR which is also home defense in addition to hunting. It's more about economics than anything and I do plan on training with the same round for consistency.

    And noted on the HAP's. At the time, I was looking for HAP's but they were, you guessed it, out of stock and the price was within a penny or two per bullet of the XTP's. So looking at Berry's for the plinker rounds but I know that'll require a different load. I still have a good month of research before I have time to start on 9mm.
     

    308pirate

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    On the defensive thing, I would think they could make the same argument with purchased defensive ammo. Dunno...I'll have to read up on it. This gun only leaves the house to go to the range or hunting. Otherwise it stays at home and is not a conceal carry, car gun or anything else. I run hand loaded ammo on all my rifles, including my 300 blackout SBR which is also home defense in addition to hunting. It's more about economics than anything and I do plan on training with the same round for consistency.

    The issue of using your own handloaded ammo comes into play when gunshot residue analysis needs to be done to establish (or corroborate/contradict claims of) the distance between you and whoever you shot.

    Massad Ayoob has written about this. I'm trying to find source material but this is the best I can find with a quick search: https://www.gunforums.net/threads/cases-where-handloads-caused-problems-in-court-by-mas-ayoob.5514/

    There are other potential issues regarding more hysterical claims by prosecutors re handloaded ammo which Ayoob has written about, and they go along with the "less shit to explain" at trial angle.

    You can find all that stuff if you think it matters to your situation.
     
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    MtnCreek

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    ...It's more about economics than anything and I do plan on training with the same round for consistency. ...
    You can load a cheaper bullet ~ same weight as carry ammo. Adj till it feels the same. Training w/ expensive bullets is crazy unless you have money to burn.
     

    918v

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    So, the argument there are sooo many good defense loads out there is retarded mainly because you can’t buy anything right now.

    I have Silhouette, AA#7, and BE86. The last two produce less flash. #7 meters the best in theory but 86 meters just as good in practice.

    Get whatever you can get.
     

    MtnCreek

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    @918v Plenty of high quality expensive ammo available. It's cheap fmj that's hard to find.
     

    Choid

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    So, the argument there are sooo many good defense loads out there is retarded mainly because you can’t buy anything right now.

    I have Silhouette, AA#7, and BE86. The last two produce less flash. #7 meters the best in theory but 86 meters just as good in practice.

    Get whatever you can get.
    Took me about thirty seconds to find 147 HST and G2 in stock. Also original Gold Dots, Ranger Ts and Hornady. You don't need thousands of rounds of defense ammo. To your door in just a few days, as long as you live in a free state.
     

    simonp

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    You can load a cheaper bullet ~ same weight as carry ammo. Adj till it feels the same. Training w/ expensive bullets is crazy unless you have money to burn.
    Agreed 100% and what I do. Federal HST is too pricey to be burning at the range constantly.
     
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    918v

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    No that’s not it. Paying three times the cost to feed a defensive firearm which you have to practice and maintain reliability with is retarded
     

    Choid

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    No that’s not it. Paying three times the cost to feed a defensive firearm which you have to practice and maintain reliability with is retarded
    Some problems are better solved with money than time, and this is one of them. If my life is on the line, I'd much prefer to have ammo made from new brass and a load that has been developed and vetted by people who know what they are doing, including optimizing velocity for the particular bullet, reported on by guys like Gary Roberts who has seen what various rounds do on flesh etc. I just think my life is worth it, even at a buck a round.

    But if all else fails, N320 is probably going to give you the speed you want at the lowest grain fill, which should lessen recoil.
     
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    padom

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    I've loaded and run 10's of thousands of 124, 147 and 165 with N340 out of my G19's and 9mm carbines. Most accurate, lowest SD's, cleanest powder I've used.

    I've loaded a bunch of titegroup and unique but N340 is so much cleaner.
     
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    r.tenorio671

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    ...FWIW, I like PowerPistol. In my FN9C I was able to match Hornady factory ammo FPS for the 115 & 124 XTP's using Hornady HAP bullets and with a charge weight BELOW the Hornady 10th book MAXIMUM charge weight. I have found that using the HAP's for my practice rounds the POA/POI impact is virtually the same for the XTP's used as my carry. It has shown to be very clean burning, consistent. True Blue powder is another.

    ....there are some valid legal considerations about using handloads -vs- factory for defensive carry purposes. I mitigate that possibility by using the HAP's and FTX factory loads so my pistol functions/reacts the same between the 2. YMMV

    ...BUT....as we all have learned over the years and when "shortages" occur, need to have "alternates" using various powders, primers and projectiles, even the more esoteric powders like 800X, avoid that "single point of failure".. ;)
     

    CK1.0

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    N320 or Sport Pistol is great for 9mm, I know this because a zillion USPSA/IDPA/3-gun/whatever shooters and I have loaded and shot shitloads of it... mostly ~130 power factor ;-)

    That said, for defensive rounds (and paying the bills), I use the same shit many agencies do: Winchester Ranger (aka the super scary Black Talon), and/or Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P (NYPD, among others). Lots of DOPE with that stuff... and not much for the retired LEO-fudds/no-modification/customization-or-you're-a-killer-types (who are often actually hired by the prosecution more often than the defense) to fuck with.
     

    c999

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    First off, go to the lucky gunner labs page and compare bullets. I would never use XTP for defense, they barely expand and tend to over penetrate. They’re almost the worst performing bullet they’ve tested.

    I carry HST 147 +p. I just scored 1k pulled HST from American reloading this weekend.

    I still carry from my stash of factory stuff, but if I run out I’ll probably load more up with N320 or CFE pistol. I’m curious if I can get better accuracy from a little gun than factory gets me now.

    N320 is expensive, but pretty accurate, forgiving, and really clean. I think Alliant sport pistol is basically the same thing but cheaper. I’ve just never tried that one myself.

    And what the other guys say. You do you, but your defense lawyer won’t be happy about it, and it could cost yet another expert witness. Right or wrong is a different matter.

    I’ll always keep a min amount of factory to carry, but I’ll reload pulls to train with the same bullet/power factor.
     
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    Choid

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    N320 or Sport Pistol is great for 9mm, I know this because a zillion USPSA/IDPA/3-gun/whatever shooters and I have loaded and shot shitloads of it... mostly ~130 power factor ;-)

    That said, for defensive rounds (and paying the bills), I use the same shit many agencies do: Winchester Ranger (aka the super scary Black Talon), and/or Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P (NYPD, among others). Lots of DOPE with that stuff... and not much for the retired LEO-fudds/no-modification/customization-or-you're-a-killer-types (who are often actually hired by the prosecution more often than the defense) to fuck with.
    I find N320 a little fast for 9mm, but I know a lot of people love it. I use it in 45 with 200 gn SWCs. Right now I guess I am using N340 in 9mm, but I tend to use whatever I have around. Vitavuori makes really good pistol powder, no doubt about that.

    I will carry anything on the DocGKR list, and right now I have tons of Ranger T and Ranger bonded for that. I also like the 115 Barnes loaded by just about anybody, just as far as it is a really accurate bullet that feeds in everything.
     

    Yondering

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    Power Pistol is fine if you want a big bright muzzle flash. Not in my defensive loads, thanks. It's in the right burn rate but there are much better choices.

    TiteGroup is a crap choice for a defensive load that should be at full power or even +P velocity. It's an ok powder for light target loads, but that's about it; it builds and peaks pressure way to fast when you try to push it to higher velocity. Too many guys hear of it's popularity for gun games and minimum power factor loads and then think it's a good all-around choice without knowing any better; it's not. Again, not in my defensive loads.

    The argument about not reloading for this is stupid too. You can load the same bullet and same or equivalent load and actually practice with it, instead of this idea that defensive loads are something you don't practice with. Personally I practice with my defensive loads fairly often, not as much as the target loads but the good stuff goes down range too so I'm familiar with what it does and where it hits at various distances. It's easy to load more when I need it, instead of paying $2-$3 per round for the same stuff from Underwood.

    And for the guys still buying in to Ayoob's fear mongering bs - you should get out more and figure out the real world. :rolleyes:
     
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    Yondering

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    N320 or Sport Pistol is great for 9mm, I know this because a zillion USPSA/IDPA/3-gun/whatever shooters and I have loaded and shot shitloads of it... mostly ~130 power factor ;-)

    That said, for defensive rounds (and paying the bills), I use the same shit many agencies do: Winchester Ranger (aka the super scary Black Talon), and/or Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P (NYPD, among others). Lots of DOPE with that stuff... and not much for the retired LEO-fudds/no-modification/customization-or-you're-a-killer-types (who are often actually hired by the prosecution more often than the defense) to fuck with.

    If it's a great powder for USPSA/IDPA etc for min PF loads, it's probably a poor choice for full power defensive loads. I'm surprised how many people don't understand this.
     

    Ape_Factory

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    So I went and read the natoreloading.com link posted earlier and there's some great info there and it gave me a lot to think about.

    You can read their final conclusion on the top five powders here: http://natoreloading.com/Best9mmpowder/

    With that said, VihtaVouri, being from Europe, it's going to be tough to get if not in stock locally. Their top two are VihtaVouri as is their fourth pick. That leaves SportPistol and Silhouette with BE-86 in sixth. VV is also extruded which doesn't meter as well but I do have a Lee thrower which works with some of the stick rifle powders I use. Otherwise I'll use the digital throwers and I tend to check manual throws frequently with a scale anyway. So if I can find VV, great. If not, I'll try SP and Silhouette. Given that I'll eventually suppress, I'm going to avoid the dirtier stuff like Titegroup. Blue Dot is their pick for being the most forgiving and it may be worth trying initially with plinkers just to get my reloading form down.

    If you just read their Silhouette review alone, you'd think that was their top pick.

    Maybe I'll try other bullets but I have 500 XTP's as of now so I have to go with what I have. I'm able to find factory defensive rounds like Sig 124gr type stuff locally but generally other factory loads are very expensive or unavailable. I can reload for defensive rounds at a substantially lower cost currently although it's a toss up with plinker loads. I have no qualms about reliability. In the thousands and thousands of rifle rounds I've loaded, exactly zero have ever failed to go bang. I also have a decent amount of factory defensive loads for comparisons and backup until I get up and running.
     

    Huskydriver

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    Huge fan of cfe pistol...

    Can load full range of 9mm projectiles from 115-147 and speeds ranging from slow to retarded hot and also works great for pushing 230 45 acp pills to the brink of super if needed.

    Too easy
     
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    MtnCreek

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    What's going to be new to you on pistol is belling and removing the bell. Bell just enough that you're not shaving jacket and crimp just enough to remove the bell (not really a crimp). If you're going to load these in a mag for defense: Use a little keychain type LED to confirm every case in the block is charged before starting to seat. Drop each into a gauge or your removed barrel after seated/crimped.
     

    Choid

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    What's going to be new to you on pistol is belling and removing the bell. Bell just enough that you're not shaving jacket and crimp just enough to remove the bell (not really a crimp). If you're going to load these in a mag for defense: Use a little keychain type LED to confirm every case in the block is charged before starting to seat. Drop each into a gauge or your removed barrel after seated/crimped.
    This is the big issue at the end. Unlike rifle cases, which you are matching to your chamber, pistol cases get worse every firing and sizing. That is why rollsizing has become popular, because it does what sizing dies cannot and gets the bottom of the case. Not a big deal if you are out shooting with friends, but in a defensive load, you really want things to feed and function perfectly.
     

    Huskydriver

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    What's going to be new to you on pistol is belling and removing the bell. Bell just enough that you're not shaving jacket and crimp just enough to remove the bell (not really a crimp). If you're going to load these in a mag for defense: Use a little keychain type LED to confirm every case in the block is charged before starting to seat. Drop each into a gauge or your removed barrel after seated/crimped.

    Meh pretty easy on a progressive just takes a min to get all the dies dialed in together....


    Dillon Dillon Dillon yo
     

    rottenruger

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    Looking to whittle up a defensive 9mm load, home protection for a handgun. I'll be using Hornady XTP 124 grain bullets, mixed brass, CCI small pistol primers. The handgun in question is a Beretta LTT Elite, 5.2 something inch threaded barrel that'll eventually have a silencer hanging on the end. So nothing compact.

    I'd like to create a defensive round but would prefer a "normal" load, not +P or ++P. I'd be willing to stray a bit into the +P range although admittedly, I don't know what pressure +P starts at these days. I've looked at all the offerings on Hodgdon's sight and I'm just not sure where to begin. Looking at the numbers, Winchester 572 seems to be great but doing a bit of reading, they seem to tighten up on the hot end which may be in the +P or greater range and put more wear/tear on the gun and have more recoil.

    Criteria
    -Ball/Spherical, aka meters well
    -Relatively clean burning
    -Relatively quiet without a huge fireball
    -Smoother recoil for faster follow-up shots.
    -Not temp sensitive. We have a pretty wide swing in temps although anything below freezing is rare/short lived. Very hot summers.
    -Somewhat forgiving since this'll be the first time loading pistol cartridges. I currently load .223, .308 and 300 blackout supers/subs in a number of bullet weights for each.

    I'll develop a plinking load and subsonic load after I have this one nailed down although I do intend to practice with my defensive load from time to time. Thoughts? Anything I'm no considering? I have pretty good access to powder locally so I'd likely have my choice of more than a few different powders.
    Kudos.......you and your commenters must all be professional home defenders! You're putting as much or more into your pistol ammo as I do my long rage PRC reloads! Well, good luck, and don't shoot Santa Claus!
     
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    USMC-FURY

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    BEST 9mm SD is going to be a 147gr HP under 6.9gr of Vihtavouri 3N38, it shooter a 147gr 9mm HP at 1207 fps out of a 4 inch barrel! That's 200 fps better than Blue dot or long shot. I emailed Vihtavouri and asked if it's a +p or +p+ and they told me NO it's a standard load. That 3N38 shoots a 147gr like anything else shoots a 115-124! And if you want to turn your 9mm into a .40 their N105 mag powder will shoot the 165gr Xtreme 9mm at 1020 fps with 6.0 gr CHECK OUT VIHTAVOURI web site for their load data!!!
     
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    Yondering

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    You can’t find any. Wish it would come back in stock
    Try shooting it at night before getting too excited about it for defensive loads. It’s capable of great performance but a bright flashbulb going off in your face with every shot is a good way to prevent yourself from seeing much afterwards for a minute.

    I’ve experienced that at dusk in the woods, not even full dark, and was surprised at how much effect it had.


    Guys, while it is possible to load good defensive ammo that is as good or better than factory, as I consider mine to be, if you’re going to do it you have to do more testing and load development than just picking favorite components and loading them. Things like flash can be a pretty big deal that you’d never notice in range or gun game ammo. You have to think about and recognize the differences and address them; otherwise just buy factory because they’ve already done it for you.
     
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    st1650

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    All you could possibly wrap your head around:
    Yup this exactly. And the conclusion is exactly the right one VV N330 is the GOAT for 9mm, especially with 147 XTP and 147 Gold dot.
     

    Yondering

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    Mixed brass is no issue at all if you roll size, and not THAT bad in general.
    Mixed brass IS an issue for consistency though with full power loads. That’s another one that doesn’t much matter for 130 PF gun game loads, and a lot of people assume that means it doesn’t matter for all loads; wrong!

    Loading defensive ammo at full standard pressure or higher is worth sorting brass for. Doesn’t matter too much what headstamp you choose as long as it’s consistent, and not crap brass like FM or CBC. Also make sure the internal taper isn’t too long if you’re using a heavy bullet (CBC for example has a long internal taper that doesn’t work well with most bullets over ~125gr).