Last Updated Oct 16, 2017
Here’s my take on it and personal reasoning behind selecting a 9mm bullets:
When I used to work at a gun store I was frequently asked what caliber was best for any given situation. It would have been nice if there had been some sort of magic death ray that I could have suggested, but there isn’t, and most people have a pretty flawed understanding of what actually happens when a bullet interacts with a human target.
For starters let’s examine a couple of concepts that don’t actually exist in the scientific world but everyone talks about anyway. I’m going to regurgitate the work from those better than myself, and the information is worth paying attention to.
This doesn’t actually exist. If a bullet had enough force to knock down an individual, it would also knock down the individual firing the gun. People do not go flying through the air when hit by a bullet, contrary to what the movies and television would have us believe. Newton’s Third Law and all.
On the back of a box of ammo, manufacturers list the foot-pounds of energy (ft-lbf, or foot-pounds of force/energy) that their rounds have. Well, that doesn’t actually matter. The terminal performance of a projectile is determined solely by how much tissue it cuts, crushes or tears. While it has been advocated by many-a-misinformed-gun-counter commando that some sort of energy transfer occurs between a projectile and its target, this has been rejected by everyone I respect who studies terminal ballistics for a living.
9MM IS FOR GIRLS AND SISSIES
How often have you heard, “If you’re not carrying a caliber that begins with the number four and ends with the number five, you’re doing it wrong”? This almost makes sense if we were limited to nonexpanding ammunition, but most of us aren’t. When we compare modern hollow-point rounds in popular service calibers, there is, on average, one-tenth of an inch of difference in expanded diameter between a 9mm and a .45ACP. Grab a ruler and look at a tenth of an inch. It doesn’t seem like much, does it? That’s because it’s not.
In autopsies of gunshot-wound victims, the wound track created by a 9mm is indistinguishable from that created by a .45ACP.
The only advantage that a larger caliber is going to offer you, in my mind, is slightly better performance through intermediate barriers. Probably one of the more commonly encountered intermediate barriers is the front or rear windshield of a car. That’s not to say that the smaller caliber doesn’t perform well through those same barriers; it’s just that the larger ones perform only slightly better. Tempered auto glass has a nasty tendency to deflect bullets from their original course, as well as separate metal jackets from their lead-core bullets. It’s for this reason that .40S&W gained so much popularity in law-enforcement circles during the early 1990s.
The nice thing is, with modern designs, most service ammunition is going to perform pretty well through barriers, and it is for this reason that a lot of larger law enforcement departments are switching back to or have been using 9mm all along. Some notable examples are the NYPD and my very own Cincinnati Police Department, which is using the 9mm 147-grain Ranger T series fired from their Smith and Wesson M&P9s. The PDX1 Bonded ammo line is the civilian version of this round with the only difference being price.
So, since I’m happy with the 9mm’s performance through barriers, and all handgun calibers suck anyway (editor’s disclaimer: the views of the author are not necessarily the views of the world at large but his determination, confidence and delivery is inspiring), here is why I like 9mm:
“Damn, I wish I hadn’t had so much ammo” is not something I’ve ever known anyone in a gunfight to say after the fact. The phrase “If you can’t get it done in six, then it ain’t gettin’ done” is asinine, and something that I hear so often it makes me want to rip out what remaining hair I have. None of us are mind readers, and if we could predict beforehand how many rounds we would need to stop a threat, then why the hell wouldn’t we just avoid the threat entirely in the first place? More rounds are a good thing; if you think differently, I’m going to have to politely disagree with you, and think nasty thoughts quietly to myself.
Can I shoot a .40 or .45 as quickly as I can a 9mm? Sure I can. Can I shoot a .40 or .45 as quickly and accurately as I can a 9mm? I wish I could. There are some people who can, but I’m not one of them. Whether I’m shooting strong or weak hand, my accuracy only gets worse. In every force-on-force exercise that I have ever participated in, someone always seems to get shot in the hand. So with that in mind, being able to put rounds on a target quickly with one hand seems important to me.
IT’S CHEAP! (Relatively)
Nine millimeter ammunition is cheaper than any of the other service calibers. Cheaper equals more ammo. More ammo equals more practice, and obviously more practice equals awesome. Since I’m a fan of awesome, it all works out pretty well for me.
Recently, even the FBI have made the decision to go to the 9mm rounds for all of its agents. Reasonings are similar to what this article have mentioned. (accuracy, penetration, etc..)
So there you go, the logic behind why I’ve chosen 9mm as my preferred handgun caliber. Obviously the choices you make are going to be determined by your circumstances and personal preferences, but hey, at least you know why 9mm gives me the warm and fuzzies that is does. For a more detailed and intelligent take on this subject, check out Service Caliber Handgun Duty and Self-Defense Ammo by Dr. Gary Roberts. ASJ
To know more about John Johnston go to WHAT IS BALLISTIC RADIO?
Editor’s note: John Johnston is the owner and host of Ballistic Radio, a weekly show and podcast dedicated to topics about self-defense, firearms and training with a touch of humor thrown in for good measure. See the cover story of American Shooting Journal’s June 2015 issue. John Johnston is on the cover.
We all love a good argument, especially when it comes to guns. But I’m always amazed when people speak in absolutes about the merits of the .45 ACP versus the 9mm.
What’s funny is that even with ballistic data that we can access to use to debate our arguments. It’s still not enough to see the value objectively.
Reading data can be mind boggling or just too hard to visualize. Viewing pictures of the caliber aftermath may be the way to go.
Back in 2014, the FBI Academy from Quantico, VA released a report on why they were trending toward the 9mm over other options, including the .45 ACP and the .40 S&W. In case you missed it, here’s what that summary included:
May 6, 2014
FBI Training Division: FBI Academy, Quantico, VA
Executive Summary of Justification for Law Enforcement Partners
Interesting stuff, but it doesn’t motivate one to toss their .40s and .45s into the garbage can.
For the FBI it can be other behind the scenes reasons as to why they’re more inclined to go with the 9mm in this report, such as:
On a personal level distinguishing which is the better choice has to be several factors such as:
How about you all, which ammo would you go with and why?, tell us below in the comments.
Sources: FBI Academy, John B Snow
Greeley, PA – Kahr Arms is happy to announce that three of their popular CW9 9mm models are now California legal. These models include the CW9 in a Black Carbon Fiber frame, standard CW9 with front night sight and the very popular Cerakote Burnt Bronze.
The three CW9 models all feature a 3.6” barrel with conventional rifling, an overall length of 5.9”, and a height of 4.5” and each pistol weighs just 15.8 oz. All three models offer a trigger cocking DAO, lock-breach, “Browning-type” recoil lug, and a passive striker block with no magazine disconnect. Capacity is 7+1.
The attractive CW9093BCF is one of Kahr’s newest finishes in a classic Black Carbon Fiber print. This textured weave provides a 3-D dimensional appearance to the 9mm while also providing a textured grip that has a tacky feel in your hand. MSRP on the CW9093BCF is $495.00.
Next in the line-up is the CW9093N which features a stainless steel slide and a black polymer frame. It also features a drift adjustable white bar-dot combat rear sight and a pinned in polymer front night sight. MSRP on this model is $495.00.
Last in the group is the CW9093BB. The Cerakote Burnt Bronze has been a popular finish for Kahr Firearms Group having introduced it in both the Kahr and Magnum Research product lines. The attractive brushed bronze finish always turns a few heads at the gun range and has proven to be the top choice of many shooting enthusiasts. The MSRP on that model is $482 and is now available for California gun dealers to buy from authorized Kahr Firearms Group wholesalers.
For more information about these three models, please go to www.kahr.com or check with your local gun shop.
Have you ever wondered if your Apple Macbook Pro stop a .22 bullet? How about a 9mm? Well 22 Plinkster Youtuber was curious, so he put this technology to the lead test.
If you didn’t know the construction of an Apple Macbook Pro its pretty impressive. For the test a Smith & Wesson.22 long rifle caliber and 9mm is used against the laptop from approximately 7 yards away. See the video below and the surprising results.
As speculated the Mac Book Pro stopped the .22 cal round, no penetration at all. The big surprise came from the 9mm being the higher velocity bullet, still did not penetrate the laptop.
Though the Apple laptop is not meant to be used as a bullet proof device, its great to know that it can stop a .22 cal and a 9mm handgun. This device could save you if such emergency arises. Thanks to 22 Plinkster for testing this tough technology. We always knew that the gun industry would connect with the technology world in a possible life saving scenario.
Hey guys, 22 Plinkster here! I’ve got in my hands a Macbook Pro. This is probably one of my number one requested things to see if a 22 will go through, and a viewer was nice enough to send this to me. A lot of people carry macbooks in their backpacks, and also when they’re working at their desks, and you never know when an intruder may come up to you with a 22 pistol and you have to probably defend yourself and defend your life with your macbook pro. But the question is, will it stop a 22 longrifle? We’ll be using a Smith and Wesson M&P 22 compact, loaded with some CCI Minimags, 40 grains traveling at 1235 feet per second, so put in the comments below: Will a Macbook Pro stop a 22 longrifle?[Intro music]
Ok, lemmy load up five CCI minimags. Again, these are 40-grain, round-nose, non-hollow-point bullets. Traveling at 1235 ft/sec. Using my Smith and Wesson M&P 22 compact, and a SilencerCo barrel suppressor. So, I’m gonna put five rounds into it. [five shots] Alright, five rounds into the macbook pro, let’s see if they went through.
The million-dollar question: Will a Macbook Pro save your life, in case you had it in your backpack and you’re walking, or if someone came up to you and decided they wanted to put a round in you with a 22 longrifle and you could throw it up, would it save your life? Let’s take a look.
Lookit there. Only one round went through. Shot it five times, this round right here went completely through the laptop, so… the other ones stopped cold. That’s pretty impressive! So basically, if a gunman came up to you and all you had was your macbook pro to save your life, you have a four outta five chance that this would stop a 22 longrifle. Let’s look inside and see what it looks like. Probably going to be glass everywhere. [laughter] so there you go! That is pretty impressive. The one that went through was right there. Went right through that key, so that’s pretty awesome. So will a Macbook Pro save your life? Well, the odds are pretty good! Thank you very much for watching guys, until next time, Y’all be safe, and keep plinkin’!
I know what you’re probably thinkin’, what are the chances of someone having a 22 longrifle and you have a macbook? But most people carry a 9mm, right? Well, good thing you say that, I’ve got my Smith and Wesson, M&P 9mm Performance Center, Shield, and I’m gonna put one round in it with some 147-grain federal HSTs. This should blow right through it, but I’m kinda curious to know.[BANG]
Holy cow, I guarentee ya that went through! Alright, let me go take a look at it. What say you, did it go through? Or not? Right, here’s the shot. Look right there! It stopped a 9mm, Federal HST. You can actually– I don’t know if you can see it or not, but right inside there is actually the bullet. So it stopped a 147-grain federal HST cold. And if you had this in a backpack, you know, there’s several layers of cloth that it would have to go through before it actually hit the macbook. That is pretty impressive! So I know you guys were worried or concerned, saying ‘hey a 22 longrifle’s not very powerful’, but this goes to show you that electronics are pretty dense, and a macbook pro can stop a 9mm Federal HST 147 grainer. Now that’s impressive.
Sources: 22 Plinkster, Eric Nestor
Bill Ruger would have turned 100 years old in 2016, and even though he is gone I believe that he would have been quite impressed with the innovative ﬁrearm designs that continue to appear on pages of his namesake company’s annual catalog. Unlike Colt, Smith & Wesson, Remington and Winchester, which were all operating in the 1800s, the Ruger brand is relatively new. But in just over 60 years, Ruger guns have earned a spot near the top of all American gun manufacturers. In ﬁrearms manufacturing terms that’s a meteoric rise, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing.
The American Compact enters the most competitive arena in gundom, and is the most recent combatant in the ﬁerce battle for carry-gun supremacy. And while Glock may have brought life to the polymer frame/striker-ﬁre gun category, they are hardly the only game in town anymore. Virtually every major handgun manufacturer has some sort of gun that ﬁts this mold, and more are coming.
For the past few years, Ruger has launched several products under the American name (which is ﬁtting, since these guns are made in the U.S.), most recently adding the American Pistol to round out their patriotically themed rimﬁre and centerﬁre riﬂe families. The Ruger American is a polymer-framed, striker-ﬁred semiauto available in 9mm and .45. It offers many of the same features you’ll ﬁnd on competing guns, such as interchangeable grips, a bladed trigger, and an accessory rail tucked under the gun’s muzzle. The price is one that any hard-working American can afford: $579 MSRP, with lower prices around for bargain shoppers.
The standard American has a 4.2-inch barrel in 9mm and a 4.5-inch pipe in .45. With a full magazine, the 9mm version offers an impressive 17+1-round capacity, and while the gun is great fun at the range, it’s a bit big to break into the main channel of the concealed carry market. But Ruger was one step ahead, planning (and now offering) a compact version of the American semiauto pistol.
It’s not as though Ruger needed another compact gun, truthfully. This is, after all, the brand that brought us the LCP and LCP II, LC380, LC9s, SR9/SR40C, and they also now offer a 1911 Commander as well. But the concealed carry market continues to grow, and having a full portfolio never hurts, so they have added the American Pistol Compact to that mix.
THE 9MM COMPACT VERSION of the American (the full-sized model is called the Duty) sports a 3.55-inch barrel (3.75inch in .45) with a length of just 6.65 inches. Designing a carry gun is always a give and take with regard to overall size; small guns are easy to hide and carry, but they aren’t as comfortable to shoot or as accurate (in most cases) as larger, longer-barreled guns. The American Duty pistol is a very comfortable gun to shoot at the range, with great sights and an excellent trigger that mate well with its grip geometry and control layout. But it’s big; too big for most people to carry.
The Compact, on the other hand, does a great job balancing on that middle ground that makes it just the right size for everyday concealment. It weighs right around 29 ounces (a little more or less depending upon whether or not you opt for a manual safety) and measures – again depending on your safety option – just under or over an inch and a half wide at the controls. It utilizes a double-stack magazine that gives you 12 shots in 9mm, unless you live some place that forbids that amount of ﬁrepower, in which case you’ll be deducted a couple shots.
Concealed carry is indeed a numbers game, and the American Compact has the data required to be a serious player. But to do a proper evaluation on any carry gun, we need to take a close look at all the features and see how they stack up against the competition.
I put about 200 rounds of 9mm ammo through the American Compact I was testing, and although it’s hardly torturing the gun, that many rounds offers plenty of feedback on what this gun will do. I used three different loads for the test – Hornady’s American Gunner with 115-grain XTP bullets, SIG Sauer’s 124-grain Elite Performance V-Crown, and Nosler’s Defense Bonded Performance 124-grain +P load. It wasn’t any accident that I chose these loads, either, for they’ve all proven to be effective and accurate, and I’d stake my life on any of them.
There are some striker-ﬁred semiauto carry guns that seem to eat anything you feed them, and the Compact is one of them. I fed it magazine after magazine, ﬁred from the bench at 15 yards and from standing and kneeling positions. I did draws, drills, and double-taps, all in an effort to see if this gun runs. And, in fact, it does. It feeds nicely, the magazine is well built and easy to use with springs that function well but don’t exhaust the hands when loading (if your mitts do get tired, there’s a mag loading tool included with the gun, though).
In 205 rounds tested there were 205 proper feeds, proper extractions, and proper ejections. The only inconsistency was that the slide didn’t stay open once, but when you’re talking about roughly 40 magazine changes over the course of the test I don’t consider that an issue. In short, the American Compact will function well with good loads. It isn’t particularly ﬁnicky, and it functions well.
I PLACE CONTROL DESIGN AND LAYOUT near the top of my priority list when evaluating a carry gun. Over the course of the last decade, controls on carry guns have been consistently shrinking – in some cases, disappearing altogether – with the idea being that fewer controls are less likely to hang up when drawing and less confusing when shooting. I suppose that there’s some validity to this, but I’ve drawn dozens and dozens of test guns over that same time period and I have yet to have a slide stop or safety hang-up when I was doing my part. What I have had happen – and what seems to happen with some regularity – is that I have tested striker-ﬁred guns with such Lilliputian controls that I have to fuss with a teeny tiny slide stop during a reload.
I offer this lengthy thought to laud praise on the American Compact. I tested the version with an ambidextrous manual safety in large part because a lot of people who carry concealed want a manual safety (if you just rolled your eyes, there’s a version called the Pro Model for you). At its most basic level, the Ruger’s safety operates like that of a 1911 in as much as you press the lever down to ﬁre and elevate it to activate. It’s fairly narrow but easy to ﬁnd and manipulate, a good combination on a carry gun. There’s no ﬁddling with a tiny, heavy button – one swipe of the thumb and you’re ready.
The ambidextrous slide stop is fairly small but functional and, like the safety, shouldn’t hang when drawing. The takedown lever remains tucked out of the way on the front of the frame, but it makes disassembly a cinch. A subtle depression and polymer bump keep the shooting hand thumb in place, and just below that you’ll ﬁnd the triangular magazine release button. If you choose the Pro Model and eliminate the manual safety, it’s a clean but functional control landscape, and even with the safety lever this gun is easy to holster, draw and hide.
Triggers on striker-ﬁred guns range from pretty good to terribly sloppy, and you simply can’t expect the same performance you’ll get from a single action. That being said, the Ruger trigger is on solidly the plus side of striker guns. There’s a good deal of take-up and the trigger breaks at 6 pounds, but the reset is positive and short, so you can deliver fast follow-ups.
THIS GUN IS MEANT TO BE CARRIED, so for eight days the Ruger was my traveling companion just about everywhere I went. I tested it with Versacarry’s new Commander OWB and Quick Slide OWB/IWB holsters, opting for the Commander when I was wearing a jacket or wasn’t as concerned about concealing the gun and switching to the Quick Slide when I wanted to be sure the gun was out of sight.
The double-stack magazine makes the American Compact slightly wider than the ultrathin single stacks from Ruger and others, but with a maximum width of just 1½ inches with the manual safety this gun isn’t terrible hard to conceal, and at 30 ounces it rides well in both holsters without the need for a really heavy belt. It’s also worth noting that the grip angle promotes a positive, high grip when drawing the gun, so it’s easy to be consistent when engaging a target.
There are two options for magazines; one with a ﬂat bottom and another with a ﬁnger extension. Measuring 5¼ inches from top to bottom with the ﬁnger extension magazine installed, the gun is compact enough that you could easily carry with either mag. In fact, I carried with the ﬁnger extension in place the whole time and never had any issues with printing, although it was winter and I wore a light jacket almost everywhere I went. As previously mentioned, Ruger built this gun with speciﬁcations that allow it to be carried relatively easily (though it won’t vanish under light clothing like the LCP II), yet it’s fun to shoot at the range.
Sometimes shooting a compact pistol on the range is a real chore; recoil can be excessive when shooting ultralight pistols with narrow grips coupled with hot defensive loads. The American Compact is much more subdued, feeling (at least with the ﬁnger extension magazine, which you’ll probably using at the range anyway) more like a midsized pistol – Ruger’s American Duty or SR9, a Glock 19/17 or Walther PPQ – than a single-stack ultracompact 9mm. The three rounds tested performed well (see chart) and groups around 1½ inches were the norm when ﬁred from 15 feet off the bench while using sand bags.
But the real test for this gun was how it handled off the bench, and it performed quite well when delivering double-taps, performing lateral and horizontal movement drills, and when drawing and ﬁring. The trigger, as previously mentioned, has a short reset, and that high grip and a relatively low bore axis helps keeps recoil manageable for quick follow-ups. Those Novak sights are a nice touch, too, and even in dim light or with poor eyesight you’ll be able to see the white dots.
The American comes with three easily interchangeable grips, so if you want to change the feel of the gun, it’s easy to do. There’s also a Picatinny rail, so if you want to add a laser or light that won’t be a problem either.
In closing, the Ruger American Compact is a great gun for those who appreciate its simple-to-use design, good trigger and reliable engineering. It’s a crowded and tough market out there, but the American deserves a spot on your short list when comparing 9mm carry guns. ASJ
In the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead, Negan stopped Rosita’s bullet with Lucille, his barb wire wrapped bat. Though we don’t know how underpowered the round loaded by Eugene might have been, it was at least powerful enough to cycle the slide on Rosita’s Beretta.
Here’s a video that explores the reality of a scene from season 7, episode 8, wherein Rosita attempts to kill bad guy Negan by shooting at him with a handloaded 9mm. Could this really happen? Could a baseball bat stop a 9mm round? Let’s see.
TV shows aren’t really known for their accurate portrayal of firearms use, and The Walking Dead is no exception. (I don’t know whether to chuckle or sigh every time I see Rick lift and point his .357 Colt Python at an adversary’s feet. How in the heck does he aim?)
But TwangnBang does everything he can to give this a more than fair test. He buys a brand new ash Louisville Slugger and wraps the bat in fake barbed wire so as not to weaken the grain with the nails it would take to secure real barbed wire.
He takes the shot and the bullet goes clean through the sweet spot of the bat and into the rubber dummy behind it. So no, it is highly unlikely that Rosita’s shot would have been captured by Lucille like it was in the show.
But that’s TV! We just have to suspend belief and accept that some things aren’t going to match up with real life. Like, you know, zombies walking the earth.
Hey, thanks for tuning into TWANGnBANG. Fans of The Walking Dead saw in the most recent midseason finale, the main badguy Negan completely, accidentally, by his own luck, blocking a 9mm intended for his face with his barb-wire-wrapped bat he calls Lucille. Now, the Walking Dead isn’t exactly known for firearms accuracy, and I think this is one of those cases, but I wanted to see for myself, can you block a bullet from a 9mm handgun with a baseball bat? We’re gonna find out next on TWANGnBANG.[Intro music]
Before I shoot my homemade Lucille, there are a few things I want to point out about her. I’m doing my best to give the bat as much of a chance at stopping a bullet as possible. This is an off-the-shelf Ash louisville Slugger, just like you would expect Lucille to be, Louisville Slugger is the only brand that has an oval right here, all I did was put a brown coat of paint over this, and I took a marker to color in that oval. The other thing I didn’t do was wrap it with real barbed-wire, because you use big heavy-duty fencing nails to hold it in place, and that could weaken the grain, and could create weak spots, make it easier for a bullet to get through. There’s one other way I’m stacking the deck in favor of this bat.
The round I’m using is as close to what Eugene probably loaded for Rosita as I could find. It’s got a lead, round-nose bullet, and it’s loaded with just enough powder to reliably cycle the slide on the handgun. That’s one clue we got from that episode. The spent shell was sitting there on the road, which means that that round at least had enough power to cycle the slide.
OK I think Rosita was a little bit a better shot than I am, but we’re gonna see what we get.[Shot]
UUGH. Hit a little low, but that went right through. Let’s try that again.[Shot]
Right through again. Ok, let’s take a look at this.
I messed up my off-sight(?) shooting so close, so I just skimmed the bottom of the bat. The lead bullet still ripped the bat right open like I’d expect it to. My second shot was true though, right in the center of the sweet spot. Lucille was still no match for the power of a 9mm handgun, with the bullet passing RIGHT through the bat, and into the target’s face.[Laughter] Well, that first round did just skim the bat, but it ripped it apart, the bat never had a chance. The second round was pretty much a perfect hit, right in the sweet spot. It did get deflected up, came out the bat here, splintered it, and went right through rubber dummy’s face here. So that’s– that’s a dead rubber dummy Negan, I think Rosita got ripped off. Even if you account for the fact that the powder that Eugene used to make that load might not’ve been as powerful as modern factory-produced stuff, it was powerful enough to cycle the slide, and the ammo that I used was as downloaded as possible, and still be able to cycle the slide. I don’t know, but [laughter] It’s the Walking Dead.
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and be sure to click right here to subscribe so you can see my next videos on bows, guns, and other cool stuff like trying to stop a bullet with a bat. I really appreciate you watching TWANGnBANG, and hope to see you next time.
I use ammo reloaded as close to what Eugene might have made as I could find, complete with lead round nose bullet and just enough powder to reliably cycle the action. Can a standard Ash Louisville Slugger stop a bullet?
Sources: David Smith, Walking Dead, TwangnBang Youtube
The MPX family of pistol-caliber ﬁrearms ﬁxes the main ﬂaw of close-bolt blowback designs: excessive bolt weight. Adapting the AR-15 platform to 9×19 Luger with a gas-piston action, SIG engineers cut the overall weight and the reciprocating bolt carrier in particular, making MPX lighter than other 9mm ARs and cutting the recoil intensity at the same time. The resulting weapon is available as a 16-inch carbine, and as submachine gun, short barrel riﬂe and pistol, all available with 8-inch or 4.5-inch barrels.
In the carbine form, the 7.6-pound overall weight of the weapon is no different from a riﬂe-caliber AR-15, making it more of a practice version of the 5.56, with less expensive ammo, less concussive report but substantially similar handling and manual of arms. The shorter barrel and forend of the 8-inch SBR and submachine gun variants bring the weight down to 6 pounds, and collapsed length down to 17 inches.
Unfortunately, National Firearms Act restrictions make the SMG unavailable except to government or corporate users, and the tax stamp and yearlong ATF turnaround on approving applications restrict the SBR. That leaves the pistol as the less legally encumbered purchase that can be turned into an SBR at a later date.
The 9mm Luger cartridge generated far smaller volume of gas than 5.56x45mm, so the MPX gas port is almost right at the chamber to generate sufficient pressure for cycling. With most 9mm loads, 8 inches is sufficient to get most of the potential velocity increase from the limited case volume. With the A2 ﬂash hider, the muzzle signature is nonexistent.
As with other gas-operated pistol-caliber guns, the MPX favors full-power ammunition for reliability – in my testing, it ran perfectly with 115-, 124- and 147-grain SIGbrand defense and range ammunition, but short-stroked occasionally with wimpy commercial remanufactured ball. With full-power ammunition, MPX has less felt recoil than blowback guns had with subpar loads.
WHEN SUPPORTED, the MPX pistol is superbly accurate. When rested on an convenient cardboard box and sighted with a red dot, the pistol shot very small groups at 25 yards, especially favoring 124- and 147-grain SIG JHP ammunition.
Similar or slightly better results were obtained using the MPX submachine gun in semiautomatic mode. In auto mode, running at about 850 rounds per minute, it remains fairly controllable and will keep two- or three-shot bursts in A zone at 25 yards. The mechanics of the MPX design are very sound. Compared to HK MP5, it runs a good deal cleaner, especially when sound-suppressed. Takedown for cleaning and especially the reassembly are much simpler, with all bolt and carrier parts accessible with the removal of a single pin.
MPX ergonomics are similar to AR-15, but with an emphasis on ambidextrous controls. Slide lock levers and magazine release buttons are duplicated on both sides, a helpful feature. On the left side, the controls could use more separation, as trying to lock the slide back sometimes caused a dropped magazine. The transparent, metal-reinforced polymer magazines made by Lancer are extremely reliable, durable and were easy to load. While more expensive than typically used single-feed Glock magazines, they are far more convenient in use. Available in 10-, 20- and 30-round capacity, MPX magazines ﬁt any purpose, from combat to concealed carry to shooting from a range bench.
THE PRINCIPAL DIFFERENCE between the SBR and the pistol is ergonomics. The pistol comes with a QD socket at the rear of the receiver, right under the rail for the arm brace or the stock. In theory, a solid shooting position can be established with the use of both hands and a stretched sling. In practice, holding a 6-pound weapon in outstretched arms gets tiring fairly soon. Practical accuracy is no better than with a conventional pistol, and the sling length and position make effective concealment difficult.
Furthermore, the ambidextrous charging handle retained from the AR-15 has a tendency to entangle with the plastic sling ﬁxtures, pulling the bolt out of battery and disabling the gun. At close range, especially indoors, the MPX pistol would be more stable if ﬁred from the hip using a green laser for aiming.
In my opinion, the best ﬁghting pistol made by SIG would be something like a full-size P226. The MPX is terriﬁc as a carbine or a submachine gun, but – thanks to ﬁlling a regulatory niche created by illogical government regulations – is a pistol in name only. In reality, it’s a stockless carbine and would be best treated as a pre-SBR that the owner gets to take home before the tax stamp arrives.
If NFA regulations and restrictions aren’t your cup of tea, the 16-inch version of the MPX is superbly accurate, has almost no felt recoil and has a proper stock without requiring a tax stamp. For unsuppressed use, carbine-speciﬁc 9mm loads, such as 77- (2,000 feet per second) or 115-grain (1,500 fps) Overwatch, provide ﬂat trajectory and effective terminal ballistics. From the 8-inch barrel, Sig V-Crown defensive loads are superior. With lower muzzle pressure than the pistol it also suppressed even more effectively, particularly with the SIG subsonic 147-grain load.
Unlike the 5.56mm AR-15, the MPX has no perceptible gas blowback reaching the shooter. Given the excellence of the MPX concept, we can only hope that NFA regulations would be rolled back in the coming year, putting all of its features into the hands of a large and very appreciative group of American ﬁrearms enthusiasts. ASJ
Editor’s note: For more on SIG Sauer’s MPX line, see sigsauer.com.
Regarding Grain and What That Means for You and Your Accuracy
Grain is relatively important when it comes to the accuracy of your carbine or pistol. Truly, most sportsmen can spend an entire lifetime going to the range or hunting and never really worry about the grain of the bullet they are shooting. However, when optimizing the pattern your gun shoots, the weight of your bullet plays a huge part in what is happening down range.
A grain is the increment in which ammunition for guns is measured, and there are 437 grains in one ounce. Most 9mm bullet loads fall into one of a few categories unless built at home. They come in loads that weigh in at 115, 124, or 147grains, and randomly you may find a load somewhere in-between or around this range.
Lighter weight ammunition can typically travel at a faster velocity and means a more flat trajectory down range up to 500 yards. This increase in feet per second travel mean you keep the same power, but the bullet should not be heavy enough to make it through too many of your neighbors houses incase you “unfortunately” miss. After a distance of 500 yards a heavier grain bullet makes more sense because it is less affected by other influences.
Know your choices for different ammunition, so select a few and do some test fires. Your gun will fire different when cold firing, so be sure and fire the same amount of ammunition at different occasions. It is also important to measure your pattern by marking your target for later review.
This is a sure fire way to tell you which of your ammunition choices best works for your weapon. This is just a quick guide. If you are seriously trying to shoot as absolutely accurate as possible, then the type and amount of gunpowder you are using significantly has an impact on accuracy as well.
Optimizing for Stopping Power
The weight of your bullet is less important in regards to stopping power. Stopping power is an important topic when discussing hunting or self-defense. When a big rack buck walks out or an intruder breaks into your home the last thing you want is to have to unload for your target to stop moving. To optimize your weapon to make your intended target stop in their tracks, your best options are for different types of hollow point bullets. Hollow point bullets may in fact weigh less their counterparts, but they may actually do more damage. Hollow point bullets are named such because they are literally hollow at the tip, so when they hit flesh the bullet mushrooms over, it causes a much larger wound.
There are several different designs in hollow point bullets. The best way to see if you are choosing the best ammunition for your task is to look at quality assurance tests. Though there may be discrepancies in these tests from that of real life situations, they are the industry and your best way of determining the optimal ammunition for stopping your target.
Optimized Loads Regarding Grain of Propellant
Rarely do companies put the weight of propellant on their boxes. This information is typically reserved for enthusiasts whom load their own ammunition. The weight of propellant can have a big impact on how fast your bullet travels and how accurate your shots are. If training for shooting competitions or shooting professionally, such as becoming a sniper, loading your own ammunition may be a very good choice of path.
To know your pistol or carbine, as best as you can, the best course of action is to experiment. You may have to test several different types of ammunition to find one that suits your firearm and optimizes its potential. The 9mm is an exceptional option for the practical weapon user. Because it is increasingly hard to find a range that accepts rifle ammunition, you will be able to get more practice in with your pistol or carbine solely because it fires pistol rounds. There are several forums with practiced gun enthusiasts whom are willing to answer any question you might have about your particular weapon. Guns have followers that know them extremely well and often people of this caliber are willing to share their wisdom.
Owning a gun is a privilege we should not take for granted. Regardless of your usage make sure to always practice gun safety, and never put your finger on the trigger until ready to fire.
Photos by GettyImages Alan Majchrowicz
Ok, so we all have seen movies showing a person shooting at a vehicle tire with their pistol to deflate it. But, ever wonder, how effective is that with a 9mm?
Well enter FullMag who was curious and decided to try out this experiment.
Watch this video and see a 9mm pistol cartridge take on a truck tire.
The 9mm pistol cartridge has its lovers and its haters. How will a 9mm pistol hollow point bullet react when it hits a truck tire?
FullMag set to try this out on a truck tire attached to a Ford F-150. The bullet cuts a nice hole on entry and air whizzes from this hole. Remarkably the hollow point projectile almost completely penetrates the tire. It lodges in the tire just short of completely passing through.
The 9mm cartridge is here to stay and with this kind of test, we can clearly see why.
by Eric Nestor
Story by Danielle Breteau • Photographs by John Johnston
When I first heard about something called Ballistic Radio, which doesn’t sound like two words that go together, I did what anyone would do: I Googled it! One of the first websites I landed on was for the Ballistic Radio Youtube Channel. The description? “A channel that is dedicated to making the Internet cry by destroying popular gun and shooting myths.” I immediately needed to know more.
“I don’t want there to be any stupid gun owners.”
John M. Johnston is the owner and host of Ballistic Radio. Johnston may not be what you would think when you visualize a guy in a radio station, sitting behind a DJ’s microphone. Johnston is a 6-foot, 2-inch, 250-pound man, with lots of tattoos and a shaggy beard that conjure up images of a cave man crossed with an ornate Aztec warrior. Maybe that is what he is going for, but my interview with him proved to be something more than a discussion with only grunts and sign language. Johnston is actually quite brilliant and has a diverse background in psychology, real estate office management and fashion photography, to name a few. Ballistic Radio seems to allow Johnston to express his deep-seated passion for bringing gun-industry news, tactics and concepts to the world in a very intelligent and sometimes humorous manner.
Ballistic Radio is a syndicated weekly radio show that covers topics about self-defense, firearms and training without politicizing it. “Stereotypes of gun owners have nothing to do with politics, and how you feel about guns is not a point to be made when someone is kicking down your door,” Johnston threw out during our conversation, making a very poignant point. After listening to multiple podcasts of the show to get a feel of the conversations, subject matter and demeanor, I found that they refreshingly incorporate industry experts with intelligent conversation and a good dose of humor to top off the content. I think this is great, since the average age of his audience is younger than you might expect, around 32 years old. It seems to be doing well so far, and as of this issue’s press deadline, they are on their 101st episode, with plenty more content yet to cover.
I asked Johnston what he was trying to do with his radio show. He said, “I don’t want there to be any stupid gun owners. I would like to see people understand that there is more to self defense than just having the gun. It is not a magic talisman that wards off evil just by existing. You’ve got to have the knowledge of how, when and why to use it, as well as familiarity with local laws, which can make a huge difference in how a gun owner can react in a bad situation. I feel like there are lots of different sides to this vast topic, and I am able to help breach the language barrier between them. I love being able to talk to people from all walks of life, and have even received an email from a couple who fall into at least six minority/specialty groups combined and are professed liberals. They own guns and said they felt like I wasn’t alienating them by talking about things outside of the self-defense topic, and that is why they love the show.” Johnston went on to say that he felt that we as a community are fighting against the Dunning-Kruger effect, a psychological phenomenon where people without knowledge, experience or expertise pass along bad information as fact, while ignoring and arguing against accurate information. He feels he runs into this quite often, and almost seemed defeated when he said it.
“I do product torture tests, not dumb ones like shoving a ham sandwich into the action and seeing if it will fire, but realistic ones”
The start of this radio show was a combination of luck and good timing. After a rough divorce, Johnston found himself working in a gun store. Johnston said he often heard gun store clerks say things around him that he simply couldn’t believe. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a clerk at a store suggest something like a Smith and Wesson J-frame .357 magnum (subcompact revolver) as the perfect self-defense gun for a woman because it’s small. The problem, of course, being that they’re incredibly uncomfortable to shoot and almost impossible for a new shooter to shoot well. Can you imagine trying to train with that if you have never shot before?” Johnston went on to explain that there are everyday questions that inspire him to want to help the industry. “I’m probably strange for enjoying this, but I like having conversations with people who say things like, ‘I don’t need to have a flashlight handy because I have night sights on my gun.’ Having to explain the importance of knowing what you are shooting at before you shoot pushes me to try and help educate gun owners.”
The gun store where Johnston was working was given an opportunity to have a radio show on a local station. He ended up running it and tailored it with his personal ideas and topics. That show subsequently became very popular locally and online, according to Johnston. “After some time I offered to buy the show from my boss and he agreed to sell it,” Johnston said, and that is how Ballistic Radio started.
Among Johnston’s hobbies, and much to the entertainment of many, he spends a great deal of time destroying guns through hard use, then documents his efforts. “I do product torture tests, not dumb ones like shoving a ham sandwich into the action and seeing if it will fire, but realistic ones,” he emphatically states. As an example of what he calls a test, he took a Salient Arms International MK25 Tier 1 Prototype and shot 25,000 rounds through it in 18 days in the middle of winter, a test which he himself barely survived physically.
Another of Johnston’s gun-torture tests involved practically submerging a Wilson Combat 9mm 1911 in the mud, and immediately after rescuing
it, demonstrating a successful firing sequence. You can see videos of some of his torture tests like this at ballisticradio.com. His next victim will be the LWRC Tricon MK6 with a SilencerCo suppressor. Johnston says this will be the first public high-roundcount test of a suppressor ever done.
You can find Ballistic Radio on multiple radio stations to include: 1100 KFNX in Phoenix, 55KRC in Cincinnati, 820 WWBA in Tampa, among several others, with 20 to 30 more on the way. If you are more of a podcast person or mobile-app type, there is a Ballistic Radio podcast and you can listen via iTunes, or you can catch the live stream Sundays at 7 p.m. EST on iHeart Radio (55KRC channel). You can also check out Ballistic Radio at ballisticradio.com to keep up with all the latest action in the gun industry, as well as gun and shooting experiments, AKA “torture tests,” that are quite entertaining. ASJ
Editor’s note: When I explained to Ballistic Radio show host John Johnston that I would need some photos to share with our readers, even though he is a former fashion photographer, he couldn’t imagine what I wanted. I flippantly suggested a photo of him geared up in camouflage, covered in mud, holding a gun and radio microphone would be a good start. Well, you get what you asked for, and this is just another glimpse into Johnston’s level of effort and humor, which we applaud.
Posted in Editor's Blog Tagged with: 1100 KFNX, 1911, 55KRC, 820 WWBA, 9mm, ballistic radio, Danielle Breteau, educational, Evaluation, Firearms, Gun expert, guns, Iheart Radio, J Frame, John Johnston, Podcast, Salient Arms International, Silencerco, Smith and Wesson, T&E, talk show, Testing, weapons, Wilson Combat
Review and photographs by Oleg Volk
The story of this carbine goes back to 1997, when Kel-Tec introduced the Sub-9 carbine. In general, it was a conventional blow-back gun with the magazine inserted through the hand grip. Designed during the high-capacity-magazine-ban years, it used popular and available pistol magazines, but the Sub-9’s claim to fame was its unusual folding form.
When folding or collapsible stocks were not legal, the Sub-9 worked around that concept by creating a carbine that folded in half at the chamber, halving its overall length for storage and transport. The folding is initiated by pulling down on the back of the trigger guard, which allows the front of the gun to swing up and back eventually locking the front sight into a recess on the butt-stock.
In 2001, the machined aluminum receiver was replaced with a plastic clamshell, resulting in a lighter and less expensive Sub-2000 model, and since it was made to fit several makes of pistol magazines, in 9mm Luger and .40S&W, this carbine became extremely popular.
This year Kel-Tec launched the Sub-2000Mk2 (Mark 2). An upgraded version of the Sub-2000 but very similar mechanically and incorporates many improvements that were requested by users but often supplied by after-market accessory makers.
• It is 29.1 inches long when deployed and folds down to 16.1 inches.
• It has a higher standard of fit and finish, which shows immediately in the smoothness of cycling and accuracy.
• The plastic front-sight tower, with its ring-post protector, has been replaced by a machined, non-glare metal tower with protective ears around an AR15-compatible post.
• Windage and elevation adjustments are now repeatable, and the red-dot sight-picture is clearer than before.
• The muzzle now extends past the sight tower and provides threading for a suppressor or flash hider.
• Cooling vents on the sides double as an M-Lock accessory slot, and the pistol grip has been reshaped for better ergonomics.
• The unloaded weight with a magazine is only 4.4 pounds.
Performance has improved. Racking the bolt is easier, although the two-finger extended charging handle from Twisted Industries would still be a useful addition. The barrel appears to have improved as well. The old Sub-2000 ranged from 5 to 6 minute of angle while the new one shoots 2.6 to 4 MOA with the same red-dot sight. The top rail even allows the use of magnified optics, since the carbine itself is accurate enough to justify them. Cantilevered AR-15 scope mounts should be used because the top rail only covers the front two-thirds of the forend.
The gun ran reliably with all types of ammunition, except 50- to 60-grain hypervelocity loads. Point of impact changed considerably from load to load and as much as 3 inches diagonally at 25 yards. For serious use, it’s best to find one load that shoots well and stick to it.
Overall, the gun favors lighter-weight ammunition. The absolute winner in the accuracy department is the all-copper 100-grain OATH Halo with a consistent 2.6 MOA. A mild load with 1,250 feet-per-second velocity also produces minimal recoil and expands reliably.
One hundred and fifteen-grain Corbon JHP and, surprisingly, Winchester’s “white box” FMJ are almost as good with 3 MOA. Remington Golden Saber 124-grain is less accurate with 4 MOA, but works well up close with 1,350 fps velocity. Winchester 147-grain JHP lagged at 4.5 MOA, but would be accurate enough for its intended short-range use with sound suppressors.
Although 60-grain Liberty ammunition did not cycle, it did reach 2,550 fps and could be used for varmints out to nearly 100 yards.
The trigger pull is about 6.5 pounds and not very smooth, with a gritty second stage and some over-travel. Fortunately, the wide trigger guard allows for a safe addition of a trigger shoe designed for a P11 pistol. This wide shoe improves the feel of the trigger and gives it better control. This carbine uses an internal hammer with a sufficiently energetic pin-strike which makes misfires unlikely. In fact, I’ve had no malfunctions of any kind, even with over 300 rounds of mixed-type ammunition.
The bolt does not stay back on the last shot, but the difference in the feel is sufficient to tell when the gun is empty, and the charging handle can be locked back to show a clear chamber. This carbine fits 17- or 33-round Glock magazines and works well with 50- and 100-round drums; all drop freely when released. Smith & Wesson M&P magazines are the next in line for production after the Glock-compatible model.
In practical terms, it’s a competent companion to a center-fire pistol. Its main advantage over the pistol is improved practical accuracy and some increase in muzzle velocity. Folded, it can safely fit into a laptop case with a loaded magazine in the grip. While ballistically weaker than a true rifle, the Sub2000Mk2 is also lighter and quieter. For firing indoors, the reduction in concussion is very helpful, not to mention many ranges do not permit 5.56mm and other rifle calibers. –ASJ
Note: Some of the photos for this article show a pre-production version of the Sub2000mk2 carbine without the threaded muzzle. All production guns will have a threaded muzzle.
SMYRNA, Ga – (Mar. 20, 2015) – Today GLOCK, Inc. announced the release of the new GLOCK single stack slimline 9mm pistol, the GLOCK 43. The G43 is the most highly desired and anticipated pistol release in GLOCKs history. Designed to be the answer to everyday concealed carry needs, the G43 is ultra-concealable, accurate, and comfortable for all shooters, regardless of hand size.
“The G43 is the most exciting product release to date because it addresses a variety of issues that many shooters face with pistols in the concealed carry category,” stated GLOCK, Inc., VP Josh Dorsey. “It will be the pistol of choice for law enforcement and civilians. The G43 sets a new standard for concealed carry pistols.”
A true slimline pistol, the frame width of the G43 is just over one inch and the slide width measures only 0.87 inch. The overall length is 6.26 inches. For those who have smaller hands, the trigger distance is only 2.6 inches, making it ideal for functionality.
The single stack magazine holds 6 rounds and is the perfect concealed carry pistol for both duty and civilian use. The G43 is engineered to the same superior standards as all GLOCK pistols and the reliability instills confidence for all lifestyles.
The G43 will debut at the NRA Annual Meeting, April 10-12, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn., at the GLOCK booth (#633). Shipments of the product will begin directly following the convention.
The GLOCK Group is a leading global manufacturer of pistols and accessories. GLOCK’s superior engineering has produced a pistol with only 34 parts and a rugged polymer-frame, providing industry-leading reliability shot after shot. GLOCK is renowned for its pistols which are safe, featuring three safeties; simple, offering a low number of components to provide reliability; and fast, with no encumbering parts to slow the speed to fire. This combination makes GLOCK pistols the first choice among consumers and law enforcement, with approximately 65 percent of agencies within the United States choosing to carry GLOCK. Austrian-engineered, the group has manufacturing facilities in the United States and Austria. Based in Smyrna, Ga., GLOCK, Inc. is an advocate for our nation’s law enforcement and military personnel, as well as all citizens’ Second Amendment right to bear arms. For more information, please visit http://us.glock.com