Optimizing Your 9mm for Accuracy and Effectiveness
Choosing the right ammunition can be a difficult task, even for the most experienced of gun enthusiasts. Without taking on the overwhelming hobby of making your own ammunition, and having your significant other hassle you over those exciting new credit card bills, here are a few tips to help you find the right ammunition for your 9mm.
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
Originally published at americanshootingjournal.com on August 22, 2016.