Over on The High Road, “marb4” posted a thread in which he tested the penetration and expansion of several different loads from small handguns.
The loads tested were:
- 9mm Speer Gold Dot 115 grain JHP
- Federal .380 ACP Hydrashock 90 grain JHP low-recoil
- Winchester .380 95 grain FMJ flat nose
- Remington .38 Special 148 grain wadcutter
- CCI .22 LR 40 grain Mini Mag lead round nose.
The penetration of the two .380 loads and the CCI .22 LR Mini Mags is especially impressive. I load Federal 95 grain FMJ-RN in my Ruger LCP .380 because I’ve been concerned that .380 lacks penetration. It looks like some of the modern .380 JHPs may actually penetrate deeply enough.
I've always suggested Mini Mag solids for someone who must use a .22 for defense, because (1) solids penetrate better than hollowpoints, especially from a .22 rifle, (2) CCI rimfire ammunition has the most reliable priming in my experience, and (3) Mini Mags work reliably in every .22 autoloader that I’ve tried them in, something I cannot say for any other type of ammunition.
My Springfield XD9 is loaded with 9mm 124 grain Gold Dots.
With the popularity of the Kel-Tec P32, I’d like to see similar testing done with a few different .32 ACP loads. Many people, including myself, recommend a European-spec .32 FMJ load to get adequate penetration. It would be nice to see if any of the modern JHPs can penetrate at least 12”.
Kudos to marb4 for providing us with some additional data on with which to choose carry loads.