I’ve moved to New Hampshire and become a free man. No more stringent MA gun laws or licensing requirements. No more feeling infected by the majority of liberal sheeple. All I now needed to purchase my first firearm was a New Hampshire driver’s license—and I didn’t even have to wait for the permanent copy—and some money in my pocket. 6 days after moving in to my new house, I had both.
11 months ago, I posted a blog about my process of selecting the a concealed carry pistol—the Glock 23—at my New Hampshire shooting range. At the time I had given many aspects of the Glock 23 a great deal of thought, and had settled on it. Then I stumbled across a James Yeager’s YouTube channel and began watching his videos. One of them makes the point that all guns should be Glocks, and all Glocks should be 9mm Glock 19s. James Yeager’s contention is that high-pressure cartridges should not be used for defensive guns, and that super-modern 9mm rounds have closed the ballistic gap between 9, 40, and 45, to near nothing. This got me thinking, and I did some research.
The first thing I researched was why James would have suggested that high-pressure cartridges should not be used. [High-pressure cartridges are those like the .40 S&W and 10mm Auto, which operate at very high chamber pressures even in their standard pressure (non +P) forms.] If you’re a sensible person who has done all your research, there is no question that the .40 S&W has the best terminal ballistics of 9, 40, and 45, but what I found is that the consequential wear on the gun is a problem. Although I’m sure it’s very rare, I was able to unearth numerous reports of .40cal Glock users experiencing a KB (KaBoom!). This is when the shell and/or chamber fails to contain the pressure of firing, due to wear and tear, or a hand-loaded round, and causes the gun to catastrophically fail. If you’re in the middle of defending yourself or your family, I think we can agree that your gun blowing itself to pieces is less then ideal…
Because I take self defense choices so seriously, I really wasn’t keen on even the most minuscule chance of a failure, or reducing the service life of what is billed as the most reliable pistol in the world. As a result, I abandoned the .40 S&W round as a primary defense option. It’s the most effective round overall, but the most likely to cause my Glock to fail. Now I had to make a critical choice. .45 or 9mm…
Thankfully, James Yeager made this one easy too. He never makes a big point of endorsing a particularly 9mm round, but he makes the point that the gap is extremely narrow “when using modern ammunition like the Corbon DPX.” I did some research on the Corbon DPX round and discovered that when compared apples-to-apples with a comparable round (i.e. a DPX 9mm +P compared to another brand of 9mm +P), they are simply the only choice. Why, you ask? They are a fundamental shift in bullet technology.
What I found out is that Corbon DPX bullets are through and through copper bullets, rather than the typical copper-jacketed lead bullet that is the established JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point). Two goals are accomplished by this: They penetrate better through thick clothing and denim, and they expand extremely reliably, losing none of their energy to fragmentation. One of the DPX selling points is that they do not fragment at all on impact. Looking at numerous scientific tests and high-speed ballistic medium hits, the facts came into light and made the choice an easy one. Prepare to get technical!
What I found was that Corbon DPX 115gr 9mm +P round stacks up very well to .45ACP rounds (even of the DPX variety). Compared to 230gr .45APC JHP (standard pressure), the DPX 9mm rounds carry very similar energy on impact. The DPX 9mm rounds carry 399lb-ft on impact and .45ACP rounds tend to be between 360 and 415lb-ft, depending on brand (you can of course get .45ACP +P which will carry more, but most of the .45ACP ammo that .45 nuts rave about is not of the +P variety… they just use that when they get cornered in a 9 vs 45 debate…). The DPX 9mm then has two clear advantages and one equalizing factor (the former being inherent to any 9mm HP). 9mm rounds penetrate deeper, and the DPX rounds are the best of the breed in this department. 9mm rounds are faster and therefore tend to create more temporary cavitation (the spherical-ish shockwave which tears tissues and disrupts organs when the bullet first impacts). Here is the part where .45 fanatics say “But the fo’ty-faaaaaaive make a bigger hooole!” What they mean by this is that the .45 creates a larger permanent cavity, where the expanded hollowpoint drags through. Turns out that a DPX 9mm achieves nearly the same expansion diameter as a normal .45 JHP (largely because of how deep the hollow point is on the DPX bullets). Regardless, the temporary cavity causes more damage than the permanent cavity because it disrupts bodily functions more effectively, compared to permanent cavitation, which just makes one bleed more (not an effective way to stop a threat quickly). Additionally, the deeper penetration of the 9mm means a greater chance of reaching vital organs and the central nervous system.
Summed up, I ruled out the .40 because of reliability, and settled on the 9mm because of some clear advantages over the .45. Additional considerations were that Glock does not make a compact model (sized like the 19 and 23) in .45ACP, and the Glock 19 holds an impressive 15+1 rounds in its 9mm chambering. After doing a substantial amount of research, which I went into without pre-conceived notions, I determined that the 115gr 9mm DPX was only slightly inferior to a .40 DPX and arguably superior to a .45 (even in DPX form).
Landing my plane, I went with a Glock 19 Gen 4, and a supply of 9mm DPX ammunition for defense. At the range, I found the 19 (even with the +P rounds) to be notably easier to control than the Glock 23 (.40 S&W), and it also proved less abusive to my fingers. The Glock 23 takes fewer than 200 rounds to cause a blood blister to form on my trigger finger (an issue that I have see reported by other Glock 23 owners). The Glock 19 did not even begin to abrade my finger after 350 rounds, and I have discovered that at my current level of practice, I can shoot much tighter high-speed groups with the 9mm, supporting the statement by James Yeager that if you can shoot a .40cal Glock well, you can shoot the comparable 9mm Glock better. Between my increasing proficiency with my new Glock, and my extensive research, I am confident in trusting my life to my Glock 19, loaded with 9mm DPX rounds. It is, in my opinion, the perfect culmination of size, controlability, reliability, capacity, and lethality (and, less importantly, affordability).