9mm Ballistics – Ultracompact pistol

Mighty Mite

After kicking the tires of the growing assortment of little 9mms, I settled on the Kahr CM9.

It was soft shooting, and the trigger was an easy enough transition from a DAO revolver trigger.  During the break-in period as spelled out in the manual (200 rounds), and later practice, I found it to be completely reliable and more accurate than I expected.  3″ – 4″ groups at 50′ if I did my part.  The short sight radius made it a little challenging.

And since it has the shortest barrel of any 9mm I own (3″, including the chamber), I thought I had better test some ammo to see how much velocity I lose with that short of a barrel.


First, a baseline using target ammo:

Sellier&Bellot 9mm FMJ

Well, that’s certainly a significant drop in velocity.  Now for some defensive ammo:

Federal 9mm Nyclad

Again, a pretty significant drop in velocity.  To be fair, the ammo I tested is probably 10 years old at least.  And after factoring in that lower velocity, the Nyclad 9mm delivers about the same muzzle energy as the factory numbers for .38SPL ammo (stay tuned for that test…).  Note that this Nyclad ammunition uses a harder lead alloy than the famed .38 standard-pressure Nyclad load.  The +P .38 load also uses harder lead, though I am not sure if it is the same alloy as the 9mm.

Hornady Critical Defense 9mm

Well, this was interesting.  A much smaller drop in velocity, and the slug is probably still moving fast enough to be within the envelope for expansion.  The FlexLock JHP fills the hollowpoint cavity with a soft polymer, to enhance expansion.

Of these 3 rounds, the Hornady is what I would carry for defensive purposes.  And that’s despite the fact that I generally prefer light&fast bullets.

I will be buying more ammo to test, so stay tuned…

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