When it comes to selecting ammunition for your 9mm firearm, there are a variety of factors to consider, including bullet weight. Two of the most commonly available options are 115-grain and 124-grain bullets. While both options are effective for various purposes, they each have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. We’ll explore the differences between 115-grain and 124-grain 9mm ammunition to help you make an informed decision based on your individual needs and preferences.
Table of Contents
Explanation Of Bullet Grain
Bullet grain is a measurement of the weight of a bullet, expressed in grains. A grain is a unit of measurement in the avoirdupois system, which is commonly used to weigh bullets, gunpowder, and other small objects.
One grain is equal to approximately 0.0648 grams or 0.00229 ounces. In the context of bullets, the weight of a bullet is typically measured in grains because it provides a more precise measurement than other units. In our comparison of the 6.5 Grendel and 350 Legend rounds, we found the 350 was heavier!
Bullet weight is an important factor in determining the velocity and trajectory of a bullet, as well as its ability to penetrate a target. Heavier bullets generally have more momentum and are better at penetrating targets, while lighter bullets travel faster and may be more accurate over longer distances.
Bullet weights are typically listed on the ammunition box or on the bullet itself. For example, a typical .223 Remington cartridge might have a bullet weight of 55 grains, while a .308 Winchester cartridge might have a heavier bullet weight of 168 grains.
Main Differences: 115 Grain vs 124 Grain
The sections below will go into the main differences between the 124 Grain & 115 Grain rounds. You should also read more about what are the basic parts of ammunition to further understand these differences!
1) Size & Weight Comparison
The difference in size and weight between a 115-grain and 124-grain 9mm bullet is relatively small, but it can have an impact on the performance of the firearm. In our comparison of the 30-30 and 44-40 rounds size & weight was a major deciding factor!
- A 115-grain bullet typically measures approximately 0.355 inches in diameter. It weighs approximately 7.45 grams or 0.26 ounces.
- A 124-grain bullet typically measures approximately 0.355 inches in diameter. It weighs approximately 8.03 grams or 0.28 ounces.
As you can see, the only difference is with weight – the 115-grain is a lighter bullet than the 124-grain bullet, but the difference is not significant. The two bullets are typically the same diameter and can be used in the same firearms.
2) Recoil Comparison
The recoil impulse of a 9mm firearm firing a 115-grain bullet will typically be slightly less than the recoil of the same firearm firing a 124-grain bullet because of the different bullet weights. This lighter 115-grain bullet requires less energy to propel it out of the barrel. If you want to see rounds with some serious recoil check our analysis of the 50 GI vs 50 AE rounds!
However, the difference in recoil between a 115-grain and 124-grain bullet may be negligible for some shooters, especially those with more experience and training. Other factors that can influence felt recoil include the design of the firearm, the type of ammunition, and the shooter’s grip and stance. Recoil is still a factor in heavier rounds like the 300 Blackout and 6.5 Grendel cartridges!
3) 115 grain vs 124 grain: Accuracy Comparison
The accuracy of a 9mm firearm firing a 115-grain or 124-grain bullet will depend on a number of factors, including the type of firearm, the type of ammunition, and your skill and technique. Also, we know that bullet weight affects how far a bullet travels in different conditions.
Generally speaking, the 124-grain bullet may be slightly more accurate at longer distances than the 115-grain bullet because it is heavier and less likely to be affected by wind or other external factors. It may also have better penetration, which can be important in personal defense situations.
For short-range distances, the 115-grain bullet might be a better option as you won’t be affected by the recoil to the extent of the 124-grain bullet. But on large targets, as is the case for self-defense, the recoil influence is negligible – it’s more applicable to sport shooting.
However, the difference in accuracy between a 115-grain and 124-grain bullet may be negligible for some shooters, especially those with more experience and training. Other factors that can affect accuracy include the length and rifling of the firearm’s barrel, the type of sights, and your grip and stance.
4) Which Is Best For Self-Defense?
The 124-grain bullet is better for self-defense. The bullet has a higher level of stopping power thanks to its higher kinetic energy and sectional density (a measurement of how effectively a bullet can penetrate a target). Just like the 380 ammo, the 124-grain 9mm is a great self-defense round.
As already mentioned, the 124-grain produces more recoil. But this extra recoil is negligible for shooting at large targets at short ranges.
5) Price & Availability Comparison
Surprisingly, most manufacturers price these two bullet weight categories at the same price. You can expect to pay around $0.20 per round for lower-quality bulk practice ammo to over $1.00 per round for premium self-defense ammo or match-grade carry ammo. The average price for standard 115-grain and 124-grain 9mm ammunition is typically around $0.30 to $0.50 per round.
In general, 9mm ammunition is widely available from most major ammunition manufacturers and retailers. And there is no difference in terms of availability between these two rounds.
Which Grain 9mm Ammo Should You Chose?
The choice between 115-grain and 124-grain 9mm ammunition ultimately depends on your intended use and personal preferences. Here are some factors to consider:
Purpose: If you’re using the ammunition for self-defense, a 124-grain bullet may be a better choice because it has slightly better penetration and is less likely to be deflected by barriers such as clothing or bone.
If you’re using the ammunition for target shooting or competition, a 115-grain bullet may be a better choice because it typically has less recoil and can be more accurate at shorter distances.
Recoil: If you’re sensitive to recoil, you may want to consider a 115-grain bullet, as it typically has less recoil than a 124-grain bullet. However, the difference in recoil between the two bullet weights may be negligible for some shooters. Just like we saw in our post comparing 45 acp vs 44 magnum, recoil is very important.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 115 or 124 grain better for self defense?
Is 124 grain good for 9mm?
Are higher grain bullets better?
What grain is better for 9mm?
Is 124 grain more powerful than 115?
What grain 9mm do police use?
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, the choice between a 115-grain and 124-grain 9mm ammunition ultimately depends on individual preferences, intended use, and firearm compatibility. Both ammunition weights have their own advantages and disadvantages, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Generally, a 124-grain bullet may be better suited for self-defense situations due to its better penetration and reliability in barriers. On the other hand, a 115-grain bullet may be preferred for target shooting or competition due to its lower recoil and potential for better accuracy at shorter distances. Whichever you choose, make sure to purchase the ammo from a reputable source and that it is compatible with your pistol.