Powerman, there are some very good loads out there and I'd start the search of with SPEER Gold Dots.

The thing about momentum is that some opinions carry over from the old school of thought that 230s are always the best. That's just not the case and I'll give you an example. In water jug testing with 1 gallon jugs lined up 4 or 5 deep and touching, typical factory 230 gr. JHPs at around 825 FPS or less or my handloads at around 850 FPS from my 4.5" SR45. These loads will penetrate through 2 jugs and stop in the 3rd. With my 185 gr. Golden Saber handload at 1087 FPS, they will penetrate 3 jugs an into the 4th. Penetration beyond that is too much, IMO.

So let's look at the actual momentum numbers. At 850 FPS a 230 gr. JHP has a momentum of .868 Lb-seconds. My 185 gr. GS handload at 1087 has a momentum of .893 Lb-seconds, so the math reinforces what I've observed in my own tests. My handload is standard pressure, not +P.

A lot of this is going to boil down to your own level of recoil tolerance and ability to achieve fast follow up shots. The REM. factory 185 gr. +P Golden Saber load is rated 1140 FPS, 534 Ft/Lbs with a momentum of .936 Lb-seconds. Comparing apples to apples, there are some very good 230 gr. +P JHP loads as well, but to achieve the same level of momentum, they will need a velocity of 917 FPS. Bullet construction is definitely a factor in any evaluation of energy or momentum because the bullet must be constructed well enough for its level of energy/momentum and obviously, a lighter bullet will require more velocity to equal the momentum of heavier bullets.

I don't really have but one preference when it comes to .45 ACP JHPs because I load all 3 of the common weights, but even with my 185 gr. Golden Saber load at 1087, performance is outstanding but I also like 200 and 230 gr. JHPs and plan to load 230 gr. XTPs to 900 FPS when I can find some and lately, I've been shooting and testing the 200 gr. XTPs. My personal preference being that I don't shoot any Sub-Sonic loads in any caliber until I get to 200 gr. JHPs in .45 ACP. With any well constructed 185 like the GS, they will get loaded to or above 1080 FPS which is the speed of sound at sea-level. 200 gr. JHPs are not a bad compromise at all and you can find standard factory loads at around 1000 FPS. SPEER happens to make a 200 gr. Gold Dot +P load at 1080 FPS which qualifies it as Super-Sonic, but you can expect it to be a handful at 518 Ft/Lbs with .959 Lb-seconds of momentum. There's little doubt about how good performance is with that first well-placed shot. The question becomes how fast and accurately you can get off the 2nd or 3rd.

So when you go here: Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo

keep a couple of things in mind, the author definitely has a preference for sub-sonic loads and many of the best are either glossed over or not even tested. The 9mm IS a good example because some of the IWBA opinions are somewhat predicated on magic bullets. As in the example Cuda brought up with 147 gr. sub-sonic loads. In "doc" Roberts test they somehow managed to get a velocity that you're never likely to see from a handgun. If you actually chrono 975 FPS, consider yourself lucky. At 975 FPS, a 147 gr. JHP will give 310 Ft/Lbs of KE with momentum at .617 Lb-seconds. 147s have always penetrated well even to the point of over-penetrating in first generation sub-soni loads. This is partially due to the very high sectional density for caliber and sectional density is simply a ratio of weigh/length, but at .167, the 147 gr. 9mm is slightly higher in sectional density than a 230 gr. JHP in .45 ACP and to better it in.40/10mm you'll need a 190 gr. bullet where that are no JHPs between 180 and 200 grs. so far as I know. If I knew the exact velocity of the Ranger 127 gr. +P+ load I'd use it here. Since I don't, I'll just use the example of 124 gr. Golden Sabers and the standard 124 gr. REM JHP that are being worked up to 1250 FPS with energy at 430 Ft/Lbs with momentum at .688 Lb-seconds. My standard REM 124 gr. JHP is at 1238 FPS at the moment and the last time I tested the 124 gr. Golden Saber at 1222 FPS, it penetrated as deeply as my 185 gr. GS load in .45 ACP: through 3 jugs and into the 4th with both calibers achieving .7" of expansion. So there is some truth in equality of the different combat calibers in this case. I expect the Ranger 127 gr. +P+ would give about the same velocity as my goal of 1250 FPS. The only way I'd use any 147 gr. JHP would be above 1080 FPS to around 1150 FPS which at that point, the .40 S&W becomes kind of moot.

I'd recommend you try as many .45 ACP defense loads as possible to find what you like best. A 185 gr. Sub-Sonic load will never equal a 230 gr. Sub-Sonic load, but then the question of recoil tolerance comes into play because a 230 gr. standard JHP load is not going to equal the 185 gr. +P Golden Saber load, nor the SPEER 200 gr +P Gold Dot load. Comparing them all at the velocity that +P loads have the potential of achieving makes the playing field a bit more level. But a good standard pressure 200 gr. Factory load at 1000 FPS shouldn't be overlooked, where the 230 if you actually find one that gives 850 FPS, KE is 369 Ft/Lbs with momentum at .868 Lb-seconds while a 200 gr. at 1000 FPS will give 444 Ft/Lbs with a momentum of .888 Lb-seconds and as always, the math/physics just don't lie.