Dr_Don, that's nice work! I was going to suggest he do exactly what you did to test the load/bullets for expansion in water.
Full size barrels might not have problems but once a given load is fired out of a short barrel problems can exist.
I did the same thing when I swapped to a 3" 1911 years ago. It was costly to do, but a definite eye opener. Oddly enough I got really good results from some of the least likely candidates.
In 9mm I've found that the 50 to a box, 20 year old (?), plain Jane, Win' Super-X 115gr silvertips work just fine out of my M&P 9c. So cost isn't the deciding factor, design is.
JayB, I don't know anything about the PF-9 but you've been given some very good advice so far on those things in this thread that I do know about.
Particularly about IDPA/USPSA competition. It's a very inexpensive way to learn to shoot better and a great way to spend some time. Just don't confuse it with defensive "training". You'll still need that. If the gun won't hold up for a few matches I doubt I'd want to EDC it, but shooting a few competitions should sort that out for you. I don't think I'd give it a steady diet of competitions. They aren't seen in competition by serious competitors for a reason. But once in awhile would be fun. Competition will also inject a bit of stress. It's good to test your shooting with added stress. No on will care about your score other than you. All they'll care about is safe gun handling.
I think it was in this thread where someone mentioned about "hitting the paper reliably" or some such. I teach NRA Basic Pistol and unless someone just can't get the safety rules all of my students pass. I use 8" paper plates as targets and I tell them that if they can't hit the plate at 8 yards we'll move up until they can hit it. Wherever we wind up is where they can reliably defend themselves with a handgun at that moment. In time they'll get better if the dry fire a bunch and pay attention to the basics. As long as they handle the firearm safely I don't care if we have to move up to where they put the muzzle of the gun right on the plate to hit. BTW, that's never happened. Oh, I also tutor one on one and that helps a lot. I can diagnose and stop bad habits before they become a problem.
Last edited by BJK; 02-07-2017 at 02:33 PM.