Find out the best 9mm ammo for self-defense based on ballistic gel tests that cover penetration depth and expansion.
Plus the best range plinking ammo for bulk shooting.
*April 2023 Update*: Things are holding steady. Here’s what we’re seeing in stock at the time of writing with AAC going in and out of stock. “CPR” = cost per round.
9mm Ammo in Stock
PSA is doing a decent job of stocking up during weekdays. See all their 9mm.
The following ones are also great for more obscure or defensive loads:
How We Picked The Best Ammo
Read on to see how we chose them and the best place to buy them for cheap!
The below pictures and data are from a super in-depth post from Lucky Gunner plus a few of our personal criteria. Here are some details of the test which closely mimic FBI protocol:
- Shot 10 feet away
- 4 layers of fabric in front of the ballistics gel to simulate a “worst case” scenario of clothing
- Ideal penetration of 12-18 inches. More than 18 inches might go completely through the target and hit something beyond. While a 12-inch minimum protects against thicker targets and possibly hitting something like an arm first before the torso.
- 5 shots for more data
- Shorter barreled gun. Most tests are run with a full-size pistol, but Lucky Gunner used an S&W M&P9C which has a 3.5″ barrel. Their thought was most people carrying a handgun most likely have a compact-sized one. So for those of you with a longer barrel, the penetration and velocities might be slightly higher.
Here are our recommendations for each of the most common weights of bullets: 115, 124, & 147 grain.
This way you can shoot the same weight of bullet as your more common range ammo. And because these are self-defense rounds, they are all jacketed hollow points (JHP) for reliable expansion.
We personally prefer the 124 gr since it is less “snappy” than the 115 gr to us. But we recommend you try a couple of weights and make sure they cycle 100% in your self-defense gun.
Best 9mm Ammo
Best Range Ammo
Range ammo is more about reliability and cost-effectiveness.
Here are a couple of our recommendations for the common 115 and 124 gr bullet weights. We’ve shot thousands of these and they are reliable, clean shooting, and economical. We suggest trying out both weights to see what you and your gun prefer.
1. AAC 9mm 115gr and 124gr
I’ve shot a lot of AAC this year since it’s been the most affordable and probably more important…most available.
And so far it’s been great…every time I wanted it to go bang it did in a variety of handguns and pistol caliber carbines (PCCs).
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
2. CCI Blazer Brass 9mm
When pennies count…one of the most reliable and affordable brass cased 9mm. However…the brass is a little difficult to reload.
Perfect for ranges or classes where you can’t pick up brass.
One of my favorites and what I used to shoot the most until this year.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
3. American Eagle 9mm 115 gr
One of my favorite through the years.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
4. PMC 9mm
I’ve shot A LOT of PMC ammo through the years in both pistol and rifle cartridges.
They always go bang and the brass is great for reloading.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
These are hollow-point rounds that expand when they hit something. They range much higher in price since they are what you should load in your defensive guns.
However, I recommend buying more and trying them out at the range too.
Right now there’s not too much selection and these are the ones mostly in stock:
- Federal HST 147gr 9mm Hollow Point for $2 cpr
- Federal Punch 124gr 9mm Hollow Point for 80 cpr
- Sig Sauer 124gr V-Crown 9mm Hollow Point for 85 cpr
However, here are my picks of my favorite self-defense rounds.
5. Federal HST 9mm 147 gr
Penetration in the sweet spot zone, great expansion, and good velocity for the bullet weight.
My personal favorite since I like the shooting impulse of 147 gr bullets.
- Average Penetration: 15.2″
- Average Expansion: .61″
- Average Velocity: 973 ft/sec
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
What do you think of Federal? Rate them below!
6. Gold Dot 9mm 115 gr
Penetration depth is right in the middle of the zone, great expansion, and good velocity for a short barrel.
- Average Penetration: 16.4″
- Average Expansion: .55″
- Average Velocity: 1143 ft/sec
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
7. Federal HST 9mm 124 gr
Great penetration, the biggest expansion, and velocity for those who like shooting the slightly heavier 124 gr rounds. Try these out if you don’t like the super heavy 147 gr HST.
- Average Penetration: 18.3″
- Average Expansion: .61″
- Average Velocity: 1135 ft/sec
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
8. Magtech Guardian Gold 9mm 115 gr
We’re big fans of Magtech’s regular FMJ ammo…
But here we’re talking about their JHP (jacketed hollow points).
The sweet spot of penetration, expansion, and velocity.
- Average Penetration: 15.2″
- Average Expansion: .56″
- Average Velocity: 1175 ft/sec
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
These are our favorites for 9mm self-defense and range ammo. If you want to see the full results from Lucky Gunner, check out their post here. Want more calibers and choices…check out Best Places to Buy Ammo Online.
188 Leave a Reply
The best self defense ammo for 9mm is 90 grain Extreme Defense by Underwood! Hands down the best!!
Just my opinion but.....I would NOT use Federal LE HST 147 gr., because I've had a lot of squibs with this load (3). My department has had at least ten squibs during multiple qualifications. I experienced squibs while doing SWAT training and on my own. Several of the aforementioned squibs became stuck in the barrel. The squibs came from different ammo lots, so it's a major quality control issue. Federal knows this is a problem because we have told them. It is very effective round when it works, but the choice is yours. If your life is at stake I'd trust another brand.
Click on an article to find the best hollow point ammunition for concealed carry and self defense and get recommended a bunch of fmj ammo. Very stupid.
Lol… click on an article about range AND self defense ammo, and only read the first half. Very stupid.
I have a Smith and Wesson Performance Center with a ported barrel. The CCI Blazer has a warning not to use their ammo with a ported barrel. I ran a few boxes thru my pistol before I realized I shouldn’t be using it. No problems, but I won’t be using it in that pistol again.
$1.38 per round GOLD DOT 2.
The best ammo is what works most reliably in your gun. When I first bought my Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact, the only ammo that worked reliably, all the time, with zero failures, was Spear Gold Dot 124 grain hollow point.
I then found out that if I used a good grease rather than oil to lubricate my slide, and if I replaced the polymer guide rod with a stainless steel one, everything shot reliably in my Beretta.
Because Spear Gold Dot 124 grain hollow point always shot reliably before I did the above-described improvements, that is the only thing I now carry in that gun. But I shoot everything in that gun when I am practicing at the range.
My opinion of 9 mm blazer brass is that it runs very dirty. First ammo that my hands are black after the range.
Would like to see a review of Lehigh Defense ammunition since the company was acquired by Bill Wilson, in particular the 90 gr "Xtreme Defense" round. It claims to generate a large permanent wound cavity, be "barrier blind," and still have moderate penetration. Runs 1,300 fps from a 4" barrel delivering 338 ft lbs of energy. Price and performance are comparable to Hornady Critical Defense. I've only seen it offered for sale at Midway USA but it may be available from other outlets I don't know about.
You stated above that One of the reasons a buyer would buy a lower cost entry level AR-15 is because they don't Shoot as Accurate as medium to high end AR's ??? If this is the case I'll just By-Pass this brand/Model AR and move to other entry level AR's. I mean I wouldn't want to spend $500 on a AR that can't shoot straight. Would you ???
Agreed. I built an Aero Precision AR with assemblies from various sources due to better pricing and it's my favorite. It shoots accurately with a red dot and backup iron sights and eats every type of ammo I've put through it. No jams or misfires in over 2k rounds so far. I've only used the Magpul PMAG Gen M3 magazines to date.
Thanks Eric, very informative and with no bias.
I just stick with Hornady Critical Duty 135 gr +P in 9mm. It feeds and shoots through my SIG P365 and out performs SIG's proprietary ammo for that pistol accuracy wise.
Ditto, as a retired LEO SWAT Sniper and current firearms instructor, I've done a great deal of research and testing. I use Hornady in my 3 personal carry Springfields; XDM, XDS, and Hellcat Never had a problem with feed. Reliable and ballistic always in the Sweet Spot.
Liberty ammunition has high speed that creates a hydrostatic shock that creates a permanent wound channel.
I have asked several Police, SWAT, USAF SF and Navy SF I know/strained with, what they recommend and got about the same answer. As a result I now carry 6 Fiocchi Frangible in each magazine, than top off with Hornaday Critical Duty, frangible on top of course. One SWAT Sergeant wanted to sell me a service pistol and offered a few boxes of frangible as part of the deal.
You left out the BEST JHP for SD/EDC, Winchester Ranger T-SERIES.
Thanks for this info
Manufacturers such as Underwood Ammo loading cartridges with Lehigh defense projectiles consistently outperform jacketed hollow points. The development of these better projectiles is well documented at this point but I guess the big corps regurgitating old ideas and old cartridges wins the advertising war. I’m looking at you Federal Super Cary…. Seriously? Whats next years new thing? How about soft lead balls loaded in a super special and unnecessarily complicated multi part casing! After all Sig managed to sell the army brass on something not much different. Worked for them, just saying.
I have separate mags I carry when fishing or hiking in rural areas and they are a mix of 3 types of Underwood including 147gr HP, extreme penetrator, and hardcast.
No Winchester Ranger on your list ... seriously? I mean you seriously overlooked Winchester Ranger RA9T? Is that because it is now made of unobtainium, or was there another reason it did not make the short list?
As someone new to guns, I was hoping this article would help me find the best online source to buy ammo for range training without doing extensive research on my own. Instead I've only found myself confused and overwhelmed. When I clicked on the links to check current prices, I found, for example, that the ammo listed here at $10 was actually selling for $25. I understand you cannot be constantly updating pricing, but this is a 150% increase, making the information totally outdated and useless. And after checking several websites, I've discovered that my local range offers the best price. So much for buying online.
Hey there, we understand how frustrated and overwhelming it is trying to buy online. We update our articles (especially ones like this) pretty regularly but with the current market, it's tough to keep up with how fast prices change. We hope you won't fault us for this and that you'll stick with us as we try to keep things as updated as we can. Thanks for reading!
I've found that the shipping cost negates the best of prices. Also, now the cost of gas makes it expensive to drive to my 2 closest gun stores to see what is in stock. I've spent many minutes on hold trying to get info on how much and what is in stock. And then get there and it's all gone. Need a better way
Ammoseek is a good resource.
Find the free shipping sellers to keep costs to a minimum.
Dillon Precision. You won't do better than Hand loading with a progressive press. I have even seen articles that say reloading is more expensive. It's more fake news.
Agree, I'm new to guns and ammo and felt that I didn't narrow down any best choices.
The layout of the review was confusing as I was scrolling way too much.
Try a spreadsheet comparison next time.
Wow! Hornandy critical defense not on this list. my favourite sigsauer hardly features these days too which is kinda weird tho
Any idea what length PMC uses to test its 9mm ammo? I ask because, for instance, while Federal uses a 4.00 inch barrel, Norma uses a 6.00 inch barrel. I'm looking for a reasonably priced 124 FMJ round that will duplicate (more or less) the ballistics of my 124 Grain Federal HST.
I never see Wilson Combat, Hornady, Remington, Winchester, or Atlanta Arms ammo reviewed. It would he helpful if you could mention some other brands that get either "honorable mentions" or "didn't rate high enough."
Article has a real problem with credibility when considering prices.
Hey Ken, we do our best to update prices regularly but with the current market it's tough to keep up sometimes.
Ok Thanks. Prices haven't really changed much at all in the last 3 months though.
Check out keen dynamics on line bought some great prices
Wow! Hornandy critical defense not on this list.
It would be good if you listed all of the ammo you tested at each bullet weight. That way we'll know whether a particular round didn't make the cut.
Agree with John; !!
Look up shooting the bull 9mm AmmoSeek quest . Very good ammo test and recommendations
Just curious as to how you feel about the fluted defensive ammunition like the Underwood Ammo and the Black Hills Honey Badger. Relatively new firearm owner that's been hitting the range as much as time and cost permits. On my search for the best defensive rounds for me & my firearm, I've been cycling through a few different types (FMJ [range practice]/JHP/Fluted/Synthetic), manufactures (Underwood/PPU/Blazer/Speer/Sig Sauer, Federal...etc), and weights (from 65gr up to 185gr) of 9mm rounds to find my sweet spot. Comparatively speaking I found the Underwood 9mm 90gr Xtreme Defense a pleasure to shoot with my Glock 43x. Usually the firearm is snappy, with a bearable yet unlikeable recoil. I'm waiting to get my hands on a box of the Black Hills Honey Badgers to see if it's a similar experience. I think the same folks Lehigh Defense make the bullets for both companies, but I still want to give another option a try...
I have a Glock 19 4th GEN. Love it! I also love the Glock 43X! It's not the grains of powder it's all 9 mm sure more grains of powder more firepower I get at feet per 2nd what about hollow points
First, thanks for weighing in. I love the 43X also, but looking for a second (back-up) option to carry. Being a short skinny guy, full size pistols like the 19/19X stick out like a sore thumb on me. Hollow Points are a nice option but expensive to keep shooting at the range. I shoot them sparingly just to make sure that the brands I have cycle through without issue. However, it still feels as though the heavier cartridges seem to have a less snappy recoil when fired. I got my hands on some "Target Sports USA" 118 grain 9mm fluted cartridges and it was a joy to shoot. I felt like I was shooting a quite heavy .22... On the other hand I haven't tried out any of the +P, or +P+ with the extra powder as of yet.
Bogus prices.. even 4 weeks ago the price of ammo still wrong.. c'mon maaaan. why the click-bait?
Eric, was there any reason why you did not include Hornady Critical Defense? (My carry round).
Also, what are your thoughts on a pistol with a longer than three and a half inches but shorter than 5 in? I understand that my glock 48 MOS should give me higher velocity and, based on your ballistic gel tests, I would anticipate consistent expansion without excess penetration. What say you?
It says at top that this article was written three weeks ago. Also, the prices are stated to be accurate at the time of writing. I think you forgot to update the prices!
Seriously. $8 for 50 rounds of 9mm? Accurate at time of writing? I think not. I'm 100% sure they just do that to generate more clicks/traffic to those websites. Kinda pathetic, if I'm being honest. :/
Only have a single 9mm - my CZ P01. It stays loaded with 147 gr +P gold dot.
My carry gun does not like wide-mouthed JHP's like the Federal HST: they get hung up on the feeding ramp. What I'm carrying inatead is either Hornaday Critical Defense (FTX bullet) or the Inceptor ARX (solid frangible bullet that works like the Lehigh or Honey Badger). For my HD gun, I load it with 147 gr. Federal HST or 147 gr. Fiocchi JHP.
What's your EDC gun? That may help many to avoid the problems you're experiencing.
It happens a lot with my moms Kimber Evo SP with wider self defense rounds. They get stuck on the feeding ramp a lot. It cycles any ammo just fine when shooting, but they get stuck on the feed ramp quite often when chambering a round by hand.
Modern HPs are wider now and can get stuck in pistols with steep feed ramps. A little polishing of the ramp and breech by a gun smith should solve the problem. Also, lightly smoothing the lips to the magazine might help as well.
One thing to be aware of is that all-copper bullets, e.g. Cor-Bon are longer than lead core bullets of the same weight. Most pistols will cycle these bullets ok but the magazine may not drop freely if the nose of the bullet is pooched out a little.
I have a Taurus 111 millennium G2 with Lake Line metal guide rod and a G3C and the seem to eat anything I feed them . So it’s Federal Hydro-shok or now federal punch in 124 gr sell the Kimber and get 2 or 3 G2c or G3c’s
I love your site, you guys were a big factor in helping me decide on my first handgun purchase (Glock 17) - thank you for that. This article, however, is terribly out of date and would be a huge help if it were updated and kept current. Hopefully I’m thanking you in advance.
The educational information is accurate and up to date, sadly the prices are not since it's simply too hard to keep up. Prices are changing and all over the place right now and that won't change for a long while.
One thing no review I've ever seen considers is most self defense events are going to take place in an enclosed space such as your home or vehicle. Shooting supersonic ammunition is a guaranteed recipe for instant permanent hearing loss and while the subsonic isn't that much quieter it at least gives you a fighting chance. My 9's will always be loaded with 147 grain bullets. It would be interesting to see db tests in say a typical room of 12x14.
Excellent point which is seldom mentioned. I am now paying for my casual attitude in many earlier years of hunting, target shooting, and heavy equipment. I dread risking what I have left in hearing in a self defense shooting. Constant tinnitus is debilitating. It is progressive and permanent. Shooters are usually more careful today. Be careful and be well.
Well the biggest problem i see is that "if" you can find it the prices are so damn high i can only order two boxes if im lucky but at least the prices are just high enough to get me free shipping. Just 6months ago i could buy 420rd can,in a very nice metal ammo can 30cal. and all on stripper clips for 139.99 and just months later your lucky if you can find 200rds for that price! They are charging more for 420rds to 500rds as they use to for 1000rds! I have seen companies trying tp push the 1000rd cases for 999.99?!?!??!? If and its a big "IF" you can find single boxes of ammo for the old prices like 7.69 for 20 or even 9.99 for 20 you had better scoop them up and just make sure you buy a case less one 20rd box or you will be automatically charged for a case and end up paying more!So if their idea of a case is 200rds then buy 180 twice if u have the money.Make a purchase of 180 and do it again minutes later.You could end up with almost a full case of ammo for way less! I have been ordering it this way for the last 5months and i have been able ot stock up about 3k rds per gun .Some may only have 500 to 1000rds while others only a few hundred like my more precision rifles and those rounds cost a bit more.But they would be more task specific rifles like lets say target shooting from far away or maybe deer hunting?Other then that i have several ARs in 556 and a bunch of others in different calibers just in case i can find 556 i have one in just about every caliber they make an AR 15 in! working on the last caliber i dont have other then 50beo which is 6.5Grendel. IDK if im going to get a 50Beo since Bidens in office.I have already lost three companies that use to mail uppers to my front door stop that practice already.Their own company policies by the way not the law!It sux
Noob here and I'm looking to practice with what I plan to use for defense. Our range doesn't allow steel, brass only. I've noticed that most HP seems to come in steel casing. Is that the case? (pun intended).
If it is pistol ammo, it is nickel coated brass.
Some steel-cased ammo has a projectile with a mild steel core, but some does not. A magnet will tell the tale for the projectile.
Hi I'm a single mom and I've recently got a taurus G3c. The other day I was able to get a box of hollow points. When I'm putting one in the chamber it's popping out like its too small. The brand is SIG SAUER 9mm. Luger 124gr. V crown. Am I doing something or got the wrong ones?
You mean it pops out when you pull the slide back?
Be sure that you take a safety class with that gun.
Hello Eric, using the Federal HST 147 gr. bullet for self defense, if you don't have time to put on ear protection, is the lower velocity better for minimizing hearing damage, or is a silencer still necessary?
If the ammo is subsonic, it will be a touch quieter but still no where close to hearing safe.
Could you explain in more detail your intended meaning behind this statement in the ammo article? "My personal favorite since I like the shooting impulse of 147 gr bullets." Regarding Federal HST 9mm 147 gr. Thanks...jawalton
Heavier rounds tend to have a longer recoil impulse since it takes more energy to push the round out of the gun than with a lighter round. That few MS longer curve spreads the energy going into the shooter over a slightly longer period of time. This gives a less "snappy" recoil feel to the gun.
I personally think you should have gotten way more range ammo. You will go through 100 rounds in 30 minutes or less.
Hi, Eric.Thanks for the article and all the information that Pew Pew Tactical posts. I just read Kat's article here on frangible ammo. Did you try any frangibles? Do they fail the 4 layers of fabric test? Thanks.
Eric, I just read Kat's article on frangible ammo. Did you try any frangibles? Do they fail the 4 layers of fabric test? Thanks.
Why is the test predicated on penetration; instead of " But we recommend you try a couple weights and make sure they cycle 100% in your self-defense gun." make the function of the gun the issue! Its a TEST do it all, and let us know which 9mm ball will cycle the most guns. On the range I'll need about .25 inch, and on OTHER; truthfully I'll only need about 4 to 6 inches which I'm positive that if they are cycling my keltec 2000 any of em will do!
John Blair (Cpl USMC 5811 '77-'81; credence )
Hello, I live in S. CA and recently bought my first pistol, a S&W SD9VE with several hundred rounds of Winchester Ranger 9mm Luger T-series 147g (HST type for home defense) and 100 rounds of Winchester Luger FMJ for target practice. Both gun and ammo, I had not much of choices in the pandemic. Did I make the wrong choices? THX
Hey, that was one of my very first guns also! You should be good to go -- get some training when you can!
I am first time pistol buyer and wonder what you recommend for my first pistol mostly for self defense at home
Take a beginner class BEFORE you buy. A lot of ranges have different guns you can try, as do many firearms instructors. Find something you like, not what someone else tells you. Definitely stear clear of whatever the guy at the gun shop insists on...may work for him but no one else.
Glock if you can afford it. I can't.
Here in Commiefornia the best ammo is whatever’s available
Check out the LUCKY GUNNER ! Very good articles on ammo testing.
I have tested the HST ''LE TACTICAL'' several times .Shooting thru up to 8 layers of denim, shot thru med jacket, thru Roasts.The HST le tac. always opens and blooms.I have to say both of the hornadys with the red tips are overrated. The sig crowns are ok. The win rangers are good.The cor-bon all copper rounds come the closets to the HST le tac.Alot of people DO NOT buy the right Hst's.They buy the PERSONAL DEFENSE rd's not the same!
I agree with this statement. Testing of 200 rds through everything from billows to b.Gel. HST in just about all grain ct. Are top performance. If your not getting full affects of your ammo your stopping power goes way down. I personally use Corbin 45acp ammo. Have had to use this ammo in a real defensive situation and it worked just as well in the field as testing.
Sig is always ignored here. They've had ammo for months. The Sig V Crown and ball ammo run perfectly through all my handguns an pcc's.
Any thoughts on the Speer G2 ammo?
Barnes, and Winchester T Series are better than anything listed here.
Absolutely, This must of been what I'm guessing there personal test
NO TESTING WITH THE CIVIL DEFENSE ROUNDS BY LIBERTY ? BY FAR THE BEST 9MM ROUND AVAILABLE SMH ALL MY SPECIAL FORCES BUDDYS USE THEM FOR A REASON
Yeah..They don't have to pay for them!
Look up Fort Scott Munitions ammo
Greetings Eric: In my EDC 9mm (Taurus G2C or G3 as I have both) I use a combo load; 115 grain Geco JHP, 124 grain+P Speer Gold Dot JHP, and then the Federal 147 grain JHP High-Shok. I call this my "defensive cocktail" loads, so if one does not stop the agressor, another different loading will if I do my job and put the rounds in the right place!
That’s ridiculous. If someone dosent “stop” after being shot with one of those rounds it probably has less to do with the type of bullet than it does with the bullet striking a part of the central nervous system or enough blood leaking out of a vital organ. Your “Defensive Coctail” is amateurish and makes you look like a clown. God Bless.
Why nothing about Honey Badger ammo from Black Hills Ammo?
I recently purchased the CPX-3-.380 pistol. I have also signed up for practice at a local gun range. My questions are, What is the best bullets to use at the gun range for shooting target's and also what is the best bullets to use for self defense and protection for my self and family. Is there any difference between the two?
I would go with a cheap brass cased round that is full metal jacketed.
best .380 round for short barrels, is the Hornedy, xtp.
ALSO THE UNDERWOOD PENITRATOR. FLUTED SLUG.
Israelis know a thing or two about self defense shooting, and I buy IMI’s!
What about IMI’s?
Hi Eric, really like all your gear reviews! I used to shoot the “White Box” 100 round .45 ACP box from Walmart. Cheap and not super reliable, and that’s exactly what I wanted for practice; every once in awhile I’d get a stove pipe or other jam. So that gave me practice in learning to clear the jams and I never know when it would happened, so I liked that it wasn’t that reliable! But, sadly, they don’t sell them anymore. Keep up the good reviews, I’m learning a lot, thanks!
FPE is the most overrated statistic talking SD ballistics. You can talk weight, expansion, and penetration all day but it’s the energy you put into your target that’s gives you that “knockout” punch. It’s what makes a 7mm rifle round so much more devastating than a 9x19 from a handgun. It’s why I carry Liberty Civil Defense in my EDC. I’m not interested in poking the biggest or deepest hole. I’m interested in stopping the threat immediately.
That is why now that I'm retired I carry Double Tap 124 grain 9mm +P bonded in my EDC. In my H&K I carry 135 grain in 40 S&W from Corbon.
There’s so much wrong in this comment I’m not going to dignify trying to correct it Lol. If you want accurate explanation of what “knockdown” power really consists of you can disregard the above comment. Lol
What about underwood 9mm xtreme defender 90 gr ? The would cavity and penetration seem to our perform the other bullets.
I agree, as a recently retied Deputy from South Florida and a big agency they decided to jump on the FBI train and make switch to 9mm. Saw many females along with smaller stature men not be able to make the 80% qualification score. I have carried a 40 S&W since 1998 and never had an issue with quals and classes taken. I personally like loads at higher velocities Corbon, Double Tap have always performed very well for me. Imagine if we could bring some of the Old West gun fighters and they saw all the nonsense over caliber, they'd probably take out their single action pistol and Pimp Slap you to death with it at tell you to quit your crying .
Horsesqueeze, handgun bullets DON'T put people down..Been hearing that crap about "The .45 will knock you down" Bs for over 30 years.
What stops an attacker is shot placement, pure and simple. There are slews of reports of suspects hit multiple times with big stuff that keep fighting. And I have seen victims hit in a sensitive area drop with a .22.
So go ahead tell your loved ones..."HARUMPH you need a bazooka of a handgun". I will tell my friends "I would rather you hit 5 times with a .22 than miss 6 shots with a 454 .
If the punishment the shooter gets make them not want to practice or worse, not want to properly aim..its worthless.
As for ballistics its getting real close in depth.
Yeah 9mm was garbage in the 1980s. But the improvements with powder and reliability has more than made up for it.
Nah, those old fools would get decimated by any young gangbanger with higher capacity semi-auto gear.
9mm is junk. Watch Paul Harrels 9mm vs .40s&w. 9mm compared to .40s&w and .357sig always fail to expaned. 40s and 357sigs blossom like roses on a warm morning. Agencies changes 'cause it's cheaper and slightly easier to shoot. I agree it won't be long before cops go back to .40s&w. The videos of police shootings I've seen with .40 put bad guys down quick, lots of blood loss due to better penetration and expansion. Any .40 cartridge, cheap or not, will always out perform any and all 9mm. DON'T PUT A PRICE TAG ON YOUR LIFE AND THE LIVES OF YOUR LOVED ONES.
p.s. Hornady Critical Defense 9mm 135 grain are crap and don't expaned worth a damn. Speer Gold Dots are the key. Choose wisely.
This is about the most ignorant post here.
I think the guy up top that likes to carry a “defensive coctail” of three different ammo types has him beat. He’s a complete moron.
What makes the blazer brass harder to reload? Just picked 2000 rounds
and was curious as to what I've gotten myself into
Reload as in reloading the spent brass yourself and making more ammo from it. The brass itself is a bit finicky and might need extra steps such as deburring, annealing, etc. If you are not planning on reloading your spent brass, then this is a non-issue!
what is your opinion about Fiocchi ammo, I like it because it has less of a kick. it seems to be more accurate, I use to use Federal American Eagle 124 grn. but it started to get vewry dirty,It seems snapier than the Fiocchi. I am having a hard time finding ballistics on the Fiochhi.
Hey how are you, I'm surprised not to see my favorite on your list ( hornady critical duty) 135, is it that it is not as good as the others.
For the range, I love firing the Federal Syntech 9mm. Low recoil and pretty clean. For personal defense, I mix in some Black HIlls HOneyBadger and Hornady Critical Defense, as well as Federal HST.
Have you tried the 9mm from USAC? They are cleaner and more accurate than Blazer ... though Blazer is my backup ammo. They are also hard to find in stock :)
Why is Blazer Brass difficult to reload?
I have been shooting the .40 cal since the early 90’s when it first arrived on the market , my first handgun was a S&W 411 , I own 2 other .40’s one Beretta Px4 Subcompact and one Smith M&P . I recently about 2yrs ago got a Beretta Px4 Storm Compact 9mm . It has become my Primary EDC. I still enjoy the 40 but as I get older the shootability of the 9mm has its merits. As info I use 124gr Federal HST in my 9mm and 165gr Federal HST in my 40’s. I do not feel under gunned or underpowered with either.
40 is my favorite round. 140-165 are by far the best choices for performance. 124 IMO is the best weight for 9mm. Perfect weight. 124 Gold dots or Hat's are my favs. Pew Pew and carry on.
Hello, what the best IWB Holster for the Springfield Xde 9mm?
I'm already looking forward to people recognizing that 9mm is mediocre again. Wait for it - as soon as the infatuation with "new bullet advancements" smacks up against reality, we'll see agencies once again picking up .40 S&W and .357 Sig and the 9mm will be relegated to its place at the lower end of the "mid-calibers."
Not likely... it's the same old argument of .45 ACP vs. 9mm... which the 9mm has won both times.
The 10mm is "superior" to the .40 S&W... and the .50 caliber is "better" than that... but, a rifle caliber pistol is even better... so, carry a 5.56 X 45... no, make that a 7.62 X 51 FAL pistol... where does the "size is better" argument get stupid? "I can scare them to death with the mere size of my gun !"?
My friends have all poo-poohed my 9mm as a girl's gun...
I love the look on their faces as I out-shoot every one of them with their own guns, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum... I am not the least-bit recoil shy, but, I actually PRACTICE regularly.
The 9mm was designed to emulate the .38 Special, which was designed to penetrate, and kill. The .45 ACP was designed to "STOP"... not kill... the Moro, Muslims we were fighting in the Philippine-American War, because of the .38 Long Colt's failure to do so.
If I have to empty 15 rounds into my opponent's chest to stop him, at least I will be able to do so.
Please read all before thinking I'm knocking your list. I mean no disrespect or maliciousness.
Your wrong with the Gold Dots. The rest is pretty much on point. The one thing you HAVE to include in your testing and that's pork ribs( they are the closest thing to human bone) You MUST as with any test I do using Clear Ballistics 10% gel. As you know the first 3-5 inches of Ballistic gel is considered to be the epidermis. You wrap the pork ribs in a piece of sweater or sweat shirt & a piece of denim. Shooting through the material and busting through the bone THEN see the how the bullet holds up after busting through clothing Bone and traveling through the epidermis and tissue. And THE best round OR the round that causes the most lethality in 9mm
# 1) Federal 147gr HST + P the same in 124gr HST + P.... A 1.A)-1.B)
#2) Barnes 115gr TAC-XPD + P
3) Winchester PDX1 Defender 124gr + P
4) Federal Premium 124gr Hydra Shock + P
5) Hornady 135gr Flexlock Critical Duty/ as with #1. There is a # 5.B)
5.B) Corbon 125gr JHP + P
Or just watch Paul Harrell videos on Youtube where he shoots the meat target.
I think you left off 3 brands that outperform all of the 5 you selected. First, the Fort Scott brand has a large wound channel and great penetration through denim and solid objects such as wood, glass or metal. These are my current CCW load. Prior to this I carried the Winchester Ranger T. Ammo Quest on You-Tube did a great 9mm comparison and the Ranger T outperformed the Speer, Federal HST, and all the Critical Defense/Critical Duty line. With the leaps in technology the Ranger T are probably a bit outdated, but they are definitely a great round in the 147gr size. Lastly, and I am less knowledgeable on these, but the Lehigh Defense rounds perform well and are similar to the Fort Scott in technology. I would choose any of these 3 over the 5 in the article. Regardless of what you choose in the end, and even though it will be expensive, shoot a box of your carry ammo at the range. It would be unfortunate to carry quality ammo that the gun doesn't feed well and to find that out when you need your firearm the most. Practice, practice, practice.
I didn't include Fort Scott in my test list because it hasn't had enough time to really prove itself. But sitting by me right now where I sleep is 15 rounds of 115gr Fort Scott. When it gets more "experience" under it I think it will be One of the three best absolutely and I am the one who left you the plus review I was surprised to see you knew what Fort Scott Was I seriously doubt the writer of this post has a clue what it is lol. It is fairly new to his defense but it's tumble Upon impact it's not just a Gimmick it actually works every single time regardless of caliber. The way they make the round is amazing all from one Copper Strand
And you're wrong. The FBI performed extensive testing with Ranger T ammo and found both the HST and Gold dots were superior in penetrations, expansion, and bullet retention. The other two are too new to say they're superior. Dead is dead. At some point you're splitting hairs.
Mark Hollingsworth you are absolutely right...Splitting hairs now.
Why did you leave out critical duty 135 flexlock . How about some American gunned +p . It seems like you don’t know what good 9mm ammo is. I like the hst but the other three shouldn’t be in this list. Seems like you left slog of good stuff out. Please rewrite this article.
Seriously? He picked the most popular 9mm rounds that are the most readily available.
Is the much difference. Between Federal and American eagle., I'm there standard ie cheapest rounds since they are the same company? Ford vs Lincoln
I did and is NY choice
What's the cleanest subsonic ammo for target and suppression?
I would also like to reload the brass.
Just purchased a S&W M&P 2.0 9mm and I’m looking for range ammo, any suggestions on what to use?
HST 124, 124 SIG V-CROWN, CRITICAL DEFENSE(you get 5 extra rounds), 124 Standard Pressure Gold Dots, and Gorilla Ammo Inc. makes some gangster wickedly awesome stuff in both 115 and 135. It's pricey but go big or go home.
Hope that helps ya Bennett.
I run S&B 124gr through my CZ SP01 & P01. Clean, flawless and cheap.
I'm really curious why the author was so focused on velocity and penetration and completely ignored energy. This is much more of a factor in defensive ammo selection than penetration. I'd much prefer a round that will penetrate 12" and delivers an extra 100+ foot pounds of energy over a round that penetrates 18".
This article is in bad need of a re-write.
Generally speaking, energy isn't as important when you're looking at rounds within the same caliber when they are at similar weights. Using the first 3 ammo types listed in the table, Federal HST 124gr, Federal HST 147gr, and American Eagle 115gr - the energy difference between the highest and lowest is only 38 ft.lb or 51 Joules. That is incredibly low.
Also keep in mind that force is physics energy is mass × velocity squared so you actually get more bang for your buck so to speak out of velocity. Moreover if a bullet fails to penetrate its energy is expended to quickly.. Expansion, also equals damage. Part of why military hates 55gr FMJ its like laser and lack of expansion also means low energy transfer
So in the end expansion velocity and penetration are the keys energy is the by product
Jesus, FMJ don't EXPANED. Where do you come from?
Similarly, I'd like to know the power factors of the ammo as this matters in competition (USPSA, etc.).
Exact power factor will depend on your firearm, a barrel length difference between our gun and your gun will change the velocity and thus the power factor. However, Dillon Precision has a great online calculator that can help.
Anyone try the liberty civil defense ammo?
I've used it but very limited amounts. Not remotely worth the price from what I saw, there are a number of better defensive round options at half the price. I'm not a fan of super lightweight ammo though.
My father in law swears by it, but it is pricey! I have seen testing of the 9mm and it rips right through IIIa... but then, if you get any round going fast enough it will too
Walter c c p 9mm
Walter c c p 9 mm
Check out Sellier&Bellot 124gr ball ammo. Always spotless and never a malfunction in 1k rounds. It's loaded slightly hot. I use it at the range to mimic my defensive ammo weight (124gr HST). Excellent price point. I just picked up a case of 1k rounds for like $185.
I have been using this ammo for about 3 yrs, it has alway worked in all of my pistols and it seems to run cleaner than other ammo I have tried but I keep going back to S&B
I like using the Winchester 147gr Train & Defend series. They are standard pressure rounds where the FMJ Train round has the same shape and ballistic performance as the JHP Defend round, Ammoquest rated it as best 147. grain round they tested:
Ammo Quest 9mm: Winchester Train and Defend 147gr Ammo Test
I shoot Federal's American Eagle 115 gr FMJ for practice and Federal's HST 147 gr hollow points for defense. I also use the Lucky Gunner tests as a primary criterion in making the decisions. Some folks want +P and other ammunition that will penetrate beyond 18 inches. I am somewhat concerned about hurting an innocent person with a bullet that passes right on through an attacker. I recognize that bones etc in the human body can turn the bullet or do other strange things that keeps it inside but the ballistics of the HST 147 gr seems to be the best compromise. My HK VP9 sk seems to like this ammunition very much. but it is not at all temperamental with anything I feed it.
Hornaday isn't even mentioned. Am I missing something?
IMO Hornady is overrated, overpriced and over-marketed to gun owners who otherwise don’t know any better. Suggest you lookup Lucky Gunners handgun defensive ammunition ballistic testing reviews for 9, .357, ,40, and ,45 calibers and properly educate yourself—link below. You’ll see that the Hornady is low on the list. There’s a reason Federal Premium HST 124 and 147 gr loads are consistently rated 1-2. (You can also find a 50-round box of HST for the same price as a 25-round box of Hornady.)
You may want to review the testing, Hornady has very good 9mm, .45 ACP, and .380 offerings.
Have you tried the Underwood Extreme Defense ammo in the 9mm?
I have, and don't like it because while all the numbers sound right, it doesn't live up to the hype. Example: I carry a Ruger P95 with 65 grain Xtreme Defenders factory loaded in the +P category rated at 1800 FPS while delivering something like 465 FPE to the target at 10 yards. Well, it finally happened. I had to use it just the other night on 19 MAY 2018 while driving home from a night of singing in the deep-rurals of Wisconsin.
First, let me clarify by saying that I don't smoke, don't drink, and don't do drugs. I have 8 yrs of military service (4 Air Force as a firefighter and EMT, and 4 US Army Combat Medic.) And, I have been trained on firearms through my local PD for a conceal carry permit. I am also a storm chaser for the state, as well.
So I'm driving home during a cold downpour, when I see a pair of reflected eyes tracking my vehicle from off the side of the road as I drive by. Because I have two of them at home, I immediately recognize it as a cat: one that had been struck by a car. So I back up, and there it is with it's head up looking around trying to pull itself to safety but couldn't. When I put my tactical light on it I could see a huge gaping wound to its mid section, exposing a lot of muscle. I was talking to it trying to comfort it, and all during that time it never moved its hind legs, or even flinched its tail: something all cats are hard-wired to do.
No matter what I did, or how I tried, it wouldn't let me get near it as it became fierce enough to put the fear of God in me. And then it started shivering, even uncontrollably as it eyes rolled back into its head. As I tried to scoop it up, it again reminded me that it wouldn't be trifled with. My thought now was that I was going to have to watch it die a slow, agonizing death, or I could put it out of its misery. And it was suffering terribly.
So I pulled my pistol out loaded with said rounds, and placed a kill shot at point blank rage for what should have been a perfect heart/lung money shot only, it made things worse. I watched in horror as someone's pet cat went through every death throe imaginable, and that surely wasn't my intent. I agonized over putting another round through it, but couldn't get my emotions around having to pull the trigger a second time on a furry critter that I loved. If that frickin' bullet would have just done all that hydro-shock stuff it talks so much about, but no. The cat finally expired about a minute later because it bled out. It wasn't pretty to watch. And now I was soaked down to the bone, and starting to shiver like the cat I had just dispatched. The thing is, it was maybe only about six pounds so it should have died quickly.
Suffice it to say that I emailed the manufacturer, and of course they were sorry for what I had to go through (screw me, just imagine what it was like for the cat!), stating that all properly placed rounds take a minute to deliver any prey to death's doorstep. So I said, what about that hydro-shock stuff and that 2.5" wound channel it's suppose to create? Their reply was to next time shoot it at the base of the skull. Hell, I could have done that with a rock!
So here it is Tuesday 22 MAY 2018, and I'm shopping for a more humane round because, far be it from me if the next one has to go into a school shooter or something.
I'm sorry you had to go through that, I actually had to deal with almost the same situation a few weeks ago minus the storm.
This might seem cold but this is actually a great learning opportunity: what kind of ammo you use depends on what you need it for and not all meat targets are made the same.
I haven't used that ammo before because I flatly disagree with pistol ammo that tries to deliver damage through hydro-shock. The speeds required for that to work effectively is almost impossible to reach in a pistol, especially in 9mm. While it works in a rifle, I have yet to find a pistol ammo that relies on it and delivers remotely close to what the marketing departments say it will.
While a lung/heart shot is what you normally choose for a clean animal kill, such as hunting game, it probably isn't the best for putting an animal out of its pain. In that case, I would have to agree with the manufacturer you spoke with and go for a base of the skull shot.
That said, even though it didn't go as planned - you still did the right thing and at least shortened the cat's suffering.
If you're still looking for a defensive ammo, I recommend Hornady Critical Duty. It's what I load in my 9mm, 45ACP, and .38 Spl. guns.
Thank you for the kind words. We're all bad-asses until were not. I used to sneer at war movies when I'd see a solider acting out of character, but will now see past that. Why I couldn't bring myself to deliver a second shot will haunt me for some time, but I learned from it. And while some will surely say, "Dude, it was just a cat let it go!" they too, will one day have a reckoning when they least expect it. That's just the way it is. For me, my soft spot happens to be dogs and cats. And yes, I am now studying up on "better" 9mm ammo. Thanks for the advice.
If you use Hornady Critical Duty, as do I ... wondering why it wasn't included in recommended ammo. It certainly has all the right test data numbers ....
The list was made before I was an editor here ;) next time we update it I plan on adding Hornady Critical Duty Duty +P, and Defense
I would like to see ARX added to the review's. I have shot it in most calipers it is available in and I like the way it reacts in every gun I'v tried. Reduced recoil in small guns is especially good and getting off a second shot is much easier.
Serious lack of experience is what tripped you up. I had learned the same way you did. Myself and thousands of police officers have learned it is ALWAYS a shot into the skull from top down. instant death. That heart/Lung shot is useless with most guns. Cats, dogs and other animals really suffer from that. I learned shooting hot 45 rounds through a dog. As soon as I saw the poor thing start suffering, I dumped the whole mag into him and reloaded. It is a bad way to learn for me, but NEVER go for a heart lung shot on a wounded or injured animal. It causes needless suffering.
From a veterinarian--one other reason to go for a head shot, particularly on severely wounded animals. There is not telling what the current chest cavity configuration may even look like. Beleieve me, I have seen lungs and hearts back in the abdomen and intestines up where the heart should be in many hit by car cases. Go for the head shot--the brain is either there or not.
Too bad you don’t really know what you are talking about, Eric.
The U.S. Border Patrol gets in more gunfights than any other American police agency. When high-capacity “wonder nines” became popular in the 1980s, Border Patrol agents wanted to carry them. The BP was skeptical; macho types have always denigrated the 9mm. Two BP agents were tasked with researching stopping power, and after a year’s work recommended that BP agents not be allowed to carry anything producing less than 400 ft. lbs. kinetic energy at impact. 9mm doesn’t cut it. 9mm+P and +P+ do.
The “12 to 18 inches” nonsense comes from the FBI, who blamed their weapons instead of their inept tactics for the disastrous 1986 Miami-Dade shootout. Eighteen inches is clear through the average bad guy’s shoulder and chest sideways-or through the average male chest cavity (10”) from the front, and six or eight inches into the innocent beyond. Nine to 12” penetration is adequate for civilian self-defense, less likely to keep going and hurt a good guy after you’ve (hopefully) stopped the bad guy, and you are using all of the bullet’s very limited energy to injure and stop your attacker, rather than wasting much of it on the landscape beyond.
Ballistic gelatin doesn’t shoot back, and you are not using the math reported by Ed Sanow to predict stopping power from gelatin results. If you want to know what works, get Evan Marshall’s latest stopping power book, or better, all three. He’s been gathering shooting/stopping power statistics for—must be 50 years now. Many wedded to their pre-conceived notions—the late Martin Fackler most notably—vehemently put down Marshall and his work, but it jibes with everything I’ve learned in 50 years of hunting, handloading, testing bullets in wet newsprint before I use them on game, and autopsying, not just butchering, my game. The bullet’s design and its velocity at impact are far more important than caliber—a good 9mm+P hollowpoint works far better than .45 ACP hardball, and the right bullet in 9mm works better than the wrong bullet 100-200 f/s faster in .357. And what works best in 9mm seems to be:
1) The sadly out-of-print Triton Quik-Shok, and
2) The fastest 115-grain +P or +P+ JHPs available, doing better than 1300 f/s. The design of the bullet is vital; the best seem to spin off a few large fragments while 2/3 or so of the bullet, well expanded, goes all the way through, or stops under the skin on the far side. Remington’s “fish lips” JHP, Sierra’s, Nosler’s, and whatever Cor-Bon is using these days all work well.
3) +P or +P+ 124-grain loads, same criteria, same bullets except weight, doing at least 1250 f/s at the muzzle, are almost as good, and a way to get deeper penetration with—otherwise--the same-performing bullets.
I carry Cor-Bon 115-grain +P JHP (1350 f/s, 4” bbl, maybe 1300 from my shorter gun) in my Kahr; 9” of penetration, one-shot stops with a hit to the body cavity ~90% of the time (about as well as you can do with the 9mm, which is the least-powerful fully-adequate cartridge for serious self-defense, in my long-and deeply-considered opinion), and good accuracy—except that around home where I have neighbors in all directions to not injure, the magazine in the gun is loaded with Glaser Silver. Penetration is not what I’d like, except directly from the front; but shredding a volume of tissue about the size of a 16-oz beer can should get a perp’s attention even if he’s on PCP, and it will go through fewer walls—and so neighbors--than anything else I consider adequate.
9mm bullets lighter than 115 grains rarely penetrate adequately. The 147 grain is way too slow, usually under-loaded so they don’t always even function the pistol reliably, least kinetic energy, least likely to expand, and then not much, and most likely to over-penetrate There seems to be a threshold somewhere between 1200 and 1300 f/s where cavitation (splash cavity, temporary cavity) starts to contribute to the size of the permanent wound cavity—tissue is liquefied and splashed sideways fast enough to crush and tear the surrounding tissue, and you get a wound larger than the expanded bullet. At less than the speed of sound, bullets have to be >.40 caliber to work well; at only 830 f/s, the .45 ACP only works because it is a .45. Otherwise, it is just a scaled-up .380.
Nine-em-em is easy to shoot, and so easy to shoot accurately; the least expensive of all centerfire cartridges, so you can afford more practice; and with the right loads JUST enough gun to stop a human attacker with a single hit to the body cavity 90% of the time. The best you can do with any handgun seems to be 96%: the least effort with which you can do that is a 135 grain .40 S&W at 1350 f/s (Cor-Bon). But don’t take my word for it. Consult a real expert, like Evan Marshall.
Good review, Eric, even if I can't share your enthusiasm for 115 grain loads. But sorry, John, O., you clearly are the one who doesn't know what your are spouting off at such length about. You are way out of your depth, and decades out of date. Almost everything you wrote is, to some significant degree, wrong. Wrong.
First of all, the penetration in ballistic gel does NOT equal penetration in human flesh inch-for-inch, as you clearly think. It is closer to 1-inch of flesh for several inches of gel. (I'll leave it to you to find more precise equivalents as you pursue your real education in terminal ballistics.). Get that straight before you try to do anything else. This why, for instance, that 12-inches of gel penetration is a reasonable minimum.
You need to also realize that handgun bullets are all about the same in that they do not move fast enough to bring the mechanics we see with rifle bullets to bear in creating wounds. There is no borderline somewhere around 1200 to 1300 fps. That's pure imagination. Wishful thinking, John. The threshhold is much higher.
As a long-time professor of biomedical science, I can tell you that while Marshall and Sanow's work was certainly well-intentioned, it fails on virtually every count to pass muster as any sort of "science". NO respected journal would publish their work. They wasted a lot of time and paper, and hurt real discussion of facts in terminal ballistics. Their work has been fully discredited and set aside in all serious ballistics discussion, just as is the use of meaningless media such as wet newsprint. We need to let their errors die a quiet desth ASAP.
I don't doubt your opinion is long- and deeply-considered, which is great. But you should try to bring some current science into your thinking, and be willing to move forward. It was tough for many to abandon the idea that the Earth was at the center of the solar system, but as that happened to be the fact of the matter, those people had to adjust to the truth or find themselves left behind. So, are you going to get on the bus? Or just stay wedded to your out-dated ideas, which are contrary to the facts?
For instance, +P or not +P (or +P+) is not relevant to the discussion; proven performance is. It is surprising how many loadings do about the same in terminal performance in standard and +P loadings.
Seen a lot of shootings at the biomedical lab, have ya? You're a funny guy! Also funny is how you seek to belittle folks and projectile vomit generalities, but offer zero examples of what works better and why. Must be some REALLY good science happening in your lab. A lot of vicarious shooting anecdotes and recreational pharmaceuticals floating around? Very direct and to the point you are- NOT! Go take a hike, Brian- men are talking here.
What works better, Nigel, are facts and science. Examples? Easy. HSTs and Gold Dots pretty much own a majority of the the police market due to their excellent street performance, as was predicted in the lab. (NYPD and some of the French just fully jumped on board.) Civilians can safely buy either, or even the top performers from Winchester or Remington. Marshall and Sanow continue to slide further into a well-deserved oblivion. Your attempt to earn points by juvenile name calling should follow suite, because it just shows you to be an idiot.
I'm a diehard .40 S&W guy, but not for the ridiculous "energy transfer", "hydrostatic shock", and "knockdown power" myths you are espousing. No pistol round (save maybe hot 10mm and .454 Casull) has "knockdown power" or "hydrostatic shock" potential. That's what a rifle is for.
Regardless, your meandering rant avoids the actual mechanism through which handguns incapacitate/kill quickly: central nervous system damage, or severe damage to crucial organs.
Velocity is practically irrelevant until you get over 1500fps (preferably 2k). Shot placement + sufficient penetration to reach vital organs + max expansion is all that matters. In that order. Shot placement with handguns trumps all. 12-18" in gelatin does not directly translate to that same distance in living tissue; that number was decided upon based on comparison of the cartridges used in real life debilitating shots then being tested in gelatin.
The gelatin exists to provide a COMPARISON medium between different rounds, as it is neither practical nor ethical to test competing cartridges on living targets. 16" gelatin penetration should not be taken as a guarantee of it's practical human penetration; it should be taken to indicate that with proper shot placement, it will do the job on a grown man.
"....with the right loads JUST enough gun to stop a human attacker with a single hit to the body cavity 90% of the time....."
Love to know where you're pulling that stat from.
Hammer, You can be sure he pulled that little bit of "wisdom" right from Marshall and Sanow; that's the sort of lingering damage those guys have done to discussions of terminal ballistics. The real question is, what did Marshall and Sanow have to do their data to make claims like that in the first place! One of them knew just enough stats to be dangerous.
Too often, we still have to shovel their cherry-picked and mis-conceived work out of the way before any real discussion can start. You and Conner H did just that! But I am sure you both had a lot more to add if this discussion hadn't required putting M&S (once again, sigh) to bed. It is a shame to see people wasting their time on junk "science".
I've put at least 1000 rds of American Eagle 115 through my M&P9c without a single malfunction. It's a really great range choice!
Nice...glad to hear, Stephen!
Curious why Hornady ammo not considered. My favorite for "defense" purposes in ..45 APC, .9 and .380. A bit costly for range use.
do you have federal critical duty pistol ammo 147 GRAIN +P ON SALE
Hi Ellwood, you'll have to check the links, we don't sell any ammo or guns on our site.
Is SIG Sauer® Elite Performance Ammunition good ammo for SD?
See lucky gunner ammo test results. But generally yes, Sig's ammo performs above average in most calibers, and very well in some.
I own three glocks, 17,26,and sf21. I also own a kel-technical sub 2000 with glock 9mm reliever. I love the 9mm round because it shoots clean and reliable. I shoot my glock 17 at the range and it is a great 9mm eater. My glock 26 is used for concealed carry and I recommend it for any cc. My clock sf21 is my nightstand gun. My kel-tec sub 2000 is just fun to shoot and eats 9mm like candy. The 9mm is a trusted round for range or self defence. My carry 26 is loaded with hollow points but shoot plenty a 9s through it ato the range. 9mm is perfect for practice or purpose.
Eric, what is the difference between a 9mm round and a 9mm Luger round? I'm a few weeks away from attaining my first 9mm Glock. Thanks
Hi John, they are the same round. You'll see it as 9mm, 9mm Luger, 9mm Parabellum, or 9x19mm.
There's other rounds with 9mm projectiles, but chances are if you see a bare 9mm...it's the one we listed above.
Thanks for the reply Eric. Your site is helping me a lot. Cheers
All ammo test that I have seen rate stopping power. I would like to see a test rating control vs stopping power. My wife shoots a Ruger LCR. Using standard 38 loads in this light piece she can't hit the side of a barn. I loaded some 110 grain wadcutters with 3 1/2 grains of Bullseye. She can group this load in a teacup. I think 2 or 3 hits with this light load would do more to discourage an attacker than all the sound an fury of bullets whizzing past his ears.
"Control" is a subjective term. I find .380 in most blowback snappier than 9mm in most subcompact locked breach firearms. The reason you don't see tests like that is because of the difficulty of testing felt recoil. Unless you have the exact same gun as the tester, the results may or may not be accurate.
If she's fixed on a revolver, the 357 LCR weighs a good bit more, and loaded with .38 would be more controllable. However, a semi-auto pistol will ALWAYS be more controllable than a revolver, because the slide soaks up a significant portion of the recoil. I might suggest a Ruger EC9S or S&W Shield, both have notably lower recoil than my LCD, even with stronger rounds.
Was surprised how easy to control 115 grain 9 mm is in the Ruger EC9s I recently purchased and have taken to the range twice. I still don't know how Hickock 45 does it ... but at 10 yards I can at least keep all in a 5" circle ... and I'm getting better. This, after being spoiled by a Gold Cup all these years.
Whats the difference between hp and jhp . Feder hydra shok comes in hollow point too.
Hi Joe, good question...HP stands for hollow point while JHP stands for jacketed hollow point. Almost all good self-defense ammo is JHP while there's some unjacketed lead hollow points in revolver calibers (such as .38 Special).
New to your site and enjoying the articles. I was looking for informational videos for Glock mods when I came across PPT. You have tested and recommended what you consider the best 9mm SD round. I am curious to know which 45acp rounds you would recommend and why you didnt mention the 45 for sd? (I realize the 9 would be easier to handle for a beginner shooter and I do have a Taurus PT 92 that was my duty weapon and has never failed me.) My edc and primary home defense is the Glock 30SF. Not criticizing whatsoever, I am enjoying your info and just curious to hear your ideas on the 45. Thank you.
Thanks for reading! And of course I can go over why I prefer 9mm over .45...
-Price per round: Roughly 2-1 ratio which means I can buy much more ammo to train with at the range
-Recoil: I'm definitely better at follow-up shots with a 9mm when compared to a .45 even in my heavy 1911's. Plus now I'm recently married...the wife can shoot the Glock 17 relatively easily while she hates the .45.
-Technology of new hollow points: The results of the HST speak for themselves.
-Capacity: 17 for my Glock 17 vs 13 for the .45 Glock
I'll be writing a .45 self defense ammo article soon...but it will almost likely lean towards Federal HST as well.
Really great site!!! we are of the similar mindset with our passion for firearms. I recently purchased a S&W M&P .45 and really like the way it shoots. I put 100 rounds through it at 10 yards and was pleasantly surprised at the the accuracy of the groups and mild recoil, but wow what a powerful firearm. I am going to equally enjoy this along with my modest collection of 9mm.
Very insightful information that the novice and expert can both understand. Keep up the good work!!!