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Over the course of the last week, TTAG asked our Armed Intelligentsia to vote for their favorite new products of 2014. Over a thousand readers responded to our call. So now we’re proud to announce TTAG’s Readers’ Choice Award winners for 2014. Our first winner is in the new-for-2014 ammunition category: Winchester’s W Train & Defend ammo. W T&D won the award by an impressive 30 percent margin. And for good reason . . .

As the Winchester press release [below] relates, W T&D ammo “pairs range-ready Train rounds with technology-driven [hollow point] Defend rounds, both designed to limit the recoil felt by the shooter.” The unique selling point: you can’t tell the difference between the rounds when firing. So you can train as you mean to fight. I mean, defend.

Price-wise, Bass Pro Shops sells 50 rounds of 147-grain 9mm WT&D FMJ ammunition for $15.99. Twenty rounds of 9mm 147-grain 9mm JHP Defend ammo will set you back $21.99. So Train & Defend is priced to go. And go it will. Congratulations to Winchester for producing an innovative product recognized by discerning consumers as best of breed.

Here’s the original press release from Winchester:

With the growing number of ammunition choices at the retail counter confronting the influx of first-time gun owners, Winchester Ammunition has created the new W Train & Defend™ brand which provides a straightforward process when choosing training and personal defense rounds.

The W Train & Defend ammunition system is designed to provide threat-stopping power with less recoil to the shooter. The system pairs its range-ready Train rounds with technology-driven Defend rounds, both designed to limit the recoil felt by the shooter. This system provides a perfect solution for new shooters, especially women, who are interested in training to become proficient with their personal defense ammunition.

“The influx of new female shooters to the outdoor/shooting sports category is significant and we are committed to making their experiences positive when it comes to selecting the appropriate gear, which includes ammunition,” said Brett Flaugher, vice president of sales, marketing and strategy. “After an extensive amount of research, we believe this line of quality products will serve a community of new shooters and others who are excited to learn more about target shooting and personal defense, as well as responsible gun ownership.”

The Train rounds of the W Train & Defend system are identified with a prominent “T” on the package. Winchester developed these training loads not only with reduced recoil characteristics, but lead-free primers for improved indoor range acceptance. Packed in 50-count boxes, the Train offerings themselves are also distinguishable from their Defend counterparts with brass shell cases and full metal jacket bullets.

The system’s ballistically-matched Defend rounds are also easily identifiable on the shelf, featuring a prominent “D” in a 20-count package. The high performance rounds were developed for threat stopping power. Utilizing Winchester’s advanced bonding technology, the Defend ammunition features jacketed hollow point bullets and nickel-plated shellcases, making them easily distinguishable from the training ammunition.

The packaging for W Train & Defend ammunition includes relevant data such as bullet type and weight, the caliber and whether the rounds are for training or defense purpose, providing straightforward information in an easy-to-read format.

For more information about Winchester W Train & Defend brand and all Winchester Ammunition products, visit, or connect with Winchester on Facebook at

TTAG Readers’ Choice Awards methodology

The Readers’ Choice Awards poll was conducted using a custom on-line polling application. It presented each respondent with a list of options for each category, pre-selected by TTAG’s editors. Respondents could either select from the list, choose not to respond, or add an additional option at the bottom. Added items were displayed to all subsequent respondents (any item worthy of “Item of the Year” would, in theory, be added fairly quickly by respondents). Items which were not relevant (outside the time frame or irrelevant responses, like “my homemade ammo” for best ammo of the year) were periodically removed; all associated votes for that item in that category were eliminated as well. Respondents were discouraged from voting multiple times by having their IP address recorded and banned from making subsequent responses. The polling period lasted 7 full days and elicited 1,104 responses.


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  1. I must confess to some surprise that this ammunition won the Readers Choice award, as it seems quite dirty compared to most range ammunition, and is the only ammo that ever made my Glock 19 hiccup repeatedly.

    • Didn’t have any hiccups with it personally, but the 147 was so filthy I swore never to shoot it through my silencer again.

    • I tried this ammo out two weekends ago using the their 40 cal training ammo through my USP. I didn’t find it really all that dirty after running through 200 rounds. Carbon build up was pretty minor compared to some other target ammo I have shot and seemed to be on par with their WinClean ammo.

  2. Thanks Nick, good writeup. This helps me rethink primary weapon choice underway for other reasons, settling in on 9mm, by answering a very common question, that makes it KISS.

    One less nitnoid detail, so a noob can concentrate on basics at the range, to be effective.

  3. Not to be Debby Downer or whatever, but Speer did exactly this with their “Lawman” product ~35 years ago. It’s a range use, less expensive FMJ with the same bullet weights and powder loads as their Gold Dot ammo so you can’t feel a difference when shooting it. Practice with cheap ammo that shoots just like your SD ammo. Additionally, Federal has been selling combo packs of range ammo + Hydra-Shok for a long time now and the marketing there (marked “PRACTICE” + “DEFEND” right on the box, which is an awful lot like “Train & Defend”) is exactly the same.

    Not entirely a novel idea here. Good idea? Yeah, absolutely. But I can’t say I understand why this is receiving so much attention when the existing ones, including the Federal which was a recent release, received no such accolades that I noticed.

    • Jeremy, I somewhat agree you! I like the concept, but it does seem like it has now been done by all the other companies as well. At least the Defend round is basically a PDX1. I wish Federal would do it with their HST, not the Hydra-Shok.

      Not to sound cruel, but didn’t TTAG knock Guns & Ammo for awarding this back on November 20th being a “dead tree publication?” ( Seems ironic it won it here . . .

    • Speer took a step towards what Winchester’s doing, but it’s not really the same thing at all.

      Speer made a line of FMJ that was the same weight as what their defensive ammo was.

      Winchester has taken it to the next level in a couple of ways:
      1) they made the bullets the exact same shape. The “Train” FMJ has the same shape, exactly, as the “Defend” hollowpoint. If the “Train” bullets feed in your gun properly, then the “Defend” bullets most definitely will.

      2) Winchester is eliminating all the confusion with their offerings. I mean, Winchester has an outrageously large number of offerings, from the Ranger to the Ranger Bonded and Ranger-T series and the PDX1 and all the others. And then, on top of that, they offer them in all sorts of weights, from 115 to 124 to 127 to 147 and who knows how many other options. Then they make various of them in standard pressure, also in +P, and even at least one in +P+. And some are sold to the public, and some are sold only to law enforcement, and some are sold only to law enforcement except that the distributors go ahead and sell them to the public also. It’s confusing.

      But with their new series, they’re making ONE bullet, ONE weight, ONE pressure. In 9mm, there will only be one offering: 147 grain, standard pressure. No mix ‘n’ match, no confusion. If you use “Train & Defend” in 9mm, every box of “Train” is going to match up with every box of “Defend”.

      So, yes, others have had this idea, but Winchester seems to have perfected it.

      My test of W’s “Train & Defend” will probably be posted next week.

      • Awesome! Glad to hear you will be testing them. I’ve noticed they seem to be loaded “lighter” than the PDX1. The .380 for example is as follows:

        PDX 1 – 1,000 FPS & 211 LB/FT
        Defend – 950 FPS & 190 LB/FT

        Maybe it will penetrate farther and expand less than the PDX 1.

      • Speer’s wasn’t just the same weight, it was also the same pressure (likely the same powder charge and powder type) so they felt and behaved the same. However, I admit that bullet shape was not something I thought of and I hadn’t seen that mentioned in any marketing material at all (which seems like a gross oversight). That makes some sense, though. But other than that it’s nothing new, IMHO. They’re limiting choices to avoid confusion but it isn’t exactly rocket surgery to know you want 115 grn Lawman to match your 115 grn Gold Dot. Still… Speer could market it more strongly and Federal could package something other than old skool Hydra-Shok with its American Eagle. No confusion there, though, since they’re literally in the same package. One reason is likely that Hydra-Shok is a lighter-recoil load so it’s going to match up in feel to Am Eag target ammo, whereas if HST were included in the box it would be snappier even with the same bullet weight and even in standard pressure…

        Thanks for the info, and can’t wait to see the results! But… I doubt I’ll be moving from my 147 grn HST carry load because of it 😉

  4. That’s interesting. I defend (and occasionally train) with Winchester Ranger 40AT and train with Field Time Target and Training reloads. Both are 180 grain, and shoot to a similar POI.

    I didn’t vote due to a technical issue.

  5. 147 grains is on the heavy end for 9mm, which is fine, I guess. I gotta wonder if anyone has chronographed this stuff out of a carbine. Different powders will yield different results as far as the velocity gain from a longer barrel.

    • I don’t have my notes with me, but if I recall correctly out of a 16″ AR they were running at 1050 to 1080 fps making them subsonic. I’ve only chrono’d a couple of supersonic 147 grain 9mm. They were +p or higher.

  6. hmm never heard of this ammo, but then again its been YEARS since i bought factory ammo. oh how i love saying that.

  7. Fairly pricey to “practice” at $0.58/shot (current price I saw on “Practice” per round in 50/box). No comment on the $1.25/round “defend” as hopefully you won’t need to shoot much of that. I’ll continue to practice with my .25-.30/rd 158gr FMJ (Freedom Muni) and Hornady Critical Defense goes back in the chambers waiting to meet a bad guy. (Prices are .38 special- seems high for 9mm too)

    • Why are math skills as rare as, say, grammar skills these days?
      $15.99 per box of 50 works out to roughly $0.32 per round.

      I’ve seen cheaper brass-cased 9mm, but not a lot cheaper. And you’re getting a 147 grain bullet here, not 115.

      • I bought mine at Academy, on sale… don’t remember the exact price paid, but it was cheap enough that I decided to bring ’em home rather than leave them there. I think it was about $15 for the “Defend” ammo (about $0.75 per round) and about $16 or so for the “Train” (box of 50) so about 32 cents apiece. I thought both were reasonably priced.

    • Academy has the W “Train” rounds for $14.99/box. That’s only 30 cents per round, not too bad of a price for factory 147-gr 9mm.

      • Exactly…price. I bought them 6-9 mos ago when 9mm was more scarce and especially name brand 147gr. Also they were speced slow and thought they would remain subsonic in a Keltec S2K.

        I however haven’t shot it yet. Bummer to hear people saying that they run dirty.

  8. I don’t know if it’s been mentioned here, but the winchester train and defend apparently use different powders. They use a low-flash powder in the defend to aid in night vision, but i guess the low-flash is really dirty burning, so they use a different powder in the training ammo that is supposed to be particularly clean, so that it doesn’t make a big mess when you train with it.

  9. It’s a cool concept and all, but the “Defend” ammo is still way overpriced in my opinion. 20 rounds for $22 is not ideal at all. You can get much better deals buying the 50-round LE packs online.

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