Choosing good personal defense ammunition
Ken [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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It’s vital that you choose good self-defense ammo for your handgun, but how to do that? How do you know which ones are only OK and which ones excel?

There are a few basic criteria for picking a good self-defense ammunition for your handgun.

First, it must be expanding.

Choosing good personal defense ammunition
Credit: Oleg Volk/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA
This is important, as over-penetration of a bad person can lead to subsequent penetration of other people. That’s why it’s a bad idea to use full metal jacket (range) ammunition in a concealed carry or home defense gun.

Every bullet you fire in defense of yourself has a lawyer attached to it, so you’re responsible for what happens once it leaves your gun. Therefore, don’t be responsible for shooting someone other than an attacker.

Ideally, self-defense ammunition will have a blend of effective penetration and expansion. It should penetrate to sufficient depth to compromise vital structures, but also expand enough to dump its energy into the target and come to a stop.

Don’t listen to anything you hear about “stopping power.” Handguns don’t have any (relatively speaking). Newton’s Third Law dictates that a gun has to produce enough force to knock YOU down through recoil to produce enough force to do the same to a bad guy. To get that, you need an elephant gun.

To sum up, you want expanding ammunition because it’s less likely to go through the target, but it needs enough penetrative ability to hit something that matters. Placement will take care of the rest, which is what you learn to do with shooting practice – it’s just as much about where your self-defense ammo goes as it is about which kind you buy.

Choosing good personal defense ammunition
Credit: US Navy/Wikimedia Commons
Secondly, pick ammunition that will function reliably in your gun. This will mean having to spend a few dollars to find the brand that your firearm appears to “like” best. It will also require you to shoot some self-defense ammunition at the range, which – yes – is a bit expensive.

However, once you find the brand that your gun likes, stick with it.

Some guns will feed darn near anything, but some pistols are a bit more particular to certain brands. Note the ones that seem to feed best and most reliably in your pistol.

Note also how close the pistol/ammo combination patterns relative to your practice ammunition. You want to use ammunition that prints as close to your typical box of hardball as possible.

My carry gun feeds most hollow points pretty well, but I’ve noticed that Winchester PDX1 tends to hit closest to the point of impact of the typical range ammo I buy (Blazer Brass, if you’re curious; it’s $9 at the store nearest me) so that’s what I carry.

Those are the basics. It has to be expanding and it has to work in your gun. So, how to go about picking one?

Choosing good personal defense ammunition
Speer Gold Dot ammunition. Credit:

You also should select a brand/box of ammunition that has some sort of track record of success in the real world. It’s all well and good to buy the newest tactical hotness made by some bunch of cowboys in a turnip shed somewhere, but ammunition is a tool and one that you really need to count on to work.

This is where things get complicated. You have to do your own legwork, and make the best decision you can. You will not have complete information.

I don’t know to a certainty that my carry ammunition will work as I need or want it to. However, Winchester has been making ammunition for a very long time and their products are pretty darn good.

The PDX projectile – meaning the bullet itself – is the same one that’s been used in Winchester’s premium JHP for ages, from Black Talon to Ranger T Series. It’s proven, or at least is as proven as a bullet can be. While there are no guarantees, I can reasonably expect it to work.

Plenty of testing data is out there, though you should be aware of its limitations. Ballistic gelatin is an imperfect simulant of human tissues; in fact, ballistic gelatin uses the aggregate density of all human tissue.

In other words, it’s the average of bone, skin, blood and muscle density. Per a conversation I had with Chris Laack, head of handgun ammunition development for Vista Outdoors (that’s who makes Federal and Speer and many more) at SHOT Show, the correlation seems to be about a 2:3 ratio. If a bullet penetrates 12 inches in gel, it will penetrate 8 inches in a person. So bear that in mind when you look at testing results, such as that done by Lucky Gunner Labs or ShootingTheBull410.

For my money, the best ammunition testing is done by YouTube personality Paul Harrell, who uses an actual Meat Target. He’s incredibly thorough. Here’s his take on overpressure ammunition, just to give you an idea of his testing procedures.


The conventional wisdom is (or at least used to be) that you find out what your local cops are carrying and get that, which is actually not bad advice.

For one, it’s what the professionals use, so why shouldn’t you? Secondly, the occasional prosecutor has been known to question ammunition choice in the wake of a self-defense shooting.

Usually the idea is that if a person selected a particular type of bullet – such as jacketed hollow points – they clearly intended to kill someone. According to Massad Ayoob, you can easily retort by stating “Well counselor, the police use this same brand and type of ammunition to protect people, so I thought it would be a good idea to get the same kind to protect myself and my family.”

So what do cops carry?

Police officers almost universally carry jacketed hollow points. There are a number of alternative bullet styles – which I’ll get to momentarily – but JHP reigns supreme among law enforcement at the local, state and federal level, from the FBI on down. It’s the most common kind of self-defense ammo.

What brands, specifically?

Federal HST, Remington Golden Saber, Speer Gold Dot and Winchester Ranger are most prevalent. The ammunition industry makes “law-enforcement only” ammunition, but it’s typically no different than what you can buy at Cabela’s. Additionally, some retailers sell it to civilians, though you’ll have to do some hunting online.

However, there’s something you should know. The typical police officer carries a duty pistol such as a Beretta 92, GLOCK 17 or SIG P226. The typical civilian carries a compact semi-automatic, with many preferring a subcompact. Why that’s important is that not all self-defense ammunition is made to function well in pistols with short barrels.

Choosing good personal defense ammunition
Credit: Rickochet/Wikimedia Commons
This isn’t exactly news. Police officers noticed many years ago that loads like the standard 158-grain lead semi-wadcutters in .38 Special +P functioned well enough when fired from their, say, Colt Police Positive, S&W Model 10 or Ruger Service Six, but wouldn’t do well when fired from, say, a Colt Cobra or J-frame snubby.

A truncated barrel also truncates muzzle velocity, and the thing about expanding ammunition is that – depending on its design – it may not work below a certain threshold of velocity. Therefore, if you carry a small pistol, such as a Smith & Wesson Shield, GLOCK 43 or Ruger LC9s (or for that matter, a .380) select a load that’s designed for a short barrel.

But what about RIP rounds, frangibles and other types of novelty self-defense ammunition?

I had the pleasure of talking to the guys from G2 Research at SHOT Show. They do test their ammunition, so they don’t just make stuff up. From what I gathered, they do their best to make a quality product that does what they assert that it does. I imagine if I’d been able to talk to other ammunition makers of some of the similar alternative bullet design styles, it would be the same story.

All the information I’ve absorbed about ammunition and terminal performance leads to me to conclude the following:

The really popular styles of ammunition for practical purposes, including self-defense and hunting, are the most popular for a reason in most instances. They’ve been proven to work reliably and – at this stage in the game – it isn’t terribly likely that the wheel is getting reinvented anytime soon.

Incremental improvements will happen, but JHP has been shown again and again to be the best choice for self-defense ammunition in a handgun.

If my mind changes on this front, I’ll fess up about it.

It seems like you have to do some homework to find a good carry load, doesn’t it? Well, you really should. There’s a lot of different brands and boxes of self-defense ammunition out there, and lots of claims about each one. So doing a bit of homework first is a good idea.

Disagree with any of this? Just angry in general and want to rant? Have you finally accepted that blue cheese is superior to ranch in every application? Sound off in the comments.

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  1. Personally I am really liking the Winchester USA Ready line of ammunition. It has great function in my S&W Plus Performance and the online ballistics tests I’ve seen on YouTube give me confidence if I ever really need to utilize it’s design.

    • I see around it but haven’t shot it. I rarely trust pro reviews because most are just paid ads. Good to see an opinion from a real person. Thanks.

      • What ammo to carry for self defense is simple – Federal HST, if you have a sub compact get the micro variant as it is specifically designed for <3" barrels.

        I've had 2 coroners (one being Graham Hetrick from "I speak for the dead") tell me they are the most effective rounds, these are guys who study what the rounds to to human beings not ballistic gell.

        As for "dont listen to anything you hear about stopping power, it doesn't exist." That is idiotic… shoot a grisly bear with .22 snake shot then tell me you don't wish youd have a 10mm on your hip.

  2. I go to the pasture and find the gnarliest looking bull I can find and shoot it dead square in the ass. If it dont turn around and turn me into prairie pizza I consider them a viable choice.

      • Or in your own back yard, if legal. Varmints mess with my wife’s bird feeders, she says kill ‘em. I’ve sent a hundred pounds of rogue coon to the landfill this past year. A pellet down the ear canal from the rifle, a Sig V-Crown, Winchester Talon, or Golden Saber Bonded to center mass, or various .22s to the head, all effective.

        • Never had one in a pot pie, but young coons that grew up in sweet corn country are tasty when baked in mushroom gravy. Dark red meat, with a flavor similar to muskrat, of all things. However, canine distemper is a thing around here.

  3. Always interesting to read about ammo selection. However….

    Round nose bullets apparently were effective long before reliable hollow point bullets were a thing. From what I have read, the Walter PPK was lethal enough with solid bullets; compact, .380 or 9mm. Based on that, even range ammo would seem an effective choice.

    When it comes to self-defense ammo, do we just automatically make excellent the enemy of good?

    • Round nose bullets are more likely to overpenetrate, which endangers people on the other side of the bad guy, and wastes energy that it would be better to apply to the bad guy’s internal organs.

      But expanding ammo isn’t necessarily a requirement. The benefits of expanding ammo are that it creates a wider wound cavity and stops in the target. But HPs can sometimes fail to expand, because they don’t have enough velocity or get clogged with clothing and create a narrow hole all the way through the target and out the back. Hornady fills their HPs with rubber to prevent clogging, making expansion more consistent, assuming the bullet exceeds the required minimum velocity.

      It is possible to get the benefits of expansion without needing to expand. Lehigh’s Xtreme Penetrator and Defender, which have a solid copper flat nose carved out to look like a “+”, use the fluids in a target to create cavitation. I carry it in my .380, because I can’t be certain an HP will expand with the slow velocity. For 9mm, I have a lifetime supply of Federal HST, otherwise, I’d try out the Lehighs.

      • “I’d try out the Lehighs.”

        Thanx for the idea. Read an article in Dec 2019 that Lehigh was developing a “defender” round in .22. Just looked at the website, and .22 is not yet listed. Will keep an eye out.

        • For a long time up here it was the only defensive ammo in stock over the last 16 odd months. It does seem to be a bit more forgiving in feeding in various forms of 9mm than some hollow points. Haven’t needed to use it for intended purposes so no real world effectiveness observations but I have no worries that it would jam up any more than fmj.

    • I think this recent trend of referring to FMJ as “range” or “target” ammo is pretty stupid. Like the ammo is somehow ineffective at anything but punching paper.

      I’m gonna take a wild guess and say this author probably has a few thousand rounds for his AR stocked for the SHTF… and I’m willing to bet it’s all FMJ, and he didn’t spend a couple bucks per round to get hollow point or expanding 5.56 rounds.

      5.56 FMJ will kill you just like .45 or 9mm FMJ will. Sure expanding ammo is a better choice for carry but that doesn’t mean FMJ now strictly is relegated to “range only” status.

      • “Sure expanding ammo is a better choice for carry but that doesn’t mean FMJ now strictly is relegated to “range only” status.”

        We certainly agree.

      • AR’s don’t need expanding ammunition.
        5.56 produces fragmentation in the target.
        Only in the thinnest of targets ( think Somali “skinnies” ) does it t pass through without fragmenting.
        Military ball ammunition in an AR is quite deadly

    • I think it has more to do with the lawyer next door than being a good or bad round (choice). At least in Illinois.

      • “I think it has more to do with the lawyer…”

        Reckon a lawyer would have a steep, uphill, row to hoe regarding a standard, round-nosed bullet proving an intent to do horrible damage, or itching to kill. The .38SPL round was created in 1902. The public (jury pool) believe expanding/fragmenting bullets are destroyers of worlds.

  4. I have watched most all the Paul Harrell videos, some more than once, especially the ammo videos. I very much recommend you do the same. My main carry guns are in 9mm and 380 and PH has done several videos on ammo choices

    • Scrolled down here to say the same. I really like Mr. Harrell’s videos. Might be a bit dry for some viewers’ tastes, but he really does present facts well while blending in his opinions.

      • @ (john hussey) and (I Haz a ?) yes lots of great information weapons videos, and Paul Harrell “has taken care of a couple of bad actors in his personal” life besides his military background…..

  5. “Based on that, even range ammo would seem an effective choice”

    it was, and may be again. but modern considerations are the target being hopped up on drugs and not responding normally to gunshots, overpenetration of the target involving non-targets, and weapon control for follow-on shots. other considerations are after-action issues such as doctors not liking getting their fingers sliced open when probing for “high performance” bullets such as black talon.

    grid down no-one will care and it’ll be whatever you got.

    • Hardball and small calibers didnt do much good against the drugged up Moro’s.
      .45 leaves bigger holes, 9mm hollow points do too.

      • “Hardball and small calibers didnt do much good against the drugged up Moro’s.”

        The tribal legend is that the power of the .38 rounds of the day were to blame. Allegedly, the .45 caliber ammunition solved the problem. Note: both bullets were round nose at the time.

        If hole size is the determinant, then .500 is the only serious handgun bullet. But somehow, the .22 bullet seems to annually rank near the top for fatal wounds.

        But are we not in the situation where the bullet calibre best for self-defense is whatever calibre one can reliably, and rapidly control?

        • Read up on the Moros. Between fanatical belief and good old fashioned drugs there were plenty of instances where even .30-40 Krag and 12 bore had trouble putting them down.

          The reason the .22 figures near the top of the list is that it’s available. Both firearms and ammo.

          If I remember correctly Sam you only own a .22 pistol. So any killing you do will be with a .22. A lot of folks only own a .22.

        • “somehow, the .22 bullet seems to annually rank near the top for fatal wounds”

          it does, for fatal wounds. but short term, during the engagement, .22 is not the best choice for “stopping the attack”. your assailant dying in the hospital is pointless if he manages to kill or injure you first.

        • jwm Afghanistan/Iraq had a few instances of meth/opium/allah fanatics not dropping on the first few shots. When I got into the reading a decade ago the pistol failures were similar to the past issues of absent a cns hit the crazies would keep coming until blood pressure dropped enough to result in pass out. For the rifle the estimated range of impact was typically greater than 200m and often substantially greater (think from a SAW) where the velocity of 5.56 had fallen off enough to be substantially less traumatic on impact. I remember used to have the links but no idea if it is still up.

      • hard to go wrong with a .45…no matter what kind of bullet you’re using….also partial to anything that shoots more than one slug..(Judge?)…actually hitting something is more important than missing with the best ammo…..

        • My friend’s various 1911’s were all finicky on hollow point’s. With that said .45 fmj and hardball are typically pretty effective all things considered so as long as it cycles I have no argument against the caliber.

  6. 1 buy the same type of ammunition that your handgun is chambered in
    2 make sure it functions reliably in the weapon
    3 dont lose any sleep over it or get into any heated arguments with anybody about anything else in the matter

  7. “I buy (Blazer Brass, if you’re curious; it’s $9 at the store nearest me)” …..When was the last time you bought ammo? Currently Copper is $4.30 LB & Lead is about $1 LB so ammo prices aren’t going down anytime soon.

  8. “The typical police officer carries a duty pistol such as a Beretta 92, GLOCK 17 or SIG P226. The typical civilian carries a compact semi-automatic, with many preferring a subcompact.”

    Police are also civilian.

    • They dont seem very civil to me. In fact their down right rude.

      I wish that cop could have caught this cat, he wanted an all black one, but it ran under the cabinets and got away.
      I believe he must have thought he was in a drug bust or something, he was going to tear the cabinets apart to get to it. I had to say , ” Hold on there a minute buddy, thems my cabinets your a busting up there.”
      Lesson learned, never let a cop in your house even if it’s to get a give away cat.

  9. Mine are loaded for the biggest thing I might have a problem with. Around here that would generally be a big hog or a cow. If a bullet goes clean through either, it will probably work on anything smaller.

  10. Federal HST, Hornady Critical Duty/Defense, Speer Gold Dot, and Remington Ultimate Defense is where I would recommend going with this.

    Beretta92’s are used by more than LEO. You can’t go wrong with a .357 revolver though.

  11. “You can’t go wrong with a .357 revolver though.”

    Common opinion, but severely limited in practicality. Such a handgun is age and condition dependent. A 10+ first trigger pull is not a safety feature at my age, it is an insurmountable barrier. Taking time to cock the hammer (with the other hand, not the gun hand thumb) is its own complication.

    There is no “single-best” under all circumstances. Knowing the capabilities of all the handgun ammo is a good thing to pursue. Knowing what one can depend on (gun and ammo) is capital.

      • “when you’re genuinely scared trigger pull won’t matter….”

        Adrenaline is a remarkable muscle-enhancer…

      • “when you’re genuinely scared trigger pull won’t matter….”

        Age-dependent. Not sure there are too many reports of frightened oldsters gaining strength when frightened; could be, don’t think so.

        Add “genuinely scared” to the equation, and muzzle control might be grossly lacking. Since it is difficult to replicate being “genuinely scared” at the range, or dry-firing at home, an oldster likely would only remember that they cannot pull the trigger reliably, adding to the “scared” state.

        • If you are still using semi automatics and have any trouble with loading magazines look into the UpLULA (magazine loader). Really opened up a lot of options for my wife (and her friends) and several of the older shooters in my area.

  12. If I have a handgun that is ammo sensitive I don’t keep it long. If it chokes on the only brand of ammo you can lay hands on you’re screwed.

    • True. I have one firearm that is finicky on ammo so it is demoted to range toy. I still enjoy it but definitely not what I keep at hand.

  13. @jwm
    “there were plenty of instances where even .30-40 Krag and 12 bore had trouble putting them down.”

    Yes, I’ve read the stories/histories. However, the conventional wisdom is that the .45 round was king. My point being that round nose bullets were effective long before HP arrived. Simply dismissing round nose ammunition as being useless is, well, useless.

    Yes, Beretta Neos, .22. Maybe I need to trade and move up to something neat looking that sports .22mag.

  14. Sorry, if you gun doesn’t like mainstream ammo of one kind or another, it is not a quality weapon. The problem with this kind of article is they talk in such generalities as to make the article mostly useless. I use the Lucky Gunner gelatin penetrations for determining what hollow points to choose. It is about the most unbiased data you can generally find online. Unlike most, I do carry a full-size handgun.

  15. ant7

    “your assailant dying in the hospital is pointless if he manages to kill or injure you first.”

    Indeed, but there is no handgun ammo that can unquestionably guarantee that won’t happen.

    .22 remains better than wetting your pants and dying anyway.

    • “.22 remains better than wetting your pants and dying anyway”

      (nod) yeah. and since .9 of all gun-involved encounters are resolved without a shot being fired, it’s good to have anything at all.

      • have to wonder how much of a deterrent a NA mini would be if you produced it…might just make him laugh…seeing is believing…sometimes something big and mean-looking might be enough to make him think twice…and go away…

        • At arm-grappling length?

          An NAA .22lr is a man-stopper in the noggin…

  16. “since .9 of all gun-involved encounters are resolved without a shot being fired”

    Yeah, but that requires finding a .9 calibre firearm; the holy grail of gun owners.

  17. If you stay generic enough, choosing the same thing as local LEOs are issued (JHP) will suffice.

    But as you note, LEOs’ barrels are longer. Also, the FBI Protocol standards include barrier penetration, which is either immaterial or detrimental for situations I can reasonably anticipate. So for example, Hornady’s Critical Duty® is very different from their Critical Defense® – different bullet design, different bullet weights, different chamber pressures, likely different powders with different burn rates. They even highlight the differences.

    If a prosecutor, or an attorney representing the assailant’s family, isn’t satisfied with the generic “JHP” and asks why I didn’t choose the exact same SKU as issued to the local government employees, I would have to answer I couldn’t find any because of the ammo drought.


    • …and that’s where it is right now.

      Better than the imaginary gun you own… 🙂

  19. If you don’t already have it, it will be expensive and you’ll take what you can find.

    My Academy sports had Sierra HP with those Sig bullets for $1 a round.

    I base my choice on the old Marshall/Sanow work and also look at the Lucky Gunner Labs stuff.

    I also watch several folks videos (TN Outdoors, Paul Harrell, Shooting the Bull410, and Discreet Defense).

    I often carry Remington Golden Sabre (1980s tech) in 9mm, 38, and 357. It is also what my wife carries in her 43.

    I got a couple thousand rounds several years ago at a good price – $18/50.

    I also have a couple thousand rounds of 9BPLE as it usually was around $16/50 before the Covidity. I usually carry this in my 43 and 26.

    I like having a round this is cheap enough to do some practice on a regular basis.

    Looks like Gold Dot 9mm are the most prevalent at the best price ($40/50) right now – so thats what I would get if I was looking now.

    If you’re pistol is finicky on ammunition – you should get a new pistol.

  20. I’m going to rock the boat a bit & disagree w/ some of what the author wrote. If your firearm can cycle hps and if it can move them fast enough to provide adequate expansion and penetration and you do not need the greater penetration that comes w/ a solid then hps are probably a good idea.

    If your gun hiccups on the occasional hp where it does not w/ fmjs then fmj it is. If you got a mouse gun then it needs all the penetration help it can get. Even Paul H. stated in one of his vids that for a .38 snubby it might just be better to go fmj.

    Wound channel diameter makes a very small difference but hps do make nastier words. A flat nosed bullet that expands moderately or not at all would be a compromise.

    Many firearms instructors are cops or were. There is definitely group think going on when it comes to over penetration. It is way over hyped. When was the last time you heard of someone being shot by a bullet that plowed through someone else? It is uncommon to the point of rare. The spine, scapula, and ribs are on the way out and I want to hit those too. If you pull the trigger there is always a good chance you might miss and a stray bullet is even more dangerous then one that has already plowed through. Besides hollow points don’t guarantee a bullet won’t pass through.

    Hps do have merit for sd encounters but so do solids.

  21. “Don’t listen to anything you hear about “stopping power.” Handguns don’t have any (relatively speaking). Newton’s Third Law dictates that a gun has to produce enough force to knock YOU down through recoil to produce enough force to do the same to a bad guy. To get that, you need an elephant gun.”

    Yes, it’s a reprint. I remember there was a big brew-ha-ha in the comment section over internal vs terminal ballistics over that quote.

  22. Not trying to be a horse’s arse, but it comes naturally.
    In the first pic of the Navy personnel practicing on the firing line…
    Holy crap¡!, almost every single sailor exhibits “the newbie lean”, and most display less than adequate grip. Now of course, they’re sailors, they shoot rockets, misses and 16” guns. Pistols are NOT in their wheel house so to speak. That said, I wouldn’t mind having a nice positive discussion with The Man In The Red Shirt (Drill Instructor?).
    I can only hope that picture does not represent current training protocol.

    And yes, i have street cred, LoL. I am a firearms instructor & RSO. I do not have my nose in the air about this. But felt the need to point out the obvious flaws in training these staff members.

  23. Prosecutor: “And why did you choose the type ammunition that you did to load your gun with?”

    Me: “It was on sale and I had a gift card to Academy.”

    Prosecutor: “Err…what brand was it?”

    Me: “Heck if I know, I bought it like 3 years ago.”

    • Prosecutor: “And why did you choose the type ammunition that you did to load your gun with?”
      Me: If it’s good enough for the FBI, It’s good enough for Me…By the way where did you get that tie…Off a Dead manikin at Target.

  24. I agree with No Ones Home..A PMR , 30 sure has the mag capacity, is lightweight for everyday carry, and loaded with Hornady Critical Defense 45 grain 22 WMR, which are designed to work well in short to medium barrel handguns for maximum performance..My PMR 30 has a micro red dot sight on the slide and I would not be afraid to use it in a real world gun battle..But to each his own. There is no such thing as the “Perfect Handgun” and perfect ammunition, it’s all in the eye of the beholder..That being said, I do agree that for the masses, a good, reliable 9mm mid sized Simi Auto loaded with Speer Gold Dots, Hornady Critical Duty, Federal HST, or Winchester Ranger LE ammo would be hard to beat, especially using +P loads.

    • in the end it’s just a pistol..the primary requisite is that it actually work when you need it to…yes, i’ve got all sorts of exotic rds..multiplex, black talon, teflon, steel-core…even exploding ammo…but you have to worry what a prosecutor would do with that if you actually used it…

  25. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. Pick three of the top defense loads (HST, Rem Golden Saber Bonded, Hornady Critical Duty for example) and see which one functions best in your pistol. Take the best one and use that for your personal defense load. Don’t overthink it. Any of the top 5 or 6 is adequate and will get the job done. What counts is reliability in the firearm, and good accuracy.

  26. I use Federal Premium Hydra-Shok Deep in my glocks and sig’s. Had to use it twice since I’ve been loading with it – believe me, the bad guy will not be getting back up when they get hit with this stuff.

  27. @LazrBeam

    “Check out the Underwood ammo site. Good ammo loaded with Lehigh projectiles. They offer JHP’s, too.”

    Thanx for the recommendation.

  28. Hoober: “What brands, specifically? Federal HST, Remington Golden Saber, Speer Gold Dot and Winchester Ranger are most prevalent.”

    All of the above are good. I practice gun control – a firm grip and good sight picture. I use Golden Saber and HST. A friend uses Gold dot.

    We load our own practice rounds – “pulls” from the Fed (HST) and Speer(GD) lines that produce cop ammo. The chrony says my range rounds behave exactly like my personal defense rounds, but at 1/4th of the cost.

    My G17 (9, full-size) and G22 (.40, full-size) don’t know the difference. They eat everything. Summer carry is a bit annoying, tho.

  29. Find a bad guy to volunteer to take a shot. Shoot him with your selected ammo. Ask him (assuming he’s still breathing) if your ammo is effective. If he’s not breathing you’ve got a winner. 😉

    PS: You may need several volunteers to try out the various brands, calibers, bullet design, etc.

  30. This guy’s a broken God… record. Get back to me when you shoot someone in real life, son.


    • I could say the same about you, sir. Hollow points were invented for rifles, and they work because of hydrostatic pressure. Handguns in your average application don’t provide reliable enough velocity to enable hydrostatic pressure to work as intended. A soft lead bullet with a wide flat point will do just as much, if not more, damage as any hollow point, and generally will give better penetration as well. It is simple physics. There are plenty of people out here who have had to shoot someone who know the difference between advertising BS and what really works. You can have all your high speed small caliber hollow points fired from short barreled belly guns. I’ll stick with heavy bullets, large bores, and flat noses at medium velocity.

  31. I think people are getting way too technical. First have a gun and ammo that reliabily feeds and ejects. Most home invasion and attempted robbery defensive gun use incidents are at less than 10 feet. Even a .22 is better than nothing. Through the years, have seen numerous .22 wounds, Not something I would like to have happen. Also, have you heard a 9mm or larger discharge inside a house? The sound volume is stunning. Your ears will be ringing. I would be more concerned with shot placement than any speciality type ammo. Spend more time training than worried about the bullet design.

  32. First rule: you carry what you could find in a store, if at all. Use the more popular brands that seem to have more than one outlet locally, there is depth in the backstock supplying them. The fancy Bulleto of the Month Club you read about on the internet will be different next month and the month after. Don’t bother. It’s what you can find from a reliable source, considering that you might just keep more than box as your own backup. Our latest episode in ammo hoarding should be more than a reminder these things can go on much longer than we thought.

    Jacketed hollow points are standard ammo now, and the potential of being cross examined on the stand is in direct proportion to your proximity to a large metro police department with a liberal DA. Many of us aren’t, and in a lot of cases are resolved by handing back your gun on the spot. It’s just those few cases that get national attention that cause all the concern. LIke, touring the capitol on Jan 6. Don’t be a political target, you won’t get gulag’ed. Goes to exercise some common sense, keep the drills and dremels away from your ammo, and all is good.

    Keep in mind, all that cheap stuff imported at low prices was at one time actual issue ammunition in a foreign country – wars were fought and graveyards dug. It’s nice to have reliable and effective ammunition however, better any ammo than no ammo.


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