Name Your Defensive 9mm Ammo: Everyday Carry Pocket Dump of the Day

Armando Arriaga from Costa Rica says “These are my common choices for EDC for a normal day. I like some redundancy as well as keeping sizes small while covering everything I may need in a day.”

Among his carry items are a Zero Tolerance Hinderer carbon fiber knife and a CJ Knives mini pry bar. His gun of choice is a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield chambered in 9mm.

There have been a lot of 9mm EDCs but people rarely mention their defensive ammo of choice. So I’m asking: what ammo do all you 9mm carry guys prefer?


  1. avatar Sgt of Marines says:

    Hornady Critical Duty 135gr +P

    1. avatar GunnyGene says:

      Same here. Never know when you might need to shoot thru something. 😉

      1. avatar Sgt of Marines says:


        1. avatar GunnyGene says:

          The other part of why I prefer this round is that I get a significant discount on the price from my LGS, which means more bangs for the buck – and that reduces my training/practice expenses, since I believe in practicing with my carry ammo, instead of cheaping out on some low end ammo. 🙂

    2. avatar Mark says:

      THIS^^^!!! Best 9 mm defensive ammo on the planet, which is why it won the FBI contract.

      1. avatar Spitball says:

        Best 9mm ammo on the planet is like fastest go kart or best knife under $8. I keep dropping 9 into the chamber of my .44 Mag and they just slide out the barrel case and all.

        1. avatar TommyJay says:

          I guess you missed the 100 hp super karts that can go 150 mph, and beat many race cars on a twisty track?

        2. avatar Sgt of Marines says:

          Yeah I used to be a .44mag tough guy, carried and qualified 4 times annually for 15years. Now I can barely grip anything very tightly due to damage to both thumbs. Wish I would have learned that lesson before the permanent damage was done.

    3. avatar Sgt Hulka says:


  2. avatar Matthew says:

    Federal HST 124gr out of my SR9

    1. avatar Gilbert Bond says:

      Ditto here. It’s what the local police use.

    2. avatar Rick the Bear says:

      Moi aussi in my 239 or LC9s.

    3. avatar NxSW says:

      Yep, me too from an M&P Shield. I also like Winchester Ranger-T 124gr, but generally I run the HST.

    4. avatar Parnell says:

      Same here in my PPS & P938. Also use their product in 40 & 45

    5. avatar A Brit in TX says:

      Same in my P938.

      Would also use it in my CZ P-07 Duty if I carried that but would also consider Critical Defense 115gr or Critical Duty 135gr.

    6. avatar FedUp says:

      Too bad Vista/Federal is starting to crack down on sellers of low price ‘law enforcement’ 50rd boxes of HST.
      You might be able to keep buying it for $30, but they don’t want you buying it for $20 without ‘first responder’ or military credentials anymore.

      What they really want is for us to pay $20+ for 20rd boxes.
      Because, really, who needs to practice with or even function test the ammo they bet their lives on, unless of course they belong to the privileged classes which makes their lives worth more than yours? 20rd is two more than you need to fill a G17, so who could ask for anything more?

  3. avatar Jason says:

    Jesse james

  4. avatar Rokurota says:

    Speer Gold Dot +P short barrel 124 gr

    1. avatar Jon in CO says:

      I’ve got regular barrel 124+P. That goes in the carry out of the house guns. 147 Gold Dots in the “inside the house” guns. Figured having some subsonics inside would be better for the ears.

      1. avatar Scott says:

        Speer Gold Dot 124 grain +P is standard issue for the NYPD. Considering the freaks they deal with in the urban jungle, it must be good. It’s my 9mm load of choice, too.

  5. avatar Grumpy says:

    Hornady Critical Defense 115 gr FTX. Works best in my Ruger LC9 S Pro.

  6. avatar S.Crock says:

    124 grain standard pressure HST. Great reliable expansion out of any length barrel. Plus it can be had for $23 per box of 50.

    1. avatar Joe in San Antonio says:

      A police friend of mine advised using this ammo. Modern bullet, quick follow up and not excessive recoil.

    2. avatar A Brit in TX says:

      I get mine at Bone Frog Gun Club, currently $19.75 for 50. The +P stuff is also this price.

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        Try buying from Bone Frog this week without proof of government employment.

        In fact, you even provided a link to the web page where it says:
        **Per manufacturer requirements, this product (50 round boxes of P9HST1) is available for purchase by LE and Qualified Customers Only. If you would like to register your credentials with us to purchase this product, please fill out this form.

  7. avatar Josh says:

    147 grain HST is the only 9x19mm I will carry. I even make sure all my family members who have 9mm pistols carry it too.

    1. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

      Federal did a very nice job on the 9mm HST line, reliable expansion regardless of barrel length. 147 here as well

  8. avatar Elliot says:

    Speer 115gr Gold Dot.

  9. avatar Leigh says:

    Any ammo in any gun beats not carrying anything at all… just sayin’…
    HST or Critical Duty…any weight…or whatever works best in your gun.

  10. avatar Cujo9304 says:

    Winchester Ranger 147 gr. It’s worked well for us in several shootings.

    We had the Hornady 135 gr +P for a couple of years. And it did poorly against car bodies. I know the test results say otherwise. But, a Chevy Cobalt and several postal delivery trucks beg to differ…

  11. avatar Darkman says:

    Hornady Critical Defense for the Shield 9 and Hornady Critical Duty for the P89.

  12. avatar Timothy V. Noecker says:

    I Have No Less Than 6 Diferent Boxes From Various Brands and Various Grains – Black Hills, Hornaday Critical Defense, Buffalo Bore, Sig Saur V-Crown, and Barnes TAC XPD.

  13. GDW Legend Pro solid copper hollow points, out of a Bersa TPR9C.

    The GDW Legend Pro is a short-barreled specialist, and it will probably over-penetrate from a full-sized barrel. However, from my “almost-BUG” TPR9C, it’s an incredible expander and penetrator, from what tests I’ve seen run with it.

  14. avatar Michael says:

    Austrian, Hirtenberger, 100gr, truncated cone metal jacket. The 100% exposed flat lead point never touches the feed ramp….good trajectory, low recoil and combat accurate, muzzle velocity somewhere out there way past 1,200 fps from a 4-5 inch bbl. Fed through my Glock 19 and my WW II bringback Radom with no problems at all. Penetrates, tumbles and generally messes up anything you hit and flattens out on wallboard type barriers. Interesting stuff, that’s probably why it doesn’t seem to be imported anymore. Haven’t seen any since the mid ’90s. -30-

  15. avatar Billy Bob says:

    Any I’ve got. I honestly can’t remember a single fail to fire with 9mm. Not one. Lots a 22s, but 9 no.

  16. avatar Chris Morton says:

    Winchester White Box 147gr. JHP

  17. avatar Scott Couch says:

    9mm Federal 124 grain HST in a S&W Shield.

  18. avatar Sean says:

    Winchester Ranger 127gr +p+. If you are going to do something, over do it. Plus, I bought a case of it about a decade ago for an unbelievable price. So, I have plenty of it.

  19. avatar Bob h says:

    When I carry 9mm, Underwood Xtreme Defender +p+. Also have an ammo can full of HSTs of all weights and pressures for my just in case supply 😎

  20. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    HST 124 grain +P in my Shield, or whatever becomes my Winter carry. Number 4 buck in the home defence shotgun.

  21. avatar Big Al says:

    Federal HST, 124 or 147. +P or standard. No contest.

  22. avatar Paul says:

    Surprised no one has said this yet…. 6.5 Creedmoor, for obvious reasons.

  23. avatar Ugly95 says:

    Here in New Jersey it’s illegal to carry a gun. (They dont give out permits) out of 9 million residents there are less than 1,200 legal permits issued. So since I can’t carry a 9mm or a .9mm or a 90mm i carry the very next best thing. I carry a cop.

    1. avatar GunnyGene says:

      That can be dangerous. I’ve heard they have a lot of negligent discharges. 😉

  24. avatar mrbadnews says:


    I know it ain’t popular for carry,.. but why lie about it.

  25. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Federal HST in 124+P.
    Actually HST in all calibers but 10mm since they dot make any for it.

  26. avatar Daniel says:

    As long as its aluminum cased I’m happy with it.

  27. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    the summer carry gun liberty 50gr/ 2000fps (yeah, sure).
    the winter carry gun critical defense.
    house gun critical duty.
    i will try some hst as well.

  28. avatar William W. says:

    Speer Gold Dot 124gr + P SB In a XDs 9mm 3.3in . Otherwise, carry Speer Gold Dot 135gr SB .357mag in a SP-101, 2.25in DAO.for that extra when needed.

  29. avatar bigdaddytexasguns says:

    Rule of thumb use whatever your local PD is using. You can’t go wrong especially if you do have to go to court.

    In my opinion the best are Speer Gold Dot 124 +P, Federal HST 124 +P and if you want more penetration Hornady 135 +P critical duty.

  30. avatar B.D. says:

    All those little pocket tool things like the pry bars and crazy screwdriver attachments you can barely use with two fingers are a terrible edition to anyones EDC… makes me cringe every time I see them. The rest of the EDC can be amazing, but the second I see those things, I’m out.

  31. avatar JoeVK says:

    My wife usually uses the 100gr Hornady Critical Defense Light. I use 115gr Nosler hollow points I picked up on sale pretty cheap at my lgs a while back. I’ve been meaning to get some Critical Duty or Defense, but haven’t gotten around to it.

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