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I have a date with ShootingTheBull410 to test that exact gun with that exact ammo. So we’ll be able to check out the real-world veracity of Wilson Combat’s claim for their custom ammunition. Meanwhile, I fired my X-TAC Compact with 100 rounds each with Wilson and Gold Dot ammo at the range and discovered no discernible difference in accuracy or reliability. Which makes me wonder, does it really matter? With the exception of R.I.P. ammo . . .

I reckon there isn’t a “bad” self-defense round out there. But what do I know? More to the point, what do you know? What ammo and gun combo do you carry or have around the house for home defense? Have you had any bad experience with any cartridge? Spill.

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  1. HK P30 v3 9mm, P9HST1
    a well proven performance combination.

    When it comes to modern, name brand, proven, defensive ammo you’d have to really try hard to find something that sucks. If your chosen firearm eats it reliably then you’re GTG.

    • +1

      Except a PPQ instead of a VP9 for the bedside. And an LC9s Pro on the hip when outside, loaded with the same. STB410 did the work for me in proving HSTs, and they’ve been reliable in the 4 pistols I’ve tested them in.

  2. Hmmm. I would be a lot more than pissed off if I purchased a Wilson Combat compact 1911 and it didn’t work with decent defensive ammo. It should already be “optimized” for HST, Ranger, Critical Duty, Critical Defense, Winchester Defend, PDX, Hornady XTP, etc.

    • I hear you, but in their defense compact semi-autos can be finicky with ammo and it sounds reasonable to me that they may have developed a load dialed-in for that exact weapon.

      The exact chamber pressure to cycle it ideally, etc.

      Now, are they making money on it? Hell yeah.

      I wouldn’t buy it for range ammo or plinking but I would seriously consider it for carry.

  3. Hornady Critical Duty 135gr +P when it’s a 9mm and 90gr Critical Defense for .380ACP
    Hornady 55gr TAP for the closet and truck ARs

  4. Gorden and Sota are both right, in regards to ammo and firearms you pretty much get what you pay for. Cheap-ass ammo in a cheap-ass gun is a recipe for failure. Modern name brand hollow point ammo in a decent firearm that is comfortable for you to use is the way to go.

  5. Glock 20SF with Underwood 165 gr Gold Dots. Not trying to pound my chest but I grew up shooting mostly magnum revolvers and in the G-20 the 10mm isn’t bad at all. Being that I take frequent Jeep trips out in the sticks it makes my choice of firearm for those times easy – same gun as in town.

  6. I hand load for my Five Seven. I test in clear gel. My loads meet the “FBI” criteria and then some and have yet to result in a malfunction. I don’t test in underwater caves, the arctic, or after crawling six miles through level 3 Mongolian dyno-plasmic mud though. I also have some of the Elite Ammo stuff that performs at least as well, also evidenced in a few gel tests from a few sources.

    • Do you, by chance, have a gymnasium in your garage? Your name seems to require it.

      My name implies I eat Cheerios by the handful while watching Saturday morning cartoons.

      • My nom de plume is blatant misnomer and something I stole from a homeless schizophrenic fellow I met once. InactionNeuroticTechnicallyAMan seemed too long and scared me just a little.

  7. S&W Model 60-15 with 3″ barrel in .357 Mag. Loaded with Buffalo Bore Low-Recoil, Low Flash .357.

  8. Well my XD 45 ACP 5′ tactical just hated wolf. 1 in 3 would fail to fire or jam, but that was when the firearm first came out. Itt probably still hates wolf, but, i’m sure more modern versions could eat it. I had an ar that literally fell apart at about the 1,000 round range. (It was an olympic arms) again years ago. Does any of this cont?

  9. G19 Gen3, Hornady Critical Duty 135gr standard pressure. Hoping to get my hands on a Five seveN in the future.

    • My XD .45 shoots Wolf just fine at the range, but I carry with Remington 230 gr hollow points locked and loaded.

  10. oooo ahhhh – Wilson Combat X TAC Compact. Man that thing is HOT. $2785 worth of hot. Like staring at a hot blonde, I can’t get my eyes off it.

    and yeah, IMO, it does matter – with a 1911 (albeit, I’m sure WC less so than most). Each 1911 is like a work of art, or an individual creation, and will have it’s own disposition as such. At least that’s what I’ve found. As far as terminal ballistics, I wouldn’t think so.

    My SR1911 for some reason pukes on PMC JHP, but eats most everything else. Strange.

  11. Baby eagle 2 with 16 rounds of hornady critical defense, inside the house I keep a kimber custom II with 8 rounds of hornady 185 +p hollow points

  12. I’ve been carrying a Colt Rail Gun with 230gr Golden Sabers or PDX1 for a couple years now. It’s not picky like other 1911s I’ve owned though. I’ve run 185gr ZMAX through it and dirty floorboard steel cased ammo and it eats it all. Only thing I worry about is the mag springs getting weak. Someone really needs to make a long lasting and affordable 1911 mag.

  13. Garbage in equals garbage out.

    Sig P938 9mm Cor Bon DPX 115 gr +P doesn’t like anything Federal
    Glock 19 with same Glocks eat everything
    Sig P227 .45 Cor Bon DPX 185gr +P also likes Sig ammo (go figure)

  14. Polish P-64 loaded with combloc-imported FMJ. What I have gotten for the price is complete reliability thus far.

    • How’s that trigger pull?

      I’ve joked that the P-64 was named for its 64 pound trigger pull. It’s a joke but it’s not that far off.

      • Mine is better than most, I gather. It’s stiff, but not unmanageable. I actually like it, I would have to work pretty hard to have a ND with it.

        • I’m sure it works great. Weapons from that part of the world tend to be rugged and reliable, if not all that fancy or smooth. And reliability is the first requirement of any self defense gun.

          You can get used to trigger pull with practice until it feels completely normal to you.

  15. Phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range.

    A bit rough on the weight side, but as a bonus it can BBQ Kodiaks in a single shot. Still looking for a sling that will work with it though.

    • That’s a Hollywood blooper if I ever saw one.

      Firing a 40 watt anything will expend less energy than flipping the light switch on, then off as fast as possible. You can get closer to the experience by replacing your room light with a 40W bulb.

      Scriptwriter should have written “40 kilowatt” range. At least.

      • “Firing a 40 watt anything will expend less energy than flipping the light switch on, then off as fast as possible. You can get closer to the experience by replacing your room light with a 40W bulb.”

        CO2 lasers are what they use in those tabletop (and industrial) laser cutter – engravers.

        A 40 watt CO2 laser at a 100 percent duty cycle will cut metal nicely.

        Power levels can be in the hundreds of watt range.

        The type of laser you’re talking about are flash tube pumped lasers. Ruby rods fully silvered on one end and partially silvered on the other end. (consider the partially silvered end the ‘muzzle’ of the laser).

  16. Kimber Super Carry Pro and Colt Commander. Both shoot all defensive ammo just fine. I reload and cast. I have a few 185 grain cast bullets that when loaded down sometimes fail to feed but that’s the unusual shoulder and low pressure working with each other.

  17. Double Tap 158gr in the 3″ Wiley Clapp GP100 for carry and the 6″ GP for around the house. If you’re going to limit yourself to 6 rounds hit them hard. Very accurate too. I also keep the 92fs loaded with 124gr +p gold dots and the wife’s Storm subcompact gets 115gr gold dots.

  18. HST seems to be the best as far as terminal ballistics, but with any 1911, really have to make sure it likes it. Especially with a compact/commander – which seem even a bit more finicky than standard length. I run 230 gr HST through my Colt Commander and feel pretty confident by now, but it’s got thousands and thousands of rounds through the pipe, and is nice and broken in.

  19. I pull a bullet out my gun and go to wal mart and tell the person at the ammo counter I want 6 more just like it. At 2am on a saturday morning.

    • (Looks up from behind aviator sunglasses, stroking his gleaming pencil stache) “No, ma’am, I only need 6.”

      “Uh, sir, wait right here while I…er…make a call…”

      Good god it’s friday. Praise Allah

  20. Pistol, M&P40 pro 5″ . Ammo Speer gold dot 165gr. I shoot gold dots because they are plentiful in my area. None of my M&P s have ever jammed or mis-fired on any factory ammo.

  21. HK USP Compact 40/Winchester Ranger 180 gr. bonded ammo… May be time for an upgrade though…

    notalima … We need to talk…. 🙂

  22. 124 gr +P gold dot, though I’m thinking of switching to Ranger T or Federal HST if I find a good supply. G19g4 will eat anything.

    The P740 gets a mix of Critical Defense, Pow’R’Ball 115’s and Liberty CD.

  23. Not having a chrono or gel blocks to test velocity or terminal performance, my primary criteria for selecting SD ammo are (1) reviews (2) availability and (3) reliable functioning. My preferred weight is 124 gr., which I figure splits the difference between mass and velocity. From what i’ve seen, 9 mm HPs expand more reliably at higher velocities, and the 147s, except in the elusive +P, are too slow. (IMO) Right now I don’t remember what is in my Kahr 9mm. The spare mag is full of Freedom Ammunition 124 gr Hornady XTP bullets, of which I’ve fired 240 rounds without any failures. And I have two boxes of Lehighs Xtreme Penetrators that I haven’t tested yet, although I am sure they will feed fine.

  24. So, if we’re saying our ammo choices, I’ll say mine. I like my ammo like my margaritas: top shelf. The .40s have either Ranger 180 grain JHP or 180 grain Federal HST. The 9mm has Federal HST 124 grain +P. The .45 ACP has Hornady XTP 230 grain +P.

    The ARs have mixed M855, M193, and Mk 318 Mod 0 – that’s more SHTF than HD. There’s Mk 262 and Winchester PDX 60 grain .223 for that. The 300 BLK has Barnes 110 grain TTSX. The .308 has Eagle Eye 175 grain Bergers.

    The 12 gauges have Federal high brass 00 buck and Winchester Ranger 1 oz slugs on the stock.

    I’m impressed with what manufacturers have done with modern ammo, and want to use the best I can find. I also appreciate the tests Tnoutdoors 9, STB, and others have done. If better stuff get made in the future, and it’s as accurate and reliable as what I already have, I’ll switch to that.

    • Don’t ever imbibe in cut rate tequila. It’s 51% tequila and 49% moonshine (yeah, I’m talking about you Cuervo Gold).

        • I usually keep a bottle of Hornitos Repasado around. 100% Puro de Agave. Can’t go wrong as long it says that on the label. If you don’t have any limes toss the bottle in the freezer, drink it right out of the bottle.

          Oh, and avoid Mezcal unless you like the taste of formaldehyde and enjoy raging hangovers.

  25. Sig p229 .40 with 180 gr HSTs
    Sig p226 9mm with 124 gr Speer Gold Dot +Ps

    Never a hiccup with either, and accurate enough for government work.

  26. Sig p220 with Federal HST 230 grain.

    Truth – Any modern self defense hollow point should turn the trick.

    • While I agree that should be true, some terminal performance tests say it is not. I am normally far more interested in gel tests than any other kind, for defense loads. For target ammo, who cares? And I’ve been murdering paper and cans for a lot longer than I’ve been concerned with carry.

  27. Glock 23, FNS .40 Glock 35 all loaded with 165gr federal Hydrashok, AR with Honady TAP. Ruger SR1911C with hornady crital defense.

  28. HD is CZ 75D SP01 tactical and M1 carbine. Carry piece is CZ 75 PCR Compact. All stuffed to the brim with Hornady Critcal Defense in the appropriate caliber. Simple is good.

  29. I guess it makes a difference, but not a bunch to me. I carry a Ruger LCP with some Winchester bonded stuff, S&W 60 with golden Saber +p 125 grain, blah, blah, blah. Practice, then practice some more. Stay out of low life bars, don’t buy drugs and don’t be an ahole. Oh, don’t poke another guys wife. Problem solved.

  30. Currently wearing G19 gen4 , galco summer comfort with 115 gr Hornady critical defense

  31. I like Hornady XTP 230 grain +P for my 1911. I’ve studied most of the recent DGUs in my local area and it seems criminals don’t get too picky what they’re shot with. Anything that puts a hole in them seems to do the trick.

  32. I spent six years as a boarding officer in the USCG, and used whichever 1911A1 45ACP had most recently come out of the ultrasonic cleaner tank. Hardball all the way. I have two handguns within reach every night; a Ruger Redhawk 44mag loaded with 300gr softpoints, and a Taurus PT145 Millenium Pro 45 ACP with 230gr RN FMJ. The Taurus doesn’t like hollow points; I’m ok with that. The Ruger will deal with the black bear that eats my bird feeders if he ever decides to visit the kitchen, and the Taurus is for the two-legged varmints…

  33. I carry Federal Guard Dog right now in 9mm in my Glock 19 and Glock 43 (which rotates depending on my mood). I only carry Guard Dog because my LGS didn’t have Federal HST. As soon as it’s time to replace it (annually) I will get Federal HST.

  34. my 12 gauge isn’t picky about what i feed her with 6 shot, #4 buck, 00#buck , or slugs they all seem to work fine LOL and wally word always seems to have plenty of rounds unlike 22 ammo my glock 23 gets the hornady stuff that kills zombies (heck it was on sale) I know its not safe to use on people but what the heck LOL

  35. River P90DC with Winchester PDX1 .45 ACP

    Never a single failure to feed or fire.

    The only change I have made is Hogue grips.

    Accurate and rugged.

    On!y gripe is capacity.

    LOVE this pistol!

    • The Ruger P series guns are cool! Is yours the stainless slide with that kind of platinum colored frame?

      I recently got a P345, and love it so far.

      • Recently, I thought I wanted to get a .45 just for the hell of it. Then I rented a Glock 30s at a local range. Only put 75 rounds of American Eagle 230 ball through it and I had a sore wrist joint for 2 days. Maybe I am getting pussified with age, because I used to sling .44 Mag out of an Anaconda, Super Blackhawk and Vaquero with no problems when I was younger. Maybe it was just the Glock, but for now I am going to stick w/ 9mm. So somebody at the range is going to get the other 75 rounds of leftover .45 ammo for free one of these days. Probably somebody with boobs. Not man-boobs, though.

  36. CZ 75b, Ruger SR9c, or LC9s with Federal HST 147 grain JPHs.

    RIA 1911 45 with Speer Gold Dot.

    • An acquaintance recently let me dry fire his 75-B with Cajun Gun Works trigger job. Pretty sweet. I am seriously considering getting a 75-D PCR and sending it to Cajun to tune up.

  37. Glock 19 with Hornady Critical Defense.

    I live in an apartment so I briefly entertained the idea of Glaser SafetySlug Blue, but reports I’ve seen say it doesn’t meet the FBI penetration specs, and it will still go through SEVERAL walls.

    • Critical Defense used to be my carry ammo, but I found that little composite plug sticking out slightly from the hollow point would occasionally hang up on the feed ramp of my LC9 when the ramp was dirty. Too much friction, I guess. Didn’t happen on my SR9c. I ended up slicing the composite tips down flat/flush with a razor blade until I had used them up in practice and carry rotation. Once I found out my LC9s would run HSTs with no problem, I had no reason to consider anything else.

      Other than .380 (Shooting the Bull results) HST seems to me to be the best overall bullet choice for any handgun caliber you can find it in, at least based on the majority of ballistics tests I have seen. Once my Gold Dot +Ps run out for my SR9c, it is going HST also. I only bought the Gold Dots because I could not find the HST anywhere for awhile, except at super inflated prices in remote local gun stores. If you can find it at or below MSRP, jump on it and don’t look back.

      • I haven’t done my due diligence yet and fully tested the Critical Defense in the Glock. I’ll get around to it (famous last words, I know).

        Based on STB410’s results, I would buy HST in a heartbeat, but I have yet to see them for sale ANYWHERE. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s driving some of their sales right now.

        I’m looking for a .380 to use as a carry gun once I get my CHL. Based on STB410’s results (font of information, that guy!), I’ll probably go with Hornady XTP Custom, since I also have yet to find Lehigh Defense rounds anywhere.

        • No offense, Brother, but why does everyone want to carry a .380? 9mms and even ,45s are almost as easily carried and concealed. Each to his own, but I like to go for something with a little more horsepower.

  38. Pocket. 380 Hornady Custom, thanks shooting the bull. .40 Federal HST, 9mm I bought an abundance of Critical Defense( when it first came out) I know there are better performers, but when I have 12-15 available I don’t worry as much.

  39. Well an AR is my go to Bump-in-the-night gun and here in the house I use Hornaday Steel Match .223 which is a 55 gr JHP BT round. (The HP is NOT for expansion in match grade rifle ammunition, but for repeatable accuracy)

    in the .45’s I use Corbon 230 gr JHP, 10 MM’s use Underwood 155 gr XTP JHP, .40’s use Speer 165 gr Gold Dot JHP, .357’s Federal Fusion 158 gr HP. .38’s are Underwood XTP HP, 9MM’s I did have some Remington 147 gr Golden Sabre HP, but I am low on that right now and have some 115 gr JHP in some. .380s a mix of 95 gr HP.

  40. House/Winter IWB carry: Ruger SR9-C, Trijicon HD night sights, Speer Gold Dot ‘Short Barrel’ 124gr +P

    Summer IWB carry: Ruger LC9-S (not the Pro…yet) Federal HST 124gr (standard pressure)

    Pocket/belt pouch/Bond tuxedo carry: Ruger LCP w/ Hornady 90gr XTP ( thanks to Shooting the Bull).

    All three pistols wear Talon grips, which are awesome. Only failure I have had with these ammo choices is one failure to fully return to battery with the XTP out of 100 rounds in the LCP, when the gun was already fairly dirty from a variety of cheap range ammo. When the feed ramp and chamber are reasonably clean, it runs like a clock.

    My M&P15 Sport feeds everything I have ever fed to it without a hitch. Runs cleanest w/ Independence AR 5.56 which I have read is not the most consistent ammo on velocity, but I see no vertical spread at the short range I plink at with it and it is accurate enough for CQB against paper zombies. I lube the AR with Slip 2000. That stuff stays wetter in the gun during long term storage than other lubes I have tried, so it is always ready to rock.

  41. I have an old Kimber Compact Stainless that eats everything I’ve ever fed it.

    The problems I’ve heard with the smaller 1911s come in guns w/ sub 3.5″ barrels.

  42. Our training business has a clientele that gets a lot of Wilsons. I just don’t get the thing with them. I’ve never seen one on our ranges that ran right. One older guy with a serious gun budget showed up with a Compact .45 last week. Could not get a single magazine through with FMJ. I even loaned him a good Tripp. No dice.
    I still just don’t get it.
    Meanwhile, in my own holster: Commanders, .45 mostly but a perfect old .38 goes on certain days depending on the class range bag. The .45 might have stuck once or twice with lead reloads, but it’s a ’65 and I’m second owner, only the last eleven years, so I can’t speak to the whole lifetime.
    My two old-timey cop instructor buddies who’ve attended gunfights always had .45 Gold Dots in their guns. So I always did too. As a result of watching too many Internet ballistic gelatin reviews, I got a few hundred HSTs They run in all my guns but they can only handle being chambered a couple of times before the bullet loosens and sets back. That’s a world of bad if it gets too short, and I had a round that was chambered no more than seven times that became so short it wouldn’t feed- that’s when I really noticed the problem and pulled all the HSTs we own. Many were short.
    I will probably will revert to Gold Dots, which will endure more chamberings that HSTs.
    Oddly, the 9mm 125gr HSTs that go into the Missus’ Shield don’t seem to share the setback problem near as much.
    But there’s a lesson: Constantly check ALL your SD ammunition for setback and other chambering damage.
    Meanwhile, I too have an old Taurus PT145 that runs perfectly on HSTs and is actually a really good close-quarters gun (no 20-yard shots for me!) but I’m too embarrassed someone might find out I not only wasn’t carrying a Colt, but was carrying a Bull.

  43. Wow! Now that’s a question sure to elicit an arsenal of different ideas.

    For me, my combos for everyday wear are:
    -Ruger LC9
    -S&W M&P Shield
    -Sig Sauer P229

    For home use:
    -Sig Sauer P229R
    -Remington 870 Police Magnum
    -Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle

    And ammo choices:

    Hornady TAP +P 9mm
    Winchester Ranger SXT 9mm (for the LC9 which is not +P rated)

    Winchester Ranger-T .40S&W (for P229R)

    Winchester Super-X 2-3/4″ birdshot

    American Eagle XM193 5.56mm

  44. I’ve got hydra shocks for my 9mm p226 (no issues feeding or anything), some ranger 00 buck for my shotguns and both fmjs and soft points for my m1a. The only guns that ever have issues shooting or feeding/extracting are a couple of my .22s which I think is somewhat normal for those kind of rimfire guns.

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