Best .40 S&W Ammo Review 2017 for Self-Defense/Range Training

Ever heard of the popular .40 S&W ammunition? Well, I’m sure its name have come up more than once if you’re buying ammo online, well in my case at least. So what is S&W? The S&W abbreviation stands for the Smith and Wesson brand. Basically, this product is a rimless handgun cartridge developed by the Winchester as well as Smith and Wesson manufacturers.

These cartridges are initially developed to duplicate the performance of the FBI enforcement. The .40 S&W is almost similar to a 10mm auto cartridge, but with lesser power, though it has higher power than the 9mm Luger ammo. Compared to the 10mm rounds, this ammunition had its length shortened to accommodate users with smaller hands.

However, the wall thickness remains the same to the 10mm Auto. That being said, you can either the ammunition from Lucky Gunner or Brownell which are one of the best online ammunition seller. In addition to that, they are available in either 50 or 20 rounds per pack or in bulks which you can choose according to your preference.

It partly depends on the type of activities you plan to utilize the ammo for such as range training and self-defense, not to mention buying in bulks are a lot cheaper and totally well worth your investment.

Top 7 Rated .40 S&W Ammo Comparison Table

Name of ProductBullet WeightBullet TypeRoundsMuzzle EnergyMuzzle VelocityPrice
Winchester Supreme Elite Rounds165 grainJHP20476 ft lbs1140 fps$$
PMC Starfire 40 S&W Ammunition180 grainJHP20388 ft lbs985 fps$$
Tula FMJ Ammo180 grainFMJ500392 ft lbs919 fps$$$
Remington UMC 40 S&W Cartridges165 grainFMJ50485 ft lbs1150 fps$$
Blazer Brass Bulk Ammo180 grainFMJ1000388 ft lbs985 fps$$$
American Eagle Ammunition165 grainFMJ50468 ft lbs1125 fps$$
Sellier & Bellot Rounds180 grainTMJ50375 ft lbs968 fps$$

Bullet Weight & Type

First things first, the bullet weigh is measured in grains meanwhile the type varies. The most popular bullet types are the jacketed hollow point (JHP) and the full metal jacket (FMJ). That being said, the bullet type plays an important role in the expansion and penetration of the ammo upon entering the target.

For example, the JHP type comes with a hollowed out shape that expands when in contact with the target. When it expands, the penetration decreases therefore resulting in controlled penetration. For the FMJ type on the other hand, penetration is deeper due to the heavy metal jacketed on the forward base of the bullet. Deeper penetration is more suitable to be used when dealing with larger games.

You can refer to the other types available here. (you’ll thank me later).

Priming System

Most ammunition in the United States are boxer-primed. What is the significance of this priming system? Firstly, it comes with a cup and anvil to assist in the removal of the old primer, by just a simple pin punch. In addition to that, the boxer-style priming system comes in handy to ensure that the primer is reloadable with maximum ease.

That being said, it is rather easy to be reloaded as the old primers can be removed and replaced conveniently. However, this type of primer style is not as common outside out of the United States which is popular with the berdan-primed ammo.

Best Self-Defense Ammo :

1. Winchester Supreme Elite Rounds

Winchester Supreme Elite Rounds

First things first, this product is manufactured by the Winchester Supreme Elite. As mentioned above, the .40 S&W ammo is partly manufactured by the Winchester, so how cool is it to get the ammo designed initially by the original manufacturer? To be honest, ammunition from Winchester are slightly expensive but they are of high quality and provides great performance hence being, well worth the extra dollars.

It is equipped with a total of 20 rounds. If you have noticed, most of the products with lesser rounds such as 20 or 50 rounds per box are mostly used for self-defense in which you don’t need to fire multiple round continuously, for instance. The 20 rounds are packed neatly and in an organized manner for easy handling.

Moreover, the bullet weighs 165 grain. For your information, the bullet weight actually influences its penetration. Higher bullet weights are used for larger games, either for hunting or self-defense, because the heavier mass enhances penetration as well as holds more energy. Moving on to the type, it is of the jacketed hollow point bullet (JHP).

What is the significance of the JHP bullet type? Firstly, the bullet comes with a hollowed out shape which expands upon entering the target therefore it has controlled penetration. In other words, they are designed to offer maximum energy transfer upon impact and controlled expansion during penetration. Controlled penetration is essential because over-penetration is rather dangerous in which it can result in collateral damage.

Apart from that, the bullet travels from the muzzle with a velocity of 1140 feet per second (fps). The speed also influences the penetration. The muzzle energy on the other hand measures 476 foot pounds (ft lbs). Not only that, this Bonded PDX1 unit is designed to maximize terminal ballistics, which successfully fulfills the demands of the FBI test protocol.

In terms of the casing, it is made from a boxer-primed and nickel-plated brass case. Its brass construction comes in handy to prevent corrosion from the moisture and rain from the atmosphere. The boxer-style priming system allows for easy reloading as the old primers can be replaced and removed with maximum ease.

Suitable for :

    • 20 rounds per box
    • 165 grain JHP bullet
    • Nickel-plated brass casing
    • Boxer-style priming system
    • Controlled expansion

2. PMC Starfire 40 S&W Ammunition

PMC Starfire 40 S&W Ammunition

Manufactured by PMC Starfire, these rounds are mainly used for self-defense purposes. They have 20 rounds altogether per box. I personally like the PMC manufactured bullets because they are rather affordable and of high quality. The 20 rounds on the other hand are packed in a box with trays, in an organized manner so you can remove the ammo out with maximum ease.

Furthermore, the casing is made from brass construction which is essential to prevent the corrosion of your bullet which will further prevent fouling in the weapon barrel, therefore contributing to the durability of both your ammo casing and weapon. The primer on the other hand is of the boxer-style therefore making it reloadable; easily removed and replaced with new primers.

Let’s take a walk down the memory lane of PMC. The PMC ammo is manufactured by a South Korean company which produces ammunition ranging from small arms ammo to large howitzer rounds for the South Korean military. The unique part is that, the PMC manufactures all of their own components from scratch, using raw material. Hence, they are able to control the supply chain of products, resulting in greater consistency rounds.

In addition to that, the Starfire is an upgraded version of the original PMC ammo because it features the patented rib and flute design which results in expansion in soft tissue, hence contributing in an excellent threat stopping power. Also, the muzzle velocity measures 985 fps meanwhile the muzzle energy measures 388 ft lbs.

Weighing 180 grain, the bullet is of the jacketed hollow point (JHP) type. The JHP type rounds are rather solid because they are jacketed/coated with a coating of stronger metal (alloy). In other words, the hollow point is jacketed to strengthen the cartridge as well as to prevent fouling in the barrel in the long run.

Not only that, the hollowed out shape expands when in contact with the target, hence reducing the penetration (controlled penetration). Just so you know, deeper penetration comes in handy when you’re dealing with larger games and the bullet weight plays an important role in the penetration. The higher the bullet weight, the deeper the penetration.

Suitable for :

    • JHP bullet type (180 grain)
    • Unique rib and flute design
    • Great stopping power
    • Brass cases (non-corrosive)
    • Boxer-primed (easily reloadable)

Best Range Training Ammo :

1. Tula FMJ Ammo

Tula full metal jacket Ammo

Ever heard of bulk ammunition? To be honest, they come in rounds of 500 or 1000 rounds mostly. Anything above the conventional 20 and 50 rounds per box is roughly known as bulk ammo. So, what is the benefit of buying them in bulks?

First things first, it is suitable to be used for range training mostly because you get to practice firing hundreds of rounds continuously without lacking of bullets. It is also a lot cheaper, in terms of price per rounds.

In this case, this product is manufactured by the Tula Cartridge Works. They come with 500 rounds altogether. To accommodate the 500 rounds, they are divided into 50 rounds per box and 10 boxes per case. In my opinion, they are neatly arranged in an organized manner so handling them would be a breeze in the middle of the field.

Moving on to the bullet type, it is of the full metal jacket (FMJ) type. This bullet type is rather popular aside from the JHP type. So, let’s see what is so special about the fully metal jacket cartridge. Firstly, the jacket layer entirely cover the bullet forward at the base. It is basically a traditional design that features the Sierra accuracy.

In addition to that, the FMJ jacket is popular for its flawless feeding system as well as match accuracy. It has a bimetal jacket which consists of steel and copper as well as a lead core, therefore contributing to excellent ballistics characteristics. Not only that, the bullet travels at a muzzle velocity of 919 fps and a muzzle energy of 392 ft lbs.

Moving on to the casing, it is made from steel construction. The polymer-coated steel casing is not as solid as brass however, they are good enough in terms of resistance to rust. The boxer-style priming system on the other hand allows for convenient reloading of the new primer as it is rather easy to be removed and replaced.

Suitable for :

    • Boxer primed steel case
    • 180 grain full metal jacket
    • 500 rounds altogether
    • Bimetal jacket with lead core

2. Remington UMC 40 S&W Cartridge

Remington UMC 40 S&W Cartridge

The Remington UMC is a rather popular manufacturing company. They’re popular for their firearms and firearm parts. That being said, the UMC delivers an excellent shooting performance for target shooting, action-pistol competition and tactical training. Not only that, the bullet weighs 165 grains in total.

In addition to that, the common bullet weight among the .40 S&W are 165 or 180 grains, if you have noticed. The heavier the bullet weight, the deeper the penetration. With that relationship applied, most shooters choose the heavier weight when shooting at larger targets because the stopping power as well as penetration is higher.

This product comes in a total of 50 rounds per box. All 50 rounds is arranged neatly in the included box for easy removal whenever needed. Since this product is mainly designed for range training and if you’re an avid shooter, you should totally go for the ammo available in bulks which is a lot cheaper than buying multiple 20 or 50 per box rounds.

Apart from that, the bullet leaves the muzzle and travels at a velocity of 1150 feet per second (fps), with a muzzle energy of 485 foot pounds (ft lbs). The theory is really straightforward where the heavier the bullet, the higher the kinetic energy and velocity and the more devastating the damage done to the target.

In other words, the kinetic energy influences the velocity which in return causes the bullet to travel faster and penetrate the target deeper. Not only that, this product is of the full metal jacket type in which the penetration is a lot deeper due to the heavy jacket enveloping the bullet. Also, this type of bullets provide an excellent feeding system.

For your information, the metal case is equivalent to the full metal jacket type. The casing on the other hand is boxer-primed brass hence making it rather easy to reload the new primers to replace the old ones and it is corrosion-free.

Suitable for :

    • 165 grain full metal jacket
    • 50 rounds per box
    • Deeper penetration
    • Excellent feeding system
    • Boxer primed brass

3. Blazer Brass Bulk Ammo

Blazer Brass Bulk Ammo

From the title itself, you should know that this ammunition is sold in bulks. In my opinion, buying ammo in bulks for range training purposes (like this product) is a wise decision because you’ll be saving cost rather than buying multiple boxes containing 20 or 50 rounds. However, this only applies if you’re a serious and avid shooter.

That being said, you need not worry about the lack of bullets during range training because there are a total of 1000 rounds. Hence, you get to fire hundreds of rounds continuously during target training, for instance. The 1000 rounds on the other hand are divides into 20 boxes, with each box containing 50 rounds.

The arrangements are rather neat and organized making it easy and convenient to remove from the box whenever needed. In addition to that, this product is manufactured by Blazer Brass (CCI). The Blazer Brass is a rather popular manufacturing brand because the ammo developed by them are rather affordable and good in terms of performance.

Weighing 180 grain, this rounds are of the full metal jacket (FMJ) bullet type. In other words, they are jacketed with full metal, which covers the entire forward base of the bullet. It ensures deeper penetration due to its heavy jacket. Also, the FMJ bullet type contributes to an amazing feeding system, thereby promising you with match grade accuracy shot.

Moreover, the bullet travels at a muzzle velocity of 985 fps meanwhile the muzzle energy measures 388 ft lbs. Just so you know, the higher muzzle velocity will contribute to a deeper penetration which especially comes in handy when shooting at a large game.

Moving on to the ammo casing, it is made from a solid brass construction which is important to prevent corrosion in the long run, especially when exposed to moisture and rain from the surrounding. The priming system on the other hand is boxer-primed, which is the most popular priming style in the United States. It comes with a cup and anvil as well as assists in the reloading of the new primer, with maximum ease.

Suitable for :

    • FMJ bullet type (180 grain)
    • Boxer-primed brass
    • 1000 rounds (bulk ammo)
    • Economical and reliable

4. American Eagle Ammunition

American Eagle Ammunition

I got to admit, the first thing that caught my eye regarding this product is the pretty box design, featuring the eagle in the brand name. After trying it out, I’m even more amazed because it contributes to a great shooting performance, as of its amazing box design. That being said, these rounds are manufactured by the American Eagle brand.

Moving on to the bullet specifications, it weighs 165 grains in terms of bullet weight. In addition to that, it is of the full metal jacket (FMJ) type. The FMJ type is one of the two most popular bullet types where the latter is the JHP type. So, what is special about the FMJ bullet type? First and foremost, it is jacketed by heavy metal so it has higher penetration due to its heavy weight.

Apart from that, it comes with a great feeding system as well as features the traditional Sierra accuracy. In terms of rounds, it is equipped with a total of 50 rounds. These 50 rounds come in a box and is arranged in an organized manner so you can remove the ammunition with ease, for your added convenience. As for the purpose, it is mainly used for range and target training; basically shooting at paper targets.

The projectile leaves the muzzle and travels at a velocity of 1125 fps meanwhile its muzzle energy measures 468 ft lbs. The muzzle velocity is rather high, so you can expect for deeper penetration due to the combination of the high muzzle velocity as well as the FMJ bullet type.

The ammunition casing on the other hand are boxer-primed. In other words, it is easily reloadable as the old primers can be removed and replaced with maximum convenience. Not only that, the ammo shows great consistency when fired, hence contributing to an amazing shooting performance.

Suitable for :

  • Full metal jacket bullet
  • 165 grains
  • 50 rounds in total
  • Great consistency

5. Sellier & Bellot Round

Sellier & Bellot Round

First and foremost, there are 50 rounds altogether that comes with the purchase of this product. All the 50 rounds are placed in a box where they are neatly arranged in an orderly manner so you get to remove the ammo out of the box with maximum convenience. As for its use, these rounds are mainly utilized for range training for both indoors and outdoors.

I prefer getting ammo in bulks, especially if I’m undergoing range training because I can fire hundreds of rounds continuously without worrying about the lack of bullets. But of course, it all comes down to your personal preference. This product is manufactured by the popular ammunition brand, Sellier and Bellot.

Furthermore, bullet weighs 180 grain in total. The bullet type on the other hand is the total metal jacket type. The TMC type, or also known as the full metal case differs in terms of the base of the round compared to the FMJ type. While for FMJ, the bullet base is made from exposed lead, but for TMJ, the bullet is jacketed with copper plating which is said to increase the accuracy of your shot (mostly used in match shooting).

In addition to that, this cartridge is designed with the Nontox primer and copper disc which caps the bottom part of the bullet’s lead core. This further eliminates the lead vaporization while you’re shooting. Hence why, it can be utilized in indoor areas or ranges that has limited ventilation.

Moving on to the ammo casing, it is of brass construction which further contributes to the durability of the product, because it will most likely be corrosion-free in the long run. The boxer-style priming system on the other hand contributes to convenient reloading as the old primer can be removed and replaced with a breeze.

Suitable for :

  • Eliminates lead vaporization
  • Total metal jacket type (180 grain)
  • Boxer-primed brass
  • 50 rounds per box

Conclusion

All in all, the .40 S&W ammo is one of the most popular handgun cartridges in the market. When choosing the best ammo, you need to take into consideration the total rounds and the use type, then only proceed to the bullet specification and additional features. Therefore, I hope my review assists you in making the right decision.

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