We Review the Best .45 ACP Ammo for Self-Defense & Practice

The .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) is one of the most widely used pistol rounds in existence. It offers excellent accuracy and significantly more stopping power than a 9mm.

In a hurry to get the best for your .45 ACP?  Here’s our top recommendations.

Top 10 Rated .45 ACP Ammo

Name of ProductBullet WeightBullet TypeRoundsMuzzle EnergyMuzzle VelocityPrice
Speer Gold Dot JHP230 grainJHP20405 ft lbs890 fps$$
Federal LE Tactical Bonded HP230 grainHP50460 ft lbs950 fps$$
Blazer Brass FMJ230 grainFMJ50365 ft lbs845 fps$$
Federal Classic Personal Defense JHP Hi-Shok230 grainJHP50370 ft lbs900 fps$$
Federal American Eagle FMJ230 grainFMJ50405 ft lbs890 fps$$
Hornady Critical Defense FTX185 grainFTX20333 ft lbs900 fps$$
Magtech FMC230 grainFMC1000358 ft lbs837 fps$$$
Remington Golden Saber JHP230 grainJHP500391 ft lbs875 fps$$$
Winchester Supreme Elite JHP230 grainJHP20432 ft lbs882 fps$$
Hornady Custom XTP JHP200 grainJHP20494 ft lbs1055 fps$$

Read on to learn more about our favorite rounds as well as our methodology for choosing the best. We’ll also highlight some of the cheapest places on the web to buy your self-defense and practice range ammo.

So what makes the .45 ACP such a popular round?  It offers superior stopping power and comes at a reasonable price.  The 9mm may be one of the most popular rounds, but a bigger round equals bigger damage. Let’s check out the best 45 ACP ammo options out there.

Best .45 ACP Self-Defense Ammo :

1. Speer Gold Dot JHP

Speer Gold Dot jacketed hollow point

The bullet weighs 230 grain and is of the jacketed hollow point (JHP) type. To be more specific, the JHP type includes the bullet that comes with a hollow point or also referred as a hollowed out shape which results in the bullet expanding when in contact with the target, which further leads to controlled penetration. The hollow point is coated with an alloy coating which contributes to the bullet strength and ensures clean firing.

The ammo case is boxer-primed with a nickel-plated brass construction. This type of construction prevents it from corroding in the long run. Meanwhile, the boxer-style priming system ensures that the bullet can be reloaded with maximum ease, as it can be removed and replaced conveniently by just simple pin punch.

In addition to that, this defensive ammunition is equipped with bonded core bullets which are designed to fulfill your critical defense needs. In other words, the bonded core projectiles refer to the elimination of the core-jacket separation and excellent weight retention. This type of bullets are a lot more effective compared to the traditional hollow point ones, especially when in contact with bone or heavy clothing.

The speed of which it leaves the muzzle (fancy a muzzleloader?) is measured 890 feet per second (fps) meanwhile the muzzle energy is measured 405 foot pounds (ft lbs). The theory is rather straightforward: the faster the velocity of the bullet, the higher the muzzle energy, resulting in more damage on your target.

Regarding the bullet performance, it fires clean and feeds well, leading to an accurate and consistent shot. All in all, this ACP ammunition is perfectly designed to provide you with personal protection in any situation.

Summary of .45 ACP Speer Gold Dot JHP Ammo:

    • Bonded core bullets
    • 20 rounds per box
    • Best personal defense ammo
    • Boxer-primed brass
    • 230 grain jacketed hollow point

2. Federal LE Tactical Bonded HP

Federal LE Tactical Bonded 45 acp ammo

Manufactured by Federal company, this ammunition features a 230 grain (bullet weight) tactical bonded hollow point (HP) bullet. Unlike the jacketed hollow point bullet on most of the products, this ammo doesn’t come with an alloy coating to increase the bullet strength. The hollow point refers to the bullet’s hollowed out shape that will expand in size upon entering the target which further leads to controlled penetration.

This product contains a total of 50 rounds per box. They are arranged neatly, in an organized manner in the box for easy handling. The 50 rounds are suitable for self-defense purposes, which doesn’t require you to fire hundreds of rounds continuously. If you plan on practicing or undergoing range training then you should go for bulk ammo, which is much cheaper.

The Federal company load these self-defense ammo rounds into a factory fresh boxer-primed .45 ammo case that has a nickel-plated brass construction. The all-metal construction preserves the shelf life of the bullet therefore contributing to its durability whereas the boxer-style primer assists in convenient reloading.

The bullet travels from the muzzle with a velocity of 950 feet per second (fps) meanwhile the muzzle energy measures 460 foot pounds. This .45 ammo is overall designed for hunting, target shooting and self-defense. Regarding bullet performance, this .45 ammo delivers unmatched consistency and reliability, while maintaining the near 100% weight retention for the most accurate shots.

This is the best choice for precision accuracy and barrier penetration. In my opinion, it is a great round that is well worth your investment so keep a close eye for this product. Also, if you have noticed, this product comes with a +P rating which refers to overpressure ammunition. This type of ammo produces rounds with higher muzzle velocity and stopping power for defensive purposes.

Summary of .45 ACP Federal LE Tactical Bonded HP:

    • 230 grain bonded hollow point
    • Boxer-primed nickel-plated brass
    • 50 rounds per box
    • +P ammo
    • Maintaining almost 100% weight retention

3. Federal Classic Personal Defense JHP Hi-Shok

The .45 ACP Federal Classic Hi-Shok ammo proves to be a great round to fulfill your personal defense needs. This particular ammo has a bullet weight of 230 grain and a Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP). The hard-hitting JHP bullet type contributes to the expansion of bullet upon impact which results in maximum stopping power and controlled penetration.

The jacketed hollow point bullet basically refers to the bullet that has a hollowed out shape and is coated with a harder metal coating which comes in handy to increase the bullet strength as well as prevent fouling in the barrel due to its clean firing. About 80% of the .45 ACP ammo out there utilizes this type because it fires clean and is solid.

This product includes 50 rounds. The 50 rounds are packed and organized neatly in a box to ensure easy handling. If you plan on firing multiple rounds continuously or if you’re an avid shooter, you should opt for the ammunition sold in bulk because it is a lot cheaper than buying multiple boxes of 20 or 50-round ammo.

The bullet casing is boxer-primed. You may be looking at this term all around when going through the ammo casing options because it is the most popular ammo casing primer style in the United States, compared to the berdan-styled primer ammunition. The boxer-primed casing is of nickel-plated brass which ensures that it is corrosion-free in the long run.

This type of primer style makes it rather easy and convenient to reload the bullet according to your preference, as you can easily replace the old primer to a new one simply by a pin push. The bullet travels at a muzzle velocity of 900 meanwhile the kinetic energy achieved by it when leaving the muzzle measures 370 foot pounds.

All in all, this hollow point ammo is used for self-defense for your personal protection. Its Hi-Shok rating on the other hand is basically similar to the Hydra-Shok design, but without a center post.

Summary of .45 ACP Federal Classic Hi-Shok:

    • Hi-Shok bullet
    • 50 rounds per box
    • 230 grain JHP bullet type
    • Maximum stopping power
    • Personal defense ammo
    • Boxer-styled primer

4. Hornady Critical Defense FTX

Hornady Critical Defense ammunition

Manufactured by the famous Hornady, this product comes with a solid casing to hold the bullet. The case is of nickel-plated brass construction to ensure that it is strong enough to withstand the strong and powerful impact not forgetting, to prevent corrosion on the ammo in the long run, when in contact with moisture or the rain.

The primer on the other hand is equipped with a boxer-primed style in which there is a cup and anvil to assist the reloading of the bullets. The reloading will be fairly easy because this primer style allows it to be removed and replaced with maximum convenience.

Moreover, there are 20 rounds per box. That being said, it is suitable to be used for self/ personal defense purposes. To be honest, it is a little on the expensive side with each round priced 1.04 dollar. However, Hornady is a good and popular brand which will guarantee you great ammunition with close to no misfiring so it is worth a shot, in my opinion.

Weighing 185 grain, the bullet is of the Flex Tip type. In other words, the Flex tip bullets is equipped with a soft polymer insert which comes in handy for reliable and consistent expansion. It expands well with great stopping power and to ensure controlled penetration upon entering the target. Just for your information, over-penetration is dangerous because it might cause collateral damage.

The projectile travels upon entering the muzzle at a velocity of 900 fps and a muzzle energy measuring 333 foot pounds. Another plus point is that, it positively feeds well without the least probability of getting jammed. It also fires clean, but don’t use this as an excuse to not clean your weapon because frequent and proper maintenance is essential for the best shooting performance.

Summary of .45 ACP Hornady Critical Defense FTX:

    • 20 rounds per box
    • 185 grain patented Flex Tip bullet
    • Nickel-plated boxer-primed brass
    • Great expansion and controlled penetration

5. Remington Golden Saber JHP

remington .45 auto

Looking for great and solid ammunition in bulks? Well, you have found the right product. This Remington Golden Saber (manufacturer) product comes in 500 rounds altogether. If you’re an avid shooter or gun enthusiast, you should totally go for this product. Not to mention, buying in bulks are more affordable compared to buying multiple 20 or 50 rounds per box, provided you will utilize them.

That being said, the 500 bullets altogether are divided into 20 boxes per case and 25 rounds per box. They are well-organized for easy handling. The casing on the other hand is made from nickel-plated brass construction therefore contributing to its excellent resistance to corrosion.

Meanwhile, the boxer-primer style results in convenient bullet reloading as the old primer can be removed and replaced with maximum ease. Also, the primers are triple checked during the manufacturing process to make sure they are fully reliable.

In addition to that, the bullet weighs a total of 230 grain. It is of the Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) type. Therefore, it is rather strong and sturdy due to the hollow point of the bullet being jacketed by harder metal (alloy) coating not only to increase its strength but also to prevent fouling in the barrel, hence contributing to its durability in the long run.

The hollowed out shape on the other hand also results in the bullet expanding when in contact with the target so the penetration can be controlled (too much penetration is not good!). Compared to the traditional hollow bullets which comes with an exposed lead base, the hollow point bullets have an enclosed base.

Furthermore, the hollow points provides deep penetration and offers great knockdown power through their rapid expansion. Therefore, they produce shots with match-grade accuracy as well as close to 100% weight retention for clean firing and proper feeding, thereby contributing to your best shooting performance. Also, the powder utilized is designed for minimal muzzle flash.

This product is mainly used for self-defense purposes and comes in handy to fulfill all your personal defense needs. Not only that, the muzzle velocity measures 875 fps meanwhile the muzzle energy measures 391 foot pounds.

Summary of .45 ACP Remington Golden Saber JHP:

    • 500 rounds in total
    • Boxer-primed brass
    • 230 grain JHP bullets
    • Deep penetration
    • Excellent knockdown power

6. Winchester Supreme Elite JHP

Winchester Supreme Elite bullet

I’m sure you have heard of the brand, Winchester because it is rather popular among hunters and gun enthusiasts. They are rather expensive in terms of price, however they are totally worth it due to their reliable and excellent performance delivered, to provide you with the best shooting experience.

First and foremost, this product is specifically manufactured by the Winchester Supreme Elite. There are a total of 20 rounds in the box for about $23 (like I said, it is a little pricey!). In terms of usage, it is commonly used for self or personal defense where you just need to use a few bullets at a time, unlike range or field training. In my opinion, 20 bullets is more than enough if you plan on using it for home defense.

So, what is so special about these bullets? Let me walk you through the bullet characteristics. Firstly, they weigh 230 grains with the jacketed hollow point (JHP) type. In other words, the hollow point of the bullet is jacketed with a coating of tough alloy in order to improve its strength as well as prevent fouling from occurring in the barrel. The hollow point shape comes in handy as it contributes to controlled penetration.

Apart from that, the JHP bullets are designed for maximum energy transfer when in contact with target, during penetration. They are also engineered to maximize terminal ballistics, therefore meeting the demands of the FBI test protocol, which simulates real-world threats. Another plus point is that, it comes with the least amount of malfunctions when multiple rounds are fired, for your added convenience.

Moving on the ammunition casing, this product comes with a nickel-plated brass construction which is essential to prevent the corrosion of the bullet when in contact with rain or moisture. The boxer-primed style on the other hand contributes to easy reloading since it can be replaced and removed with maximum convenience.

Summary of .45 ACP Winchester Supreme Elite JHP:

    • Nickel-plated brass cases
    • Controlled expansion during penetration
    • Maximum energy transfer
    • 20 rounds per box
    • 230 grain JHP bullet type

7. Hornady Custom XTP JHP

Hornady Custom bullets

Varying from the previous Hornady Critical Defense product above, this ammunition is custom grade made. They are said to have an excellent reputation among avid shooters and gun enthusiasts so you should keep a close lookout for this product, according to your personal preference.

Moving on to the bullet characteristics, it comes with 20 rounds altogether, fitted in a convenient and portable box. The projectiles are arranged neatly in an organized manner, for simple handling in the middle of busy shooting session, for your added convenience. In terms of usage, it is commonly used for self-defense or home defense in which you don’t have to use up multiple rounds at once.

Moreover, the bullets are of the jacketed hollow point extreme terminal performance (JHP XTP). The JHP type refers to the hollow point of the bullet being coated with tough alloy coating to not only increase its strength, but also to prevent barrel fouling which further contributes to its durability in the long run. Also, they are designed to achieve high-impact energy transfer upon entering the target.

In addition to that, the solid XTP projectile provides maximum knockdown power which includes great expansion upon entering the target as well as deep penetration. The bullet travels at a velocity of 1055 fps out of the muzzle meanwhile the muzzle energy measures 494 foot pounds.

Take note that this is a +P ammo, so you should only use them in approved firearms. What does that rating mean? To answer your query, it is referred to as an overpressure ammunition which is loaded to higher internal pressure. As a result of that, they produce rounds with higher stopping power as well as muzzle velocity.

The ammo casing on the other hand is boxer-primed brass which is commonly used in the United States. It comes in handy to assist in convenient reloading as the old primer can be removed and replaced with maximum ease.

Summary of .45 ACP Hornady Custom XTP JHP:

    • +P ammo
    • 20 rounds per box
    • Custom grade made
    • JHP XTP bullets
    • Maximum knockdown power
    • Boxer-primed brass

Best .45 Range Training Ammo :

1. Federal American Eagle FMJ

Unlike most of the other ammunition that usually are packed in trays in the box, this product is tray-less. It is rather unique and handy because it is more convenient and portable due to its smaller size.

However, the drawback is that you need to dig in with your hands to get the ammo out which is rather tedious especially if they’re half used up. Nevertheless, it all comes down to your personal preference.

In terms of quantity, it comes with 50 rounds altogether in which they are all stacked up on top of another. This .45 ACP ammo is mainly used for range training. These new production rounds on the other hand are boxer primed in brass cases. The brass constructed cases prevents the corrosion of the bullet in the long run and assists in convenient reloading.

Speaking of the bullets, they weigh 230 grain and is of the full metal jacket (FMJ) type. In other words, it comes with a traditional design featuring the Sierra accuracy and is mostly utilized in semi-automatic pistols. They provide deep penetration as well as is designed for positive feeding.

That being said, these American Eagle ammunition provides shooters with great reliability, positive feeding and ignition system that will contribute to a fantastic shooting performance with great consistency.

Each rounds in the 50 per box ammo is loaded with projectile with a muzzle velocity of 890 fps and a muzzle energy of 405 foot pounds. In other words, the projectile leaves the muzzle upon firing with the velocity of 890 feet per second. The theory is rather straightforward in which the heavier the bullet, the higher the velocity and energy, hence contributing to a more devastating damage.

Summary of .45 ACP Federal American Eagle FMJ:

  • Tray-less box
  • 50 rounds per box
  • 230 grain full metal jacket (FMJ)
  • Boxer-primed brass
  • Great feeding and ignition system

2. Blazer Brass FMJ

 Blazer Brass FMJ ammo

The Blazer Brass ammunition is widely known for its affordable and economical price, despite delivering a great shooting performance. If you are a spendthrift person, this .45 ACP ammo is totally suitable for you. First things first, it is equipped with 50 rounds per box.

That being said, it is mainly used for target practice, tactical training as well as range shooting. In my opinion, it is one of the best range-training rounds because the probability of the bullet misfiring or getting jammed is extremely low.

Moving on to the bullet specifications, it weighs 230 grain in total. The bullet type on the other hand is the full metal jacket (FMJ). In other words, it is a rather traditional design that features the Sierra accuracy and amazing feeding system. The FMJ bullets are mostly used in semi-automatic pistols. They are popular because they provide deep penetration due to its heavy jacket.

Apart from that, it comes with brass casing which is rust-resistant when in contact with rain or moisture, therefore contributing to the durability of this product. Its priming style on the other hand is boxer-primed. That being said, it comes with a cup and anvil which makes it a whole lot easier to remove and replace the old primer and voila, convenient reloading.

All in all, this product is rather reliable and economical, therefore very well worth your investment. However, take note that the Blazer Brass 45 ACP ammo only can be used with small pistol primers instead of large ones. The casings on the other hand can still be reloaded using small primers.

Summary of .45 ACP Blazer Brass FMJ:

      • Used with small pistol primers
      • Brass cased and boxer-primed
    • Reliable and economical
    • 50 rounds per box
    • 230 grain full metal jacket (FMJ)

3. Magtech FMC

Manufactured by Magtech, this product comes with 1000 rounds altogether. The 1000 rounds are divided into boxes and cases where there are 50 rounds per box as well as 20 boxes for case. That being said, they are arranged neatly, in an organized manner for easy handling.

In addition to that, the ammo is utilized for range training and target practice. And, do you know why so? It’s mainly because ammunition in bulks makes it extremely convenient for target practice because you can fire hundreds of rounds continuously without worrying about emptying your ammo box. And also, buying in bulks is a lot cheaper compared to buying multiple 20 or 50 rounds per box.

Magtech is a rather popular brand, where they are said to produce reliable cartridges for gun enthusiasts. The unique part is that, they manufacture their own primers, brass, powders and projectiles therefore contributing to its consistent and excellent quality. Moving on to the bullet features, it weighs 230 grain and is of the full metal case (FMC) type.

The FMC type must be new because it isn’t common among other ammunition. So what is it? First of all, they are typically made of lead and fully covered in a thin layer of copper. The advantages of using this bullet type is that it is economical as well as shoot cleaner compared to the other bullet types.

Besides that, the casing is made from boxer-primed brass which is easily reloadable as well as corrosion-resistant to provide you with the best shooting performance. The bullet feeds well without any jams or misfiring, for your added convenience. That being said, it travels at a muzzle velocity of 837 fps and a muzzle energy measuring 358 foot pounds.

Summary of .45 ACP Magtech FMC:

  • 230 grain full metal case (FMC)
  • 1000 rounds in total (bulk)
  • Boxer-primed brass
  • Feeds well with no jams

Bullet Weight & Type

The bullet weight is measured in grains. They don’t affect the performance of your shot as long as you use the right caliber. There are various bullet types in the market. The most common ones are the full metal jacket (FMJ) as well as the jacketed hollow point (JHP).

To give you a little insight, the FMJ type refers to the traditional design featuring the Sierra accuracy and excellent feeding system. It also provides great penetration due to its heavy jacket.

The JHP type on the other hand comes with a hollow point which is jacketed/coated with alloy coating for improved bullet strength and to prevent fouling in the barrel, hence ensures clean firing. It also contributes to controlled penetration since the hollowed out bullet shape expands well when in contact with the target.

Primer Type

The boxer-primed style in the most popular primer style in the United States. Most products in the Lucky Gunner website actually utilizes this primer style. So, let’s see what is all the fuss about? First things first, it comes with a cup and anvil which assists in removing and replacing the old primer, with a simple pin punch.

Therefore, it contributes to convenient reloading. However, the primer style which is famous  outside of the United States is the berdan-primed ammo (just for your information).The primer usually comes with a nickel-plated and brass construction which comes in handy to ensure that it remains corrosion-free in the long run, thus contributing to its durability.

Rounds & Packaging

The number of rounds solely depends on what you plan to use the ammunition for; either self-defense or range training. If you plan on going range training, it is best if you bought the ammo in bulks so you can fire hundreds of round continuously for practice not forgetting, it is a lot cheaper per round when you buy them in bulk.

In terms of packaging on the other hand, they are usually packed in trays, in an organized manner. However, the Federal American Eagle comes tray-less which results in a smaller box that is portable however, it all comes down to your personal preference as long as you can take out the ammo with maximum ease and convenience.

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