When it comes to home defense the 9mm is one of the best guns on the market. 9mm rounds offer an excellent balance of penetrating power and expansion, while their small size allow for high-capacity magazines. This makes it an ideal weapon for personal protection.
Unfortunately, the popularity of the 9mm has led to such a wide variety of ammunition that it often leaves consumers scratching their heads when it comes to choosing the right one.
So what’s the best 9mm ammo on the market?
In this article we’re discussing the top rounds for both self defense and target practice. For self defense hollow points are the way to go, for reasons we’ll get into below.
|Name of Product||Bullet Weight||Total round||Muzzle Velocity||Muzzle Energy||Price|
|Speer Gold Dot JHP||115 grain||20||1210 fps||374 ft lbs||$$|
|Winchester Supreme Elite JHP||124 grain||20||1200 fps||400 ft lbs||$$|
|Hornady Critical Defense FTX||115 grain||25||1135 fps||329 ft lbs||$$|
|Remington Golden Saber BJHP||147 grain||500||990 fps||320 ft lbs||$$$|
|Federal Premium LE HST JHP||147 grain||50||1000 fps||326 ft lbs||$$|
|Magtech Guardian Gold JHP||115 grain||20||1246 fps||397 ft lbs||$$|
|Blazer Brass FMJ||124 grain||1000||1090 fps||327 ft lbs||$$$|
|PMC Battle Pack FMJ||115 grain||900||1150 fps||338 ft lbs||$$$|
|PMC FMJ||115 grain||1000||1150 fps||338 ft lbs||$$$|
|Prvi Partizan JHP||115 grain||1000||1148 fps||335 ft lbs||$$$|
10 Best 9mm Ammo Brands
1. Speer Gold Dot 9mm JHP
The Speer Gold Dot 9mm round is one of the favorites of law enforcement agencies across the country. It offers VERY impressive stopping power and consistent ballistics. This makes it out top choice for a 9mm self defense round.
Despite being on the lighter side for a self-defense round, the 115 grain bullet performs extremely well even when encountering heavy clothing or bone. This is in large part due to the bonded core, which eliminates separation between the bullet and jacket ensuring excellent weight retention, deep penetration, and consistent expansion upon impact.
The lighter weight bullet translates into less recoil and better grouping, crucial in situations where yours or your family’s life might be on the line.
All in all the Speer Gold Dot performs above it’s weight and even outperforms many other 9mm jacketed hollow point rounds, making it an ideal carry or self defense ammo.
In case you have any doubts, here’s testimonial from a law enforcement officer
Functions flawlessly in my P320s (carry and sub-compact) and my P229. My agency issues the Winchester 147 grain for duty carry, but my off-duty magazines are loaded with this round.
Speer Gold Dot Performance Notes
Velocity – 1210 fps
Energy – 374 ft/lbs
Bullet Type – JHP
Casing – Nickle-Plated Brass
Knock-down power – excellent
Expansion – Consistent weight & dimension
2. Winchester Supreme Elite 9mm JHP
The 9mm Supreme Elite from Winchester is an excellent self defense round. It is a very popular brand in the weapons and ammo field so that would say a little about its expensive price. Though slightly expensive, it is a solid hollow point ammo.
It’s a great for self defense and carry. In my opinion, it is one of the best 9mm ammunition rounds out there so keep a close lookout for this ammo.
Moreover, the bullets are the jacketed hollow-point (JHP) type. At 124 grains, this hollow-point bullet is designed for maximum energy transfer upon impact as well as controlled expansion, when in contact with the target. The JHP style has a hollowed out shape where the bullet expands when entering the target for lesser penetration.
That being said, they are usually enveloped in a coating of harder metal (copper alloy usually) to enhance the strength of the bullet as well as prevent fouling in the barrel. All in all, it is designed to maximize terminal ballistics therefore successfully meeting the demands of the FBI test protocol.
The velocity measures 1200 fps meanwhile the muzzle energy, 400 ft lbs. For your information, the muzzle energy refers to the bullet’s kinetic energy when ejected from the barrel. The theory is rather straightforward; the heavier the bullet, the quicker it moves with higher energy and voila, more damage on your target.
Moving on to the muzzle velocity, it defines the speed of the ammo when fired from the barrel of the gun. They are a lot higher, of course with high performance cartridges. In addition to that, the ammo casing on the other hand is boxer-primed with nickel-plated brass therefore contributing to excellent corrosion resistance as well as easy reloading.
- 20 rounds altogether
- 124 grain JHP bullets
- Controlled penetration
- Top self defense ammo
3. Hornady Critical Defense 9mm FTX
This 9mm jacketed hollow point round from Hornady weighs in at 115 grains. It is of the Flex Tip (FTX) type, where it comes with a patented Flex Tip bullet. The Hornady Flex Tip bullet is equipped with a soft polymer insert that contributes to consistent expansion, for a reliable and controlled penetration overall.
Each Hornady bullet is custom designed to accommodate individual loads conveniently and they are loaded in nickel plated cases for higher shelf life. The all alloy construction ensures that it is resistant to corrosion. Speaking about cases, this product utilizes the nickel plated as well as boxer-primed brass case which is reloadable.
Most 9mm ammunition utilize the boxer priming style where it comes with a cup and anvil so it is rather easy to remove the old primer with a simple pin punch and voila, you can reload it with ease, for your added convenience.
Manufactured by Hornady, this product comes in a total of 25 rounds. If you have noticed, the self-defense rounds are rather easy to identify because they usually come in a very small number of rounds compared to the ammo used for range training. In other words, you don’t need to use up multiple rounds continuously for self-defense.
The performance of this particular Hornady round is both reliable and consistent. It offers excellent penetration and consistent expansion. Not only that, this personal defense ammo feeds and shoots well, with great accuracy and minimal recoil, for your added convenience.
Besides that, it is a great concealed carry ammo rather than self defense as it is equipped with a muzzle flash that can be a little blinding when used at home. All in all, it is a great ammunition overall that promises the perfect expansion characteristics, as well as an accurate and clean shot.
- Hornady Flex Tip bullet
- Controlled expansion and reliable
- Feeds and shoots well
- Muzzle flash
- excellent terminal peformance
4. Remington Golden Saber 9mm BJHP
The 9mm BJHP cartridge is equipped with a brass jacket utilizing wide-mouth openings as well as spiraling serrations. This combination results in deeper penetration, massive expansion, and impressive terminal ballistics. The bullet weighs in at 147 grain.
In other words, this BJHP bullet type pairs extremely well with its suppressors, mainly due to the subsonic loading. Basically, this product is a 9x19mm round that is highly durable and built to last with threat-dropping energy to the target. It has a muzzle energy of 320 feet pounds and a muzzle velocity measuring 990 fps.
Manufactured by the popular Remington, this projectile is mainly used for self-defense. Similar to the saber sword, the Remington Golden Saber ammo provides excellent defense to cut down threats standing in your path with maximum efficiency. It can be either used as personal self defense ammunition or an outside carry (fancy a deer hunting rifle?) according to your preference.
The casing on the other hand is boxer-primed with nickel-plated brass construction which is rust-resistant and ensures smooth cycling therefore contributing to the durability of your product. The boxer-style primer ensures that the ammo can be reloaded with maximum ease as it is easily replaced and removed with a simple pin punch.
In addition to that, it has 500 total hollow point rounds altogether. The 500 rounds are packed neatly in an organized manner to ensure easy and convenient handling, with 50 rounds per box and 10 boxes per case. If you’re an avid hunter, law enforcement officer or just a cautious civilian who frequently shoots and hunts, then you should totally go for it.
The bulk-case of 500 rounds comes in handy to allow the shooter plenty of practice to get a little insight and familiarize with the ammo itself, with consistent recoil impulse.
- 500 hollow point rounds
- Boxer-primed nickel plated brass
- Great terminal ballistics
- Massive expansion & penetrates deep
- Works well in standard or short barrel
5. Federal Premium 9mm LE HST JHP
The Federal HST is another popular ammunition with law enforcement agencies. This 9mm ammo comes with 50 rounds altogether, in a box. Weighing 147 grain, the bullet is of the HST Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) type which comes in handy to offer massive expansion.
The point is covered in harder metal coating which contributes to a stronger bullet as well as prevent fouling in the barrel. it has a velocity of 1000 fps and energy of 326 foot pounds.
The Federal HST bullet on the other hand is equipped with a pre-skived tip which allows the bullet to expand into large petals that would further result in a large permanent wound cavity. That being said, the unique design actually ensures that the lead petals protect the copper petals underneath during the expansion process.
The increased weight retention contributes to deeper penetration through variety of barriers. All in all, this product provides a perfect balance between cavity penetration as well as projectile expansion when in contact with the target to provide you with solid performance.
In addition to that, this 9mm ammo is mainly used for self-defense purpose. It is designed for the use of law enforcement officers as well as occasionally made available to the general public through police trade-ins.
Apart from that, the ammo casing is boxer-primed and comes with a nickel plated brass construction to ensure that it is rust-resistant. Speaking of the boxer-style priming system, the Federal HST comes with an anvil and cup in the center of the pocket hence making it reloadable as it is extremely easy to be replaced and removed.
- 50 rounds per box
- Pre-skived bullet tip
- Boxer-primed case
- Consistent ballistic performance
- Good for standard or short barrel
6. Magtech Guardian Gold 9mm JHP
Manufactured by the Magtech Guardian Gold, this 9mm self-defense round has a total of 20 rounds altogether, arranged and packed together neatly in a small and portable box. I think it is well worth your investment as it offers an affordable protection that packs a powerful punch to guarantee you with the best shooting performance with your gun.
Like the Gold Dot this bullet weighs in at 115 grain and utilizes an alloy-coated hollow point design. This provides for excellent penetration and weight retention after impact.
This cartridge has a muzzle velocity of 1246 fps and a muzzle energy of 397 foot pounds.
This product is mainly used for self-defense purpose, making it an excellent choice for either concealed carry or home defense. All in all, it is a solid ammo because each case is primed with a reliable ignition primer as well as loaded with the finest burning propellants and finally assembled with the specified bullet.
- 20 rounds per box
- Great choice for personal defense
- Deep penetration + great accuracy
- Positive feeding and fires clean
Best Shooting Range Training Ammo:
While the performance of 9mm range ammo isn’t as crucial as those used for self-defense, you do want something that performs similarly in terms of recoil.
If your home-defense rounds have a great deal of kick, make sure you’re practicing with something that provides similar feedback from your gun. Below you’ll find our picks for the best 9mm shooting range ammunition.
1. Blazer Brass 9mm FMJ
Equipped with a total of 1000 rounds, this is our pick for the best 9mm range round. It is suitable for avid and frequent shooters. If you frequently use it, it is very well worth your investment because it is a lot cheaper than buying multiple 50 rounds individually. You not only get to save cost, but also familiarize and practice on the ample ammo for better shooting experience.
In terms of arrangements, all the 1000 rounds are arranged and packaged neatly, in an organized manner. Blazer Brass (the manufacturer) did an excellent job in terms of packaging as the ammunition is arranged neatly with 50 rounds per box and 20 boxes per case. It comes in bulks so it is very suitable for range training.
This product can be used in range shooting target practice, and tactical training. Since it has ample ammo, you can use hundreds of them at a go for practice, with maximum convenience. These range-training rounds provide great accuracy with the right punch to deliver solid shooting performance for your self defense gun.
Apart from that, this product consists of bullets weighing 124 grain. They are FM) type. In other words, the FMJ design is a rather traditional design in order for a positive feeding system in semi-automatic pistols. It is also equipped with a heavy jacket therefore resulting in deep penetration.
In terms of ammo performance, it fires clean and shoots well. Don’t fret, you need not worry about wasting too many of your bullets due to misfiring or jams. The probability of the bullet misfiring is very low (less than 10 bullets, in my experience!) out of the 1000 so it’s safe to say, this product is a great investment.
Though it fires clean, you shouldn’t use it as an excuse to not clean your weapon. Proper maintenance is extremely important for optimal performance of your weapon so don’t forget to clean and oil them frequently. Moving on to the casing, this product is equipped with a boxer-primed brass case which is non-corrosive and reloadable, for your added convenience.
- 1000 rounds in total (bulk)
- 124 grain
- Boxer-primed brass
- Fires clean and shoots well
2. PMC Battle Pack 9mm FMJ
This 9mm ammo is rather unique because it comes in battle packs. All in all, it has a total of 900 rounds altogether which is divided into 3 battle packs consisting of 300 rounds each. The battle pack is then divided into 60 boxes per pack as well as 50 rounds per box. So, you may be wondering why put it in battle pack when you can leave it be in regular packs just like other products?
To answer your query, these battle packs comes in handy if you’re undergoing field training. It is suitable to be utilized for field training and range shooting because with this packs, they are easily packed into the battle field.
In other words, the 9mm ammo is vacuum-sealed and wrapped securely in a high density advance polymer sleeve that is solid and tough to withstand impact and rough terrains in the field, without your projectile getting damaged.
To further elaborate on that, the packs are great for long term ammo storage; you need not worry about the ammo getting damaged over the long term as the pack is solid. However, for further protection, you can store them in an ammo can (this measure isn’t necessary) according to your preference. All in all, the ammo itself is highly durable as it is stored in solid packs for safe keeping.
Moving on to the bullets, it weighs 115 grain and is of the FMJ type where it features the traditional Sierra accuracy and quality. The heavy jacket further contributes to deep penetration and it is match made for high accuracy and flawless feeding. That being said, this type of bullet offers great accuracy and consistency of your gun.
Apart from that, the bullet travels from the muzzle at a velocity of 1150 fps meanwhile it has the potential energy of 338 foot pounds. In terms of the casing, the ammo casing is boxer-primed therefore leading to convenient reloading as the projectiles can be easily removed and replaced. Also, this product is manufactured by PMC.
- 3 battle packs (total: 900 rounds)
- Boxer-primed brass
- Long term storage ammo
- 115 grain
3. PMC 9mm Full Metal Jacket
Let’s walk through a brief history of this 9mm round. Firstly, this ammunition is manufactured by PMC for the South Korean military. The cartridges, ranging from small arms ammo to large howitzer rounds, were produced to fulfill the military purpose.
I think it’s rather unique because PMC manufactures all of their own components from raw materials, from scratch. They take all the initiative to ensure that the ammo is solidly built with complete control over the oversupply chain and consistency.
Moving on to the bullet type, it weighs 115 grain and is FMJ. The FMJ type is mostly used in semi-automatic pistols and has an excellent positive feeding system. All in all, it is a rather reliable range ammo, standard for consistency and excellence. As a proof to that statement, there is almost close to no misfire or jams.
Instead, it provides consistent groupings and clean firing leading to an accurate shot. This 9mm ammo offers a velocity of 1150 fps and an energy of 338 foot pounds. The casings on the other hand is boxer-primed with brass construction. The brass construction prevents corrosion meanwhile the boxer-style priming contributes to easy reloading, for your added convenience.
Furthermore, it comes in a total quantity of 1000 rounds which is divided accordingly to 50 rounds per box and 20 boxes per case. It comes in bulks therefore it is suitable to be used for range training as you get to fire hundreds of rounds continuously. Not only that, it is a lot cheaper and well worth your investment buying them in bulks compared to buying multiple 50 rounds ammo.
- 1000 rounds altogether
- excellent terminal performance
- High consistency bullet
- Non-corrosive and reloadable
4. Prvi Partizan JHP
Manufactured by the Prvi Partizan, this 9mm ammunition comes with a 115 grain (bullet weight) JHP bullet.
Moreover, the casing is boxer-primed brass which is easily reloadable as well as rust-resistant to ensure the high shelf life of the bullet in the long run. Moving on to the bullet performance, it cycles well as well as delivers controlled expansion. As a result of that, it punches clean holes in paper targets.
This 9mm round is mainly used for range training, however it can also be utilized for self-defense. Its standard pressure load ensures that it works well in both compact and full-sized handguns. Not only that, the bullet travels from the muzzle at a velocity of 1148 fps and with muzzle energy of 335 foot pounds.
It comes in 1000 total rounds. The 1000 rounds are divided into 20 boxes per case and 50 rounds per box in which they are neatly packed and arranged for easy handling. Buying in bulk such as purchasing 500 or 1000 rounds one short really saves cost rather than buying multiple 50 rounds box.
That being said, it is a good deal if you’re about to use them frequently or a lot at once, such as for range training. All in all, it is a good choice for budget self-defense with its excellent ability to expand upon impact and deliver controlled penetration.
- excellent terminal performance
- 1000 rounds altogether
- Cycles well
- Controlled penetration
- Boxer primed brass
Considerations When Choosing 9mm Ammo
The bullet weight is measured in grains (abbreviated: ’gr’). The weight doesn’t make much difference as long as you use the right caliber in your gun. For your information, caliber refers to the internal diameter of the gun barrel. Hence, it all comes down on your personal preference and the other additional features the ammo offers.
There are various bullet types out there. Most of them comes with the (mentioned in this review) the full metal jacket (FMJ) and jacketed hollow point (JHP). FMJ is a traditional design which is usually used in semi-automatic pistols. It offers great feeding system and maintains the accuracy of your shot.
For the JHP on the other hand, the bullet has a hollowed out shape and basically expands upon entering the target therefore resulting in controlled penetration. The point is covered with alloy metal coating which comes in handy for improved bullet strength as well as ensures clean firing therefore preventing fouling in barrel.
You can check out other types and designs here.
What is a primer, you may be wondering? First things first, you must understand that a primer plays an important role in the firearm. In larger weapons, the primer is located at the end of the gun’s barrel and function to ignite the power charge. Conversely, in smaller weapons, they are placed at the rear end of the cartridge.
The popular primer style is the boxer-primed brass style. The brass constructions ensures that the projectile is corrosion-free. For the boxer style on the other hand, it comes with a cup and anvil so that the projectile can be removed and replaced with maximum ease, with a pin punch. Hence, it can be reloaded conveniently.
Number of Rounds & Packaging
The number of rounds depends solely on what you plan to use the 9mm ammo for. If you notice below, the product with a large number or rounds are ideal for range training meanwhile the common 50 or 20 rounds per box are used for self-defense.
If you plan on training or brushing up your shooting skills, you should buy bulk ammo as it is considerably cheaper.
Moving on to the packaging, they are usually packed neatly, in an organized manner for simple handling. The ones in bulks are divided into boxes and cases so it is well organized.
All in all, your 9mm ammo should have the perfect balance between expansion and penetration. There are various types of bullet with different designs and types out there so you should choose wisely depending on your personal preference and the type of gun you’re using.