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5 Best 9mm Self Defense Ammo Options For Concealed Carry

by Ben Jimenez 21 Comments

5 Best 9mm Self Defense Ammo Options For Concealed Carry

It's widely accepted that the best overall self-defense pistol round is the 9mm. Concealed carry aficionados in particular tend to prefer 9mm handguns due to their compact size and low recoil. The only problem with the 9mm is that there are so many round options to choose from. If you want the best 9mm ammo for self-defense, you can't go wrong with any of these loads.

Winchester PDX Defender 124gr +P

Easily one of the best self-defense rounds on the market regardless of caliber, the Winchester PDX Defender 124gr +P is an impressive customer. It's so effective that the FBI chose it as its handgun ammo of choice. Thanks to its bonded bullet, this particular Winchester round produces fairly deep wound channels. Its muzzle velocity of 1,200 feet per second ensures great penetration on soft targets.

Federal 124gr HST

Long the go-to 9mm choice for many law enforcement agencies, the Federal 124gr HST is an excellent ammo option for the average citizen. It boasts excellent penetration in spite of its non-bonded bullet and above-average expansion to boot. Capable of delivering 364 food-pounds of energy, this 9mm round certainly packs a nice little wallop. Its nickel-plated case ensures glitch-free feeding and ejection when they matter the most.

Magtech Guardian Gold 115gr +P

If you like quicker ammo for your 9mm handguns, the Magtech Guardian Gold 115gr +P doesn't disappoint. Boasting a muzzle velocity of 1,246 feet per second, it's definitely one of the faster ammo options available to the general public. Thanks to 397 foot-pounds of muzzle energy, it's also a powerful round that expands impressively on contact. Lastly, it's a remarkably accurate cartridge with low recoil.

Speer Gold Dot 124gr

Another favorite of LEOs around the nation, the Speer Gold Dot 124gr is an affordable round with highly attractive ballistics. Muzzle velocity clocks in at 1,150 feet per second while muzzle energy is a healthy 327 foot-pounds. The best thing about the bonded Speer Gold Dot bullet is its resistance to core-jacket separation. If you prefer a longer barrel on your concealed carry sidearm, this round is always a sound bet.

Hornady Critical Duty 135gr +P

One of the most innovative rounds around, the Hornady Critical Duty 135gr +P is a cartridge that delivers. Thanks to Hornady's advanced FlexLock technology, this bullet expands rapidly on contact with negligible core-jacket separation. With a muzzle velocity of 1,110 feet per second, it's fast enough for decent penetration. A more than adequate 369 foot-pounds of muzzle energy give it some serious power in the clutch.

Making the Most of Topnotch 9mm Ammo

The best ammo in the world won't do you much good if you can't reliably deploy it in a hurry. You can find plenty of high-quality holsters of all kinds at Concealment Express that will help you to make the most of your preferred ammo and sidearm. A holster that's specifically designed for your favorite pistol is a must when fractions of a second count.

Ben Jimenez
Ben Jimenez


21 Responses

roger
roger

September 05, 2018

federal champion/brass fmj is my range and self defense ammo. I believe in using the same ammo that you train with. never a problem shooting this ammo

Jerry Burnett
Jerry Burnett

September 05, 2018

I prefer Federal 150 grain HST. I also like the Sig Sauer defensive ammunition due to the overall performance vs price point. I believe your list was good as there are many good 9mm rounds for carry being manufactured these days compared to even just 5 years ago.

Jack Zeller
Jack Zeller

September 05, 2018

My duty and personal carry ammo is Winchester 147 grain Ranger T-Series.

Anthony
Anthony

September 05, 2018

Looks like a great list to me. Also my CE holster has been perfect so far. Will be grabbing a few more towards the holidays!

Shane Patton
Shane Patton

September 05, 2018

I use the Federal HST for self-defense. I settled in on this round after a visit to my local Cabela’s (eastern PA), where I was able to review the different rounds with a knowledgeable employee, who had up on the screen a compiled snapshot of 15-20 rounds compared in many categories. The HST performed near the top of each category and overall had the best ratings, while some other rounds scored high in certain categories and lower in others. Consistency of expansion and penetration depth were key indicators in my evaluation.

Paul
Paul

September 05, 2018

New Federal Premium Hydra-Shok Deep 135 gr. looks very promising.

Curly
Curly

September 05, 2018

I own 3 of their products so far and another 2 are going to be mine later this week. Great service, price and quality products. You go wrong if you shop elsewhere. Curly, Durango, CO.

New Englander
New Englander

September 05, 2018

When I carried a 9mm, it was hst 124gr in the warm weather and critical duty 135gr in the winter. I carry a Glock 42 now and it’s fiocchi Extrema xtp 90gr (380) all the time. If you question the lethality of the 380, check out
“doctacdad hogs head 380 ballistics test”, or shooting the bull comprehensive 380 short barrel ammo test.

Jerry
Jerry

September 05, 2018

While all those listed are good rounds, their performance depends on full bullet expansion to be effective. Expansion is not guaranteed in every situation, especially out of the short barreled 9 mm that most of us non-LEOs actually carry. I take no chances by loading my auto mags or revolver cylinders with Underwood Xtreme Defender. Check out the ballistics for your short barreled CCW.

Bill Knapp
Bill Knapp

September 05, 2018

I carry Federal 150 gr HST in my Glock 19. The pistol is easily concealed in the Concealment Express IWB kydex holster. Great holster and comfortable to carry all day. Don’t leave home without it.

Jerry
Jerry

September 05, 2018

Based on reviews by a number of respected individuals, I use the Federal 124 grain HST. The tests I have read show that it has excellent penetration and expansion and I’ve never had a failure to feed, fire, or eject in any of my pistols.

Emil dicaro
Emil dicaro

September 05, 2018

I use hornady critical defense and love the feel and low recoil and great acuracy

Terry Tyler
Terry Tyler

September 05, 2018

Sig elite v crown hp or federal hst.

Kyle
Kyle

September 05, 2018

Currently carrying Federal 135gr 9mm.

DanO
DanO

September 05, 2018

I agree on the HST and also the Remington Golden Sabre 124. Plated casings rock!

William D Roark
William D Roark

September 05, 2018

Great article and wonderful holsters! I have 2 and am planning more for my other EDC weapons.

Hammer
Hammer

September 05, 2018

Federal HST is all I use for self-defense rounds anymore.

I wouldn’t assume that all 9mm hollow point options are going to do what you expect them to – take a look at the excellent ballistics testing that Lucky Gunner has on their site, and pay particular attention to the photos of expansion. Some of the most popular choices out there in 9mm (incl. one option on this list) do no offer consistency I would stake my life on.

Doug
Doug

September 05, 2018

Speer Gold Dot 124g JHP or 147g JHP. Prefer + P but hard to find.

Chris
Chris

September 05, 2018

Thanks for the helpful information, excellent advice.

Dusty Calvo
Dusty Calvo

August 30, 2018

To everyone out there these are the best holister at a great price

Rich
Rich

August 30, 2018

Buying me some of each, though FBI recommended is what I think I’ll try first

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