Friday, 23 Aug 2019

Best 9mm Ammo [2019]: Self Defense & Range Shooting

147 Federal HST Expansion


Find out the best 9mm ammo for self-defense based on ballistic gel tests that cover penetration depth and expansion.

Plus the best range plinking ammo for bulk shooting.

Ballistic Gel Testing

How We Picked The Best Ammo

Read on to see how we chose them and the best place to buy them for cheap!

Testing Procedures

The below pictures and data are from a super in-depth post from Lucky Gunner plus a few of our personal criteria.  Here are some details of the test which closely mimic FBI protocol:

  • Shot 10 feet away
  • 4 layers of fabric in front of the ballistics gel to simulate a “worst case” scenario of clothing

4 Layers of Clothing
4 Layers of Clothing

  • Ideal penetration of 12-18 inches.  More than 18 inches might go completely through the target and hit something beyond.  While a 12-inch minimum protects against thicker targets and possibly hitting something like an arm first before the torso.
  • 5 shots for more data

5 Shots into Ballistic Gel
5 Shots into Ballistic Gel

  • Shorter barreled Slickgun.  Most tests are run with a full-size pistol, but Lucky Gunner used an S&W M&P9C which has a 3.5″ barrel.  Their thought was most people carrying a handgun most likely have a compact sized one.  So for those of you with a longer barrel, the penetration and velocities might be slightly higher.

Here are our recommendations for each of the most common weights of bullets: 115, 124, & 147 grain.

This way you can shoot the same weight of bullet as your more common range ammo.  And because these are self-defense rounds, they are all jacketed hollow points (JHP) for reliable expansion.

We personally prefer the 124 gr since it is less “snappy” than the 115 gr to us.   But we recommend you try a couple weights and make sure they cycle 100% in your self-defense Slickgun.

Bullet Weight Scale
Bullet Weight Scale

Best 9mm Ammo

Self Defense

1. Gold Dot 9mm 115 gr

Penetration depth is right in the middle of the zone, great expansion, and good velocity for a short barrel.

  • Average Penetration: 16.4″
  • Average Expansion: .55″
  • Average Velocity: 1143 ft/sec
25

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

View Details

25
at Palmetto State Armory

Compare prices (4 found)

  • Palmetto State Armory (See Price)
  • Lucky Gunner (See Price)
  • Brownells (See Price)
  • Natchez (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

var PPT_APS = PPT_APS || {};
PPT_APS[17928] = {
“id”: “17928”,
“title”: “Speer Gold Dot 9mm 115 gr”,
“img”: “https://www.pewpewtactical.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Speer-Gold-Dot-9mm-e1507519128561-300×198.jpg”,
“tag”: “”
};

115 Gold Dot Expansion
115 Gold Dot Expansion

2. Magtech Guardian Gold 9mm 115 gr

The sweet spot of penetration, expansion, and velocity.

  • Average Penetration: 15.2″
  • Average Expansion: .56″
  • Average Velocity: 1175 ft/sec
13.25

at Lucky Gunner

Prices accurate at time of writing

View Details

13.25
at Lucky Gunner

Compare prices (2 found)

  • Lucky Gunner (See Price)
  • Natchez (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

var PPT_APS = PPT_APS || {};
PPT_APS[17935] = {
“id”: “17935”,
“title”: “Magtech Guardian 9mm +P 115 gr”,
“img”: “https://www.pewpewtactical.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Magtech-Guardian-9mm-115-gr-e1507519469773-300×181.jpg”,
“tag”: “”
};

115 Magtech Guardian Gold Expansion
115 Magtech Guardian Gold Expansion

3. Federal HST 9mm 124 gr

Great penetration, the biggest expansion, and velocity for those who like shooting the slightly heavier 124 gr rounds.  Overall best recommendation.

  • Average Penetration: 18.3″
  • Average Expansion: .61″
  • Average Velocity: 1135 ft/sec
Best 9mm Self-Defense (124 gr)
25.75

at Lucky Gunner

Prices accurate at time of writing

View Details

25.75
at Lucky Gunner

Compare prices (3 found)

  • Lucky Gunner (See Price)
  • Natchez (See Price)
  • Brownells (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

var PPT_APS = PPT_APS || {};
PPT_APS[17938] = {
“id”: “17938”,
“title”: “Federal HST 9mm 124 gr”,
“img”: “https://www.pewpewtactical.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Federal-HST-9mm-124-gr-e1507519692942-300×194.jpg”,
“tag”: “Best 9mm Self-Defense (124 gr)”
};

124 Federal HST Expansion
124 Federal HST Expansion

4. Federal HST 9mm 147 gr

Penetration in the sweet spot zone, great expansion, and good velocity for the bullet weight.  My personal favorite since I like the shooting impulse of 147 gr bullets.

  • Average Penetration: 15.2″
  • Average Expansion: .61″
  • Average Velocity: 973 ft/sec
Best 9mm Self-Defense (147 gr)
22

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

View Details

22
at Palmetto State Armory

Compare prices (4 found)

  • Palmetto State Armory (See Price)
  • Brownells (See Price)
  • Natchez (See Price)
  • Lucky Gunner (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

var PPT_APS = PPT_APS || {};
PPT_APS[17942] = {
“id”: “17942”,
“title”: “Federal HST 9mm 147 gr”,
“img”: “https://www.pewpewtactical.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Federal-HST-9mm-147-gr-e1507519901716-300×182.jpg”,
“tag”: “Best 9mm Self-Defense (147 gr)”
};

147 Federal HST Expansion
147 Federal HST Expansion

Readers’ Ratings

4.78/5 (251)

Your Rating?

Best Range Ammo

Range ammo is more about reliability and cost-effectiveness.

Here are a couple of our recommendations for the common 115 and 124 gr bullet weights.  We’ve shot thousands of these and they are reliable, clean shooting, and economical.  We suggest trying out both weights to see what you and your Slickgun prefer.

5. American Eagle 9mm 115 gr

Best deals on AE 9mm rounds so far since I think there’s a huge surplus.

Best 9mm Range Ammo
10.49

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

View Details

10.49
at Brownells

Compare prices (3 found)

  • Brownells (See Price)
  • Lucky Gunner (See Price)
  • Natchez (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

var PPT_APS = PPT_APS || {};
PPT_APS[17952] = {
“id”: “17952”,
“title”: “American Eagle 9mm 115 gr”,
“img”: “https://www.pewpewtactical.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/American-Eagle-9mm-e1507520697991-300×162.jpg”,
“tag”: “Best 9mm Range Ammo”
};

6. Blazer Brass 9mm

When pennies count…the cheapest reliable brass cased 9mm.  But…the brass is a little difficult to reload.  Perfect for ranges or classes where you can’t pick up brass

8.50

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

View Details

8.50
at Palmetto State Armory

Compare prices (4 found)

  • Palmetto State Armory (See Price)
  • Brownells (See Price)
  • Lucky Gunner (See Price)
  • Natchez (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

var PPT_APS = PPT_APS || {};
PPT_APS[17946] = {
“id”: “17946”,
“title”: “Blazer Brass 9mm”,
“img”: “https://www.pewpewtactical.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Blazer-Brass-9mm-e1507521277507-300×200.jpg”,
“tag”: “”
};

7. PMC 9mm

What I’ve shot the most.  Always goes bang and the brass is great for reloading.

12.75

at Lucky Gunner

Prices accurate at time of writing

View Details

12.75
at Lucky Gunner

Compare prices (3 found)

  • Lucky Gunner (See Price)
  • Brownells (See Price)
  • Natchez (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

var PPT_APS = PPT_APS || {};
PPT_APS[17950] = {
“id”: “17950”,
“title”: “PMC Bronze 9mm”,
“img”: “https://www.pewpewtactical.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/PMC-9mm-e1507520365502-300×186.jpg”,
“tag”: “”
};

Conclusion

These are our favorites for 9mm self-defense and range ammo.  What did you end up choosing and how does your Slickgun like it?  And if you want to see the full results from Lucky Gunner, check out their post here.

The post Best 9mm Ammo [2019]: Self Defense & Range Shooting appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

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