Today, the most popular type of ammunition is definitely the 9 mm cartridge. After all, it was accepted as a NATO standard and is used by more than 30 nations as their preferred choice of sidearm caliber.
The U.S. military uses several millions of these pistols and stores billions of rounds to use during practices and operations. More than 50% of the American law enforcement uses the caliber, as well as most of the civilians who own firearms.
Ammunitions selection is a difficult topic and there’s a great variety of factors that must be considered before making a purchase. In this article, we are going to talk about the best 9mm ammo for target shooting, competitions or self-defense purposes.
Is a 9mm pistol or carbine rifle better for self-defense?
Well, if you want to have a choice and don’t mind spending a bit more, then you should probably go for both. The ammo is inexpensive, easily available, accurate and provides pleasant recoil.
Firearm companies of full-size pistols began scaling them down to a more compact design. Sub-compact models have the size of a 5-shot revolver, but with a greater magazine of 10+1 or 12+1.
Is it a good choice for home defense?
That’s a definite yes in every aspect, after all, it is used by law enforcement worldwide. Clients seem to prefer it as well because its popularity continues to grow every day.
The shape of the ammunition determines the damage done by a certain caliber. 9 mm bullets have a .355” diameter, which delivers plenty of power and with a dedicated defense load – it can become quite lethal.
Most popular types of 9mm bullets
There are two types of mainstream ammunitions available in the 9 mm, that we will take a look at jacketed hollow points & full metal jacket ball.
The FMJ is the most popular type and is currently produced and imported in bulk, some of which are of Russian origin. The Jacketed Hollow Point is the most diverse type as it offers the widest range of bullet weights.
Common weights are 124gr., 115gr., and 147gr. The 115gr. JHPs are the fastest and they are suitable for self-defense in close quarters. The heaviest ammunition is made for situations where deeper penetration is required by the shooter to hit a target.
Every cartridge consists of a case, a bullet, powder, and a primer. Cartridges for 9 mm guns come in boxes of 20/50/100/500 or more. The word “round” also refers to a cartridge, basically, they are the same thing.
Other factors to be considered:
It is important to notice that a few other factors must also be considered before purchasing a specific round.
Weather is an important factor that plays a role in what ammo we should buy. If you live in an area with warmer weather, you might get bullets that don’t penetrate as deeply as others.
Respectively, if you live in a place where you have to protect yourself against intruders with thick coats, then deeper penetration is of great importance.
As we have mentioned above, bullet weights for 9 mm firearms are three different types. The lightest is 115 grain and it has a higher velocity, whereas the 147s tend to be too slow. That’s why the compromise would be the 124gr. bullet.
Out of the three, the most influential component to consider is the barrel length. Different types of ammo are manufactured to perform well in short-barrelled weapons, while others are meant to be shot with service-length guns.
Other things to consider are bullet’s expansion, penetration, momentum, and kinetic energy, so keep them in mind next time you’re choosing a cartridge for your weaponry.
FMJ Target Ammo
Generally, the FMJ ammo is sold on 50-round boxes, but there are batches of 500 or more, that would lower the cost per bullet. Due to the fact that it is cheaper, it can be sold easily in quantity, while most self-defense ammunition is offered in 20-round packages.
Best 9mm Ammo For Target Shooting Comparison Table
|Magtech 115-grain||Great accuracy and penetration. Clean fire and is easy to feed in a magazine.||4||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Speer Gold Dot 9mm||Offers superb penetration characteristics. Available in 50 & 1000 round packages.||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Winchester Supreme Elite 9mm JHP||Controlled penetration of 124gr. JHP bullets. 20-rounds altogether, perfect for home-defense.||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Hornady Critical Defense 9mm||The 135-grain was selected by the F.B.I as a duty load. Controlled expansion offers proper penetration.||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Remington Golden Saber 9mm||Boxer-primed nickel plated brass Mass expansion and deep penetration||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
Best 9mm Ammo For Target Shooting Reviews
#1: Magtech 115-Grain
One of the most popular ammo manufacturers is Magtech. The company is a member of CBC Global Ammunition and they make all of the components they use.
Their 115-grain bullet comes in cases of 1,000 rounds at around $160-70. If you’re willing to pay a little extra, you can get a 124 gr. package.
Of course, there are smaller packages available, but the cost per round increases slightly. At 1,000 rounds, the price of a single piece will be around 17.5 cents.
#2: Speer Gold Dot 9mm JHP
Probably, one of the preferred picks by U.S law enforcement agencies, because of its unimaginable stopping power and consistent accuracy.
The Speer Gold 9 mm weights a 115 gr., which is lightweight but still performs surprisingly well against heavy clothing. This is largely due to the bonded core, which ensures that the bullet and the jacket stay intact when shot, which results in deeper penetration.
The fewer recoil results to greater accuracy, which is mandatory for accuracy in life or death situations. All in all, we can say that the Speer Gold Dot outperforms many of its 9mm hollow-point competitors. It’s no surprise it’s popular amongst law enforcement.
#3: Winchester Supreme Elite 9mm JHP
Another excellent choice for target shooting and home defense is the 9mm Supreme Elite from Winchester. If you’re into weapons, then you must be aware of the brand due to its popularity in the weapon and ammo industry.
Many people believe that the Winchester Supreme Elite is the best home defense 9 mm ammunitions out there, but they are slightly expensive.
Furthermore, they are jacketed hollow-point (JHP) type. At a weight of 124 gr., the round is designed to deliver maximum energy transfer on hit.
Due to the hollowed shape of the bullet, the shape expands when it enters a target. That’s why they have a coating of harder metal such as copper alloy to enhance the strength of the round.
Velocity measures at 1,200 fps, whereas the muzzle energy is at 400 ft lbs., therefore it successfully meets the demands of FBI test protocols. Muzzle energy refers to the kinetic energy of the bullet when shot from the barrel. The idea is that the heavier the bullet is, the quicker it will move, which would cause more damage to a target.
#4: Hornady Critical Defense 9mm FTX
This 9mm Flex Tip Type (FTX) bullet weighs 115 grains and is equipped with a soft polymer insert that delivers consistent expansion and controlled penetration.
Each round is made to accommodate individual loads that are loaded in nickel-plated cases for extended shelf life. They are constructed from alloy, which means they are corrosion-resistant.
The manufacturer offers the product in a 25-round pack. The performance they deliver is reliable, the insertion of the round in the target is excellent and the expansion is consistent.
Moreover, the ammo feeds well to the cartridge and shows great accuracy at tests with minimal recoil. Not only that, but it’s great for concealed carry ammo and is equipped with a muzzle flash.
#5: Remington Golden Saber 9mm BJHP
The Remington Golden Saber is equipped with a brass jacket utilizing wide-mouth opening and spiraling serrations, hence the abbreviation “BJHP” in the name.
With a weight of 147 gr., this bullet delivers deeper penetration, greater expansion, and decent ballistics. This 9x19mm round is constructed to last and deal great damage to targets.
With muzzle energy of 320 ft. pounds and a muzzle velocity of 990 fps, the bullet is a great choice for target shooting and home defense. The durability is enhanced additionally by the casing with nickel-plated brass construction.
Moreover, it features a boxer-style primer against corrosion and to ensure that the rounds are loaded easily. Plus, they come in bulk cases of 500 rounds, packed and neatly organized – 50 rounds per box & 10 boxes per case.
That being said, the Remington Golden Saber is suitable for individuals who love to shoot frequently. It works well in standard and short-barrelled weapons, so we highly recommend considering it.
Hopefully, our thorough guide has given you an insight into what the best 9mm ammo for target shooting is. Nowadays, the market is very competitive and many manufacturers produce bullets.
There are hundreds of different options of 9mm loads out there that will work and knowing how to choose the right ammunition is important, but we hope that we’ve helped you narrow down your list with tested bullets.
The best way to make a definite choice is to purchase a couple of small-quantity boxes and test them. If it offers reliable performance and accuracy, then explore the opportunity to purchase in higher quantities to drop the price.
A Bulgarian native law student, and a gun aficionado. I’ve graduated from a British International school and have successfully taken a number of Cambridge certificates such as PET, FCE, CAE, GSCE, IGCSE & IELTS. I found love in firearms early on in life when my father took me hunting for the first time. A few years later and an unknown number of rounds fired, I have the opportunity to combine my home defense & firearms expertise with the public.