"Recommended Defensive Ammunition"

Written by Scott Fuller on . Posted in Blog

Defensive ammunition selection can be confusing. The internet and the gun rags are filled with misinformation and marketing. Please do not fall into the trap of picking a carry or home defense load based on a magazine cover or a hyped YouTube video.

Speer Gold Dot
For those of you wanting me to tell you what ammo to buy for your gun (TL;DR), I can do that. Speer Gold Dot. Easy to find and easy to buy, the Gold Dot bullet is also a recommended load in the 124, 147, 165, 180 and 230 grain versions.

The Nuances
Caliber does not matter. That is right. I said it! As long as you choose 9mm, 40 S&W or .45 Auto, the differences in the terminal ballistics are minimal enough to ignore. Shot placement is the most important factor only secondary to the reliability of the ammo in your pistol.


“Keeping in mind that handguns generally offer poor incapacitation potential, bullets with effective terminal performance are available in all of the most commonly used duty pistol calibers—pick the one that you shoot most accurately, that is most reliable in the type of pistol you choose, and best suits you likely engagement scenarios.” DocGKR

The Guidelines
The FBI has established wound ballistic requirements of handguns used for self defense and all my recommendations are based on these requirements. Basically you want adequate penetration and reliable expansion.


The List
I have shamelessly stolen this list from Dr. Gary Roberts. He is a very visible entity in the realm of terminal ballistics expertise and this list is considered reference by many industry professionals. I present it here to you because it is the list I use when choosing a carry load.

P40HST1 180gr Bare
9 mm:
Barnes XPB 115 gr JHP (copper bullet)

Federal Tactical 124 gr JHP (LE9T1)
Federal HST 124 gr +P JHP (P9HST3)
Remington Golden Saber bonded 124 gr +P JHP (GSB9MMD)
Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +P JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 124 gr +P JHP (RA9124TP)
Winchester 124 gr +P bonded JHP (RA9BA)
Winchester Ranger-T 127 gr +P+ JHP (RA9TA)
Federal Tactical 135 gr +P JHP (LE9T5)
Hornady Critical Duty 135 gr +P PT
Federal HST 147 gr JHP (P9HST2)
Remington Golden Saber 147 gr JHP (GS9MMC)
Speer Gold Dot 147 gr JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 147 gr JHP (RA9T)
Winchester 147 gr bonded JHP (RA9B/Q4364)

.40 S&W:
Barnes XPB 140 & 155 gr JHP (copper bullet)

Speer Gold Dot 155 gr JHP
Federal Tactical 165 gr JHP (LE40T3)
Speer Gold Dot 165 gr JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 165 gr JHP (RA40TA)
Federal HST 180 gr JHP (P40HST1)
Federal Tactical 180 gr JHP (LE40T1)
Remington Golden Saber 180 gr JHP (GS40SWB)
Speer Gold Dot 180 gr JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 180 gr JHP (RA40T)
Winchester 180 gr bonded JHP (RA40B/Q4355/S40SWPDB1)

.45 ACP:
Barnes XPB 185 gr JHP (copper bullet)

Hornady Critical Duty 220 gr +P JHP
Federal HST 230 gr JHP (P45HST2)
Federal HST 230 gr +P JHP (P45HST1)
Federal Tactical 230 gr JHP (LE45T1)
Speer Gold Dot 230 gr JHP
Winchester Ranger-T 230 gr JHP (RA45T)
Winchester Ranger-T 230 gr +P JHP (RA45TP)

DocGKRs most up to date list can be found here:
https://pistol-forum.com/showthread.php?4337-Service-Caliber-Handgun-Duty-and-Self-Defense-Ammo

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