Best 9mm Ammo for Self Defense – Dec 2022

G2 Research 9mm Ripper bullets don't really work, but they are amazing. Buy your extreme 9mm self defence ammo here.

The Best 9mm Ammunition For Self Defense in 2022 – Self Defense

We’ve got the best 9mm self defense ammunition down below, but if you’re looking for bulk deals then we have some great links with the searches done for you. Check here for the best 9mm ammo stores and save money:

What is the the best 9mm ammo on the market right now when it comes to self-defense?

The safe answer for 9mm self-defense ammo is the 147 grain jacketed hollow point ammunition.

But we want to show you some alternatives that we recommend you test. Not all of them will work like a dream, but they are proper fun to shoot.

Try This 9mm Ammo, Best Bought Online

Get a sampler pack of 9mm rounds, go to the butcher and buy some big pieces of meat. Then have fun and see which bullet blows your mind, and a pig’s ass off.

People have made YouTube careers from shooting meat and ballistic gel. Or they tried at least…

You will be truly shocked at the performance on offer from at least three of these bullets. They can turn a small concealed carry pistol into an absolute cannon.

Are Hollowpoints Still the Best?

Projectile technology has come on in leaps and bounds and bullet tech now goes beyond hollow points. Honestly. we’re still recommending the top JHP 9mm defensive rounds.

If you simply price shop for ammunition, then you might never have seen some of these high-end offerings and it has to be said they can totally transform your gun.

Some of these 9mm self-defense rounds will turn a high-capacity handgun into a sledgehammer. At least one claims to do as much damage as a point-blank shot from an AR-15. That sounds optimistic, but then you see the results…

Bigger Impact, Same 9mm Benefits

At the very least, it’s like going up to a 40 S&W or a .45 ACP, all the time keeping the traditional 9mm advantages of increased capacity, low recoil and easy grouping of your 9mm rounds.

Put two or three of some of these bullets into almost any target and it’s a done deal.

Seriously, these bullets could even turn a stock 9mm into a hunting handgun. And they have…

Savage Impact Self Defense Ammo

That’s what you’ve got here, more impact and different approaches to the same dirty job. So get yourself a sampler pack of bullets, blow the shit out of a  side of beef, or ballistic gel, or however you really test a bullet, and see which one you like best.

We guarantee you’ll like one of these bullets enough to order more. if only for sadistically blowing the crap out of the contents of your fridge when the mood strikes.

Here are our picks for the best 9mm ammo on the market for self defense in 2022.


Hornady Critical Defense 9mm is the best self-defense ammunition you can buy off the shelf. Get the best prices on Hornady 9mm ammo here.

 

 

1. Hornady Critical Defense

  • Price: $0.95/Round
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Pack Price: $23.71/25 Rounds
  • Bullet weight: 115gr
  • Muzzle Energy: 332
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1140fps
  • Bullet Type: Flex Tip eXpanding (FTX)

At its heart, the Hornady Critical Defense is jacketed hollow point ammunition, but the tip bears its patented Flex Tip eXpanding technology (FTX)  that helps the bullet punch through denim etc.

That makes it great ammo, self-defense and law enforcement agencies love this bullet for its kinetic energy, terminal performance, reliability and price.

The Deadliest Mushroom

It doesn’t claim to have the ultimate terminal performance.

But once the impact is made then it mushrooms out like the best hollow point ammunition and tumbles violently to create a dramatic wound cavity.

Hornady uses the cleanest burning primer to reduce muzzle flash and this bullet is some of the best pistol ammunition you have seen.

They are Nickel plated to prevent corrosion, every bullet is cannelured and then crimped to avoid setback and it is guaranteed to run reliably in any gun.

Hornady Critical Duty vs Critical Defense

Critical Duty offers a slightly different vibe, but this is the one the company recommends for defensive duties in compact handguns. Critical Duty is tuned for full size handguns and may be the best home defense option.

So if you run a 5 inch Government model 1911 in 9mm, then the Critical Duty is the one.

Invest heavily in Critical Defense, then, if you’re the average person with a short barrel CCW.

It isn’t as left-field as a couple of the options here, but then maybe that’s a good thing when you’re actually looking at the best self defense 9mm ammo for your concealed carry handgun or micro-compact 9mm.

Critical Defense is reliable, tested in all conditions and has the full respect of the industry. If you want to choose just one ammo, self-defense, this should be the bullet you trust with your life.

If you’re just looking for range ammo then Hornady American Gunner is a great choice of FMJ bullets. American Gunner will perform largely the same in terms of the high velocity , but shoot some meat and you’ll see .


Honeybadger 9mm Ammunition, is the most vicious self defense 9mm ammo that money can buy? Get the best 9mm ammunition here.

2. Black Hills Honeybadger

  • Price per round: $1.85
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Pack Price: $27.99/20 Rounds
  • Type: Fluid Transfer Monolithic
  • Bullet Weight: 125gr

Black Hills Honeybadger ammunition is claimed to create the same sort of carnage as a round from an AR-15 in terms of wound cavity and terminal performance. Try them and it’s hard to disagree.

That means this is right up there with the best 9mm ammo out there, if we’re honest. If you’re prepared to take a chance on a newcomer and try some ammo out for size, this is the one you should go for. Put it in your best handguns and see what happens with these impromptu test results.

If it looks like an old school steel ball, with a cutting tool on the front, you’re more or less in the right ballpark and it looks like heavy clothing shouldn’t present too much of a problem.

Deeper penetration depth goes with the territory, too, because this bullet doesn’t open like a parachute to create its wound cavity.

This is a slight evolution that Black Hills thinks is the ultimate self defense round. It may well be right, we love this bullet and you should seriously try some. At least on some ballistic gel.

Of course this is an expensive self-defense round, but then you knew that…

How Do FTM Bullets Work?

You need to watch the gel tests to really understand this 9mm pistol ammunition. It punches through pretty much everything, but it’s the shockwave it creates in its wake that is so utterly devastating.

It doesn’t tumble like a normal bullet, but it does wreak absolute havoc while tracing out a perfect straight line.

Here’s an explanation of the differences and an introduction to this Fluid Transfer Monolithic 9mm pistol ammunition. You can also see it blasting ballistic gel and other fun stuff.

New Bullet Technology: Fluid Transfer Monolithic

It’s simple, it’s brilliant and it works. The Honeybadger is super expensive, but you know that’s the price of new R&D.

This bullet does not rely on penetration and expansion. Just deeper than average penetration and fluid transfer impact.

That screwdriver structure on the front with sharp, cruel edges stays flat and true, punches through clothes and barriers with minimal deflection and then causes a massive wound cavity up to four times as big as a normal bullet.

I was skeptical, but this fluid transfer monolithic bullet works.

Long Distance Accuracy is Good

It stays flat and is as accurate as any conventional round over 50 feet in the tests I have seen. Close up, it is an absolutely devastating ammo for self defense.

They’re expensive and they’re not range toys, but as your last line of defense then they are worth the extra money when your life is on the line.

This really is ammo for self defense that you really shouldn’t shoot too often in your life. If you do, you need to look at your life choices. Or you just shoot a lot of meat for Youtube and like to buy ammo online. I dunno, you do you…


Federal premium personal defense Hydra-Shok 9mm for sale

3. Federal Premium Personal Defense Hydra-Shok HST

  • Price: $0.99/Round
  • Pack Price: $20.99/20 rounds
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Bullet weight: 124gr
  • Muzzle Energy: 364
  • Muzzle velocity: 1050fps
  • Bullet type: 124 grain Jacketed Hollow Point

Now we’re getting to the real classics and this Federal Premium Personal Defense is a legend all around the world.

It’s a hollowpoint, but like many of this high-tech ammo, Federal has slimmed down the weight and generated the impact with higher velocity and energy instead. This Federal 124 grain HST has a real thump because of the higher average velocity and kinetic energy.

That higher average velocity allegedly leads to hydrostatic shock, a pressure wave that leads to separate remote injuries and a unique kind of damage that is set to increase as ballistics tech makes bullets faster and even more devastating.

But not everybody believes hydrostatic shock is a real thing…

Is This The Best Bullet For Stopping Power? Mmmmm

Federal HST is a great 9mm defensive round. You can feel free to test some Federal 124 grain HST against your regular bullets, and these new ones, and make this decision for yourself.

Federal premium Defense Hydra-Shok 9mm for sale

Speer Gold Dot 9mm ammunition for sale. Get the best deals on bulk ammo and specialist assassin type stuff at your favorite online gun store.

4. Speer Gold Dot

  • Price: $1.37/Round
  • Pack Price: $29.99/20 rounds
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Bullet weight: 115gr
  • Muzzle Energy: 374
  • Muzzle velocity: 1210fps

Speer Gold Dot is talked about in hushed tones by Law Enforcement Officers around the globe. It’s on the approved list of pretty much every agency, even though it’s seriously expensive.

That speaks volumes for the sheer consistency of this next-gen hollow point that has been with us for 20 years.

Speer created a new wave of bonded bullets in 1991, just two years after the FBI exposed the ‘horrible failings’ of 9mm Luger in the now infamous Dade shootout. Stopping power suddenly became enough of a debate for the agency to switch to 10mm Colt Delta Elite pistols.

The government agency created a series of tortuous tests that played right into the hands of the Gold Dot.

Not only was this Speer Gold Dot defensive ammo great at punching through heavy clothing and barriers, a big part of the FBI test, it was also super reliable and averse to separation.

The Gold Dot was nigh-on perfect for the early 90s, and it’s still a great option today. Gold Dot is kind of expensive though…


Sig Sauer Elite Performance, from the hollowpoint to the Elite Ball FMJ, you get choices with Sig ammo.

5. Sig Sauer Elite Performance

  • Price: $0.54-0.89/Round
  • Pack Price: $17.99/20 Rounds
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Weight: 147gr
  • Muzzle Energy: 317lb/ft
  • Muzzle Velocity: 985fps
  • Bullet Type: JHP/ Full Metal Jacket FMJ

Sig Sauer Elite Performance is a relatively new arrival, in ammunition terms, but it has already made an impact with Law Enforcement and professional shooters.

The Sig V-Crown is the self-defense king, although it is expensive. There’s a Sig V-Crown, Elite Performance and the Elite Ball FMJ Sig Sauer 9mm ammo that is cheaper for the range.

Technically we’d still recommend the Sig Sauer V-Crown for defensive ammo thanks to its penetration depth and terminal ballistics. But the Performance Elite is a solid middle ground of cost and performance.

The Full Metal Jacket FMJ is really for target shooting and fun, because it costs less, average penetration is much less and it’s just not designed for carving up flesh and is really practice ammo.

It offers similar performance in flight, though, which will help you with consistency when the time comes to draw your gun for real. The theory is that the target practice ammo feels the same as the best 9mm self defense ammunition Sig sells.

The Sig Performance offers a full brass cartridge with a copper jacket that means it stays with the lead on impact. The additional weight retention translates to added damage.


Liberty Civil Defense are lightweight bullets that pack a real punch.

6. Liberty Civil Defense

  • Price: $0.54-0.89/Round
  • Pack Price: $28.99/20 Rounds
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Weight: 50gr
  • Muzzle Energy: 444lb/ft
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2000fps
  • Bullet Type: JHP

Liberty Civil Defense is a lightweight 9m round that gets its power from pure velocity, 2000fps per second might even give some armor plate food for thought.

It’s a JHP bullet, so you get the expanded diameter on impact and a lot of that speed then translates into tumbling force that rips apart anything in its path.


Remington Golden Saber Brass cased 9mm ammo. An expensive luxury for personal protection.

7. Remington Golden Saber Bonded Brass JHP

  • Price: $1.55/Round
  • Pack Price: $30.99/20 Rounds
  • Weight: 147gr
  • Muzzle Energy: 304lb/ft
  • Muzzle Velocity: 985fps
  • Bullet Type: JHP

Remington Golden Saber was introduced in 2019 and features a lead core hot bonded to a brass jacket. Separation is basically eliminated and a smaller nose diameter helps precise bore alignment, as well as allowing the bullet to punch through barriers with minimal deflection.

That gives the Golden Saber deeper than average penetration, the lead core provides weight retention and the long nose provides a dramatic rose petal effect for maximum damage.

The brass cased Remington Golden Saber is expensive, though, and you might want to take a look at Remington UMC if you want to save money. Available as an FMJ, soft point or hollowpoint, Remington UMC is much cheaper and still comes brass cased.

It isn’t quite as fancy as the range topping stuff you may want to invest in when your life is on the line though.


CCI Blazer Brass is cheap pistol ammunition for the range. Get your bulk deals now.

8. CCI Blazer Brass

  • Price per round: $0.35
  • Pack Price: $189.99
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Weight: 147gr
  • Muzzle Energy: 323lb/ft
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,125fps

CCI Blazer Brass is budget friendly range ammo that you can shoot all day without going bankrupt.

Blazer Brass is brass jacketed and the Boxer type primer is suitable for reloading, but really the point of the BLazer Brass is that you buy a 500 round or 1000 rd can of the stuff and send it downrange all day.

Now this is strictly range ammo, please don’t load your carry gun with this. There is much better 9mm pistol ammunition for that further up this list.


Federal American Eagle ammunition. Get 1000 rounds of ammo, cheap, or maybe a little less.

6. Federal American Eagle Full Metal Jacket 1000 rounds

  • Price per round: $0.36
  • Pack Price: $359.99
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Weight: 147gr
  • Muzzle Energy: 317lb/ft
  • Muzzle Velocity: 985fps

Federal American Eagle full metal jacket is basically perfect range fodder and it’s cheap enough to give you more target practice ammo and possibly save your life one day.

You can get a variety of flavors of American Eagle ammunition, including flat top bullets that cost more and yet are perfectly tailored for competition shooting on a budget. Or serious range shooting days.

American Eagle is solid, dependable ammunition in this Full Metal Jacket FMJ form. But only for target shooting at the range.

It isn’t carry ammo in full metal jacket form but you do get reloadable brass cased goodness.


Novelty Bullets

CCI shotshell 9mm Luger. This really is a shotgun shell you can load in your 9mm carry pistol. Turn an old semi-auto into a killer snake gun.

9. CCI 9mm No. 12 Shotshell

  • Price: $1.50/round
  • Pack price: $14.99/10 Rounds
  • Weight: 53gr

Now this one is weird, but it basically turns your 9mm concealed carry or EDC into a mini shotgun.

Now this isn’t the most useful round for normal self-defense, but this round has earned the unofficial nickname, ‘snake pellet’, in Copperhead and Rattlesnake country.

I wouldn’t necessarily put this stuff through a Dan Wesson 1911 or Agency Arms Glock. it’s more a job for that old Gen 3 held together with tape. You could even buy a Hi Point or other cheap handgun just for this one job.

It’s a novel concept, though, and it means you might not have to buy a Taurus Judge Polymer if you only deal with the occasional snake.

It’s effective to about 10 feet and it’s a novel idea. If you have a beaten up 9mm that hasn’t seen much love for a while, turn it into a mini shotgun with these bizarre bullets.


G2 RIP Bullets. Get yours here and just see what they can do.

10. G2 Research RIP

  • Price: $1.88/round
  • Pack price: $37.50/20 rounds
  • Weight: 92gr
  • Type: Ripper Hollow Point

These 9mm bullets look like they should be banned under The Geneva Convention,  and honestly it’s not the most consistent performer here. But just look at the G2 Research RIP 92 grain jacketed hollow point and tell me you don’t want some.

You’re lying…

It’s a horrible looking ripper bullet with edges sharp enough to injure you before you’ve put it in the gun.

The G2 Research RIP is insanely expensive, but if you test it and love it then you might just find that you keep a few packs of this in your gun safe to keep your home defense handguns loaded up with instant justice.

Fun Ammo, Not Last Line of Defense Ammo

For personal defence ammunition, probably not. But well try it, you might just have fun with it. It might be a laugh riot. Or you might do it once, but find out.

It’s a lightweight round, just 92gr, and that sharpened hollowpoint is designed to cut through flesh like a buzzsaw, stabbing, grabbing and ripping as it goes. The head is designed to come apart after it enters a soft target and send those shards off in different directions. You can see that in the video below as it enters the gel and it’s a sobering thought.

You have to decide whether you want to cross that moral line with your pistol ammunition. If you hit someone properly with this round, and the bullet works as it should, they’re not really meant to get up. But then, that’s also true with its rivals here.

High Tech Bullet, Does it Go Too Far?

You can see the precision engineering on the bullet.

The only remaining question is how those air channels and 9 separate proposed wound channels affect the 9mm bullet over long distances. Slightly, is almost certainly the answer, and you might want to restrict this bullet to a close range self defense weapon.

It’s too specialist for a long-range gunfight with AR-15 wielding foes and it’s only an equalizer at close range.

Ripper Bullet Destroys Gel, and People

Watch it in action right here. What it does to the gel is kinda scary for a 9mm compact handgun shot. It kind of suggests a that these 9mm bullets can inflict the same kind of damage as a 45 ACP. Maybe more.

The way the bullet comes apart and just rips through every part of this gel is kind of evil. It is 9mm ammo, self defense? I’m not so sure.

Rippers Can Go Wrong, That’s Science

It’s super high tech 9mm ammo when you think about it as those shards have to break off at the right point. It sounds simple, but there’s a lot of science and variables.

That means it might not always work as planned if just one factor steps outside the parameters. What would that be? That’s the problem, you never know until you find out.

Look at the Damage For Yourself

Still, if this bullet works as planned, it turns a 9mm into an absolute weapon of war. A CZ Scorpion 3 or a HK SP5 loaded with these things would transform into something heinous.

See what it does to a pork shoulder here. It’s actually pretty savage and shows that this simple ammo switch can turn your handgun into something else entirely.

It honestly looks like this pork shoulder got hit close up with a shotgun slug. Use these and you might find yourself explaining why to local law enforcement officers.

You can see what this bullet can do for you close up, but you will need to test it to see if it works for you. If it does, then your 9mm pistols just got way, way tougher. If not, you’ll still have fun.


Bullet Types Explained
Best 9mm ammo for self defense. Get the deadliest 9mm rounds
1. Jacketed Hollow Point

A jacketed hollow point is designed to expand massively on impact in a shorter space of time, which reduces overpenetration and helps the designers tailor the bullet for the best terminal ballistics.

Those famous expanded diameter rose petal type expansion, yeah that’s the classic jacketed hollow point look, and now some manufacturers go even further with a gel tip and other clever touches to maximise the expanded diameter and bullet tumble path.

Ripper bullets really aren’t that clever, but they are fun forms of the jacketed hollow point and are fun to talk about in terms of average velocity and expansion. The expanded diameter of the G2 RIP is insane too.

Full Metal Jacket bullets are simple, and effective, and cheaper
2. Full Metal Jacket

Full Metal Jacket bullets used to be pretty fancy, but now they are the simpler, cheaper option. They also fly through the air pretty smooth for target shooting and may hold the edge at a distance.

The ball cap really isn’t designed for penetration or ripping through heavy clothing and denim. It’s just designed to fly relatively straight and true and is really just for the range these days.

There’s almost no reason to carry full metal jacket bullets in your carry 9mm pistols these days. Hollow pints and FTM bullets are the new champions and the best 9mm ammo for home defense and more.

3. Fluid Transfer Monolithic Bullets

These look like novelty ripper bullets and some people maintain that’s exactly what they are. But time has softened the stance on this new tech and now some big names have followed in the footsteps of the early pioneers like LeHigh Defense and we’re seeing FTM bullets in the mainstream.

Essentially the bullet is designed to fly straight and true and that cutting edge at the front allows for greater penetrative depth and an explosive wound channel, much like the hydrostatic shock principal – using displacement to inflict further damage.

The LeHigh Defense Xtreme Penetrator was one of the first. Now the Black Hills Honeybadger is by far the most famous, but Federal has its own version and others are working on theirs. FTM, then, is here to stay and could well challenge the traditional hollowpoint in the years to come.


Where to Buy Ammo Online

There are lots of places to buy ammo and we’re going to share a few of our favorites. From the obvious, like Palmetto State Armory, through to the likes of Lucky Gunner that might not be on your radar right now.

Everybody knows Palmetto State Armory. They sell some of the best handguns, rifles, shotguns etc at the best prices and they also have an amazing ammunition selection.

Check out Palmetto State Armory Daily Deals and you might ignore everything you have read here and just buy buckets of something else for a fraction of the price. That might be FMJ practice ammo, or off brand hollow points.

We have a lot of respect for Palmetto State Armory, even the cheap AR-15 rifles that you either love or hate.

Lucky Gunner Prices are an Inside Tip

Lucky Gunner in particular is one of those offbeat online stores with a 90s website, but great prices and availability when the mainstream runs dry.

You get free shipping on big orders, you can still bulk buy when the big guns are imposing strict limits and they’ll sell you 1000 rounds if your state restrictions allow it. Check the Lucky Gunner prices on bulk deals for 9mm pistol ammunition and thank us later.

Again, they’re not the most stylish kids on the block in terms of company presentation, but the Lucky Gunner prices and customer service are stunning. They can hook you up with shotgun ammo, rifle ammo, and of course 9mm.

We have some others for you too. Some of them even have better websites and more free shipping…

Red Dot Sights and 9mm Ammunition

Have you considered red dot sights to go with your 9mm pistol ammunition? You probably should these days. Red dot sights are an increasingly common accessory and can help you at the range or in real life.

Best Gun Parts & Accessories & Cleaning Kits

If you want cleaning kits,shooting glasses, a drop in barrel, a compensator or more cleaning kits, we can help you out. SHooting glasses are essential if you do much range shooting. So get some.

And the Best Gun Stores

We have largely covered this here, with special mention to Palmetto State Armory and Lucky Gunner. But if you’re looking for the best online gun stores in the United States, then maybe start here:


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