8 Best 9mm Ammo for Self-Defense


share on

January 2, 2023

Gun enthusiasts are proud people who take a lot of pride in their chosen firearms. It’s quite common to get into arguments or get defensive about what caliber or gun is better.

While many do get defensive about their gun or caliber choice, you can still stop a threat with any round. However, choose the wrong bullet to fire from your gun, and you could not only fail to neutralize the threat, but you could also endanger other people. Therefore, here we will be discussing some of the best defensive rounds that you can use in self-defense situations. 

Best 9mm Ammo for Self-Defense

SIG Elite V-Crown

sig elite v-crown

SIG, despite being a newer brand, has managed to offer enthusiasts a surprisingly robust and good alternative to pricier defensive loads. Their V-Crown bullet has a V-Shaped jacket, which gives the bullet its unique shape. On the other hand, there are also the scores in the lead, which offer individuals steady and stable expansion. An additional hollow cavity ensures that the bullet can pierce through heavy clothing and other barriers. 

The annexure towards the bullet’s shank ensures that the bullet will not over-expand. With its clever design, it can provide the energy necessary to neutralize or immobilize a threat. Although the bullet features an incredible performance on gel, it is still very affordable. At just $16 for 20, each bullet will set you back $0.8. this price becomes even more surprising when you consider that they use premium flow flash propellants and nickel-plated cases. 

Remington Ultimate Defense

remington ultimate defense

Remington is easily one of the most recognizable brands for firearms in existence, and their golden saber bullet has been especially popular with law enforcement over the years. The jacketed hollowpoint can offer consistent performance and reliably expand through most surfaces.

Unlike most types of ammunition, the Remington Golden Saber uses brass jackets instead of copper. Since copper is softer than brass, these bullets can consistently penetrate most surfaces while reliably expanding. The bullet also comes with skiving, responsible for initiating expansion and a lead core, making it a good round for any self-defense situation. 

The Remington Ultimate Defense Bullet comes in 124 or 147 grains, with them also having loads for full-sized and compact 9mm pistols. Each of these rounds can generate 320 to 389 ft.-lbs of energy, capable of stopping a threat in their tracks. The Remington comes with a promise to perform when needed, but that promise also comes at a price. Specifically, the price is $25 for 20 or $1.25 for each round. 

Speer Gold Dot G2 Carry Gun

speer gold dot g2 carry gun

Another very popular round among law enforcement for self-defense, as it has been their go-to for almost 30 years. But in this new and improved version, they have added a polymer core, called the Unicor. The polymer core will ensure that the bullet can penetrate heavy clothing, otherwise clog the nose cavity. 

The carry gun version of the Gold Dot G2 can offer relatively the same performance as the original G2. The only difference is that these bullets are better optimized for shorter barrels that fire at lower velocities. 

You can find the Gold Dot G2 in two different grains: 135 and 147. Speer has done an excellent job redesigning the bullet and customizing the propellant charge, making it lighter and allowing it to offer peak performance in most carry guns. While not as expensive as the Remington, it is still a little pricey at $23 for 20 or $1.15 each round. 

Black Hills HoneyBadger

black hills honeybadger

Almost all 9mm defensive ammo uses a hollow point profile, lead core, and copper jacket. However, the HoneyBadger round goes in the opposite direction and instead uses a full-metal-jacket. Now you may be considering if that was a wise decision, especially when you consider the fact that FMJs do not expand and over-penetrate. 

While that is certainly true, the HoneyBadger has a unique design that allows it to utilize an FMJ without downsides. The nose only has three or four scallops in place, which can devastating impact the body. The hydrostatic force created by the bullet ensures that it can perform like a hollow point without its very obvious downside. 

A hollowpoint can clog when fired, which makes for less effective penetration. You can find this round in two specific loads of 125 and 100 grains. The 125 is a subsonic load generating 306 ft-lbs at 1,050 fps muzzle velocity. On the other hand, the 100 can generate 347 ft.-lbs with 1,250 fps. 

Federal Punch

federal punch

The new Federal Punch ammo is their most recent in affordable defensive rounds that are excellent for pistols. Unlike some other Federal 9mm rounds, the Punch was not designed for FBI protocol tests. On the other hand, its main purpose rests as concealed carry ammunition, which would perform well through clothing or in bare gel. 

Each of these punch rounds has a jacket for specific types of ammo. So a cross-section of the .40 S&W will be different than that of a 9mm. While designing the 9mm Punch, Federal engineers tested multiple jacket thicknesses and profiles. Their extensive research is a robust bullet that is a perfect fit for the chamber. 

Although cheap at just $14 for 20, it still offers nickel cases that come with a sealed primer. It is only available in 124-grain, which can reach a velocity of 1,150 fps, putting 364 ft.-lbs of impact on the body. 

Hornady Critical Duty and Critical Defense

hornady critical duty and critical defense

Even though these are two different rounds for two different purposes, they both excel in what they set out to do. The Critical Duty focuses on offering high and reliable performance on the field during FBI tests. Critical Defense, on the other hand, provides a very different purpose in that it does not focus on the area but is best for concealed carry. 

While it does have the staple Flex Tip, it is no barrier blind and hast the optimizations necessary to work out of four-inch barrels. The optimizations allow it to offer the same speed and precision as the five-inch barreled Critical Duty versions. 

Critical Defense is easily the best option for most self-defense encounters. The 115-grain bullet shoots out at 1,135 fps, generating 332 ft.-lbs. The Critical Duty is a 135-grain that can generate 369 ft.-lbs at a velocity of 1,100 fps. They also come at a reasonable price of about $1 per round. 

Winchester Defender

winchester defender

The Winchester defender is essentially the best defense round, as it manages to perfect the design. A bonded copper jacket has skiving on the copper, as well as a lead core. The hollow point also comes with proprietary bonding, which keeps the jacket and core together. 

The premium propellants and primers keep this round functional in the worst of conditions. Of course, besides being reliable and smooth cycling, the ammo is also reliable, as it produces tight groups in all tests. 

It is available in 124-grain and 147-grain. The 147 can reach a velocity of 1,000 fps, while the 124 grain can reach 1,200 fps. Being the best also comes with a slightly higher price tag of $24 for 20 or $1.20 for each round. 

Magtech Guardian Gold 115gr +P

magtech guardian gold 115gr +p

Magtech is all about speed and precision, with the 115-grain reaching 1,246 fps. It is easily one of the fastest rounds available to the public. The rate also allows for greater power, with the bullet being able to generate 397 ft.-lbs and expands on contact. It also has very little recoil, which makes it fairly accurate for its size. 


You always want to have an effective 9mm round in your concealed carry weapon to keep yourself ready. All of the bullets mentioned above are very good and will help neutralize a threat without additional risk. The only thing that it comes down to is personal preference and price.  

Every product is hand selected by our editors. We may receive commissions on purchases from a link.

Be On The List

Get the invoqe newsletter for similar stories delivered straight to your inbox.