Best 9mm Self Defense Ammo 2020: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

1. Federal Premium 124Gr 2. Federal Premium +P 3. Federal Premium 147Gr
Federal Premium 124Gr Best 9mm Self Defense AmmoFederal Premium 9mm +P Luger HST AmmosFederal Premium 147Gr HST 9mm Ammos

Keeping a weapon for self defense has become a necessity in today’s world, especially if you are living in an area where the crime rate is quite high. Now, there are a lot of self defense tactics, like martial arts, using pepper sprays, karate, and so on.

But when arms are involved, these tactics may fail to protect you. At such scenarios, the best thing to use will be a 9mm gun loaded with the best 9mm self defense ammo.


The use of the ammunition in protecting oneself is now a common practice. Many people are learning about self defense range shooting and carrying the gun with them to safeguard themselves. This is why this article is all about the best 9mm ammos that you can have for your 9mm caliber gun.

Here, we will have mentioned the names of the top 10 ammos which have proven to be quite efficient in doing their job. Later, you will also come to know what factors you must consider while buying ammo, along with a few frequently asked questions.

So, without further ado, let’s dig in!

Top 10 Best 9mm Self Defense Ammo 2020

1. Federal Premium 9mm 124Gr HST Luger

Federal Premium 124Gr Best 9mm Self Defense AmmoFederal Premium is one of the well-known names in the arms and ammunition market. It always designs the ammos with unique features, no matter whether they are of the same calibers or not.

In this particular 9mm ammo design, you will find amazing features, because of which it has become one of the best 9mm self defense ammos in the market. For starters, it has a centerpost design, which provides the shooter a predictable pattern of the impact of the ammos.

The expansion pattern is well controlled, which helps in avoiding over-penetration of the bullets into the target. Apart from that, the bullets certainly posses a high amount of energy, which helps them to penetrate through the thick barriers and yet they stop before doing any lethal damage to the concerned target.

Its muzzle velocity is quite amazing, and hence the bullets fly with so much force that it can take down any target easily within its range. The best part is its jacketed hollow point structure. The hollow point in the bullet facilitates rapid but controlled expansion, while the presence of the jacket prevents fouling of the central lead core.


  • Lightweight nature with 124 grain amount
  • High muzzle velocity of 1150 fps
  • Controlled expansion power
  • Predictable patterns with no chances of over penetration
  • Highly reliable for self defense, thanks to their high power


  • Grain amount could have been a bit higher for those looking for a greater impact
  • Number of rounds could have been better

2. Federal Premium 9mm +P Luger HST Ammos

Federal Premium 9mm +P Luger HST AmmosWhen it comes to self defense, one needs to have ammo that has high target penetration power with the ability to impart some real damage. This is why we have listed this one from Federal Premium in our list of the best 9mm self defense ammos.

This has the HST design or the famous FBI based design, in which the ammos are built in such a way that they will have great expansion pattern but not at the cost of the penetration power.

The bullets are designed with a jacketed hollow point, which will allow you to have a high amount of patterned expansion once the ammo will hit the target. However, the penetration wouldn’t happen beyond the limit, which will help you in learning more about the range shooting properly.

The bullets have weight retention property, which will help you to shoot the ammos in the right direction with a controlled muzzle velocity. The outer metal jacket is made from nickel plating, because of which the bullets will be safe from fouling.

This particular ammo is used by the FBIs for range practicing and hence, it will be one of the best choices for your self defense tactics.


  • Based on FBI approved HST design
  • Has a jacketed hollow point design
  • Controlled expansion power
  • Hard nickel plated coating to prevent bullet fouling
  • No cases of over penetration due to weight retention property


  • Muzzle velocity could have been a little higher

3. Federal Premium 147Gr HST 9mm Ammos

Federal Premium 147Gr HST 9mm AmmosAnother amazing 9mm self defense ammo from the brand of Federal Premium is this one, having a grain weight of 147 Gr.

The bullets are structured in such a way that you will be able to prevent any cases of over penetration as the bullets will retain their weight even after hitting the impact. The heavy bullet weight will allow it to cut through the air in the best possible way, and hence you won’t have to worry about deflection.

The best thing about this ammo is that it was designed with the concept of less recoiling action in mind. This means that once the bullet leaves the muzzle, your stance won’t get disturbed, thanks to low recoil force. You can even use this ammo for the cub compact pistols, which will give you more flexibility in the choice of handguns.

It has a non-corrosive jacket around the main lead core, which will ultimately prevent the fouling of the bullet. The primer present in the bullet’s structure is patented and designed by none other than the FBI department itself, thereby making this one of the best 9mm self defense ammos.


  • Non-corrosive production of the ammos
  • JHP bullet design for better expansion rate
  • Auto colt pistol cartridge style for better performance
  • Amazing penetration power for crossing target barriers


  • Muzzle velocity is not that much high
  • Heavy bullet design

4. Federal Premium 9mm HST Luger Ammo

Federal Premium 9mm HST Luger AmmoIf you want to have an ammo that can be used for both self defense and range shooting practice, this will be the perfect choice. After all, having 100-500 bullet rounds in a single pack has to be handy.

The ballistic coefficient of the bullets is quite high, which will help you in proper shooting. In this combo pack, you will have two different kinds of 9mm bullets- one having the HST FBI protocol design while the other type belongs to the Syntech Training Match bullet collection.

The Syntech bullets have an amazing external hard jacket design, which prevents the fouling of the bullet’s lead core present on the insides. Apart from this, the jacket also helps in reducing the heating of the barrel, thereby keeping your short handgun safe. There will be less to almost no splash-backs against any kind of hard and thick targets.

The HST bullets have amazing designs, which will make some powerful expansions and hence, will help you to kill the targets easily without causing over-penetration. If you have a semi automatic pistol, there is nothing to worry about, since these bullets are highly compatible for such guns, thereby becoming one of the most versatile and best 9mm self defense ammos in the market.


  • Amazing jacket design from Syntech Training Match
  • Can work well with the semi automatic 9mm pistols
  • Greater and controlled expansion and penetration power
  • Can be used for both self defense and target shooting practice


  • Not best suited for outdoor shooting

5. Hornady Ammos Critical Duty +P Flexlock 9mm 124Gr Luger

Hornady Ammos Critical Duty +P Flexlock 9mm 124Gr LugerIf you are looking for a high power self defense ammo collection, nothing more would be as good as this particular pack of bullets from Hornady. The bullets have a weight of 124 grains, which makes them lightweight.

As a result, less recoil force will be generated at the time of shooting, which will further make it easier for you to maintain your balance during critical situations. The bullets are made from the FlexTip technology, according to which the bullets are made in such a way that the expansion patterns are consistent and can impart quite heavy injuries if they are shot perfectly.

The bullets have the nickel plating hard cover, which allows you to stop the fouling of the bullets. Also, you can enjoy the smooth feeding of these ammos, without any worry. The bullets also have the interlocking feature, in which the metal jacket and the inner core material are connected mechanically, so that the bullets can retain maximum weight even after a strong impact.

The bullets have bright cases plated with nickel, that simplify checking the chambers even during low light conditions. They also have low flash propellants that preserve night vision under dark firing situations. The nickel plating present on the outside of the core lead material is quite shiny and hence you will be able to identify the bullets even from a distance, in case the light in the room is low.


  • Consists of the Hornady patented Flexlock technology
  • Interlocked metal jacket and core material for maximum weight retention
  • Impeccable muzzle velocity for both the fifty and hundred yard shooting practice
  • Highly cost efficient with some amazing features


  • The muzzle energy could have been more

6. Hornady 135Gr Flexlock 9mm Luger

Hornady 135Gr Flexlock 9mm LugerHornady is one of the best known names in the ammunitions market, because of which its ammos and guns are so popular out there. Because of this reason we have decided to include this best 9mm self defense ammo in our list.

The ammo is based on the patented flexlock technology, according to which these bullets can perform barrier blind penetration. This means that the bullets can easily pass through the thick obstacles like wood, window glasses, panes, and so on, but without expanding. This will prevent you from losing the bullet rounds in case the target is present behind a thick barrier. As a result, the bullets wouldn’t clog, and hence your shots will become perfect.

The metal core jacket present on the outside is mechanically attached to the lead core. This particular kind of attachment will help you to gain the maximum expansion without the fear of the bullet over penetrating into the target.

Its FlexTip design eliminates any chance of clogging and helps in expansion of the bullets. Its InterLock mechanical jacket to core band keeps the bullets and the core from getting separated, so that they can retain their maximum weight and perform optimally through test barriers set by FBI.


  • Tight and controlled expansion pattern on the impact with the target
  • Blind barrier technology to prevent untimely stopping of the bullet
  • Can be used for long range self defense


  • High barrel caliber weight to produce huge recoil force
  • The price could have been a bit lower

7. Flexlock 135Gr +P Hornady 9mm Critical Duty Ammos

Flexlock 135Gr +P Hornady 9mm Critical Duty AmmosWhen we are talking about self defense ammos, their expansion and penetration power should always be in the correct ratio, such that neither of them is compromising the other one. This is where this 135 grain overpressure self defense 9mm ammo from Hornady has become one of the best 9mm self defense ammos in the market.

The +P technology will help you to generate some amazing expansion pattern without affecting the penetration distance. The moment the ammo will hit the target, the high internal pressure will be released, thereby making a high expansion pattern. Because of the immediate expansion, the bullet will stop at the right distance.

The nickel plated jacket present on the outsides will help you to prevent the fouling of the bullet’s internal lead-antimony core material. Also, the use of the external jacket will help you to reduce the heat generated at the barrel’s mouth during the shooting.

The ballistic coefficient is quite high because of which the ammo is said to be one of the best in the market. Like other ammos of the Critical Duty line from Hornady, this particular ammo also has the Interlock technology to retain the maximum weight at the time of expansion. These bullets deliver a muzzle energy of 369 at the muzzle velocity of 1110 feet per second.


  • High ballistic coefficient to provide smooth motion
  • Smooth and soft bullet feeding
  • Nickel plated outer core to help easy identification in low lights
  • Interlock technology to prevent increased fragmentation after impact
  • High expansion power of the bullets


  • Grain weight could have been a little less
  • The number of rounds could have been more as compared to the price

8. Hornady 115Gr FTX 9mm Ammos Critical Defense

Hornady 115Gr FTX 9mm Ammos Critical DefenseCritical Defense is another amazing line of ammos from none other than Hornady itself. This particular 9mm self defense ammo belongs to this line only.

The bullet is best for defensive action, because of which it is highly recommended by the FBI professionals for self protection. As a matter of fact, the design of the ammo is such that you can use it for any kind of shorthand gun or a concealed pistol.

The external jacket of the ammo is made of a shiny nickel cover, because of which you won’t have to deal with corrosion, and it will be visible under low light conditons as well.

It has the jacketed hollow point design because of which the penetration power of the ammos increases greatly. The expansion pattern is also made consistent, which will help you to predict it at the time of shooting the bullet.


  • FTX technology to help in greater penetration even through thick clothing barriers
  • Designed specifically for self defense purpose
  • Propellants optimized for reducing the recoil force
  • Highly credible for shooting at both long range and short range targets
  • Visible in the dark


  • The cost is a little bit higher than the average bullets with similar design

9. Speer Gold 9mm Dot Ammos 124Gr HP Luger

Speer Gold 9mm Dot Ammos 124Gr HP LugerAnother famous name in the ammunition market for the 9mm self defense ammunition is that of Speer. This particular brand is not only amazing in lending unique features to the ammos, but also they have introduced their own patented firearm technology.

The Gold Dot 9mm ammo is one of their unique and best creations till date. According to this technology, the jacket and the core are bonded together uniformly, and hence, at the time of expansion, you won’t have to face any kind of problem. Because of this primary reason, this bullet is considered to be one of the best 9mm self defense ammos.

The Gold Dot ammo has immense impact power and makes it easy to fire the bullets without heating up the barrel’s exit mouth. The bullets have a muzzle velocity of around 1150 feet per second, which is certainly incredible for short range bullets like this one.

The bullet’s structure is based on jacketed hollow point design, which will help you to attain a consistent expansion pattern with controlled penetration inside the target. The high performing bullets are quite tough, accurate, and consistent.


  • High muzzle velocity of 1150 feet per second
  • Controlled expansion power
  • No chances of over penetration
  • Built on the patented Gold Dot technology


  • The number of rounds present per box can be increased
  • Price could have been a little lower

10. Speer 124 Gr Hp +P 20/Box 9mm Luger

Speer 124 Gr Hp P 20 Box 9mm LugerThe Gold Dot ammunitions are world famous. This particular technology is not only famous for self defense, but also in the police departments for range shooting. This particular ammo from Speer has become quite famous since it was introduced in the ammunition market.

These bullets from Speer have the patented Gold Dot technology, because of which you will get consistent expansion patterns with no cases of over penetration or wrong penetration into the target.

It can easily pass through the thick barriers without losing energy until it hits the main target surface. The nickel plating present on the outside makes the bullets non-corrosive in nature. Also, when you fire the ammos, you wouldn’t have to deal with the unnecessary barrel heat.

The low 124 grains weight of the bullets will help you to keep your balance steady and firm after every shot. Made in the USA, these bullets have a muzzle energy of 364 and muzzle velocity of 1150 feet per second.


  • Patented Gold Dot technology bullet
  • Preferred by the global police departments for dropping down targets
  • Can pass through thick barriers without expanding
  • Do not over penetrate
  • Have high stopping power after the impact


  • Ballistic coefficient is not that much impressive

Factors To Look For When Buying The Best 9mm Self Defense Ammo

Since there are so many options available in the market, it can be difficult to choose the best self defense 9mm ammo from the list. However, there are several factors which one needs to consider at the time of the choice, so that your selection process can become easier than eve. Here, we are going to discuss a few of those factors.

1. Expansion Pattern

The first thing you have to consider is the expansion pattern of the bullet. For 9mm self defense ammos, the expansion should be high, yet tight and controlled. Most of the brands have introduced their own patented technology, because of which the expansion patterns of the bullets are consistent, tight, and quite impressive.

2. Penetration Distance

To choose the best self defense 9mm ammo, you will have to look into the penetration power of the bullets. First thing first, the bullet should penetrate straight and must not deviate from the path. And secondly, you need to ensure that the bullet is not over penetrating into the target.

3. Weight Of The Bullets

The next thing to consider while choosing the bullets for self defense is the grain weight. This signifies the total amount of gun powder and the core material in the overall cartridge. Here, seven thousand grains will amount to one pound. So, choose the ammo wisely based on its grain weight.

4. Muzzle Velocity And Force

Another thing to consider before finalizing the bullet for your self defense 9mm gun is its muzzle velocity. This defines the speed with which the bullet leaves the gun and travels in the air. Higher the velocity, greater will be the projectile length, and the better the bullets will be able to overcome the air friction force.

Choose The Best 9mm Self Defense Ammo Now!

With a little bit of research, effort, and trial, you will be able to select the best cheap 9mm ammo for your gun. This guide must have made it clear that with proper knowledge and guidance, one can easily choose the best ammo that can fulfil your self defense requirements.

All you need to look for is the correct specifications which match your standards and skill levels. You will have the perfect 9mm self defense ammo if you choose them as per the factors mentioned above.

So, keep yourself safe and sound with your gun loaded with the best ammo!


Q1. Are The JHP Ammos Bad For The Guns?

No, the jacketed hollow point bullet designs are basically implemented to make sure that the expansion patterns generated by the bullets are tight, controlled, and impressive. Also, the JHP structure helps immensely in preventing the bullets from penetrating further into the target.

Q2. Can The 9mm Bullets Cross All Kinds Of Barrier?

No, the 9mm ammos cannot cross all sorts of barrier. There are some obstacles which have been listed by the companies. The bullets can only cross these obstacles without expanding and loosing the stopping energy.

Q3. Till What Range Can I Shoot These Ammos?

The maximum range till when you will be able to shoot the ammos depends on the design and the specifications made by the designer. Some ammos are made for short range targets, while some can be fired till long distances. So, you will have to check with the ammo’s specifications before choosing one for your gun.

Q4. Will The Recoil Force Affect My Stance?

No matter what kind of ammo you buy, it will have a certain degree of recoil force. With a high recoiling force, you won’t be able to maintain your stance properly after firing the bullet. This is why, you need to choose an ammo that will produce a low recoiling force.