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

1. Federal 9mm Luger 2. Federal Hst 9mm 3. Federal 45 Acp
Federal 9mm Luger 124gr Hst Best Self Defense AmmoFederal Hst 9mm Luger AmmoFederal 45 Acp 230gr Hst

With the increasing number of crimes and several mishaps taking place every day, the world has become an unsafe place to live in. Although a common person is not a macho soldier to ward off every possible danger, he/she can at least keep a self defense weapon to ensure and enhance safety.

However, a weapon would be useless if it is not filled with the best self defense ammo. If you are using a weapon for self defense, the ultimate aim would be to scare and stop an attacker, not to kill them. However, the injury caused should be tough enough to immobilize the attacker.


So, if you are looking for a good self defense ammo and accessories, you have to find the one compatible with your weapon, as they may be available in varying caliber and sizes.

This guide will help you find the right ammo that performs well under adverse situations and serve its purpose of self defense. Here, we have shortlisted top 10 self defense ammo options available in the market, along with a few factors you must keep in mind while looking for one.

Top 10 Best Self Defense Ammo 2020

1. Federal 9mm Luger 124gr Hst

Federal 9mm Luger 124gr Hst Best Self Defense AmmoIf you are looking for the best self defense ammo, then there could be no one better than buying these bullets to add cartridge to the gun. These bullets are rigorously tested in the laboratory, as these would be used only in the do or die situation.

The situations around you are not planned, and an emergency can occur any time without any warning or wakeup call. So, it is critical for the person to take an action in seconds to protect themselves from the miscreants safely.

These Federal bullets have 9mm luger, 124 grains of bullet weight, and have a jacketed hollow point for added performance. They are quick to load and are perfectly suitable for personal defense needs.


  • Cost-effective
  • Easy to shoot
  • 9mm bullet
  • Ergonomic
  • Easy to concealed carry


  • May not function with all the guns

2. Federal Hst 9mm Luger Ammo

Federal Hst 9mm Luger AmmoIf you want to have an effective yet best self defense ammo, you should have the ammunition that would expand consistently and penetrate with ease. Moreover, it must provide you with excellent performance. It is ideally used by the law enforcement officers across the globe. It is designed in a jacket hollow point style, which means that they will not plug or get stuck while passing through different barriers.

However, the person wearing the bullet jacket can bear the shot of even toughest material without injuring themselves. The diameter of the bullet can be expanded and the weight would let you have the required penetration to fight with the difficult situations without over penetrating. It offers you with high reliability and are perfect to use in semi-automatic guns.


  • Easy to expand through various barriers
  • Used by the law enforcement personnel
  • Provide best functionality
  • Perfect to use in semi-automatic handguns


  • Bit pricey

3. Federal 45 Acp 230gr Hst

Federal 45 Acp 230gr HstThis is the best self defense ammo that is designed to offer you with high expansion, optimum penetration and best performance delivery. The hollow point is not plugged properly if you want to pass the bullet through different barriers. This USA made ammo is a Jacketed Hollow Point style of that has 230 grains of bullet weight, 404 muzzle energy, and 890 feet per second of muzzle velocity.

The jacket and core would offer weight retention. The ammunition is engineered rigorously to offer you with the optimum performance. It is also tested thoroughly to work excellently. The 45 ACP will deliver you with the penetration of 12.92’’ and expansion of 0.81’’. You must shoot from 10 feet distance to have maximum weight retention. The features of this ammunition are what make it perfect to be used for self-defense.


  • Excellent construction
  • Accurate
  • Highly reliable
  • Bullet has weight retention
  • Fires consistently


  • Sometimes cause malfunctioning

4. Federal 45 Auto Ammo

vIf you want to buy the best self defense ammo that is approved by the law enforcement professionals, then this is the best option for you to buy. It is ideal to be used by people who want to carry this as a weapon to fight against the miscreants.

This is considered to be the best self-defense technique. These would produce the best velocities and trajectories that has a huge impact on the training and offers utmost protection. It is paired with the Syntech training match and HST loads. The synthetic jacket would not let any kind of metal fouling.

It reduces heat and friction and prevent the bullet from splash when the bullet hits the hard targets. This expands through different barriers and penetrate to a lot of depths to deal with self-defense situations.

You can use this in the semi-automatic pistols. Available in 100 and 500 rounds, these 45 Auto ACP cartridge bullets have 230 grains of bullet weight and are designed in HST style.


  • Perfect to use in semi-automatic pistols
  • Good expansion and penetration


  • Little expensive than others

5. Federal Combo 40 S&W Ammo

Federal Combo 40 S&W AmmoApproved by law enforcement professionals, you can use this ammo to add to the firearm which you would be using for self-defense. It produces the best velocities and trajectories. It is the best thing to be used to offer realistic training with great care.

With reduced heat and friction, this bullet minimizes splash back when you hit the hard targets. The bullet would penetrate deep inside when you deal with the self-defense situations. Available in 100 and 500 rounds, these are HST style 40 S&W cartridges with 180 grains of bullet weight.


  • Perfect to use in semi-automatic pistols
  • Keep metal fouling at bay


  • Barrier penetration may not be so good

6. 10mm Auto – 165 Grain JHP – Corbon – 20 Rounds

10mm Auto - 165 Grain JHP - Corbon - 20 RoundsThis is the best bullet that has high caliber and is considered by the law enforcement professionals. This is used as the best replacement for their 9mm rounds that does not have much penetration and expansion.

However, the heavy recoil is not liked by many people, but this is what grabs the attention of few others.

If you would like to load the cartridge of the gun with something that has tons of power, then this is an ideal option for you to use. The bullet has gone through rigorous testing and ensures to perform at its best when you pull the trigger while dealing with the self-defense situations.

There is a hollow point projectile that helps you attain muzzle velocity of 1250 feet per second. These bullets have boxer primed brass casing to stay non-corrosive. These JHP bullets have 165 grains of weight and are available in packs of 20 cartridges each.


  • Excellent performance
  • No risk of over-penetration


  • Heavy recoil

7. 45 GAP – 185 Grain JHP – Speer Gold Dot – 50 Rounds

45 GAP - 185 Grain JHP - Speer Gold Dot - 50 RoundsNo matter what caliber of gun you are using, these bullets are considered the best for self-defense purposes. The Gold Dot bullets are widely used by the law enforcement agencies and citizens when dealing with the self-defense situations.

The rounds of the bullet are highly accurate and deal with the right expansion even while having the intermediate barriers such as denim and leather. The copper jacket has a lead core that would offer high weight retention.

The 45 GAP has 185 grain bullet and the muzzle velocity of around 1080 feet per second. Every round is non-corrosive and can also be reloaded. The bullets are shorter and lighter, but have the standard pressure that is higher than 45 ACP ammo.


  • Excellent performance when loaded in the guns of full size
  • No risk of over penetration


  • The performance is not so great for the handgun with short barrels

8. 9mm – 115 Grain JHP – Winchester Silvertip – 20 Rounds

9mm - 115 Grain JHP - Winchester Silvertip - 20 RoundsIf you are looking for the best self defense ammo, then this would be the perfect one for you to buy. The design of the bullet is unique. With the box of bullets that you get, you can fire 20 rounds.

The bullet is of 115 grains and is just 9 mm. Everyone would love to buy the bullets from this brand, because they look different and perform better.

It serves both the purposes, i.e. the looks and the performance. The jacket profile would promote smooth functioning and high accuracy. The fractures of the bullet would get expanded on the notches of the jacket.

This allows you to expand it uniformly to damage the tissue. There is a fine finishing with 115 grains and boxer-primed brass casing.


  • Terminal performance is amazing
  • Consistent expansion


  • Has strong recoil impulse

9. 12 Gauge – 2-3/4″ 1-1/8 oz. #7.5 Shot – Fiocchi Target – 25 Rounds

12 Gauge - 2-3 4 7.5 Shot - Fiocchi Target - 25 RoundsIf you are planning to buy the best self defense ammo for your firearm, then this 12 gauge cartridge is the ideal option for you to choose from. These bullets are widely used by the law enforcement officials as well as the civilians while dealing with self defense situations or hunting or while performing the shooting sports.

It is considered to be highly reliable and effective firearm. You can pick these bullets for superior quality range ammo. You can fire at the rate of 1165 feet per second.


  • Perfect for training and practicing
  • Cost-effective
  • Allow you to shoot, plink and hunt
  • Brass cases can be reloadable


  • May not function reliably with some guns

10. 12 Gauge – 2-3/4″ 1-1/8 oz. #7-1/2 Shot – 250 Rounds

12 Gauge - 250 RoundsThe 12 gauge bullets have become quite popular to be used in the shot guns. It is widely used by the military personnel, and for sports shooting and self defense purposes. It is considered to be the best firearm. You can use them quite effectively compared to the other guns.

It meets the needs of all firearms. The shells will not disappoint you when using for self-defense situations.


  • Non corrosive
  • Perfect for military and sports
  • Pinpoint accuracy
  • 1200 velocity
  • Heavy target load
  • Pack of 250 rounds


  • Poor hard barrier penetration

Factors To Look For When Buying Best Self Defense Ammo

If you own a gun, the next thing you have to do is to buy the best 9mm ammo for self defense. It is not really difficult for you to buy bullets when you have the much needed information to make the right choice. Whether you are going to use the ammo for self-defense, hunting or shooting the targets, here are a few factors that you must consider.

1. Cartridge Type

There are two different types of cartridges that are widely used in best 9mm ammo for self defense or other ammos. There include

  • Full metal jacket cartridge (FMJ): It is a common and widely used cartridge today. It has lead center that is soft and is covered by brass coating or copper. These are in the round shape and are available in pointy shape. These are best to shoot the target that is closer to you.
    However, this is heavier in weight and would penetrate through the objects, which is one of the drawbacks while using for self-defense and hunting. These bullets would not get stick to the target, instead would penetrate to other objects.This results in causing less damage to the target and there are high chances of them escaping. The best thing about this type of cartridge is that as the bullet is covered with lead, it won’t get deposited on the barrel. This also allows you to keep the gun neat and clean.
  • Jacketed hollow point cartridge (JHP): The best thing about this type of ammo is that it would get expanded when it hits the target. This would cause severe damage to the target and won’t penetrate, instead it would get injected into the target. The stopping power of this type of bullet is higher and is ideal to use in the self-defense situations and for hunting purposes. These are highly safe for you to use and carry with you while going out for safety, especially during the night times. When you shoot once, it causes serious damage to the target. Therefore, you do not have to shoot multiple times.

2. Primer Type

Another critical factor to consider when you are planning to buy the best personal defense ammo is primer type. It plays a critical role in the ignition of ammunition. The popular type would be made of brass. The best thing about the bullet being constructed with brass is that it is not prone to corrosion. You can also remove and replace the bullet when required.

3. Price

When you are planning to buy an ammo pack, ensure that you get a lot of bullets in a single packet for a small price. This allows you to use those bullets for practicing without worrying about the price.

4. Bullet Size Or Caliber

The most important factor you must not ignore is to check the size of the best defense ammo. Not all bullets would fit in your gun. You must get the right caliber that perfectly fits in it. The ammos are available in a wide range of sizes. Few of them include.

  • 22 LR: It is perfect to be used in pistols and rifles, which you can efficiently use for survival purpose. It is excellent ammo that one can use for practicing the shooting and self-defense activities. The features of this would be same as the pellet gun, and they are available at a much cheaper price.
  • 9mm: The 9mm is widely used for self-defense purpose and to hit the target that is in the longer distance with ease. These bullets even have good amount of power to penetrate and hurt the target that is in the closer distance. It is simple for you to fire just by using the little recoil.
  • 12 gauge: This is a common type of bullet that is used in shot guns. The 20 gauge is smaller while the 10 gauge is bigger. These are especially used for hunting, self-defense situations and flying games. Due to its cheaper cost, it makes it best to use for the survival situations.
  • .38 Special: The size of this bullet would look bigger and has ample power when compared to the 9mm bullet. This type of bullet is widely used in revolvers, and prove to be the best home defense ammo. However, ensure to use this in the right gun.
  • .223 and .308: These are good to use in rifles and are ideal for self defense purpose. It is best to use them in the bigger guns, as the bullet is bigger.

5. Grain Weight

The weight of the best defensive ammo will have a huge impact on how quickly it would reach the target when you pull the trigger. A bullet with lower grain weight would travel at a brisk pace, though the pressure would be low, so the knock down power is also lower. The higher grain won’t travel faster, but has high weight pressure.

The lighter bullets will have less recoil and will have a huge impact on the target. If you would like to shoot the harder objects, especially the windshield, then it is not good to go for lighter bullets. The heavier bullets have more recoil but would punch the barriers that are harder with higher accuracy.

6. Durability And Reliability

This is another factor that you have to check when you are buying the ammo. Ensure to buy the one that is reliable and durable and is resistant against corrosion.

7. Cartridge Case

When buying the bullet, ensure that the cartridge case of the bullets is made of nickel plate as it has the ability to withstand harsh weather conditions. The shiny nickel would also be visible in the dark.

8. Penetration

There should be enough penetration from the bullet to stop the miscreant from attacking you when you shoot the bullet. There should be at least 8 inches of penetration required to attack.

Understanding The Different Parts Of Ammo

The ammo has four key parts. These include the following.

1. Case

It is the container that holds the ammos safely at one place without misplacing any. This can be made of three different materials, which are brass, copper and steel.

2. Primer

The primer is a chemical compound that would fire up the gun powder when you pull the trigger or firing pin. There are two different locations where you can find the primer, either in the rim or on the center of the case.

3. Gun Powder

Gun powder is a chemical compound that would turn on as a gas when you ignite.

4. Projectile

It is the object that gets discharged when you start the firing with the handgun. The best example for projectile would be a bullet.

Using This Guide To Choose The Best Self Defense Ammo

Self-defense ammo is perfect for shooters, civilians and officers who would like to use the handguns. It is versatile, lightweight and would hit the target badly. It can be used for self-defense or for practicing to hit the target during the training. We have listed the top 10 self-defense ammos with their pros and cons. You can read on each review and choose the right one that fits in your needs.


Q1. What Is The Ideal Self-Defense Round?

The 0.22 lr ammo is widely used as a self-defense caliber. The shooter who is highly skilled can use 0.22 lr much effectively when in a self-defense situation.

Q2. Is It Safe To Use Old Ammunition?

The ammunition when not in use must be stored safely. You can use the ammo until and unless there is no damage that is caused to it. When the ammo is not stored properly, it is prone to rust and corrosion due to extreme humidity.
When you buy the ammo, you must store it properly, without which it loses the sensitivity, gets deteriorated and the cartridge would also become brittle and rupture when you fire.

Q3. How To Store The Self-Defense Ammo?

Even if you buy the best defensive ammo, it may not help you in times of need if you do not store it properly. In case it is not stored properly, it results in damage of the bullet and all the investment you made in them would go into vain. The environmental conditions, especially humidity, will take a toll on the ammo and cause deterioration.

When you put them in the cardboard boxes, you can improve their longevity. Furthermore, you can also take these precautions to protect them while storage. These include.

Rotation schedule: When you have to store ammo, store them like how carefully you store the food items that are perishable. It is best to fire off the older ones first, so that the old ones do not stay lingering in the box. For that purpose, ensure to mark the purchase date on the ammo.

Check periodically: If you are not firing the ammo regularly, you have to at least check periodically and do some trial. It is good to check the ammo once in a while to ensure that it is not exposed to corrosion.

Vacuum sealing: When you vacuum seal the ammunition, it helps you to keep them away from dust, rust and water.

Keep humidity at bay: The ammo longevity would be reduced due to increase in the humidity levels. It is best to keep ammo in the areas where humidity levels are low, or otherwise keep them in ammo cans.

Q4. Why Use 9mm Ammo For Self Defense?

The 9mm ammo would be available to the common people, so that they can use them readily. These ammos are available at pocket-friendly prices, so you can buy and store them easily. Whenever you step out, you can carry them to protect yourself from miscreants.

There are a lot of guns which would support the usage of 9mm guns. Be it you have handguns, pistols or rifles, you can use the 9mm caliber bullets. The recoil of this bullet is lesser compared to the larger. These are highly accurate and would reach faster to the target. These are also lightweight, easy to maneuver and shoot the target accurately.

It is considered as the greatest asset. However, you have to use this properly, without which it may result in accidents. When you or your loved ones are in danger, this protects you from the dire situations. However, you have to get professionally trained to use them.

Q5. Where You Can Use 9mm Ammo?

The 9mm ammo is widely used in the ammunition world. It is smaller and is widely used in self defense weapons. You can use this for home defense and rarely face the jamming problem. You can buy them in bulk as these are quite cheaper. You can happily practice and hunt without having to worry about the bullets getting over sooner.