Top 5 Best Handgun Ammo for Self Defense

handgun ammo for self defense

Handguns are widely used for self-defense for various reasons. First, they are quite easy to conceal. There are several handgun choices on the market for self-defense. For a long time, the 9mm self-defense pistol was the favorite for most people. The compact 9mm ammo made it easier to conceal the pistol and carry more rounds.

However, you need to be comfortable with your handgun ammo for optimal performance. Firearm training recommends that you must have control over your handgun. You must know how to handle the handgun and control any recoil.

There are several reasons to carefully choose ammo for your handgun. The right handgun ammo for self-defense must provide enough penetration and excellent load capacity. You need handgun ammo that feels comfortable in your hands. Below, discuss some top 5 handgun ammo for self-defense.

Top 5 Handgun Ammo for Self Defense

The .38 Special Ammo: 135-grain Speer Gold Dot

The .38 Special Ammo is a unique cartridge and an antique choice to consider for self-defense. It is a rimmed centerfire cartridge designed by Smith & Wesson. The ammo is widely used in revolvers and a decent choice for self-defense. For a long period, the .38 Special ammo was the standard ammo for the servicemen in the United States from 1920 to the 1990s.

The .38 Special ammo is best known for its accuracy and manageable recoil. Apart from self-defense, you can use it for target shooting, hunting, and formal target competition. Users can expect penetration of around 14.5 inches even when using those snub nose revolvers. The bullet opens up with a front diameter measuring 0.59 inches.

The .40 Smith & Wesson                       

This is another rimless pistol cartridge with guaranteed immediate stopping power. The .40 Smith & Wesson ammo is handgun ammo born out of a shootout. This is FBA handgun ammo with a higher cartridge performance and small footprint. While the ammo is very powerful, you have to be aware of the recoil and the muzzle jump. Shooting with this caliber requires more time and more rounds. Despite its effective performance, the cartridge is far more challenging to manage. It is also a little expensive compared to the 9mm.

You also need to be aware of the reduced magazine capacity. However, this should not be an issue unless you’re in law enforcement where a shootout is common. For civilian use, the .40 Smith and Wesson is a great choice with excellent intrinsic accuracy. There are also several commercial loads making it quite versatile. Most bullets weigh from 155 to 220 grains.

 .380 Auto

The .380 Auto is a lightweight and pretty easy-to-handle ammo for a smaller-bodied pistol. It is a great choice of ammo when you want handguns that you can conceal in your pocket. Also known as the .380 ACP, this is a rimless and straight-walled pistol cartridge. The cartridge was developed by John Moses Browning and introduced in 1908 by Colt. It is a great choice for use in the Cold Model 1908 Vest Pocket handgun. This is versatile ammo to use with most self-defense handguns.

The ammo is a great choice for most self-defense by civilians giving users a good magazine capacity. However, the load rarely exceeds the standard when fired from sub-compact handguns. The bullets are quite small giving it the name of a ‘mouse gun’. However, the bullets provide plenty of power and can stop threats on their attacks. It might not be the most powerful ammo for self-defense handguns. However, the small print design makes it relatively easy to conceal. In addition, recoils from the ammo are quite small allowing shooters to take more precise shots.

.357 Federal Magnum

This is decent handgun ammo with a 115-grain Speer Gold Dot. It exits that barrel of 4-inch revolvers at speeds of 1400fps. This is powerful ammo that generates more than 500-foot pounds of energy. The bullet can drive a massive 16.5 inches and expand at 0.65 inches in diameter. This is a magnum performance caliber without any magnum recoil. The recoil is pretty easy to handle making the caliber a great choice for self-defense.

9mm Luger

Lastly, we have the 9mm Luger which is another decent caliber cartridge for personal defense. The 9mm Luger can deliver rotational velocities and a high level of terminal performance. It was once considered less than ideal for self-defense. However, technological improvements have seen this cartridge become one of the best for self-defense. It offers an excellent penetration of 13.7 inches with the bullet expanding at 0.59 inches on the front. Overall, this is a compact design handgun ammo and one to seriously consider for self-defense.

Final Thoughts

When deciding on handgun ammo for self-defense, there are several factors to consider. Make sure you consider the ammo weight, energy, availability, and price. In conclusion, you need handgun ammo that feels comfortable and easy to use. Learn about the recoil and how fast you can shoot.

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