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Choosing Self Defense
Ammunition

By Dan S. Defense

Ammunition selection is critical to your being able to survive a violent encounter with a threat that's trying to kill or seriously harm you. If you do your part, focus on your front sight and control your trigger, the bullet you choose will make contact with the threat that wants to harm you.

This should highlight the importance of your researching self defense ammunition, beyond the hype of one or more ads, or some article by an anonymous source (such as my good self) about some cool self defense ammo.


Just because some self defense ammo is touted as "magical" and/or use by SAS or, Sayeret Matkal (IDF "SAS"), doesn't mean it's actually magical, or best for you. Marketing offers hype for self defense ammunition (and most other things in life) and you must look beyond it.

Selecting self defense ammunition is important and my goal here is to open your mind to a few elements that you need to consider. I'll also share my self defense ammo selection as an example, but what works for me, may or may not work for you.


With that in mind, let's take a closer look at the steps you ought to take as you select your self defense ammunition--some tips, if you will.

Choosing Self Defense Ammunition:

1. Select the caliber that works best for you:Ignore the hype for a given caliber (e.g. 9mm vs. 45 ACP)--choose the biggest caliber that you will carry for self defense and will use at the range!

2. Select a proven ammunition brand or bullet type: Look at what works best for local and federal agencies--they test ammunition thoroughly and their learning experience can be valuable.

3. Ignore hype from ads or Forums: There are no magic bullets. There are no laser-guided-seek-and-destroy-mini-tactical-deep-cover bullets.Look at facts and apply logic to your selection process.

4. Research your first choice--many reputable ammunition makers publish data about specific bullet performance --think about your likely usage scenarios and select one that you think will work in most scenarios.

5. Buy ~100-150 rounds and use them in the range: See if they work well, and consistently, in your self defense handgun and if the recoil is acceptable. See if they hit where you want them to--which is key to success.

By following these five simple steps, you'll be able to find the ammunition that works best for you. If your caliber of choice is sufficiently powerful (remember, handguns are all weak performers in this area-go for the biggest you can handle) and if you are able to hit the threat in vital areas, you ought to be OK in a gun-fight.

There are never any guarantees, but if you can stack the odds in your favor, by choosing strong self defense ammo, you'll be able to increase your odds of survival.


I said I'll share my ammo selection as an example. I prefer two main brands -Winchester Ranger and Federal HST. I tested these two brands extensively in my firearms, in both 45 ACP (230gr.) and 9mm (147gr) and I'm confident that they will do their part, if I do mine. I sometimes also use the light 185gr. Speer Duty Gold Dot in 45 ACP in my lightweight 45 ACP revolver.

In general, I don't use +P ammo for self-defense, although do load them for some scenarios, and therefore test my guns with that type of load too (same brands).Now, I challenge you to find the best self defense ammo-for you!

Until next time, stay safe by staying alert!

Comments? Questions? Email us

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