The world is not a simple place, and some people like to keep a personal ammunition stockpile as a security blanket. The most commonly stockpiled ammunition in America is 9mm handgun ammo. But what is the best 9mm ammunition to stockpile?
Here are the five best types of 9mm ammo to stockpile:
- Wolf WPA Polyformance
- Federal Premium HST
- Tula Ammo
- PMC Bronze
- Winchester PDX1 Defender
This article will explore the different types of 9mm ammunition on the market and single out a few for use in specific circumstances.
Best Brands of 9mm Ammunition
If you ask 100 firearm enthusiasts and doomsday preppers what the best brand of 9mm ammunition to stockpile is, you will get several dozen answers. That said, there are five brands that stand out.
|Brand||Type||Grain (Grams)||Price Range||Source|
|Wolf WPA Polyformance||9x19mm Luger FMJ||115(7.45)||$150-$200 (500 rounds)||Sportsman’s Guide|
|Federal Ammunition||9mm Luger HST jacketed hollow-point||147(9.52)||$30-$40 (50 rounds)||Sportsman’s Guide|
|Tula Ammo||9mm Luger FMJ (steel cased)||115(7.45)||$25-$35 (50 rounds)||Palmetto State Armory|
|PMC Bronze||9mm Luger FMJ||115(7.45)||$20-$35 (50 rounds)||Palmetto State Armory|
|WinchesterPDX1 Defender||9mm Luger jacketed hollow point||124(8.03)||$25-$35 (20 rounds)||Guns.com|
Wolf WPA is known as a producer of high-performance bulk ammunition widely used for practice shooting. At about $0.37 per round, this Russian-made, steel-cased ammunition is the cheapest ammunition to make our list. The 500-round bulk package comes in a free WW2 style ammo can, too!
Reviews for Wolf WPA Performance 9×19 Luger FMJ are mostly positive. However, some users have complained about the steel casings failing to eject properly. Before purchasing steel-cased ammunition, be sure that your firearm is rated to use it.
Federal Ammunition is widely used by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. They produce both frangible training ammunition and hollow-point service ammunition. Reviewers praise their 9mm Luger HST jacketed-hollow-point ammunition for its reliability and sturdy packaging, and it sells for about $0.80 per round.
These cartridges are currently available in 50 and 1000 round packages.
Another Russian manufacturer makes our list with Tula Ammo’s steel-cased 9mm Luger FMJ cartridge. Tula primarily services high-volume practice and target shooters, and their ammunition is shelf-stable and cost-effective. It usually sells for between $0.70 and $0.80 per round but is on sale from Palmetto State Armory for about $0.50 per round.
Please note this is a STEEL CASED cartridge produced in RUSSIA. The only negative reviews we found were from people who didn’t know about those facts when they placed their orders.
Precision Made Cartridge, or “PMC,” is a South Korea-based producer of bulk ammunition. Their ammunition is known for obsessive consistency, with rounds not permitted to vary in mass more than one-fifth of a gram!
Bronze is the lowest grade of ammunition PMC produces. At about $0.80 per round, it is perfect for everyone, from recreational shooters to preppers.
Winchester is one of the most famous arms manufacturers in the world. Their PDX1 series of bonded jacket ammunition is widely used by law enforcement at every level. These are very high performance but reasonably priced cartridges at about $1.80 per round.
Most Powerful and Lethal 9mm Ammo: NovX Engagement Extreme
Under most circumstances, hollow point ammunition will be considerably more lethal than other types of ammunition. If you want to kill an attacker, a high-grain hollow-point bullet fired at close range will do the deed.
That said, several sources singled out the NovX Engagement Extreme Self-Defense lead-free fluted 9mm round. If the hype is accurate, this lightweight round combines the accuracy of full metal jacket ammo with the destructive power of hollow-point ammunition.
Most Accurate 9mm Ammo
There is no real difference in accuracy between brands of 9mm ammunition of a similar type. However, some brands do get more hype than others.
The FBI and US military both reported that ammunition produced by Winchester had “superior ballistic performance.” Firearm accuracy has much more to do with the firearm and the shooter than the ammunition.
What Grain 9mm Bullet Is Best?
The “best” 9mm bullet grain is entirely a matter of personal preference. There is no direct relationship between bullet weight and accuracy or stopping power. Furthermore, there is no single recognized system to quantify stopping power.
Theoretically, a lighter bullet would produce less recoil when the firearm is fired and travel faster, improving accuracy and stopping power. But a lighter bullet would also be more susceptible to aerodynamic turbulence and drag, especially if it was fired at high subsonic velocities.
Any possible performance improvement produced by using a less massive bullet would be countered simply by the bullet traveling through the air.
Best All-Around 9mm Ammo for Home Defense
Winchester PDX1 series ammunition is likely the best all-around self and home defense 9mm ammunition. If you can find it at a reasonable bulk price, this is the ammunition to buy.
What Brand of 9mm Ammo Does the US Military Use?
In 2019, the US military awarded Winchester the contract to serve as the sole supplier of the ammunition for their standard Beretta M9 sidearm. The two rounds supplied by Winchester are the M1152 Ball and the M1153 Special Purpose rounds.
Both rounds, which are explained below, are commercially available in the United States.
- M1152 Ball: 115-grain (7.45-gram) full-metal-jacket round
- M1153 Special Purpose: 147-grain (9.52-gram) jacketed-hollow-point round
What 9mm Ammo Does the FBI Use?
The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation recently adopted the Winchester PDX1 Defender as their 9mm duty round. The PDX1 is a 124-grain (8-gram) bonded jacketed hollow point round, which the FBI praised for its ballistic performance.
9mm Ammo Types Explained
Historically, there have been several dozen types of 9mm produced over the last century. Only a few of them are still in production, and the ammunition industry is largely standardized.
Glossary of Common Ammunition Terminology
Here are some common terms used to describe 9mm ammunition.
|Table Of Ammunition Terminology|
|Bullet||The slug at the front of a round which is propelled out of the firearm by the exhaust from the burning propellant. The projectile.|
|Casing||The shell that contains the gunpowder propellant and holds the actual bullet.|
|Grain||Unit of weight equal to 1/7000th of a pound or 64.79891 milligrams. Used to measure the weight of the bullet and propellant used in a round.|
|Round||A single cartridge containing a projectile, propellant, primer, and casing.|
|Types Of Bullets|
|Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)||Conventional conical bullets where the lead core is wrapped in a metal shell. The shell is usually made of an alloy of copper and nickel (cupronickel) but occasionally steel. The jacket often detaches from the core on impact.|
|Bonded Jacket||A newer type of ammunition where the jacket is electrochemically bonded to the lead core.|
|Blunt Nose||Ammunition with a blunted nose rather than a conical tip. Leaves more severe wounds than conical bullets.|
|Hollow Point||Bullets with hollow cavities in their nose, which causes them to expand on impact with a target. This type of ammunition leaves horrendous wounds and is banned in combat under the Geneva Convention. Possession of hollow-point ammunition is currently illegal in New Jersey.|
|Fluted||Bullets with channels or flutes carved out, making them larger and improving accuracy.|
|Frangible||Bullets designed to penetrate soft material like human flesh, but shatter on impact with hard materials like metal. Intended to reduce injuries from ricochet.|
|Soft-Point||Expanding bullet where the nose cavity is filled with a soft lightweight material such as plastic. Intended to deliver the aerodynamic benefits of full metal jacket ammunition and the destructive power of hollow-point ammunition.|
|Less-Than-Lethal or Non-Lethal||A bullet made of material other than metal (rubber, wood, plastic, etc). Intended to cause pain and minor injuries rather than severe injuries or death. Meant for deterrent purposes.|
|Blank||A cartridge without a bullet of any kind. Produces the muzzle flash and explosive noise.|
|ACP||Automatic Colt Pistol. Invented by John Moses Browning in the early 1900s, this type of ammunition is designed to be used in self-loading (semi-automatic) pistols. Also called “Browning”.|
|Luger||German for “automatic”. Refers to ammunition designed to be used in self-loading (semi-automatic) pistols. Invented by Austrian gunsmith Georg Luger. Synonymous with “parabellum.”|
|Parabellum||Latin for “prepare for war”. Refers to ammunition produced for military-style firearms. Synonymous with “luger.”|
|NATO||A subset of luger-style ammunition, produced to the specifications of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO spec ammunition is commercially available, but may damage firearms not rated for it.|
|Marakov||The Soviet equivalent of Western luger/parabellum ammunition with slightly different dimensions. Not interchangeable with luger/parabellum ammunition.|
|Brass Casing||Round casing made of brass (an alloy of copper and zinc).|
|Steel Casing||Round casing made of steel (an alloy of iron and carbon).|
|Rimmed||Round casing has a metal rim or flange protruding from its base, used by the firearm extractor to grip the round.|
|Semi-Rimmed (SR)||The rim protrudes from a recessed portion of the casing, so that it only partially protrudes from past the outer diameter of the casing. RimlessThe rim does not protrude past the outer diameter of the casing.|
Comparisons Between Ammunition Types
A number of interesting dichotomies emerge when researching ammunition types.
Lethal vs. Non-Lethal Bullets
When defending yourself and your property, do you really have to maim or kill an aggressor? Unless you are a politician or celebrity of some sort, it is extremely unlikely that anyone breaking into your home knows who you are or has any reason to want to harm you. They just want to steal something valuable that they can fence for a quick buck.
Non-lethal ammunition is the perfect solution for self or home defense under the vast majority of circumstances. The painful impact of a rubber bullet or even the sensory assault of a blank cartridge in a dark home will stop most intruders or aggressors in their tracks. Just because you are legally allowed to kill someone in self-defense, it does not mean you should.
Full Metal Jacket vs. Expanding Bullets
There is an unwritten rule in the firearms world, full metal jacket (FMJ) for practice, hollow-point for defense. You practice with the less expensive FMJ ammo, but defend yourself with the more destructive hollow-point. Of course FMJ ammunition is still perfectly capable of killing a person.
Other than the more severe wounds it leaves behind, the key advantage of expanding bullets is that they are much less likely to penetrate all the way through your target. If you shoot a person with an FMJ round, there is a decent chance that the bullet will travel all the way through their body and hit someone or something behind them. A hollow-point bullet will almost certainly stop in and cause severe injury to your target.
Steel vs. Brass Casings
Firearm ammunition traditionally uses brass, a cheap alloy of copper and zinc, as the casing material. But during WW1, shortages of copper compelled arms manufacturers to start using more plentiful steel for cartridge casings. Brass and steel casings together represent the lion’s share of commercially produced ammunition.
Under most circumstances, including stockpiling, brass is the better material for ammunition casings. While steel-cased ammunition is generally less expensive, brass-cased ammunition is more resistant to corrosion.
Steel casings, being much harder than brass casings, may also damage the internal mechanisms of a firearm not specifically designed to use them. Steel-cased ammunition should only be used in firearms designed to use it. Please consult your firearm’s manual before purchasing steel-cased ammunition.
Brass casings have the added advantage of being reloadable. Casings used to practice shooting can be reused multiple times. Therefore, the increased price of brass-cased ammunition can be offset by reusing the casings.
If stored in cool, dry conditions, all commercially produced ammunition should last at least ten years. Modern manufacturing standards are considerably higher than those in place during World War II, and ammunition produced during the war is more often than not perfectly usable over 70 years after it was produced. Ammunition produced in 2021 will likely still be usable well into the 22nd century.
I hope this article has helped you choose which round to stockpile. You really can’t go wrong with any type on this list. Thanks for reading!
For more, check out How Much Does Ammo Cost? | Detailed Price Analysis.
Hey, I’m Jim and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!