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The Best Ammo for M&P and M&P Shield 9mm

The best  M&P Shield ammo brands include Speer Gold Dot, Winchester Ranger 127 Grain (8.2 grams), Federal American Eagle, and the Ranger Lawman. However, M&P handguns are designed to handle most ammo brands so long as the cartridge size is correct. 

Let’s look at these ammo types in detail and what makes the best 9mm ammo for the M&P Shield. 

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What Is the Best Grain Ammo for the 9mm Shield? 

If you ask 10 different experts on the best ammo for M&P handguns, you may get 10 different opinions. However, there is a consensus on a few of the best brands. Your choice of ammo will largely depend on where you’re using it, how well you use the gun, whether you prefer heavier or lighter ammo, and other factors. 

The 115 grain (7.5-gram) 9mm ammo is the best option if you prefer lighter ammo. If you prefer heavier ammo, the 165 grain (10.7-gram) .40 S&W or the 147 grain (9.5-gram) 9mm Luger are best. Heavier ammo is recommended for inexperienced shooters, since their accuracy may not be on par.

If you’re planning on shooting at the range, it’s helpful to do a few practice rounds with your preferred ammo type. However, you can use cheaper ammo brands to practice with, as long as they have similar weight and velocity as the ammo you’re carrying. 

What To Consider When Choosing M&P Shield Ammo? 

Since every ammo brand is advertised as the premium choice, inexperienced gun owners will be at odds choosing between the top ammo brands. There are also many misconceptions regarding what makes M&P ammo better. 

When choosing the best M&P Shield Ammo, you should consider brand popularity, shooting purpose, cartridge size, and ammo weight. You can also consider your shooting experience at the range when choosing your preferred ammo. 

Let’s look at some of the factors that may affect your ammo choice: 

Brand Popularity

Many people will go with the top brands listed on a review site. Going with the top brands is often the best way to reduce risk since they pass rigorous testing procedures. However, any approved brand will have the same safety assurances, and many premium ammo brands are more expensive. 

If you choose to go with a premium brand when buying new ammo, consider the user reviews. You can also try out different ammo brands before choosing one that suits your shooting style. 

Most people claim that the Speer Gold Dot or Ranger Lawman is the best ammo for M&P Shield 9mm guns. However, Winchester USA and Federal American Eagle also manufacture reliable ammo for M&P guns. 

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Shooting Purpose

Before buying ammo, consider what purpose you’re shooting the ammo for. 9mm handguns are primarily used for close to medium-range self-defense situations, although some people use them for hunting vermin. You may also use different ammo for range sessions. 

If you’re going to hunt vermin or use your ammo for regular shooting practice, go for cheaper ammo. Lightweight ammo is best for hunting, and the higher velocity can give you an advantage when shooting. However, when shooting in the range, you ideally want to have ammo similar to the ammo you’ll carry. 

Many people will go for cheaper ammo for range work and carry ammo from the top brands. If your main aim is self-defense, it’s best not to compromise on brand quality. Yet, it’s the person holding the gun that makes a difference. 

Cartridge Size

The cartridge size is crucial when choosing ammo for M&P handguns. While some guns may handle different cartridge sizes, it’s best to use the correct cartridge ammo for your gun type. 

M&P handguns usually shoot ammo with cartridges of: 

  • .380 ACP 
  • .22 LR 
  • 9x19mm Parabellum 
  • .40 ACP, or 
  • .40 S&W 

Concealed carry guns will usually shoot the .380 ACP or .40 S&W (if you have an M&P 9mm Shield. 

While M&P guns are versatile when it comes to cartridge caliber, shooting the wrong type of cartridge can damage your gun, cause wear and tear, and may even pose a safety risk. So, unless you’re in an emergency, always use the correct cartridge ammo. 

Best Bullet Weight for M&P Shield?

The best bullet weight for M&P Shield is in the range of 115 to 165-grain (7.5 to 10.7-gram) ammo. Everyone will have different preferences regarding how heavy their ammo should be, yet gun experts will testify that ammo weight is a major factor when choosing the best ammo for shooting. 

Most reputable ammo brands are perfect for M&P Shield guns. Unlike many other brands, M&P guns are versatile in ammo. However, you’ll have to make sure the ammo is either 9mm or the .40 S&W. 

There is a debate on whether heavier or lighter ammo is more effective. Some argue that lighter ammo is more accurate, and the velocity advantage makes it easier to target key organs. Those in favor of heavier ammo claim it’s easier to shoot (this is partially true) and has the advantage in self-defense situations. 

Personal Preference

Lastly, you’ll have to consider your personal shooting preferences when choosing new ammo. Take a few different brands of ammo with varying weights and practice shooting with them on the range. Choose the ammo that gives you the most accuracy and stick with it. 

Once you master an ammo type, you can try out different brands to improve your shooting skills. However, always carry the ammo that you’re most confident in for self-defense situations.

Related How Much Ammo Can You Buy at One Time? (Legal Limits).

Is the M&P 9mm Shield Reliable to Use For Self-Defense? 

With amazing functionality for a small handgun, the M&P 9mm is a great self-defense gun for concealed carry. It’s easy to conceal, has a smooth trigger, produces manageable recoil, and has decent stopping power, making it perfect for self-defense. 

This gun is also relatively easy for beginners to use and can be mastered with consistent practice. It’s also adaptable, and you can use different ammo brands for range practice. If you’re looking for a concealed carry gun that’s easy to maintain, the 9mm M&P Shield is ideal. 

However, like all other small handguns, there’s little room for error, and you’ll have to practice to improve your aim. Go to the shooting range at least once a week when you’re learning to shoot and once a month afterward to maintain your aim. 

Using M&P Ammo For Self-Defense?

M&P handguns can handle a wide range of ammo, from .40 caliber to .380 ACP and more. However, not all ammo is as effective in self-defense situations. So, what makes the perfect ammo for self-defense? 

When using M&P ammo for self-defense, the ammo should have decent penetration ability and good expansion. The bullet weight also matters, especially for inexperienced shooters and realistic self-defense situations. The .380 ACP, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP are the best ammo for handguns. 

When choosing ammo or a new gun, consider these 2 factors: 

Bullet Penetration

Bullet penetration is a key factor that determines the effectiveness of ammo. Too little penetration may not be enough to help you in a self-defense situation. Too much penetration could result in stray bullets that injure bystanders. So, how much bullet penetration is ideal? 

According to the FBI, bullet penetration should be between 12 and 18 inches (30.5 and 45.7 cm). Some experts claim that 10 inches (25.4 cm) or even 8 inches (20 cm) are enough. However, when you factor in the clothing of your attacker and the effective range of your gun, you’ll need at least 18 inches (30.5 cm) of penetration to stop a dedicated attacker. 

Most of the top ammo brands will provide enough bullet penetration to neutralize attacks. However, it’s best to double-check at your gun store since some smaller handguns may not have enough bullet penetration. 

Ammo Expansion

Ammo expansion is more important than penetration, according to some experts. Older handgun ammo like the .38 and .375 didn’t have enough bullet expansion, which rendered them ineffective. Since it’s quite challenging to have high accuracy in self-defense situations, you aren’t going to always hit vital organs. Hence the need for bullet expansion. 

Range ammo is usually designed with little or no bullet expansion since the aim is target practice. For this reason, it’s better to use different ammo for range practice than you would carry. 

Choose ammo with good expansion, like the .380 ACP, which has .53 inches (1.3 cm) of expansion. This will be enough to stop an attacker with a relatively decent aim. As with other ammo features, the stopping power will heavily depend on your aim. However, bullet expansion helps you stop assailants even with shaky shots. 

Final Thoughts

M&P handguns are the most popular self-defense guns and perform above their weight. They support various ammo types, each with different benefits. When choosing the best ammo for M&P guns, always look at bullet weight, bullet penetration, and ammo expansion for ammo you can rely on in self-defense situations.

For more, check out How Much Does Ammo Cost? | Detailed Price Analysis.