9mm Ammo

9mm ammo is said to be the best all-around defensive cartridge because it offers shooters a high-powered round with manageable recoil that allows for faster target acquisition. It has become an increasingly popular concealed-carry cartridge because of the affordability of firearms and ammunition alike. A greater accessibility allows shooters of all skill levels to master the most important technique in defensive shooting – shot placement.

Common bullet weights for 9mm include 115gr, 124gr, 125gr, and 147gr. Generally speaking, heavier bullets hit harder, have more recoil, and are more expensive. Most people practice with 115gr ammo, and carry heavier stuff for personal defense. For self-defense, shoot your specific 9mm handgun with 115 grain and with 147 grain bullets at 25 yards and less to see if you find, like I did, that the heavier 147 grain bullet hits the target higher almost every time.

The Different 9mm Ammo Loads

Since being introduced 120 years ago, there have been countless loads and variations of 9mm ammo. This has included ball load, a special full metal jacket with subsonic muzzle velocity for use with suppressors, tracer rounds, and even blanks.

Today, the 9mm +P is a high-pressure load variant. While not as high pressure as magnum, the +P, which packs more gunpowder into the cartridge, has 10 percent more pressure than a standard 9x19mm round. Per the SAAMI specifications, the standard pressure for 9x19mm is 35,000 psi, whereas 9mm +P measures 38,500 psi. That could make the +P ammunition well-suited to self-defense, however, not all 9mm firearms are equipped to handle the added pressure – so users need to check that their firearm is compatible with the +P ammunition.

The Different 9mm Ammo Loads

Additionally, 9mm NATO, is also over-pressurized, but not to the same extent as the +P. The 9mm NATO has a service pressure of 36,500 psi, and a bullet weight between 108-grains and 128-grains. Generally safe for most 9mm firearms, gun owners should still ensure that older handguns can handle the added pressure from 9mm NATO.

There are plenty of other variations, which is why 9mm has remained the most ubiquitous firearms caliber in the world.

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