There are a lot of differing opinions about what caliber ammunition is best for self-defense ammunition; .380 vs 9mm vs .40 S&W vs .45 ACP vs .357 Magnum vs .44 Magnum, etc. My personal choice when I became interested in carrying full time was the 9mm. The reasons being that most law enforcement agencies were using it. If it worked for them, it should work for me too. And if I had to use my gun, the courts couldn’t find fault with my choice of ammo.rounds

Hollow Point vs Solid Projectile

Hollow point ammo is designed to crush as it enters an object, therefore not going all the way through. This is why police use it, to prevent innocent bystanders from getting hit with a bullet that goes all the way through a bad guy.


There have been municipal jurisdictions that have banned the use of hollow points, and they all went back to them. Solid projectile ammo has the tendency to go through whatever soft target it hits. A lot of bystanders have been hurt or killed because of this.

FBI Report

The FBI has made several reports about the different calibers and types of ammo. They are considered the last word on best practices of law enforcement and self-defense firearms and ammunition. The last report, from May of 2014, said the 9mm was the optimal caliber for many reasons.

The stopping power is virtually the same as .45 ACP and .40 S&W. They are also lighter to carry, less expensive and more readily available. Handgun stopping power is more in the accuracy of the shooter than it is the bullet. The report says, “There is little to no noticeable difference in the wound tracks between premium line law Auto enforcement projectiles from 9mm Luger through the .45 Auto.”

Military/Law Enforcement Use

hollow pointAt one point just before the FBI Study, the US Military were considering replacing the old Beretta M9 9mm pistols, and some local police agencies were thinking about going to a heavier round. They ultimately decided to stick with what was working. The study also has been a deciding factor in the use of ammo for civilian self-defense use.

Considering that stopping power mainly applies to hits in the central nervous system (in the head, spine or neck), 9mm Luger has the same ballistic action and penetrating force as larger caliber rounds but is easier to control and leads to more accurate shots. Only about 30% of the shots by law enforcers actually hit the target.

“The Ballistic Research Facility has conducted a test which compares similar sized Glock pistols in both .40 S&W and 9mm calibers, to determine if more accurate and faster hits are achievable with one versus the other,” the FBI says. The majority of shooters have been quicker and more accurate with 9mm caliber Glock pistols. The 9mm provides lesser accomplished shooters the best chance of success while improving the speed and accuracy of the most skilled.

Some law enforcement agencies have made the move to larger calibers from the 9mm Luger in recent years. However, they have done so with reduced magazine capacity, more felt recoil and, given adequate projectile selection, no noticeable change in terminal performance. Along with the fact that numerous ammunition manufacturers now make 9mm Luger ammunition with outstanding premium law enforcement projectiles, the move to 9mm Luger can now be considered a definite advantage for law enforcement personnel and responsibly armed private citizens.

If you would like more info or to just leave a comment, please write me in the box below, or email me at


9mm Self Defense Ammo Review — 6 Comments

  1. Thanks for explaining some things for even me a noob. I never was aware that police used hollow point bullets. They have a good reason. My cousin is an avid shooter and he loves to fire his weapons at the gun range. If the FBI approves a 9mm, that is enough for me. They seem to have great value to law enforcement. What would you recommend for someone new to guns who wants to target practice?

    • Thanks for your comments Kristie. If you’re serious about using a gun, I would suggest going to a local gun store and looking at many of them.There are differing sizes and calibers. If you have never fired a gun before, you might want to rent or borrow one at an indoor range where you can get some help. I would suggest a 22LR to begin with. 22 is the smallest, most common and cheapest to fire. It has almost no recoil, and would be very easy to fire. Talk to the people at your local store. Again, thanks for your interest.

  2. Hi Barry,

    In addition to your post I also read your about me page. It appears this is somewhat of a natural niche for you and that you’re really interested in guns.

    As for me, I don’t own a gun and don’t know the first thing about them. I don’t believe I’ve ever even held one in my hand or shot one.

    Having said that, as I read your post, a lot of what you said went completely over my head.

    I realize your target market does not include me and that probably the people inclined to read what you write will know what you’re talking about.

    Lastly, if I may suggest that where you show your affiliate link on your about me page, you don’t necessarily have to show the whole thing like that if you don’t want to.

    If you like you can make Wealthy Affiliate visible as the link and then insert the entire link that includes the affiliate link in the box where it asks for it.

    I hope that makes sense.


    • Thanks for the comments. I realize there will be many who don’t know about my subject matter, but hopefully some that read it will understand gun owners are not all sociopaths, and we are responsible citizens.

  3. All I can say is great post! Being a woman that knows how to handle and properly carry a gun I like to see others out there encouraging safety as well as EDUCATION! There are so many people that just carry to look cool but do not know anything but the gun they are carrying let alone how to use it properly. Your website is a definite success and contribution to society for gun education and safety. Great article about the 9mm as well as bullet choice. More people need to know these things to ensure proper gun use. I will be visiting again!
    Wishing you great success!

    • Thank you, Krista. This is my goal, to educate the people that think we are the bad guys just because we choose to be first responders in violent situations. Thank you also for being a “sheepdog”.

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