The Top Five 9mm Loads

We will explore my opinion of the top five 9mm loads in this article.

With your 9mm handgun, these various kinds of ammo will meet all of your shooting needs.

The most widely used handgun cartridge worldwide is the 9mm Luger. Because of its wide range of applications, one load might not be enough. When it comes to self-defense, you could have to protect yourself against anything from a deranged killer to a writhing snake. In addition, you may need to invest in training and competitive gear, as well as consider options that could deter a large, non-human predator. Keeping that in mind, here are five excellent 9mm Luger loads that ought to work in practically every circumstance.


There are several excellent 9mm Luger loads available for self-defense, and the majority share a few characteristics. They perform well in FBI testing, penetrating to a depth of 12 to 18 inches and recovering bullets with a diameter that is around 1.5 times that of the unfired round. Numerous handguns have demonstrated their reliability. The finest loads from Federal, Speer, CCI, or Winchester are difficult to go wrong with, but it’s also difficult to find a 9mm load that will outshoot Remington’s 124-grain +P Bonded Golden Saber, particularly if the target is hidden by a car door, interior wall, or glass.

Bear/Predator Defense

Is 9mm good enough for bear protection? That, however, is contingent upon the bear. When facing an 800-pound brown bear, a 9mm may not be as effective in stopping or discouraging it as it would be against a 200-pound black bear. But bear guide Phil Shoemaker is well known for using many 9mm bullets to stop a grizzly. If you know you’re entering bear country, you should consider purchasing a larger gun. However, if you plan to carry a 9mm, utilize the same load that Shoemaker did: the Buffalo Bore Outdoorsman hard cast load, which weighs 147 grains. With a straight path, this non-deforming, bone-crushing round may pass through more than four feet of ordnance gelatin.

Rats and Snakes

Some will argue that the best course of action is to avoid shooting dangerous snakes. That might be the case, but you’re inviting disaster if you have a rattlesnake residing in your barn or beneath your front porch. Using a shovel on a rattlesnake is quite effective—that is, until you trip and end up on top of him. Conventional 9mm ammo is also effective, but it needs to strike the head. The solution is CCI shotshells. Even though they don’t repeat the action of your handgun, they facilitate striking the head. They are effective against snakes up to eight or nine feet long, and they can also tackle small rodents such as rats.

Exercise and Instruction

Paper and steel are your practice targets. You want a practice load that is accurate, dependable, and causes the least amount of fouling to your pistol. Federal’s 124- or 147-grain Syntech loads replicate the exterior ballistics and point of impact of their self-defense 9mm loads. Furthermore, the bullets’ crimson Syntech coating—which turns purple on Match loads—makes them easy to recognize. In addition to being lead-free, the Syntech coating lowers friction, fouling, barrel heat, and splashback on steel targets. These are incredibly dependable in the majority of handguns and will provide impressive accuracy.

Indeed, there are individuals who shoot 9mm handguns with suppressors attached. Also, you require suppressed ammo to fully benefit from a suppressor, even if it will reduce the noise level of any 9mm round to your ear. Unfortunately, some suppressed loads use bullets designed to not distort during penetration. If all you’re doing is shooting targets, it makes no difference. However, it can be useful if you’re shooting or hunting to preserve your life. When subjected to a range of intermediate obstacles during FBI duty ammunition terminal performance testing, Hornady’s subsonic 147-grain XTP load exhibits good deformation during penetration.