9mm Ammo Frequent Asked Questions

Primary Arms carries a wide arrangement of 9mm ammunition, and our teams work hard to secure it at the lowest possible price.

Unfortunately, ammunition isn’t always widely available, and some manufacturers may have extended lead times depending on market conditions. Even though our team makes every attempt to keep ammunition plentiful and cheap, market panics can cause sudden stock-outs. Other retailers compensate by spiking their prices. We do not.

At Primary Arms, we believe that honesty and transparency are the best policy. If a product isn’t in-stock, you can always use the ‘Notify Me When In-Stock’ feature, so we can send you a notice when the item arrives. If there is a shortage, it might take a while, but we will always give you a fair price with top-quality service.

9x19mm, otherwise known as 9mm Luger, 9mm Parabellum, and 9mm NATO is by far the most popular handgun caliber around the world, whether it be for military and police use, or civilian use for self defense or target shooting. The bullet is .355” in diameter and weighs between 115gr and 150gr. 9mm is low recoil, accurate, and reliable for self defense.

The popularity of 9mm ammunitio n has increased dramatically since its adoption by NATO forces leading to large quantities of surplus making it extremely affordable to shoot and train in bulk. This availability of 9mm ammo is also what drives innovation to meet the demands of the civilia n market resulting a variety of different 9mm ammo types.

With so many brands that have developed their ammo for years and years, it can be a little difficult to say exactly who has the best 9mm ammo. It also comes down to your specific use cases whether y ou are just going to use it for range fun, self-defense, or serious high round count training

9mm full metal jacket, or FMJ for short, is the most widely sold type of 9mm ammo due to its relative ease of manufacture and cost. Full metal jacket refers to the copper coating that is applied around the lead core and features a standard round nose. FMJ is commonly used for target practice and competition, where penetration is not an issue.

Brands like Magtech, Fiocchi, and Winchester are often the most accessible options for 9mm. If you want to save even more money, you can pick up some Tula 9mm steel case ammo, but it is important to note that most indoor ranges will not allow you to shoot steel cased ammunition. Steel cas e 9mm ammo is also a little bit harsher on internal components and may not be as reliable, so do not use steel case ammo for self - defense.

If you have a little more money to spend, brands like Sellier & Bellot, PMC, and Federal Premium have 9mm FMJ rounds that are designed for utmost accuracy and reliability. Each 9mm round is consistently loaded and goes through rigorous quality control process. Overall 9mm full metal jacket ammunition is great for range use, competition use, and simple target practice.

The best 9mm ammo for training is whatever reliable cartridges you can afford in large quantities. You don’t need to shoot hollow points to improve your marksmanship skills—affordable FMJ is usually your best choice. Federal Syntech ammunition fills a specific niche when it comes to handgun training. 9mm Syntech bullets are a synthetic material that completely fragments on impact, eliminating any splash back when shooting steel targets, allowing you to get much closer than is typically allowed with regular 9mm ammunition.

A total synthetic bullet also has multiple other benefits to high round count training, such as reduced barrel fouling and reduced damage to steel targets. Lead exposure is a serious health risk in the firearms community, and synthetic ammunition can greatly reduce that risk. These lead-free options are also great for states where use of lead ammo is restricted.

One thing that you may have noticed is the 115gr or 147gr listed on the product. This refers to the grain weight or how heavy the bullet is. 115gr is the standard weight for 9mm target ammo as it is cheaper to manufacture and produces less felt recoil than heavier bullets. However, Federal Syntech Ammunition is available in a variety of weights that match their self-defense ammo in terms of recoil, velocity, and trajectory, so you can train with using the same variables as premium self-defense ammo without the high cost.

9mm Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) refers to the tip of the bullet, which features a hollow cavity instead of the typical round nose shape of standard ammo. 9mm hollow point ammunition expands when impacting soft targets to create a larger wound track and reduce over penetration. A round nose bullet is less likely to deform and will generally pass through cleanly and keep carrying that energy with it. When a hollow point bullet expands, it creates more drag and dumps all of its energy into the target more effectively.

Jacketed Hollow Point ammunition is the standard for self-defense. It greatly reduces the risk of over-penetration and improves terminal ballistics.

Unlike practice ammo, the best 9mm for self-defense is the ammo that you can trust is going to be effective, consistent, and reliable with every shot. For the best terminal ballistics, prefer Jacketed Hollow Point ammunition for any self-defense application.

When it comes down to it, the brand and type of ammo is extremely important. For self-defense ammo, most professionals prefer a heavier grain bullets for optimal performance. This is great for full size or even compact pistols, as the weight of the pistol can tame recoil. However, with sub compact and smaller guns, recoil is snappier already, and throwing in the added recoil of a heavier bullet can make it hard for fast follow up shots. Moving down to a 124gr hollow point might be the better option but of course it is heavily dependent on you and your gun.

Federal HST 9mm Jacketed Hollow Point ammo is one of the most popular options for self-defense ammo. The 147 grain 9mm hollow point ammo is designed to expand up to almost twice the original bullet diameter without breaking apart, maintaining 100% weight and not over penetrating. It is also barrier blind, meaning that it can penetrate heavier barriers like thick clothing without expanding until it hits soft tissue. The brass casing has also been Nickel plated to reduce friction and allow for more reliable extraction.

Another great 9mm round for self-defense is the Hornady Critical Duty FlexLock. This 9mm round features a hollow point design with a plastic insert in the hollow cavity. This plastic insert prevents the hollow cavity from clogging from clothing or other soft material. If a hollow point gets clogged, it acts like a standard round nose bullet, failing to expand properly in the target. The FlexLock insert improves consistency of expansion by pushing the wings open when impacting a fluid target.

Other popular hollow point rounds include Speer Gold Dot, Federal HydraShok, Winchester Defender, Hornady Critical Defense, and SIG V-Crown.

Moving away from JHPs, 9mm solid copper ammo has grown increasingly popular with offerings from Lehigh defense. These bullets come from solid blocks of copper and feature a unique fluted design that uses hydrostatic energy to create a large wound channel. This reduces the chance that barriers such as wallboard, sheet metal, glass, and thick clothing will damage the bullet before impact. Of course, more penetration can also be detrimental if you miss your target, especially if you live in an apartment complex or condo.

Like everything firearms related, bullet selection relies on your specific situation and use case.

If you see ammunition labeled ‘+P’, it means that it has been loaded with more powder for higher pressure and muzzle velocity.

If you want more energy delivered on target, +P ammo will give you a bit of extra horsepower, but the absolute benefit is debatable. In the case of hollow points, +P ammunition may not perform any better than standard ammunition in penetration and wound cavitation. You will, however, feel more recoil, and your parts will wear out much faster.

Most new guns can handle the higher pressures, but it is important to note that high round counts with +P ammunition can damage a handgun. If you plan on using 9mm +P ammo, it is important to choose a gun that can handle the higher pressures.

So why choose a gun chambered in 9mm?

9mm is a great jack-of-all-trades pistol cartridge with solid ballistics and minimal recoil. 9mm is one of the most popular calibers in the United States, which means you can almost always find ammunition available. Ammunition manufacturers are also heavily competitive in the 9mm market, so you’re more likely to see innovative new designs released for this cartridge.

At Primary Arms we have a wide variety of 9mm ammo for sale available to you at the best prices.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to send us a message at info@primaryarms.com or call us at 713-344-9600.