Ammo! what type of ammo do you carry and why is there a huge debate?

So I usually carry Hornady Critical Defense but my retail store has a hard time getting them in. I don’t really know much about ammo and I don’t really know what I’m looking for.

I made a tik tok and somebody stitched it and showed you can go on

But in his description he said he would never buy no name hollows and wouldn’t buy Critical Defense either.

He didn’t go into any explanation why but what’s your experience.

My original tik tok video below!

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Good morning @Forensic_Wow.

I don’t take the word of people on TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, this forum or other social media platforms when it comes to such things as SD ammunition selection.

To be honest, any premium ammunition is a candidate. The next steps are availability and cost factors. And the most important factor is reliability in your particular handgun. In other words, buy what you can afford in a premium, well known ammunition and take it to the range and test it out. Speer, Hornady, Federal, Remington, Sig Sauer, etc. are all fine choices.

Stay safe out there.


Hello! A great majority of the time I have Federal HST Hydra-Shok in 9 and 45. I had some stocked before the chaos, I still think they are running around $50-60 a box of 50. As @Frank73 said all your premium brands you can find currently.


I originally thought I was going to use Critical Defense, but ended up using Federal HSTs.

I ran though boxes of good name brand HPs and found the HSTs fed most consistently through my EDC staring from a +1 configuration.

And they expanded beautifully in gel from my Glock 43 barrel.


I’m barely dealing with youtube these days, never mind a tiktok…fwiw, I bought 1000 rounds of Winchester Ranger 147 +p’s a few years back for my 9’s. Bought 500 at first, price was a steal, shot it, it shot well, felt great, fed in 7 guns, and I sure as heck wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of it, so grabbed another case. For .45’s, I have a few hundred PPU hollow points, same deal, and if I ever go through them I have a few hundred .45acp HST’s still wrapped in cello. I also have “some” 9mm 115 grain IMI razorcore and Freedom Munitions loaded Hornady hp’s which are less of a handful in my subcompacts.
Buying quantity means not dealing with tiktok vids or forums dealing with opinionated experts…all I know is I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of any of this.
Cripesakes, been shooting a lot of .22lr lately, and seeing how that round allows me to put 10 rounds in a 4" circle at 15 yards in under 4 seconds…starting to think my little SR22 loaded with 3 cent t’bolts might make a good carry gun :kissing_smiling_eyes: pewpewpewpewpewpewpewpew


As @Frank73 said start with premium HP ammo from well known brands and you are likely to be fine as long as you test it to make sure it functions flawlessly in your firearm.

One thing to consider though is that all ammo is designed to work within certain velocity parameters and to do certain things like penetrate barriers or be less likely to penetrate barriers. If your barrel is shorter or longer than the barrels the ammo was designed for then the ammo may not perform as designed. For instance Hornady Critical Duty and Speer G2 were apparently optimized for duty sized pistols and have been shown to have issues opening up when shot through the smaller micro guns many carry these days.

I always look for online tests preferably from LE agencies or other reliable testers using standard protocols. I want to see how the ammo performs from barrels of similar lengths to the ones I use. And see how it performs through the barriers I may have to deal with. Heavier HSTs and original Gold Dots are my preferred brands in 9mm and .45. Really want to try the newish Federal Hydrashok Deep in .380 but can’t find it anywhere.


I use Critical Duty, Critical Defense, Sig Sauer V-Crown, Federal HST. These are the main ones I load up with for self defense. It also depends on what firearm you have. Some ammo feeds better than others through certain firearms. I suggest you try some of the premium brands mentioned in these posts and take it from there.


Federal HST 124gr for me. I’ll carry Speer Gold Dot without hesitation also. I’m with the others who do not listen to social media influencers when it comes to my gear, ammo, etc. I choose to carry the HST’s because they are duty proven and trusted by those in the field, nothing more, nothing less. The same can be said for Hornady Critical Duty, it is trusted and used in the field as well.

I have no real preference between the HST or Gold Dot other than the fact the Federal Am. Eagle 124gr FMJ mimics the HST round very well for me and keeps my training consistent.


Any debate boiils down to having different opinions (and different handguns as Shamrock mentioned.) Barrel length has a lot to do with performance in many cases.

In my ammo starved state of California it’s not a matter of which make and model carry ammo but what the heck ammo can you can find that at least functions reliably.

Since you asked, my preferred carry ammo is
.45acp Winchester 230 gr JHP(for a Colt Combat Government Model)
.38spl Privi Partisan 158 gr LSWC(for a S&W Centennial)

Neither of which have been on local store shelves in over a year.

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Check these out. Tic Tok really. :roll_eyes:

Poll: Favorite Self-Defense Ammo

What’s your favorite self-defense ammunition?


I would have to say any Hornady Critical Duty or Critical Defense


While you were at Lucky Gunner, I assume that you found your way to Lucky Gunner Labs and their extensive series of handgun ammo ballistic testing from 2015 to 2020. It’s a good single source if you don’t want to scour the internets, and a great base for whatever additional exploration you might want to do. It’s not the most obvious thing to find if you wander through the front door of their main site, and I wouldn’t want anyone to miss it for being slightly out of sight.

Whether you care — or would just as soon buy what’s on sale, or what the other guy does — that’s a different thing.


I carry Federal HST at 124-grain in my EDC. Lucky Gunner has some good data on ballistics and I’ve watched other ballistic gel tests in HST and other HPs. Speer and Hornady seem like solid choices as well. I scrounged up about 500 rounds so I’m in a good place with supply.


I got some back in the before times. I like the testing done by others. Performs nice in my water jugs. For some reason, it consistently snags feeding the top round from slide lock in my Kimber — but is fine being first in line after +1.

If there was more available, I’d like to test it more. Currently, I load the Micro380:

  • FTX x 1;
  • HSD x 7;
  • FTX x7 reload.

EDC is 9mm HST 124gr, but the HST tests in .380ACP don’t impress as much as in larger calibers. I don’t care for Gold Dot or Golden Saber performance in my guns, and have never found the Winchester LE loads for sale.


I have been running Liberty Civil Defense since it came out. (50gr at 2,000 fps for the 9) I have all of the different calibers. My CCW is the S & W 9c in the M & P.


Thanks @techs for the input. Hope to find and test some .380 Deep some day. In .380 at the moment I’m using the old tech XTP bullets since they seem to have the most consistent penetration (even when they fail to open) in both bare and 4 layer denim gel tests.


I like how you think! I also have liked Federal Law Enforcement!


I switched from XTP to FTX because it seemed like the rubber plug was preventing clogging — allowing greater and more consistent expansion against a clothed person.

Application to the real world?
Who knows? — to-may-to, tuh-mah-tow.
Just trying to milk the most from the least. :boom: :boom: :boom: :slightly_smiling_face:


My EDC is Federal Law Enforcement 9mm 124 Grain +P HST Jacketed Hollow Point. While I discourage carrying range ammo as EDC, If that’s all you have, it’s better than not having anything at all.

I’m terms of huge debate, people are compelled to spew their opinion and challenge those that think differently. Unfortunately, like that of Tik Tok, Facebook and Twitter, that same style of antagonistic debate is making its way to this group.

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LuckyGunner has great tests, which they conduct in ballistic gel. Paul Harrell on youtube follows a different approach and tests on elaborate “meat targets”. He is pretty scientific, though he goes through smaller selection of brands. He has research on .380, 9mm and .45.