Home Defense Ammo

There are a lot of things to consider when you’re training for home defense.

  • How close is your home to other homes?
  • How thick are your walls? (Drywall? Cinderblock? Plaster?)
  • Where are your loved ones in the home?
  • Is there something behind your intruder/attacker that can stop a round?

Choosing the right ammunition can mean the difference between a safe defense and unintended casualties.

What ammo do you use (or recommend) for home defense?


125 grain .357 mag Underwood loaded Hornady XTP’s. Lite and fast. They dump a ton of energy on initial impact. Not known for over penetration. The downside: bright fireballs and they are LOUD. For long gun defense, 00 buck and Foster Slugs. It’s quite a ways, through 2 outbuildings to the next house. Even the slug won’t penetrate that much material without breaking up. The luxury of living in a rural area, is being able to go to private property, and blast things with a 12 gauge. You learn what they will and won’t shoot through.


9mm 124 grain JHP. I have both Federal Premium HST and Sig V-Crown Elite Performance. Both fire well in my Sig P320-M17.

Depends on where I am when things start. If I am outside and need to enter the house because family are inside then it will be Federal HST 9mm 147-150 gr, or Winchester Ranger T .40 S&W 165 gr. If I am already inside then 00 Buck, Federal Power-Shok ( 2 3/4 12 pellet loading), or .40 S&W Ranger T.

For handguns in 9mm, Federal HST or Speer Gold Dots in 124 or 147gr. (Probably the same for a PCC?)

For AR platform, there are lots of good choices. Speer Gold Dots in 55, 62/64, or 75gr are barrier blind and affordable. 77gr OTM and TMK are not barrier blind, but expand fantastically, available in loads from several manufacturers also affordable. 50gr TSX (solid copper projectile) if you need maximum penetration, from a few boutique manufacturers.

You guys already know I use 124 gr +P in my Glock 19, which I keep close by throughout much of the day.

Once I have settled in for the evening I switch over to my M4 running MK 262-mod1. 77 gr OTM from Black Hills. Its a SOCOM round used by operators so its a bell ringer at 600 meters, but its also particularly good for self defense and is friendly with over penetration concerns. I have no children living in the home. I have a Ring alert system so anybody within 20 ft of my home causes and audible alert instantly. I simply grip my M4 and ascertain whether its passerby or a threat. Doesn’t happen too often but its nice to know I won’t get caught by surprise at home.