Tried and True Self Defense Ammo

I know this is a topic that’s been covered in length over the years but I wondered if it wouldn’t be beneficial for some of the new gun owners out there or anyone ammo curious. I was thinking I would’ve liked to have had real person insight years ago as to what ammo they use, why they chose it, and how it performs for them vs reading an article online or watching an video.

For me-
Caliber- 9mm
Brand- Sig Sauer V-Crown 124gr
Firearm- Sig P229

I migrated to the Sig ammo a couple years ago from Hornady for a couple of reasons, and it wasn’t because I shoot Sigs :rofl::joy:.

For me the Sig V-Crown mimics the Sig and federal FMJ loads with little variation of felt recoil and point of aim/point of impact. It runs reliably through my firearm and is usually priced very fairly allowing me to shoot the actual self defense load more frequently. It also does well in gel testing.

The one downside to this ammo is lack of real world data like more established ammo such as Speer Gold Dot or the Federal HST line .


I’ve seen enough credible, positive info on Sig V-Crown that I would load it for “work.” And I’m one of those guys who NEVER buys the “new and improved” or a new vehicle that just hit the market. I give them 3-5 years before I’ll even consider them. I have shot several boxes of it on the range, and I did carry a .45 loaded with solid copper hollow points for about a year. I eventually shot it all up and didn’t replace it because it was still hard to find in 2009.

We run Hornady Critical Defense and Speer Gold Dot. From the 1980s until about 2008, I carried nothing but Federal Hydra Shok in hand guns. And I shot pallets of it on the range, too. But I have to pay for my own ammo and range time nowadays. So things have changed.

Do you know anything about how that V-Crown performs in little .380 mouse guns?

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My wife bought a Glock 42 about three years ago she ended up trading when the P365 came out. We ran several boxes of the Sig V-Crowns through it with no issues.




I did a lot of ballistic test searching on V-Crown. I always go HST when I can, but I actually have 2 mags of Sig V Crown as back up ammo for my HD gun.

Sig V Crown 9mm has good penetration and expansion from what I’ve seen on YouTube and Lucky Gunner’s ballistic test list

9mm V-Crown seems to be a really good option. It has good expansion and penetration.

Now, the 40 and the 45 suffer from expansion (it’s possible this is due to the barrel size of the test gun. They chose carry size guns for the ballistic test.) I believe it has something to do with fabric getting caught in the hollow point gap, which leads to no expansion.

The two spare mags I referred to earlier are actually 40. If I run out of HST in a fight, I’d gladly take some Sig V Crown of any size. BUT with the choice, 45 and 40 don’t seem to be the best options.

My experience with Sig V crown is it runs. I haven’t fired a lot of it, but it feeds in my guns. If it feeds and works, that’s the most important test. It’s typically very affordable. It can cost a lot to fill a lot of mags with HST or Gold Dot.

Long story short, id personally use 9mm without a care (though I’m still partial to HST). BUT I carry 45 and my HD gun is 40 so I avoid V-Crown in those calibers now.


My carry gun is a Ruger SR40c and with the shorter barrel I’ve decided to use Hornaday Critical Defense 165gr FTX as it’s designed for shorter barrels of carry guns vs full size guns (Critical Duty is designed for full size gun barrels).

I did my research online obviously, but as far as real world performance I find that it holds up to the the reviews, powerful, makes a big hole (even on paper targets with wood backboard) and expands well when shot into milk jugs with water (when I can find the bullet :slight_smile: )

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Lucky Gunner used a Glock 42 with 3.25" barrel for their test(s):

If you scroll down the page you will be able to compare penetration and expansion to a 9mm. Spoiler alert - expansion is almost identical, but 380 has less penetration because the 380 is a 95 grain bullet vs. the 124 grain 9mm bullet (and 380 has less velocity).

Edit: I’d like to point out all the information coming from me is academic, as I have no real world experience stopping a threat with a firearm.


I use Federal HST’s most of the time. The slugs I have recovered show nice uniform expansion. I like V crown, gold dot, and critical defense as well. Considering how hard it is to find ammo, I’ll take what I can get.


I have heard of that happening a lot with fabric particles getting into the hollowed out part of the bullet and it can cause problems with expansion.


You don’t have that issue with Hornaday Critical Defense and Critical Duty with the flex core…reliable expansion every time…clothes…glass…car doors…just sayin. :smiley:


@JamesR yes correct Hornaday are the ones I use and will continue to use in my firearms.


Agreed about the Hornady loads. Me too. Critical Defense in my EDC, Critical Duty in my full size pistol.


Here is another one for everyone. I totally forget the weight but a box of 20 weighs about the same as 6 or 8 rounds of anything else. Liberty Ammunition 50 Grain and 2000 FPS in 9 mm For those that understand the rest of this 450FPE — 2"Dispersion@25m —12" Penetration @ 10 ft. —Reduced Recoil— Deep Cavitiy Projectile Starburst Fragmentation I have been carrying every since it came out It does stay out of stock at most places so you will have to keep checking to see if it is in stock

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I think the YouTube videos have their place when it comes to developing your short list of ammo candidates. For me “trusted” channels are tnoudoors9 (have not seen much from him lately), Paul Harrel, and Lucky Gunner. Once you have your list you need to see how they work in your gun, this might be a long process given ammo availability these days. If there is a “box limit” at your store I would try Federal first, they are not always best but they seem to always be in the running.


V crown has been utterly reliable in whatever pistol I run it through. Accurate, and the data appears to be good. I like Federal HST and have plenty on hand, but my daily carry is V-crown 147 grain. I shoot through a couple mags every six months. My excuse for “cycling” my carry ammo.


Federal HST in my Glock 27, use to be the tactical bonded until they got rid of that load.

Right now I’m carrying Underwood +p loaded with 90gr Gold Dots in my Glock 42

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Since about 1990, my round of choice for PD is Hydra-Shok. Call me old school and not slurring any of the others as there are plenty of top-shelf brands but I trust Hydra-Shok to stop whatever the threat is. From .380 ACP to 9mm to .38 Special to .357 Magnum to .45 ACP…Hydra-Shok is what you will find in my pistols.

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I only use Dynamic Research technologies Rounds or commonalty called DRT rounds or dead right there rounds in all my carry weapons

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Speer Gold Dot.
9mm - 124 gr
.45acp - 230 gr

Cause it is tried, true, tested and works.


I found this useful in my quest for self defense ammo.

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