Ammunition is always important to gun owners but it has become an even more pressing issue through 2020 and 2021.
It’s difficult to come by and prices have soared, so what do you do when you find your caliber of choice in stock? Do you buy without knowing if it’s any good or not?
It might be tempting to buy blindly but it’s always wise to understand what works best with your gun and for your specific needs. To help you along the way we’ve put together this ammunition roundup of some solid loads to be on the lookout for as you stalk your local gun store shelves and online sources.
Blazer Brass Full Metal Jacket
Blazer is a solid brand of ammunition known for producing reliable loads. Their Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) line is an excellent choice for training and offered in a variety of calibers. The latest addition to Blazer Brass FMJ is a 10mm 180 grain load the company lists as full power, which is welcome news for 10mm lovers.
Also available in the Blazer Brass line:
•45 ACP 230-grain FMJ.
•9mm 115-grain FMJ.
•380 ACP 95-grain FMJ.
The Blazer Brass FMJ line is manufactured with brass cases and non-mercuric, non-corrosive CCI-brand primers (side note: Blazer is part of the CCI family of ammunition). The CCI primers allow for consistent, trustworthy ignition and a cleaner load which translates to at least a somewhat cleaner gun than you’ll have using some brands.
These are brand new loads and not re-manufactured or second-run brass cases meaning once you run Blazer you yourself can reload the spent brass. If you’re looking for a good practice load that shoots cleaner and performs reliably with accurate results the Blazer line is a good choice.
Guns chambered in 22 LR have long been wise additions to your gun collection not only for instruction and plinking purposes but because 22 LR rifles work well on varmints and pests. They, however, tend to be filthy to shoot and that is where the CCI Clean-22 line comes in handy. The line has been around since 2019 but is constantly expanding with the most recent addition being a Realtree camo-themed bottle of ammo with brown, green, and black-coated bullets.
CCI understandably describes their Clean-22 line as the “future of rimfire.” These loads are produced with a CCI-designed polymer coating which drastically reduces fouling from copper and lead. Even better, if you’re running your 22 LR suppressed using these rounds can cut lead buildup by as much as 80 percent.
In the standard Clean-22 line bullets are 40 grain lead round nose, polymer-coated with a red coating for high-velocity loads and a blue coating for sub-sonic. Bullets have been designed geometrically for optimal accuracy and CCI has taken care to be precise with propellant for superior consistency.
Loads included in the CCI Clean-22 line include:
•40 grain LRN.
•Pink 40 grain LRN.
•40 grain LRN with a combination of tan, green, and black-coated bullets.
•Suppressor Pour Pack of 45-grain LRNs specifically made for use in suppressed 22 LR-chambered guns.
Federal Premium Personal Defense Punch
The Punch line from Federal Premium is the company’s answer to gun owners asking for a top-of-the-line defensive handgun load. These loads meet all the requirements of a defensive load such as consistent, excellent weight retention, appropriate penetration depth, and reliable cycling.
Federal designed its Punch ammunition with nickel-plated brass cases which give shooters an edge visualizing rounds and spent brass in low-light conditions and sealed primers for reliable ignition. The bullets are jacketed hollow points made to penetrate and expand as needed in self-defense scenarios without the risk of over-penetration or clogging in the nose of the bullet.
Newest to the Federal Premium Personal Defense Punch family is the 10mm 200-grain JHP round. Yes, you can use 10mm for self-defense—but Federal Premium includes a number of calibers in its popular defensive handgun line:
•380 Auto 85 grain JHP.
•38 Special +P 120-grain JHP.
•40 Smith and Wesson 165 grain JHP.
•9mm 124 grain JHP.
This ammunition has proven itself for performance, cycling, and accuracy and is a stellar choice for those who concealed carry or use their handguns for home defense.
Remington Ultimate Defense
The Remington Ultimate Defense load is an excellent defensive ammunition that’s available thanks to the work of Vista Outdoors, the family of brands that now owns the Remington ammunition line.
This load performs impressively not only for self-defense but on varmints and feral hogs. Remington originally created this load to fulfill the needs of concealed carriers, aiming to offer the terminal performance found in larger handguns out of a shorter-barreled handgun (they succeeded). It’s made to expand consistently with fantastic weight retention even when traveling at a lower velocity due to barrel length. In addition, Remington Ultimate Defense is engineered for excellent energy transfer on impact and penetration through heavy layers of clothing.
Remington Ultimate Defense handgun load is available in the most popular calibers that shorter-barreled handguns tend to be chambered in. Loads available include:
•Remington Ultimate Defense 380 ACP 102-grain BJHP
•38 Special +P 125-grain BJHP.
•9mm 124 grain BJHP.
•40 Smith and Wesson 180 grain BJHP.
•45 ACP 230-grain BJHP.
A lot of gun owners carry pocket pistols and micro compacts for deep concealment purposes and having a defensive load tailored to those guns’ needs is a win.
Remington Ultimate Defense is also made for full-sized handguns.
Speer Ammunition Gold Dot G2 Carry Gun
Face it, when it comes to selecting ammunition it’s the options offered for self-defense that matter most in the grand scheme of things. Being sure your chosen self-defense load will perform at the moment it is needed most is quite literally a matter of life or death meaning you cannot afford to make a mistake.
Speer has a long-standing reputation for designing and producing high-quality ammunition. The latest iteration of their Gold Dot line, the Gold Dot G2 Carry Gun, proves they remain focused on continued excellence.
The Speer Gold Dot G2 Carry Gun line is produced with bullets created for their Gold Dot D2 law-enforcement line, only with a twist—it’s been tweaked for the average concealed carry gun. That means the hollow point is made a bit shallower and filled with high-performance elastomer to prevent clogging and encourage reliable expansion. This is accomplished through the carefully-engineered internal fissures which open and expand on impact along. A structural-plated, pressure-formed core facilitates penetration through barriers without encouraging over-penetration, which could risk innocent bystanders.
The three loads currently offered in the Spee Gold Dot G2 Carry Gun line include:
•9mm 135 grain HP.
•40 Smith and Wesson 165 grain HP.
•45 Auto +P 200 grain HP.
Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you’ve seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master’s Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.
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