Self Defense



Number 7. Winchester Defender ($20)
Oddly, defensive bullets don’t receive that same level of loyalty and respect. Tell someone online that his Glock isn’t as good as your 1911 and a tantrum with cursing and name-calling is certain to follow. Argue the merits of Critical Defense ammo versus Gold Dot and you’ll get more of a to-each-his-own response. In truth, either the Glock or the 1911 will work to stop an attacker if you hit them in the right place with the right defensive bullet. Choose the wrong bullet, though, and either of these guns could fail to neutralize a threat.
In 2018, Winchester’s Defender won an FBI contract because it performed extremely well in a variety of bare gel and barrier tests. The Defender is the epitome of modern defense bullet design, a hollow point with a bonded copper jacket, led core, and skiving in the copper jacket to initiate expansion. Winchester’s proprietary bonding process ensures that the jacket and core stay together, and that guarantees that the bullet will continue to expand and penetrate even through heavy clothing.

Number 6. Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty ($21 and $32)
Critical Duty and Critical Defense are separate defensive rounds designed by Hornady for different defense purposes. Critical Duty, as the name implies, was designed with duty guns in mind. The 135-grain 9mm bullet features a Flex Tip design that helps pass through heavy clothing and other items without clogging the bullet cavity, and the FlexLock bullet with mechanical jacket to core Interlock band allows for excellent barrier penetration and superb performance on FBI protocol tests. In fact, the Critical Duty won an FBI contract based on its high level of performance.
Critical Defense ammo is similar in that it has the same red Flex Tip design that has become a hallmark of Hornady ammo, but it lacks the band that makes Critical Duty “barrier blind.” Critical Defense is optimized to work out of four-inch barrels, which makes it perfect for concealed-carry pistols, whereas Critical Duty is optimized to work in five-inch barrels.

Number 5. Federal Punch ($23)
Federal’s new Punch ammo is designed to be an affordable and effective self-defense round for concealed-carry applications. Unlike other Federal Premium 9mm loads, Punch was not designed to perform well in the barrier portions of the FBI protocol test or as a duty round. Instead, it was optimized for concealed carry, so rather than being evaluated on its barrier performance it was designed to perform in bare gel and through clothing. Each Punch round has a jacket with a profile and jacket thickness engineered specifically for that particular cartridge. To put it another way, the cross section of a Punch 9mm bullet may look very different from a Punch .380 ACP or Punch .40 S&W bullet cross section.

Number 4. Black Hills HoneyBadger ($42)
To this point the 9mm bullets discussed shared a similar design with a copper jacket, lead core and hollowpoint profile. But HoneyBadger, designed by Lehigh Defense, defies convention and instead utilizes a full-metal-jacket bullet instead. But, you say, my CCW instructor told me that FMJs were a poor choice for defensive work because they don’t expand, over-penetrate and don’t effectively shed energy. Your CCW instructor wasn’t wrong, but the HoneyBadger isn’t your conventional FMJ bullet. The nose portion has been carved away to leave behind three or four scallops that, when impacting ballistic gel, create the same wake effect you see when a boat propeller is turning in the water.

#9mmammo #ammo #9mm


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