A look at the best 9mm ammo brands out there for shooters. We cover range ammo, self-defense options and more.
Have you just bought your first 9mm handgun and aren’t sure which kind of ammo to get next? Pro tip! Full metal jacket (FMJ) bullets are for target practice, and jacketed hollow point (JHP) bullets are for self-defense. There! You’re already ahead of the curve.
But wait just one minute – there are, like, eleventy-billion different brands of 9mm ammo. You might already have heard of a few of the bigger ones, like Remington and Winchester, but others are downright alien. Names like PMC, IMI, PPU and ZQI aren’t exactly self-explanatory.
Let’s make it easier for you. Here are some of the most reputable 9mm ammo manufacturers. Their products are consistently highly reviewed by our customers, and we have found no reason to give them any fewer than two thumbs up ourselves. We will unashamedly give precedence to American companies, but we will also not deny that Serbia, South Korea, Brazil, and other countries that aren’t America also know how to make great 9mm.
Best American 9mm Ammo Brands
Most Trusted – Federal Premium
Over a century of excellence in ammunition manufacturing from Minnesota’s Twin Cities!
Federal HST 9mm ammunition is used by a lot of law enforcement professionals across the United States. HST is extremely effective, and like all law enforcement grade handgun ammo it is also available to the general public. You can see how HSTs stack up to the competition in our 9mm self-defense ammo tests.
If you’re just shooting targets, try out Federal American Eagle: one of the most popular choices for everyday training. And if you want the red carpet target shooting experience, check out Federal Syntech to witness abnormally clean performance.
Federal’s products are rarely the absolutely cheapest in their categories but they are known for consistent, reliable results. For many shooters, that peace of mind is worth the extra penny or two per range round and when it comes to hollow points for self-defense, the difference is priceless.
Find our in-stock line-up of Federal ammo for sale here.
Speer/CCI – Idaho
We have two top recommendations for 9mm self-defense ammo. It’s a tie between Federal HST and Speer Gold Dot, the latter of which is also commonly used by law enforcement. The Gold Dot is a JHP with a bonded jacket, which helps the bullet retain weight, conserve momentum, and penetrate to an effective depth for self-defense.
If you choose Gold Dot for self-defense, make sure to give Speer Lawman a shot as well. Its total metal jacket (TMJ) bullet promotes a cleaner handgun and a healthier training environment, and it’s loaded to match the ballistic performance of analogous Gold Dot ammo.
Lewiston is also home to CCI – famous maker of rimfire mini-mags. When it comes to 22LR for plinking or small game, it’s tough to find a brand more trusted than CCI.
Remington – Arkansas
Remington is an American company with deep roots, and has a name that’s practically synonymous with guns. If you can find Remington Golden Saber Bonded, then you’ve found a truly worthwhile solution for personal protection. Remington UMC is plain and simple target ammo – not the cheapest rounds you can buy, but appreciably more reliable than the bargain bin stuff. No one likes spending half of a range day clearing jams.
Remington is owned by the same parent company that produces Speer and Federal ammo.
Hornady – Nebraska
An iconic brand that has remained family owned and operated since its foundation by Joyce Hornady in 1949. Hornady designed Critical Duty ammo for law enforcement. If you’d like to save money by buying self-defense ammo that isn’t designed to penetrate car doors as effectively, then Hornady Critical Defense is still a great investment in your personal safety. Most of Hornady’s lesser self-defense ammo is loaded with the XTP bullet – an extremely accurate JHP that excels at target shooting applications, albeit one you may not wish to shell out extra money for.
On the long gun side, Hornady’s LeveRevolution line-up of ammo is a big hit as well.
Black Hills Ammunition – South Dakota
This company is famous for making sniper ammo for the U.S. Armed Forces, but the 9mm they supply to civilians is mighty fine stuff as well. Their best line of self-defense ammo features the HoneyBadger – a fluid transfer monolithic bullet that doesn’t rely on terminal expansion to inflict a wide, injurious wound channel. The HoneyBadger’s performance hasn’t been as heavily scrutinized as that of the traditional JHP, but its effects on ballistic gel tell a promising story. If you can find it, Black Hills also makes a great 115 grain FMJ 9mm load for target practice.
Best Foreign 9mm Ammunition Brands
PMC – South Korea
PMC stands for “Precision Made Cartridges,” and it’s a fitting name. As the primary small arms ammo supplier to the South Korean Armed Forces, PMC is at least partially responsible for making sure North Korea doesn’t get any funny ideas. Their FMJ ammo is famously consistent, and also available in hermetically sealed packaging – perfect if you want a little added protection for your stockpile.
PMC is one of the few foreign made rounds that consistently demands prices in the same neighborhood as Federal for comparable rounds among our American customers. That’s a testament to the quality and reliability their product line delivers.
Need more proof? In our PMC ammo review, we fired several hundred rounds of their 9mm ammo without a single malfunction.
Prvi Partizan (PPU) – Serbia
Prvi Partizan was founded in Yugoslavia in 1928. Yugoslavia may no longer be a country, but PPU is at the top of their game thanks to their high-quality military-grade 9mm FMJ ammunition. Serbia doesn’t take the Russian approach to manufacturing FMJ projectiles, which is why theirs are 100% steel-free and incapable of attracting a magnet. Many commercial ranges prohibit magnetic ammo, so PPU is a sure bet!
Cheap Brass Cased: Magtech – Brazil
Magtech is a subsidiary of CBC Global Ammunition, which is one of the largest ammo manufacturers on the face of the earth. Don’t let those plain blue and white boxes fool you – Magtech 9mm FMJ target ammo is the real deal, and feeds and extracts like a charm in all makes and models of handguns and PCCs. CBC also owns MEN (Germany) and Sellier & Bellot (Czech Republic), which are two other trustworthy brands as far as range ammo goes.
Fiocchi – Italy/Missouri
We weren’t sure whether to include Fiocchi as an American 9mm ammo brand or not. The brand originated as family-owned in Italy. Today, Fiocchi makes most of the ammo they sell in the U.S. in Ozark, MO. In any event, Fiocchi’s Range Dynamics line of 9mm target ammo has never given us any grievances. Our customers seem to find satisfaction in it as well.
You’ll also find a lot of shotgun shooters seek out Fiocchi’s loads for trap and upland game.
IMI – Israel
Israeli Military Industries (IMI) does exactly what you think it does. They manufacture the Uzi – possibly the most famous 9mm firearm on earth – and they designed the Desert Eagle for Magnum Research as well. IMI makes tons of ammo for the Israel Defense Forces, but they also export their fair share of 9mm ball ammo to the international commercial market as well. Solid stuff for range training!
Cheapest Per Round: Tula, Barnaul & Wolf – Russia
These three brands don’t make the best 9mm target ammo by a long shot. But they do make excellent steel-cased ammo. Many shooters favor steel when trying to save as much money as they can during target practice. Note that these are the only brands on our list which load magnetic projectiles, which is why you may not be able to fire their 9mm at your preferred range. Check your range’s ammo policy before you commit to bi-metal jacketed bullets!
Russian ammo is much less prevalent today than it used to be. Sanctions played a role in tightening the supply starting in 2019 and the Invasion of Ukraine further tightened the supply chain starting in 2022.
As we publish this in 2023, we only have a few select SKUs of Russian-made 9mm ammo from Wolf available. We expect it’ll get even less plentiful moving forward. Look to foreign made options like Turan, MAXXTech, and others to fill the low-cost role in the years to come.
Other, Niche 9mm Options
This list isn’t exhaustive. Ammo Inc. (Arizona) Streak 9mm ammo is great if you want non-incendiary visual tracer ammo. Like Black Hills, Underwood (Illinois) also makes great fluid transfer monolithic ammo for self-defense. And if you just need some dependable range ammo, you can also place your faith in Winchester (Illinois/Mississippi), Igman (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Belom (Serbia).
And that’s still not the end of it. We live in a great big beautiful world that’s chock full or great 9mm manufacturers. Experiment around and it won’t be long until you’ve discovered one that isn’t on our list!