A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Handgun Ammo

Handgun Ammo

Ammunition selection can be one of the most intimidating tasks for a new shooter or firearm owner. Manufacturers offer many choices, all with different ballistic and penetration characteristics.

Choosing the right ammo depends on your intended use and firearm compatibility. Self-defense handgun ammo Charlotte should focus on expansion and penetration to better neutralize threats.


The caliber of a bullet determines its diameter, which can significantly affect factors like accuracy, recoil, penetration, and stopping power. Handguns are often used for self-defense, law enforcement, hunting, or target shooting, and it’s important to choose a caliber that suits the intended purpose. While smaller calibers can be used to hunt small game or varmint, they may need more power to take down larger animals.

Using the wrong type of ammunition can cause your gun to malfunction or even damage it. For example, using rifle powder in a handgun can generate excessive pressure that can damage or rupture the firearm and cause personal injury or death.

The weight of a bullet is also an important factor to consider. This is because heavier bullets have greater momentum and penetration power than lighter ones, but they can also produce more recoil. The best choice depends on the intended use of the handgun, with varmint and small game being ideal for lightweight bullets, while medium and large game are suitable for heavier ammunition. For self-defense, a hollow point bullet is recommended as it expands upon impact to create a bigger wound cavity.

Bullet Weight

Despite what you may have heard, bullet weight is only sometimes the best indicator of whether or not a round will fit your needs. The reason is that the size of the projectile, its shape, and other factors influence its performance more than just its weight.

For example, a heavy round that penetrates deeply and expands well is generally better for self-defense, while a lighter, more compact design might be ideal for target shooting. As such, you should experiment with various grain weights to see what works best in your gun for the applications you’ll be using it for.

Another factor to consider is the shape of the bullet – also known as its profile. While it doesn’t depend on the weight, different shapes might work better or worse with certain guns.

In addition, you should practice with the ammo you will carry regularly to get used to its recoil and handling. That way, you’ll be familiar with how your gun responds to the heavier loads when it comes time for real-life self-defense or hunting. You want to avoid discovering that you’ve been practicing with cheap 115gr ammo and are not ready to take on a deer or bear in the woods.

Bullet Shape

When reading the description on a box of handgun ammo, it can feel like you are deciphering a secret message. Between the terms, abbreviations, and numbers, it can be hard to understand what each element means or how it impacts your shooting. The caliber of your gun, the shape, and the bullet weight are all important factors to consider when selecting the best ammunition for your needs.

A modern centerfire cartridge consists of three parts: a bullet as the projectile, a metallic case that holds all the other components together, and propellant, typically black powder (also known as cordite), in the bottom of the cartridge. When struck by the firing pin of a pistol, the percussion cap on the cartridge case explodes and ignites the powder, propelling the bullet down the gun’s barrel.

The shape of the bullet also affects how it performs in flight and upon impact with your target. For example, a long bullet with a gently curving, tapered nose will maintain velocity and accuracy better than one that is narrower in diameter. A longer, slimmer bullet will have a higher ballistic coefficient (BC), allowing it to fly farther and more accurately because it resists air resistance. The shape of the bullet also plays a role in terminal performance – how well the bullet expands upon contact with your target.