How to Choose the Best Handgun Ammunition – 6 Recommended Caliber Brands

How to Choose the Best Handgun Ammunition for Your Pistol Caliber

Have You Ever Seen Such a Comprehensive Best Handgun Ammunition Evaluation!

Choosing the right handgun is a hard enough task but when you add in the burden of choosing the best handgun ammunition for your firearm, the choices can become an intimidating challenge for any handgun owner. The choices of loads, velocities, unjacketed, jacketed, hollow-point and other ammo characteristics are simply staggering.

But choosing the best handgun ammunition for your weapon is an important consideration. The greater the force of a bullet, the greater the penetration and the more it transfers the force to the target. These are all considerations in personal protection. The following article from Shooting Illustrated examines several factors for choosing the best handgun ammunition in six ammo caliber categories.

Over the past few years our ammo editor, Richard Mann, has been compiling data yielded from shooting blocks of ordnance gelatin. We’re not sure why.

Anyway, we found ourselves the beneficiaries of a vast amount of data we weren’t sure what to do with. I mean, what do you do with a bunch of numbers? So we asked around. “You crunch them,” people said. Oh, OK. Good to know.

The Methodology

Muzzle energy, as a function of bullet weight and velocity, translates into penetration in 10-percent ordnance gelatin. Too little penetration, and a bullet’s ability to stop a fight can be hindered. Too much, and you risk hitting things you’d rather not hit. The right balance of expansion and penetration is key.

We looked at all the information and decided to try to quantify it in some useful way. With blind enthusiasm, we decided to attempt a statistical competition between the tested cartridges to roughly determine which is best, based on some admittedly limited criteria.


We had numbers for muzzle velocity, penetration, expansion and recovered weight. Cool. The problem was, the tests were not performed with the intent of producing a fair comparison between cartridges. That was just something we came up with after the fact. The same gun wasn’t used for each cartridge of a given chambering.

Nonetheless, we decided to proceed, unencumbered by the rules governing statisticians. To the above-mentioned data, we decided to add other information, stuff actual shooters would really be interested in, like price and availability. Then we arbitrarily assigned a scaled point value to each criterion, blithely ignoring factors such as reliability, accuracy and “shootability” (felt recoil, flash, blast, etc.).

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