When it comes to using a firearm for self defence, there is really nothing like concealed carry.
With a concealed carry permit, the right kind of gun – loaded with the right kind of ammo – and a high quality concealed holster, you can rest assured knowing that you are capable of defending yourself in any number of potentially volatile situations, while nonetheless avoiding the immediate attention that open carry will likely attract.
In fact, concealed carry is on the rise – and as of 2020, several states have introduced new laws allowing for concealed carry where it previously was not an option for the average citizen.
Of course, a big part of the point of concealed carry is to be subtle, and to have a handgun on your person that is compact, comfortable, and practical enough so that you can rely on it not getting in the way as you go about your daily business.
For all these reasons, handguns that fire 9mm rounds are a perennial favourite with the concealed carry community in general. But, of course, not all ammo is created equal.
Here’s a look at some of the best 9mm rounds you can use for concealed carry.
Federal HST is part of the company’s defensive range, and strives to compensate for the shortcomings of the previous Hydra-Shock that was originally developed for use by the FBI.
Federal HST offers 9mm ammunition in two weights; 147gr and 124gr, with the 124gr being more widely popular. Ultimately, however, you need to see which weight seems to work best with your gun, and personal preference will play a large role here.
With Federal HST, penetration and expansion are both optimised to meet and surpass FBI standards, meaning that these bullets will have good stopping power with the fewest possible shots, while simultaneously having a good chance of bypassing heavy clothing and body fat in order to have their effect in neutralising an assailant.
The 147gr ammo in particular has been found in tests to have 13.6 inches of penetration and almost 200% expansion, at 0.63”.
Hornady Critical Defense
Although the focus of this article is 9mm ammunition specifically, it’s worth mentioning that Hornady Critical Defense has the benefit of being among the defensive ammunition brands available in the widest number of calibres.
For their 9mm ammo, the weight is a standard 115gr – generally considered appropriate for concealed carry.
First and foremost, Critical Defense pride themselves on their “Flex Tip Technology,” which is designed to prevent the bullets from expanding when they make contact with fabric, such as found in typical items of clothing.
Instead, these bullets will expand on contact with materials of a density and composition that effectively match that of the human body.
The upshot of this is that you are significantly less likely to find yourself in a situation where a life and death use-of-firepower scenario proves ineffective in the face of a determined assailant.
This ammo passes FBI standards with 13.62 inches of penetration in addition to an expansion of 0.52”.
Speer Gold Dot
Produced for over 20 years, with plenty of opportunity for fine-tuning and a reputation for reliable performance, Speer Gold Dot is considered a classic in the world of concealed carry ammunition, and will tend to be a staple on any list of ammo related to personal defence.
This ammunition is available in a variety of different handgun calibres, in addition to a range of different weights – with some occasional specialty configurations hitting the market as well, such as +P.
One of the chief benefits of Speer Gold Dot is that this ammunition has been used consistently by law enforcement for a long time, and around the world. This means that it has been thoroughly “field tested,” and also that it has proven reliable in neutralising dangerous and aggressive assailants.
Perhaps one of the most useful benefits of the Gold Dot, is that Speer makes training counterparts to most of their calibres of ammunition, meaning that the ammunition you train with will be very close to the ammunition you walk around with in a concealed carry context.
This is just one more way in which you can make your range training more realistic, and reduce the chances of a mishap on your end at a critical moment.
Speer Gold Dot’s 9mm 147gr ammo passes FBI standards with approximately 15.4 inches of penetration and 0.56” of expansion.