Most Available Semi-Auto Handgun Ammunition in the USA?


September 22, 2007, 01:28 PM
I'm trying to figure out what to do to have the most ammunition available to me that will be effective for self-defense.

Option 1: .45 ACP (probably in a P220 or 1911).
Option 2: .40/.357 SIG/9mm (in a GLOCK with the parts needed for reliable 9mm function).

I'm leaning towards option 2 myself, but I am leery of the performance of FMJ in option 2, whereas I'm a lot more confident in the FMJ .45 ammunition.

Please help me figure out a logical solution that doesn't involve carrying both :D


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September 22, 2007, 01:33 PM
9mm is the most common. Then .45. Then .40. Then .357sig. With that said, there's enough 9/45/40 that you'll never be at a loss. 357sig might be a little scarce sometimes, especially in a small town. I don't think any of my hometown gun shops keep 357sig in stock.

September 22, 2007, 01:51 PM
Why would you want to use FMJ when HP's are available? Using FMJ rounds for practice, plinking and training is fine, but if it came down to it I'd rather have almost any good HP that worked well in my gun than any FMJ.

On the question of availability +1 on what Jimmie said.

You shouldn't have any trouble finding any of those calibers with the exception of .357 Sig, and you'll still be able to find .357 Sig ammo (unless there's some kind of crisis where everybody freaks out and buys all the ammo, which is why you should stock up a little), it'll just be slightly harder to get and more expensive.

September 22, 2007, 02:00 PM
I don't want to use FMJ, but there could be a (very crappy) situation where that is all that is available. I should have made that clearer. Thanks for the great replies so far :)


September 22, 2007, 05:40 PM
Boomstick...of the Big Three....45/.40/9mm...they'll all do well if they're shot well. While a minor difference in energy or frontal area or bullet weight will have some effect...positive or negative...none of that is nearly as important as bullet placement on target.

So..Choose what you can shoot well and whichever gun feels right to you...and practice.

September 22, 2007, 05:52 PM
If you are limited to FMJ ammunition, then go with the .45acp or .45gap. Bigger hole, more tissue destruction....nuff said.

9mm will always remain the dominant caliber not only in the USA but around the world for at least the next 50-100 years. I always recommend that you have at least one well made, reliable, and good performing 9mm pistol tucked away somewhere.

September 22, 2007, 05:56 PM
duplicate post...sorry.

September 22, 2007, 05:59 PM
Why would you want to use FMJ when HP's are available?

I have a Beretta tomcat that has a problem with rim lock when using JHP. The FMJ's are a bit longer and rim lock doesn't happen using this type of ammo. Also, With this caliber, I'd rather have better penetration than minimal expansion.

September 22, 2007, 06:19 PM
Ammunition availability is a moot point during a disaster. You stock up to prepare. Purchasing ammunition is going to be difficult during a disaster or news of an imminent one.

To answer your question, any shop that stocks pistol ammunition is very likely to have all three.

And why does everyone "need" a 9mm? To some people a 9mm would be an utterly useless piece of steel(or plastic/steel or aluminum/steel or titanium or... you get the point). You assume that we all keep stocked up on 9mm or reload for it. Using the same arrogance I can say that everyone "needs" a .38 Special since I am always well stocked up with it and reload a lot of it. A 9mm pistol would be utterly useless to me during a disaster as it will be just a blunt instrument since I wouldn't have the ammunition for it.

And why would anyone not want hollow points?

It sounds to me like you want both a 9mm Glock and a .45 ACP pistol. If you want to have a weapon prepared for a disaster, stock up on ammunition. It is the only way to be completely sure you will have ammo available.

September 22, 2007, 07:20 PM
Don't see much 357 Sig in Northern MI. Its around, 40is pretty much everywhere. 9mm and 45 are everywhere.

September 22, 2007, 07:48 PM
Overlooked and Misunderstood.

.22 Long Rifle. Don't skip over this one.

May it never happen to anyone, still if one is down, limited, or under Doctor's Orders in regard to recoil, this caliber is another "tool in the toolbox"

Detached Retina, Broken back/neck, Wrist/ Hand surgeries.

Never hurts to have "simple" , light, easy to handle and /or conceal . .22 rim-fire handgun.

September 22, 2007, 07:50 PM
9mm is the most common ammunition in the world by far, AFAIK.

That being said buy what you like, stock up with a few hundred rounds or so for a rainy day and don't worry about it.

Think about it in SHTF situation it is likely that should you have to discharge your weapon 1 of three outcomes are likely.

1-You burn a magazine or so and run off would be attackers since predators tend to only like weak prey. You expend very little ammo.

2-You get in a real gunfight and luckily end up on the living side. You follow the climbers/hikers motto of "If you die, we split your gear." and take whatever the aggressors had.

3-You get dead and the aggressors follow the climber/hikers motto with your gear.

Any any rate thousands and thousands of rounds don't really help.

September 22, 2007, 07:51 PM
9mm is common as dirt just about everywhere. So is .45, higher cost, but no trouble with availability.

September 22, 2007, 08:54 PM
No love for rimmed cartridges?

.22LR is by far the most available cartridge out there, and .38 special is at least as common as .40 S&W.

September 23, 2007, 04:43 PM
Every time I've been to the local Gander Mountain I saw a very large pile of .40 ammunition. If I was inclined to pile up ammo for a SHTF scenario .40 S&W certainly be on the top of my list. I don't imagine expending a whole lot of ammunition for home defense, but that is just me. I'm considering .357 magnum for home defense, it's quite common, seems to be considered a reasonable man stopper, offers the option of stepping down to the cheaper .38 specials for plinking, and can be fired from those oh-so-pretty revolvers and lever rifles. :D

September 23, 2007, 05:10 PM
Y'all are wrong. Dead wrong.

.22 Long rifle is the most available semi automatic handgun ammo in the U.S.

September 23, 2007, 08:34 PM
A 9mm pistol would be utterly useless to me during a disaster as it will be just a blunt instrument since I wouldn't have the ammunition for it.

But after you steal, kill, or barter with someone else who only has 9mm ammo, then you've now got some to use in your pistol. If you took their pistol (or bought it) and spare ammo, then you've now got TWO pistols that shoot 9mm and you can hand it to your spouse. In the US, you're more likely to find other people carrying 9mm...and then .45....and then .38/.357...and so on and so on. I bow to the people who point out that .22 Long Rifle is the most popular. Tis probably true what with .22 rifles being so prevelant.

And stocking up is over rated. I found that out during Katrina. You can stock your house from floor to ceiling with ammunition, food and water, gasoline, and everything else...and lose it in 5 minutes. That's why they call them...DISASTERS. :) Your disaster may be tornado, earthquake, flood, fire, or Chinese invasion from across the sea (I'm talkin' to you West Coast!) but all the preparation in the world can come to naught.

Picking a popular caliber isn't a bad idea. Being a "sheep" in this case and following the "herd" means you don't end up separated from the herd...and subject to predation. :)

September 23, 2007, 10:28 PM
I boomstick82's original question isn't being answered. I think the question is which one of two pistols would have the most widely available ammo.

Option 1: a pistol in .45ACP.

Option 2: a pistol with barrels for .40S&W, .357Sig and 9mm.

If that is the case then I think option two would be the answer.

If that isn't what is being asked then I still think Option 2 for the 9mm reasons stated by others.

September 24, 2007, 06:31 AM
boomstick82's original question isn't being answered.

There may not be a definitive answer because it tends to vary from area to area...state to state. All the old standby calibers will be in good supply until there's no more ammunition for any caliber at any price...but how plentiful any one caliber is would depend on the demand in a given place. Dealers tend to stock up on whatever they sell the most of. Then, of course, there's the issue of spot shortages from panic buying and hoarding...but that's another issue. Most of us try to maintain our stocks ahead of time in the event of such things.

Good reason to own a pistol or revolver in each caliber, hey! :cool:

September 24, 2007, 11:17 AM
.22 rimfire? probably the most poular calibre overall

Centerfire 'autoloader handgun'? probably 9MM, then .45ACP, .40S&W.

Centerfire revolver? hmmm .357Mag/.38Spl. I mention them like this, since .357Mags can make effective use of .38Spl ammo

October 5, 2007, 10:31 AM
Thanks for all the great answers! I really appreciate the way this forum works and the respect shown, even to my dumb questions! Thanks everyone :)


Ala Dan
October 5, 2007, 01:57 PM
My preferences would be (in order):


1) .45 ACP
2) 9m/m Parabellum
3) .40 Smith & Wesson
4) .22 LR (probably more sold commerically, than all other?)

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