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Ammo for Target Shooting & Defense

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Miguel Santa, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. Miguel Santa

    Miguel Santa Member

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    With so many brands of ammo out there it's very difficult to decide which is a good brand of ammo that I can purchase for the range and for defense(when I am not at the range). What are your recommendations, I have a Beretta px4 storm compact that I plan to use for target and conceal. I will probably start with 50-75 rounds at the range and as I get more proficient, increase the amount to maybe 100 rounds. Is it better to buy the ammo online or locally at a Cabela's or gun shops?
     
  2. Trey Veston

    Trey Veston Member

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    I can't afford to shoot $1+ a round defensive ammo as range fodder. So I usually shoot Federal Brass or Remington UMC for range use. I use my own custom loads for defensive use, but most people frown on that.

    Most people will say to buy whatever is name brand and is the best deal that gets the best reviews like the Hornady HST or Critical Defense, or the Speer Gold Dots. I like to see what my gun prefers and is most accurate with, which is usually the Speer Gold Dots. You really have to just try a couple of different brands and bullet weights. Hopefully, someone with a PX4 Storm that also cares about accuracy will chime in with some suggestions specifically for the Storm.
     
  3. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to THR!

    It's safe to say that most of us shoot one kind of ammo for practice and one kind for self-defense. Personally, I like to stick to one bullet weight, so I both carry and practice with 124 grain in 9mm, for example. My practice ammo is currently Fiocchi, but I typically buy the cheapest brass-cased 124 grain FMJ that I can find for practice. I carry Remington Golden Sabers, but you're going to get votes for Speer Gold Dots, Winchester Rangers, Federal HSTs, and a whole host of different ammo types. There's lots of good stuff to choose from.

    As for ordering, IMO, shopping online can be cheaper, but you have to be prepared to buy in bulk. I buy in 1K round cases (and that's not boasting; I'm a piker by THR standards). There are a few places where you can buy a membership and get free shipping, and that would let you buy smaller lots to figure out what your pistol likes. It might make sense for you to do, but it doesn't for me.
     
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  4. Labguy47

    Labguy47 Member

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    There are so many brands and variables to ammo right now that what you need to do is see for yourself what your sidearm shoots best. I have found that CCI makes great products and I tend to buy accordingly. After all you are trusting your life to their product. Use the cheap stuff for practice but for carry ammo, use what works best.
     
  5. Bartojc

    Bartojc Member

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    I shoot different ammo for range practice than what I carry for SD. I shoot the same weight though in both cases, so for now shoot 124gr. I load my own 124gr FMJ for practice so that does not help you. I would buy whatever is the cheapest brass cased ammo for practice. Online is sometimes cheaper, but I've seen pallets of Remington UMC 9mm at my local gun store for 9.99/box so that is pretty decent. I like to support local, but pricing can be important if you shoot enough. For SD you'll typically want a hollow point. You'll get a lot of suggestions for SD ammo as everyone has a favorite.

    -Jeff
     
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  6. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    Practice/target: if I'm shooting factory ammo, I mostly shoot Win white box or Fed, but it's always brass-cased, as I reload. I prefer mid-weight bullets.

    SD: the SIG V-Crown is usually priced competitively and readily available to me from Academy. My 2nd choice is Hornady.
     
  7. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Its really simple. Both types (practice and SD) need to function reliably in your gun. You will only know for sure by experimenting, so 1 box at a time. Once you find some cheaper ball ammo that works well in your gun, you are better off to shop around and buy it by the 1,000 round case. Maybe you will get lucky and find that your gun will work reliably with cheaper steel case like Winchester forged or Tula, but make sure BEFORE you buy a case of that stuff. As far as HP, don't overthink it. Get you some HP ammo from a reputable company like Remington, Federal, Winchester, Speer, or Hornady. Once you find one that works whether it is the first one you tried or the 10th one, stick to that and move on. The best practice is to get your gun dirty with the practice ammo, then run some HP rounds through it.
     
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  8. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    If you're just beginning your shooting journey, I would strongly encourage you to get a .22lr target-style pistol. It will take you a long time to build true competence shooting 50-100 rounds at a time. And trying to do all your learning on a centerfire compact gun won't make it any easier.

    The odds are overwhelming that you will learn more and faster by starting out mostly shooting a .22 (like a Ruger Mk___ or a Browning Buckmark or a S&W Victory). The cheaper ammo and reduced recoil will let you shoot five hundred rounds in a session for the same price as 50-100 9mm rounds. They'll also have a better trigger than a service-type gun, so you aren't trying to fight a bunch of challenges at once.
     
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  9. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    SGammo.com is one of the best places to buy defense and practice ammo. They sell by the box of 20 or 50 and by the case of 200, 500 and 1000 depending on the item. Web site is old school but prices and delivery are great.

    For practice I like Winchester White Box, Winchester NATO and S&B. Lots of other good stuff out there though.

    For defense I like Speer Gold Dot 124gr +p. Lots of other good stuff out there though.
     
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  10. URIT

    URIT Member

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    Like many of the previous commenters, I buy my range ammo by the case through one of many online sellers and self-defense ammo by the box usually from online vendors.

    Here is a webpage that I have bookmarked and review before ordering (not necessarily from them) that you may find useful... https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests/#40SW They also have some good educational videos and good reviews of popular handguns.
     
  11. 94045

    94045 Member

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    Local Prices Ammo.
    I usually buy local as I can do just as well.

    9mm/.40 Blazer "Seconds" $7.99 / 50
    .45 Blazer Brass "Seconds" $10.99 / 50
    .45 S&B 230 FMJ $13.99 / 50
    9x19mm S&B 124 NATO $10.99 / 50
    9mm Gold Dot "Seconds" $69.99 / 350
    .40 Gold Dot "Seconds" $79.99 / 350
    9mm/.40 Gold Dot "Duty" $24.99 / 50

    I'm still using a case of law enforcement trade-in Federal LE45T1 in my .45 ACP for carry.

    I prefer the S&B .45 ACP and 9mm NATO because it replicates the recoil of my carry ammo the closest. I finish with it at most range sessions but I shoot some of the cheaper stuff to and the Gold Dot "Seconds" really help to keep function testing cost down.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
  12. BlankRow

    BlankRow Member

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    I think it is common to use cheaper ammo for practice and the more expensive premium stuff for carry or self-defense after it has been tested. As long as the bullets are similar, and perform similarly (POI/POA) it seems like a reasonable way to keep costs down and remain proficient.

    I think Winchester recently started a "Train and Defend" series of ammo with this in mind. Cheaper "Train" ammo is for training and the "Defend" ammo would be for carry and self-defense. The two are loaded to behave similarly and follow the logic above.
     
  13. DDDWho

    DDDWho Member

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    I use what ever is on the store shelf for sighting in and yard work. I use Hornady Critical Defense for SD. There may be better stuff than Critical Defense but thats what I started with years ago so I stay with it. My firearms instructor likes Federal Guard Dog
     
  14. BlueHeelerFl

    BlueHeelerFl Member

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    Academy Sports has free shipping for orders over $25, so you can buy smaller amounts if ammo if you can't or don't want to spend a couple of hundred dollars at a time.
     
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  15. Miguel Santa

    Miguel Santa Member

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    The dealer I purchased my firearm from recommended Magtech Sport Ammunition 9mm Luger 115 Grain Full Metal Jacket for target practice and for defense Remington Golden Saber HPJ High Performance Jacket 9mm Luger. What do you think of this ammo?
     
  16. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    That will work. But you can find just as good or better online for WAY cheaper. Academy has good sales sometimes, like the Federal Black Packs that are still listed for 16 cents per round. Defense ammo can be bought online in boxes of 50 that are usually cheaper than boxes of 20 from a gun store.
     
  17. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    My first go-to: Federal HST. Pick your flavor, they all work well. A close second, Gold Dot. Reliable and second only to HST in my opinion. Winchester PDX1 and Remington Golden Saber are also pretty well regarded.
    As others have said, though, you need to test whatever you carry. It doesn't matter how well it performs in gel tests or police records if it doesn't perform in your gun.

    For instance, my .38 gets fed basic 125-grain semi-jacketed hollowpoint. They're nothing special, and won't expand as well or as reliably as the new whizz-bang wonderbullets. But it's an ultralight frame; they still go where I want them to and the stuff with better performance bounces that featherweight thing enough that it can pull the next rounds out of their crimp and lock it up, and then it's worthless.
     
  18. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that those are fine, in theory. In practice, you should get out to the range and see what your pistol likes. Remington Golden Sabers feed reliably in all of my carry pistols, but you need to make sure they do that in yours. With that caveat, I don't have a problem with Magtech. I haven't shot a ton of it, though. As for Remington, I carry Golden Sabers, so I obviously trust them. There are many other good SD rounds though, and key to this is figuring out what your gun likes. SD rounds aren't cheap, but if you ever truly need them, you want a round that you know will cycle properly.

    Have you told us what kind of firearm you've got? That information might help us help you.
     
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  19. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    I buy online 99% of the time.

    I buy the cheapest decent range ammo I can find like Geco, Fiocchi, S&B, etc. (not remanufactured or reloads, and not usually steel case) and it pretty much all works for me

    I buy quality JHP for carry. Usually Federal HST or Speer Gold Dots but plenty of other great stuff.

    I buy Underwood hard cast for the boonies and hiking.

    But I shoot Glocks, so pretty much doesn’t matter...
     
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  20. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    Mike,
    What shoots well in one gun may not shoot as well from another.
    First I would try a few different brands and weights of bulk FMJ ammo. Remington Target or UMC, PMC Bronze, Winchester white box, Sellier & Bellot, Blazer Brass, etc.
    See which one is most accurate and then buy a self defense ammo that matches the weight and velocity of the bulk ammo that is most accurate from your gun and try that. There is no guarantee that the SD ammo will be the same in regards to accuracy but this could help get you started in the right direction.

    Another thing that might help narrow down bullet weight selection would be to call Beretta and ask them what bullet weight the gun was designed around. I might even ask what ammo they recommend.
     
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  21. film495

    film495 Member

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    my limited experience is most factory ammo is very good in any major brand. you may want to do a search or post on the Beretta forum, bet there's a lot of folks over there who would be more than willing to share what they like to run through their Beretta px4 storm compact
     
  22. Miguel Santa

    Miguel Santa Member

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    Thanks, that's a good idea!
     
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