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best concealed carry ammo

Choosing the best concealed carry ammo for your firearm is paramount for being at the top of your game.

A lot of folks focus on getting the right gun for concealed carry, but just as important is purchasing the best concealed carry ammo you can buy. Good concealed carry ammunition is designed for smaller guns, and these ammo companies know what they’re doing.

Our pro staff tested a swath of concealed carry ammo, and these are our picks for the year.

The Best Concealed Carry Ammo

Federal Premium Personal Defense HST

federal concealed carry ammo

Subcompact handguns really benefit from ammunition designed especially for these smaller guns, and Federal Premium has just the ammo: Personal Defense.

Companies optimize bullet weights and propellants for the most efficient cycling and accuracy in subcompact handguns. Federal made these rounds with somewhat heavier bullets launched at a lower velocity to decrease felt recoil. The added weight and lower velocity also limit over-penetration.

The smooth bullet nose profile, the nickel-plated case, and the high-performance primer provide top-notch function and reliability in semi-automatic pistols. Clean-burning, low-flash propellants round out the Micro HST package.

Hornady Critical Defense

concealed carry ammo, hornady

Hornady’s Critical Defense personal protection rounds center around the company’s patented Flex Tip (FTX) technology, in the form of the red material filling the hollow point spaces. The FTX tech eliminates the clogging and inconsistency that often plagues hollow point bullets, allowing for superior penetration and expansion. All Critical Defense ammunition is loaded in nickel-plated cases for increased visibility in low-light situations.

Premium low flash propellants deliver proven performance, even in very short-barreled handguns and won’t disrupt vision even in low-light conditions. Hornady offers over a dozen options in the Critical Defense line, everything from .25 AUTO to .45 Colt, including .380 AUTO, 9MM and the line’s newest round, the .30 Super Carry loaded with a 100-grain FTX bullet. Sold in boxes of 20 and 25 rounds, depending on caliber.

Sig Sauer Elite Defense V-Crown  

sig sauer concealed carry ammo

Sig Sauer built its Elite Defense V-Crown line around the V-Crown bullet, with its V-shaped, forward cavity to promote maximum expansion and optimal penetration while also retaining a very high percentage of its original weight. Elite Defense V-Crown is available in .380 AUTO, 9MM, .38SPL, .40 S&W, .45 AUTO, and other calibers.

Once fired, all versions produce the V-Crown mushroom-shaped bullet that delivers ultimate stopping power. Nickel cases provide enhanced lubricity for very reliable feeding and extraction in semi-automatic pistols, plus offer superior corrosion resistance. Sold in boxes of 20 and 50 rounds. 

Winchester Defender Line

winchester defender 9mm, concealed carry ammo

Winchester’s Defender line of self-defense handgun ammunition maximizes terminal ballistics as defined by FBI’s handgun testing protocol — the same protocol used by law enforcement agencies around the nation. Winchester’s innovative bullet bonding process welds the jacket to lead core for improved penetration and consistent expansion of the hollow point to 1.5 times the original bullet diameter.

The bullet jacket is also notched to expand into six uniform segments. Available in 10 options, from .380 AUTO loaded with a 90-grain bullet all the way to .45 AUTO and its massive 230-grain bullet, plus most every common self-defense handgun caliber in between. Defender 9MM is available in two options: a standard load pushing a 147-grain bullet and a higher pressure +P offering that delivers a 124-grain hollow point. Further, it’s sold in boxes of 20 and cases of 200.

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