Preview: Top 12 Self-Defense Ammo Choices For 2014

These 12 self-defense ammo selections offer reliable penetration and undeniable stopping power for handguns, rifles and shotguns.

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Self-Defense Ammo Choices

In an article or the Fall 2014 issue of PERSONAL & HOME DEFENSE, author Richard Mann detailed the 12 best selections for self-defense ammo. Using ballistic criteria set forth by the FBI as well as his own shooting knowledge, Mann made a case for loads ranging from .32 H&R Mag. to .223 Rem. to be used during a life-threatening encounter.

“For the most part, the de facto standard lies with law enforcement. As a result of wound research and ballistic testing the FBI has standardized, law enforcement generally considers a handgun load to be suitable for duty use if it will penetrate at least 12 inches, expand to at least 1.5 times its original diameter and still retain at least 80 percent of its original weight,” said Mann. “The penetration stipulation carries over to carbine and shotgun ammunition, too.”

Mann liked the .38 Special cartridge for its stopping power and the sheer variety of loads to choose from on the market today. “This is a very popular cartridge for personal protection, and .38 Special ammunition is also commonly, and wisely, used in .357 Mag revolvers to reduce recoil,” noted Mann. “There are lots of
 good .38 Special
 loads to choose 
from, but like with 
the .380 ACP, few meet the performance benchmark in every category. Winchester’s new Train & Defend load comes close, and it does so without intense recoil. The 130-grain bullet penetrates to almost 12 inches, retains near 100-percent of its weight and expands to 1.5 times its original diameter.”

The venerable .45 ACP cartridge also made Mann’s list of top self-defense loads. “Many consider the .45 ACP to be the ultimate 
for personal protection and
 many loads are available. After testing most of them, I 
settled on the 160-grain Barnes TAC-XP bullet. Several companies load this bullet at various velocities, but DoubleTap created a load just for me—the company calls it the Mann Load. It’s 
a non +P load with a muzzle velocity of about 1,050 fps from a 4-inch barrel. It will penetrate to about 15 inches, retain all its weight and expand well in excess of 1.5 times its original diameter.”

To read the full article, check out the Fall 2014 issue of PERSONAL & HOME DEFENSE, available on October 14, 2014. To purchase or subscribe, go to

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