How do you go about choosing the right concealed carry ammo for your self defense handgun? There are eleventy-trillion loads on the market and twice as many opinions as to which is the best. There are endless articles and YouTube channels that do “self-defense ammo testing.” Some of them are legit while others are #FakeNews. It’s not necessarily about people being nefarious or incompetent; it’s more about the number of variables at play with ammo selection.

Some brands have excellent reputations, but it’s near impossible for any “brand” to guarantee that each of their caliber offerings, and each of the loads within each caliber offering, perform ideally in every variant of a handgun. Self-defense ammo performance is a careful balancing act between penetration and expansion (or sometimes fragmentation.) If velocity changes a hair higher or lower that delicate balance can be upset. So, it’s not that the fancy new Master-Blaster 9mm load is outstanding, but their .380 ACP load stinks. It’s more likely a factor of all those variables at play if you see performance differences between the two defensive ammunition rounds.

Here’s the bottom line. You should know what your specific self-defense ammo load will do in your specific gun.

As a responsible legally armed citizen, your best bet might be to narrow the universe of possibilities with research and test the top contenders yourself. Since we test a lot of ammo around here, I thought it might be helpful to walk through the process of hands-on ammo evaluation.

I just received samples of new ammo from Sig Sauer, the SIG Sauer 9mm +P, 124Gr, Elite V-Crown M17, JHP Ammunition. Let’s use it as the example case as we walk through the process. Since we’re talking about concealed carry, I will not test it in an M17 as that’s a little hefty for my preferred IWB carry method. Instead, I’ll use something more appropriate for concealment, the Sig Sauer P229 Legion 9mm.

Read the rest: Self-Defense Ammo, How to Test for Carry or Home Defense