How to Choose the Best Self-Defense Round for Your Handgun

Posted by Weston Rogers on 31st May 2024

How to Choose the Best Self-Defense Round for Your Handgun

When it comes to personal protection, selecting the right self-defense ammunition is crucial. The choice of ammo can make all the difference in a critical situation. With a variety of options available, understanding the key factors in choosing the best self-defense round for your handgun is essential. In this guide, we’ll explore important criteria to consider, focusing on popular choices like hollow points, jacketed hollow points (JHP), and external hollow points (EHP). We’ll also highlight why G9 EHP rounds are a top choice for self-defense.

Key Criteria for Choosing Self-Defense Ammunition

  1. Penetration Depth
    • Effective self-defense ammo must penetrate deep enough to reach and damage vital organs.
    • The FBI recommends a minimum penetration depth of 12-18 inches.
  2. Reliability and Consistency
    • Your ammunition must perform reliably and consistently in various conditions.
    • High reliability means a lower failure rate, ensuring the round performs as expected every time.
  3. Barrier Performance
    • In real-world scenarios, bullets often need to pass through barriers like clothing, drywall, or glass.
    • The best self-defense rounds maintain their effectiveness even after penetrating barriers.
  4. Permanent Wound Cavity (PWC)
    • The size of the wound cavity created by the bullet is a critical factor in stopping power.
    • Larger wound cavities typically result in more effective incapacitation.

Comparing Self-Defense Ammunition Types

Jacketed Hollow Points (JHP)

  • Description: Designed to expand upon impact, increasing the bullet’s diameter.
  • Pros: Larger wound cavities and reduced risk of over-penetration compared to FMJs.
  • Cons: May fail to expand if clogged by barriers like clothing. May not penetrate deeply enough to reach vital organs.

External Hollow Points (EHP)

  • Description: Advanced fluted design made from a single piece of copper to create significant wound cavities.
  • Pros: Superior penetration and reliability, especially when encountering barriers.
  • Cons: Generally, more expensive, but are a better value in terms of capability. They can be harder to find.

Comparison: G9 External Hollow Points vs. Jacketed Hollow Points (JHP)

Criteria Importance G9 EHP Performance JHP Performance
Penetration Depth Ensures reaching vital organs 16.5-18 inches 9-18 inches, inconsistent
Reliability Consistent performance 90%+ reliability 60-70%, prone to failure
Barrier Performance Effective through barriers Superior through light and heavy barriers Degraded by barriers
Permanent Wound Cavity Maximizes stopping power 15.7-16.5 cubic inches 1.9-8.3 cubic inches

Why G9 EHP is the Best Choice for Self-Defense

G9 Defense's External Hollow Point (EHP) rounds stand out in the self-defense ammunition market. Here’s why:

  • Optimal Penetration Depth: G9 EHP rounds consistently penetrate 16.5-18 inches, in the middle of the FBI’s recommended 15-21 inches.
  • Unmatched Reliability: With over 90% reliability, G9 EHP rounds ensure dependable performance in every shot.
  • Superior Barrier Performance: These rounds excel through light and heavy barriers, maintaining their effectiveness and expanding reliably.
  • Large Permanent Wound Cavity: G9 EHP rounds create extensive wound cavities (15.7-16.5 cubic inches), enhancing stopping power significantly.

Best Practices for Choosing Self-Defense Ammo

  • Evaluate Your Needs: Consider the typical scenarios in which you might need to use your handgun. This will help determine the importance of barrier performance and penetration depth.
  • Test Your Ammo: Regularly practice with your chosen self-defense ammo to ensure reliability in your specific handgun.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest developments in self-defense ammunition technology to ensure you are using the best options available.


Choosing the best self-defense round for your handgun is a critical decision. By understanding key criteria such as penetration depth, reliability, barrier performance, and wound cavity size, you can make an informed choice. For those seeking top-tier performance, G9 Defense’s External Hollow Point (EHP) rounds offer unmatched reliability, superior penetration, and large wound cavities, making them an excellent choice for defensive handgun use. Always ensure that your chosen ammunition meets your specific needs and provides the best protection in critical situations.