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Viable .45 ACP Loads for Self-Defense

Viable 45 ACP Loads Blog Feature

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Hey all, we here at True Shot Academy wanted to go over some viable .45 ACP loads for self-defense. While this list covers five loadings, it should be known that there are many other quality loadings on the market. Our goal here is to go over some viable defensive loads and talk about their traits and features. Without further ado, let’s get into it.


Why Not Use Ball Ammunition?

Ball ammunition, or full metal jacket (FMJ) ammunition is comprised of a solid projectile. These loadings tend to boast varying degrees of penetrative ability depending on the caliber in question. Due to the possibility of penetration, loadings of this type are not recommended for concealed carry use. This is mainly due to the potential collateral damage which can occur if one had to defend oneself in a highly populated area. While hollow point loadings will penetrate a target, they are designed to stop and expand upon impact, nearly eliminating the potential of overpenetration. Essentially, hollow point loadings are far more optimal and ethical for self-defense use.


What are Defensive Loadings?

Defensive loadings will feature jacketed hollow point (JHP) style projectiles. These loadings are designed to be more optimal for self-defense than their FMJ counterparts. One of the biggest advantages of purpose-built hollow point loadings is their tendency to expand upon impact. The lethal potential of these cartridges is augmented by the higher velocities at which these rounds are traveling. These high velocities combined with hollow point projectiles leads to a high degree of kinetic energy transfer. These loadings can also feature things such as reduced recoil and muzzle flash.

PMC Bronze .45 ACP JHP
PMC Bronze .45 ACP JHP

Barnes .45 ACP +P 185 grain JHP

This TAC-XPD loading from Barnes feature copper projectiles which feature deep hollow point cavities. These 185 grain copper projectiles are complimented by nickel plated casings. This offering from Barnes also makes use of powders which reduce the intensity of muzzle flashes when fired. This loading can be acquired in 20 round individual boxes and in 200 round case quantities. Due to the copper construction of the projectile, this loading is lead-free in nature. This means that this loading is good to go in places where lead ammunition is prohibited. For example, a hunter in a lead-free hunting area can carry this loading worry-free. At the end of the day, this loading is an excellent choice for self-defense use, particularly due to the fight-stopping ability afforded by a lighter, +P loading.


Remington Ultimate Defense .45 ACP 185 grain JHP

This loading from Remington’s Ultimate Defense line is optimized for use in full size handguns. Featuring a 185 grain JHP projectile, the round is designed to achieve optimal penetration and expansion when it meets a threat. The lighter 185 projectile will travel at a higher velocity than standard .45 ACP loadings of the 230 grain variety. This increased velocity will aid in the performance of the hollow point projectile and aid in expansion, increasing the effectiveness of the loading. These loading has been waterproofed and features utilizes low flash powder. This loading can be acquired in 20 round boxes. This loading is a solid option for those carrying a larger handgun as the higher velocity and consistent expansion make it a viable defensive loading.


PMC Bronze .45 ACP 185 grain JHP

This JHP offering from PMC represents a traditional defensive loading. Available in boxes of 50 or in case quantities of 1,000 rounds, one can easily build a healthy supply of ammunition. As a 185 grain loading, one will be afforded a bit more velocity than 230 grain loadings. One will also encounter a variety of ball ammunition offerings in this grain weight, making it easy to train with a loading similar to this defensive loading. The larger quantities of ammunition afforded by this offering also allow one to train with this exact loading and keep more magazines loaded with defensive ammunition. All in all, this offering from PMC is more than sufficient for self-defense and provides great value.


Speer Gold Dot .45 ACP +P 200 grain JHP

This Gold Dot loading from Speer features a 200 grain projectile. This loading in particular is of the Gold Dot G2 variety and is optimized for use with compact handguns. The Gold Dot line of defensive ammunition is well-known among concealed carriers and law enforcement personnel. Speer utilizes a shallow hollow point cavity filled with elastomer rather than a deep cavity. Upon impact, the projectile expands due to internal fissures in the projectile itself, leading to reliable expansion and separation of petals. The capped projectiles are also resistant to becoming plugged with bodily matter and clothing, things which can hamper expansion. This offering from Speer can be acquired in individual 20 round boxes and in cases of 200 rounds. This loading is incredibly viable for those who entrust their lives to compact pistols chambered in .45 ACP.


Federal Premium .45 ACP +P 230 grain JHP

This HST loading from Federal features a 230 grain projectile loaded to +P specs. Loadings of the HST style feature a hollow point cavity which is designed to resist becoming plugged up with foreign bodies upon impact. An issue with hollow points in the past is that they can become clogged with clothing and bodily matter, preventing or hampering the projectile’s expansion. This hinderance will not occur with Federal HST ammunition. These loadings are trusted by law enforcement personnel and concealed carriers alike due to the reliable performance of the round. The +P nature of the round combined with Federal’s JHP projectile allow for optimal penetration and expansion. One can acquire these loadings in the form of 20 round boxes. Ultimately, this loading is incredibly viable and effective when employed for self-defense.


Sellier & Bellot .45 ACP 230 grain JHP

This offering from Sellier & Bellot represents a traditional JHP loading. The 230 grain projectile paired with the standard pressure of this cartridge allows it to mirror a variety of the ball loadings one will find on the market. This means that one could carry this loading and effectively utilize most FMJ offerings on the market as training ammunition. Conveniently, Sellier & Bellot produces a 230 grain FMJ loading which mirrors this JHP loading, making it easy to practice with a similar loading. This loading can be found in the form of 50 round boxes or in case quantities of 1,000 rounds. The higher quantities of rounds this loading is available in allow an end user to load more magazines and practice with the exact load they will carry. At the end of the day, this is a traditionally loaded .45 ACP offering which is well-suited to personal defense.

Federal .45 ACP HST JHP
Federal .45 ACP HST JHP


Again, this is not by any means a comprehensive list of viable defensive .45 ACP loadings. One can find a number of quality loadings which are not on this list. These loadings and others will be more than suitable when employed for self-defense use. Regardless of what you choose to carry, you should take care to practice and ensure your proficiency with your selected firearm and loading. We here at True Shot carry all of these loadings in addition to other viable loadings. Whether you are after defensive .45 ACP ammunition or something else, we have got you covered. As always, happy shooting.


Need bulk ammo? At True Shot Ammo, we have a wide variety of handgun ammo and rifle ammo available to purchase. Please visit our website trueshotammo.com, call us at (888) 736-6587, or you can email us at [email protected] for more ammo options.


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