Reviewing the Best .45 ACP Ammo for Self Defense & Target Shooting

As they say, knowing the best piece of ammo for your gun is subjective and so it is with the selection of the best .45 ACP ammo. When selecting the best of these products, I would rather you know some of the important features to look at. Thereafter, you can make a comparison table of the top products on the market. With this method, you will never go wrong in your quest to select the best .45 ACP ammo on the market. Your gun will be happy and by default, you will be happy. Below is how to go about your selection process.

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What the Best .45 ACP Ammo is

The .45 ACP ammo is mainly used for self-defense, although it can also be used in hunting some of the relatively slow game. The ammo is characterized by a relatively slow motion but is mainly loved for its stopping power no wonder the common adage that stipulates, “the 9mm rifle kills the body whereas the.45 pistol kills the soul.”

Though the 9mm has claimed its share in the bullet technology, it still remains a fact that big rounds cause more serious damage as compared to their small but fast moving brothers.

What Makes.45 ACP Ammo the Best?

The Size

As mentioned above, the bigger the bullet, the more devastating the effects it will produce. In other words, though the .45 ACP is relatively big as compared to other handgun bullet families, still within the same platform, it is prudent that as you choose the best .45 ACP ammo you consider the size. Thus it is clear to us that the best .45 ACP ammo is the biggest possible.


I used the term biggest possible on my previous point because there are some calibers that may be big but not worth being bought by any serious gun shooter. The bullets you go for must not be too big to the point that they aren’t capable of maintaining the bullet velocity while on the motion. The .45 ACP platform and their corresponding bullets are naturally slow. It will be very devastating if you go for the slowest bullet within the platform. The outright best .45 ACP ammo is, therefore, the biggest possible and the fastest on the lot

Penetration Capabilities

The best .45 ACP ammo should have a penetration capability of between 12 and 18 inches. This means that the gun is able to penetrate through soft tissue equivalent to 12 inches of fabric but not capable of passing through 18 inches of the same. This is the case scenario of a human or animal body you are targeting. If the ammo isn’t able to penetrate a 12-inch case scenario, then the ammo may be too weak to cause any harm to your target. Similarly, if the ammo is too powerful to the extent that it can pass through an 18-inch case scenario, more trouble may be looming. As much as you will kill your targeted aggressor, you may end up having a case to answer for killing someone behind the aggressor, as a result of over penetration

Bullet Type

The best .45 ACP ammo would be the Jacketed hollow points (JHP) with the full metal jacket (FMJ) also being a great consideration. The JHP rounds are the best .45 ACP ammo for self-defense because of their maximum expansion capabilities upon penetrating the target. This leads to an improved energy transfer to the baddie thereby causing more destruction whereas also preventing instances of over penetration.

The Top 5 Best .45 ACP Ammo Suggestions

Federal® American Eagle .45 ACP Ammo

Simmons 511039 3 - 9 x 32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope

Editor Rating

This is a product that has been designed and manufactured for the self-defense shooter who is tired of always having to spend a good amount of their weekly wages on some other more expensive pieces of ammo. Ideally, you always want something cheap that doesn’t compromise its performance capabilities. That’s exactly what Federal American Eagle is. With Full Metal Jacketed bullets, the products guarantee the shooter of reliable feeding that is followed by full power travel and maximum energy transfer, all at a bargain price.

​Ballistic Information

  • 806 ft-lb muzzle energy
  • 1230 FPS muzzle velocity

Technical Information

  • 86 inch average expansion
  • 14-inch average penetration
  • 240-grain bullet weight
  • Lead-core JHP bullet style
  • .45 Auto caliber

In a nutshell, these are top quality bullets that come to us at very competitive prices. They are characterized by more velocity/pressure, thereby resulting in better penetration and awesome expansion. This means that the products are very reliable to use for any self or home defense purposes.

Speer Gold Dot .45 ACP Ammunition

Simmons 511039 3 - 9 x 32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope

Editor Rating

This is yet another piece of product that has been able to take itself onto the list of the best .45 ACP ammo. The kind of quality construction and performance that comes with the product is exactly what has made it to always appear on the top of this platform. Engineered in such a manner as to prevent jacket separation and constructed to produce optimal expansion together with extreme penetration, the bullet is much preferred by the law enforcement departments. This clearly tells you something about the quality of a product.

Ballistic Information

  • 890 FPS muzzle velocity
  • 404 ft-lb muzzle energy
  • 0.143 ballistic bullet coefficients

Technical Information

  • 13-inch average penetration
  • 71 inches of average expansion
  • 230-grain bullet weight
  • Gold Dot Hollow Point Bullet Style

Although its penetration is not as much as other bullets, such as the Federal American Eagle, its extreme expansion capabilities are compensative. The ammo features a very reliable feeding as well as performance capabilities, thanks to the superior weight retention together with its decisive terminal performance. In a nutshell, this is one of the very best .45 ACP ammo and I will recommend it to a friend.

Winchester® USA .45 ACP Ammunition

Simmons 511039 3 - 9 x 32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope

Editor Rating

Are you preparing to go out for a full day of range shooting? Then this is a convenient 100 bullet pack that comes with the best possible value you can get on the market. In addition to the .45 ACP platforms, three other calibers are available for shooters to choose from. If you are a plinking enthusiast, you need to look no further. Every single piece of ammo is loaded to the performance standards of Winchester.

Ballistic Information

  • 900 FPS barrel velocity

Technical Information

  • 14.5-inch average penetration
  • 1.00-inch average expansion
  • 230-grain bullet weight
  • FMJ bullet type construction

What many self-defense gun owners are looking for is a great penetration ammo like this one. In fact, the main reason why this Winchester product is highly considered as one of the best .45 ACP ammo is because of its insane penetration and expansion capabilities. Together with its incredible velocity within such a platform, it is almost impossible that you will come across a package that has such a combination of much sought after features.

PMC® Bronze .45 ACP Ammunition

Simmons 511039 3 - 9 x 32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope

Editor Rating

The ammo is non-expanding but the performance has been compensated by its deep penetration capabilities. The bullet features a lead core that has been housed in a strong metal jacket. With extensive inspections done during construction, the bullets are credited for having exceptional uniformity. All the bullets thus provide a smooth and reliable feeding not only within the .45 ACP platform but also on other platforms as well.

Ballistic Information

  • 830 FPS muzzle velocity
  • 352 ft-lbs muzzle energy

Technical Information

  • 230-grain weight
  • FMJ bullet style
  • .45 ACP caliber
  • Boxer-primed brass case

There is not a single manufacturer other than PMC that assures its customers of greater bullet uniformity and reliability. This bullet features an electronic powder check system that measures the propellant charge of every single round. In the event that a cartridge's weight varies with just 2/10 of a grain, that cartridge is discarded. Such inspection checks are credited for the great reliability performances of the calibers.

Fiocchi Handgun Ammunition

Simmons 511039 3 - 9 x 32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope

Editor Rating

This is a military and law enforcement unit of choice in most countries around the world. The best feature associated with the gun is its premium quality, yet the press is less than premium. The piece of ammo construction features only top quality components, with the construction process involving each round individually being measures to ensure consistency and performance reliability.

Technical Information

  • 230 grain bullet weight
  • Full Metal Jacket bullet style
  • Reloadable brass case

Because of the preference the law enforcement bodies and the military have placed on this product, civilians using it have trusted it the more thereby boosting their confidence when they are in operation. This is probably just the best .45 ACP ammo not only for the budget buyer but also those who are looking for something reliable to do the range shooting jobs.


And I now bet that you have it! You are now better placed to select the best .45 ACP ammo for your self defense and target shooting purposes. With our guide, together with our top recommended products, shooting will now be easier and more enjoyable. Make an informed decision and choice now.

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