Top 5 40 S&W Self Defense Ammo

If you own a 40 S&W you likely know how great of a self-defense round it is. It was designed in 1990 after the FBI realized they needed a round to be similar to the 10mm auto but with lower recoil.
Most 40 S&W ammo will be 180 grains but you can find it anywhere from 60 to 210 grains. With a velocity between 900 to 1,400 FPS you can expect muzzle energy between 400-500 foot pounds. We've put together our list of top 5 self-defense 40 S&W ammo,
you can check out all 40 S&W ammo here.

Federal Premium Personal Defense Ammunition 40 S&W 165 Grain Hydra-Shok Deep Jacketed Hollow Point Box of 20

Federal Premium Hydra-Shok has proven itself for self-defense since 1989. Hydra-Shok Deep builds off the time-tested platform with design improvements that better meet modern performance measurements. The bullet features a more robust center post and a core design that provides as much as 50 percent deeper penetration than original Hydra-Shok and competitor loads. This ammunition is new production, non-corrosive, in boxer primed, reloadable nickel plated brass cases.



  • Penetrates 15 inches in bare ballistics gel—the optimal depth according to FBI standards
  • 50 percent deeper penetration than original Hydra-Shok
  • 70 percent improvement in FBI protocol score
  • Iconic center post design has been improved for better, more consistent expansion through standard barriers.
  • Consistent, specially formulated propellant
  • Extremely reliable Federal primer


About Federal Premium

Federal Cartridge Company, as we know it today, started in 1922 when Charles Horn purchased Federal Cartridge and Machine out of receivership. Federal’s first products were shotshells, followed by rimfire in 1924. In 1976, Federal Premium was launched, combining boutique bullets with premium propellants and nickel-plated brass to create the “best of the best” in centerfire ammunition. Over a century later, MidwayUSA offers a complete spectrum of Federal ammunition, ranging from shotshell offerings like: Top-Gun, High Over All, Game Loads, Gold Medal Grand, and Prairie Storm; and centerfire rifle ammunition such as Fusion, Power-Shok, Gold Medal Match, Meat Eater; to centerfire pistol ammunition: HST, Punch, and American Eagle. Federal continues to manufacture rimfire ammo in the form of AutoMatch, Champion, and Game-shok. Federal supports handloaders with standard: small pistol, small rifle, large pistol, large rifle, 209 shotshell primers, and the Gold Medal-series match primers.

Shop Now

Hornady Critical Duty Ammunition 40 S&W 175 Grain FlexLock Box of 20

"The most consistent and reliable barrier ammo on the market"

Hornady Critical Duty Ammunition offers Law Enforcement, Tactical Professionals and those looking for a great personal protection round ammunition that wont let them down. This ammunition incorporates two new revolutionary Hornady Features: Flex Tip bullets that initiate consistent expansion while preventing clogging, and the InterLock band which locks the jacket and core together preventing separation and ensuring maximum weight retention. This bullet has proven terminal performance through ALL  test barriers every single time. The core on this revolutionary bullet is made of high-antimony lead alloy making it tough, delivering controlled expansion and loaded in nickel plated cases to help prevent corrosion.

This ammunition is new production, non-corrosive, in boxer primed, reloadable nickel plated brass cases.

What Customers Are Saying

Hornady demonstrated this ...

Hornady demonstrated this round for my department today along with 9mm, 9mm +P, 308, .223 etc. The rounds were fired through wall board, car glass, two layers of sheet metal, and plywood into calibrated ballistic gelatin. In all cases the barriers were defeated and 12-18" of penetration into the gelatin was achieved. All pistol calibers penetrated about the same. This loads works as advertised.
- Andy, 8/22/2012

About Hornady

“Ten bullets through one hole” is the philosophy that brought Hornady® Manufacturing from a two-man operation in 1949, to a world-leading innovator of bullet, ammunition, reloading tool and accessory design and manufacture today. Change is their constant and daily challenge. They outperform their competitors by ensuring the products they make are the ones their customers need right now, and accurately predict what they’ll want in the future. They recognize trends, and respect when to leave well enough alone. Their workforce includes an ample number of hunters and competitive shooters, as well as veterans and former law enforcement officers. At Hornady® Manufacturing, ammunition is more than their livelihood. It’s a major part of their daily life.

Shop Now

Underwood Xtreme Defender Ammunition 40 S&W 115 Grain Lehigh Xtreme Defense Lead-Free Box of 20

While taking advantage of state of the art testing equipment, this high performance ammunition by Underwood is field tested using popular, real firearms that customers are most likely to own out in the real world with all the elements you would experience. If for some reason Underwood Ammunition fails to meet performance expectations, Underwood stands by their product 100% and will make sure the customer is satisfied with every purchase. This ammunition is new production, non-corrosive, in boxer primed, reloadable nickel plated brass cases.

The Xtreme Defender is based on the popular Xtreme Penetrator product line. The XD ammunition has an optimized nose flute, total weight, and velocity to achieve a penetration depth up to 18 inches with a permanent wound cavity (PWC) that is just simply enormous; no other expanding hollow point comes close to achieving anywhere near this diameter and volume. Not only is the PWC over 100% larger than any other expanding bullet, expansion is achieved despite being shot through barriers. The solid copper body ensures that wallboard, sheet metal, and automotive glass will have no effect on the Permanent Wound Channel. All of Underwood Ammo rounds utilize flash suppressed powder so that your vision will not be compromised if it becomes necessary to use your firearm in low light.

The Underwood nickel plating process provides several key benefits including; improved feeding in all actions of firearms, enhanced corrosion resistance over traditional brass, improved cosmetics, and ease of cleanup during reloading. Nickel plated casings will not tarnish like brass during storage or when in contact with foreign materials such as leather, moisture, and other metals. Until the development of the Ducta-Bright 7a process, nickel plating casings often limited the number of reloads as compared to raw brass. It was claimed that nickel plated brass casings embrittled the brass therefore making it less desirable for reloaders despite the ease of cleanup that nickel plating offers. In addition, ammunition engineers raising concerns of using nickel plating in very hot +P or magnum loads found that traditional nickel plating often cracked deep-drawn cases, or worse, lead to a total failure. This new process eliminates any concern, to the shooter or reloader, of hazard or ability to re-use the brass.


  • Reduced recoil.
  • CNC machined from solid copper to overcome barriers to penetration
  • Radial flutes that force the hydraulic energy inward to build pressure
  • Minimal surface area to increase the force at the point of contact and sharp cutting edges that defeat barriers

What Customers Are Saying

Underwood takes the 40S&W back to life!

Underwood is well known for their great loads, on the 40S&W is a winner! Takes the caliber back to its life, no weak 400Ft/Lb rounds here, plus on the Extreme Defender, recoil is super light for those afraid or complaint about 40 recoil! I extremely recommend and this is the round used on all my self defense firearms, be it 380ACP, 9MM, 357SIG, 40S&W or 10MM... devastating, barrier blind... just google Military Arms Channel on youtube on the 9mm ammo testing...
- msimoni, 1/15/2018

About Underwood Ammunition

Kevin Underwood started Underwood Ammo in 2013 after seeing a need in the market for better ammunition at a reasonable price. Some of you may be reading this while on-duty, on-reserve, or while off-duty from protecting our neighborhoods. Where-ever you are - We Salute You. Thank you for your service.

Shop Now

Liberty Civil Defense Ammunition 40 S&W 60 Grain Fragmenting Hollow Point Lead-Free Box of 20

Liberty Civil Defense ammunition is a high velocity, extremely accurate load designed for self-defense. The 60 Grain Lead-Free Fragmenting Hollow Point bullet travels at 2000 feet per second, resulting in 10 inches of ballistic gel penetration. This light bullet, high velocity round yields less felt recoil and has an effective range of 25 meters. This ammunition is new production, non-corrosive, and requires no weapons modifications.

What Customers Are Saying

Best .40 Ammo

I have tried a many .40 ammo since it was introduced.I carry a full size Smith & Wesson M&P.I was very skeptical about this 60gr ammo but decided to give it a try.I took it to the range and I was taken by surprise with the power of this ammo. Very accurate and the recovery time for the next shot is less being lighter slug.It sounds great too. I only tested it shooting at a target at 5, 10, 15, 25 yards.I have since bought more to carry for self defence.Best .40 ammo thus far.
- Evie Lee, 12/1/2012 Shop Now

Sig Sauer Elite Performance Ammunition 40 S&W 180 Grain V-Crown Jacketed Hollow Point Box of 50

SIG V-Crown defensive rounds combine perfected material specifications and fine-tuned design innovations, including a stacked hollow point cavity, to deliver exceptional on-target energy with maximum weight retention and optimal expansion for ultimate stopping power. SIG V-Crown ammunition creates a consistent V-shaped main cavity on top of a deep narrow trail with superior weight retention, maximum expansion, optimal penetration depth time after time. This ammunition is new production, non-corrosive, in boxer-primed, reloadable nickel-plated cases.


  • Designed to match Sig Full Metal Jacket ammunition
  • High Quality components
  • Reloadable nickel-plated brass cases

Note: Due to availability of components, this ammunition may or may not be shipped in nickel plated brass.

About Sig Sauer

Born from the Swiss Wagon Factory company in 1853, the Sig Sauer brand we know today is one of the most recognized and trusted brands in the firearms and outdoor industry. In their world-class facilities, they build the toughest, most precise rifles, pistols, suppressors, optics, ammunition, and airguns, while offering the finest firearms training — all as a fully integrated system. They offer models such as the P365 Pistol, Tango Rifle Scope, MCX Rifle, and ROMEO-X Reflex Sight. They do this because they share the same drive to be the best, the same love of freedom, the same unwillingness to compromise — as those who choose their brand. SIG SAUER--NEVER SETTLE.

Shop Now