3 low-profile, high-performance 9mm brands you should know

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Range day with three unsung 9mm brands. With L-Tech Full Stop not yet for sale, we opted for Allegiance Ammo as part of this trio. (Photo: Team HB)

Recently, profiled a standout 9mm brand, Full Stop. After testing and being quite impressed with the brand, it was disappointing to learn it’s not yet on retail shelves. Here are three other brands that, in this writer’s estimation, are worth consideration in feeding your 9mm pistol, yet don’t have the notoriety of larger brands.

Precision Delta hasn’t let me down

Competitive shooters should keep Precision Delta in mind. (Photo: Team HB)

Competitive shooters should keep Precision Delta in mind. (Photo: Team HB)

For defensive or competitive use, Precision Delta’s PDP Pro 124 grain JHP packs a punch. I’ve been using it this year for a couple steel competitions. It’s never missed a beat in a Canik TP9SA, a Gen 4 Glock 19, or the Heckler & Koch VP9. This super-clean, new-brass load is made with competitors in mind. The company doesn’t provide muzzle velocity information, and I don’t’ have a chronograph, but they claim it’s a low-recoil round. What I do know is it’s never failed for me.

At about 39 cents per round, PDP Pro is reasonably priced for match-grade 9mm. Delta is not just the name, it’s also the location of this Mississippi company, which is better known to the reloading and law enforcement communities than the general consumer.  Like many smaller brands, they hadn’t yet created a pretty box to contain the product, which arrived in a heavy plastic bag. Don’t let a little packaging inconvenience reduce your confidence in this outstanding load.

Allegiance Ammunition

The folks at Virginia-based Allegiance Ammunition keep cranking out radically new varieties of frangible ammo, not to mention radical field tests—who else do you know who can document having killed a feral hog at distance with one round of 380 ACP? Last fall, I had the chance to fire their One Strike 70 grain rounds through a variety of pistols at the Blue August gun writers’ conference, as well as having witnessed gel block testing with this round.

There’s a lot of hype in ammo marketing these days, but I must say the tests with this load are impressive from the standpoint of self-defense, especially in environments like a home or industrial site. Frangible of any kind is a great choice for the veritable concrete jungle, but Allegiance has taken testing a step further, evaluating whether their ammo will penetrate tanks, airplane hulls, and the like. Gel block testing showed remarkable disruption, with blocks literally jumping off the platform in reaction. That didn’t happen with other 9mm loads.

This isn’t cheap stuff, but for self-defense and peace of mind that your round won’t penetrate objects you don’t want to be liable for, $30 for a 20-round box isn’t bad. I’d definitely recommend testing this round to ensure it cycles your personal handgun or carbine reliably; that’s true for any ammunition.

Team Never Quit frangible

TNQ wins the unsung-ammo branding race, hands down. (Photo: Team HB)

TNQ wins the unsung-ammo branding race, hands down. (Photo: Team HB)

This trusty 100-grain round became my home defense standby after I grabbed for some in desperation when a rattlesnake was literally at my back door on the concrete porch, and due to an injury I was unable to swing a shovel. TNQ made short work—actually, short pieces–of this unwelcome visitor. The experience made me especially grateful for this ammo, which was the topic of a series of range experiments done for

TNQ frangible has cycled dependably in the handguns previously mentioned, and probably a couple others I’ve forgotten. I’ve come to trust it not only for its safety on steel targets, but also as the first HP-designed frangible round I encountered, purpose-built with urban law enforcement use in mind. The ballistic data shared by Snake River Shooting Products as well as my own experimentation gives me confidence that, with the exception of barriers like car doors that most civilians will never have occasion to shoot through in defense, the round delivers all the oomph needed for my purposes while reducing risk of unwanted property damage.

The US veteran-supporting TNQ brand is made by Idaho’s Snake River Shooting Products, and is available through distributors like Brownells, whose current price is $17.23 per 20 round box.

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