We carry one of the largest selections of handgun ammunition for sale online at discounted prices, including full metal jacket (FMJ), jacketed hollow point (JHP), soft point (SP) handgun ammo, semi-wadcutter (SWC) ammo and many more.
We have all of the major brands of handgun ammo for sale, including:
- And many more
We carry the most popular calibers along with the harder to find and rare calibers. Preview our full selection of handgun ammunition online!
Handgun ammunition’s history has been slow in the making compared to the pace of the weapons that have fired them. The round lead ball fired with a black powder gun can trace its roots back to the early Chinese invention of gunpowder in the 9th century and firing projectiles out of bamboo.
Four key developments occurred in the 19th century: the rifled gun barrel, the conical shaped bullet (Minnie ball) with hollow base, the self-contained cartridge and refined gunpowder. Together, these developments led to greater accuracy and distance, as well as a gun barrel that would not get fouled so quickly due to black powder residue.
The most successful solution in early handgun design was created by Samuel Colt, who invented a rotating cylinder with multiple chambers and developed fixed ammunition for pistols. The pin fired metallic cartridge developed in France in 1828 was a brass tube that ran through the side of the percussion cap and ignited when hit with the hammer of a pinfire revolver.
The invention of the metallic cartridge in 1873 brought about by Smith & Wesson gave us the three Ps: primer, propellant and projectile. This encompassed the use of a copper casing, with a hollow rim at the base which held the priming compound. The case was then packed with gunpowder, and capped with a lead bullet mounted into its top. When the firing pin of the revolver’s hammer hit the rim of the cartridge, the priming ignited the powder that fired the bullet, leaving the empty copper casing in the chamber.
The cartridge system is principally the same thing as the modern day .22 short rimfire, and was the father of all the traditional ammunition that we see today.
One other huge advancement in handgun ammunition was the invention of smokeless powder, which provides high velocity, stability, accuracy and power. Smokeless powder has allowed for the development of semi-automatic firearms with lighter breeches and barrels.
Understanding Handgun Ammo
Ammunition is broken down into four parts:
- Case: The casing, usually composed of nickel, steel or brass
- Primer: The bullet’s ignition
- Powder/propellant: “Gunpowder”
- Projectile: The bullet itself.
Determining the type of ammo to buy for your handgun can be challenging for new firearms owners, but it depends on the caliber of your firearm as well as the rounds suggested by the manufacturer. Emphasis can be placed on the type (shape) of bullets you desire such as boattail soft point (BTSP) or semi-jacketed hollow point (SJHP). Another thing to consider is the projectile’s weight, which is measured in grains. The higher the number, the heavier the bullet. You must also consider the projectile’s velocity (ft-lbs).
Refer to the Understanding Ammo section if you need a refresher in ammunition basics. That being said, understanding the kinds of ammunition that are available and how they perform to fit your intended purpose is a matter of practicing with a variety of ammo.
Buyer Consideration: Common Handgun Ammunition & Caliber Guide
Caliber is determined by the projectile and the size of the casing itself. Here are the most popular handgun calibers:
- .17 are typically used for hunting small varmint or target shooting.
- .22 LR is another option for tournament competition or hunting small varmints. This ammunition is built for shot after shot performance and versatility.
- .22 Magnum. The .22 Magnum is longer in length than its .22 LR counterpart, and would be ideal as both competition and hunting ammo.
- .40 Smith & Wesson is a personal defense load used by law enforcement officers and for those whose handguns are meant for self-defense. Characteristic weight for this cartridge ranges from 135 to 180 grains with a typical muzzle energy that approaches 500 ft.-lbs. The bullet’s balance between operative penetration and reliable expansion makes it the textbook tool in numerous personal defense applications.
- .357 Magnum was introduced in 1935 by Smith & Wesson for its heavy-frame revolver. This type of ammunition uses an elongated and reinforced version of the .38 special case. The .357 Magnum is a very effective option for hunting medium-sized game and is equally popular with law enforcement as it can easily pierce the body panels of automobiles and crack engine blocks. Today’s manufacture of the .357 Magnum offers fifty different loadings of this caliber with a bullet weight range of 110 to 200 grains and average muzzle energy exceeding 500 ft.-lbs.
- .380 Automatic was designed by the renowned John Browning and introduced into production around 1912 buy FN of Belgium. This round is the largest practical cartridge consideration for a small pocket pistol.
- .38 Special is specifically designed for revolvers and is one of the most widespread cartridges ever produced. Considered to be one of the finest balanced, all-around handgun cartridges ever designed, it is also very popular with competition match shooting because of its accuracy.
- .44 Remington Magnum is power personified, and is a high-powered pistol cartridge designed primarily for hunting. The average bullet weight exceeds 200 grains and average muzzle energy easily approaches 1,000 ft.-lbs.
- .45 ACP or GAP is a heavy and powerful bullet with a history of military use. It typically weighs around 185 to 260 grain.
- .45 LC, or long colt, is a round designed for revolvers. Longer than the standard .45, it has a higher volume and more potential as a powerful round.
- 9mm. 9mm ammo, or parabellum, also goes by several other names; however, it is a cartridge that is widely used by law enforcement and is very popular for use in a semi-automatic pistol.
Buyer consideration: How to Pick Pistol Ammo / How to Pick the Right Ammunition
When deciding on what type of pistol ammunition to buy, you must consider what your handgun’s intended use is. Here are a few options to consider:
- Target Practice/Training. If you are looking to practice and train with a firearm, look for ammunition that is widely available and relatively inexpensive, as you need to fuel your chosen handgun and get a good feel for shooting. The most inexpensive, complete loaded round of ammunition is the full metal jacket projectile. Small-bore rimfire rounds work well in this regard as they have light recoil, so you can spend some time on the shooting range without wearing out your hands while honing your skills. Popular target shooting calibers include .17 HMR, .22 Long Rifle, .22 Magnum, 9mm and .38 Special.
- Competition. Handgun ammunition is made of high-performance powder and bullet combinations for exacting consistency requirements following strict manufacturing quality standards to attain optimum premium performance accuracy. You’ll want handgun ammo that has a light recoil, such as a small-bore rimfire cartridge, so that you won’t wear your hand or shoulder down. Some popular competition shooting calibers include the .38 Super, 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .357 Magnum and .38 Special.
- Hunting. Bullets can penetrate the thick bone and muscle of big game and provide reliable expansion that quickly and humanely bring down the target. Hunting bullets typically weight more and when hunting dangerous game, it is always best to err on the side of caution and ensure that your cartridge is sufficiently powerful enough to ethically kill the target. Essentially, you’ll want your ammunition to match the size of your target. Popular options for handgun hunting ammo include expanding hollow point or soft point projectiles. Popular hunting calibers include the .500 S&W, 10mm, .454 Casull, .480 Ruger, .50AE and .460 S&W.
- Self-Defense/Personal Defense. When buying handgun ammunition, you need to be of the upmost concern as to lethal performance. When your life or a family member’s is threatened, you need a load that will unfailingly halt that threat as rapidly as possible. The maximum operative way to accomplish results is to use a load that impacts the target with instant stopping power and produces the greatest amount of damage to the intended target. Popular self-defense ammunition for sale includes the 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .380 ACP and .357 Magnum.
With handguns, that means a hollow-point projectile designed to expand on impact, generating instant stopping power. The hollow point bullet is designed to spread out on impact so the amount of kinetic energy is halted, which will keep the round inside the target. This also greatly reduces the possibility of harming innocent bystanders.
Once you have your intended purpose for your handgun figured out, other factors to consider are:
- Cost. Cost depends on the frequency you may be using your handgun, as the more active shooter will have to spend more to keep their barrel full.
- Bullet weight. Also referred to as “grain,” this will factor into the velocity of the bullet. Heavier bullets are not as affected by the elements, whereas they will have a lower velocity.
- Velocity. As noted above, the grain of the bullet impacts the velocity. The higher the grain, the lower the velocity will be, and vice versa. Considering your intended use for your handgun will determine if you need higher velocity or not. Long-range competition shooters will desire a bullet that can travel, but will oftentimes test several varieties to figure out the one that best suits their needs.
- Calibers. Consider if your handgun may be able to accept different calibers. For example, the .357 can use a .38 as well.
Hinterland Outfitters: Pistol Ammo for Sale
With quality brands, fast shipping, affordable prices, and industry-leading customer service, no other ammo supply comes close to Hinterland Outfitters. Discover our handgun ammo for sale by exploring our curated caliber selections. If you have any questions about where to start with buying handgun ammo online, feel free to send a secure message via our contact page.