May 16, 2021 4 min read

The type of CCW handgun that you choose often depends on the type of handgun ammo you prefer. You have a lot of options. Take some time to learn about popular rounds so you can choose ammo that matches your needs.

The Components of Handgun Ammunition

Most handgun ammo has four components that make them effective against attackers. There are some slight differences in how manufacturers build rounds, but they still function in similar ways.

Bullet (Projectile)

The bullet, or projectile, is the metal piece that gets fired from the gun’s barrel toward your target. Most bullets contain lead, although some have copper coatings surrounding lead interiors.

Manufacturers make a variety of bullet shapes and builds that affect how they interact with their targets. Popular handgun ammo designs include:

  • Hollow-point rounds that expand when they strike their targets.
  • Soft point rounds with greater expansion power because of their exposed, soft lead tips.
  • Round nose rounds that offer hard punches that stop targets.

Cartridge Case

The cartridge case contains most of the material inside a round. When you hold a round, you most likely pick it up by the smooth case. Cases are usually made of steel, copper, or brass.


Gunpowder contains a mixture of chemicals that burn quickly and turn into gas to create an explosive force that propels the bullet forward. Before gunpowder can propel the bullet, though, it needs a primer that activates the chemical mixture.

Primer or Rim

The primer contains a chemical compound that ignites the gunpowder. The chemical compound can either go in the bottom rim of the round or inside a separate container within the cartridge case. When the handgun’s firing pin strikes the primer or rim, it releases the chemical, ignites the gunpowder, and propels the bullet.

Popular Handgun Ammo Calibers

Handgun ammo manufacturers have developed innumerable designs over the decades. The following six stand out as some of today’s most popular handgun ammunition options for CCWs.

.22 LR

The .22 LR is a very small round used in handguns and rifles that works great for beginners. The small size (it has about the same height as a quarter) means that you can pack a lot of the rounds into a magazine.

The .22 LR also makes a good handgun ammunition option for people concerned about accuracy. It creates very little recoil, so you can keep your gun aimed at your target between rounds. The small size, however, may mean that you need to fire several times before you subdue an attacker.

Guns that use .22 LR rounds include:

.380 ACP

The .380 ACP has approximately the same length as a .22 LR, but it’s a much wider type of ammunition. The squat round packs a powerful punch at close range and creates minimal recoil.

Don’t expect it to protect you when you’re standing very far from your target, though. It loses power quickly as it travels through the air. Still, magazines can carry a lot of .380 ACP rounds, which makes them an appealing option for concealed carriers.

Guns that use .380 ACP rounds include:


One of the most popular handgun ammo options, the 9mm gives you the best of both worlds. Its small size means that some magazines can carry 17 rounds or more. The cartridge contains more gunpowder than the .380, so you have a more powerful shot.

The 9mm is such a balanced type of handgun ammo that most police departments prefer it.

Guns that use 9mm rounds include:

.40 S&W

The .40 S&W doesn’t mess around. It’s a large round that can weigh up to 11.7 grams. It has a bit of a kick, so you will want to get plenty of practice before you start carrying a CCW that holds .40 S&W rounds. That extra kick means you get enough power to put down an attacker quickly, though.

Guns that use .40 S&W rounds include:

.45 ACP

The .45 ACP gives you moderate recoil while causing quite a bit of damage to its target. Only use this handgun ammo when you know you want to put an attacker out of commission. It has incredible stopping power that deserves immense respect.

Guns that use .45 ACP rounds include:


A 10mm round has more impact than a 9mm, but it lacks the .45 ACP’s heft. It’s great for personal protection when you want a little more power than the average bullet but you don’t want to cause life-threatening injuries.

Guns that use 10mm rounds include:

Concealed Carry Laws

The types of concealed carry weapons and handgun ammo that you can carry might depend on your local laws. Check your state gun laws to make sure you comply.

Carry Extra Ammunition With Magazine Holsters

No matter what type of handgun ammo you prefer, you always need to make sure you have enough rounds for protection. At Concealment Express, we make a Kydex magazine holster that can fit on the inside or outside of your waistband.

The Concealment Express magazine holster can hold 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP rounds. Just make sure you choose a single-stack or double-stack holster for your handgun’s ammo.

Like all products from Concealment Express, you get a lifetime guarantee that ensures your satisfaction for decades. Order your Kydex magazine holster today so you can start carrying extra rounds to ensure everyone’s safety. If you order today before 3 p.m. EST, your new magazine holster should ship before the end of the day!

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Basics of Handgun Ammunition