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Best Ammo for 9mm 226

This is a discussion on Best Ammo for 9mm 226 within the SIG Sauer Pistols forums, part of the SIG Sauer Forum category; Looking to get a 226, hopefully soon. most likely used. Waiting for the license. I would like to get some ammo before the new laws ...

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Old 09-19-2013, 04:04 PM   #1
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Best Ammo for 9mm 226

Looking to get a 226, hopefully soon. most likely used. Waiting for the license.
I would like to get some ammo before the new laws kick in in NY in January.
Mostly will be used for target and hopefully some competition.
It might also be used for HD. Hopefully never needed.
What grain?
What are the differences in 115 124 147 grain and what are they for?
HP or FMJ?
Any brands or types to stay away from?
Can HP be used for target and competition?
New to hand guns so any help is appreciated

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Old 09-19-2013, 04:14 PM   #2
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Welcome to Sigtalk from VA! Some broad answers to your questions;

Bullet grain differences generally increase bullet velocity with smaller grain bullets (in the same caliber). Larger bullets travel slower, but heavier loads often feed more consistently in handguns.
The best target practice ammo is the cheapest you can find that will fire! Usually, that will be FMJ (full metal jacket) rounds. Whichever grain you can find that will also consistently feed (most 226's will eat all of them, no problem).
If also considering HD, look at HP, JHP, etc. Hollow Points. Many different manufacturers and brands that many will recommend. I have recently discovered a really good company called Underwood Ammo. Their loads are very high velocity, high bullet energy rounds (most are hollow point) that makes them very effective for self-defense, but far more expensive per round than your standard range or plinking rounds (FMJ). Hope that helps!

Almost forgot to give you some hard numbers...
Ballistics101 9mm stats

Last edited by P220carryguy; 09-19-2013 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 09-19-2013, 04:50 PM   #3
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Ok here's the quick rundown. If I get anything wrong, the other members please correct me.

The advertised grain weight on the ammo box refers to the weight of the projectile.
  • Cost of ammo increases as the grain weight increases.
  • The weight of the projectile affects the velocity of the projectile. In most cases the ligher projectiles equal faster velocities, heavier projectiles equal slower velocities.
  • The weight of the projectile affects perceived recoil: heavier projectiles provide a more stout recoil impulse.

FMJ = Full Metal Jacket. When the projectile impacts a soft target, it will retain it's shape.

HP = Hollow Point. When the projectile impacts a soft target, it will expand. The expansion increases the surface area of the projectile, increasing the kinetic energy transferred to the soft target as compared to a FMJ.

When practicing at the range, I want to use the least expensive ammunition that will reliably cycle my pistol. Typically, practice 9mm ammunition is 115gr FMJ. If you're shooting reactive steel targets in competition, you may want to shoot more expensive 124 or 147 grain weight FMJ projectiles to ensure that the reactive steel target will fall.

For home defense, I use premium defensive jacketed hollow point ammunition. These are available in 115, 124, and 147 grain weights. The choice of grain weight in JHP is a matter of personal preference. As I stated earlier, the weight of the projectile affects the perceived recoil. Choose the grain weight that allows you to shoot the best. Every few months, I'll shoot 10 rounds of my preferred defensive ammunition at the range for practice.

There are also differences in the design of hollow point projectiles, even within the same manufacturer. Some projectiles have a polymer tip to prevent clogging of the hollow point cavity. Plugging of the hollow point cavity can cause it to behave like an FMJ and not expand. Some JHP projectiles are bonded, meaning that the copper jacket and lead core are designed not to separate when traveling through a target. Some JHP copper jackets are designed to expand to a point where the expanded jacket adds damage by cutting additional tissue as it travels through the target.

A good YouTube channel that illustrates these differences is tnoutdoors9.

tnoutdoors9 - YouTube

Another factor is the power of the round. The power of the round is determined by the amount of propellant charge in the case. The propellant charge standards in the U.S.A. are set by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer's Institute (SAAMI). You'll see this referred to as the SAAMI standard. The amount of propellant charged into the case is directly proportional to the pressures generated.

SAAMI | Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute

When you see a box labeled:
  • 9mm = Standard SAAMI propellant charge spec.
  • 9mm +P = 10% charged above the standard SAAMI propellant charge spec.

These are the two charge weights set by SAAMI. You must refer to your firearm's user manual to verify whether or not a pistol is rated to safely fire +P ammunition.

You will also see 9mm NATO. These are charged to NATO specifications. In my experience, these feel as if they are +P or maybe a little more stout than +P. I am not 100% sure, but I believe that 9mm NATO was designed to cycle in select fire automatic pistol caliber carbines (H&K MP5, etc...)

There is one last power charge on the market. 9mm +P+. There is no set SAAMI standard for +P+ charged ammunition. Every manufacturer loads +P+ to different charge weights. There no standard to follow. There is no consistency from manufacturer to manufacturer. Check your firearms user manual to ascertain whether or not your pistol warranty will be voided by the use of +P+ ammunition.

If that wasn't confusing enough...

What we think of as ammo is brass cased, copper jacketed ammunition. There are other combinations of materials on the market. There are Russian manufactured, steel case, bi-metal jacketed ammunition. Bi-metal jacketed is a soft steel jacket with a thin copper wash, over a lead core. There are aluminum cased, copper jacketed ammunition. There is also aluminum cased, nyclad (polymer nylon) jacketed ammunition.

  • Factory Ammo = Ammunition manufactured by a Federally licensed and insured business, using brand new components, and sold to the public.
  • Factory Re-manufactured / Commercially Reloaded = Ammunition manufactured by a Federally licensed and insured business, using previously fired cases and sold to the public.
  • Reloaded ammunition = Ammunition produced from previously fired cases, assembled by a private individual at home.
  • Handloaded ammunition = Ammunition produced from brand new components, assembled by a private individual at home.

Factory ammo is good to go. Keep factory ammo in it's original box. Keep the ammo purchase receipt filed away. The original box contains production/lot information. If a defective factory round of ammunition causes a catastrophic failure of your firearm, you'll need this information to prove your case with the firearms manufacturer and the ammunition manufacturer for a successful damages claim. Follow the same guidelines with Factory remanufactured and/or commercially reloaded ammunition.

Only fire reloaded/handloaded ammunition if you made them yourself. The only reloads I shoot are my own. Sometimes you'll see individuals at gun shows selling their reloads. The ammo looks nice and shiny new, at a super cheap price as compared to factory and commercial reloads. The problem is that if one of their rounds of ammunition causes a catastrophic failure of your firearm and/or bodily injury, you're out of luck. There's no finding this person, nor is there any recourse.

Hope this didn't confuse things for you further. Congrats on choosing to participate in the shooting sports and acquiring your first firearm!

Last edited by JaPes; 09-19-2013 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:37 PM   #4
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Very nice, thank you!
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:15 AM   #5
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Please sticky these attached links, fantastic information for everyone to reference. Great replies from mall above.....
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:54 AM   #6
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Several other points to think about; are for Home Defense and Self Protection, Hollow Points when they hit something they loose a lot of force as they mushroom. FMJ's loose some force when the hit but they can travel threw a body and hit someone else... Also pick a HP that doesn't sound like your trying to kill someone, just in case you shoot someone and have to defend yourself the brand may help.
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Old 09-20-2013, 12:58 PM   #7
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Sig P226, it will shoot anything you put in it. I have one that I bought new in 1990 and has NEVER failed in any way. NEVER NEVER NEVER And did I mention Never? Got the picture? IMO, it is the best handgun ever made.
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Old 09-20-2013, 01:23 PM   #8
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You can't get much better an understanding than written above. I always try to dumb it up a bit. Light is fast. Slow is heavy. Penetration is good and expansion is good, but expansion has a bad effect on penetration. Would you rather be hit by a little fast guy or a big slow guy? You can never have both, but you can find some great choices that meet your needs. Read, make a choice that YOU have confidence in. I always liked the bullet that I could shoot most accurately.

Some indoor ranges don't allow some types of ammo. If you can afford it practice with what you are going to use (few can do this). Otherwise, buy cheap with cash.

Have fun with it and don't over think it.
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