If it’s power and power alone that you seek from your ammunition, then you don’t want 9mm loads in your carry weapon. Even the most powerful 9mm ammo isn’t going to pack as much punch as larger calibers can.

Personally, whenever we go to the wrong side of the tracks we like to bring along our rifle chambered for 950 JDJ. It may feel a little awkward asking a mugger to please stand by while we set up a benchrest, but that half pound bullet makes it all worthwhile. With its 38,685 ft lbs muzzle energy, the 950 JDJ packs about as much punch as the space shuttle does when it’s reentering the atmosphere.

But if you’d rather not do something so silly, 9mm is certainly a fine way to go. You can still enjoy a lot of power out of your conveniently sized pistol if you pick the right ammo. So uncork a bottle of 1945 Romanee-Conti, light up a Cohiba Behike, and open up a bag of salt and vinegar chips. We’re going to tell you about some of the most powerful 9mm rounds on the market.

Black Hills Ammunition 9mm +P 100 Grain HoneyBadger

Black Hills Honey Badger 9mm ammunition

Black Hills has an impressive clientele. Not only do all branches of the U.S. Military purchase the South Dakotan company’s fine products, but so do more than two dozen major firearm manufacturers including Beretta, Browning, Colt, Kimber, and Smith & Wesson.

In 2015 Black Hills introduced a revolutionary bullet that they had cooked up with their partner Lehigh Defense: the HoneyBadger. It’s named after the tenacious little brute made famous by one of the internet’s greatest viral videos ever. This 9mm +P round’s 100 grain bullet delivers a 1,250 fps muzzle velocity for 347 ft lbs of muzzle energy. However, it is its terminal effect that makes it so impressive. Machined from solid copper, the HoneyBadger is at once stable in flight and incapable of core/jacket separation for superior barrier penetration. As it drills through its target, the radial flutes machined into the HoneyBadger’s nose effectively scoop soft tissue up and jet it outward. That helps produce a wound cavity the company claims is comparable to that of a 5.56 NATO rifle. That’s about twice the diameter that a conventional expanding 0.355” bullet could muster!

The ammo runs run about 1.85 per round and we sell them at AmmoForSale.com.

Corbon 9mm +P 100 Grain PowR’Ball

Your assailant is going to feel like a lot of things have happened to him when he gets hit by a PowR’Ball. Winning the lottery won’t be one of them.

Corbon’s founder Peter Pi designed this 9mm +P round’s 100 grain bullet in 2004. It’s essentially a jacketed hollow point with a polymer ball set into its nose cavity. The ball itself is a nice feature for a semi-automatic pistol. Its sphericity promotes much smoother feeding out of a magazine than a traditional JHP’s blunt profile ever could. Its light weight also permits a dramatic 1,475 fps velocity out of a 4” barrel for 483 ft lbs muzzle energy.

When the PowR’Ball connects with a target, its polymer orb lets it penetrate several inches before it is entirely smashed down into its underlying V-shaped cavity. Such delayed expansion greatly increases the likelihood that the PowR’Ball will disperse the lion’s share of its energy in the same zone that vital organs share. The PowR’Ball’s ball is furthermore innately aerodynamic and protects the nose cavity from jamming with debris. That’s quite a potent combination of performance enhancing features for one little marble to provide!

Buffalo Bore Penetrator 9mm +P+ 124 Grain FMJ FN

Buffalo Bore doesn’t mess around. Founded by outdoorsman Tim Sundles in 1997, the Idaho-based manufacturer offers several cartridges that you’d be overjoyed to find in your gun if you ever got close enough to a grizzly to smell what he had for lunch. This 9mm round is a +P+, which means its loaded to so high a pressure that even SAAMI doesn’t have a standard for it.

This round’s 124 grain bullet packs an earnest wallop: 1,298 fps out of a Glock 19’s 4.02” barrel. That delivers a muzzle energy of 464 ft lbs. The bullet itself is a straightforward full metal jacket flat nose. Its inability to expand gives it a great advantage at shoring up in the depths where a cantankerous bear’s vital organs lie. If you’re not planning a hike through Jellystone Park, you can still make great use of such rounds by loading them behind two or three JHPs in your magazine. If your assailant runs for cover, then it had better be darn good cover if it’s to protect them from such a supersonic flurry of lead and copper.

Inceptor 9mm +P 65 Grain ARX

A subsidiary of Quantum Plastics, Inceptor Ammunition is making the bullets of the future. They make their injection molded ARX of a proprietary polymer-copper matrix, which without lead is exceptionally light for caliber. Case in point: This 9mm +P cartridge’s 65 grain bullet, which is less than half the weight of the heaviest commonly loaded 9mm projectiles. With so little bulk to it, such a bullet achieves a muzzle velocity of 1,695 fps. That’s a muzzle energy of 415 ft lbs.

The ARX doesn’t expand when it penetrates soft tissue. Rather, its uniquely designed grooves constrict, pressurize, and eject soft tissue outward according to a phenomenon known as the “Venturi Effect.” We may have been picking our nose during physics class (we’re just kidding — of course we never took physics class), but even we can comprehend just how much damage a bullet does when it’s laterally diverting the soft tissues it connects with at speeds up to double its own!