Now be prepared...you are going to get a bunch of replies that say what ever rounds work the best with you and your XD. To that I agree, so my suggestion would be to get several brands of ammo and take them to the range. Personally. I like Speer Gold Dot 147gr. JHPs and Federal Hydro-Shok 147gr. JHPs for self-defense. You could try Winchester XSTs too.
I make my own targets. I bought a pistol target from WalMart for 25 yards, took some measurements, and created it on AuotCAD.
For practice get the cheapest stuff you can find. The more ammo you can buy the more you can practice.
Try walmart for Blazer Brass 115gr 9mm for less than $5 per box of 50. I shoot a lot of it and never had any problems.
For defense you're really going to have to figure that one out on your own. 50 people might respond to your post with 50 different suggestions. It's just nuts.
I chose the Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P for my XD as defensive ammo. The gun likes it and that's good enough for me.
WWB or Blazer for targets and Speer gold dots for my .40 and PMC starfires for my 9mm and remington golden sabers for the .45. These are what I prefer after shooting numerous different brands.
As for targets I usually use the 25 yd slow fire targets from wally world although sometimes I print out a bunch of pictures of Bin Laden, Zarqawi, Jaque Chirac,Bill & Hill,etc, and shoot them up. I also occassionally will purchase some of the CCW qualification targets from the range and practice on those as well.
For target- cheaper is better. Wally-world wins in that respect.
For defense (carry)- The Federal 9BPLE (115 gr. +P+) is the most well documented 9mm cartridge, however in some states, +P+ ammo is restricted to Law Enforcement Only. The problem is, +P+ pressures are not regulated by SAAMI thus leaving the actual pressure up to ammo manufacturers to decide. SOME manufacturers artificially rate thier ammo as +P+ to restict it to LEO. That being said, some manufacturers also produce a +P ammo with the same velocities as +P+ ammo (above 1260fps). Almost ANY 115gr. round will perform equally as well as the 9BPLE provided that the velocity is above 1260fps with an expasion rate of 175% or more.
Acouple of my favs are CorBon 115gr JHP +P and Remington Golden Saber 115gr. +P. CorBon uses a special powder that gives a very small muzzle flash- great for night shooting so as to prevent temporary blindness. Both rounds have an estimated "One Shot Stop" of between 91% and 93% (the best OSS in 9mm is 93%) and have Power Factors of approximately 150 for the CorBon and 142 for the Remington.
For home defense- you would want a larger and slower round to prevent the round from travleing through walls. I keep a Para Ordinance LTC .45 loaded with 230gr. Golden Sabers in my nightstand.
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