Many, including those previously unconcerned with self-defense, can’t help but look at the goings-on in our nation and have great concern. Circumstances define focus, and if you are looking bleakly toward the future, you may be busy purchasing and setting aside certain commodities. One primary commodity is ammunition.

Choosing Ammunition for Survival

Most of us cannot afford to stock up on a lot of rounds of premium self-defense hollow-point expanding ammunition for our handguns and rifles. In fact, it might be counterproductive if you are trying to penetrate an aggressive individual’s protective cover to stop the immediate threat. In these situations, only Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) ammunition loaded in primary military rifle and pistol calibers — 5.56mm, .30 Carbine, 7.62x39mm, 7.62mm NATO, .30-06 (M1 Garand), 9mm Luger or .45 ACP will do.

What Makes FMJ Ammo Essential?

Early semi-automatic pistols and rifles of various calibers — .25 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP), .32 ACP, .380 ACP, .38 Super, 9mm, .45 ACP and a host of oddball calibers in between — required FMJ bullets to run reliably. The thin copper or alloy coating covered the actual lead bullet and engaged the rifling without leaving lead fouling behind. The jacketing also facilitated smoother feeding up the feed ramp into barrel.

Early hollow-point ammunition would not feed reliably, which is why FMJ ammo was a must for semi-automatic arms. It would take better-designed ammo and pistol feed ramps for hollow-points to run like FMJ ammo. (Winchester Silvertip hollow-points were one of the most reliable designs in the ‘80s and are still available today.)

Winchester Ammo: A Legacy of Reliability

But from a survival standpoint, FMJ is still superior, and some designs are better than others. One of those better designs is the Winchester M1152 9mm +P 115-grain FMJ-Flat Point (FP) Active Duty, which can serve as a combat or practice load.

M1152 Ballistics

The M1152’s 115-grain FMJ-FP bullet zips out of a 5-inch pistol barrel (such as the SIG Sauer M17) at 1,320 feet per second and delivers 445 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The M1152 round uses a plain brass case to load the 115-grain copper-jacketed FMJ-FN bullet, rather than nickel-plated cases. The stated muzzle velocity and energy are at the top end of the 9mm’s performance level and even pushes into .38 Super and .357 SIG territory.

In fact, this round’s ballistics exceed several .38 Super practice rounds by a significant amount. However, Wilson Combat had a couple of 115-grain .38 Super +P loads that exceeded the M1152 by 40 feet per second available, and Buffalo Bore has a 115-grain JHP load that zips out at 1,450 feet per second, depositing some 537 foot-pounds of energy in the target. That’s a good 25 to 75 feet per second faster than conventional .357 SIG JHP loadings.

Testing the Winchester FMJ at the Range

I decided to test the M1152 load on a clay block using a U.S. service auto. Sadly, I had gotten rid of my SIG M17 when I retired from law enforcement, so my Beretta M9 was used for launching instead. The Beretta M9 (civilian designation is the Model 92) is one of the all-time great combat pistols, having replaced the venerable Model 1911A1 .45 ACP as the primary military sidearm from 1985 until 2017 when it was replaced by the SIG Sauer M17. It operates smoothly, and in the 20 years I’ve owned my Beretta M9, I’ve not once had a malfunction.

Having shot plain round nose lead (RNL) .38 Special and 9mm FMJ round now ball before, I knew higher velocity 9mm loads could do the job and should, in theory, outperform an FMJ round nose ball round in a clay block shoot.

Setting up on my friend’s outdoor range, and avoiding the Killdeer birds that had made it their nesting area, I sighted in on the block. The round hit a bit off-center — high and to the right. The round entered the front of the block and blew out a 4.5-inch diameter opening where most of the impact energy was dumped. The cavity narrowed down to a width of 2.5 inches after 7 inches of travel through the block. The M1152 slug completely exited the 10-inch-long clay block without breaking up and was not recovered.

Winchester 9mm FMJ Ammo for Survival

I am sold on the Winchester 9mm 115-grain FMJ-FP as an excellent emergency survival round. It is a much better performer than 9mm FMJ ball ammo in terminal ballistics while retaining good penetration capabilities whether fired from a pistol or a carbine. However, I wouldn’t recommend it for conventional self-defense situations due to the chances of overpenetration.

Admittedly, I purchased my Winchester MHS 9mm M1152 FMJ-FP Ammo two years ago but hadn’t had a chance to review it until recently. While it is no longer available on the Winchester website, I was able to find a 100-round box of the M1152 Active Duty ammo at If you locate some M1152, buy it and don’t use it up for target practice past testing a few for functioning. If you can’t obtain any, try to find some FMJ-FP ammo from other makers. It may not perform as well as the M1152 ammo due to lower velocities but is likely to be better than any round-nose FMJ. And remember, a cache of 1,000 rounds of FMJ round-nose 9mm ammunition is better than 500 rounds of hollow-points!

In a world where preparedness is becoming increasingly important, having a reliable supply of ammunition is crucial. The Winchester MHS 9mm M1152 FMJ-FP ammo stands out as a top choice for those looking to ensure they have the best possible performance in survival situations. With its impressive ballistics and reliability, it is a wise investment for anyone serious about their personal safety and preparedness.