The following is from the 2020 edition of Ballistic’s Best Magazine. Inside, our experts rank the latest and greatest firearms and gear from the previous year. Our editors also hand out “Editors’ Selects” awards for specific categories outside of firearms, like the “Best Ammo of 2020” seen here. You’ll have to pick up a copy to see the rest of the winners, but we figured we’d give you a freebie here.
The Best New Ammo of 2020
Not all Ballistic Magazine readers know that the editors of this publication also produce other shooting and hunting-related titles including Tactical Life, Combat Handguns, PDW (Personal Defense World), PDW Concealed Carry Handguns, Guns Of The Old West, American Frontiersman and a pair of Gun Buyer’s Guides. To say we’re well-versed on all of the latest and greatest guns, weapons and related gear is an understatement. No, we’re not bragging. What we’re saying is the following Editors’ Selects winners are based on a lot of actual hands-on testing by the editors and dozens of our expert content creators. Here’s a look at the best ammo of 2020.
Best Hunting Ammo — SIG Sauer Elite Hunter Tipped
In last year’s Ballistic’s Best Editors’ Selects, SIG Sauer won the “Most Diverse Manufacturer” title, partly because of its successful ammo line. This year, Sig Sauer gets the nod for Best Hunting Ammo with its launch of Elite Hunter Tipped. This new line seems a perfect fit for SIG’s new Cross bolt-action rifle platform. We’ve yet to drop game with it, but we have shot it at the Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous event. It’s accurate as advertised.
Built for accuracy and top terminal ballistics, the rounds feature a translucent yellow tip. It’s designed to increase BC, improve terminal performance and aid in reliable chambering. The lead-core bullet provides double-diameter expansion you can count on every shot. In fact, earlier this year, Ballistic Magazine content creator Richard Mann was able to put down African animals up to the size of kudu using Elite Hunter Tipped 6.5 Creedmoor. Keep on killing it, SIG! For even more info, please visit sigsauer.com.
Best Shotgun Ammo — Federal Force X2
We heard whispers of the Federal Force X2 at our 2019 Rendezvous event. We all were intrigued by the concept and couldn’t wait to go hands-on with it. It arrived just in time for 2020. The Force X2 is a 12-gauge, 2¾-inch, nine-pellet segmenting buckshot. Its nine copper-plated 00 FX2 buckshot pellets are engineered to split into two equally sized pieces upon impact. This creates up to 18 wound channels, improves the transfer of energy from the payload to the target and minimizes the potential for overpenetration, reducing the risk to bystanders.
Force X2 is also loaded for more manageable recoil; this allows the shooter to stay on target for quicker follow-ups and better accuracy in self-defense situations. For even more info, please visit federalpremium.com.
Best Handgun Ammo — Federal Practice & Defend Packs
Practice ammo and defensive ammo have always been considered two distinct categories. And for the longest time, that meant two different shooting experiences—especially with handguns. Even if you tried to match the bullet weights, you’d still notice more recoil with the self-defense rounds, for example, or variations in velocity or point of impact. Trying to find training rounds that would match, or come as close as possible, to your defensive rounds was always a nightmare. We know, as we’ve spent a ton of time and money on this particular quest. Thankfully, Federal Premium has an answer.
Federal’s new Practice & Defend ammo packs (available in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP) take all of the guesswork out of matching your training and defensive rounds. Each pack includes 50 personal-defense HST rounds and 50 Syntech Training Match rounds. Federal designed both loads to produce identical velocities, trajectories and points of impact. So take the guesswork out of your life and try Federal’s Practice & Defend ammo packs for your favorite carry gun. They’re quite affordable, too. For even more info, please visit federalpremium.com.
Also, if you want to see all of the official winners, grab a copy of Ballistic’s Best 2020. Both print and digital subs are available now at OutdoorGroupStore.com.