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Federal Champion 9mm Ammo Review: Range Ammo That'll Do

Federal Champion 9mm Ammo Review

Federal Champion ammunition isn’t comparable to Federal Premium or other high-dollar cartridges designed for performance. On the contrary, it’s designed for the exact opposite of that. It’s made to fire and hit targets. That’s it.

However, you can read plenty of ammo reviews about similar bullets, all with similar price tags. We’ll answer your most burning questions about whether Federal Champion 115-gr 9mm ammo is worth buying or if you should seek out other boxes.

Overall, it’s decent ammo, but it’s far from the best. There are some pros and cons about Federal Champion, and I’ll cover them all below.

You can pick up a box HERE or keep reading the sections below to decide which 9mm range ammo is best for your needs.

Federal Champion 9mm Overview

Federal Champion ammo is made by the same conglomerate that owns Blazer Brass and CCI ammo, Vista Outdoors. In fact, if you can’t find the 115-grain full metal jacket, the 115-grain Blazer Brass FMJ is nearly identical (and vice versa).

The company has stringent quality standards, even when being pushed to maximum production capacity. You aren’t likely to experience many malfunctions or duds with any line of Federal’s ammo.

Federal ammo produces all sorts of high-quality rounds for everything from personal defense to plinking, competition shooting, and hunting. The company also caters to a variety of calibers, from centerfire handgun ammo to rifle rounds and even rimfire cartridges.

Federal Ammunition is manufactured in Lewiston, Idaho. If you’ve heard that name before, it’s because that’s where Blazer Brass, CCI ammo, and Speer ammo are all manufactured. The plant seriously pushes out a lot of high-quality ammo and still manages to keep our shelves stocked.

The 115-grain 9mm FMJ-RN is a bullet that is designed for target shooting and training. Federal Champion ammo comes loaded in either brass or aluminum cases.

The Champion line is the most inexpensive FMJ ammo for 9mm handguns that the company offers. However, you can save even more going with the aluminum variation. Aside from potential cycling issues, the only drawback to the aluminum case is that it isn’t great for reloading (it’s possible but not practical).

Our Federal Champion 9mm Review

Federal Champion 9mm Ammo

If you’re like me, a day on the range is all about practice and efficiency. I want handgun ammo that cycles well, has no jams, is relatively accurate, and isn’t costly. Federal Champion ammunition is a cheaper option than other FMJs, and I haven’t had problems with it.

The 115-gr Federal Champion is a 9mm cartridge that fires with a muzzle velocity of 1,125 fps. For reference, that’s right in line with any 9mm FMJ ammo.

The Federal Champion 9mm ammo is a 115-grain full metal jacket cartridge with a round nose (FMJ-RN). As opposed to LRNs (lead round nose), these projectiles have a copper-alloy coating that’s designed to minimize lead-exposure risk in indoor ranges. Furthermore, it’s a copper-plated bullet. The jacket is thinner than traditional FMJs, and the lead core is completely encased in a copper-alloy jacket.

The Federal Champion 9mm Luger ammo uses high-quality brass cases that are reloadable and feeds well, too. Based on my experience, it performs as well as the Federal American Eagle 115-grain FMJs, but it’s a bit cheaper.

If you’re going to spend all day at an indoor range with strict lead exposure protocols, I highly recommend this cartridge. However, I should also mention that it doesn’t seem to be as accurate as the Federal American Eagle 115-grain FMJ. While talking to other shooters at the range, this isn’t just a me problem. Others have the same perception.

Finally, this 9mm Luger ammo performs really well. It’s excellent for reloading (if you’re looking for an investment), and it rarely fails to fire or malfunctions. There are still better options out there, but nothing severe enough to keep me from packing my range bag with it.

What is it good for?

First and foremost, Federal Champion ammunition is best for plinking. If you’re lucky enough to have a shooting range off your back porch, this is the ammo to keep in stock. It’s cheap and reliable, so it’s perfect for shooting Diet Pepsi cans on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Moreover, it’s pretty good for target practice and teaching first-time shooters how to handle a 9mm Luger handgun. The lower grain weight may feel a bit more snappy than heavier options, but I’d say that’s probably a good thing for novice shooters. It gives them an opportunity to feel the full recoil of the firearm and better handle it in defensive situations.

You can stockpile it, use it in most indoor ranges, and spend a few guilt-free hours just having fun. For about $10/box (depending on when you’re reading this), it’s decent ammo despite the low price. Make sure to check our bulk 9mm ammo page.


target shooting

Although I have some Federal Champion in the safe, I wouldn’t necessarily use Federal Champion to sight in my new Glock G46. Based on my experience, the ammo doesn’t have the same tight groupings and accuracy as Federal American Eagle.

If you’re going to range with a task in mind (other than teaching newbies how to fire a handgun or getting more familiar with the perceived recoil of yours), there are other options that are around the same price but a bit more practical.

Lastly, Federal Champion ammo isn’t home defense ammunition. I mean, it could be if you were in a jam (no one wants to get hit with a piece of copper-coated lead flying at over 1,000 feet per second). However, FMJs are basically hole punchers. If you’re looking for home defense ammo, stick with a hollow point or JHP (jacketed hollow point).

Pros & Cons


  • High-quality FMJs
  • Minimal malfunctions
  • Accessibility
  • Affordable
  • Reloadable brass cases


  • Other ammo has tighter groupings
  • Challenging to find online but often sold at Walmart
  • Other ammo options have better accuracy.


Federal Champion 9mm Cartridge Specifications


I touched on this a bit above, but there’s more than one version of the Federal Champion 9mm 115gr FMJ. They all perform the same and pass the same quality standards at the Idaho plant. However, there are some differences.

If you’re curious about what’s available, keep reading this section.

Federal Champion 115-grain Full Metal Jacket Round Nose - Brass

The more popular Federal Champion 9mm 115gr ammunition option is loaded in brass cases. Brass just tends to cycle better in more firearms than aluminum, and it’s reloadable. Of course, sometimes, all you can find is the brass version, too.

So, it has the same muzzle velocity, muzzle energy, and accuracy as the aluminum case ammunition, but it’s often more accessible than the aluminum option. Furthermore, the brass variation does cost a little bit more than aluminum (we’re talking pennies here). 

Federal Champion 115-grain Full Metal Jacket Round Nose - Aluminum

When we talk about cheap range ammo, it doesn’t get much cheaper than Aluminum or steel. If you aren’t into reloading your own cartridges, the Federal Champion aluminum 9mm FMJs with aluminum cases are a viable option. 

They’re cheaper to produce, and some firearms have feeding issues with them. However, I’ve never had a problem with aluminum cases. So, this is one that you can buy a 50-round box to test it, then buy more if it performs well.

Ballistics of Federal Champion 9mm Bullets

Federal Champion 9mm Ballistics table


If you’re like me, you’re always looking for good alternatives. We millennials tend to have ammo shortage anxiety. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of similar alternatives to Federal Champion ammo.

Fiocchi 9mm Range Dynamics FMJ - A bit higher muzzle velocity at 1,200 fps and reloadable brass cases.

Federal American Eagle 115-grain FMJ - Same muzzle velocity and same reloadable brass cases. This ammo, however, has a thicker copper-alloy coating than the Federal Champion ammunition. Therefore, it may perform differently, and the cost may be slightly higher.

Federal Champion 9mm Ammo

CCI Blazer 115-grain FMJ - 1,145 fps muzzle velocity, reloadable Blazer brass casings, and boxer primers. Similar in price to the Federal Champion 115-grain FMJs. It’s also made by the same parent company.

Winchester 115-grain FMJ (White Box) - If you love Winchester ammunition and want something priced similarly to the Federal Champion, the White Box will do. Most of us are already familiar with this ammunition, but it also has brass cases and performs extremely well.

Remington 115-grain FMJ - Finally, Remington also makes a comparable cartridge for the 9mm Luger. Similar to the other options above, it has a jacketed lead core and standard muzzle velocity. 

Parting Shots

Buying range ammo isn’t always easy. Sometimes, you can’t find it, and other times, you wind up with duds and ammunition that doesn’t cycle.

Fortunately, Federal Champion 9mm 115 gr ammo is one of the cheapest and highest-quality options you can find. It’s made in the USA, and it’s backed by Vista Outdoors.


Is the Federal Champion 9mm worth buying?

Absolutely. It’s great ammo and perfect for strict indoor ranges.

What is the range of Federal Champion 9mm ammo?

The Federal Champion 115-grain 9mm FMJ keeps a muzzle velocity of over 1,000 fps out to 75 yards. However, I wouldn’t try to push that. It’s best when used within 50 yards (like most 9mm Luger ammo).

What is the difference between Federal Champion and Federal Hi-Shok?

Federal Hi-Shok is a jacketed hollow point cartridge. Therefore, it’s pricier than the Champion. Also, the Hi-Shok is a self-defense cartridge, whereas the Champion is for target shooting.

Federal Champion 9mm Ammo

How do I know if the ammo has aluminum or brass cases?

You will see Aluminum or Brass on the ammo box. Check the box before purchasing if you prefer one over the other. Furthermore, aluminum cases will be grey in color while brass will be yellow/golden.

What Federal ammo is good for home defense?

If you came here looking for Federal home defense ammo, the Federal Premium HST 124-grain JHP is a better option. It’s a bit heavier but also designed to expand on impact.

Do law enforcement officers use Federal Champion ammo?

As I was browsing some ammo forums, I noticed there was a lot of confusion about Federal Champion and law enforcement. Law enforcement officers don’t carry FMJs (it’s just unethical, and that causes all sorts of problems).

Cassandra McBride
Written by
Cassandra McBride

Ammunition Reviews