Prvi Partizan Ammunition (PPU) Review: Great Ammo You've Never Used
Prvi Partizan ammo (PPU) is a name you’ve probably heard, but you may not know anything about the company and the products they produce, even though they’re one of the largest producers of ammunition on the planet.
They’ve grown so much in recent years that they’ve become the third-largest foreign manufacturer in the US ammo market, which is a heck of an achievement given the immense amount of competition out there.
Today, we will talk about everything Prvi Partizan, from their origins to their modern ammo production, and what you need to know if you’re thinking about buying a box or two (or twenty) of PPU-stamped rounds.
Prvi Partizan is the primary ammo supplier for the Serbian military and police, and they also supply a huge number of other European and Asian militaries and police forces as well. As you can probably imagine, most police departments and militaries test their ammo very thoroughly.
From our own experience, we’ve found Prvi Partizan to be just as good or better than any other “military-grade” ammo out there and more than sufficient for plinking, target shooting, or hunting. The vast majority of what they make is FMJ handgun ammo, and it’s good stuff.
They don’t really make a ton of what I would call “match-grade” ammo for the US market, but if you’re able to get your hands on their match ammo, I’d call it more than sufficient for competition and would use it happily.
Certainly, shooters in Serbia seem to enjoy it, so much so that PPU is the primary sponsor of the IPSC chapter there. 9x19 NATO, .223 Remington, and .308 Winchester/7.62 NATO are some of their biggest sellers, especially in NATO countries.
A lot of their higher-tier ammo is a “boat tail” projectile, so you’ll see listings for FMJBT (full-metal jacket boat-tail) and HPBT (hollow-point boat-tail). This design, popularized by Lapua, Norma, Hornady, and Sierra, increases the aerodynamic efficiency of the round and, thus, the accuracy.
Speaking of hollow points, I’ve also seen PPU’s jacketed hollow points outperform quite a few American manufacturers in ballistics gel testing. Not that I’ll name names here, but safe to say their defensive ammo meets American/FBI standards.
For just turning money into noise at the range and having a good time, target shooting, and training at close (under 250 yards) ranges, their ammo is hard to beat for the price. Their self-defense, match-grade, and hunting ammo all perform well if you can get your hands on it.
I actually have the antlers of a small 9-point whitetail I harvested with some of their .303 British soft-point ammo hanging on the wall of my parent's garage back home, so I can certainly attest that you can rely on that.
In fact, PPU is one of the only places you can get rounds for certain historical and oddball cartridges like the 8x56mmR, 7.92x33mm Kurtz, 7.65x53mm Argentine, and 8mm Lebel. They actually stock over 400 different cartridges, so chances are they have something for you.
Make no mistake; this isn’t military surplus-quality ammo either (not that I’m too good for milsurp ammo, it's just never up to modern standards). This is high-quality, brass-cased ammo that will compete with Remington, Winchester, and other major US manufacturers.
Also, PPU brass is great, so if you’re into reloading and like to save good brass for your own handloads, this is a great place to get your ammo.
For a more complete look at PPU ammunition and the offerings that are available, you can check out our full listing of Prvi Partizan ammo for what’s currently in stock.
When comparing ammo brands or looking at new ones, it's helpful to look at some big-picture pros and cons. Here are some things to consider about Prvi Partizan when making your choices.
- Non-corrosive ammo that meets or exceeds modern standards
- Extremely high output of NATO-standard and other common rounds (easy to find these in stock)
- A variety of projectile types are available
- Consistent velocity and reliable primers
- Typically very affordable
- One of the last producers of certain historic cartridges (8x56mmR, 7.92x33mm Kurtz, 7.65x53mm Argentine, 8mm Lebel, etc)
- Some match-grade (Sub-MOA)and other specialty offerings are not imported into the United States
- Lack of shotgun ammunition, pistol, and rifle ammo only
- No rimfire ammo
Prvi Partizan manufactures over 400 different cartridges, but unfortunately, not all of this great ammo is regularly available here in the United States. Here are some of the rounds that you can find reliably in stock.
- .223 Remington
- .243 Winchester
- 25 Auto
- .270 Winchester
- .30-06 Springfield
- .303 British
- .375 H&H
- .44 Remington Magnum
- 45 ACP (Defense Line)
- 5.56x45mm NATO (M193)
- 6.5x52 Carcano
- 7.62x51 NATO (M80)
- 7.62 mm Nagant
- 7mm Remington Magnum
- 9mm Luger
Prvi Partizan truly began in 1928 as the Weapons and Munitions Factory Uzice. During World War II, Resistance-run ammunition works operated by Tito’s Partizans helped supply ammunition to Allied forces and other resistance groups fighting against German occupation.
This group was known as Prvi Partizan Fabrika or "First Partisan Factory", a name that was kept after the end of the war. Throughout the Cold War, Prvi Partizan continued to produce ammunition which was eventually transformed into its current iteration in 1998.
Since then, PPU has become one the largest ammunition manufacturers in the world, supplying over 400 different rounds to countries around the world. They are a large NATO supplier and the third largest foreign supplier to the United States as well.
More recently, and on a tragic note, PPU experienced an industrial accident in 2009 that resulted in four explosions in the gunpowder section of the manufacturing facility, which killed seven and injured 15 more. As a result, the Serbian government declared the day as the National Day of Sorrow to honor the victims.
Despite this, PPU has continued in its commitment to making some of the best ammunition around, including some truly rare historical cartridges that you can’t get anywhere else unless you load them yourself.
Prvi Partisan (PPU) ammo is made at their massive facility just outside of Uzice, Serbia. They have one facility broken into three separate buildings and staffed by over 1000 people.
Yes, PPU ammo is very good for hunting. Prvi Partisan ammunition is used for hunting all over the world, for everything from small game to the Big Five in Africa.
Modern Prvi Partizan ammo is completely non-corrosive. Older, pre-1998 ammo may use corrosive primers (though this is not guaranteed). Take extra care with surplus ammo older than 25 years, but don’t worry about modern ammunition.
PPU is a name that many people here in the US may not be the most familiar with, but now you should now know plenty about this great manufacturer and its awesome history. Prvi Partizan Ammunition is a highly-respected manufacturer in the European market, and we’re happy that its US presence continues to grow.
If you’re like to know more about this great manufacturer, you can check out our customer's PPU ammunition reviews and our full selection of PPU ammo or read about some of our other favorite manufacturers like Hornady or Remington.