CCI’s Blazer Brass 9mm: Consistent Performance

CCI is well known for its .22 caliber ammunition, among others. But did you realize that they also make many other calibers? Among them is the 9x19mm (also known as 9mm Luger). Let’s take a closer look at their Blazer Brass 9mm.


CCI was started back in the 1950s by Dick Speer (the brother of Vernon Speer, who founded Speer bullets) and Arvid Nelson. Previously, Dick Speer had worked as a machinist at Boeing Aircraft’s Seattle Plant.

With its headquarters in Lewiston, Idaho, It stands for Cascade Cartridges, Inc. The parent company, Vista Outdoor, is the largest manufacturer of ammunition in the United States. The name has become synonymous with high-quality ammunition and reloading components.

Of note, CCI also sells the Gold Dot line of bullets, which is wildly popular.


Back in 1986, there was an infamous shootout between two criminals and the FBI in Florida. In fact, it quickly became known as the “Miami FBI Shootout.” Two determined bank robbers named Platt and Matix were on a murder/robbery spree and were quite wanted by the authorities.

Several FBI agents found them, tailed them, and attempted to take them down in a residential neighborhood. The resulting gun battle was epic, with two agents being killed and five wounded. Both Platt and Matix were also killed in the exchange of gunfire.

The suspects were heavily armed, with weapons including a Ruger Mini-14. FBI agents had a mixture of revolvers, 9mm autos, and two 12-gauge shotguns.

To make a long story short, Platt was hit several times. One 9mm projectile stopped just short of reaching his heart and eventually caused his death. However, he still continued fighting for a time after this fatal wound.

Pointing Fingers

The FBI blamed the 9mm round as a “failure” and said it was because of the so-called failure of the bullet that the agents died. They began a quest for a newer, better round. They also declared that bullets needed to penetrate at least 12 inches to be considered effective at stopping bad guys. Overnight, the 9mm became Persona Non-Grata.

The whole thing wasn’t necessarily fair or accurate; any round could have failed to stop Platt, regardless of caliber. Nevertheless, the 9mm got a bad rap and when the .40 caliber S&W was introduced, agencies (and civilians) adopted it in droves. The 9mm was discarded like a red-headed stepchild.


Fast forward to the present day. Lo and behold, shortcomings with the .40 S&W were realized. Added recoil, wear and tear on weapons, and higher costs are now on the radar.

CCI offers stellar bullets through their Blazer Brass line!

You guessed it—we’ve come full circle, and the 9mm is, once again, in the good graces of many agencies. Yes, they are returning to the 9mm. It has less recoil, costs less, and the firearms last longer because of the lower recoil impulse. It’s also easier to control in rapid fire, again owing to that lower recoil impulse.

And with technology these days, the hollow point bullets in 9mm are pretty darn effective. The Prodigal Son has returned; the 9mm is once again in good graces.

Present Day

It seems that more 9mm ammunition is now being cranked out by companies. For us, that’s a good thing, because there’s more ammo floating around. And CCI is happy to oblige our needs!

I’m no stranger to CCI ammunition, having used it for decades in various calibers. I’ve long been a fan of their .22LR ammunition; it’s the gold standard by which all other .22 ammo is measured.

However, I’ve also enjoyed their 9mm ammunition as well. Their Blazer line of ammunition is very popular with many agencies for training, as it’s economical and reliable. I’ve used it for that very same reason.


CCI’s Blazer line is available in several calibers. The 9mm can be had in 115, 124, and 147-grain rounds. Today I’ll be reviewing the 124-grain FMJ load, which I have used in every 9mm pistol that I’ve either owned or reviewed.

Smith & Wesson CSX with CCI Blazer ammo on paper target
Nowadays, the 9mm is perhaps the most popular round for the new wave of micro-compact pistols. Seen here is the S&W CSX with CCI Blazer Brass 124 grain FMJ.

That would include:

  • Glock 17
  • Glock 19
  • Glock 19X
  • Glock 43
  • Glock 43X
  • H&K USP (and USP Compact)
  • Springfield Armory XDm (in fact, a few of them)
  • Springfield Armory XDe
  • S&W CSX
  • S&W 5903
  • Sig P228
  • Sig P226
  • Arex Delta X

And I’m certain there are several that I’m forgetting about! Suffice it to say, I have extensive experience with the Blazer line, having used it in training, practice, and competition. It has proven 100% reliable, and I’ve never had a failure of any sort with the ammunition, nor from any firearm while using this ammo. It’s performed exactly how I expect CCI ammunition to perform.

Interestingly, not all pistols will feed every type of ammunition that they are fed. It’s not unheard of for one pistol to have its favorite types of ammunition—even the same model pistol from the same manufacturer. All the pistols I used, however, liked Blazer ammo.

As an aside, I have friends who also use these rounds in their pistol caliber carbines (and their regular pistols), and they report the same—it works well and reliably all the time.

Glock 19X
My Glock 19X loves Blazer Brass ammo. I have trained with this pistol and used it in competition.


CCI states that they state that they use Boxer-type primers and primer pockets to make reloading easy.

CCI reports the muzzle velocity of FMJ 124 grain load is 1090 Feet Per Second. At 50 yards, the velocity is 1,019 FPS, and at 100 yards, velocity is 965 FPS. While this round doesn’t have screaming velocity, it’s not a slow one, either.

Unlike some other ammunition that can be found on the market, CCI arrives in its packages clean and polished. It looks good! I think good-looking ammo reflects pride from the manufacturer, which instills user confidence, as well.


While I’ve mentioned using these bullets for training, practice, and competition, there is one other aspect that I can think of. And that is defense.

S&W CSX shot group from 10 yards with CCI Blazer 9mm ammo
A group fired from the S&W CSX in rapid fire at 10 yards.

I’ll make no bones about it, I’d really, really rather not use a 9mm FMJ round for defensive purposes unless I was really in a jam. And if I’m ever using FMJ for defense, it truly means that I’m in dire straits. They tend to grossly over-penetrate. In fact, from 1990 until around 1998, the New York Police Department mandated that its officers carry 9mm FMJ rounds for duty use! Yes, you read that correctly…for duty use!

In 1995 and 1996, five people were hit by bullets fired by NYPD officers after those bullets had passed through suspects. In short, overpenetration caused injuries to bystanders. During that same time period, 17 police officers were also struck by bullets that had passed through suspects! We can see that, during this very short period of time, Full Metal Jacket ammo caused some chaos in the NYPD. And that’s not even taking into account the rest of the time period that these rounds were being used.

Obviously, FMJ ammunition is not the premier combat load that any of us should be choosing, instead opting for some form of hollow point ammo. Not only for safety but for stopping power.

The Bottom Line

The CCI Blazer line of ammo is clean and shoots great. Many agencies rely on it for training and practice, as do shooters around the country. Many use it for competition as well. Personally, it’s reliable enough that I’d depend on it for defensive purposes, other than the fact that it is FMJ. It is also accurate and consistent.

And now for the next best part: the price. As I write this, GunMag Warehouse sells this ammo at a great price that you’ll have a tough time beating! I recommend stocking up while the gettin’ is good.