Ok.  After about 2 years of thoroughly testing almost every reasonable 9MM powder you can buy on the market, we have decided what the best "all around" 9MM Powder is.  It is VV N330.  One could argue that VV N340 is nearly identical, or super close, and thus both of them are the best.  N330, we think "barely" edges out N340, but yes, we give N340 2nd spot.  Read on to see why...

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Some "Premium" loads
Although, its not most accurate on these tests, overall, its way more accurate than commercial loads, and these tests are only basically, 3-4 shots, as first shot was not counted becuase its usually off.  After first, you can see shots start to hit same spot.  This is 15 yards.  This is merely using a Springfield XDM OSP with Venom Red dot, and this accuracy would be good from a $3000 match gun, as those are very small groups.  The 4 shots in the dime size, lower left from N340 is very good, of course, too.  Sport Pistol and N320 are TOP TIER, Tier 1 Pistol Powders, among the best you can use, period.  So I put them here for comparo.  But accuracy alone is not what makes N330 winner, as you can see, its great accuracy, comparable, but not stand out.
N330 Best of the BEST
Lets discuss why this powder is stand out in the 9MM world.  What makes a powder stand out and overall "best"?  Here is how we define "best", and this is no industry standard, this is just what we think, after basically using about 38 different powders in 9MM.  We have the basis now to discuss what makes a powder good for 9 MM.  Before we get into it, we just want to say, that one can "use" almost any powder for 9 MM and make it "work" all the way from N310, to E3, to Titewad, to AA#9, Alliant Steel, or even N110.  But the super super fast powders and the super slow powders in the range, although can work in 9 MM in "some" ways, they are not designed for it, and thus, are not recommended, at all.  This is why we only tested like 30+ different powders, because many could be used, but why? When you can use 30 that are better suited?  Here are the criteria we used to say what is the best:
  • Good velocity using 65 grain bullets to 147 grain bullets
  • Case fill:  Does it need to compress to load 65-147 grain bullets?  If so, how much?
  • Clean burning:  When using a suppressor, or without, how much residue does it leave or blow back at you?
  • Accuracy:  Can it equal or beat commercial ammo?
  • Pressure stable?  If I load a few tenths too much powder in, does it spike in pressure?
  • Can I make a mistake and double charge a load, is it dangerous to load? 
  • Cost
  • Metering
We don't care, and most don't care we would guess, about metering, because a lot of people "hand" meter, and charge 1 at a time, carefully.  If you do this, metering means nothing.

Reason #1 Velocity:  N330 Achieved 1800 FPS using 65 grain bullets, although there is no book data on this, we shot it many times, and although it was higher pressure, and +p+ without a doubt, it did not cause any issues with punctured primers, abnormally bulged cases or anything like that.  So this also checks the box as stable enough pressure wise, for us to feel fine about exceeding manufacturer load data.  That is just US, we 100% don't recommend it.  Since there is "no" load data, obviously, we had to make it up and work up.  Then moving on from 65 grain bullets, every single grain bullets from 90, 100, 115, 124, 125, 147, N330 can achieve "above average" velocity.   147 grain, using XDM full size, we achieved near 1050 FPS, and anything over 1000 FPS is good.  This would probably be in the +P category, as that was not 10% over max SAAMI load data.  Probably.  You might be thinking...but "many" other powders can do this feat as well.  Ramshot Silhouette, True Blue, CFE Pistol, to name a few, can do above average velocity from 65-147 grain.  Yes they can.  But they can't do other things on this list, N330 CAN. 
Reason #2: Case Fill.  N330 has perhaps the most ideal burn rate, and extruded powder kernel size, there is, PERIOD.  With any load, any bullet we have, from 65-147 grain, N330 up to MAX load data, or near +P+, into the +P range, does "not" require meaningful compression.  While most other powders do.  Ramshot True Blue, Silhouette, CFE Pistol, also, do not require meaningful compression....With any reasonable combination you try, N330 does not need much compression, if any, at all.  it works with "everything" we could find, and we tried a good 40+ different bullets in our shop.  Using a progressive press, when you pull the lever down to seat the bullet, and you have a MICROMETER Redding Competition, for the seater...lets without any compression the bullet seats at 1.100 inches.  "Meaningful compression" means that when you pull lever at same setting, it will not seat to 1.100, but rather several thousands higher, like 1.105 and up, would be meaningful.  So the micrometer die would require adjustment to hard compress the bullet down another .005 or 5 thousands, to get to 1.100.  N330 requires none of that we have found.  With most max charges or +P loads (we call +P) within about 10% over max book standard pressure as a guideline, not an absolute.  So for example, if book standard max is 5.0, then 5.5 would be generally where max +P would be.  Generally, not absolutely.  Remember that.  WE don't recommend going over max standard pressure book for anything.   
Reason #3: Clean Burning.  This is where N330 starts to run away with the title.  If you want to find out what powder is clean and what powder is not, its simple.  Get a suppressor and that will hugely exacerbate what is dirty and clean.  Dirty, means more than soot, its also UN-burned powder.  N330 burns nearly completely, and doesn't gunk up the gun at all.  Without suppressor, same, shoots clean, not a lot of black soot, or grime at all.  N320 is cleaner, we tested it, it is, but N320 or Sport Pistol cannot match N330 in velocity across all weights of 9MM bullet loads, not even close.
Reason #4:  Accuracy.  N330 is not the most accurate, but its more accurate than any commercial ammo from anywhere, we ever tested, and after you tune a load in with whatever you are using, I would call under 1" At 15 yards, WAY more accurate than needed.  Plenty!  From a service pistol xDM?  Not even a super match gun.  All you need.  Of course, there are more accurate powders.  N340 in "most" of our tests, barely edges out N330 in accuracy.  But in pistols, does .1-.3" even matter?  Still half the group size of most commercial ammo.
Reason #5:  Pressure Stable.   N330 is not a "slow" burning powder, like Accurate #7, or Ramshot True Blue, or Silhouette, or VV 3N37.  There is N340, N350, 3N37 and 3N38 all better choices for 9MM Major for example.  All better.  BUT, N330 CAN make major, using 5" barrel, and hit 160+PF.  That is way above book max, we don't recommend, but then again, so is every single MAJOR load.  So if you do 9MM Major, I recommend sticking with Silhouette, or True Blue.  Better.  You don't need me, you already know that.  We have done some real hot +p+ loads with N330 and noticed no pressure spike we could measure from brass or primer.  This is good.  We do NOT recommend you grab N330 and go for the velocity crown, as we already know you will fail, it cannot compete with others, such as 3N37, Power Pistol, Silhouette, True Blue, WAC, N350 to name a few.  But its stable enough for us to not worry about going into +P.  That is just us, our opinion.  We are not advocating you do the same.
Reason #1: Can I double charge?  Anything is possible, BUT, generally, most N330 loads fill the case more than half full, or close, so double charging would fill the case completely, or overflow the case, and you would have to massively, big EFFORT compress, to actually use that.  So we view N330 as in the "Safer" to use category, unlike Titegroup, which we hate.  Titegroup would be better if it was more bulky and filled the case more, but its like fine sand, and you CAN double charge using it...N330...very difficult...but so are all the VV powders.
Reason #2: Cost?  N330 is generally about $5-$8 more PER POUND, than competing powders.   We don't think there is much competition really, and think its in a class along with N340 by themselves.  Alliant Sport Pistol, is not as versatile, not as much velocity, BUT a very good powder. Accurate, clean, economical.  Also, BE86 would be right up there, but nowhere near as clean as N330 or Sport Pistol, especially using suppressor. 

This is our opinion after testing nearly everything, and re-testing, and re-testing, and over and over out of many guns. 

N330.  KING OF THE 9MM POWDERS.  Here is a ranking....of our personal favorites...top 6 probably...
  1. N330
  2. N340
  3. Sport Pistol
  4. N320
  5. Silhouette
  6. BE86 - probably...
Most overrated, internet hype powders, we don't like?
  1. Titegroup - Dirty, dangerous, and dirty.  Oh and it is filthy. 
  2. Power Pistol - too flashy, and other powders can do similar velocity
  3. VVN350 don't really understand the point of it.  Its more bulky than 3N37, but near same exact velocity and burn rate.  It seems pointless.  Other than that, its accurate, pretty clean, high velocity and works great.
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147 Grain Loads (15 yards)
Some +P, possibly +P+ and Possibly high end standard pressure (Maybe).  Every load here is slightly compressed, as 147 grain bullets in 9 MM even compress the 3.9 grains of Sport Pistol.  The N350 was by far compressed the most.  Compression was so much on the N350 that FPS spiked about ~80 FPS more on some shots.  These were Nosler 147 Grain JHP bullets, except middle one was XTP.  XTP takes OAL of 1.1, but the Nosler needs OAL of 1.080 because the nose is a lot more rounded, and not tapered quick enough. 

The N330 4.2 Nosler and the N330 4.5 XTP are good loads.  This is just an XDM pistol, so we think this is pretty dang accurate for 45 feet away, 10 shot groups.  First shot was marked, so you can see.   

N330 superior 9MM Powder folks.  As good as you can buy.  If Alliant would make a powder that is ~50 FPS more and about .4 or so grains more than Sport Pistol, that is the magic combination for 9MM, for best balance we think.  But wait....Alliant already has that.  it is called "Unique" and its just about generally .4 grains more and 50 FPS more than Sport Pistol.  The problem, we see, is that N330 is simply far cleaner.  But on the other side of the coin, if you compress the bullet, Unique compresses better.  I think cleaner is better being that both can be accurate in right combinations.
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