Review: Blazer 9mm Ammunition

Blazer 9mm ammunition box with Glock pistol

CCI is a branch of the Vista Outdoor Company that also owns Federal Cartridge Company and Speer. These are heavy hitters with an excellent reputation in the firearms world. CCI is best known for its success with first-class .22 rimfire ammunition, while the 9mm is simply awesome for range work.

Blazer ammunition box with two cartridges
If you do not reload, there is little point in using brass-cased ammunition for practice.

CCI Blazer ammunition was introduced in 1981. Blazer is a play on burner loads (loads intended for inexpensive practice, I guess), and the name fits these loads. There have been aluminum cartridges before, developed primarily for the military, so the blazer is nothing new. As an example, the legendary Warthog, or Thunderbolt tank buster, as it is variously known of Desert Storm fame, made use of 30mm aluminum case ammunition.

Certain jet attack aircraft could not have gotten off the ground with a load of brass cased 9mm ammunition. These aluminum cases were strong enough to withstand high pressure and feed well. The 9mm Blazer features an aluminum cartridge case with a Berdan primer. Berdan primers are reliable in many conditions but these cases are not easily reloadable.

The cartridge case has a protuberance in the case head that the Berdan primer ignites against. There are two flash holes. If you have ever inadvertently ran a Berdan cartridge case through a reloading die, you have broken a decapping pin.

The aluminum case isn’t recommended for reloading. It is cheaper than a brass cartridge case to manufacture though. Folks at CCI realized that more than three quarters of shooters do not reload. I would certainly agree. (I pick up a lot of range brass.)

The CCI Blazer line was intended as a low cost offering for those who do not reload. Much later, CCI introduced a Blazer brass option, but that is another story. The original aluminum case Blazer is affordable and useful. Watch for it on sale and you have a great option for training purposes.

I think I should stress that the aluminum used in the Blazer brass ammunition cartridge case is a high-grade aluminum of the type that is sometimes referred to as aircraft aluminum. It isn’t the type that is used in cheap lawn chairs. While Blazer isn’t cheaply made, it is affordable. The projectile is a full metal jacketed bullet in most loads. The powder combination is developed for reliability and a full powder burn. This type of care in manufacture results in a loading with excellent feed reliability.


Velocity 25 Yards 5-Shot Group
Kel Tec Carbine 1,266 fps 1.5 in.
CZ P 09 1,160 fps 2.45 in.
Beretta 92 1,144 fps 2.0 in.
Glock 34 1,175 fps 2.7 in.
Test From Archives
Glock 19 9mm 1,098 fps 3.5 in.

I have fired CCI Blazer loads in revolvers, self-loading pistols, and carbines with excellent results. In this report, I am concentrating on CCI Blazer 9mm. The 9mm caliber is represented by three bullet weights, 115-, 124- and 147-grain, respectively. These loads offer a choice for those wishing to use an inexpensive training load with the same point of impact on target as their service load.

Loaded Glock magazine with Blazer 9mm ammunition
Blazer’s aluminum-cased ammunition features berdan priming.

As an example, those using the Speer 115-grain Gold Dot, Federal 124-grain HST, or Federal 147-grain HST will have a service load with the same point of impact as these popular service loads. If you use any brand with the same bullet weight, the load’s point of impact and recoil will be the same as the service load. Blazer loads are not loaded light. Instead, they are built to service load specification. Over the past few decades, CCI Blazer loads have earned an excellent reputation for reliability. This is a credible training load with much to recommend.

I obtained a supply of CCI Blazer 115-grain 9mm for test purposes. I fired these loads in four firearms — Kel Tec Sub 2000 carbine, CZ P-09, Glock 34, and Beretta 92. I fired 100 cartridges in each of these. Some were fired as quickly as possible on the combat course. I also fired for absolute accuracy at a long 25 yards. There were no failures to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. Recoil impulse is similar to service loads and so is the point of impact. The CCI Blazer 9mm gets a clean bill of health.

Have you fired Blazer ammunition? How did it perform for you? Share your answers in the comment section.


About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (11)

  1. The aluminum cased ammunition is a terrible waste of money. I’ve had failure to eject in every auto 9mm I tried where brass feeds perfectly. I’ll never buy another box of aluminum cased Blazer 9mm again.

  2. I have fired almost 1000,oops rounds of Blazer 9mm aluminum case bullets in my Ruger American and have to say I have not had a flaw ,keep my pistol clean at all times when I can helps a great deal also.

  3. I have used Blazer aluminum in my AR carbine, but because of the tight tolerances in the chamber, I had many failures to eject and a stuck case that required the services of a gunsmith to remove.

    After that experience, I shoot only brass. However, my daughter has a DPMS kit gun and my son uses an AR of Vietnam vintage, and both are happy with the aluminum cases.

  4. Sorry for the typo’s. Other than the mis-spelling I made 2 mistakes. First I typed this on my phone. And second, I didn’t proof it.

    1. Thanks for cleaning up the typo’s. It looks like you also deleted all the Store names with the exception of of CTD. A little insecure are we ? Not necessarily directed toward you personally.

  5. I shoot more Blazer than any other type of ammo, by far. But it is the brass, not aluminum case. The aluminum is harder for me to find, and when I do find it, it costs more than the brass. An example, right now I could order the aluminum from CTD for 26 cents per round. I can also walk into a local store and purchase it for about the same. And that’s 119 grain. Another store has the Brass for 16 cents per round, for any grain you want. Lawman, my 2nd most used ammo, is the same price. It’s not hard for me to choose. If I could find the aluminum cheaper than the Brass, I would buy it.

    Which brings me to a question I have. Until recently, Lawman ammo was about $20/1000 higher than BB. When I try to compare the 2, I really can’t tell the difference between them. Have you ever tried to compare them ? If so, what are your thoughts?

    One more thing. I do think they are slightly underpowered when compared to the Gold Dots that I shoot.

    Thanks for the article.

  6. I agree w/you, but never see Blazer for less than some new brass cased ammo. Therefore, can’t see paying more for something which is supposed to be cheaper, but is going to cost me more.

  7. By happenstance, I fired some very old blazer ammo in 38 special today. It was fired in a gun made in 1981, the same year Blazer ammo hit the market. I am not sure when I bought it, but markings on the box showed it to be market clearance from a store that went out of business around 1982. I have no idea why I have not fired it, but it seems to have just fallen into the back of my ammo cabinet. It fired 100% and while I did not chrono it, recoil was similar to the Remington +P ammo I also fired. So, it is around 35 years old or so, and no issues. I have fired blazer in 9mm, 38, 357, 44 spec and 45 acp for decades and never a problem. I have their snake shot in 22, 22 mag, 9mm, 40 SW, 44 spec, 45 acp, and 45 Colt. It works great. The 44 Special is nuts expensive, about $40 for 50 rounds. And it is low velocity in my 2.5 inch 44 mag revolver, barely over 700 fps. However, while I reload, I do keep a box of those around for actual carry ammo when I choose to carry the 44 in town while walking the dogs or grandkids. Do not want full power 44 mag in the city park. I do reload about 20 calibers, but cheap ammo like the Blaser in 9mm, just makes the savings so small, I just do not reload 9mm. Good ammo, decent price and at least in my one box of ammo, lasts 35 years.

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