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Review: Blazer 9mm Ammunition

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.

Blazer 9mm ammunition box with Glock pistol

For a serious training program, Blazer 9mm makes sense.

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.


Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

View all articles by Bob Campbell

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