Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Ammo Solutions

There's a good article up at The Firearm Blog, talking about folks who regularly carry concealed weapons, and the choices they make concerning what they carry,  Go read the whole thing.  It's worth a few minutes.  He breaks down the "classes" of concealed-carry folks into three classes of people

1.  The tactical instructor, or dedicated concealed carry enthusiast.  This person shoots regularly, spends a measurable portion of his/her income on equipment, ammunition, and training.  He estimates that this person comprises 10% of CCW holders.

2.  The average citizen, John or Jane Smith.  This person takes the class, gets the license, and tries to stay current on equipment and range time.  They might get to the range twice a year, They're intelligent, raising a family, working a job, and trying to keep it all together.  They pay attention to the law, and try to stay current on the ever-changing legal regime that we live in.  This portion of the CCW populaiton is about 80%.

3.  The Borderline Ignorant Concealed Carrier.  This person went to one class, bought a gun and a box of ammo.  He or she took the class, and that's it.  For whatever reason, this person moves mentally away from keeping current on the law, and may be careless or even dangerous in their gun-handling skills.  Hopefully, this segment occupies less than 10% of the sample.

After defining the population, (and I think that his assumptions on the population are valid, even if we disagree with the precise percentages), he morphs into equipment/ammo choices.  He brings out the old tropes of revolver vs semi-auto, and practice ammo vs "self-defense" ammo.  THen he talks about the practice of some folks who keep a magazine of "self-defense" ammo and runs FMJ at the range trips, with the added problem of bullet set-back when a single cartridge is chambered repeatedly.

It's a pretty good article, and then he asks a question for which he never posits an answer:
When buying a new carry gun, you purchase a couple hundred rounds of FMJ, and then that box of 25 “Self-Defense” ammunition. And for what I ask?
My answer is simple:  Because that's the current state of affairs.  In 1986, the Miami Shootout happened, where FBI agents were pitted against two violent suspects and the resulting carnage changed the way we look at gunfights.   For better or worse, the FBI began conducting tests, publishing results, and millions of reams of paper (and billionsof electronic pixels) have since been used to debate the question.

When I say everything changed, I mean everything.  Even the .40 SW cartridge was designed as a direct result of the lessons learned after that shootout.  Law enforcement agencies began adopting semi-auto pistols, ammo companies started designing better bullets.  Premium lines of self-defense ammo came into production.

Today, it's common practice to have two styles of ammo.  Good, hot self-defense ammo, and reasonably priced range ammo.  The practice is what it is.  Personally, I understand the logic of shooting good ammo and once a year or so, shooting the self-defense ammo, and buying fresh loads.  That's good practice, but for that great middle ground of shooters, the average J. Smith, they might have forgotten to replenish their supply.  The ammo in their gun might be two, three, or five years old.  That will probably never be a problem.  Good ammo normally will last for several decades before deteriorating.  I've shot ammo that was fifty years old, with nary a problem.

The simple truth is that the vast majority of CCW holders will go their whole lives with never the opportunity to use their weapons in a self-defense hooting, and for that I am mightily happy.  And, frankly, I'd rather have ten-thousand good, honest, law-abiding citizens carrying whatever they carry, regardless of what brand/caliber/action type/ or brand of ammo they carry.  That sure knowledge makes the criminals nervous.

God forbid that you're ever in a fight for your life, but in that rare circumstance, the record will probably reflect that the gun and ammo you have with you is better than the one you left at home.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go reload some range ammo.


Old NFO said...

I make it a point every time I go to the range to shoot at least 10 rounds of self-defense ammo to MAKE myself cycle through the ready ammo and replace it regularly. I also always end the session with .22 to make sure I'm not inducing bad habits (like flinching)...

JayNola said...

I'm trying to get to the range at least once a month. I've managed 6 months running. I empty my carry mag, drawing from concealment but not rushing, and then run at least 50 target rounds thru. I'm not anything better than a #2 but I'm trying to not be a threat to myself or others.

Joe Mama said...

One reason to run "self defense" only is to ensure your firearm reliably cycles it. Two hundred rounds without a glitch is a common bogey.

Another reason is to avoid ammo mix-ups. Still, getting hit with a FMJ would not be a picnic for the bad guy.

One guy I know only shoots Gold Dots, his carry choice. He burns through a lot of ammo because he shoots IDPA. He does not have a separate ammo for IDPA or carry. The only reason he can afford to do that is because he reloads. Factory "combat" ammo runs about a $1 per round. Home rolled is closer to thirty cents each.