Skip to main content

Are your Gun and Ammunition a Happy Marriage?

Sep 6th 2023

When was the last time you went to the range? How many rounds have you fired thru your gun? I can personally say that I am overdue at the range. I think a shooter should hit the range at least once a month to stay proficient. Range time is also critical to ensure proper functioning of your weapon(s) and ammunition. How many of us have purchased a used gun that had never been fired or fired one or two boxes of ammunition at most? Do not let that gun be your gun. Exceptions can be made for safe queens that have collector value or that you never intend to use for personal defense. All other guns, including spares, need to be tested for function and mated with a compatible personal defense round.

Have you fired 250 rounds of your selected personal defense load thru your weapon? A lot of shooters make the mistake of buying cheap, plinking ammo in bulk and buying a minimum of their personal defense load, if any at all. Different types of ammunition function differently in every weapon. Cheap ammo is fine for extended live fire but you should have a personal defense load for each of your weapons. Many experts recommend firing a minimum of 250 rounds of your personal defense load thru your weapon. I recommend purchasing a minimum of 250 rounds of a personal defense round and purchasing an additional 250 rounds after the initial test firing. I consider these recommendations the bare minimum. With the current restricted supply of ammunition I would recommend buying 500 or 1000 rounds of your personal defense load to ensure that your initial 250 test rounds can be replaced.

You should select a handgun personal defense load thru research and purchase a minimum of 250 rounds for testing. Shooting magazines and the internet have an abundance of ammunition test data. In my opinion, the bulk of the data is most useful in selecting the caliber and bullet weight that best suits your needs. For example, tests have shown that 9mm hollow point ammo performs best at 124gr versus 147gr but most personal defense loads have similar performance when compared in head to head testing.

The testing of personal defense ammunition is critical in handguns. Personal defense ammunition for handguns usually incorporates some type of hollow point bullet. The most critical problem with personal defense ammo in a handgun will be a cycling malfunction of a hollow point round. A cycling problem between a personal defense and a particular handgun needs to be discovered at the range not during a home invasion. This test needs to be done with each individual weapon. For example, if you have two Glock 17s you need to test fire 250 rounds thru each gun. Every gun is different and the reward of knowing you have a functioning handgun/personal defense round combo far out weights the cost.

The testing of ammunition is rifles can be just as critical as in handguns. The most common problem in rifles will be accuracy. A rifle will provide the greatest accuracy with a single, individual load. Depending upon the rifle, the difference may be minor or significant. The only way to test a loads accuracy in a particular rifle is thru test firing. The second most common problem in a rifle will be a failure to feed or failure to eject. Failure to feed issues are most often magazine related. Be sure to use rotate your magazines when test firing ammunition to test magazine functionality. While testing ammunition in an AR-15, I experienced mysterious failure to eject problems with a particular round. I could not duplicate with two other brands of ammunition. I tested the suspect ammunition in an Mini-14 and did not experience any issues.

I am by no means an arms expert. I just wanted to share thoughts and experiences. Drag your guns, magazines and ammunition to the range and find a compatible round for each weapon. Happy shooting and remember you can get all of your Ruger Mini accessories at RUGERMINI.COM.