The following is part of a continuing series of articles intended to provide a starting point for those new to concealed carry. There is much to learn and great satisfaction to be had but figuring out where to begin can be daunting for newcomers. The intent of the series is to provide useful information for those beginning the transition to the concealed carry lifestyle.
Now that you’ve made the commitment to everyday carry (EDC), what ammunition will you load? Which EDC ammunition you go with is a personal choice influenced by a number of things.
Question # 1 – Reloads or Factory Ammo?
Many of us who shoot regularly reload our own ammunition. Reloading will cut ammunition costs by about half and is also fun and satisfying. In addition, reloading provides the opportunity to fine tune the rounds for optimal performance.
The downside to reloaded ammunition is quality. I’m extremely careful and try to be meticulous in my reloading and I still occasionally get a “high primer” which causes a misfire. This is mildly annoying at the range, a little more so if it happens during competition, but could be catastrophic should it occur during a self-defense incident.
Reloaded ammunition should not be used as your EDC ammunition. Reliability of high quality factory ammunition will tend to be much higher than that of reloads. It’s extremely rare (but not unheard of) to have misfires with high quality factory ammo. In addition, the ballistic qualities of factory ammunition are well known and documented. This could be important should you end up in court over a self-defense incident.
Question # 2 – Hollow Point or Ball Ammo?
Most instructors and people who are very experienced in concealed carry recommend hollow point bullets for self-defense applications. Most law enforcement agencies use hollow point ammunition. Your self-defense ammunition should be hollow point.
The goal in using a firearm for self-defense is to stop the threat as quickly as possible and hollow point ammunition is designed to do just that. The hollow point bullet is designed to mushroom and/or break up as it enters the body causing maximum damage. Ball ammo, the rounded bullets you probably use at the range, will tend to stay intact and cause less damage. In addition ball ammo is more prone to ricochet creating a greater danger to innocent bystanders.
- What brand? Many brands are available, choose one with which you are comfortable. Cost and availability are two concerns. Will the ammo work well in your gun? I currently use Hornady Critical Duty as my EDC load. This works for me. I used to use Hornady Critical Defense and have tried out Super Vel. All of these work fine but I tend to carry Critical Duty.
- Be sure your gun is happy with your ammo. I carry a Glock 19 and it works fine with just about any 9mm ammo. Some guns are more particular in their ammo so make sure the ammo you choose works reliably in your gun. Carry ammo tends to be more expensive, but it’s worth the cost to run at least 100 rounds through your gun to make sure the ammo works reliably.
- Rotate your ammo. I tend to train with my EDC gun once or twice a month so I’m regularly loading and unloading my carry rounds. Chambering a round is a somewhat violent experience for the round. Repeated chambering of the same round could loosen the bullet in the case potentially causing a malfunction. I rotate my rounds. When I unload my carry rounds, I take the round that was in the chamber and move it to the bottom of the magazine. By doing this I ensure that a round is never chambered more than two or three times. I also fire all the rounds in my carry magazine at least once a year. This probably isn’t necessary as ammo has a very long shelf life however, it makes me feel better to not carry ammo for more than one year.
Hopefully this was useful information and gave you some ideas as to where to start with your EDC ammo.
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©2020 Joseph T Drammissi