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Old December 25, 2014, 10:42 PM   #1
Onward Allusion
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Practicing with high performance ammo

In reading a few threads and it sounds to me that the majority of concealed carriers do not practice often or practice with the same ammo they carry in their CC weapon.

#1 - If you are a concealed carrier, how often do you practice with your CC weapon or just practice - period? This answer here will probably be skewed due to it being presented on this site.

#2 - If you do practice do you use SD ammo? How many rounds and how often?

Personally, I rotate carry pieces and practice with mostly range/target ammo about twice a month. However, I also generally shoot a box of SD ammo during my range time. Now, my SD ammo isn't the $1.00 - $1.50 per round stuff. It's usually Fiocchi JHP's or Federal Hi Shok & Hydra Shok. Definitely not the latest technology but still SD-class ammo.

Just wondering what everyone else here does.
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Old December 25, 2014, 10:57 PM   #2
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I shoot once or twice a week. 300-400 rounds on average. Mostly my reloads, which are loaded pretty close to what I carry. Not quite as hot, but close enough you really dont notice the difference in shooting them.

I have duplicates of what I carry and rotate through them. I shoot and switch them out every couple of months or so, including the ammo in them.

I also have a couple of duplicates I shoot regularly in practice. All of them are the same models and box stock guns, with the only thing added being night sights on the guns that didnt come with them.
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Old December 25, 2014, 11:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Just wondering what everyone else here does.
I have NEVER believed in using anything other than SD ammo. My personal feeling is that it develops very bad habits on trigger control and practiced accuracy. To me it makes no sense to practice with one ammo and then rely on another for my life or my families. But that is just me and I do reload, so all my ammo is made specifically for accuracy out of the gun(s) I carry.

Since range time is precious to me compared to all the other requirements placed on me by life. I feel the time should be best spent doing what I need to do to stay safe.

Just my opinion, stay safe and shoot straight.
Jim
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Old December 25, 2014, 11:49 PM   #4
AK103K
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I havent found that my reloads shoot any different than what I carry in the gun, especially when shot realistically. POA and POI are the same for the most part. Even when deliberately trying to shoot groups, I really dont see much of a difference.

I think the important thing is to practice as much as you can, as often as you can, and as realistically as you can, and with the emphasis on "realistic". That includes live fire, dry fire, Airsoft, etc.

You dont have to shoot the expensive stuff to get good practice in. If what youre using is similar to what you plan on using, I really dont see youre going to have any troubles.

Now if youre carrying hot 357MAGs, and practicing with .38 wadcutters, then you might want to reconsider.
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Old December 26, 2014, 01:09 AM   #5
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I strongly suggest doing at least some practice with the ammo you plan to carry. That prevents two problems. First, if you practice only with low power ammo you could get a surprise when the hot stuff goes off when you use it for real (this applies more to revolvers than to autos), and two, you will know if your gun will work OK with the "good stuff" (this applies more to auto pistols than revolvers). Some folks have found out that saving the good ammo for a time of need was the wrong approach when the good ammo didn't work in time of need.

FWIW, I oppose the idea of "rotating" carry guns unless the guns are of the same type and action. I have heard folks insist that they know from "muscle memory" exactly what gun is in their hand and would never ever make a mistake. Maybe, but I wouldn't want to have to figure out where the safety is when bullets are flying about.

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Old December 26, 2014, 02:00 AM   #6
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First, if you practice only with low power ammo you could get a surprise when the hot stuff goes off when you use it for real (this applies more to revolvers than to autos), and two, you will know if your gun will work OK with the "good stuff" (this applies more to auto pistols than revolvers). Some folks have found out that saving the good ammo for a time of need was the wrong approach when the good ammo didn't work in time of need.

9mm El-cheapo range ammo is typically 115gr and loaded pretty light, and feels (and sounds!) nothing like the premium SD offerings out there, especially when fired out of a small, short barreled carry piece ..... not really good at all for "practice" ......

While I do not advocate shooting the dollar-a-pop premium stuff for practice (if you could afford to do that, just hire a bodyguard!), I do advocate reloading ..... you can roll your own to whatever power level you wish, with whatever bullet weight and style, even the same bullets that your carry ammo uses ..... buy them in bulk and they don't hurt the wallet near as much.

Quote:
FWIW, I oppose the idea of "rotating" carry guns unless the guns are of the same type and action. I have heard folks insist that they know from "muscle memory" exactly what gun is in their hand and would never ever make a mistake. Maybe, but I wouldn't want to have to figure out where the safety is when bullets are flying about.
+1. Rotating guns means your "muscle memory" must make a decision, and muscles are really bad at that stuff ..... deeply ingrained reflexes are tough (and expensive!) to instill, and hard to change once attained. Mixing them .... might not be good ....... IIRC, a Mr. Tex Grebner got his trigger finger trained to push the retention relase button on a certain holster while using a Glock ..... then switched to a 1911 and a different holster and put a hole in his thigh when his finger was looking for a button that was not there .....
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Old December 26, 2014, 06:34 AM   #7
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I reload ammo identical(same bullet, same velocity, same point of impact, same recoil) to what I carry for realistic practice.
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Old December 26, 2014, 01:49 PM   #8
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If you pick out your defense ammo first, and sight in for it, then its a good idea to find a cheaper ammo that hits the target in the same place for practice, unless money is no object. As long as your practice ammo zeros the same place as your defense ammo, I can't see the value in doubling the cost of your range sessions, or cutting the number of them in half.
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Old December 26, 2014, 02:35 PM   #9
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Not practicing with your carry piece and ammo is like practicing for the Indy 500 without driving fast.
You don't need the dollar-a-pop premium stuff for carrying either. Even a 148 grain HBWC opens to around .60 calibre upon impact. However, like AK103K says, if you go from one of those to a hot .357, you won't hit what you're shooting at anyway and might as well just give the criminal your wallet.
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Old December 26, 2014, 05:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
then its a good idea to find a cheaper ammo that hits the target in the same place for practice, unless money is no object.
It doesn't work that way, there is a reason why the ammo is cheaper. Not all ammo is the same. Practice with what you are going to carry all the time.

As for money, I guess it would be cheaper to practice with your SD ammo then a $200,000 medical & surgical bill or a $10,000 funeral.

Stay safe as to shooting straight, use you SD Ammo.
Jim

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Old December 26, 2014, 05:46 PM   #11
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It's important to get some regular practice with your defense load. You need to be sure you know how it performs in your firearm and you need to be aware of how it affects your shooting performance.

I think it's not necessary (and probably not practical for most of us) to practice exclusively with our self-defense loading. The reason I say that is because I have noted (and it is generally accepted) that .22LR and even dryfire practice significantly improves shooting performance. Given that there's very little recoil when shooting .22LR and no recoil at all when dryfiring, it would seem that even although it may not be ideal, one needn't do all of one's practice with ammo that recoils identically to their self-defense loading.

If ammo cost, wear and tear on the gun and on the shooter are no concern, then practicing with full-power self-defense loads all the time probably does offer some benefits.
Quote:
As for money, I guess it would be cheaper to practice with your SD ammo then a $200,000 medical & surgical bill or a $10,000 funeral.
We all weigh the cost of serious injury or death against more trivial things on a daily basis. I choose to live in a different county from my workplace in spite of the fact that it exposes me to significantly more chance of serious injury or death than if I lived 5 minutes from work.

As a society, we tolerate 70 and even 80+ mph speed limits in the name of convenience even though we know that these carry with them significant cost in human life and human suffering. People buy trampolines and put in swimming pools even though those things carry with them the chance of serious injury or death. People choose to drink recreationally although there are many alcohol related injuries and deaths annually.

It's all about finding a balance. The idea that any expense is acceptable when weighed against the chance of injury or death simply doesn't work in the real world. The "If it saves one child" argument is a variant of this argument in that it attempts to make a point by explicitly weighing human life against more mundane concerns. Superficially, it can be quite compelling--even jarring to consider the implications because we don't like to think about things in those terms. Upon more careful examination, it becomes apparent that every day, all of us weigh money, convenience and even recreation against the risk of serious injury or death to ourselves and others.
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Old December 26, 2014, 06:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jim243
...It doesn't work that way, there is a reason why the ammo is cheaper. Not all ammo is the same. Practice with what you are going to carry all the time....
I've never seen any appreciable difference, for the same bullet weight at comparable muzzle velocities, between FMJ practice ammunition and self defense JHP ammunition.
  1. Recoil energy is a function of --

    1. the mass of the ejecta (bullet and propellant gases);

    2. the velocity of the ejecta; and

    3. the mass of the gun.

  2. Trajectory is a function of --

    1. bullet mass,

    2. velocity, and

    3. ballistic coefficient.

      • Using this ballistic calculator, we can calculate, for example, the difference in trajectory between, for example, a Speer Gold Dot 230 grain JHP in .45 caliber at a muzzle velocity of 890 fps with a Speer Lawman TMJ in .45 caliber at a muzzle velocity of 845 fps.



      • There is no significant difference in trajectory until beyond normal handgun distances.



Some practice with one's defensive ammunition is an excellent idea. But the bulk of one's practice may productively be done with ballistically similar commercial target ammunition or ballistically similar handloads. And of course one should be shooting enough of one's defensive ammunition to be sure of reliable function.
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Old December 26, 2014, 08:21 PM   #13
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3 times per month. ...800 to 1000 rounds (got to buy a Dillon). I reload so I mimic my factory loads.
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Old December 26, 2014, 11:00 PM   #14
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Every two weeks I shoot about 20-30 rounds through each of my 4 main personal defense handguns (3 CCW and the field carry revolver) at 10 yards. Once a month I also take the Desert Eagle with me and shoot about 30 rounds at 50-75 yards.

I use reloaded rounds that replicate pretty much the factory rounds I carry. My carry handguns are 9mm, .357 magnum and .44 magnum. The field handgun is a Desert Eagle in .357 magnum with a ten inch barrel.

So I shoot about 200-300 rounds of ammunition I reload each month, same bullet weight at pretty much the same chronographed velocity as the ammunition I buy to use when I carry.

A decade ago I shot that much every week. Back then I competed in 3 gun matches at the local club. I am older now and have concluded I really do not need to shoot one ragged hole in a personal defense situation. I guess I am older, slower, and more mellow. I am content with a few hundred rounds down range every month.
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Old December 26, 2014, 11:32 PM   #15
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I mostly practice with .38s in my GP100 4", but every once in a while I make sure to run a few cylinders of full house 125 grain .357 magnums just to make sure I can handle the recoil and muzzle recovery.
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Old December 27, 2014, 12:42 AM   #16
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I've never seen any appreciable difference,
You eventually do not reload, there was and is a world of differences between brands and what the same mfg charges for type A and type B ammo. I don't doubt that you may think it is just a marketing ploy and nothing to do with quality control and testing they do on their own ammo or how it is made.

It was the single most important reason I got into reloading to start with 10 years ago after shooting for over 50 years, nothing to do with saving money, it would have been cheaper for me to purchase commercial ammo than to make my own.

Just for you information (FYI), I am not saying that anyone has to use the most expensive ammo for practice, but "that they should use the SAME ammo for practice that they keep in their SD gun when they walk the street.

Nothing to do with cost, but a lot to do with practicing with what you will be relying on.

Jim
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Old December 27, 2014, 01:01 AM   #17
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FWIW. ..I try to mimic factory loads but realize I don't have the same materials and equipment. I try to match bullets with same brand cases and a powder that gets me in the same range for apeed. Some of my hand loads have been more accurate, but I stick to carrying factory. I shoot roughly 50 factory rounds per month. I have put thousands of factory loads thru both of my main carry weapons but I always check them for function when I get a new shipment.

I had a bad experience with not proofing my first weapon. Don't want to repeat that ever so I won't carry a gun til I am past 500 rounds of factory and a bunch more general reloads.
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Old December 27, 2014, 08:00 AM   #18
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Since getting a killer deal on several boxes a couple years back I carry 147g +p Ranger T's for SD.
I put a couple boxes through my gun when I first got it, and shoot off a mag from time to time, but not often.
I practice with: Winchester, Federal, and sometimes Tula 115g FMJ. Whatever has the lowest cost/round at WalMart on a given day.
If I'm being honest, and admit that I no longer shoot what I used to, I'd say on average I go through maybe 100 rounds a week.
At the distances I shoot (10 to 25yds) there's no significant difference in POI.
There is some difference, but the +/- an inch or so of elevation is barely noticeable when shooting COM from behind cover or on the move.

Granted, the SD stuff probably groups better, but I haven't shot enough of it for groups to be able to quantify any difference.

I've fired enough of the SD stuff to know it functions reliably in my gun, and to realize that it's not "enough different" from my practice stuff to worry about being overwhelmed by recoil in an adrenaline fueled emergency.

I assume the reason for the price difference is the bullet it's self and more importantly the level of QC.
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Old December 27, 2014, 09:26 AM   #19
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It was the single most important reason I got into reloading to start with 10 years ago after shooting for over 50 years, nothing to do with saving money, it would have been cheaper for me to purchase commercial ammo than to make my own.
Theres no doubt, you dont save money reloading, I know I dont. You just shoot about twice or more for the same money.

I dont know how youre figuring its cheaper to buy commercial ammo though. Thats not making any sense to me.

I dont normally buy "by the box" at a local shop or Walmart, so that price to me, is on the high end of things, and usually about double what a box "by the case" costs, which when I do buy loaded ammo, is how I buy it. My reloads, have historically, cost me right around half what I would pay for the "by the case" box, and often a tad less. Im paying about $6-6.50 a box for the 9mm load Im using.

Quote:
Just for you information (FYI), I am not saying that anyone has to use the most expensive ammo for practice, but "that they should use the SAME ammo for practice that they keep in their SD gun when they walk the street.
So from this, Im gathering you must be carrying your reloads in your carry gun, is that right?

If so, I have to ask, since youre betting your life on it, what vetting of that ammo, have you done, to prove its comparable in performance, to the better commercial loads on the market, that have some credentials and set a baseline for what they are used for? In other words, how do you know its going to work/perform, on something other than paper?

I understand what your saying about carrying what you practice with, and to a point I agree. Since you reload, its something that is usually very easily replicated, once you know that the load you want to carry in your gun, actually works in it, and youre comfortable with it. What you load, doesnt have to be the "exact" load, but something similar enough, that the gun responds similarly when shot, and the POA/POI are close.

If you dont reload, its still not too hard to do the above, but its going to cost you about twice as much (assuming you buy by the case, and not by the box), or youre going to be shooting about half of what you would if you were reloading.

I seriously doubt, too many people are getting any realistic practice in using what they normally carry in the their gun, unless they are very well off, or someone else is paying for the ammo, especially if you consider quantities that are necessary for somewhat realistic practice.
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Old December 27, 2014, 12:36 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim243
Quote:
I've never seen any appreciable difference,
You eventually do not reload, there was and is a world of differences between brands and what the same mfg charges for type A and type B ammo. I don't doubt that you may think it is just a marketing ploy and nothing to do with quality control and testing they do on their own ammo or how it is made....
Actually, I did reload a good deal when I was actively competing and shooting several thousand rounds a month in practice and competition. And while there can be differences, I stand by my comment that those difference are not appreciable among ballistically comparable examples of a given cartridge (i. e., same bullet mass with comparable ballistic coefficients, and having comparable muzzle velocities). That is a matter of physics.

There are small difference arising from such things as the quality and consistency of components (e. g., the symmetry and homogeneity of the bullets) and quality control standards. Such difference will manifest themselves at extended ranges or high precision shooting with especially accurate guns. They can therefore matter in hunting application or competition demanding the greatest precision.

But for the purposes of practice for self defense applications, general purpose ammunition from reputable manufacturers (or quality handloads) will perform sufficiently similarly to ballistically comparable self defense ammunition to be suitable for self defense practice. The .45 ACP Speer GDHP 230 grain and the .45 ACP Speer Lawman TMJ 230 grain loads will have comparable recoil and shoot to comparable points of impact (out to about 30 yards). The GDHPs might be expected to group a little better, but the difference will be insignificant for the application.

Of course I'd avoid, and have always avoided, "gun show garage handloads." Those are another matter entirely.
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Old December 27, 2014, 01:05 PM   #21
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I load my own so I shoot what I load. I like to shoot, so I shoot a lot by the standard of most.

I shoot what I carry in most of my carry guns. My 9mm Makarov gets loaded with steel cased FMJ for practice, and carry. I try when the weather permits to go shooting at least one day a week. I go no less than 2 times a month. My range bag is way lighter on the trip out when I leave.

I reload my range ammo as close as I can get to my carry ammo. The excepting factor is my .45 ACP as I practice with home cast lead bullets. For carry ammo practice with that one I shoot one magazine a month of carry ammo duplicate ammo. (Loaded with same bullet, at a velocity as close to the factory ammo as I can get safely.) The thing is they feel the same. They hit to point of aim, and feed reliably.
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Old December 27, 2014, 01:59 PM   #22
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I rotate shooting my "ready" revolvers twice a month. A normal session will use 100 - 150 rounds of ammo.
I don't have any practice ammo, everything I shoot is full charge "ready" ammo. Much of the above is high performance reloads. I only carry factory ammo for S/D. God forbid I ever have to use a weapon. Yet if I do, I don't want to give any attorney one more thing to look at.
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Old December 27, 2014, 03:31 PM   #23
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Actually, I did reload a good deal when I was actively competing and shooting several thousand rounds a month in practice and competition. And while there can be differences, I stand by my comment that those difference are not appreciable among ballistically comparable examples of a given cartridge (i. e., same bullet mass with comparable ballistic coefficients, and having comparable muzzle velocities). That is a matter of physics.
While I doubt that ballistic coefficient is a significant factor at self defense distances, keeping the same bullet weight and velocity for practice ammo would make sense ..... similar recoil being the most significant factor.
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Old December 27, 2014, 04:41 PM   #24
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Of course I'd avoid, and have always avoided, "gun show garage handloads." Those are another matter entirely.
LOL, you may want to avoid Winchester White Box & Wolf as well. (LOL) Remington, Federal, Black Hills and Hornady might be prefer'd, I don't know about S&B or Brown Bear.

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Old December 27, 2014, 10:34 PM   #25
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I will generally shoot and replace the defensive ammo in my gun and spare mag about once a month or so, but I use "range" ammo for the rest of the session.
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