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Old February 16, 2018, 04:31 PM   #1
cslinger
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Something Else To Think About When Choosing Your Self Defense Ammunition

So whenever I am shaking down a new gun I like to run a mix of ball weights and of course some defensive ammunition.

I have pretty much settled on Gold Dots and HST as my go to defensive ammo so that is generally what I run in my testing phase. Today however I was cleaning out some old stocks of ammo and I had with me some Gold Dot, HST, Hornady TAP, Hydra Shock, a little Golden Sabre and some fairly old Remington Green and White Box hollow points.

So we all know to function test our defensive ammo. I am also of the mind that any decent, reliable defensive ammo is about as good as their peers. One thing however most folks don't take into consideration if they just grab a cheap box of HP defensive ammo is the flash of the powder. The cheap stuff usually doesn't use low flash powder...................
....
So about that old Remington Green and White Box HP stuff. Holy Pink Floyd Batman, what a light show. Fairly inconsistent as well. This stuff would definitely distract you in ANY kind of low light as it was distracting under direct light.

Now I am not saying a box of cheaper grade defensive hollow points are ineffective crap just pointing out, mostly for folks new to the game, that low flash powder makes a big difference. I had a mag loaded up with a mix of Gold Dot, Hydrashok, TAP and the stuff above. When you hit that cheap stuff it was like a camera flash.

So anyhoo, might be something else to keep in mind for the new shooters to consider as most of the time we tend to hammer reliability of a given load and forget to mention other factors like consistency and flash.

As always, take care, shoot safe,
Chris
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Old February 16, 2018, 08:35 PM   #2
peacefulgary
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I've only been in two real life shootings...once as a soldier, and once as a civilian.
In both instances, I can honestly say, I never noticed the muzzle flash at all.
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Old February 16, 2018, 08:38 PM   #3
fastlane
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Cslinger:
Thanks for the above information. I never considered “flash” when purchasing defense ammo.

Learn something new everyday.
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Old February 16, 2018, 08:41 PM   #4
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The main problem with a high flash level is that in a low-light situation, it will tend to blind the shooter (me), something that may not be good.

But I definitely recommend against a mixture of ammo in a magazine for serious use. Keep the ammo to what works and is consistent.

Jim
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Old February 16, 2018, 08:55 PM   #5
cslinger
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I am sure in a real shooting auditory and possibly visual exclusion may happen but I can say there is basically no muzzle flash with higher end ammo. Lower end stuff can look and did look like a rifle caliber in a too short barrel.

As for mixing rounds in a magazine HELL NO. I just do that if I have mixmaster self defense ammo to burn and it’s a decent test of the function of the Gun and magazine. I WOULD NEVER SUGGEST staggering ammo / mixing ammo for a real self defense load.

All I was trying to get across is we(experienced shooters)tend to harp on new shooters to test any ammo they plan to use for SD for reliability. I just thought it might be worth noting that higher priced ammo may not be hugely more effective ballistically but there are other factors as well such as flash signature to the shooter and consistency.

So basically if you are buying self defense ammo and looking at a 20 round box of PDX1/HST/Gold Dot//Golden Sabres. Etc. and comparing it to a 50 round box or White Box JHP or Rem Green and White Box etc. that there is more at play then simple ballistics / bullet design.
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Last edited by cslinger; February 16, 2018 at 09:03 PM.
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Old March 15, 2018, 07:40 PM   #6
Mackie244Bud
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Thank you cslinger.
It is a point I will always remember.
Thankfully I have always used the good stuff...

SpeerLE Gold Dot 124g JHP for defensive and either Federal American Eagle or Blazer Brass 124g FMJ

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Old March 18, 2018, 12:00 AM   #7
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Most of the current premium SD ammo makers mention the use of low flash powder in their advertising. I think the boutique "push it to the edge" companies do as well. Not sure about the lower priced, and foreign made ammo though.
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Old March 19, 2018, 02:00 AM   #8
In The Ten Ring
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I'd say the flash would blind the bad guys more.

Flash would have no effect on that first round, make it a hit and you might not have anything else to worry about.

You could close one eye when firing, that should retain your night vision.

Use a laser sight.

Use a flashlight when firing.
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Old March 19, 2018, 06:09 PM   #9
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I'm sure when the bad guy got hit he didn't see the flash , I never gave it a thought . I don't use hollow points on a auto only RN , FMJ's.
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Old March 20, 2018, 12:38 PM   #10
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Interesting point. Though i always thought flash was the result of too much powder burning outside a barrel, and using perhaps too short a barrel.
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Old March 20, 2018, 04:02 PM   #11
In The Ten Ring
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I think flash is that also, unburned powder being pushed out the muzzle burns all at once outside of it.
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Old March 22, 2018, 09:08 PM   #12
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I sometimes carry handloads for self defense. I was involved in an on-duty shooting using handloads, and I survived physically and legally just fine. I've also heard all of the horror stories from folks who haven't been in a shooting too. My shooting was at night in the dark and I didn't miss. I'm aware of the legal environment where I live. I like the idea of the criminal seeing a BIG flash, and hearing a BIG bang, and feeling a BIG smack. I want him to think he was just shot with the biggest, baddest most deadly bullet ever. No matter what the damage may be, I want him to psychologically take him out of the fight every bit as much as being taken out physically.
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Old March 24, 2018, 02:45 PM   #13
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my general recommendation is that a person only buy premium ($1) bullets. Twenty pack. Dedicated carry ammo. this is the stuff that receives the most attention. Best powder, best bullet design, nickle low corrosion casings, usually loaded on the newer, more reliable machinery instead of the WWII era stuff. There's no reason to buy green box 50 round HP rounds for actual carry use. It's not as good. That simple. Better loads are going to have better results, maybe not at every criteria, but most of them.

person still needs to test those rounds.
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Old March 24, 2018, 02:50 PM   #14
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Testing for flash is a good idea, as at least half of the defensive scenarios I know of involve low light. Crooks like low light. Testing for flash is hard unless you have an indoor range, or your local range allows night shooting. If you have no way to test it at dark, have someone else shoot while you watch. Even during the day time you can see what you need to see.

You could also fire them inside a refrigerator box, measuring the flask in the darkness.
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Old March 24, 2018, 02:59 PM   #15
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I use to shoot a 4" S&W Mod 29 , shooting full loads it was like a flame thrower . I guess if you miss hitting the bad guy , you can always punch him in the face , he'll never see it comming . Gave the gun to my Son . Too much of a hammer for me . Went with a Colt 3" 1911 , much nicer to shoot.
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