Ammo Advice for New Firearm Owners

What ammunition advice do you give to people who are new to firearms? Do you suggest quantities, manufacturers, calibers, grain weights, types, storage?

What was the best advice you ever received about ammunition?

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Find what works well for your gun and use it. Not everything will work well in every gun.

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Straight from ask an attorney. Ask your local law enforcement officers what they carry in their off duty guns for self defense. Down here it’s Hornady’s Critical Duty or Critical Defense.

Which with multiple .45 to feed is expensive.

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I don’ t disagree with the thought behind that, but you may also may want to confirm with the State you can carry that type of ammo as self-defense in your firearm (I believe a few “less free” States restrict some of that civilians can have vs what LEO uses).

Agree 100% with find what works with your weapon both range ammo and self-defense ammo.

And then ABBA…Always Be Buying Ammo…I mentioned on another thread Tom Gresham’s philosophy of dollar cost averaging ammo purchasing so you never get into a shortage situation.

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In Alabama there really aren’t ammo considerations. So I go with the idea of if it’s good for our law enforcement officers it’s good for me.

I try to come home with one more box of ammo than I left with. One of what I shot with and one that I’m low on.

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Right @Zavier_D , I figured you were covered…I guess I was directing that more to the original poster. :wink:

Buy they way, I like your local law enforcements choice of ammo…that’s what I use…(Critical Duty for my full size, Defense for my compact). :slight_smile:

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This is a big problem right now for new gun owners who can’t find ammo!
In CA we have to pick up from an in state FFL and the shelves are bare.
A friend bought his very first gun, a 357 magnum for HD
The shop (in fact all the shops in town) are out of .38 Spls so they sold him .357 Mags

A bad situation!

Self-Defense -> Check FBI Ballistic Test Results and use what meets their standard.
Target ammo -> try every available cheapest ammo and use what seems to be the best for my firearm.

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@Zavier_D taught me to research and ask others what works best for a particular firearm. Then thoroughly test it at the range. Most important… have no less than 10,000 rounds of it on hand.

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Not just off duty. Carry what local enforcement carries. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.

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Hummmm…
Outside of what has already be said above,
Storage - buy surplus ammo cans, waterproof (if has the rubber seal)
Shooting - if you like shooting alot, take a reloading class, and invest in a reloading press. (will save you money at the range)

Much like you shouldn’t train with 22 just because it’s cheaper — I’ve always been told to train with matching grain weight. If you carry 124 Grain JHP for defense, you should practice with 124 Grain FMJ, etc.

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It is never a bad idea to carry what the police carry except in NJ where carrying hollow point outside the home is a felony.

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Hey @MikeBKY, is NJ the only State where that is an issue?

The Gold Dot G2 was adopted as a duty “round” for the Federal Bureau of Investigation ( FBI ) after extensive testing and has been issued to a large number of law enforcement agencies, where it has been well received as a duty round for use in full-size guns. Ammunition companies do tailor a line of ammunition specifically for law enforcement, such as, Hornady critical duty, Federal Law enforcement hydro-shock, and Remington’s Golden Saber but they also make self-defense ammo which is suppose to be as good as law enforcement. Which one would you feel better about using?

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My old Professor in college always kept 300 rds of Parabellum for his Radom since that’s what took him through the Nazi, and later Soviet occupations of Poland.
Why only 300 rds? Small quantities are easier to hide from the Gestapo and SMERSH.
After the War he served as Gen MacArthur’s translator in Korea.

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I am not sure but NJ is the only state I am aware of that outright prohibits hollow point rounds except by police and in your home or on the range. You can transport them from the place of purchase to your home. Even some police departments in NJ don’t use HPs.

This is a hard topic right now for a lot of new gun owners, or people who might have a gun that was their father’s (for instance) but have never shot it or havent shot it in 20 years (again, for instance). If they would have been shopping for ammo 9 months ago, the conversation might have been very different and a lot of the points above would be very valid. Now, for ammo shoppers without a couple boxes to be ready for such a time, the choices really comes down to “what do you have that will fit?” Hopefully after getting something that will just “work” the new shooter can do a little research, get on a forum such as this or two, and do some research as to what they should be using and be able to buy smartly.

The guide is very helpful, but it is also very useful to talk to a knowledgeable shop worker or visit a company’s web site, as not all ammo is created equal. For instance, I will pick on the Critical Defense/Critical Duty ammo that is referenced above. Not picking on it because I do use it in some guns, but there is a difference. Critical Duty is designed for full size duty guns and Critical Defense is designed for smaller concealed carry firearms. This is one of the wonderful things about the times we live in, where there is enough demand that ammo manufacturers are able to make specific ammo for specific uses and specific classes of firearms and still be commercially viable. But unfortunately, it is also something that just adds confusion for a new shooter who probably doesnt understand why firearm size (other than caliber) matters.

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For new shooters I generally recommend that once they have decided on a handgun they should spend plenty of time at the range. I also advise they begin with standard ammo. For a 9mm that would be 115 grain FMJ over a standard load, somewhere around 1100-1200 fps. Learn proper grip, sighting, pointing, trigger management and reset before moving on to hotter loads or heavier bullets. Become at least competent with the fundamentals first, which will give a base knowledge to judge other ammo against.

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The Lucky Gunner ballistic comparisons

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