How much SD ammo do you keep on hand?

Just curious what people think is the ideal quantity of self defense ammo to have on hand? Seems 15 rounds in one magazine would be too few, 1000 rounds would probably be overkill unless one lives in a war zone.

While we’re at it, do you shoot your SD ammo from time to time? Why?


For a War Zone… any ammo is OK. To save the money - target ammunition would work for me… :slightly_smiling_face:

As SD ammo comes in boxes of 20 / 25 / 50 - the amount I keep handy is 40 or 50.
2 mags on me (2 x 17).

And yes - I shoot my SD ammo if not used longer than 1 year. Why? Two reasons - (1) I like to have 100% reliable tool all the time, (2) I’m trying to not forget how my SD ammo shoots.
In both cases 1 year period seems to be OK for me.


I have heard it said that having ALL the ammo is the right amount.
Not saying what I have, not exactly sure, but what I once thought was once reflective of an addictive personality now seems to simply look like sound fiscal foresight :wink: I gave some away last Christmas, put a box on their tool boxes at work; and a few guys wanted to kiss me…never giving away ammo again :rofl: but good to have friends should we ever enter a warzone.
Yes, I shoot it on occasion, every few months, same reasons as @Jerzy


What he said. If the house is surrounded by zombies…all bets are off.


I have about 75 Hornaday Critical Defense rds in 3 different pistol mags. About 75 in storage. Had more but gave a couple of boxes away after discussions about over penetration. Bought them at great prices a couple years ago.

I have more than I need 5.56 frangible rds, my choice for sd in AR. I got a deal on 250 in bulk.

I will send them down range as the prices drop!


More then 100 rnds. and less the 5000 rnds. And I shoot SD rnds about every 6 months to check the sights. :us:


Right now there’s one I wish I had more of, 38Spcl. Other than that I have between 100 and 1000 of the other stuff I’d use for SD.
Talked to a guy from WY a while back, he kinda changed my mind about how many to have on hand, the way he put it “when they come after my guns I’m probably only good for 10-15 minutes before they get me so why would I need 5000 rnds.” Some how that’s makes sense to me.


I have enough, I hope!

As to how often I shoot it- Back in the day when I could get high quality SD rounds for 40-75 cents each, I would usually take my loaded carry and home defense tools to the range and empty them there. Not as often as I would like due to work and family obligations but probably once a month or so. On the way from the range I would pop in my spare mag so I am covered on the ride home and can empty it next time.

At current replacement prices and availability I have only been shooting the SD rounds to test the reliability of a new gun or mag.


Won’t say publicly how many, but I follow the 75/25 rule (practice/defensive) for every caliber. Every firearm’s range session is completed with at least a full capacity magazine, a socialist state’s mandated lower capacity magazine, or a speedloader of defensive rounds: FIFO.


I agree with @mattm … As much as you can get :wink:

Unless you’re drowning or on fire, you can never have too much ammo

A good way to think of “how much ammo”, regardless of whether its defensive ammo or range ammo, is to consider your usage and think of how long you need your stash to last.

Calculate how much ammo you use up per year, and ideally you want to keep a few years worth. If 2020 has taught us anything (and we didn’t learn it from past shortages) its that you don’t know when a shortage will strike and you don’t know how high prices will go or how low availability will go. So ideally you want enough to last through a shortage that might be a few months or (gasp) a few years.

To set up an example… Suppose your defensive firearm holds 15rnds and you keep 2 spare mags full of defensive ammo. So that’s 45rounds. Lets say every year or so you shoot all that ammo up and you refill your mags. So your burn rate is < 50 rounds per year. 250 rounds is a five year supply.

If, on the other hand, you shoot one mag of defensive ammo a week in training, thats almost 800rnds per year. So a five year supply is almost 4000 rnds.

You also need to be mindful of the cost of that ammo and how much room it takes up.


I have several up and coming shooters so I need more ammo. I gifted my step-daughter 2 boxes of SD ammo
when she purchased her firearm and her brother is coming next week to shoot a pistol for the first time. :us:


When I run out of HP I’ll use mass riot ammo, fmj until I can find more HP.




I like to have a few boxes on top what is loaded in the mags. I used to shoot my EDC rounds every 6 months, but ended up putting the rounds in a box this last time since I didn’t know if I could replace them.

I also mark rounds that get chambered. After the 2nd time it gets chambered I shoot it


How much ammo should you keep. The way things are today, that would be all that you can afford to buy. Back before the FIRST shortage we were shooting around 250 rounds of 38 - 40 -45 - 9 and around 4,000 rounds of 22 cal. per week.


This seems like a good strategy. I have been rotating the first two rounds in the mag and several times before firing off the whole mag. I carefully compare rounds for any signs of set back before reloading. I haven’t noticed any but read somewhere that the HSTs I use are packed with the powder in such a way that prevents this from happening?? I have not confirmed this rumor in any way.

Wonder how much or little set back you need to cause a problem and if this varies by load?


I’m thinking there could potentially be 2 issues with setback, and either one would be a problem in a self defense situation.

  1. Failure to Feed due to the round being too short and hanging on the lip
  2. Compression causing a higher than normal pressure when the round is fired

Depending on the round, 1/10th of an inch setback could be disastrous in terms of increased pressure.

Since starting to reload and using a kinetic bullet puller, it’s amazing how some factory rounds do not take much force at all to dislodge the bullet. Not much crimp on most pistol rounds.


To avoid this issue, I just gently load the round into the chamber then tap the slide to be sure it is in battery. This way I never experience “setback problem”.


CC pistol 10+1
Extra mag 10 rds
At the height of last year’s Antifa thuggery, I carried two extra mags.

Every federal holiday, I take out two per mag to include with practice rounds at the range and replace them with new ammo-same brand and type (Hornady critical duty).
So, at the end of the year, my CC has no ammo that’s more than one year old.

1 Like

Me too. By"gently" I mean I ride the slide back into battery to chamber a round. Not sure about other guns but I’m shooting a VP9 and it works for me.

I rechamber the top two rounds in my carry magazine at least half a dozen times a week after range time and dry fire practice and eventually mark them and move them to another magazine probably once a month.

I have measured them with calipers and compared them to unchambered rounds and they have never set back. Federal HSTs and Gold Dots. And when I do shoot them, they always shoot fine, POA, POI.