Testing ammo for EDC

Is there a best way to test ammo in your EDC gun? Do you do anything special to ensure the ammo functions flawlessly in your gun?


Welcome @James1311, Great question :+1:

You will get more input from others, but my experience is to test it the way you expect to use it. Not always, but frequently magazines are a common problem with ammo malfunctioning in a semiautomatic. Therefore, test your ammo in every magazine you plan to use for self-defense to be sure the combination functions flawlessly. It is a tough bite to chew with the price of ammo, but you should test each magazine loaded to full capacity. If you plan on carrying with +1, then you should test with +1. I have experienced testing magazines that work perfect when partially loaded, but fail miserably when fully loaded.

I have read some folks test every lot code of ammo. I admit, I tend to alternate FMJ range ammo in the magazine(s) to test a new box once I know a particular brand and model of ammo works well.


Welcome @James1311!

Yes, you should test to make sure your defense ammunition will work flawlessly with your EDC and all mags you plan on using with it.

You can run a few hundred rounds of practice ammunition to break in the firearm and mags. Give it a thorough cleaning. Then test the defense ammo. If you’re going to be carrying +1, make sure to test that configuration.


I would chime in, but I can’t say it any better than @Gary_H did.

One little thing I have done is, when testing the mags, I alternated between normal and more rapid rates of fire for a few rounds. I had a pistol once that would fire about any round you fed it, until I tried to fire it quicker, like a double tap. It would jam almost every time I did it.

I could never figure out why so I sold it. I told the buyer about it too.

Oh yes, welcome to the Community @James1311 We are glad to have you sir.


Welcome to the family brother @James1311. You will learn a lot from the great people in this forum.


I appreciate all the helpful responses I’m getting here, but you hit on exactly the kind of concern I had in mind. Thank you!


Great advice. Thanks!


You didn’t say what type of “jam”, but limp wristing is a common problem when double taping.


Welcome to the Community :handshake:

Testing EDC ammo is a must… but each of us may have its own procedure.

First of all I’d recommend to find the ammo you want to use. People usually check online ballistic tests and how those fit tghe FBI standards.

Once you find the ammo you would like to use and that ammo has been verified by other as reliable, buy one box and shoot it.
I like the procedure to test:

  • accuracy at different distances → so you have idea how the bullets impact coming out from your firearm.
    Remember to not rush with tests. Use your marksmanship skills for testing to ensure the results are credible.
  • magazines, loading, extracting reliability → load all your magazines to max capacity, keep one fully loaded and unload others leaving 3 - 4 rounds. Shoot 2 - 3 rounds in different pace and do reloads.

Single malfunction means something is wrong… either with ammo/firearm or user.
Verify and repeat everything until the moment ZERO malfunction occurs.

Good luck !


Not really sure what you mean, if you don’t mind expanding on this. Thanks!

For example, My Kimber EVO cycles flawlessly with JHP with 6 in the mag and one in the chamber but the first round won’t load about one in 20 if I go to 7+1. When I go to FMJ 7+1 works just fine. I recommend that once you settle on an ammo brand you stick with it, they all seem to act a teeny bit different.


So true. In this particular instance it was double feeding. A round would hang up on a lip above the feed ramp, then the next would jam it up but good. The guy who bought it was a gunsmith. He claimed it needed some polishing in a few spots. I gave him a great deal on it. No idea if he made it work.


What I meant was:

  1. load all your magazines to full capacity to affirm their proper functionality
  2. keep one fully loaded magazine to test the firearm, how does it perform with fully loaded magazine

These steps above are needed to make sure your last (top) round doesn’t jam

  1. there is no need to keep other magazines fully loaded, so you need only 3 - 4 rounds to test the ammo and firearm reliability. Less ammo in magazine, more reloads needed. And that’s what you want - multiple reloads.

  2. The reason for 3 - 4 is that you need to test multiple shots from single magazine to find out if no failures occur.

All these above are to test as much as possible using only 1 box of EDC ammo (usually 20 rds)

So using other words, you have to test these:

  1. does the ammo load correctly to full magazine’s capacity
  2. does the ammo feed properly to the chamber with magazine fully loaded
  3. does the ammo feed properly from all your magazines
  4. does the ammo feed and extract properly during speed fire
  5. does the ammo extract properly
  6. does the ammo eject properly

Hollow points are prone to catching on the feed ramp. A good gunsmith can give you some recommendations for correcting the problem. I’ve heard the synthetic defensive ammo is less prone to do so.


Shoot at least 50 rounds (more is better) through your EDC using the mags you will use when carrying.

Do several+ rounds weak hand only with an empty mag and ensure it cycle strongly enough to lock the slide back.

Use an intentionally sub-par grip to make sure it doesn’t “limp wrist”.

Ensure point of aim = point of impact for good solid two handed shooting.

If it fails any of the above the gun and or ammo are unsuitable for defensive use

If there is a quality brand of ammo the gun doesn’t like, it’s not suitable for defensive use with any ammo

Make sure it works reliably fully loaded round in the chamber and fully loaded mag.



Assuming that your choice of ammo hasn’t given you problems at the firing line, I suggest giving each round the plunk test before loading in you EDC magazines or speed loaders. That way you’re assured that those rounds will chamber when required.


Another great tip. Thanks! I did a little digging on “plunk test” and came up with a pretty good article that goes into some depth on it. Reloading Tips: The Plunk Test - Shooting Times



When in the range, I carry a small paper notebook and pen in my range bag, and write notes/comments on functionality of brands and models. That way, the more key gains are noted and I can focus on safety.


Great topic and finds on “Plunk” tests. Gratitude!

Take care of all your ammo, keep it clean, dry, low humidity as possible, regularly inspect your loaded firearm ammo, and its spare mag ammo.

Squib load (bullet stuck in barrel) happening, though rare are very dangerous; Study the topic to avoid “not noticing” if it happens, as that’s when you wanna stop, let range safety officer know, and ensure you not pull that trigger again.

Duds - “A hang fire (also delayed discharge) is an unexpected delay between the triggering of a firearm and the ignition of the propellant.”

Though I also have a .22 in my repertoire, beware of “duds”, if happens - keep it aimed at safe target 60 sec.'s.

Range time; bring a bright pocket flashlight and cleaning rod in case you need rod to inspect a barrel. Screw on a plastic cleaning slotted end (head/tip) to the rod - so’s not to scratch barrel.

Stay calm, cool, collective.


As I’m sure others have stated over and over test your EDC ammo at the range considering your mags as part of the testing. I have 10 mags for my hellcat s. They are all numbered clearly so if I have a MAG that is acting up I can quickly identify and remember it. One of my 10 mags from time to time has a failure to feed on 147 grain loads but functions perfectly with 127 grain loads. I can’t explain it and don’t even try I just know which mag and only use it for range time.