How to maintain your carry ammo

When carrying a gun daily it’s easy to get caught up in what gun is the best, but we sometimes forget to think about our ammunition


This article originally appeared on The Firearm Blog

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When carrying a gun daily it’s easy to get caught up in what gun is the best for concealed carry, but we sometimes forget about looking at our carry ammunition. Even in recent forums, I’ve read new conceal carriers asking why they can’t just carry a quality FMJ round instead of a hollow point.

When I started reading more about the man’s claim, he said a police officer told him FMJ rounds are better because they penetrate the body more. So there’s lots of misinformation out there and it’s always good to check out claims before taking them as fact.

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Inspecting Your Carry Ammo

Going through the day to day tasks and carrying your handgun daily, it’s easy to forget about inspecting your carry ammunition. It may seem like a simple task but it’s easy to forget about checking the status of your carry ammo. Typically I will check the status of the firearm every morning before I slide the gun onto my hip in the morning. This is probably the easiest way to get a quick glance at your carry ammo. When I go to the range I will typically unload all magazines and then jam them up with range ammo.

Unloading everything does a couple things for the ammo. First, it will shuffle the ammunition up and the same three or four rounds won’t be on the top of the magazine all the time. Keeping the same three rounds at the top of the magazine will slowly unseat or push the bullet into the casing from constantly racking the same rounds into the chamber.

The second thing to look for in your carry ammo is how tarnished the ammo is overtime. I sweat and do all kinds of outdoor activities while carrying, so my gun gets sweat and moisture on it fairly often. Over time this can start to tarnish the rounds and constant moisture on a gun isn’t great for carry ammo over a long period of time. I’ve never had a carry round fail yet but tend to keep an eye on how they look overall.

New ammo (left) compared to old carry ammo (right)
New ammo (left) compared to old carry ammo (right)

When To Cycle Carry Ammo

It’s important to rotate old carry ammo out on a fairly consistent time frame. I typically swap carry ammo out every 6-12 months depending on the amount I carry the gun. In the grand scheme of things, carry ammo is relatively cheap to replace compared to other purchases. If it’s possible, replace every 6 months.

A good minimum to rotate ammo out is once a year. This could be a set date like your birthday, Christmas, or any other day you think is significant. Doing this ensures you’ll have fresh carry ammo in your gun.

Getting new carry ammo will also give you the opportunity to practice with your old carry ammo. I typically use my old carry rounds to practice with full power loads.

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Buying New Carry Ammo

When deciding to buy new carry ammo, it’s important to do your research. I tend to find ammo that works in my guns and run the same thing until something else catches my eye. Right now I run Federal HST rounds and SIG V-Crown hollow points the most. 

When deciding to change carry ammunition, it’s never a bad idea to buy two boxes so you will be able to run one box through the gun at the range to make sure everything works properly. It’s never a great idea to load up new carry ammo without knowing if your carry gun will feed properly with the new ammo. It may seem expensive, but the price of the extra box is worth the peace of mind it offers to know your gun works with the ammo.

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Overall Thoughts

Taking care of your carry ammunition may seem like a small task but it’s one of the most important gun maintenance items you can do as a shooter. Checking the status of carry ammo takes only a few minutes and can ensure everything is good to go in the gun. When switching ammo out, shoot up and practice self-defense drills with full power loads to know how the gun will handle in a scenario.

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