So you have this new gun and you need to buy some ammunition for it, but there are so many types.
Where do you start?
Well, you start with the manual. The manual that came with your handgun will discuss the types of ammunition that you should use with it. If you bought the firearm from a third party and it didn’t come with a manual, you can search for it online. There are normally electronic versions of your firearm manual at the manufacturer’s website and other places as well.
Next, you select by caliber. If you bought a 9mm firearm, you’ll need 9mm ammunition for it. When you are matching firearm to ammunition, there are three places to match the caliber.
First, the caliber should be engraved somewhere on the firearm.
Second, the caliber is written on the original manufacturer’s box of ammo.
Third, the bottom of the cartridge, known as the headstamp, also has the caliber written on it.
The best ammunition, or cartridges for practicing or range time with your handgun are those where the bullet portion is fully encased in metal. These are called full metal jacket and the box will have the abbreviation FMJ on it. This type of ammunition is relatively inexpensive. On the side of the box, there is usually something called grain. For a 9mm, you might see 115, 124, or 147 grain. This measurement refers to the weight of the bullet. The higher the number, the heavier the bullet.
Selecting personal defense ammunition is a bit different. With target ammunition, overpenetration, or going through the target is not an issue at most ranges. If you are engaged in a personal defense situation, having your bullet go through your intended target and possibly striking an innocent bystander is not what you want to have happen.
Ammunition for your concealed carry firearm should be one that is intended for personal defense such as a cartridge with a hollow point bullet. Hollow points are built to open as they enter or bloom as some people call it. This slows the bullet down and decreases the chance of it passing completely through the intended target.
Once again, be sure to check your manual before using ammunition that has been designated as +P. Some manufacturers advise against this kind of bullet. Ammunition with a +P or +P+ label on the box is an overpressured round also meant for personal defense. The overpressure gives the bullet a higher velocity.
Before you fill your magazine with personal defense rounds, holster up and head out to conceal carry, make sure you have gone to range and run some of that personal defense ammunition through your firearm.
It is important to be able to depend on the ammunition that you have chosen for your concealed carry firearm. In the heat of a situation is not when you want to learn that your firearm does not work with that ammunition. It’s also a good idea to shoot your personal defense ammo through your concealed carry firearm on a regular basis, to get a feel for the increased recoil.