Practice Ammo vs. Defense Ammo

Discussion in 'Ammo & Reloading' started by conservative, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. conservative

    conservative New Member

    I love this forums since it has allowed this newcomer to get some good answers to some basic questions. So now for another question! Does my practice ammo need to be of the same quality and performance as my dense ammo? Should I shoot a cheaper ammo for practice or will it harm my real world performance?
  2. SavageGuy

    SavageGuy Active Member

    Keep asking away! Most of us are more than happy to answer, and they're good questions, too.

    I don't know anybody that practices with the same ammo they carry, assuming that you carry hollow points that run about a buck a shot. I do think that everyone runs at least a box of the ammo they plan to carry through the gun, just to make sure it functions and to see where the point if impact is (POI).

    If you have a 9mm for example, ammo will run at about $11 for a box of 50. Defensive hollow points go for $20-30 for a box of 20-25!

    I would recommend trying to practice with the same bullet weight as the ammo you plan to carry, your poi should be more similar than if you shoot 115 and carry 147

  3. VThillman

    VThillman Active Member

    Yep. If you don't reload, use the FMJ for practice, JHP for defense. (if you reload there may be a 'naked'' lead or plated option for practice.)
  4. phideaux

    phideaux Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    I use cheap round nose ammo for practice of handling and point and shoot,

    But....I always fire at least 1 magazine of my carry ammo just to get a good sense of where it shoots and if there is a difference in recoil.

  5. conservative

    conservative New Member

    Thanks! Any ammo recommendations for either practice or defense?
  6. Tommycourt

    Tommycourt Tommycourt

    For practice I use all of my reloaded ammunition. It is plated, 230grns. as close to a powder charge that I can get that the factory puts out and basically the same as ammo you would buy. However I agree with Savage Guy: buy the same size bullet that you use for self defense. If you are using 124gn. then practice with 124grn. The only thing to worry about, should you carry a hollow point bullet for defense, make sure your pistol will accept hollow points. Some pistols are touchy and will like some ammo more than a different ammo. You have to get used to the recoil, even though a 9mm doesn't have much, you still want the same action as the defense ammo. I shoot a .45 which has more recoil than a 9mm therefore there is no difference when I shoot self defense rounds vs my reloaded rounds. The recoil is basically the same. Take your time when starting out and start with light loaded factory and then when you build your "muscle memory" up, then take on trying a bigger or hotter load. Go slowly and methodically. You will be just fine.

  7. MagBlackhawk

    MagBlackhawk Patriot

    Most cheap store bought 9mm 'range ammo' may use 115 gr bullets. (Like Winchester white box).
    If you want to carry 124 gr ammo, shoot both side by side as a way to check for POI and recoil differences.
    Sometimes they'll have the same POI and about the same recoil, sometimes not.

    YouTube is your friend for ammo tests.
    Like this guy, ShootingTheBull410.
  8. kyhunter

    kyhunter Member

    Yep. Me too. Practice with economy ammo and have the personal defense for carry. If ever needed and I hope it is never. The distance involved with a pistol should be fairly short and hopefully not make any significant difference. IMHO. KY
  9. paulkalman

    paulkalman Member


    If you just want to get to know your pistol, shoot anything you want.
    If you want as close to the ballistics of your self defense ammo, you really need to match bullet weight (but not profile since that is difficult at best.

    I shoot federal LE HST in 147gr in both my carry pistol and my home defense pistol. I have found two range ammos to use that in my hands very closely match the characteristics of the above mentioned SD ammo. That is point of aim and impact. They are: 1. Federal american eagle 147gr fmj and 2. Browning 147gr FPFMJ.
  10. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Lifetime Supporter

    Practice = FMJ

    Defense = HP

    Having said that...always make sure you practice with your Defensive Ammo of choice...

    To make sure it Feeds reliably...

    To feel the Recoil...

    To see where the POA / POI is for that load...

    Gunfights are NOT the time to be surprised by easily learned factors...

    "What's IN Your Gun ?!"
  11. spikedriver

    spikedriver Active Member

    I would run at least 50-60 rounds of whatever you choose for your carry load, before you actually trust it enough to carry it. Some people say shoot 100 or even 200 rounds. Different bullet shapes may not feed as smooth as FMJ does. For example, Gold Dot has a big hollow point that could hang up on your gun's feed ramp. So make sure that whatever you choose functions in your personal gun. I personally like Hornady Critical Defense with 115 gr. FTX bullets but that's just my preference.