Is Ball Pistol Ammo Worth Stockpiling?
Dr. John Woods 06.03.15
Ball ammo is perhaps the most standard type pistol ammunition available. So is it worth buying and possibly even stockpiling? When this question arises, you simply have to ask, “For what?”
Ball ammo was designed with a basic full metal jacketed bullet so it would function reliably in a semi-automatic pistol. These round, smooth bullets were created to feed from a pistol magazine flawlessly and enter the chamber without snags or hang ups. In this regard, ball ammo has performed admirably.
Ball ammo has been the standard military issue I imagine since the ubiquitous Colt 1911 came on the scene. It is the round that came with my dad’s 1911 in WWII as issued to B-24 pilots. When he brought home his 1911 the ammo in his unfired pistol it was ball type ammo. Only by the time he got home, the bullets had turned green.
Ball (or metal case ammo as it is sometimes called by factory manufacturers) is excellent for general practice shooting whether your pistol is a .380, 9mm, 40 Smith and Wesson, 45ACP, or similar semi-auto. Another feature of modern ball ammo is that it is relatively inexpensive as compared to specialty ammo for hunting or close quarter’s personal defense.
Ball ammo is generally available in rather standard bullet weights, too. The .380s use 95 grains, the 9mms use 115-124-147 grain bullets, and the 45ACP standard bullet weight is 230 grains. The 40s use a 165 or 180 grain metal case loads.
Now, viable you say? Is the ball ammo is best choice for hunting, self-defense, or law enforcement. No, it is not, especially with the advent of so many new bullet designs for these purposes. Is it the load that many shooters keep stoked in their magazines a lot of the time? Yes for expense and reliability issues, ball ammo is still tops.
So, if you shoot a lot and want to be proficient with your pistol, then ball ammo is the way to go. If you get accosted in the parking lot, or have some other unfriendly confrontation, will ball ammo get the job done? You bet it will. I’d certainly call that viable. But if you can afford it, you’re better off buying a more modern bullet type.
As for stockpiling it, the question then becomes, “How big is your budget?” For most of us who are cash constrained, we end up stockpiling ball because it’s cheap to buy in bulk. Sure, if money were no object we’d all rather stockpile something more modern and lethal, but if I had to pick where to put my hard-earned dollars I’d rather have a case of ball than a box of something fancier. So yes, ball is definitely worth stockpiling in bulk, but mix in some more lethal bullets when and where you can.